Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Between career and motherhood

Received some not-so-good news (career wise) from my supervisor that fateful Monday. It upset me to the core. Upset not only in being sad but in being angry as well.

Told myself after an hour or two to just forget about it. You can't really argue with management's decisions after all.

Was talking to my mum about it after two days. She made one statement :-Do not ever let your supervisor know that you do not have the heart to leave your son to go for overseas business trips, even though it may last from 2 weeks to 1 month. Coz no matter how good motherhood or marriage may be, seeing your colleagues advance faster that you cannot make up for the frustration you will feel.

It doesn't feel that way right now. And although I do not really want to hear that, I can see the truth behind the remark.

So career or parenthood.....

Is it ever a choice?


Julie said...

I try to balance parenthood and career but parenthood does have the higher weight. It's always my ambition to be a SAHM. That only comes when we are financially ready.

To me, at this point of time when I still need my rice bowl, I'll have to obey my boss instruction but will also raise my concern to him. Even if it's going to reflect negatively on my career advancement, I take it as a sacrifice of parenthood. Nothing is greater than God and family. I believe God will provide.

HI said...

It's definitely difficult to balance motherhood and career. One of them has to take a backseat, especially when our kids are young.

People in the West think differently than people in the East.

It is my principle that family is my first priority. Family is like a glass ball, once it's shattered, it's broken.

Career is like a rubber ball. It will bounced back. I do not mind that my career take a backseat for now until Olivia is older.

I think most bosses here in the west are more understanding of the challenges of parenthood and are more flexible.

U.Lee said...

Hi Ann, I can understand your feelings as well of being a mother to your kid and wife too.
But you have to decide re your career...there will be those times you have to leave home now that most companies gone global.
My time, hotels were my second home.
Prior proposing to my wife or girl then, I opened my cards with her, that I was going to reach for the stars and be somebody in life.
She accepted. I was hardly home, maybe two days in a week, maybe 5 days in a month....for 14 years!
She never complained, but stood by her man, always with a smile.
Believe you me, how I missed her then...
And I did reached where I was aiming for, then later apologised to her for neglecting her all the years, I then gave up everything, and we left for Canada, my promise to her, no day will pass that I am not with you. I kept that promise.
Incidentally, I walked away from a beautiful woman who loved me (before I met my wife), I choosed career. That pain lasted me years.
But I can tell you, it still haunts me sometimes...
I did a posting re this story, all 19 episodes, took a month to conclude, the longest posting I ever done.
Posted few months back under "A faded letter from the past".
But I digress Ann, sorry....its tough in your case, you being a mother to a baby. But consolation only two weeks? Your mom is right, Ann. Lee.

Ann said...

Julie - at the end of the day I also think we have to leave everything to God - opportunites and if we should take it. He has our best in His mind after all. And though the circumstance does not seem favourable right now in our human view, there is a good for it. Thanks for the reminder.

HI - very good illustration of the rubber ball. But my job is such that if I don't keep up, I will never be at par and thus will never be able to bounce back up. Maybe then I will need to find another career and that would mean restudying and starting from the bottom again.....

Lee - you really think so huh...talked to this with my colleague and she claims it is what you hold important in your heart and how much you can let go willingly what you need to sacrifice. I guess if you don't hold career to be of high importance, it will really not matter to you at all. The sacrifice will not be even a sacrifice....there will be nothing to consider.

Ann said...

Lee - by the way, would your opinon be diff if you had not met your wife ? Would you regret letting go of your ex?

mumsgather said...

Your mum is right. Family and career don't mix. I would not confide about how much I miss my family to my colleagues nor my boss.

andrewjune said...

i was skeptical before giving birth to my baby rachael...i was an outgoing & aggressive salesperson and i knew by having rachael, everything will change in my career...
i've now slowed down a lot, most of my time devoted to my lovely princess and suddenly i wasn't knocking so hard at any doors at the moment!
having said that, i am not prepared to give up my career for my baby...yet!
i think having both of them at a balance should be perfect for any mothers...going for an oversea trip should be alrite (take it as a short leave from motherhood - provided there will be someone wwho will take care of your baby!)

Moomykin said...

Oh, dear ann, unfortunately these are the tough choices a mother has to make.

The career world is mercilessly competitive. Pretty much ruled by the Jungle law of survival of the fittest.

That was why i opted to be out of the rat race when we found out Max was on the way.

