Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Geetanjali Tandon as a guest writer on Womenlines panel. She has more than 15 years of experience in corporate finance specifically in Financial Planning and Analysis in various companies/ industries. In this article, Geetanjali shares how technology and support from her husband is helping her raising 2 kids as a dual career couple in USA-
My husband and I met when we were both studying. When we got together one of the first things I told him was that my career is very important to me. This became the basis of our relationship that continued through a long-distance relationship and then our marriage during which we have moved to various cities while maintaining a balance as a dual-career couple.
Maintaining this balance became even more challenging since the birth of our daughters. We are the parents of 2 beautiful girls who are 8 and 6 years old and keep us hopping busy. My husband is in academia in a U.S. university while I am a senior-level finance manager in corporate America. Both these jobs have high expectations and pressures that we need to meet. Success is defined differently for each of us. But we have also defined success for ourselves. One of our main principles is that no success is worth it if it takes us away from our family. So, with this principle in mind and our love for our careers and family, we are trying to raise our girls.
We have learned to manage this by dividing the responsibility in our household and asking for help or hiring help when needed. Trying to manage the schedule of the kids’ various activities with meetings that often run overtime is very stressful—so why not get someone to pick up the kids from school, feed them a snack, and take them to activities so that by the time everyone is back home we have some quality time to spend together? I have invested in technology to cook fresh food where possible so that I can spend less time cooking and cleaning. Rotimatic has been one of our biggest saviours in this regard. If needed, it takes 20 mins to get a simple dal, sabji and roti ready. The division of tasks between husband and wife is not easy and there is always a back and forth on that. We are by no means perfect in this regard but we do try. Cooking responsibilities are shared. I like cleaning so I tend to do that more but there are times that I will ask him to take over if my day was exhausting. Finance is my department while cars and technology are his. I find people to do repairs and schedule them while he tends to stay in the house and oversee what they do. These roles change as needed—there is not a perfect management formula, but rather it is a daily balancing act.
On a typical day in our household, I wake the kids and coax them to get ready for school. It has become easier since they have started doing a lot of this themselves and I don’t have to get them physically ready. But the physical taxation has instead been replaced by constant verbal reminders and nagging to get ready and work faster. But then I must leave to get to the office by 8, so the morning breakfast duty, as well as lunch, is taken over by my husband who is very protective about this time with the girls in the mornings and does not allow our parents—if they are there—to interfere. He drops them off at school and then goes to his office. In the evening, we have a babysitter pick up the kids, get them home, feed them snacks, and do a little bit of homework before taking them to activities. By the time the kid is back, we are also back. Dinner is started by whoever reaches home first so that we have dinner ready by about 7 p.m. Growing up in a household with dual-career parents, I learned from my parents the importance of having one meal together every day as this meal was the one where everyone shared what they did during the day and talked with each other. This is what I follow with my family too—dinner is the one meal we have together every day and it is the most precious time we have together as a family. The kids have also started helping in cleaning up by doing their own chores. We then take time to catch up on the kids’ school work, sometimes play a little bit with them, and read books with them before bedtime. Our kids go to sleep later than many other kids but it works for us as we get to spend time with them.
Dual-career parenting is a daily balancing act. But, the children learn about what you do, they start taking on more responsibilities earlier, they understand if you are not able to attend every event in school and, at some point, hopefully, they appreciate this balancing act. I was raised by dual-career parents and I have a lot of admiration for how they managed. So, have faith and carry on.
Global IT Finance Lead
Greater St.Louis Area