It's study time for city's working moms

The Times of India Chennai, May 12, 2013

Times News Network

Chennai: They're moms, they're working moms, but now they're also working-studying moms, tending to all three aspects of their lives with as much TLC as they can possibly muster. TLC stands for tender, loving care, which is a part of a mother's resume.

For Chennai-based Bharatanatyam dancer Anjana A, 2013 will see her completing her PhD in shringara rasa, which she has been working on feverishly for the last five years. While meeting her guide at least twice a week, Anjana also founded the Sahrdaya Foundation, where she teaches dance five times a week.

"I haven't stopped performing or choreographing so it involves a lot of travel," says Anjana. "There were times when I had to make a choice, like the couple of times my son was very ill. But I did what I had to do. My role as a mother kicked in and I cancelled performances to be with him."

For 37-year-old Meenakshi Lakshminaryanan, who has just completed a course in business management from the Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, it was a gruelling two years when she had to juggle work, classes, looking after the home and caring for her six-year-old. "But I knew I had to do it if I wanted to grow in my career. My family also realised that if I finished this course, my prospects would improve, which, in turn would benefit the family. So they helped me through," says Lakshminaryanan.

Having an understanding set of faculty members helped. "There were times when I would miss a number of sessions because of my work at home, but they allowed me to clear all my doubts over email," says Lakshminaryanan, who works in the treasury department of a private company.

Saundarya Rajesh, a mother and founder-president of Avtar Career Creators and Flexi-Careers India, companies that are focused towards finding women employment, says that she counsels women who approach her to get back to studying too.

"Studying is the best way for moms who have taken a break in their careers to get back in the game," says Rajesh, who is currently doing her PhD on women's careers.

She says that, with the right amount of planning, the balancing act is not all that difficult. "But there have been times I have found it a tightrope walk. There was a year when my children's boards and my exams clashed. My mommy brain kicked in at those points and I focused on my children," she says.