Neha Bajaj, Managing Director, Scroll Mantra writes navigating her two roles, that of an entrepreneur and a mother, and what needs to be done to do justice to both the roles
Life pleasantly surprised me in February last year when I found out I was pregnant. The news brought tears to my eyes, drowning me in a wave of emotions, pure joy and concern. Happiness, because we were planning for a child for two years and concern because I had gone through a heart-wrenching miscarriage the previous year. I knew that this journey would be an emotional one, but I also felt nervous because I knew that managing my company, Scroll Mantra, would now be even more challenging.
During my pregnancy, I ensured that I remained active at work till the last minute while I prepared for the post-delivery months. A long and comfortable maternity leave was never an option and I was totally aware of my professional and business commitments.
I had grown up in a typical middle-class household in Delhi, and seen my mother sacrifice her needs for my brother and me, all through my childhood. She had also instilled in me the courage to pursue my dreams and not to lose sight of my responsibilities. It was these values which made me work even from my hospital bed until I went into labour. We were blessed with a gorgeous daughter and thus began my journey as a ‘mompreneur’.
My responsibilities at Scroll Mantra include business development, strategy, overseeing key operations, managing P&L; and I dived right into all of them within a week of my delivery. Initially, it was about attending key meetings and mostly working from home and then I started attending office for a few hours as regularly as I could. Juggling between meetings and reviews and presentations, I would find time to pump some milk, and then get back to my work. Six months later, I still breastfeed her and plan to continue doing so.
It broke my heart initially to leave my baby at home, but my commitment towards my people gave me the strength and determination to fight through. There were a few set-backs at work in the beginning, but Scroll Mantra quickly recovered and won over eight new clients.
It is the best feeling to go back to my daughter after a long day at work. Now that she responds to me, I can sense a lot of firsts coming up for her. Not one to miss them, I take 10-minute breaks during work to video call my mom so that I can interact with my daughter. I have also put in place a strict ‘no meetings on weekend’ policy for myself, so the little one gets my undivided attention.
As a new mother in an ever-evolving economy, I believe it is my responsibility to set the right example for my daughter so that she wouldn’t later question herself for choosing a balanced professional and home life. In the last six months, I have had immense support from my husband, my mom and my nanny, without whom I would be unable to manage. Not to mention my core leadership team at Scroll Mantra, who truly took charge when I could not give my 100%.
Being a mom is a full-time job, and it is a tough one. Whether you choose to be a stayat-home-mom or pursue your professional goals, people will judge you - if you quit your job, if you don’t quit your job, if you take a maternity break or not, or even if you decide to start working within a week of having your baby. One just has to find what works for oneself and have the courage to ask for help when required.
Feedback: email@example.com Category: Backbeat Volume No: 15 Issue No: 47
THE ART OF NOT GIVING UP
THE REWARDS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
BUILDING BONDS THROUGH SHARED STORIES
CREATING A ROAST FORMAT ON BRAND COMMUNICATORS