Much has been said in honour of women who give up flourishing careers to slog it out with diapers, dish-washing and dirty floors at home, taking on the life of a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) full-time. But equally deserving of honour are those mothers who choose to return to the workforce – whether out of necessity or passion – and still devote themselves 100% to their family, day in and day out. These mothers at work are no less deserving of praise for the time and energy they lavish on their loved ones each day.
We asked Pang Liyee to share her journey with us.
Pang Liyee, 37, freelance editor
1. What does ‘work’ look like for you?
I work from home and do freelance proof reading and/or copy editing on a project basis. I will read through an author’s work and make corrections on typographical, grammatical errors, and if necessary, make changes to the structure and content of the work.
Currently I am usually involved towards the end of a project but depending on the stage that I am involved, I will go through the work 2-3 times or more to ensure that the corrections made are followed through in the amended copy.
There are no fixed hours but there is a deadline to meet. Deadlines can be quite tight so at times I might be spending 4-6 hours at a stretch.
2. Why did you choose this route?
I feel quite strongly about staying home to be with my kids, especially when they are still very young (one is not in school yet), and working full-time out of the house would definitely mean less time with them, especially when you factor in traveling time to and from the office. So working from home in a job that doesn’t require much meeting up or coordination with other people is really ideal. I also get to exercise my writing and thinking skills so they don’t get rusty.
3. How do you juggle work with family life?
I usually do my work at night or in the afternoon when the kids are asleep. If the deadline is tight, I cut down on outings, do only the necessary chores, and spend some weekend afternoons on my work while my husband cares for the kids.
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4. What do you enjoy about your current situation?
I like that it is flexible, so I can schedule my work hours around my family’s needs.
5. What are some of the challenges you face?
If I stay up to work late, I normally end up tired and cranky the next day. That takes a toll on my relating with my kids, as I tend to give less positive attention to them. I also do less activities with them, because I’m so tired.
6. How do you cope with these challenges?
I don’t take on too many projects, especially concurrent and back to back projects, so everyone gets a breather. I aim to be more efficient and focused in my work so it gets done faster. I also try to intentionally exercise patience with my kids and myself when I’m tired, so we all stay calm.
7. Any tips or words of encouragement to share with other working mums out there?
Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help! If you have ‘failed’ on any particular day, whether on the work or home front, don’t be discouraged – keep going. As we reflect on how to do things better and put in effort to make positive changes, we are already becoming better people, better mamas who model for our children perseverance, diligence and humility.
Are you a working mother? How do you juggle your work and family? Share your comments with us!