Monday, March 11, 2013

FTWM: Livin’ and lovin’ it!

FTWM Motherhood Madness(Gorgeous logo courtesy of my talented friend Regina) 

An FTWM, for the uninitiated, stands for a Full-Time Working Mother. Which, basically, is precisely what the acronym means. FTWMs hold full-time employment and are clocking in overtime back home as moms.

Some women look like they have it all. Some look like they struggle every minute. Some make it look effortless. Others may be dragging their feet at every turn. But no matter, all mothers have an awesome and huge responsibility the moment they leave that delivery suite with another living, breathing being.

Before I had Jayvon, I was pretty much clocking long, long hours at work. Public holidays, weekends… burnt, and I was happy to do so, working in an organization I loved and believed in. And I kind of harboured some thoughts my life would hardly change with the little one in the picture. Probably that was my biggest mistake. Cos change did happen, and struggle I did. I didn’t get that being able to sleep for a stretch of 3 or more hours was such a treat. I never imagined myself being so happy to see soiled diapers after a bout of constipation of the little one. I didn’t expect the heartbreaking cries of my sick child to wrench my heart so. I didn’t expect juggling all my commitments to be so hard. All the sleepless nights and the constant worrying and fussing over my baby who didn’t like the bottle and cried and whined all day at the Nursery… my work took such a plunge, and I am thankful for understanding bosses who gave me a certain amount of leeway and a great hubby who helped with the slack.

“Something’s gotta give.”

Someone once told me this. How can one have it all, really? Especially as a woman, a wife, a mother… all these seem to be more important than career or the corporate ladder. And why yes, I do agree. My family time is important to me. My weekends are now precious. Public holidays now spent at some tourist-y location with the kids in tow.

And I may not have lasted this long as a FTWM if not for a very family-friendly working environment. When I had no alternative care for my young baby, and hearing some awful stories about the state of some infantcare centres, I am SO grateful that my bosses have put aside mere space-maximization or allocation, and dedicated a good 10% percent or so of our corporate office and converted it into a… Nursery. For staff’s babies aged 2 months to 2 years old. Which meant I could bring the baby to work, pay a fraction of what I would pay outside, and have the luxury of popping in to see the kid or nurse if I so wanted. This was an awesome privilege, and one that when I relate to other friends always brings a great deal of envy as they might have to grapple with problematic domestic helpers, or nannies or over-indulgent grandparents.

IMG_6683In fact, I celebrated the birthdays of both Jay and Xav in this cosy little corner, where they have grown under the loving care of the Nursery aunties.

So SUPPORT is definitely a huge factor in my “success” as a continued FTWM!

And I, together with a whole lot of female (though the daddies are also welcome to put their kids here) colleagues are indebted to the foresight and kindness of our bosses!

I relish my FTWM status all the more now, with a third kid on the way, knowing full well that it is precisely my additional income that allows us to even afford a #3 (given the high preschool cost in Singapore, and the cost of hiring a live-in domestic helper to help with the chores). I relish this, because in a few months, I will be entering into a new (albeit temporary) phase of my life – starting life anew in Sydney as a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom). Life has a funny way to throw those curveballs.

And since this is my last few months (and paychecks) as a FTWM, I am happy to host this brand new linky – celebrating all other Full Time Working Mamas out there. Come and share your tale. Rant, rave, whine, celebrate – we welcome the diversity of opinions. After all, motherhood is all about our experiences!

Grab the code here & link up:'s FTWM Motherhood Madness!


Claudia said...

Which company are you working at? That's such a great initiative, I'm sure all mummies in the company must love working there.

I'm sure living in Sydney as a SAHM will be a great experience for you! All the best and thanks for sharing. Hope to get my post up soon. :)

Ai Sakura said...

Amazing commitment from your bosses for work-life balance! I'm so grateful my workplace advocates this too and it has definitely helped me in staying on in my job :)

Enjoy your last few weeks as a FTWM!

Ai @ Sakura Haruka

Edison's Mum said...

Wonderful post, Sandra! I'll write mine this week & link up. Enjoy your last few weeks as a FTWM, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it more being a SAHM when your # 3 comes along.

Emily at Our Little Smarties

yAnn said...

I think your employer is amazing! I'm a FTWM and the commute gets me so tired sometimes. If more organisations have such set-ups like yours, I'm sure more women would be willing to have children AND work at the same time.

Susan Koh said...

I agree that having support supervisors and bosses who advocate a healthy work life balance is what enables FTWM to return to work. I know that some moms are SAHM not because they choose to but they just can't find a suitable childcare arrangement that would put their mind at ease. I'm thankful to have understanding bosses, supportive hubby and also an infant care then that took good care of Sophie, else I may have chosen to stay home too.

Jiahui said...

Workplace support makes it different! I wouldn't have popped so many if not for this support! =)

dianaruth said...

If only my current bosses were half as nice! My line manager and team-mates are all single and I hear ppl complaining bout others going on maternity leave... I even been through a session with my boss on not being an eyesore and keeping up with the pace. As if me being married would make me less effective at work! *tears*!!!

E said...

Super envious of the nursary at your work place! As for you're change in status, I'd just say.. Bloom where you're planted =D

Deli said...

I think you are so cool for being a FTWM :)

MotherhoodLooms said...

Congratulations on finding a balance that works for you and your family! It's not easy. :)