The Working Mom
Combining a full-time job with full-time motherhood
I was a stay-at-home mom until my daughter was 2 years old. I was away from my job for three years, but I didn’t think I could completely give up work. I like that connection to society, to be able to contribute. If you really like what you do, you feel so rewarded. I regret that my planning hasn’t always been good, especially when my children first went to school. At that stage, schools were low on my list of priorities. It’s something I’ve learned from.
I think you make the choices in your life; don’t feel like you’re a victim. If you don’t speak up or don’t arrange your time well, it will hit you later on. When you’ve made the choice to work, you have accountability and you have to deliver. As far as men and women in the work force go, men aren’t very sensitive to the needs that women have. My male colleagues have children, but they choose work over school commitments. We had a company trip to Bali during the first week of the school term, so I stayed home to be with my kids even though my colleagues went.
When men see that women can do it all, they just let them. It was good that my husband stayed in the States for seven years; he contributes to the household and is a little less traditional. We all cook, clean, do the washing together as a family. We all share. I plan the year with my kids. We sit down together at the computer and type out our goals together. I give them some goals, but they also create their own list for the year. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I push too hard. There are some things I need to wait to teach my kids; they’re still learning.
Once my daughter wrote me a note – she must have been upset – “Mom I really hate you.” So I wrote back saying, “I still love you.” The next day she wrote, “Actually, I love you, too.” I’ve learned from my kids to step back. Don’t push; observe, listen. With motherhood, I started recognizing how different people are. My daughter needs to think about things first, but my son is more impulsive. Their personalities are so different. I’ve changed from being very extroverted, a high achiever, to being more balanced. I’m observing these three people around me, and I really enjoy it. As told to Imogen Kandel.
Jennifer Jin is Executive Director of HR at Beijing Novartis Pharma Ltd. She is the mother of Albert, 9 and Jessica, 8.