It is obvious that there has been a dynamic change in the workforce over the past decade or so. Women, in particular, are coming into their own and venturing into careers that not so long ago were closed to them. However, one big problem remains.
As soon as motherhood enters the picture, many highly independent women who once managed their career and finances with flair retreat into a shell and seem unable to pick up where they left off. While some women actively and consciously make the choice to devote themselves to parenting (which is great as long as no one is putting pressure on them), others who want to get back into the workforce face new hurdles — organisations cite her extended maternity break as a reason to offer her a lower salary or a designation that does not match her qualifications and experience. She suddenly feels her wings are being clipped.
One knows how to be in command as a mother and this skill gets amplified in the role of an entrepreneur.
Undeniably a few corporates are trying to institute better policies, but we have a long way to go before the majority of women can confidently put in her resignation papers and say, "I will be back soon." No amount of advertising as a CSR initiative will help unless we see plausible solutions offered by employers.
At home, a lot depends on the environment and support system post-motherhood. But even once she survives the turmoil of dealing with a newborn baby and feels ready to venture out to the workplace again, doubts assail her. Should she be a full-time mother or a career woman? Very rare is it for a mother to comfortably and truthfully assert, "I can manage work at office and my personal life too." Instead most mothers grapple with guilt and try to negotiate what seems to be an either-or situation: blending the identities of a professional with that of a mother can seem insurmountably hard. Unfortunately, these dilemmas prevail across social strata.
While part-time, freelance or work-at-home options may suit some women, these may not always match her interests and academic qualifications. What then? In my opinion, this is a perfect juncture for a woman to plunge into entrepreneurship. We are seeing around us a spike in startups founded by men and women over the last few years — and many are taking their baby steps in the startup scenario post-motherhood too. With parenting skills added to their repertoire, many women are setting up ventures that help other new moms — these mompreneurs are opening daycare centres, designing babywearing wraps and creating parenting portals among other things. Often what starts out as a hobby or a support group becomes a career.
Forgotten interests lead to business ventures: craft stores, painting classes, fashion design, innovative baking... these are just a few examples of how moms are taking control of their lives and carving out a niche for themselves.
It's time to look inwards and revive talents, skills and passions that you may have forgotten about.
So, why entrepreneurship over joining a job? The answer is simple: flexibility of timings, the ability to pursue passions, the freedom to be the boss, and the satisfaction of watching a self-started venture succeed.
One knows how to be in command as a mother and this skill gets amplified in the role of an entrepreneur. Mothers shoulder most of the responsibility of parenting and this dedication translates well to a new enterprise. Becoming an entrepreneur after motherhood is about exploring new opportunities and finding yourself again — as well as exploring a new side of being a mother. Motherhood can push you to do many good things in life, including for yourself. It's time to look inwards and revive talents, skills and passions that you may have forgotten about.
Think about it and be ready to take the plunge when you see the opportunity.
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