The Working Mom Diaries: Maid to Mother in the Real World

Written By

Payal Mukherjee

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An esteemed client of mine recently came up with this genius management theory! As he explained his theory, he offered its basis that every organization had 2 types of people: Mothers and Maids. All I could think then was, leave management aside, how deep a life philosophy that is.

All moms will know — we work for a cause; we have a mission, a vision, and a goal. We are the household leaders, the delegators, the creators, the innovators, the ones that multitask. The maids (cue collective head-nodding) are the routine workers, the ones who do the “job” without a higher purpose.

The problem with our lives today — and by ‘our’ I mean that part of society that comprises the educated, professional woman — is that we have taken on too much. We have to be masters at home, supermoms, champions at the workplace, all rolled into one petite size 10 package with the perfect nails and hair. We have basically driven ourselves to a point where we do three peoples‘ work single handed. No wonder we are all a super stressed, super tired, super frustrated lot with the occasional shoulder and mind freeze. Please don’t blame us. For the first time in the history of humankind comes this animal which is apparently the epitome of efficiency and yet, is falling apart at the seams.

Enter the MAID! (drumroll)

I know I would not have survived my working life without my “Women Friday”. I have had an army of them. Nannies, cooks, washing women, jhaaru-poncha waalis (brooming and mopping help), housekeepers and the occasional maalish-mausis (baby-mom massage experts). I am a veritable expert in the demographic profiles of both maids and professionals in four Indian cities. What is common though is that they come in exactly for their intended amount of time, and they will not do ‘overtime‘ shifts without complaints. And if you ask them to do something out of their KRA, pat comes the reply – “Ye mera kaam nahin hai”(that is not my job). Give them their mandated 24 days annual leave (rest is medical/emergency), and their salary on time and their annual Diwali bonus, and things may go smoothly ad infinitum.

Occasionally one will say – “Aap ko toh apna samajhke kaam karte hain” (I treat you like my own.)…. and thats when you get the sneaky feeling that a salary increase request is in the offing. Like all good employers, understanding the motivating factors takes communication and patience, and the required perk (Demonetisation? I’ll help you open your bank account. Your daughter wants to complete her mehendi application course? Here’s her course fee.) And maybe, just maybe, under the façade of the no-nonsense bai, you may sometimes glimpse the didi, or the akka or the maushi, who is there to help you reach your own goal in life, without you. having to worry about what is happening to the household, whether you are a full-time mother, a work from home freelancer or a career woman.

So fight on ladies, don’t in the least be ashamed to say that you leave your child with the nanny, or you don’t even know how to boil an egg – a cook does that for you, or that you get your weekly massage fix. Anybody may say anything they please, but you know you have earned it.




My life is currently run by two little monsters, one 9 and one almost 2 years old. My passions are reading and writing. While I read almost every waking free hour, my writing has taken a hit after my second daughter was born, and I am trying to slowly but surely get back to it. My big dream is to, someday, get around to writing my book. My job is to be a home CEO, a teacher, a doctor as well as nurse-on-call, a driver, a sometimes-chef, a hairstylist, and a mender of clothes and cuts and hearts. My 'profession', on the other hand, is executive search/ head-hunting and I am defined in the ongoing parlance of the age, as a work-from-home mom.

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