Career & Family – How I Discover the Way to Find that Balance
Are you a working mother? Are you enduring a constant “tug-of-war” between needing to work for a living against wanting to stay at home to take care of your little ones?
Well, you’re not alone…
According to JobStreet.com’s Women in the Workplace Study, a startling 75% of the working mothers surveyed in Singapore spent less than 10 hours with their children during a workweek, which equates to less than two hours per day. Majority of them were worried that they were deprived of their families’ daily lives, with 70% citing that they would quit their jobs if they had the financial means to do so.
Unsurprisingly, work-life (family) balance was ranked as the top challenge faced by working mothers, as cited by 57% of the respondents. The other obstacles were having children while building a career (19%), lack of prospects for career advancement (12%), maternity issues (4%), and gender salary gap (3%).
Hmm, do I face these challenges too? Yes of course! This was especially so at the initial stage when I started building my business. Time was never enough and it sometimes involved long hours of work, urgent meetings throughout the day etc.
How My Career as a Financial Consultant makes me a Better Mum
But, did you know that being a financial consultant actually helps working mothers like us overcome these issues? That was what I found out…
1. I’ve more control over my time.
One of the best things about being a financial consultant is having control over our time schedules. Many people misunderstand the “flexible” hours being a financial consultant. When we can plan and schedule our time well, we can have complete control over how effective we want our day to be.
To me, I always begin with an end in mind. Everyone wants to have work-life balance but to achieve that, we have to work first and then find the balance along the way. So, I will always apply priority management before time management. Everyone has 24 hours each day. Instead of complaining that time is not enough, why not review on what is important and manage the time you need to do each priority?
2. I become more financially conscious.
Like it or not, many families break down due to lack of financial planning in the event of an emergency. Being in the financial industry, we become more self-conscious and seek to manage our own household finances effectively.
I am a planner at heart and I enjoy helping people to think through their short and long-term goals and work out how to achieve them. Obviously, that also translates into my own personal finances, whether it is about managing our family budget or planning for the kids.
3. It allows me to stay relevant.
Some women sacrifice their careers for their children in their growing-up years and when their children start to have their own friends and social lives, these mothers feel empty or even experience “communication breakdowns” with their kids. Leaving the workforce for too long may make it difficult for us to impart life skills or practical experiences that are relevant in this fast-changing society to our kids.
As a financial consultant, our work is about communication and it is our way of life. The people we meet and the experiences we gain are practical life skills we can share with our children.
4. This career is retrenchment-proof.
Financial consultants are like entrepreneurs as we have almost full control over how we manage our business. We may work long hours, but we can decide how we want to work. It’s like driving a car. We can choose to be on “high gear” while at the start-up phase but once we built a solid foundation, we can go on a “cruising” mode to take things slow. We choose when to retire and will never be retrenched!
Time is Never Enough – Focus on Quality
Everybody has the same amount of time every day. So invest in quality over quantity. There are going to be days you focus more on work, and days when you focus more on being a mother. There is no routine. The important thing is spending quality time with them, understanding their needs and interests, and engaging in activities that build family bonds.
In addition, if you work, you will cherish the time you have with your kids and appreciate it more. Make a point to be there for the important things. For me, I block out important dates and times which I will give my full attention to my loved ones, like wedding anniversary, my daughters’ birthdays or school graduations. I also choose to communicate and share my work with them, so they can understand, complement and help when I need to be at work.
Pursuing Your Passions
Despite the challenges faced, I would still encourage fellow mothers to pursue your passions. Balancing work and family life will never be the easiest thing in the world. Even today, it is still challenging for me to be my best at work and the best mother at home. But I try to manage and balance myself both physically and mentally by focusing on my priority at that moment and having the discipline to always spend quality time together.
At work, I build a community where like-minded working mums can share our challenges and provide support for each other. It is always assuring and comforting when you know that you’re not facing this problem alone as others may have similar issues like yours. This pushes us to become extraordinary mothers.
Most importantly, I still get a lot of satisfaction from what I do which makes this balancing act all worthwhile! I hope you’ll find yours too!
Ms Eunice Yuen is an avid entrepreneur, currently managing a group of over 100 financial consultants and a team of 10 agency leaders. To find out more about Ms Eunice Yuen, please visit her Facebook Page or email firstname.lastname@example.org