Sometimes back, when I was back in Singapore (my homeland) for a visit with my baby girl, a close friend of mine questioned me on the choices I’ve made. In case you are wondering, this is how it went:

Friend: Are you back in Singapore for good?

Me: Nah, I’m enjoying my life in Kuala Lumpur. Less hectic, less stress. More time for my little girl.

Friend: Don’t you feel you are missing out on your career? I mean you had so much success in your career and isn’t it a waste to throw it all away? I don’t think I can do it if I am in your position. Don’t you think that by renegade yourself to stay at home to be a housewife and a mother, you are actually going backwards to the old times where women are expected to stay at home once they are married? Aren’t you afraid of losing your identity? Doesn’t mean that working mothers can’t give the best to their children and by parting a two years gap in your career, you are committing career suicide. I think you are making horrible decisions, you should reconsider your options before it’s too late. Society is unforgiving when you choose motherhood over your job.

I shall not bore you with the rest of the conversation but she drones on and on, (I tried but I couldn’t cut in) with the belief that her words can brainwash me into moving back to Singapore and begging for my last company to take me back like RIGHT NOW.

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Well, I love this friend of mine to death. I know she meant well. She’s a career woman at heart, strong will and beaten a handful of men to sit in a position where she is today. She thought I was going through a phase and a short break would be good for me since I haven’t taken any breaks since I enter the workforce. I guess she didn’t think that my short break would drag until 2 years later and still dragging.

Well, I love what I am and where I am right now. Giving up my career for my family was the toughest decision I made and not without struggle, but I never regretted.

Zero regrets.

I choose to nurture over debating, caressing my daughter’s cheek instead of my clients’ balls, kissing her tiny bouncy butt instead of my bosses’. I love to cook up a storm, clean the house, cuddle my cats to death and keep a stack of freshly laundered nappies.

But I don’t call myself a housewife.

I don’t let housework, my husband or motherhood define who I am. What is a work-from-home mom when I can work from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection and my laptop/ iPhone? As it is, I’m typing this article in MacDonald’s, waiting for my turn. I’m thankful that work-from-home does not mean I need to take jobs like babysitting or weaving baskets.. (me weaving baskets? You’ve got to be kidding… I can’t even sew on a button.) I’m grateful that I get to pick from a wide range of freelance work that requires brain power and taps on my previous experience.

I never lost my identity. In fact, I made my identity stronger. Used to be just a figure in the crowd, an employee in a corporation, I became someone who runs a successful blog, a top rated freelancer and a sought after writer. I branded my self through my work. Something I should have done a long time ago if I wasn’t happily satisfied with my career.

I didn’t lose my career path. I’m creating my own career path. As I pick my choice of projects that provide different dimensions and exposure, I am shaping my own career path.

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I learned more than I had in school too! It’s true. As I venture out as a new freelancer, I learn about managing my time, going beyond clients’ expectations, avoiding rogue nasty customers. I made some mistakes and learned some life lessons. I learned not everyone is as nice or honest as I am when comes to doing business. I learned to read my clients’ mind when negotiating my rates. Somehow I manage to surprise and delight most of them. I learned to read in between the lines in my clients’ messages and emails. I toughen up when chasing payment and pursuing deadlines.

People pay to learn about SEO, Shopify, eCommerce, social media management, Zendesk and much more but I learned from the very best, through my clients who so patiently taught and guide me and I learned from the ground, through rookie mistakes and manoeuvring the tools. Instead of theory, I got practical knowledge and I always believe knowledge is power.

Meanwhile, my little princess gets the best of me. Spending time to bond, exploring her emerging behavior and personality, teaching her, guiding her, watching her grow from a tiny little bud to a babbling baby who shrieks in delight at everything (everything and anything seem to amaze her including her current favorite hobbies – watching Roomba iRobot making its way around the house and the cats play-fight each other.)

Instead of worrying over her flu that she got from some kid in daycare or hearing her cries as I tear myself away from her to go to work, I count my blessings each day I get to spend with her. Nevermind that I can only get to work after she sleeps. Nevermind that I have to forgo some of the delicious well-paid jobs because it is too time-consuming. Nevermind that I walked away from one of the best companies in the world that I love working in. Nevermind that I’m editing this article in bed next to her cot, well into midnight.

To my friend and the rest of the world who question why: My Child, My Decision. my Career, My Choice. I’ve already won.


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41 replies on “My Child, My Decision. My Career, My Choice.

