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10 tips for working mums - By The Career Mother

 am a mother of two young children and I would like to share a few things I have learned as a working mother. The following is strictly my own opinion.

1. Don't spend too many extra hours at work.

I hold a full-time job as a lawyer and my job is as demanding as any other lawyers in this country. However, I make it a point to reach the office before 8.30am and leave at 5.30pm or 6pm. I believe that if you maximise your working hours, you should be able to complete your tasks by 5.30pm. It is meaningless to work in a company that expects you to work long hours, sometimes just for show. I think claiming for extra hours once a month is acceptable. Your family needs you more than your job needs you.

2. Exercise.

I go to the gym after work at around 6pm. Find a gym that is near your office, preferably walking distance. Otherwise, you will never drag yourself to exercise. All you need is the two hours of “me” time to unwind. It helps to keep you in shape and your confidence level high. I feel healthy, wholesome and happy after a good workout. The TVs in the gym are a bonus, which satisfy my much-needed TV time. I usually leave the gym at 8pm. By that time, the traffic would have eased a little.

3. Treat your maid well.

Most working mothers have maids. Don't scold your maid but talk to her nicely and firmly. Be fair to her and give her sufficient space and rest. Learn to be grateful that there is someone who helps to cook for your children, bathe them, feed them and play with them, clean the house and iron your clothes when you are at work. How your maid treats your family is a reflection of how your family treats her. If you have chosen to work outside your home, you better learn to get along with your helper. Spend a little more money for her food and personal stuff. A happy maid is really a blessing to your family. It is still cheaper to hire a maid than to send my two children to childcare. Install a CCTV to monitor your maid and children, but your maid must know where the cameras are. CCTV can also cure your home sickness while you are at work.

4. Love your husband and look good for him.

We tend to neglect our husbands the moment the kids arrive. A healthy and loving husband-wife relationship is vital for the family's survival. No point spending all your time and effort on your children while neglecting yourself and your husband, which may eventually lead to a divorce. This is not uncommon as husbands may look elsewhere if the wives neglect them. I am not advocating the “obedient wives club” but I believe that the kids thrive when they witness their parents loving, building and respecting each other, instead of having to put up with screaming parents all the time.

5. Don't spoil your children.

Many working mothers do not like to discipline their children. They tend to spoil them to make up for the lost time. Discipline is an act of love. No sane person likes to reprimand their children with the little time they have with them, but it is necessary. If you do not discipline them while they are young, you will surely kick yourself when they go out of control. Teach them all the good values and not the kiasu (overly-competitive) values. Teach your child to learn from the best instead of living in denial. If your child messes up, don't cover up for them; them teach how to solve the problem and conduct damage control. Teach them to admit their mistakes and apologise (instead of blaming other parents and children). Teach them humility and forgiveness (instead of being show-offs and boastful). Teach them sharing and giving (instead of hogging all the toys to themselves). We are all tempted at one point or another to be the kiasu parents instead of the noble parents. But try.

6. Have a social life and a good network of support.

Have a few good friends and many acquaintances. Keep yourself current and upbeat. You need to have a life beyond work and family. Just do it for yourself. Learn to trust others and always have a few trusted friends or relatives on standby in case of an emergency.

7. Pray to God.

Worship God as a family. Pray with and for each other. Go to mosque, church or temple as a family. Your family can't go very wrong if all members have strong faith, good values and beliefs.

8. Hug and kiss your spouse and children.

This is very much lacking in Asian culture, but there is no doubt we all need lots of love, appreciation and affection to keep us going. The more you give, the more you will receive.

9. Love your parents and siblings.

If you do not love, respect and care for your aged parents and in-laws, don't expect your children to love and care for you when you are old. What goes around comes around. If you don't give your aged parents monthly allowance, don't expect your children to give you money in future. If you always fight with your own siblings, then your children will not listen to you when you ask them to love each other. You cannot preach what you don't practise. So, learn to kiss and make up with your parents, in-laws or siblings, while your children are still watching. Remember, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

10. Be grateful and stay positive.

Your neighbour will always have a bigger house, nicer car and bigger income. Learn to be contented, and if you have a happy family, a healthy body, a job, food on the table and a positive spirit, you are already so much better off than many other people. Try not to gossip or talk bad about others, because if you do, chances are you will be paranoid that others will do the same to you. You don't want to spend your precious time and energy bickering and politicking. You cannot get rid of all the bad and evil people, but you can be a good and positive person to the people around you.

The career mother

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