Managing the balancing act

With women getting back on track with their careers soon after they give birth, we ask them and life coaches about how to juggle the demands of motherhood and careers at the same time.

Tennis star Serena Williams’ pregnancy has been much talked about, first when she won the Australian Open while still pregnant. Now, for the fact that the new mommy, who gave birth to a baby girl in September, is already gearing up to get back in the game.

She will be taking part in an exhibition match against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, at the Mubada World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Sereena is not, however, the only new mother to return to work after a relatively short maternity leave.

Closer home, Kareena Kapoor Khan also juggled gym sessions, bonding time with baby Taimur Ali Khan, and the shoot for her upcoming film Veere Di Wedding, just a couple of months after she gave birth. Soha Ali Khan, too, is up and about and even promoting her new book, after a short period of rest after giving birth to Inaaya Naumi.

Soha says that it was a combination of yoga and a will to get back to work that motivated her. “I wanted to be physically active again and here, yoga helped me a lot. It’s all about achieving the right kind of balance. Some people like to get back to work as soon as they can, while others take longer breaks; it’s up to them. I decided to give it three months before taking up any strenuous work,” she said.

While maternity leave is definitely a must, it is up to the woman if she wants to get back to work after she is physically healed, says life coach Khyati Birla. “Healthcare is much more improved than it once was, so it takes much less time for women to heal from the birth and be fit enough to get back to work. It’s also against society’s perceived notions that a woman should rest for a longer time after giving birth. But with proper health advice, one can definitely get back on the job,” she explains.

Senior wellness consultant, Healthians, Dr. Snehal Singh,adds that getting back to work may actually help the woman stay active and happy. She does warn, however, that a mandatory period of rest is essential for everyone. “While most healing is expected by six to 12 weeks, women who feel good and healthy may resume their work by 12 weeks. It often helps to be active and working again, as long as the new mother is healthy, happy and is still able to devote some quality time for the baby. Resuming work once the new mother is comfortable can also help beat postpartum depression. However, it is best to avoid overdoing things to keep exhaustion at bay,” she says.

Wellness and lifestyle guru Ruchi Phool, on the other hand, is not very encouraging of the need to jump back into office. Time spent bonding with one’s baby, says Ruchi, is invaluable. “The world is obsessed with work. Work should not be given preference over nourishing, cherishing, loving, nurturing, respecting and reverence for new life and the life giver. A baby, although a tiny package, is as complete a life as ourselves. It’s as dependent upon us, as we are on it. The presence of a pure, new life impacts us just as much as our presence impacts it. It is not the future of the planet but our very present that depends on such factors. Let us celebrate life-ethics over work-ethics,” she asserts.

Khyati provides a possible solution to this conundrum. “If you look at actresses like Kareena, you’ll find that they can take their babies along with them to the sets, set up a homelike environment for them, and thereby manage to juggle both roles very well. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you look at tea pickers in the hills, you’ll often find them working with babies strapped to their backs. It’s all a matter of being able to balance your responsibilities,” she explains.

Television actress Mitaali Nag, who became a mother this year, says that ultimately the decision should just be left to the mother. “To each his own — some women believe in the 40 days confinement post delivery while some get back to work in full swing asap. I personally feel that a mother knows aptly when is she ready to start work after having her baby, so we should not pester a new mommy with our thoughts and beliefs about it and let her decide for herself. The cameo I did in Iss Pyar Ko Kya Naam Doon 3 was the perfect way to start work post having Rudranssh, as it was a cameo. I am now ready to take full time work!”Read more at:wedding dresses online | bridesmaid dresses


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Wedding Painter

Dirk Guidry is a full-time artist. But his paintings, large-scale abstracts and portraiture don’t always pay the bills.

Being a wedding painter allows him to remain one.

“I almost consider it my day job,” he says. “If I have one wedding a month, I can be in the studio the rest of the time.”

He joined this latest wedding trend of having a live artist capture the reception on canvas when a Tennessee friend sent him a picture.

“I looked at it and knew I could do it better,” says Guidry, who grew up in Galliano. “My cousin was getting married in Houma and asked me to paint her wedding. It was quite an experience the first time.”

And a lesson.

“I learned taking a blank canvas into the reception is not the way to go,” says the 30-year-old, who holds a fine arts bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Now after more than 30 weddings, Guidry doesn’t get nervous anymore and actually thrives under the pressure, competing against himself and time.

His process is complex. And done quickly.

“I’m trying to incorporate the night into one piece,” says Guidry, whose paint-covered suit is part of the show. “But you have to go early and paint the background first. People love seeing the process unfold, especially when I paint them in. Everyone’s timid at first, except the kids. They’re not bashful.”

Guidry sets up near the dance floor so the painting faces the room and his back is to the crowd. He has perfected his technique through trial and error, although his first few weddings were more trial by fire. He once misjudged the availability of an outlet for his lamp.

“It was so dark, I used the light from my phone,” he recalls with a laugh. “I made it happen and learned I need access to an outlet.”

While some guests stand relatively stationary in his paintings, others are more purposefully posed. Faces are blank ” except for the bride and groom, who are offered more detail later ” yet they are recognizable, both loose and detailed at the same time. Subjects can clearly find their cousin or their aunt. Guidry paints the room as full as possible while maintaining the classical components of composition and the elements of art ” color, line, shape, form and texture.

“The entertainment aspect is what I didn’t realize,” says Guidry. ”. I’ll joke and say, ‘Hold that dip.’ It’s the interaction. What would you like to be doing? One grandpa said, ‘Put me smoking a cigar.’”

Often there’s an air of whimsy in his paintings. For instance, the best man with the hole in his tuxedo who lost the ring. Guidry painted him on his hands and knees searching, his wife with arms akimbo looking on. Elsewhere, male guests are sliding down the banister.

He also wields the power of the brush, cutting some waistlines here, adding some hair there.

“As an art piece, I have the luxury of adjusting,” says Guidry. So, when a groomsman asked to be painted as a reclining nude a la Renoir, he got his pose, albeit clothed.

“It’s the fastest time lapse ever. Eight hours of continual painting that feels like 10 minutes,” he says. “It’s about four minutes per person, and it helps when groups or couples come in together rather than individually.”

And, while he can usually identify the wedding party due to the nature of the occasion, if some don’t make the painting, he will add them in afterward for a fee.

Price depends on the size of the painting because larger ones take more time. Guidry says his fees are comparable with those of the band and photographer.

He’s been flown as far away as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to capture a bride and groom’s happy moments, although most of his commissions are in the Acadiana area.

His paintings, the artist says, are the best advertising. One wedding leads to another, but he also does bridal expos and The Knot. A newlywed himself of nearly a year, Guidry’s retroactively painting his own wedding from photos.

Although some may not see wedding paintings as high art, Guidry has overcome that hurdle.

“I’ve painted my fair share of fleur-de-lis,” he adds with a laugh. “I still take the most pride in my abstracts, and I have patrons and shows. I’m also a business owner.”

Make that a business owner who was booked every weekend in October and is already booked for December except for Christmas, and every weekend in May. He’s recently had to decline wedding commissions due to deadline constraints.

“At first I was skeptical,” he said. “Do I really want to do these because of what’s at stake?

“It’s a wedding, a happy time,” Guidry explains. “I’m just glad I get to capture it.”Read more at:One Shoulder Bridesmaid Dresses | cheap bridesmaid dresses


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