  1. If one can’t balance out business career and family life, one loses out on the very meaning of life. Juggling from a SoHo is not all that easy, but you convey the satisfaction very well. And nothing beats working on one’s desktop in comfort clothes and with a mug of tea… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it is what you want out of life. Striking a balance is not easy and sometimes one take priority over others. I tried my best to put my family in the first place all the time but it is not possible 100% but I don’t beat myself over it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you are doing what you want to do and most importantly, do what makes you happy. There is only so much we can learn being in one arena. We learn the most when we go out on a limb and do something we’ve never done, and good to hear freelancing is working out for you and family life. Recently I tried my hand at freelancing and I must say it takes a lot of dedication to stick with it. There’s no guessing what kind of client you will get and the work does vary – but can pick and choose as you said. Good luck for the future, and keep following your heart ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah.. you must let me know if you need any help in freelancing. Yes, it is not easy and you must be committed to it. It’s easier to just give up and say ‘I rather be a full time mother.’ But knowing me, I will want more than diapers and milk bottles to simulate my mind. I have more articles on freelancing, if you need more help, please do reach out, Mabel. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At the moment I’m juggling a full time job and freelancing…and writing on the side too. There are times where it’s more challenging, but as you touched upon, you learn a lot. Thanks, Kally. You are always so helpful and your articles here are always so honest ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow! You’re doing quite a lot here. Remember to leave some time for yourself. Otherwise it is easy to burn yourself out. I’m only just an email away if you need help. Big hugs! Wish you all the luck on juggling your new journey.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I know we make both good and bad choices in life but if we do something good for our self, which really makes us happy, then why others point out at us?
    Just because they aren’t capable of doing something similar on their own or they really think that we are jerks, making the worst decision of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww… Hammad! Your words instantly makes me feel better about the choices I made. I have no regrets. They may say I gave up everything, I like to think I exchange for something better. I never thought it is a pity to give up my career, I thought it is a blessing that I can make that choice. Many women do not have the luxury to make the choice between staying at home or craving a career for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When I talk with other mothers, I sometimes hear a truthful “you are lucky to work from home” or “how do you do it with the kids?” when I tell them that I work quite a bit at home with my kids around, well I just trust them to behave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Working from home with kids is hard work! I feel you. You need to know how to juggle time, make sure you have quality time for your kids while still produce excellent work and not forgetting house chores.

      Like

  5. I am very proud of you and your decision. Your little princess will grow up with you at her side most of the time if you decide on daycare, or all of the time if you don’t. You will both be much stronger for it. You can share a lot a few decades from now when everything will have a different meaning. None of them can replace the love a mother and child share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leland. I do hope you are feeling better, my friend. Big hugs. Time flies so much that she’s already crawling! I’m so glad that I didn’t miss her first words or her first attempt to crawl. I wouldn’t have that if I’m working full time. I count my blessings every single time I see her smile at me.

      Like

  6. BRAVO! Kally, live your life your way! I think and others I am sure will agree that you are awesome and doing a hella job being YOU! Good for you having a mind of your own and not allow your dear friend to sway your life decisions. BRAVO! BRAVO!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. And you are super amazing too! You know I just had a tiring day today, the little one is teething and cranky. But reading your comment just lift my spirits up and cheer me so much. Thank you so much, Cheryl. Big hugs. You don’t know you are a mood saver!

          Like

  7. I felt I lost my identity when I had my daughter. Now I was just a mum. My identity was taken be ‘well meaning’ members of society, whether that be family or friends. They asked questions surrounding my while life and a baby, it’s still very much career or baby, which is false and ludicrously sexist. I am not a mother. I am me. We need to stop stripping women of their identities when they have a child. Our lives are being turned upside enough without losing our ‘self’. I’m currently struggling with work and home life, I’m leaning more and more towards wanting to break free from the 9-5 and work for myself and my family. We gotta do what’s right for ourselves. Loved your post, as always ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. That is exactly what I want to avoid – losing my identity. In fact, people are surprised when I told them I freelance as a copywriter. They expect me to be a full time housewife instead of juggling so much on my plate. Mind you, I have no helper at all. Working for yourself need not be difficult, you need determination and time management to help you to achieve that. Let me know if you need help in freelancing. Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a fantastic article, dear Kally. You know, in ‘my book’ regrets don’t exist. The moment you make a (well-thought) choice, it is always a good one in that moment. Starting to feel uncomfortable with that choice, make a new one. You are a perfect example for my theory ๐Ÿ™‚
    And because you didn’t stop learning and growing, even if you would ever chose to go back to the corporate world, you will always be able too.
    You are truly an inspiration! XxX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Patty!! I never set out to be inspiring. I just can’t stand being idle and knowing that I can make the world a little better with what I know. I love your ‘starting to feel uncomfortable with that choice, make a new one.’ I also love by ‘if you start to feel too comfortable with your choice, make a leap!’ As much as I enjoy lying and lazing on the beach, I can’t see myself being complacent ever. It’s just me. I think we are very similar in that aspect. Haha. Big hugs! And you are truly a wonderful friend. Xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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