Sunday, 28 August 2016

Paternity Leave - A necessity !!!

After a welcome change in Maternity benefit Act, questions were raised about paternity leave to Women and Child development minister Maneka Gandhi.  As quoted by her,  “Paternity leave can be considered only if, once the woman goes back to work after her 26 weeks of leave, we find that men are availing their sick leave for a month to take care of the child. Let me see how many men do that. I will be happy to give it but for a man, it will be just a holiday, he won’t do anything.”

Our earlier generation had this norm that raising a child was completely a woman's responsibility. In fact, as women were confined to house, it did not give men a chance to participate in raising a child. However, the current scenario is different. When my son was born, my husband was very keen in taking up responsibilities of my son. He stayed awake to soothe him, changed his nappies and he did this because he wanted to be a part of all this things. My gynaecologist, was so impressed and she actually told me that now a days all fathers want to perform their duties of shared parenting.

As most of us stay in nuclear families, fathers now a days have to take their share of parenting. In my case my husband's company offers work from home option and mine do not, so whenever my son is ill, it is my husband who works from home and takes his care, as I should not deplete my leaves. Now a days, some companies in private sector do offer paternity leave but the duration of leave and other benefits as a working father are at par. Adding to this, if a minister has an opinion that Paternity leave will be just a holiday for men, it is quite disheartening.

Maybe what I am talking is an urban scenario and things might be different in rural India. But we need to change the society's attitude. We have to drop any assumptions that imply men don't care about parenting duties. A mandatory paternity leave is the first step to inculcate this change. Yes fathers are equally responsible for child care and when we talk about equality lets give them their fair share of privileges.

Happy Shared Parenting !!!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Maternity Benefit Act- A welcome change!!!

The new Maternity Benefit Act would help to curb the women workforce dropout of organizations. This brings a welcome change to all the new mothers who truly want to work after having a kid.

Lets discuss first what this Act talks about.

1)26 weeks of paid maternity leave instead of 12 weeks
2)Provision of work from home for 12 weeks for nursing mothers
3)Organizations should have creche facility within 500ms of distance from office

It is observed that only 26% of women return to work after maternity leave. 12 weeks of leave was very small as you cannot leave a baby at such age and pursue your career. Adding to it absence of quality child care, held back new mothers from rejoining work. Around 29% of the women workforce who join at entry level at any organization, drop out sharply when they reach middle management level and almost negligible stay when it comes to CEO level.

Lets take a case study of an expecting mother who is working in an organization, the year when she is about to go on maternity leave, she is not taken seriously by her peers. If the organization is giving you a sufficient period of Loss of Pay leaves, she chooses to be on a  year long leave, that year is wasted in terms of performance. When she rejoins office after maternity leave, that year is wasted in terms of performance. This scenario may vary as per maternity leave's duration or organization you are working but most of the policies fail to bridge this gap and women are thrown back in the race.

If you are talking about women empowerment and more women in top positions of workforce, organizations have to rethink of their policies. This may include, providing quality child care facilities within campus, introducing flexible working hours for nursing mothers and work from home options. As women hold responsibility for raising a child, she ought to be provided with an amicable environment at her workplace.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Vaccinations and Immunization

When I was a kid my parents don't even remember spending thousands of rupees on vaccines of many unknown diseases. Now its different, you have to allocate a separate budget for your kids vaccination even before he/she is born. When my son was born, I consulted a reputed doctor from my native place, and began his vaccination cycle as per their charts. When I landed in my husband's native I again consulted a reputed doctor from that place and he dismissed the vaccination chart of my previous doctor and gave me a fresh vaccination chart and repeated few of the vaccines which were already given to my son.

Now here is the crux of the problem, most of the new parents are not aware of the number of vaccinations which are compulsory and which are optional. Every pediatric has his own chart of compulsory and optional vaccines. Adding to this, every place has a different chart of the kind of vaccines which are compulsory or optional. For eg. Swine Flu vaccine comes in compulsory category(not mandated by government but Pune has more cases for Swine Flu) in Pune and suburbs but is not mandatory in any of our natives.

As a new parent, I was confused and afraid, as I felt that I am not fulfilling my sole child's responsibility and my ignorance of missing vaccines might land my child(god forbid) into diseases which I can't even pronounce. This is where some pediatrics(I won't say all) take  your advantage and then all the optional vaccines become compulsory as it is your only child, you can afford and why take risk.

