KARACHI: Work life balance is a continued challenge and has been spotlighted and discussed for generations. However, during the time of COVID-19, the stresses and tensions amplified and working mothers were largely working from home, being schoolteachers for their children who were home, had their spouses at home, and in most cases were responsible for all cooking, cleaning and being the mental health backbone of their households, all the while meeting the needs of bosses or if they were CEOs, ensuring the needs of their employees were met.
This is something lean in refers to as a “double double shift,” and is one of the most talked about and challenging times for women these days. LadiesFund hosted an insightful virtual MomBoss workshop featuring dynamic women leaders who are also mothers featuring MPA Sharmila Faruqui, Actor/Humanitarian Sarwat Gilani and CEO of Fulcrum Rukhsana Asghar. Moderated by LadiesFund President Tara Uzra Dawood at The Buraq Center and broadcast globally live, these three women deliberated the realities and shared insight on how they have built these solid, inspiring lives, and the struggles they face and overcome to make this their reality.
The workshop began with a speech by Alifiyah Anjarwala, a home-baker who specializes in lotus cakes. She rued the challenges of work-life balance and wanted to learn how to better manage her time, and keep her children, husband, in-laws and clients all happy. She requested LadiesFund hold a workshop on this matter, particularly addressing how complicated things had become during COVID-19 lockdowns and challenges. Next, Marium Hussain, founder Leader Creators (a children’s book selling business), spoke about her struggles in work-life balance and presented LadiesFund with an online raffle contest for a jumbo gift basket made by her brand. These two women – among millions in our nation – are struggling with how to cope with all areas of their life in general, and particularly during lockdown.
A special bird’s eye view discussion then took place between Sharmila, Rukhsana and Sarwat on being a Mom while Boss of one’s life and career and in Rukhsana’s case, 15,000 employees, all aired live. Moderated by Tara, the dialogue shared insight on time management, mental health tips, engaging children, managing expectations and self-care.
The discussion was very candid and insightful. Rukhsana spoke at one point about how little kids can also try to blackmail you because of “Mom guilt,” and how children evolve as they age. Sharmila spoke about how she very deliberately manages her time so she doesn’t leave her toddler son for more than 2 hours at a time, and how she has to trick him so that she can sneak out of the house to attend Parliament. Sarwat mentioned the importance of corporate facilities for children with special needs. She is the Ambassador of Special Olympics Pakistan and newly appointed Ambassador of Educate a Girl by LadiesFund.
An exclusive small studio audience featuring a few LadiesFund members including Nazli Abid, Mariam Madhupurwala, Nusrat Roomi, Ayesha Khalid observed the dialogue, as the event was just prior to the new restrictions. However, it was the more than 12,000 engaged virtual audience who were asking questions throughout the session, and sharing their comments. Maria Hasnain stated, “Love the way Sarwat is upbringing her children. Hats off to her.”
Komal Arooj added, “Mom guilt is so real…We need more of such sessions…we feel more normal and energized knowing we all have the same problems and we can find a solution together.” Dr. Fizza Yasmeen said, “All the ladies are very dynamic and powerful.” Zernab Akif added, “A very informative session by ladies for ladies…a truly women empowerment session.”
Tanya Ahmad said, “Brilliant conversation!” Batool Memon said, “Such nice tips by Sarwat. Communication with kids as well as husband is very important.” Masooma Buriwala said, “Others added, Sharmila Farouqi ma’am you are doing so good n sooo much and along with all this, maintaining yourself so so gracefully,” “We need more of such sessions…we feel more normal n energized knowing we all have the same problems n we can find a solution together,”
“Ma’am Rukhsana has done so so much despite raising 2 boys…such an inspiration.” Women joined from across the nation from tiny villages to book cities, as well as around the world. Pakistani-Australian Munazza Imran said from Melbourne, “Shout out to all BossMamas on the panel and around the world.”
Blooming Lane made event arrangements, the Chocolate Queen was speaker gift partner and Nighat Misbah & Depilex Hair & Beauty Partner. The lucky draw basket was won by Yasmeen Shah. A special thank you gift was presented to LadiesFund by Nazli Abid for this important deep dive into what working moms need to know in 2020.
The useful, successful session is the start of many work-life balanced sessions that will be held virtually during COVID-19.