Gerry Tan and her family
As a swinging single, administrative manager Jennifer Teo, 32, used to place her career as one of her top priorities in life. Soon after marriage and the birth of her son Thomas two years ago, she found that her priorities shifted.
Balancing family and work commitments may be a struggle for a full-time working mother. Even so, Jennifer was able to balance this well as her company offers flexible work arrangements and childcare benefits such as Family Care Leave. On top of that, her boss ia understanding of her family duties.
“Having good childcare benefits and flexible work arrangements help a lot in making sure I don’t miss a moment watching Thomas grow up,” Teo enthuses. “In fact, it has encouraged me to expand my family and I’m now expecting baby number two!”
Having good childcare benefits and flexible work arrangements … encouraged me to expand my family and I’m now expecting baby number two!
It may be an uphill climb for some to strike a balance between work demands and family commitments. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Get family support
It is perfectly okay to ask for help as you are not alone.
For project director Corrine Tang, who’s a mother of three kids aged 4, 6 and 8, support from her parents and maid means she can focus on work, even when she needs to go overseas, and not worry about household chores at the end of a long day.
Likewise, TV presenter Gerardine Tan, who has four children aged 5 to 11, was glad that her hubby Tan Boon Siong has the flexibility to work from home. This flexibility allows him to actively take over childcare duties. Where possible, she also ropes in her mum to help ferry the kids to their classes.
2. Leave work at work
Settle all matters in the workplace and try not to bring any work home. Tang points out that she makes a clear distinction between her time to work and quality time with her family. Drawing up a timetable helps, too.
Tan adds that bosses should also try not to contact staff when they are on leave. “That’s your personal time.”
3. Make every second count
Tang makes an effort to wake up earlier to spend time with her kids in the morning, such as going through schoolwork with them. You could also multitask and seize the opportunity to complete daily tasks during whatever free time you find. For instance, Tan run errands during her children’s enrichment classes.
4. Carve out me-time
It’s important to take care of yourself, too ― so, make it a priority to do something you enjoy. Tang gets a facial, manicure or get her hair done ― her me-time ― when her children are at enrichment classes.
Tan treasures the times she can meet friends for breakfast, do voluntary work or watch a movie of her choice.
5. Set aside time for date nights
Find time to bond with your spouse. This is essential as couples need quality time to focus on each other and nourish their marriage. Sums up account executive, Jennifer De Souza, 35, mother of a 2-year-old, “My hubby and I make it a point to have regular date nights, so that we get some one-on-one time just to ourselves. We try to do fun things like checking out a new restaurant, a couple’s spa or a movie. These precious moments help to put the spark back into our marriage and allow us to give each other our undivided attention. Things that we took for granted until the kids came along!”
Photos: Gerry Tan and iStock
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