Friday, January 13, 2012

The Multi-Million Dollars Job

It’s been a crazy Friday the 13th.
DD tossed and whined through the night with a mild fever due to teething. Then I had a flurry of meetings. Met up with the contractor and the designer. Then back home with DD. I am on solo for parental duty tonight as DH has a work event.
Now that I have put her down, I finally have a quiet moment to myself and want to write about what I heard this morning.
This morning while doing the school run, I tuned into Mix FM’s Daily Dilemma with Dilly and JD. [I love the two of them, they never fail to brighten up my mornings.] Today’s dilemma is about a newly married young lady who frets about juggling family life when she has a child. She feels that since her boss  frowned on her leaving on time after getting married, it is a good indication the boss would be unhappy with her starting a family.
I hunted around for my handphone to call in only to realize I left it at home. Ah well, Dilly, we are not meant to be.
What Alicia has described is a real problem.
I think many working mothers share the same harried feeling I have on most days. As women, we juggle different roles in our lives. We are daughters, employees and someone’s BFF, wife of someone we love and then we become mothers. In the many hats we wear, we are pulled in different directions constantly. 
The dilemma exists partly because our work culture is still years and decades behind developed countries’. While Malaysia recognises there is a brain drain, our employers are still imposing an invisible glass ceiling on women, in particular working women. By employers, I don’t mean the stereotyped males, female bosses are equally guilty as charged. This shouldn't be the case.
I hope I can make a difference in whatever small ways I can. For one, our company is different, we are pro-family and support working mothers. Working moms can be fabulous resources. They are great multi-taskers. Nothing fazes them as they take mini daily disasters in their strides.
DH and I are very hands on with parenting. We have no maid, minimum help from parents (who are out-of-state). This is fine, because we want to raise DD ourselves. As in, not farm out parenting and this is a decision we both feel strongly about.
Everyone asks us out how we do it. I won’t deny it. The truth is we take a day at a time.
It is very tough juggling everything, even harder when both of us had a rigid schedule.  God forbids when a day falls out of routine, i.e. DD falls sick and one of us had to take time off. Worse if you have to deal with a manager who doesn't understand, as in Alicia’s (the lady who rang in the radio station) case.
I think 2011 was a pivotal year for me. As DD turned one, it made me reassess what I really want in life. I used to work in the financial industry in London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong in investment banking. I was driven and passionate, so zealous that one HR manager told me to chill a notch. LOL.  When I was working in London, I volunteered to cover the New York hours too, working crazy 7 am to 1 am shifts everyday because I loved my job so much. But in the meritocratic work culture, my hard work was recognized and I climbed the corporate ladder quickly, skipping rungs as I got promoted faster than peers.
That was the old single me then. When I met DH, my priorities shifted. And I became a mother, and things changed further. Other priorities take precedence over being the top performer at work. It doesn't mean I don't want to excel at work, I am just no longer at my employer's beck and call.
I know with clarity what I want in life.
I want to be a full time mother. As in dedicate myself completely to DD without being half glued to the Blackberry, without cajoling her to watch one more video so that I can finish reading a research report and without rushing so much that I cannot spare a moment to squat down and talk to DD at eye level.

Being a mother is the most important job I will ever do. I created a life. It is now my job to give her the best upbringing. In the early years, a child is like an blank canvas and it's up to parents and early caregivers to bring out the vibrant colours in them. I want to dedicate the next few years immersing DD in a stimulating yet nurturing environment and develop her learning potential. Be a role model for her.
In the many roles we play in life, we please no one when we try to please everyone. Instead, focus on what matters most to you.
The other day, I peeled the foil off a pack of cream cheese for DD’s snack. Spontaneously, my 15 month old daughter said ‘thanks’ to me. It was the first time she articulated the word and she had used it in the right context.
Imagine my joy and pride. This beats the triumph of closing a multi-million trade. Anytime.


  1. Thanks for popping by my blog! It sure is tough juggling both work and a baby girl and I'm still learning to cope. But the rewards are certainly worth it!

    1. The best reward is watching our kids blossom. :)

  2. I respect all working moms out there. I dont see how I can make it if I'm working . I'm thankful that I'm a stay at home mom for I know if I had to work and juggle motherhood at the same time, I'll fail big time!

    1. I think every family has its own circumstances to work with. And we do the best we can. You are doing great!