We’re all familiar with the Sunday Blues after a long Singapore weekend, so imagine the feeling you get before returning to work after a few months on maternity leave.
While maternity leave is no long weekend or holiday, being awake 24 hours a day 7 days a week does give you time to think. And during those endless sleepless nights that go hand in hand with having a newborn, I often found my thoughts turning to my new role as a working mum. What did I want to achieve? How was I going to achieve it? How would I balance being a parent with working full-time? How could I still be available to my son whilst remaining present and on top of my game at work?
Amazingly, a newfound assurance and energy came over me. If I was able to bring new life into this world, what else was I capable of and what could I do next to build a fantastic future for my family?
I was actually excited about getting back to work and determined to make it worth my while if I was to carry the “mum guilt” of leaving my son at home. I had my sights set on promotion and I was going to make it happen.
On returning to work I’ve found I have new self-worth, determination and confidence in my work, which has enabled me to :
- Make decisions faster. No longer is time a luxury where I can over analyse and second guess my every decision. I am now much clearer in my convictions and able to respond and act more quickly in any given situation.
- Operate with increased confidence. Becoming a new mum will boost your confidence like nothing else. A few months full time at the hardest job in the world has made me a much stronger negotiator, with courage in my convictions, and the ability to execute mandates far more effectively.
- Build rapport with a wider audience. Being part of the parent club bonds you on so many levels, with the shared life experiences giving us our wisdom and people skills that are so valuable in the workplace.
- Clearly define my goals. I now have clear measurables to work to, ensuring that every moment away from my family is enjoyable and meaningful.
- Manage my time better. Managing my own time is a breeze and luxury after managing the routine and schedule I implemented to get my son to sleep through the night at 4 months. Casual coffee breaks and long lunches have made way for a clear set of tasks that I complete to reach my goals.
With this new focus and determination, I have been able to achieve my promotion to Associate Director just two short months after returning to work and I now have clear goals for the next steps in my career.
There is often an assumption that we cannot be professional and a parent, but this simply can’t be the case and is not realistic. I am a parent and employed full-time, and luckily I work in an organisation that has been very supportive of my new approach to work, my need for flexible working hours and the fact that I may occasionally want to bore them with pictures of my son in his latest Halloween outfit. And in turn, I have been able to demonstrate that being a parent as well as developing someone personally can go a long way in enhancing their performance, motivation and dedication at work, rather than disrupting it.
I am not the same person I was when I went on maternity leave, reflected both in my role and responsibilities at home but also at work. I have been through an utterly life-altering experience over the last 8 months, and for this, I have been rewarded in more ways than one.
Gabby's focus is on hiring Sales & Marketing roles in Singapore & APAC across the FMCG and Consumer Goods industry. Typically mandates require candidates with both local, global and regional experience at Manager, Director and Senior Leadership levels.