Life | Confessions of A Working Mum
by Sandy Lai
“The day a child is born, a mother is born”
This was an advertising headline that I read when I was first pregnant with my first child. At that time, I didn’t really understand what the writer meant, but as the years pass, it started to make sense. You see, some women are perfect and effortless as a mother. Born to be one! They naturally fit into the role. Unfortunately I was not one of them.
I was in for a big surprise when my child was born. Along with his birth came a change of lifestyle, expectations and a flood of emotions. Everything seemed new, at times exciting and at times scary. Nevertheless, I tried and with lots of help from my own amazing mum and google, motherhood seems a little less daunting. But it takes practice and effort and the main thing…TIME.
Time as we all know is never enough. As the clock ticks for being a mum, it also ticks away for being a career woman. Opportunities are rare, so every time someone asked me if I want to be a part of a bigger agency, have a bigger, fancier title, I would say YES! Before I know it, years flashed by, with me trying to build a career in the advertising, all while still trying to be a mum to two little people.
However, it’s always been an easy fight. Between late nights, deadlines, working weekends vs two little ones, anyone would have figured out who won. A 6 year-old and 9 year-old’s bedtime stories will not be able to stand a chance against a deadline that’s due the following day. Also being my competitive self, I didn’t want to be viewed as “less capable” at work just because I was a mum.
Until one day, when I was mindlessly walking around in the bookshop, I stumbled upon a book that’s titled ‘100 Things to Do Before They Grow Up’ and there on the first page, staring right back at me, it says…there are only 4,745 days before they become teens!
Realisation finally sets in. They will not be sweet little boys and girls that will stay little forever. If I do not make a change, it might be too late for me. I quickly realised that I needed to find a balance between work and motherhood. I needed a job that allowed me to be a mum and also a creative. Off I went on with my search and I was so lucky to find a role in Whitewords - a company that believes in work-life balance just like myself.
After a year, life couldn’t be more different for me. Now I tuck them in bed more often, read more bedtime stories and a whole lot more hugs. When I wake up on the weekends, I do not need to check my messages or work email and I can be fully present to enjoy breakfast with the two little people that I love the most. I’m also finally able to start a bucket list of things that I can do with them. I’m on my mission to be a better mum…starting with cooking! Lucky for me, they are still at that age where they are easily impressed with a simple meal.
Now looking back, I guess the writer was on to something after all when she wrote ‘The day a child is born, a mother is born’. Being a “Newborn mother that cooks yummy food”, sounds like a title that fits me just right.
Sandy Lai, Executive Creative Director