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Dilemma - career or baby? !! need help please

  1. #1
    Dianeb is offline Registered User
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    Dilemma - career or baby? !! need help please

    Hi all..i have a 4 month old baby and just recently turned to work from maternity leave. I am a banker in a big tier firm....before I was pregnant, I used to work crazy hours and when I was pregnant, i worked some crazy hours too...now that I have returned to work...i finally realise (i know it may sound a bit late) its SO HARD to balance work and baby..........work is getting incredibly busy and sometimes I dont go home until 10pm..(and apparently that is considered normal in our field).....I am stressed from work and stressed because I am a first time mum as well

    Recently I have been offered a part time job but at a very small firm (with no prospect) with half of my current pay (btw..I cant afford to be a full time mum as my husband doesnt earn much)....should I take this offer? It would mean I have more time for my baby but then the job has no prospect and I am getting quite a big pay cut..I know I cant have it.....and I am really struggling to make up my mind..can mummies out there please share your thoughts with me? I am losing my mind soon............. The good thing with staying with my current job is really the prospect and the money...all you know..its costly to raise a child in HK......but the cons is of course I am under incredible amount of stress from work and I have little time for my baby......

  2. #2
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    I would give it some more time before you make any decision. initially it is always hard to go to back work, but you might be able to come up with a routine where you can somehow find a way to balance your work and baby. Who is taking care of your baby? helper? your parent? for me I had my mom to help me around so I knew my LO was in good hands and I would not feel bad going to work (not a banker though, so I can't say anything about that)...maybe you might be able to see you baby during your lunch hour? do you work near or at least close to home? to be honest, a 4 mth old really only sleeps and drinks milk most of the day, so it is "OK" in a sense...it gets harder (at least for me) when they grow older. I in fact an a full time mommy now, but I live with my dad and so he helps out with a lot of the expenses so we CAN go on with only 1 income. i have been home for 1.5yrs now and am starting to look for a part time job. Part time job, for me as a teacher, only has 1 benefit and that is to see how different schools run - pay wise, job prospect, etc. is not good. BUT having said that, I do not feel that I can leave my 2 girls now (2yrs and 6mths) since I know there is much learning I need to instill at home when the older one is not going to full day school yet. (she starts 1/2 day next Sept - at which time I am hoping to get more part time work at different schools.

    i don't have a stressful job like yours, but what i would ask you is that if your stress level at work is affecting the quality of your relationship with your child? do you have to work long hours on a daily basis? do you have work weekends? do you have some "longer" breaks during the day when you'd be able to sneak away to see your LO? sometimes you don't have to spend a lot of time with your child, but the time you spend is good quality time, like my husband, and he still has developed a good relationship with both our daughters.

    i hope this doesn't give you more "stress" but only another perspective in looking at things. really, the needs of the baby are not that great now...it's as they get older they get more demanding (assuming your baby is healthy with no special needs). good luck with whatever you decide.

  3. #3
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Dianeb

    There are lots of threads on this topic as all working mums struggle with the same issues.

    Sounds like you are the breadwinner in your household. The question is "how much salary" and "how high the career ladder" do you want to go. In contrast, what child care arrangements do you have so that you have peace of mind, and how much time do you feel is enough time with your child?

    Remember also that you & your spouse may want more children later so you are looking at a career slow down of 5-10 years or even longer. Children become more physically independent but their emotional needs remain as they get older.

    Banking is a fast moving industry and HK is the place in Asia to work. If you switch jobs, you may lose touch especially if you are in a specialist or new field that is fast growing.

    I am a lawyer, and before my baby came along considered myself very ambitious. I happened to land a less demanding job just before my baby was born. The job is a career dead end, but it allows me to leave work on time and is relatively undemanding intellectually. I plan to move soon and hope to find something more interesting but still family friendly. I have accepted however that I will not be in the fast lane for at least another 10 years when my child is in upper primary. For myself, I know i could never be a stay-at-home mum, so I do want to work. I do know however that kids are not damaged by their mothers going out to work. I try to balance between nurturing and parenting; I give my child all my attention when I am not at work. I don't think she is lacking compared to other kids with stay-at-home mums. However there are countless women who have walked this path - CEOs, partners, entrepreneurs, politicians. You have to find the right balance with your spouse's support - it may take a few attempts. The most important is that you are peace with whatever choice you make - your child will sense your resentment otherwise. Good luck.

  4. #4
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    I'm a working mum and I can't afford to quit my job. I try to find inspiration and talk to other working mums in my shoes. There are heaps around and we all struggle with the same dilemma. I try very hard not to look at a SAHM's life as it is very different. And honestly, whether you are a SAHM or a working mum, it seems (purely from my son's class) the outcome is the same.

    I recently spoke to my son's classmates' mum who is a bigwig at a multi-national investment firm. And I asked her when she returned to work. She said, 3 months. I was in awe as I admitted that I'm having trouble returning to work - my second child is now 16 weeks! She said that she tries to think positive about it and when she's at work, she's 100% at work and when she's at home, she's 100% at home. I see that in the way she is with her kids - There are 2. But she did say that she is the first to walk out the door at 5:30. I asked her if she saw the kids and she honestly said, 'For fifteen or so minutes a day - I read to them when I get home and tuck them to bed.' Not local kids so they sleep early. She leaves at 6ish to get to her first meeting at 7ish. And she added that on the weekends, it's all about them. She spends all her time with them. And despite this 'hectic' schedule, her kids are great! In fact, better than some of the kids with SAHM and her kids are the younger ones in the class!

