I had my first child nine months ago. Returning to work was a big decision for me and I struggled for months before committing to work again.
Being a working mom is not easy, especially in a place like Hong Kong where people work much longer hours in general. According to UBS Prices & Earnings Report 2015, Hong Kong employees spent an average of 50.11 hours at the work place each week. This is 38%, 50% and 62% longer than the global average, London and Paris respectively. In this situation, how can we justify working while having an infant, particularly for first time mothers like myself? Would we have to leave our children to be taken care of by their grandparents or helpers?
What can we do as mothers to balance work and taking care of a young child? I never fully understood why so many candidates looked for work-life balance until the end of my first week back from maternity leave. Every morning I have to wake up an hour earlier to breastfeed my child before heading to work. Throughout the day, I pump a total of four times (some mothers do more). Moreover, being able to leave work on time is crucial so that I can catch an earlier train to go home and see my baby.
Frankly, there have been times when I have asked myself if it is really all worth it. Earlier this week, however, I read a recent study by Harvard Business School on the “Working Mother Effect” which made me realise that maybe being a working mother is not so bad after all. Contrary to conventional thinking, the study states that children who grow up with working mothers will actually benefit from a positive impact to their future prospects, both socially and economically. This is particularly true for adult daughters of working mothers in the US, since statistics show that they earn 23% more than those whose mothers had not worked during their childhood. From a global standpoint, 21% of those with working mothers worked as supervisors, compared to 18% of those growing up in a traditional household with stay-at-home mothers. Furthermore, the “Working Mother Effect” also shows positive impacts on men. Of a group of men surveyed in the States, it was found that adult sons of working mothers spent nearly twice as many hours on family and child care than those without, averaging 16 hours weekly compared to 8 ½ hours.
Although these are just statistics, I found it quite encouraging for young working mothers like myself. I must admit it hasn’t been the easiest two months back at work, but luckily I’ve got a group of supporters both at home and at work, who understand and support my actions. Furthermore, after reading the “Working Mother Effect” it helps me believe that what I am doing now could perhaps be the right, if not better choice for my child.
In order to not only feel comfortable as a working mother, but also be successful at your job and want to be there, it’s important to work with a team who allows you the work-life balance you need. If you’re not getting the support you need, we can help you find your dream job – get in touch with us now.