When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and start work. It looked real fun, dressing up and carrying a handbag and taking the bus to work. My mummy was a Full-Time Working Mummy (FTWM), she was such a good one that my sis & I wanted to be like her! Then I graduated and started work. While I did have slight flashbacks about how nice it would be if I could be a student again, I was really quite quite happy to remain in the workforce! And of course, I got married and the kids came along. And how did I feel?
Hmm… I had a glimpse of being a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) during my maternity leave. I h.a.t.e.d. it! Last year, I discussed it a bit here on FTWM and I still feel the same! I enjoy being a FTWM and I want to continue being one!
One HUGE contributing factor was my own mummy! She was a FTWM until recently when she retired. When we were growing up, my sister and I NEVER felt neglected by her, nor did we feel that we had to compete with her work. Her job (a really cool one too–a Cartographer!!) was part and parcel of our lives and she ensured that we knew her job and her job knew us!
As a FTWM, I try to do the same! My kids are all aware of my job. I take the time to explain my job to them, the stuff I do, the people I meet and the decisions I have to make. I’m quite sure this is what many FTWM consciously do, so that the children understand what mummy is busy with. But I do it one step further. (Yup, following what my mummy did!) I bring my kids to my workplace!
My mum’s workplace was in the Civil Service. And that was more than 30 years ago! Then, there weren’t Bring Your Child to Work days, yet my mum could do it very cleverly. On days when my dad went to pick her up from work (maybe once a month), she would get him to come a tad bit later than her official end time. She would then get him to bring both my sis and I to the lift lobby. She would meet us then, and bring us to her office!
By then, it’s officially Off-Hours. However, many of her colleagues (bosses and subordinates) would still be around. She would bring us to her office, told us to wait quietly at her table, while she packs up. Meanwhile, colleagues will drop by to check out two cute little girls at her table. She would then introduce us to them! She made us remember their names, and to politely answer questions if asked.
During this time, she would also show us her table. This is a real treat as her table was a museum dedicated to us! We can find photos of ourselves, cards we gave her, and little handicrafts we made! We would be so excited that she has so many things of ‘us’ on her table!
On hindsight, I realise that these were brilliant little acts that went a long way with the kids. Now, I bring my kids to office during my after hours (it helps that we have a very family friendly office). I ensure that my colleagues know them and vice versa. AND they love to come by my cubicle to check out my Museum artefacts!
These may seem insignificant acts. But they do wonders to help your child understand why you work, where you work and why aren’t you back yet! I am still learning to balance work life and family life. And it is an on-going lesson as life goes on. While I learn, it really helps that my family knows my work and my work knows them. As long as I keep my priorities right, I think I’m doing ok. Like my own mummy. I’m ok.
This is a blog train hosted by Kids R Simple on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM”. Read about how the other 20 FTWMs handle their kids and household everyday!