‘The most demanding phase of my life’: Anushika Brogan discusses how to navigate the perfect balance of work and motherhood.
Balancing a demanding career with raising three children is undoubtedly a significant challenge. Obviously, I couldn’t do it without the incredible support of my husband. Together, we made the conscious decision that I would pursue a career while he took on the general day-to-day responsibilities of caring for our children.
As for their education, I play a central role in ensuring they stay on track with their homework and other academic endeavours. I maintain a strong relationship with my eldest son, who is currently in university. We chat to each other every day on my way home from work and we continue to have a close bond. And that’s the same with all my children.
What is the impact on the children?
Motherhood has been an interesting journey for me, given that my own mother was very much a working mum. I vividly recall her not being able to attend my sports days because she had her own work commitments. Being unable to drop me off or pick me up from school made me feel like the odd one out, considering that it seemed like every other child had their parents actively involved in these routine activities.
In response to my own childhood experiences, my husband and I have made a conscious effort to provide a different upbringing for our children. Being a single parent posed certain challenges for my two boys, whereas my daughter has always had the privilege of having my husband attend school events, sports days, picnics, and more.
I’m incredibly proud of the resilience my boys have developed over the years. While societal judgments and parental guilt may come into play for working parents, I’ve come to understand that such experiences nurture independence and resourcefulness in children.
Our kids have inherited a robust work ethic, something I attribute to the values passed down by my parents. You learn all sorts from your parents, such as management skills, how they deal with people, dealing with confrontation, how to solve problems etc. So, they’re constantly being inspired. They are like sponges!
The hardest phase of my life
Navigating the daily demands of single parent life presents unique challenges that requires exceptional resilience and the ability by yourself to multitask. While it may seem, in some ways, more straightforward as you’re the sole organiser, managing everything solo can be overwhelming.
Being a single parent was, without a doubt, the most demanding phase of my life. Even when I was with my ex-husband, who wasn’t particularly hands-on, I often felt like a single parent, particularly during the initial stages of growing my business.
However, as my business has grown, the load has significantly lightened. Now, with a dedicated team in place, the journey is considerably smoother. When you have a team, you share the burden, and it’s not solely your responsibility. If something doesn’t go as planned, all of us are concerned, not just me. This collective effort has made all the difference, and made the path forward much more manageable.
Taking parental leave
Nowadays, the focus has shifted towards parental leave rather than just maternal leave. Couples are increasingly dividing their leave in more equitable ways.
However, if you work as a dentist, you must be careful of the contractual obligations under IR 35 (off-payroll working rules). These rules specify that you must arrange for a locum to cover your absence. In the past, these contractual provisions were often overlooked, but now there’s a growing emphasis on sticking strictly to the contract’s terms, which also includes maternity leave.
Therefore, it’s necessary to be well-informed about these requirements. Initiating discussions with your practice owner early on is the key to understanding their expectations, as outlined in your contract.
With regards to paternal leave, I recommend having an open conversation as soon as you become aware of the pregnancy, to ensure a smooth and well-coordinated approach.
Finding time for yourself
If anyone is struggling to balance work with motherhood, my biggest advice is that working part-time can strike the perfect balance.
Early in my journey, my cousin shared some valuable advice: In life, you must make sure you’ve got time for friends, for yourself, for your husband, for your kids, and for your parents. This is the best advice I ever got.
When you prioritise these parts of your life, you tend to be happy.
It’s so important to prioritise these parts of your life. Keep this in mind as you navigate the perfect balance of work and motherhood.
Catch up on Anushika’s first Balancing Life in Dentistry column:
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