A mother. She is called an angel, a goddess, a guiding light, an encourager and a role model. Being a mother is not easy, whether she chooses to stay-at-home or work, there are different challenges that she has to face.
The majority of mothers in yesteryears gave up their own lives after marriage and kids, and lived for their family. Today’s mother is an educated, experienced and confident person who knows what she wants in her life. She loves her children and family, but she is not ready to let go her own dreams. She wants her own identity, and she has her own passions.
That’s what I want to be - a professional woman and a loving mother.
Sometimes, working mothers feel conflicted about her choice, even when it’s dictated by financial necessity. Between the stress at work, the guilt and the sheer physical demands of juggling family and work, sometimes she wonder why her life has to be so complicated.
Have you ever experienced this?
Every time it hits me, I tell myself that I’m doing the best possible thing for my son by contributing to the family income, maintaining our financial viability, supporting my own parents and building my own retirement nest.
I’ve worked continuously since my graduation in year 2000. The only break I had was after I left my previous company, I took one month break before starting work at my current company. Well, that was nine years ago!
I used to feel guilty about working when Edison was still a baby. We put him at an infant care centre for four months after my maternity leave. That was the toughest part of my life, and every day I thought of quitting my job.
Luckily, my parents-in-law came along and they offered to take care of Edison while we were at work. Knowing that Edison was in their good hands, I could focus on my work again. I’m truly grateful for their help. Else, I could have quitted my job years ago.
Fast forward to today, our situation has improved. V often tell me that I could stop working anytime, because we can still live comfortably with single income. But I choose not to. If I have persevered this far, I will not give up on my career so easily now. I enjoy my job, it gives me a lot of satisfaction, a comfortable salary and other intangible benefits.
I grew up in a poor family. Being the eldest child in the family, I had to help out in house chores because we didn’t have a domestic helper. My mother was a part-time tailor, and my father worked very hard to make ends meet. When I was a kid, I’ve never been on vacations. I never asked for anything extravagant from my parents because I knew that they couldn’t afford it.
I studied very hard because I knew that the only way to change my life is to get a university degree. Luckily, I managed to get into a local university. I took a study loan and a scholarship so that I can complete my study with minimal support from my family. And I did it!
Perhaps, it’s something that I can’t quite explain now. Did my own childhood experience convince me that I wanted something different for my son? I didn’t have a terrible childhood, but I often felt deprived of material things during my growing up years. I was unhappy because of all the financial difficulties that we had.
Maybe it’s idealism and the thought of giving the best to my son right from the start so that he doesn’t have to go through hardship. Holidays, good food, birthday parties, nice clothes and everything that I used to be deprived of, I can now afford to give them to my son.
Or maybe it’s the financial insecurities of living without an income. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to continue working, to save money for our future and his education, and not forgetting my own parents. They have retired now, and it’s my duty to support them and give them a comfortable life.
Juggling family and work is never easy. I wake up at 6:30am, prepare myself to work, and drive him to school. From 8:30am to 6pm, I deliver my best at work. After work, I rush home, have dinner with him, shower him, coach him in his study and spend some quality time with him until he goes to bed at 9:30pm.
At the end of the day, I have less than an hour for myself, but I never complaint. I live a fulfilled life, I’m happy with my family, my son and my work. And I’m contented. Really.