Juggling between family and career is nothing short of a magic trick. Except it’s no trick; it’s the real deal and more mothers are now choosing the workforce over being just a stay-at-home mum.
Despite the improving trends through the years, Malaysia still ranks among the lowest in the main Southeast Asian nations when it comes to female participation in the labour force. At only 49% according to data from the World Bank last year, it lags behind the US, UK, and many other East Asian economies. That’s quite staggering especially owing to the fact that the country’s public universities produced 80% more female graduates than males the year before that.
According to a 2014 study, 32.4% of women quit their jobs due to child care issues.
So it makes us wonder, how do working moms maintain a work-life balance? We spoke to a few office-going mothers with young children and asked them what do they do when it comes to balancing work and kids.
When you’re a working mom, having a supportive workplace will definitely help you to manage your time better. Don’t be afraid to inform your employers about your childcare arrangements. That’ll help your superiors and colleagues understand if you need to have more flexible work hours.
If you can, finding a daycare close to work also helps with time management, giving you extra time to spend with your children on your way back home.
Speaking of flexible work hours, being able to maintain a fixed daily schedule makes a difference too. One of the mums we spoke to said that she was able to come in 30 min earlier and leave 30 min earlier every day. The consistency was good and she was able to allocate time to both her personal and professional commitments while reducing the stress from managing work and raising children. Which brings us to the next point.
Stress derails our efforts to achieve a state of balance and is highly counter-productive. Renowned American motivational speaker and self-help author Wayne Dyer has famously said, “It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it”.
It’s imperative that we work towards improving our ‘reactions’ to stress — in order de-stress ourselves. Here are a few stress management tips that can help working moms:
- Set daily goals: Plan out your day to the best of your abilities (set daily goals and try to achieve them), allocating time for each and every responsibility to minimise the scope of getting stressed out.
- Learn to say no at work: It’s not that easy, but you must learn to prioritise your work in the office. An office outing or an unnecessary meeting, for example, can easily be skipped, and you’ll be able to free up more time for your kids.
- Seek help: Overthinking and overconfidence at times hold us from reaching out for help when we can’t manage things on our own, resulting in stress. It’s okay if you find it tough at times, but you should never hesitate to reach out for help — be it from colleagues, family members or friends.
- Don’t multitask: Now most of us think we can multitask, but guess what, it’s also a great source of stress. If you have proper plans in place, there won’t be the need to do so.
- Always find time for yourself: Take breaks to do the things you love – be it short vacations, occasional shopping or dining out. They’ll keep you grounded and rejuvenate your mind and soul to keep up with the tempo of your life.
- Exercise: Working out and meditation are terrific stressbusters. And if your daily schedule doesn’t allow you time to hit the gym, consider working out at home with the help of any of these 8 free fitness apps.
Related: 6 Ways Women Can Save More on Taxes
Money matters, if not managed properly, can also lead to serious stress for working mothers. A proactive and far-sighted financial approach is the safest bid to safeguard your family’s interests.
Here are a few tips:
- Consider opening up a high-interest kid-friendly savings account for your little ones as early as possible. Maybank Yippie Savings Account, Hong Leong Bank 3- in-1 Junior Account, RHB Easy Junior Savings Account, Affin Bank Junior Savings Account, and Public Bank Wise Saving Account are a few you could look into.
- A health insurance plan for your kids will also come to your rescue when they fall sick. Consider plans like A-Life SuperJunior by AIA, Junior Protector by Great Eastern Life, Child Guard by Allianz, Smart Kidz by Hong Leong Bank, and PRUmy child plus by Prudential.
Also, don’t forget that we should also take out comprehensive insurance plans for ourselves. It may be added expenses, but having a financial safety net for you and your kids will bring you a peace of mind.
Watching the little one grow is probably the sweetest feeling for any parent. With smart planning and proper time management, you can look forward to spending quality time with them — without jeopardising your career prospects. Striking a balance between office and your children is not that simple, but can be done, especially when it’s worth it!
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