Balancing work and motherhood is no easy accomplishment, but that hasn’t stopped SashilaOzukum, a mother of three teenagers, from doing both and shares the experiment and triumphs of being a working mom. With two toddlers in tow and armed with a Montessori Diploma, SashilaOzukum dreamt of an institution for elementary education that would impart quality education, and sowed the seed sometime in the middle of 2006. Withstanding innumerable hurdles and challenges, her dream school ‘Hope Academy’ took shape in the year 2007. As administrator / Principal she opened the doors of Hope Academy in a small rented house in Riverbelt Colony, Dimapur, Nagaland to just eighteen students. Her daughter was onlt 3 ½ years and first son 1 ½ when she first started her venture. A hardcore multi-tasker, Sashila had to work overtime shuttling between family life, her school and life’s demands in her early days. The fire of passion is well writ all over her face as she now recounts her struggles to build the academybrick by brick and nurture it, which has now evolved into a household name in Nagaland. To be a student of Hope Academy is now considered a status symbol for young parents as they scurry from all the corners of Nagaland to Dimapur to get their children admitted.
“With whatever little experience I have gained till now, I have come to realise that a leader should lead with a clear vision and passion”, says a confident and beaming Sashila.According to her, in order to stay motivated, one has to embrace the one life that she has been blessed with and live it to the best of her ability and to live life well.Her view about satisfaction is being happy and content, knowing that she has given her best.Now Hope Academy is a full-fledged high school affiliated to the CBSE with plans to upgrade to higher secondary. Here’s what she had to say to Northeast Window:
Did you receive any mentoring? Any particular individuals that was responsible in motivating you?
Yes definitely. I am forever grateful to my family and friends, my younger sister in particular who saw the potential in me and encouraged me. My husband supported me in daring to step forward and my two friends who encouraged and motivated me all the way. My parents were my cheerleaders.
As a professional mother how do you manage your time? How do you balance work, family and social obligations?
Sometimes things can get very tough but I think it’s all about prioritizing, delegation and seeking help when needed. I would not be where I am today if I did not reach out and ask for help when needed. No matter how busy life gets, I make a conscious effort to spend quality time with my children and family members. As for social obligations, I am very mindful of what I say yes to. Saying no was one of the toughest thing especially since we all grew up with the ‘what if’s’ or ‘what will people say’. But I have learnt to prioritize.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
I cannot pinpoint just one challenge. In my journey of living out my vision and pursuing my passion, I have faced many challenges and continue to still encounter them but one challenge that has demanded most of me is that of balancing being a mother to three children and a working woman at the same time. But by the grace of God I have managed so far.
What advice do you have for every working mother who wants to succeed both at home and in the work place?
There is no rule book that presents specific prescriptions, but taking leaves from what I have experienced so far, I can say that we should have very clear goals and be passionate about what we do.It’s ok to ask for help. Be open to ideas and suggestions. Spend quality time with family and learn to prioritize and delegate work. Never compare yourself with others. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed.