So we never intended to have a child when we got married many years back. We worried about who was going to care for the little one, how to manage our finances and how to juggle work and family… and decided it wasn’t worth the headache. At the 3 year mark, life started to become routine and we resembled a cohabiting couple instead: Wake up, get dressed, go to work, have dinner, continue to work separately, sleep. At the 5 year mark, we started to wonder how it would be like to have a mini-us running around and how that mini-us would look like. Would he/she have his nose, my eyes, his chin…? and that was how baby E came along.
Being busy with everything else, I never had the time to read up on what it would be like so it was quite a culture shock for me when motherhood happened. These are things that I wish I had known before baby E came along:
- Do not underestimate motherhood/parenthood no matter how efficient or good at multi-tasking you are.
- Your career and family priorities will clash. You will have to decide which is more important and press on with no regrets.
- Try to be in your job for a few years before having a child so that your colleagues know that the sleep deprived milk pumping zombie isn’t the normal you.
- Aim to be in a diverse team. Being in a team with bosses and colleagues who are all single may render you an outcast.
- Take a pinch of salt when seeking new employment. When keen to hire, bosses will say ‘arrangements can be made’. Do not believe them because the spotlight will be on you if colleagues are constantly working overtime and you have to leave on time, even if you are working from home. Team culture does matter.
And if you have to depend on childcare centres,
- be prepared to have to drop everything after work to pick the little one up by centre closure time (usually 7pm)
- be prepared for centre closures due to HFMD outbreaks or for other purposes so do have alternative childcare arrangements ready (According to ECDA, a centre can close for 7 days a year).
Despite it all, motherhood is really rewarding! As mentioned to a friend previously, while motherhood has resulted in me walking with my head down in the office, it has also resulted in me having more purpose in my life than ever before. I’ve never regretted having baby E, only the decisions that I’ve made regarding career choices. But we all learn from our mistakes. Here’s hoping for a better 2017 ahead for all working mummies who are struggling!