My take for all the new parents is as follows:

1)Vaccination chart study: If you come in my category, start studying vaccination charts of your native place and the city in which you are going to stay. Consult a well-known pediatric and stick to one pediatric throughout  your child's vaccination schedule.List out which optional vaccines you really want your child to have, based on your family history of diseases and which diseases have high occurrences at the place where you stay. Stick to the list which you are going to follow.If you have good knowledge of this, no doctor can budge you by making you pay for unknown optional vaccines.

2)Study the various brands of vaccines: For a single vaccine there are many brands, and ignorance of these brands can either land you in a position where you end up giving same vaccine to your child multiple times in case of booster dose. And you also lose on your valuable money as these vaccines are very costly. If you have given your child first dose of a specific brand and the doctor is giving booster dose of another brand for same vaccine, insist him to give the booster dose of the brand which was given first.

3)Vaccination chart for parents going abroad with the kids: Currently there are many families staying in cities which come in my category. The records of which vaccines are actually given to the child is stored in 2-3 different files and are not consolidated. The parents who are planning to go for a long term onsite assignment with their kids are supposed to store these records as these records are asked by the country you will be visiting.It also depends on which country you will be staying, but once your child has completed all the vaccines as per scheduled, keep all these files for further references.

Tips for Working moms:
The vaccines which are supposed to be given can come on a weekday. You may not be able to take holiday for every vaccine, so no need to panic. You can shift the day when the vaccine should be given to the nearest weekend(consult doctor on this). My tip is give the vaccine on Friday evening or Saturday morning as in case your child has any reaction for the vaccine or becomes ill, you have Sunday to take care of him/her.

Vaccination is a very vast topic, but I have tried to highlight the basics of it. My only aim is to increase awareness among parents regarding the diseases, and what vaccines are being given to your child. In a generation where we have only one/two progeny, we should be aware of what vaccines are induced to him/her.

Happy Parenting!!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Three options for childcare post joining work

You hold your little bundle of joy in your arms and suddenly you realize that a mother is born. All this time you were someone who is extremely focused on yourself and suddenly you don't have time to look in the mirror. As a working mom you look forward for the maternity break but only after delivery you realize that this is not how I planned my leave to be. You go through the endless cycle of feeding, cleaning poop, soothing a crying baby. Time flies and you are expected to report to office.

Many women get torn between these two important phases of their lives. Being in IT industry or any such industry where you have demanding working hours, it becomes difficult to manage a kid and a career. Some say goodbye to their career and some try to find a way through it. Here I would like to help the moms who are stuck in this dilemma. No matter what is your situation I would advise to go for work.

Many researches have shown that  kids raised by a working mom tend to succeed more likely than their other counterparts. If not possible full time do engage yourself in some activity. Financial independence always works for you. So go for it.

Where to keep your child when you are away at work:

Being in a city you have plethora of options.

1. Invite your in-laws to stay with you: This is the best option, When you have someone from your immediate family taking care of your kid, you tend to concentrate more on your work.

2.Creche/Day care: You have various options in choosing a day care. You can go for a day care which is closer to your office so you can visit your baby in your breaks

3.Hire a Babysitter: Before going for this option make sure that you have done a thorough background check of the lady who is going to babysit your kid at your home. My suggestion is do install CCTV's in home if you are leaving your baby at home with babysitter. Ask your neighbors to at least be aware that your kid is alone with a babysitter and keep tabs on her.

The biggest breaks in a woman's career comes in two forms. First is marriage and second is motherhood. If you have successfully passed the first phase, you can definitely pass the second one.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Welcome to my blog

Hi all,

Throughout our life we keep on thinking of doing something different but in turn end up doing the same. I am Kiran, I am a techie at a leading software company at the same time I am Kiran the mother of one year old. At some point of time I had started believing that women can't have it all. Yes we are the jugglers and juggling becomes way more difficult when you have a demanding job and a kid. The trick is not to let fall any of it out of its place.

Being a techie has its own perks, you get a steady salary but at some point of time you feel the work monotonous. However my inner self always wanted to do something different. This blog will serve as a platform for unleashing my hidden passions. I don't have an exact subject for this blog so I will share all my experiences while raising a child, handling work pressure and many other things. Welcome to my blog !!!