I had a session with a few ladies recently and they shared stories of raising their children.
“Ohhh I never ever let the maid cook. I make sure I’m the one feeding the food into my kids’ mouths.”
“Shower time is always me.”
“The maid never touched my babies. I’m the mom, I should be the one taking care of them.”
While all this is very noble and inspiring, I found myself feeling quite down after talking to them. Not only did I feel less of a mom, but Daniel (in his very mild state of terrible two’s) cheekily said “Nooooope” after I asked if he loved me. He kissed me after and demanded I put him to sleep that night, so I know he loves me, but I guess post-mom-talk it hit straight to the heart.
As much as it’s not easy being a stay-at-home mom, it’s also not easy being a working mom. I’m generally strong about it, but as Daniel especially gets older and can talk, he says things like “No, Mommy, I want you to shower me!” when I’m rushing out for my 9am meeting. It’s pretty heart-breaking leaving them, but at the same time, you can’t punish a mother for wanting to work. It’s a choice you make and you gotta focus on the end goal of wanting to provide the best you can for your kids. With the increasing living costs now, everyone is starting to feel the pinch and it seems like a single income might not be enough to raise a family. But even if you put financial issues aside, I don’t think I can ever leave my passion for FashionValet and dUCk. I love working, and dare say that I’m pretty good at what I do, so I don’t see why I can’t flourish there too simply because I’m a mom.
This late night rant is necessary to be written down in a blogpost because I feel like a lot of working moms can relate to this.
What we need to do:
a) Give our 100% in all areas – do our best at work, and do our best at home, so there will be minimal overlap. Time is never to be wasted with nonsense, productivity is key in all areas. The stigma attached to lower productivity after being a mom is already there in the global workplace (hate to say it, but true from my experience too – employees hardly ever come back after maternity leave), let’s prove people wrong and show them working moms can be brilliant at both work and home too.
b) Remember that kids are not as weak as you think – trust me, I grew up with parents who were both working/studying. I had a nanny growing up, but I never forgot who my parents were and I love them unconditionally till this day. I tested Daniel a few times – he cries when I leave the house, and after I leave, I linger outside the door and eavesdrop. The crying stops immediately after Kakak offers him a toy or some chocolate. And we reunite again at night when he cuddles up to me and we giggle and play.
c) Be ok with getting help – it doesn’t make you less of a good mom if you have someone helping you when you’re not there. So what if Kakak showers or feeds your children? So what if you have to send them to a nursery (a reliable and safe one, of course)? Every lady boss needs help from her team, no one can do it all alone. What to do to make it better? Just like at work, FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR TEAM. I message Kakak every few hours to remind her to do something for the kids, or ask what they’re doing, what they ate, send photos of them etc. We have technology now; use it.
d) Learn to say no – Oh the amount of times I say no to meeting up with people just because I want to spend time with my children. And guess what, I don’t feel bad at all. Some things in life are way more important, and because you’re in the office a lot, every weekend is just so precious. Good friends will always understand, especially if they’re moms themselves. Unless it’s a work thing that I really really can’t avoid, I’m happiest missing event of the year while lying on the couch with Daniel and Mariam.
e) Reason with your boss – No employer thinks of you as a heartless robot. Dean and I, more than ever now, realise the importance of family and we will never say no to things like picking up kids from school, going out for a couple hours for their school concert, picking up cake for daughter’s birthday tonight, any doctor’s appointment, or basically any family-related activities. Don’t blame work or your boss if you haven’t even tried explaining your issues, if any. As long as your performance at work is good, no one can say a thing if you’re out of the office for a couple hours to do something for your family.
f) Sacrifice – fatigue will always be an issue. We all have it, stay-at-home moms and working moms. So don’t compare and think you won’t be tired if you decide on the other option. As an employer, Dean and I have so many issues daily, from operational hiccups, to dealing with underperforming teams, to answering to shareholders, to correcting a typo I managed to spot in team emails, to having to keep up appearances in photoshoots, videoshoots and events. From menial things to huge head-cracking decisions, as much as we enjoy it all, it does take a toll on our energy. BUT when you come home, it’s so so important to not give off a bad/tired/negative vibe to your family. No matter what problems your shoulders have to bear, when you come home and your kids look at you, give them the biggest smile as if you haven’t seen them in a week. Dean and I do this everyday, and seeing them run to us, ahhhh it just melts everything away. Then, after they sleep, only then we’ll work on things, if any. Sacrifice… put your kids’ happiness first when they’re in front of you.
g) Put that phone on pause when at home – this.. THIS is my biggest struggle. For someone who’s addicted to her phone, it is really not easy to just put it aside and ignore the blinking light. But hey, this is my 2016 resolution and I realise people don’t have to get immediate responses all the time, and if it’s really urgent they will call.
h) Don’t pity yourself – When you hear what other working moms go through, you’ll realise you’re just being a big baby. Don’t give in to your pity-me moments. Be tough, you’re a mom, for God’s sake! Do what you have to do, and do it well. And know that you’re not alone. Millions of other moms go through what you go through, so take comfort in knowing that. The biggest comfort of all? God. Never stop praying to God to give you strength and guidance to be the best mom that you can be, whether or not you’re working.
i) Never compare – Of course if you compare yourself to a stay-at-home mom, you’ll feel like a total loser when you see how involved they are with their kids. They know every “first”, every meal, every little dot on their kids. It’s very easy to feel down, like I did. But one thing I quickly told myself; never ever compare. Everyone has a different story, we all love our children unconditionally and there is no right or wrong. Do the best you can in your own family/life situation and tawakal for the best.
I took this picture one weekend morning when I had such a blast with these two cheeky monkeys. Reminds me to always make the best of every moment. My two little angels, my motivation for everything.