Madhuri Gurjar, Associate Director of Procurement Data and Analytics
with Novo Nordisk Inc., is the company’s 2017 Working Mother of the
year, featured in the September 2017 issue of Working
Mother. Madhuri is a core team member of the employee resource
group, Women in Novo Nordisk (WiNN), and currently co-leads a Lean In
Circle. In 2016, she led the company’s “Lean In” career development
program in the home offices. At the time of this post, Madhuri is
launching a Girls Who Code club at her local middle school. In
her below post, she reveals what the Working Mother honor means to her
and why she feels her “Ma” deserves to share it with her.
The tears were coming. I could feel them. I desperately wanted my
mother to be there. Lisa, from HR, was reading from a sheet of paper.
I had been named the Novo Working Mother of 2017. I don’t exactly
remember what I said. There was something about, ‘this is for all of
us. I know the fathers work hard too’. Fortunately, there was a
building evacuation almost right after the announcement (it turned out
to be a false fire alarm). I welcomed the fresh, open air as it
cleared my dizzy head.
I was so happy.
That evening when I reached home, I stood in front of my deceased
mother’s picture and whispered, ‘We did good, Ma.’ I closed my eyes,
thanked her and my father, and let those tears stream out.
My mother was a farmer’s daughter. She grew up in a non-descript
hamlet in India. She gave birth to and raised my two siblings and me
in Malaysia, a foreign country to her, while my father traveled
extensively. Ma had two things in abundance – her “country-grit” and
her kindness. We didn’t have her for long. My children know her only
through pictures and stories. But I know she’s there with me – in the
next room, encouraging me, as I, with my husband, raise our two
children. Winning the Working Mother award is a way for me to express
my deepest gratitude to her.
So I am a working mother. Like any other mom or dad, I try to be a
good parent. I am certainly not in a position to offer advice on how
to make ‘it’ work (I’m not even sure that I can say, I’ve made it
work!). Every individual’s situation is unique. And even in my own
story, different options have worked at different times, ranging from
completely “leaning into” a full-time Home-Mom job (and how hard, that
was!) to completely “leaning into” a full-time Working-Mom one.
There are certain things that always helped – family, true
friends, teamwork at home, thinking the glass is half-full, living in
the moment (sometimes, at least), having supportive managers in a
supportive workplace, galactic resizing (my special technique of
reminding myself what a tiny speck I am in this vast universe), and
embracing imperfection. It’s easy to do the little things that mean a
lot – the ‘high ROI’ stuff. In my case, that would be the daily quote
written on the whiteboard at home, the hug after reading a book
together with my child, the flea market trips, perusing the candy
aisle at the grocery store, the failed attempt at frosting a cake, the
dash to the school bus stop, with a forgotten lunch bag…
Life isn’t always fair, and there’s that luck thing. Only one of us
can get an award at any given time. But here’s what I think: Award or
no award, every working parent deserves a pat! Here’s to ALL of us!
Wait…it’s 6:38 am already….got to run and pack those lunches for the kids!