What a lovely phase of life it is to be a mother. A mother is the only person who can have two souls in one body. One would think that it is in her nature to have a child. Yes, but being one demands a great deal of sacrifice. She gives up her comforts, favourite foods, and, most importantly, her career. After all of the agony, stress, anxiety, and other feelings she has experienced, all she seeks is to be accepted back to work after the break, because the effort she has put in to get educated cannot be wasted simply because she is a mother.

Being a mother can be tremendously fulfilling in many ways, but it can have unforeseen repercussions for moms who wish to pursue a profession while raising a family. The "motherhood penalty" can have an impact on women trying to advance in their careers. It can also affect their capacity to accumulate wealth and develop a secure financial future.

Although the maternity penalty is unjust, it is a reality for many women. Understanding how this penalty is applied to moms, and how it affects their employment prospects, is critical for women when they make financial decisions.

The maternity penalty assumes that moms will be unable to maintain the same professional status as their male counterparts or women who do not have children. This can manifest itself in the workplace in a number of ways, but probably the most bothersome is how it impacts a woman's earning potential.

According to a survey, the average mother's earning ability decreases by 4% with every kid she has. Men, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. Upon becoming a father, men see their income boost by 6 percent. Employers may still see men and women in traditional roles, with women as caretakers and men as breadwinners.

Alternatively, the loss in earnings experienced by moms may be the result of them taking time away from work to raise their children or downshifting into a part-time or lower-paying employment to be more available to their family.

The hardest part of maternity leave, as many working mothers know, is not being able to work for a few weeks or months. For many of us, the bigger issue is returning.

Mothers who return to work rarely receive the logistical or personal support they require to succeed in their careers. All of the usual workplace stress is now increased by infant logistics, the pressure to catch up on work, and the guilt of being gone in the first place.

Make the most of your career break by making the most of your time at home

Getting back into the workforce after an extended sabbatical to raise children may be more difficult. As a result, it's critical to make the most of your time at home.

Keep up with the newest industry trends and think about upgrading your skill set throughout this time. Update your resume while also filling up any knowledge gaps. Remember to keep in touch with your connections while also making new professional connections.

What are your objectives for returning to work?

Above all, be extremely clear about your goals for returning to work. Setting goals for yourself both professionally and as a mother can help you maintain a work-life balance. Despite the obstacles, many women are succeeding in doing so.

When you're ready to return to work, sit down and consider the new talents you've acquired as a result of parenting a child. Some of these will appear great on a CV - for instance, you've probably learned a lot about negotiation, responsibility, and juggling several duties. Make sure to mention these in your application, as well as everything you've done to stay current with your field.

“Companies where I've worked have been very attentive to the fact that I hold two jobs, an employee and the mother," says Sarika Aggarwal, Director (Engineering – Digital), Truminds. She went on to say "When I was first starting out in my career, maybe the first four or five years, I was married and had young children. I felt it as an impediment. However, I believe it has been my strength for the past two and a half decades. I learnt to balance and am proud of my accomplishments. I'm extremely proud of who I am today.”

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

"The past 2 years have been an incredibly humbling experience - life has taught new lessons on how to balance being a business leader and being a WFH mom to two remote-schooled daughters. There is the chaos of business and uncertainty of growing a remote team that a leader must deal with. Ultimately, it's about learning to let go of control, trusting your team and instincts, and keeping the bigger picture in mind. Covid will probably take quite a while to undo its effects on our lifestyles, but with constant awareness and remembrance, something may come of it," says Mahalakshmi Satish, India Director, Prodigy Education.

Juggling a successful profession with a pleasant family life has never been easy for women. It still isn't because being a full-time working mother comes with a lot of stress and regret about not being able to balance work and family life equally. Here are some simple tips to balance both aspects of life together.

Determine your priorities:  It's critical to have both personal and professional priorities in order if you want to be a successful working woman.

Communicate it with your superiors:  Maintaining open channels of communication with your manager, HR, and superiors is beneficial.

Learn how to delegate effectively: There's nothing wrong with admitting that you can't handle everything yourself and that a little support could help you manage your massive workload.

During the day, stay connected: Knowing your loved ones' well-being and locations is no longer an issue thanks to technology. While working at the office, all working mothers can simply communicate with their children.

Limit time-wasters and diversions: Keep chatty coworkers, casual internet surfing, smartphones, and other distractions at bay if you want to stay focused and effective. Avoid watching too much television at home and instead utilise that time to enhance your relationship with your husband and children.

Draw a line between home and work: Saying no to things that don't line with your priorities is one of the most valuable lessons to be learnt in life.

Have yourself some “Me time”:  Maintaining a great work-life balance requires carving out some time to do activities you truly like.