Professional Woman’s Balancing Act

By S. Indramalar
The Star, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Asia News Network

A two-week break from a hectic 12-hour-workday and seven-day-workweek schedule jolted public relations manager Michelle Dass.

She had thought she was managing well — she had met her goals and her family was happy.

But that Christmas break two years ago made her realize she did not know her daughters well at all.

“I realized in the two weeks I was at home, how very little I knew my two daughters who were nine and twelve years old at the time … and also, how little they knew me. They had a more natural relationship with my in-laws with whom they spent most of their weekdays. I actually felt left out.”

“I was under the impression I was a good example of a woman who had entered the male-dominated boardroom while maintaining a healthy family life. But the two weeks at home shattered that illusion. I had a successful career, yes. And, I had a happy family. But perhaps, it wasn’t because of me so much as the support networks I had — namely, my in-laws and their maid. Perhaps, I’d fooled myself into believing that I could do it all,” Michelle relates.

During that time, Michelle made what she says is “the best career decision of her life” — she decided to quit her job.

She didn’t have a plan about how the family would live on her husband’s single income.

She just knew she wanted to spend more time at home, getting to know and raising her children.

“My husband was very supportive. We discussed how we would manage the bills on a single income … naturally, we had to make some budget cuts.

But I was willing to adjust the way I lived and shopped,” says Michelle who now works on a freelance basis from home.

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