EM Exclusive, Nagaland
Mother’s Day Special: Why motherhood is universally spelled L.O.V.E
Kohima, May 9 (EMN): Mothers are selfless; countless times, they have proven to be superheroes in quiet, yet unbelievable ways, with or without appreciation. And if not to the outside world, at least for their children, she remains an inspiration and a role model.
On the occasion of Mother’s Day, Eastern Mirror brings you some stories of young mothers, who are working on the frontline, fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic while trying their best to give undivided attention to their family.
Sharing their lives’ challenges and multi-tasking experiences with this correspondent, were young mothers from varied professions including a senior journalist based in Kohima, Atono Tsükrü Kense; a sub-inspector at Women Police Station, DEF Kohima, S Yawao; and Vikeseno Sakhrie, who is a nurse at a private hospital in Kohima.
How does it feel like to be a working mother?
“It has never been easy being a mom trying to juggle a job with family life. Honestly, there are times, when there’s a feeling of remorse and stress, trying to divide my time and attention between family and work,” said the senior journalist Kense, whose son is turning six in June.
To her, “being a journalist and a mother is a lethal combo, both equally requires our time, undivided attention and commitment. I have no babysitter or any helper and with four male members in the family, including my son, it becomes overwhelming sometimes—the physical and emotional toll becomes too profound to handle with work pressure on one hand, and household chores waiting for you on other side”.
Kense, who is also the present general secretary of Kohima Press Club, said that ‘women as multi-taskers eventually learn (quickly) to adapt on how to balance work life and family life’.
According to S Yawao, “motherhood is God’s most wonderful blessing, and besides, it is not an easy task to perform uniform duty and at the same time play mother’s role”.
Juggling between work life and family life
Being a frontline worker during this Covid-19 pandemic, at the same time being a responsible mother is challenging; however, these mothers have managed to strike a balance.
According to 28-year-old Vikeseno Sakhrie, who works as a nurse at Bethel Medical, her duty during morning hours are the most challenging. From running errands and taking care of her child and getting ready to work (starts at 7 am) becomes overwhelming.
During stressful days, she even thinks of quitting her work, but her love for the profession and understanding that patients need to be attended to, is also equally important, she shared.
Sub-inspector Yawao, who is also 28 years old, said: “We have to be mentally prepared at present situation as frontline workers. I have to leave home early sometimes and get back home late, leaving my daughter under the care of a babysitter, which feels so hard, but in the end I had to go through this, being duty bound on the other hand.”
She shared that it was especially difficult when her 11-month-old daughter fell sick, and she and her husband, who is also a sub-inspector, had to take leave from work.
Further, being in a ‘uniform service’, the nature of work is such that “we have to perform our duties to our best in any kind of situation, be it at present due to Covid -19 pandemic or in other occasions /situations,” she added.
Meanwhile, Kense said: “The biggest challenge as a working mother is the nagging guilt of if I am able to give my all to my family and the stress of being trying to be equally loyal to both my family and work. As a working mother, I am sure most women don’t find much time for themselves juggling between work and family, and also the inevitable numerous social obligations. In the midst of all these, at the end of the day, what matters most is the happiness of your family. If they are happy, I am happy, it sounds cliché but it’s true.”
She added that “it is never easy, and especially at this time when the role of journalists becomes crucial and on the other hand, the whole family at home seeking a mother’s undivided love and attention.” Balancing between work life and family is what, she said, is still “learning on how best to adjust with.”
Her inspiration: child, husband, passion for work
“Utmost faith in Almighty God and my daughter and husband has become my inspiration that keeps me going,” said the sub-inspector.
Being a journalist for over 10 years now, Kense said that her “passion to write” is something that keeps her going despite the roadblocks. Although, she happened ‘to end up in the profession by default, over the years, I have grown to love what I do. Everything is not about money. It is doing what you love and pursuing your passion,’ she shared.
Sakhrie said that she draws strength from her 14-month-old son, husband, family members and in-laws.
Does she get enough support from others?
Perhaps, as mothers, wives, and full-time working professionals, support and encouragement from family members and in-laws are of utmost significance.
The senior journalist shared: “If not for the support I get from my husband and family, I wouldn’t be working today. Being a journalist, a wife and a mother is indeed a challenging job; and I tell you, you need to have a very understanding spouse who understands your erratic schedule, deadlines, and the pressure involved in our profession.
“There are times, when I get remarks from people: Oh! You should leave your job and give more time and attention to your family. Family is more important. Women don’t necessarily work. Your family is your duty and work etc..”
However, she pointed out that the balance between work and family is a personal decision every woman has to make at some point of time. “It is a personal choice. As long as my family has no problem, I don’t bother too much about what people say or think,” Kense added.
Apart from the frequent calls, which sometimes, interferes with her family time, she said that she has been ‘coping quite fine’.
Sakhrie, who got married in 2017, said that her in-laws are supportive of her and understands her nature of work. Her mother-in-law babysits her child when she is on duty, as her husband works at an outpost.
The police officer said that her husband supports her in every possible way and that they try their best to help each other and balance family and professional life as well. “On the other hand, it is family members’ and in laws’ consistent support that encourages us,” she added.
Tinge of guilt for not giving enough time
Every working parent has a tinge of guilt for not giving their child the time they deserve, and so, are these mothers. Kense described it as “one of the most painful feelings I carry with me every time I step out of my home”.
When her son was just eight months old, her sister babysat her son, as she had to resume her work (from maternity leave).
Over the years, her son has come to understand the nature of her work. “Nonetheless, it makes me no less guilty that I have to leave him,” she explained.
“Whenever I am getting ready for some late press conferences, he would say: Mummy, it is getting dark. You should stay at home,” she shared. “These are occupational hazards that working mothers learn to deal and live with it,” Kense shared.
Meanwhile, Sakhrie also admitted to feeling guilty for not giving ample time to her son. In order to deal with that, she would ask for leave from work and spent time with her son.
In spite of all the overwhelming challenges, these mothers would gladly choose to be the same person, even if given a second chance. “I would still choose to be me, and would have it no other way,” Kense said.
“Over the years, I have faced some irreparable tragedies. Yet, these problems have taught me valuable things: to be more thankful and appreciative of the life that I have,” she added.
“I am happy with my (present) life despite of hardships in balancing family and professional life,” said Yawao.