My journey from a working woman to a working mom
This Women’s Day I read a lot of wonderful articles and posts about how working mothers continue to amaze and inspire us every day with their impeccable work ethics alongside managing their family priorities and commitments. I also remember the mail from our India GM, Guru Bhat, about Jacinda Arden, the PM of New Zealand, and her extraordinary leadership in the face of the Christchurch attack despite a 9-month-old baby at home to look after.  And it made me reflect a little bit on my own journey very recently from a working woman to a working mother.
I am probably stating the obvious here but being a working mother means you have two full-time jobs plus overtime! Being a first-time mom only makes it harder.
Before going on maternity, I was trying to pre-plan a lot of things and make decisions on the duration of maternity leave, re-joining work, daycare, etc. so I could come back to work as smoothly as possible. Although PayPal India provides 26 weeks of paid and another 26 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, I was quite certain that I did not want to take a very long break. I was afraid I would get too disconnected from work, a lot would have changed, and it would become difficult to catch up and be effective again. And I also quite naively thought that 3 months would be more than enough to sort out my affairs at home and rejoin work. So, I quite confidently and somewhat boisterously gave my word to my team that I would be back in 3 months.
I had obviously grossly underestimated the responsibility of motherhood and probably overestimated my own abilities. At the end of those three months, I was faced with a huge dilemma. My son Aadil was still a full-time job in himself, and here I was about to restart another at PayPal. My mind was exploding with the trepidation that in the vain hope of having it all I will end up failing miserably at both. I had almost made up my mind that I would go back to the team and ask for more time, but I was also extremely anxious. After all, I was reneging on a commitment I had made purely of my own volition, the team was already under bandwidth pressure, and I wanted a longer break without any notice.
As I was mulling over all these decisions, I somehow stopped and thought – "I have always admired our company’s culture and commitment towards diversity and inclusion. We take a great deal of effort to create an environment and culture that can help our women employees in having a successful career without compromising on the family. Motherhood is meant to empower and not inhibit, and a successful working mother can't be a myth. Surely there must be a way I could do this!”
So, I decided to at least try. After all, it was better to fail while trying instead of not trying at all. Long story short I came back to work after 3 months and somehow, slowly yet steadily, everything fell in place!
So how did it all work out? I realized that consciously or sub-consciously, more than me my co-workers were cognizant of my dual responsibilities. My manager, my team, my partners all somehow stepped up to help me succeed; as if my success was their success and my failure would be their failing too. Simple gestures like being supportive of an unplanned PTO if I needed to care for my baby, adjustments like working around a schedule I could manage, flexi-hours - they went a long way in not only helping me manage both work and home but also gave me a sense of confidence that I could both. Knowing that my workplace was willing and eager to support, and it would be ok to ask for and accept help, made the whole process much easier than I had imagined.
 As I write about it today, I cannot help but think how our core values and commitment to diversity and inclusion have positively shaped the attitude of our employees. It is these values that my colleagues consciously or sub-consciously carry and display when they help me succeed and get through a demanding phase of my life.
I cannot help but wonder if it would have been the same without the commitment our leaders show both in their values and actions towards building a diverse and inclusive workforce. Our One-Team philosophy and our commitment to creating a conducive work culture enable people with different challenges to succeed. And for that, I would like to say THANK YOU and a PROMISE to exude the same values in my own actions and choices both at work and beyond. 

Andaleeb Shadan, Senior Manager, Resolutions and Protections

Andaleeb Shadan is Senior Manager, Disputes Policy at PayPal. Andaleeb comes with over 11 years of experience in Risk and Operations Policy and Analytics. She specializes in Customer disputes management, striking a fine balance between customer experience and risk and process optimization. Over the last few years, Andaleeb has lead innovative changes in disputes space transforming it into a highly optimized, cost effective and customer centric domain. Andaleeb is also a first time mother with a one year old son. Outside of office, she tries to maximize her time with her son and family.
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