Recently I had a weekend away with a few mums who have young children. We talked about all kind of things related to family life and career, and at one point, the topic of returning to full-time work vs. part-time work after maternity leave came up.
All of them enjoy to have some days at home with their children and work part-time so that they can keep engaged with their own professions, but just not at full-time.
Given the costs of childcare services in Australia, for many of us, it may not make a big difference whether you work full-time and place your child in a childcare centre or just part-time, especially if you have more than 1 child.
I also know mums who prefer to stay at home full-time in the first few years so that they can spend most of the time with them as once they attend school, they won’t have that option again.
It then daunted on me that I’ve never felt the desire to stay at home, even part-time, and I don’t know if it was because of my upbringing or personality.
Knowing how our minds work, of course, the next thing I started to think is that I am not a good mother, perhaps I lack maternal instinct, or maybe I am too selfish and yep, that aliening word, “different”. Doubts set in, am I doing my best for my child? Is it for the better or worse for my family? Now with the second baby coming along, do I need to re-evaluate who am I and what I do with my life?
Thank God I remember what to do when my head starts to spin and talks like this.
I take a pause and sink in.
I thought about the years I was growing up in Hong Kong and China.
Together with my parents, we migrated to Hong Kong when I was only two. It was a difficult time and they worked very long hours in order to establish their new life. I was cared for by my grandma and other family members most of the time throughout my early childhood.
At one point, it was just too challenging and my parents had to bring me back to China. I vividly remember one day when I was about 3 or 4 years old, my mother came back for a visit, as she walked up the stairs, I greeted her with a big smile (as I did to every visitor) and said: “Hi auntie, how are you?”. But then I immediately realized that was actually my mother, so I changed “Sorry, hi Mummy…”. I guess my mum must have felt really awful at that moment because not long after that, they moved me back to Hong Kong permanently.
Despite my parents were not always around, I’ve always felt loved. Also, I completely understand they did the best they can. I never felt lonely or neglected but rather I saw them as brave and determined people who wanted to make a better living for me. Perhaps that was the reason I never felt guilty of not wanting to stay at home.
That was my background and perspective, and that is me. And that is OK. I need to be OK with my decision and the way I write my own story.
Everyone has their own different story.
And I got reminded what I always say to myself and others.
You Do You.
I know I am at my best when I get to do my work and feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. I can then 100% immersed with playing and caring for my daughter, be really present with her, as my creative and intellectual well has been filled that day and I feel whole and energized.
I also do my best work when I have spent a really fun weekend with my family with loads of quality time together.
The art is having a good balance where I know when to stop work and don’t carry the “left-over” worries or stress from work when I spend my time with my family.
To maintain that balance is art, and it takes practice but once I know what it is to make me happy and whole, I know what to do and know it when my balance is off.
So if you have been feeling guilty one way or another, think again.
We must be honest and own who we are if we want to be authentic and be our best self to model and inspire others, especially for our children.
There is no fix rule or commandments on how to raise our kids. The most important thing is to know how you truly feel and then figure out how to make it work.
The best next step may be having a conversation with your spouse, then perhaps your manager or Human Resources.
If you want to spend more time with your family or work from home, see if your company is able to offer you more flexibility that way. If not, would there be another role within the same company that can or another company that may?
Or you are considering to change your career or start your home-based business, it may be a great option too, so start with some simple research or talk to people who are doing it. You may find a career coach that can help you with that too.
Or on the other hand, you actually really want to go back to work full time, then give yourself permission to explore that option. What is best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY is different than others. Be aware of social conditioning or expectation. To be free and fulfilled, we must be honest with what is calling inside of us. Denial or suppression will only trigger other tendencies, so it’s best to have an honest conversation if this has been something that bordering you for a while.
You don’t have to make a big jump but just start to “figure it out” how to find a way that is best for you and your family.
When there is a will, there is a way.
I bet finding joy and fulfilment at work and life is a big topic fo you, so next week I am going to share with you a great interview I did with a life & career coach that will definitely help you with this!
Before I wrap up this podcast episode, I want to share with you something REALLY exciting! A free audio program I just created for you.
3 Keys for More Clarity, Energy and Productivity – FREE Audio Program
Another thing I want to make sure you grab is my new audio program. I just launched this for busy ladies like you who want to add more clarity, energy and productivity into their career and family life!
I am going to share with you my best-kept secret in creating the life I live in right now and how to get more done with less stress, less time but more joy!
You can download the audio program (just under 1 hour in length) where you can listen in commuting to work or while washing the dishes. I have also prepared a complimentary guide book for you to apply what you’ve learned.
I am so glad I have managed to launch this before end of the year, so consider this as my Christmas gift to you! You can receive it here: https://szewingvetault.com/3keys/
Once you’ve listened in to this episode, I’d love to hear from you.
What is your preference in terms of balancing work and family life?
If you have a magic wand right now, what would you like to do?
You can post a comment on my blog page, DM me on my FB page @CoachSzeWing or Instagram or email me at info@SzeWingVetault.com
Show notes and links can be found on https://szewingvetault.com/blogs
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