Amazonian: Pooja Raorane
Title At Amazon: Senior Program Manager, Middle Mile Multi-Use
Amazonian: Anupam Dighe
Title at Amazon: Senior Supplier Quality Engineer, Advanced Technology
Child: Aveer, 8 months
On February 20th, Pooja Roaorane and Anupam Dighe welcomed their first child into the world—Aveer, a baby boy. Within three weeks—and just as Anupam was poised to return to his work in the Robotics department, Seattle went into lockdown. “We don’t know any different,” says Raorane. “My friends who had their babies before quarantine tell me how it was so much easier. But we’ve been in this cocoon.”
That has meant some really focused family time that they would not have had otherwise. Typically, Dighe would have been traveling for work, but instead, he hunkered down with Raorane, Aveer and Raorane’s mother, Priyanka, who lives with them.
“It was initially very challenging,” says Dighe. “Suddenly you have to adapt to a whole different way of working. Now that we are in the 8th month, we have gotten used to working through Chime and video calls.” And Dighe says his efficiency has actually increased. “A lot of the distractions of the work environment—chatting in the aisles, getting up to go get coffee multiple times—have gone away,” says Dighe. “When you are home, you are engaged fully with what you are doing.”
Although Dighe is the first to admit that Raorane, who is nursing Aveer, has more interruptions during her day. It begins in the morning with Aveer’s first feeding. At 8:00am Raorane goes to her study and begins working in earnest. She takes breaks to nurse Aveer every 3 hours. She signs off at 4:30pm and focuses on Aveer until his bedtime at 7:00pm. Then she’s back to work at 8:30pm with a bedtime of 11:30pm. Luckily, Aveer sleeps through the night.
“These eight months have been more challenging for Pooja” says Dighe. “I’m mostly able to take all the meetings and am able to disconnect from work after maybe 5:00pm or 5:30pm.”
“Work is home, and home is work and that is an adjustment, and it’s hard,” says Raorane, “but you just get in the rhythm of it and being able to hand Aveer off to my mom is really helpful.” She’s also grateful for all the time she and Dighe are having with Aveer. “If I had been at work, I wouldn’t have seen him sit up, I wouldn’t have seen him crawl the first time,” says Raorane. “That’s the silver lining.”
And being parents has changed the way they relate to their work, especially during a pandemic. “It helps me set boundaries,” says Raorane. “I’m kind of a workaholic. If I were working from home [without Aveer], I would have continued working all the way to dinner. Having him forces me to take those breaks throughout the day and cutting off from 4:30pm to 8:30pm, which is good.”
They also do the best they can to build in some self-care, which for Raorane is reading quietly and for Dighe, getting out for walks. Recently, the couple has begun to reclaim a little time for themselves too. “Last month, for the first time since Aveer was born we went out for dinner,” says Dighe, “just me and Pooja.”
Pooja’s Top Tips for Parenting Babies and Working From Home
- Get them on a schedule. “I have put my baby on a consistent schedule for naps, milk feeds and solids throughout the day,” says Raorane. “We stick to it as closely as possible, which allows me to block out time on my calendar during the day when I have to attend to him. It’s super helpful to not be trying to attend meetings while I am putting him down for a nap or nursing him.”
- Let them watch “Squirrel TV.” “Our backyard has a couple of fruit trees so squirrels and birds are usually running through it,” says Raorane. “I put him in his high chair facing out the window, and he is entertained by the critters in the yard for at least 15 minutes.”
Anupam’s Top Tips for Working From Home With a Baby
- Bond with your baby. “This would have been difficult if I had been going into the office and traveling for work,” says Dighe.
- Schedule dedicated time for parenting.
- Plan your day with your partner so that you help each other out while the other is busy with work commitments.
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