Hope you will be happy with what you decide on and have no regrets. Will pray for you to have peace.

JLow said...

Hi Ann,

I can share the relevant women in my life, insofar as this topic goes.

My mum is a housewife. Back in those days I don't think she had much of a choice for gaining education, choice of men (both my grandfathers were "blood brothers"), choice of not living with her somewhat oppressive inlaws. In my eyes, her greatest achievement was/is in raising her 5 kids, successfully. We are all uni graduates with professional jobs now, and I strongly believe we have been brought up with the correct morals and good citizens in this society.

My eldest sister, Dr Pixie. Her husband is a gynae. They both graduated at the same time but she got her specialist before his. When he was getting his, she halted her career and joined him in Edinburgh for moral support, bringing along their first child (daughter) and leaving behind their second (son). I believe this was for close to a year, maybe even longer. I think my nephew was around 2+ years. While my niece was getting all the attention and fun from being overseas, for a while; and I cannot remember if this was after they had returned, all my nephew did was grunt when he was supposed to be talking already, and headbutted everyone he saw (at groin level his headbutts were "dangerous!). The child psychologist said such behaviour was symptomatic of neglect.

Dr Pixie was the one who spruced up the pediatric ward in GH in KL. Only a few years ago she shared that she had done such a good job heading the ward that there was something a lot better offered to her. She turned it down, for her family.

Her plan (and always the strategist) was to open a clinic and find a locum to share her time. Till today, she only works 3 days a week, to devote her time to other stuff, such as her kids, but these days its her hobbies since the youngest are nearing uni age; the older 2 mentioned above are now in uni already.

My second elder sister. Started her working life when she was interviewed and "brain-drained" to work in Singapore even before graduation. She slowed down her career when her first child (son) started exhibiting somewhat rebellious behaviour, probably around end of primary. She slowed down by negotiating with her boss to allow for part time work, as well as working from home. I am pretty sure she played a big part in her job scope redesigning, and it certainly worked for her. She's recently (last 3 years?) started working more hours again since the kids are uni age.

Hot Mummee... well. We have "discussions" about her hours. She is, by nature, the workaholic. You've met her- I am sure you got that vibe too. When we were going out, I was (still is) the more relaxed one whereas she would work very late, sometimes well into the wee hours. These days, since we have 2 now, I have to use the guilt trip to get her to come home to help- I cannot handle both because both require my attention: one needs to sleep early cos of school but wouldn't, the other just makes noise waking the first.

My ex boss once said this to me, when I was contemplating going back to my ex in Adelaide, or stay working in KL. You can always find another job, but that someone special comes only once. A headhunter said this to me when we last chatted: A job is what you make of it.

As you can tell, I am agreeing with the 2nd comment: glass or bouncing ball; and I personally am trying to make Hot Mummee see this too, cos the kids are growing so fast. But like the headhunter and my 2nd sister (to some extent Dr Pixie too) you can make your career fit around your home. ie, home first, and then be creative about your career. I understand that not all companies are used to telecommuting, but perhaps you can find one that is, or be the pioneer in your present place?

Anonymous said...

career and parenthood,
can't do without either one.

you work hard to provide the best for your little one, but it's this motivation that keeps you going, working harder and pushing higher!

of course you will miss your little one when you are outstation, but you know you can't say no.

so, you must now channel all your attention to ensure that the caretaker will be able to handle your little one when you are away for business trip. there's lots of things to prepare yeah....stocking up of diapers, milk powder....etc etc.

perhaps get a webcam for your home pc, and arrange with your hubby to communicate with you through it every night before your little one's sleep?

how about 3G phone? getting a pair? this way, when your hubby is with your little one, he can phone you and let you sayang your little one virtually?

hissychick said...

For me, parenthood is without question the priority and my career has to fit in with that. Then again, I am very lucky to have an Australian public service job with very generous leave and work arrangements, in that I am entitled to 14 weeks paid maternity leave, plus can take unpaid leave for the first twelve-twenty four months following the birth and have the right to go part time when I do return to work. There is no way I will be going back full time for a while yet. But then we are lucky enough in that financially we will scrape by. Other aren't so lucky and don't have the choice.

There are no easy answers...but one thing really does get to me. Why do the supposedly peak career years coincide with women's peak fertility? We cannot change the fact that we are designed to have our babies younger and therefore it is the workplace that needs to change, allowing us to resume and then rebuild our careers after we've had our babies...