September 19, 2020

Shimonti Sikdar on financial independence

Meet Shimonti Sikdar, one of the interesting mums we have discovered and decided to have her story on Mums and Stories. She is a mum who also happens to have over 15 years of experience in the field of corporate and marketing communications. Shimonti is also one of the winners of the corporate diva 2017 pageant shares on being the leader of her family, work, managing various hobbies and her views on life, particularly financial independence in women.

“Early childhood was a mix of fun , confusion and lots of love and laughter – My mom was 16 years older than me and my dad was 19 years older than me ! I literally grew up with my parents and feel proud to be the eldest daughter of two hardworking and social parents.

I was a rebel from the day I was born and for all the things I was told not to do; I went ahead and did just that. Now it’s a completely different track of discussion around whether I could have been handled differently and could have made better decisions.

Marriage at 20 was a mix of hormones, intense love and of course an escape route, into a free and magical world of happiness. It was my decision for sure. Once the honeymoon was over, my reflexes as a young girl made me choose happiness. And the happiest part was motherhood – the rest I left to God. As a 20-year-old I quickly took to what entertained and touched me the most, my real life doll, my first born Arjun. Even though it was the beginning of a very difficult time in my life, I didn’t let my positivity go down, I found happiness in whatever came my way. With whatever limited knowledge I had , I ensured there was happiness at home. Not the most sustainable way forward but I loved that 20 year old me.

When you become a mother at the age of 21 years, the plus points are that I was my son’s play mate, I learnt to be way more responsible as compared to my unmarried friends in that age group, my energy levels were high compared to other mother who were older and have to say I loved every chore related to motherhood like it were my playtime.

A few factors that dented this phase was that there was no time for loving myself and self-discovery – that happened to me a lot later. Motherhood at such an early age also gave me no time to understand what I really wanted and how I can make my life better.

Today I can surely say at 20 is too young to be married to “ the right guy” – that’s the biggest drawback – motherhood came second but since I drowned myself in all the responsibilities , I didn’t quite evolve the way I would have liked to. Around the same age I also discovered that I had to be a provider for the family and that just caused further confusion.”

On her advice to managing that tight rope between career and personal life choices, she says, “We are completely responsible for the decisions we make . For example, as of now I am exploring the option of converting my global leadership role to a consulting role that will allow me to spend more time with my 14 year old daughter, who I wish to bring up with the best of my abilities and if this calls for me taking home less money than what I would in a full time role, then so be it.

A couple of months back I took 6 months off to heal my ACL torn knee. I was at home but I continued to be relevant by doing small contracts and upgrading myself with a digital marketing course. I was conscious of my situation and knew I would eventually have to go back to work to bring in the finances as a single mother. So consciousness of one’s situation is of utmost important. You need to be reasonable to yourself and your responsibilities.

Just for one’s own confidence and state of mind , try not giving up or feeling high strung about all your responsibilities , including the responsibility that you have for your own well being. There is no right or wrong decisions or answers. What matters is what you feel is good for you in the situation you are in and only you can make these decisions.

Financial independence is very important for various reasons. Women can be in different situations, like you could be the one who works because you want to out of sheer passion and not because of the need to bring money home. Then there are women who need to provide for the family and be the bread winner. There are women who don’t want to work outside home and those who want to but don’t have the so called “approval” from the family to establish themselves as a working woman.

Either ways one must try and be independent in a couple of areas. Financial independence is one such critically important area.  Independence is a state of mind that fuels every other form of confidence in a human being. In my opinion, you tend to earn more respect, you feel good about yourself, you teach your children integrity and self-worth and you claim the respect that you deserve for being a multitasker.”

Shimonti was also one of the finalists in the recently held pageant Corporate Diva. Sharing her experience she says, “Yes I was one of the winners of the Corporate Diva pageant. I had the privilege of meeting women from different walks, of different ages between 20 and 50, each one very established in their own spaces. It was indeed a very humbling experience to be among the top three.

I can confidently say that women don’t really need pageants to know they are diva`s. However something like Corporate Diva gives your self-confidence an instant boost and opens up avenues to make a difference in the lives of other women just like yourself. More than the winning, I am enjoying the responsibilities I have been entrusted with – which includes blog and social media inputs where I share my life experiences and motivate readers to “know their limitations and then defy them”, community engagements, finding every opportunity to mentor women in need and above all love myself for who I am. ”

Being a single mother and a mum to a daughter who is 14 and son aged 21,  who has plans to leave for pursuing chosen career path, Shimonti admits,” Being a mum is one of the most fulfilling jobs that I have ever done  – its bigger and better than any global role I have had. I am proud of the human beings they are and their talents. I left no stone unturned to nurture their creative, musical and culinary talents.”

She finally wraps up saying, “ I get to build brick by brick and enjoy what I build . I get to see all those little pieces of me that I never noticed in myself. I take pride in nurturing little angels that eventually will make a difference to the world , just as I strive to do. Every tear and every smile has been worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


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