The definition of “ALL” is relative. How I define my own “ALL” is not how another working mom will define it. Each one of us has her own perception of success and of having it all.
I’m not certain that I’m having it “ALL” yet, I still have a lot of plans for my family, my kids and my career, but so far so good.
How is it possible to keep a role requiring extensive travel and raise two young boys of 3 and 5 years old? Few tips for the young working moms in LinkedIn, trust me they work.
Manage your home the same way you manage your career – professionally!
1. Prioritize and delegate
Not everything has to be done by mummy. There are activities that can be delegated to others. At work, when leading teams I don’t do everything alone. So why beat myself up at home and try to do it all? I’m happy to say that I take care of the activities with the highest priority and delegate the rest.
How to prioritize the kids’ activities can be overwhelming too. For young mothers, everything related to their kids is a high priority. I found out that the best prioritization involves communication and agreement with the kids themselves. I sit with my 5 yrs and 3 yrs old and discuss with them the week’s agenda and which tasks they want me to take, which ones daddy can take and which ones Aunty will take.
It's a team effort, and the stakeholders, my kids, must take an active role in the decision making.
2. Recruit a great team and retain them
To succeed at work, you need your blackbelt team and trusted advisors, same goes to home. I have an accommodating husband and a loyal nanny in addition to child care, school teachers and kids’ doctors.
Yes, I can’t have it all without external help. I built a support system especially with a stay-at-home nanny who is my deputy in everything kids related.
I know in Singapore we have such a privileged help that many other countries don’t. The trusted team and support system can involve grand-parents, babysitters, extra-curriculum schools. Every team is different, the point is to build one.
It takes a village to raise a child, let’s not expect the mother to do 90% of the work
3. Ensure organization and planning
My home has an ironclad planning agenda where we record everything from doctor appointments, to piano lessons, shopping and even movie time on Saturdays.
If it’s not in the agenda, it doesn’t exist. The kids know their schedule weekly and daily. Every night after book time, there is the question: what’s the plan for tomorrow? It keeps chaos away and give a sense of stability to the boys.
I combined the work calendar and the home calendar in a single synchronized one. With that I know when I can accept work invites and when I have a home appointment that I can’t miss.
I also set guidelines of no work from 6am to 8am – morning time with the kids, and from 7pm to 9pm – evening bonding time. Outside of those hours, I’m gladly available to have any meeting at any time of the day and night.
4. Find the right company
You can’t balance work and home if the company culture has zero work flexibility, no working from home policy and no flex hours. With the digital technology all around us, you can work from Honolulu as long as job is well done. If the company culture regards working from home moms as second-class citizens with no hope to get recognized nor promoted, then this is not the right place for us.