'I go crazy juggling between the kids, my house and work'
Sharmeen Siddiqui believes that every mother is a superb manager. She sat with us for a no-holds barred interview. Here's what she had to share
The entrance to Go Bonkers’ sprawling 3,500 sq ft Colaba facility is a cheerful respite from its mechanical surrounding. Painted in a bright yellow triangle, the door only creates a vivid picture of what might be in store for your kid. The real fun begins when you actually enter the place.
As we make our way through a huge crowd, it’s not difficult to spot Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor. “She has come to inaugurate,” says the mother of a cute four-year-old who is already standing next to Kapoor and getting all her attention. We finally spot a smiling Sharmeen Siddiqui, the awesome working mum behind this unique kiddie zone.
Once the crowd is settled, we sit down for a tete-e-tete with Siddiqui who along with Pooja Deora and Naama Singh has brought Go Bonkers to the city. The 39-year-old mum talks about motherhood, family and what it’s like being an awesome working mum. Here’s what she said.
How does it feel playing super mum?
Honestly, I don’t feel like a super mum, I rather feel like any other overworked, multi-tasking mother.
Kindly tell us about yourself?
I am an extrovert and a very sociable person. I love traveling and am always on the lookout for getaways with my family or friends. I have set high standards for myself, I don’t like to let go of things easily and consequently end up overwhelmed. I am a good listener and always open to hearing advice. However, I do have my personal style of working and like to get my work done with efficiency.
What’s a typical day like in your life?
I am an early bird and wake up every morning at 6.30 a.m. I start my day by overlooking what my kids would need before they head to school and then drop them to the bus stop. Post that, I come home for a little while and spend some time with a cup of tea and my newspapers.
After that I co-ordinate with my house-staff and give them instructions for house work and head to work around 11:00 a.m. I try to come home around 3.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. to spend time with my kids for their school work and extracurricular activities. That’s the end of my day, with my kids and their routine.
Continue reading to know more about how Sharmeen divides her work between work and family
If you were to create a pie chart of your life, how would your time be divided between work, spouse, kids, friends, and self?
If I had to create a pie chart of my life then its biggest piece will go to the kids. I’ll dedicate 40 percent to them, followed by 25 percent for my spouse, the next 25 percent to my work, five percent to managing the house, three percent to friends and finally, two percent to myself.
As a working mum, what are the challenges you face?
The biggest challenge I face is feeling guilty when I am unable to give quality time to my family. A year ago, before I started working, I was always accessible to my kids and husband. Now even when physically present, I find myself pre-occupied. I also find it hard to keep up with my kids school work after returning home from work.
What has been your biggest emotional struggle while bringing up both, your career and kids?
It has only been a year since I have started working, so there hasn’t been any major emotional struggle as yet. I do have some really naughty days, and I go crazy juggling between the kids, my house and work but that’s when my partners, Pooja and Naama come in. We have a good understanding between the three of us. They have always supported me and been very understanding of the fact that I have kids and step-in for my responsibilities.
Continue reading to know more about how Sharmeen creates a balance between work life and family
While struggling to create a balance between work life and your family, did things ever get bad enough that you wanted to quit? If yes, how did you manage?
I haven’t, as it’s only been a year and I have been blessed to have the support of my partners and my family. Also the journey till here has been very exciting, so no complaints at all.
Who has been your sounding board throughout your journey?
They are more like my ‘venting board’, my husband and my 11-year-old son, Zain.
How do you unwind over the weekend (with the family)?
I love to take the kids for movies, a swim or a lunch on Saturdays. Basically, I prefer being involved in doing things together with them the entire day which helps me unwind. On Sundays we usually do the lunch with family.
Your idea of ‘me’ time?
My idea of ‘me’ time could be anything from drinking a cup of tea, reading the newspaper, changing channels to watch mindless television shows. My biggest stress buster is watching a movie in the theatre. I love watching movies.
What does ‘being a mum’ mean to you?
Being a mother, I feel overwhelmed with unconditional love from family and my children. With no day off and non-stop work, I try and balance my two worlds. Also, the fact that you will do the smallest and the most insignificant things to see a smile on your child’s face, like making it to the bus stop on time just to see them get off, sneakily waving to them while they are in their class or giving them a big surprise. It makes you feel their excitement, their pain, their tears like your own.
Advice to working mums who are struggling to achieve work-life balance?
I am too new to advice anyone, there are mums who have been working since their kids were really young and they are managing just fine. And I believe every mother, irrespective of whether she is working or not is definitely a superb manager. But the only thing I would say that helps me is to organise my day and pre-plan everything, at least a day in advance. It takes off the pressure from the next day.
If you know an awesome working mum we should feature, get in touch!