Wonder Women of Sunway
Working mothers at Sunway share their experiences in balancing careers and family matters.
Taking the Wholehearted Approach to Life
– ANA NOFITA AZMI, Senior Property Executive, Sunway Property & Facilities Management –
Azmi has never imagined a life without a job – she’s been working since she was a teenager. The mother of four says she works not just to support her family financially, but also because she enjoys it.
As a working mother, Azmi says she feels the pressure to be “the right kind of mother” who is on top of things and keeps the family organised, in addition to meeting job demands.
There are also feelings of guilt and stress for having to divide her attention between work and family, she adds.
“The key is to focus on a plan, get organised and find the right balance between profession and parenthood. Rather than dwell on how you’re not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefiting the family – perhaps you can afford to pay for certain educational opportunities for your children or afford to give them a better quality of life,” she says.
Working in Sunway for the past 12 years has helped Azmi’s journey as a working mother in many ways.
“My manager is very understanding and we always chat about the challenges we face, how we can resolve them and how to align company goals with work-life balance,” she says.
Sunway’s facilities such as a dedicated lactation room for expressing breast milk, and the company offering flexible working hours for mothers, is also much appreciated.
“I can arrange my time around picking up my children from school and nursery. Besides having a medical card for my spouse and children, cashless visits at panel clinics or the hospital is very helpful, given the rising cost of medical care,” says Azmi.
Besides medical benefits, Azmi also enjoys staff discounts in education and makes use of the Kelab Sukan Sunway facilities to de-stress through exercise. “I can’t be an effective mother or employee if my mind is tired, so I must manage my energy well and take time to relax too,” she says.
“For working mothers, I feel it’s not about striving for a perfect balancing act but rather integrating all aspects of life so you can bring your whole self to everything you do,”
Giving Her Best
– TEH MYSARA ZULKIFLI, Senior Executive, Jeffrey Cheah Foundation –
For Teh, being a working mother makes her a better mother. “I have tasted both worlds [of being a working mother and stay-at-home mother] and I think I work better when I have to multitask as a mother and an employee. You learn to adjust and anticipate challenges – this makes you become a better mom,” says Teh who joined Sunway in October last year.
As a working mother, Teh worries about her child’s well-being whenever she is away from him. “Then there’s juggling between work and house chores, meeting deadlines and the guilt of not being there for my son when he needs me,” she says.
To cope with the demands, Teh usually makes plans ahead of time – planning family meals a day before, and ironing the clothes on Sunday night for the following week.
“Work is part and parcel of life. As a mother, you give your best every day to make the best of any circumstance. It may not turn out as what you have planned but at the end of the day, you know you have given your best,” she says.
Teh considers herself blessed to have understanding colleagues at work, especially at times when she has to focus on her child due to sickness or regarding school arrangements. While it has not been a bed of roses as a working mother, she says she will not have it any other way.
“People expect us to be perfect mothers and quick to scrutinise when we are unable to meet our children’s best interests. A little empathy will go a long way. Society needs to start recognising that women also play a major part in contributing to a greater nation. What we need to excel professionally is to be given a fair chance to prove our capabilities and the assurance that employers care for our wellbeing,” she says.
A Role Model For Her Daughters
– SHANIZ CHAN, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Sunway Medical Centre –
Being a working mother has always been a life goal for Chan, who wanted to build a successful career and start a family when she joined Sunway Medical Centre a decade ago.
“I’m a more all-rounded person and equipped mother when I’m working full-time. More importantly, I can become a positive role model for my two daughters aged 5 and 9. From a young age, they can see that women can tackle it all,”she says. She sums up her challenges as a working mother in two words –“always rushing.”
“You can’t be in control of time during emergencies – I find myself rushing to pick up my children after a late meeting at work, or having to call in late to work because one child suddenly throws up. There’s also less time for my personal interests as any free time is either spent with family or to catch up on work,”she explains.
Juggling motherhood and her career is stressful, but having a good support system helps lighten the load, says Chan.
“As working mothers in Asia, we bear the responsibilities of building our careers, raising our children and caring for our ageing parents. I am grateful that I have very supportive parents who are still keen to take care of my children when my husband and I are at work,”she says.
But being a hospital staff at Sunway Medical Centre has its perks, such as easy access to top healthcare professionals and good medical coverage for the family.
“Sunway Medical Centre’s breastfeeding initiatives such as their support groups and hotline were helpful in preparing and aiding me when I was fully breastfeeding my child. My workplace also has breastfeeding rooms which employees can use,” she says.
Lastly, don’t strive to be a ‘supermum’ – just be your child’s mother,”she says.
This article first appeared in Berita Sunway Issue 63