A common lament among working mothers is they are often expected to work as though they have no children, and be a mother as though they have no job. Being your best in either role requires commitment and clear focus. For many women, it can boil down to having to choose one over the other because you don’t want to short-change either role.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
As a Client Success Director, the client-facing demands are intense – they are a vital part of the role after all. When I started at 2X, I was looking to elevate my career and 2X proved to be the right fit for me. The pace is fast and you have to be quick to adapt to the rapid changes in the B2B marketing AND business tech world.
But more importantly, because of the steep learning curve everyone here supports and nurtures each other. So whatever challenges came our way, we would turn it on its head and make it into an opportunity. My career trajectory looked exciting and I was perfectly positioned in a company where I could learn new things and test my capabilities.
But it was around this time that I came to realize I had put off having a baby longer than I planned. My husband and I agreed we needed to prioritize this and after getting a consultation, we were advised to go the IVF route. Even though I knew timing was everything, I had my concerns. What about work? What about the team? While starting a family was important, so was my career. Energy and time were finite. If I went through with this, how do I balance my responsibilities to my team and clients?
My journey as a working mother really began when I made my decision. As it turns out, I learned a few things about leaning in on my way to parenthood.
1. Honesty Is STILL the Best Policy
Once I made up my mind, I spoke to Managing Director Yong Siew Mee. She and Sean Wong, VP of Operations and Infrastructure were not only very happy for me but gave me their full support. This was probably the most important step that I took because their support gave me the peace of mind that I needed to proceed. The IVF route can be fraught with many challenges for couples who undergo the process, with stress being a major influence in the outcome. A lot of my worries were lessened in my case and my first round of IVF was surprisingly successful.
Going to management with my decision helped me plan for the challenges ahead. This enabled me to confidently move forward with an equally important stakeholder in my journey – my team.
2. It’s NOT Business as Usual
With management’s support, I informed my team members. I pre-empted my team that there would be days that I would be at the hospital. Work flexibility is a huge part of the 2X culture and the ability for me to manage my workload and schedule meant that I could still make my doctor’s appointments.
A large component of a CSD’s responsibilities is communications and having the tools to collaborate online and get visibility and updates on progress of the work with my team and the client has made my work and life so much simpler.
I was able to undergo treatment and still attend to work. Even when I was at the hospital, I could still keep on top of everything. I was still pretty hands-on at the time and I needed to be able to respond to the client’s concerns or queries but thankfully, my team was there for me all the way.
The same tools also enabled me to share updates about my progress with my team and in doing so I felt even more supported and safe in the knowledge that my team had my back and they were doing their part every day to ensure we still met all our deliverables.
3. It Takes a Team to Raise a Child
My situation is one that many women face but I think the people and the work culture at 2X was what made my experience different. Now, as a mother of two, I still feel assured that there would always be opportunities and interesting projects for me whenever I’m ready to take it on.
The same conducive environment allowed me to be the mother I wanted to be and juggle work at the same time. I’d come to office on designated days, go home earlier, care for my baby until my husband or my mother would take over so I could continue work. The same supportive, flexible, and digital work structure enables me to continue to bring my best to my role as a CSD and as a mother. It is challenging, but it is also enriching.
4. Lean In – All the Way In
Working mothers bring so much to the table and fear should not be the barrier that keeps us from contributing to the workforce and being the best mother, we can be. 2X allowed me to become the best version of the person I needed to be at that given point in time.
If someone asked me what they should do if they want to start a family but don’t want to risk being sidelined or held back from elevating their career, I would tell them that they shouldn’t have to choose. There will be days that you’ll find you can’t do it alone, and you’d need to seek support and ask for help. But it is possible.
When the time comes, we need to communicate our priorities to our employers and trust our team to help us so we can continue doing our best work. Hopefully you’ll be working for a company that values outcomes and you as an employee—without micromanaging you. But if you can’t find that company and you’re up for the challenge of being the best at work and at motherhood, then 2X could be the place for you.
Lean in – all the way in. You’d be surprised where it can take you.