    I was truly inspired by her and what she achieved. She has a great job and two kids who absolutely adore her. So take heart. Don't abandon your career. If one woman can do it, another can too! It is a hard and rocky journey but you will find a balance. Just weed out the things/commitments on the weekends that aren't important and you're half way there.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  5. #5
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    and i'm sure that woman also has days where she feels like she's a failure at being a mum and days where she feels like she's a failure at work.

    you need to know that those days are going to happen. you also need to know that things won't be the same as they were before you had kids. things change. so have you. you may not be willing to work late every single night. you may not be the first one into the office everyday anymore. that's just the way it is.

    you may find it difficult to focus at work or at home because you're thinking of the other. you will have to find a balance that works for you. maybe designate one day per week that you stay late at work or something like that (not an investment banker so no idea how it all works). make lists of what you want to accomplish each day/week and make sure you make note when those things are accomplished. (this will also help if bosses decided a mother is not a productive employee... you'll have something to show them that shows what you are able to accomplish in certain set hours).

    good luck. and remember, you are in the same position as every other mother out there who works outside the home.

    you do not need to compromise your ambitions, but you may find that those ambitions change after motherhood.

  6. #6
    matemate is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dianeb View Post
    Recently I have been offered a part time job but at a very small firm (with no prospect) with half of my current pay (btw..I cant afford to be a full time mum as my husband doesnt earn much)....should I take this offer? It would mean I have more time for my baby but then the job has no prospect and I am getting quite a big pay cut..I know I cant have it.....and I am really struggling to make up my mind..can mummies out there please share your thoughts with me? I am losing my mind soon............. The good thing with staying with my current job is really the prospect and the money...all you know..its costly to raise a child in HK......but the cons is of course I am under incredible amount of stress from work and I have little time for my baby......
    I am in your industry and my wife also just delivered a little baby boy a while ago. my suggestion would be:
    1. don't take the easy part time job: it looks like a solution now but probably won't give you fulfillment career-wise.
    i would rather get some solid career advice and think more creatively when it comes to your job,
    e.g. if you work for a US bank, hours tend to be longer as conf calls are during the evening -> better work for a european bank;
    or if you work in M&A, think about doing a structuring job in a global markets business, transferable skills, similar salaries and bonuses but you can leave office at 7pm for sure.
    i would also suggest to explore different employers with the same job as you do: i have seen goldman sachs = 16 hours, RBS = 13 hours, HSBC = 10 hours in the same job. of course salaries are different too, but not half (and even less when calculated on an hourly basis).

    2. secondly, if you are the main breadwinner, i would also have a chat with your husband and see whether it makes more sense for him to do part-time rather than you.

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    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    and i'm sure that woman also has days where she feels like she's a failure at being a mum and days where she feels like she's a failure at work.
    Yes that is true! Unfortunately, most women will not talk about this even though it is very important. But a GP i know sees many SAHM who feel like that too for various reasons.

    I'm with Lisa88, lots of women have done it before us in their various roles. One of my peers (in her 50s) told me that she had to go back to work just after 4 weeks back then as she ran out of leave. Her kids turned out fine! I think today's women are put under too much pressure with all sorts of unnecessary expectations.

    MateMate has a very good point too. If you are the person who is able to bring in the most for your family, then look into what your husband can do for the family. We have that arrangement in our household. My husband doesn't work until 1 p.m.. Bub is sleeping in the afternoons (mostly) and if she is awake, my son is there to entertain her (as he adores his little sister). Before you know it, I'm home (at about 5:30). I'm in the midst of preparing for worklife again and I do feel bad but I do try to focus on the positive.

    It is quality over quantity. Think of how much closer some children are to their dads who work hours away despite having a SAHM!

    Also, on a bad day, reach out for women who are in the same position :-) There's always one or two here who'll be around on this forum to make you feel better.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  8. #8
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    it's really too bad that women feel ashamed and unable to admit that there are times when they feel like a total failure. they feel like they can't give enough at work and then they feel like they can't give enough at home.

    i think that the best thing to do is to know your limits. once you figure those out, then it's easier to figure out how to go about setting them and sticking to them.

    for example: both hubby and i are self-employed. i run a playgroup centre and he runs a home-based dog boarding business.

    his busiest time is xmas holidays, whereas my business closes for most of the holidays. i have decided to help him out by picking up and dropping off dogs (saving us some much needed $). in theory, this is great.... except.... my helper left today for canada and we have decided not to replace her (again to save $). so, this means that somehow, i have to feed the kids, clean, cook, do the laundry, run all over hk everyday (we have at least one deliver every day from tomorrow to jan 9... only had the last two days without... before that we had at least one delivery every day from dec 18), make all of the lesson plans for my school & design/make the workbooks needed by January 5.... don't know how i'm going to do it, but i'll manage because it's only one week.

    IF we were always this busy, then i'd have to figure out exactly what i can do and what i can't. i can manage all of this crazy couple of weeks because i know it will end next week.

    what i'm trying to say is that once you know your limits and what you are willing to accept, both from work and from home, then life becomes so much easier. of course you can make exceptions, but so long as there is an end in sight, and you know you'll be able to devote more time to which ever one you feel was suffering, it becomes easier...

    did that make any sense whatsoever?

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