STRIKING THE BALANCE. MAKING IT WORK
On 8 March 2018, the world came together to celebrate International Women’s day. I took this opportunity to reflect on my life from my days as a bubbly young child to an accounting professional and a parent. Interestingly, this is exactly what I dreamt off as youngster and it suddenly dawned upon me that I actually realized my childhood dream.
I cannot thank my family enough for whatever I’ve achieved today. I’m aware that, in the old days, in some families’ children are often pushed to pursue careers that are not their cup of tea for potentially better earnings and long term financial stability. While it’s understandable, in my humble opinion, a career that is also your passion makes working an absolute treat.
And I believe there are many who would say the same. I am blessed to have parents who were extremely supportive of my choice of career – to follow in the footsteps of my father and become an established Chartered Accountant. Fortunately, he gave me the chance to learn the ropes of auditing in his firm, Inpana & Associates which has been established since 1980.
No Walk in The Park
After just a couple of days of guidance I was instantly thrown into the deep end which made me realise how intense and pressuring the profession and industry really is. It was daunting at first with mistakes here and there – some with consequences more severe than others – which did cause a lot of frustration.
But, in the words of renowned American author and motivational speaker Denis Waitley “mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” Indeed, it was, and I became better for it, going on to establish my own accounting and company secretarial firm known as JS Partners, a few years later.
Being a businesswoman is challenging enough but my whole life changed nine years ago when I had my first child. While overjoyed, finding the right balance between business and motherhood did pose a major concern. But it’s a path that I chose to journey on and I powered through. Today I’m a mother of three children (aged 9,7 and 4) and my firm continues to grow.
One of the biggest buzzwords in the working world today, especially among full-time working mothers is, work-life balance. As an entrepreneur and a mother, it’s indeed a challenge dealing with the daily grind of getting the kids ready for school, preparing breakfast, cleaning up before rushing off to work and returning home to sort out dinner.
Then there’s the small matter of helping them with their homework and trying to get some exercise in with what little time that’s left. At times, I would also have my meetings at home .
Well, how do I pull all these of? I guess it’s down to my strong mindedness to firmly focus on achieving my career goals while doing absolutely everything for my kids. Challenging as it is, I’m enjoying every minute of it.
From Generation to Generation
I’ve often been asked if it’s tougher today as a parent compared to earlier generations. I can’t speak for all women out there but from my perspective, while every generation has its own hurdles to overcome, it is a lot harder today. With so much technology at our disposal, kids learn a lot more, a lot faster than they used to.
This is pretty much a double-edged sword. While learning is always good, technology such as social media does have its fair share of perils which can easily drive kids down the wrong path or lead them down the garden path. Both can have terrible consequences hence the pressure is immense on parents today to be extra vigilant with their kids’ activities, especially online.
In the old days, life was a lot simpler. We used to go for park walkabouts in the evening, perhaps a little sports activity now and then, or a visit to the library for some extra reading during our free time. And, in families with many children, the older siblings often looked out for the little ones, which gives parents’ peace of mind.
Today, irrespective of the size of a family, life moves at a pace previously unimaginable and time has become premium for a lot of us. As mothers and professionals, we have to work out the balance to ensure our children and profession gets nothing but the best from us. Through the years, after a few blunders here and there , I’ve learnt to effectively manage my time.
This is crucial for me as a working mother, allowing me to establish a routine that ensures all my daily priorities at home and work are attended to and taken care of with no compromise. As I sit here today and ponder how much tougher it is for me compared to my mother, in decades to come, my daughter will probably be wondering how I had it so easy.