My feelings about the lockdown over the past few months have been pretty conflicting right from the start. On the one hand, I understand that it’s a necessity to fight this pandemic, while on the other I continue to feel deeply for those who aren’t as fortunate as us. The current situation has pushed all of us to look at the silver lining – and for me, it has been the opportunity to spend quality time with my 18-month-old toddler.
I have always been a hands-on entrepreneur and therefore taking maternity leave was never on the cards. I clearly recall that I was on my laptop closing important tasks and meeting deadlines at the hospital right before I went into labour and gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Ashtami, and sprung back into work within six weeks. Going back to work so soon did raise many eyebrows as there were many people who said that I would regret not being an active part of my daughter’s growing years, but I always knew that I would rather have her see me as an inspiration to follow her passion than someone who gave up on her dreams.
Before the official lockdown was announced, as a precautionary measure, I initiated a WFH policy for all my employees and it continues to stay in place. Owing to this, I have been fortunate to have got these two-and-a-half months in quarantine with my family, which has proven totally worthwhile for me as a mother. Before the pandemic struck us, my mornings initially were a rush to get my daughter ready and fed before I took her to office with me along with her full-time nanny, where she spent half her day. My husband would pick her up in the afternoon to go back home, from where he continued his work.
In contrast, now our mornings are slower and more interactive. I start my days early by playing and reading to my little one and practising her animals, birds, alphabets and numbers. My daughter is also thoroughly enjoying this period because she gets pampered by both her parents. With us being at home, we are now able to interact with her for a large part of her day, which is crucial for her linguistic skill development. Since she is unable to interact with others, we also have to put on our creative hats on most days and churn out innovative activities to keep her engaged. From building forts, to doing pseudo workouts and having interactive story sessions that are a strict no-device zone – we are milking every second of this period and giving her as much room to grow in front of us. My little girl went from saying small words to forming full sentences right in front of my eyes and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.
Personally, I have also indulged in more elaborative cooking and baking. When I am not working, I am either with Ashtami or trying a new recipe – and if I have to be honest, I am really enjoying this as a stress-buster. On the work front, the lockdown has given me a chance to innovate and connect with my team digitally and explore newer avenues for growth. This has been a great learning period as I have more time to concentrate on business development and network personally, since earlier operational duties always took precedence. I have also taken the time to revisit my goals, tweak them as per the current situation and learn to adapt to this new normal. While I actively interact with my industry peers on a weekly basis to develop a bounce-back strategy, I am also attending key domestic and international webinars to stay updated. All in all, this period has been one of gratefulness, learning and adaptability – both on the personal and professional fronts.