Mother’s Day is about all mothers on the planet- be it teenage moms, older moms or adoptive moms. Especially in our country, women face immense pressure to get married at a certain age and have kids before they hit their 30s. But why should we bow down to the social norms? Shouldn’t we have the freedom to choose when to find our life partner and when to have children? Well, this is exactly what Sukirti Gupta did, who became a mom at 47 after having a flourishing career. She’s the co-founder of women’s chat show- Sipping Thoughts and has had quite an unconventional motherhood. Read on to know her take on breaking norms and more.
First of all, Sukirti, tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
So, I have been working for over 25 years now. I did my MBA from the University of Chicago and moved back to India from the US about 10 years ago. It’s been 18 months since I started Sipping Thoughts. It is a chat show for women. My partners and I thought that even though there is a lot of content for women out there, it’s all limited to just Bollywood, cooking, fashion etc. And we saw the opportunity for something like Sipping Thoughts, where the conversation could be meaningful and move beyond the usual.
That’s great. So, we know you’ve had unconventional motherhood. You became a mom at 47. Tell us all about it, your children and your family.
That’s true. I have twin girls and used a surrogate mother since I was having kids pretty late in my life. I actually got married at 45 and the desire to have children was always there.
Since you married late and had your children after 40, how do think society can be more supportive of such mothers & women?
You know, even me and my husband were sceptical at first. We were thinking about what will people say, how will we manage everything, wouldn’t we be the oldest set of parents at their school. All these thoughts were running through our minds. But I have been surprised to see all the support from my family and the people surrounding us. It’s probably because we live in a metro and the kind of people we associate with are broadminded. So, every person finds their own tribe and thankfully, even I have come across so many other women with a similar story, who have had their children late.
In fact, our friends who were already parents were so supportive with their advice. Also, I feel having children after 40 worked well for me. After that age, you are way more settled in your career. And you don’t have competing priorities. If at that age you are taking a decision to become a mom, you know what your priorities are and you can balance both work kids in a much better way. So, coming back to your question, I feel definitely the society needs to be more understanding and give each individual the freedom of choice, and not be judgmental. You never know what’s the other person’s story.
Talking about your career, did you have to make any sacrifices work-wise because of being a mom?
See, as I said, work was sorted for me because I knew my priorities. But otherwise I did have to make certain sacrifices, it’s not easy. I had to cut down on socialising a lot. You know, when you have work and when you have children to take care of, you become really choosy about what all you do. Even at work, I’d say, you become more efficient because you value time more.
What advice would you give to moms who are juggling between maintaining successful careers and being hands-on mothers?
To be honest, it is challenging. But you need to realise that you should give yourself a break! We try to do too many things and we just need to learn to say no. Just accept that we don’t need to be super moms or super workers. Just try and be good at both and learn to forgive yourself. And again, say no to things which are not meaningful and add value to your life.
True words of wisdom. Finally, what kind of support system do you think working women or even housewives need when it comes to motherhood?
Yes, a good support system is what every mother needs. Just value people who are around you and who help you. I am blessed with a great family and in-laws who have helped me. But most of all women need support from their husbands. And I feel gradually men are changing and becoming more supportive & understanding. Luckily in India, we can get help and maids, but I still can’t manage on my own if my husband is not around. One of us has to be in Delhi at all times with the kids. So, we adjust our schedules accordingly and that’s the kind of support I feel moms need.
We hope you got to learn a lot from our conversation with Sukirti and took notes! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.