Ask Ashlesha: Taking a Stab at "Guilt" in the Working Mom

  • Neha
  • in
  • Career Development
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  • 18 Mar 2016


To women who want someone to listen to their story with empathy, understanding, and the ability to guide them through their guilt, towards making positive changes in their lives, and thereby enabling them to restart their careers...

Dr. Aslesha Bagadia has been that someone.

JobsForHer is an online portal for women returnees.

To find full-time, part-time, work-from-home, freelancing and internship opportunities with us


A Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist who finished her medical degree in India and then worked in Australia & Canada before returning home to Bangalore with her husband and daughter, her areas of specialization include mental illness and emotional disturbance in pregnancy and the postnatal period, family therapy, mother-infant therapy, and individual therapy for victims of childhood abuse, trauma or domestic violence. 


She attended our first-ever Restarter MeetUp at Church Street Social, which was attended by 15 women in various stages of restarting their careers. The meetup was a chance for them to meet the JobsForHer team, meet Ashlesha, introduce themselves, network, and share their stories.

The following is one in a mini-series of blogs that Ashlesha has penned, based on their stories...

"The first time I met Neha and team at JobsForHer, I realized that this mob was different from other recruitment companies. The fact that they were keen to talk to me, a psychiatrist, to see if there was any way that they could help the women that were registering with them (the mere mention of my profession has people running in the opposite direction) told me that the girls at JobsForHer were not just interested in building themselves as entrepreneurs.

They were interested in building the confidence of women who were returning to work after long gaps, breakups, losses, and innumerable personal struggles. 

So, when they asked me to help with their first Women Returnees' Meet, I was more than happy to oblige. The plan was to get as many women together who had recently started working through JobsForHer or were planning to get back to work, and discuss the emotional challenges that they faced, and possibly offer strategies to manage them. The morning was filled with stories of courage, sadness, resilience, and determination.

I penned down some of the struggles that those brave women owned up to, and my attempt at working through them.


GUILT, that well known, extremely loyal friend of every working mom, which never leaves her side, whether she chooses to sacrifice everything and stay at home, or pursue her career, while still balancing home and family. For Nandita, running a successful business meant having to recognize and actualize her own potential as an entrepreneur. But looking through guilt-framed lenses made her wonder…Was she putting her own needs ahead of her children's? Would “quality time” be enough for them? Would they grow up, always missing their mom?

Unfortunately, guilt is so hardwired in our upbringing that it’s hard to let go off easily. Often, guilt arises from external pressures and traditional roles expected of a mother, which may or may not match with her own value system. So, it’s important to reflect on your own value system and see if you are adhering to it. If you are, then what others think of you is irrelevant, let it go. If you are going against your own values then see if you can alter your behavior accordingly. It may help alleviate the guilt.

If you value your work and career, then part of the nurturing and learning that you will impart to your kids is how you balance work and home together. 

Being a parent is not all about physically being present; it’s about modelling behaviour that you want your kids to imbibe in their own lives when they are adults.


Your daughters need to see and know that all that hard work they’re putting in at school will amount to something later in life.

Your sons need to see and learn how to live with a working woman and share the responsibilities around the house.

While it’s important for a family to work, play, laugh and mourn together, every member of the family should have space and time to put their own needs ahead of others, and should feel free to make life choices to enhance personal growth. This need not be only the children’s prerogative or their fathers, it applies to the working mothers as well.

So stay positive and make small changes to achieve great results!"

Take that first positive step towards your return and sign up with JobsForHer


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