More mums than ever are in the workforce. Latest data by the statistics department shows that the labour force participation rate of women in Malaysia is 54.6%. The Labour Force Survey Report says, “more than 55% of the female labour participation rate comes from the age group of 25 to 54 years old”.

Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key is to focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood.

  1. Let Go of the Guilt
  • Rather than dwell on how you're not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefitting the family.
  • Perhaps you can afford certain classes or educational opportunities for your children or you're able to put away savings for college.
  • Accept that there will be good and bad days. Mothers should know they are not alone and they should discuss their feelings with partners or support groups.
  • Local Facebook groups such as Mummies Discussion Group, The Breastfeeding Advocates Network (TBAN), or Penang Mummies Discussion Group are great groups to connect and share experiences.
  1. Find Quality Childcare
  • Ask your network of friends and family for references to nannies, babysitters, and daycare centres.
  •  Create a list of criteria that are important and then schedule a time to interview qualified childcare providers or to tour local daycares.
  • A good childcare provider should have extensive experience, excellent references, and a record to prove it.
  • A good daycare facility should have flexible hours, a low teacher-to-student ratio, outdoor space, up-to-date licenses, and employees who have had their backgrounds checked.
  1. Make the Mornings Easier
  • Avoid starting the day on a frazzled note by getting organized the night before. Pack the kids' lunches, lay out their clothes (plus your own), and have the diaper bag, backpacks, purses, or work bags near the door, right next to your keys- so you can grab them and lock up on your way out.
  • Look over the next day's to-do list and divide the schedule, determining which parent gets the kids dressed, buys necessary groceries, and cooks the meals.
  • This is also a good time to discuss any changes to the family schedule. Knowing that a lot of the mundane tasks are completed will allow you to spend a few minutes eating breakfast with the kids without rushing out of the house.
  1. Create & Organize a Family Calendar

Figure out your family's priorities. A calendar can include dates when bills are due, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more. Google calendar is a great tool that can be easily shared and synced on smartphones, so you can always be on top of scheduling challenges.

  1. Communicate with Your Employer
  • Before talking to your employer or HR representative, construct a written plan detailing what you need. You can research on whether other employees have flexible arrangements and using this information to your advantage. This information will help tailor your proposal to the terms that your employer has already embraced with your co-workers.
  • Of course, every employer is different, and only you will know how much to share, but try to be as open and honest as possible.
  • Be prepared to present alternative solutions, such as a trial period of your projected work schedule so you can show how the arrangement won't restrict productivity.
  1. Stay Connected During the Day
  • Stay connected with your children even when you're not together. For mums with younger kids, consider recording yourself talking or singing on a video or record your voice reading along to a children's book.
  • If you're going to miss or be late to an older child's event, give her something special in the morning, like a good-luck charm or a personal note. Look into options for filming the event so you can watch it later and not miss a moment.
  •  Hang pictures of yourself and your partner so the kids can see your faces. During your breaks at work, call your child; hearing her can help you get through a rough day, and she'll be comforted to know you're near.
  1. Limit Distractions and Time Wasters
  • Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls, things you can do when the kids are sleeping.
  • Reduce TV watching to once a week to maximize time with your partner during the evenings.
  • Try to avoid multitasking, especially when spending time with your children.
  • At your workplace, try to avoid wasting time. Of course, you want to have a rapport with co-workers, but numerous email exchanges, casual Internet surfing, gossiping, and long lunches are distractions that will make you less productive.
  1. Create Special Family Activities
  • Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond.
  •  If you're pressed for time, have a family breakfast or a family night with board games or movies.
  • When you do have family outings, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids' interests such as friends, classes, and hobbies.
  •  With older children, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs. In the end, it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you do it together.
  1. Spend Time with Your Partner
  • Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side.
  • Start by having monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated, and enjoy each other's company. Often, if you're busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected.
  • Fostering this relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage or partnership and help you to "check in" with each other.
  • For some couples, going out on a monthly date can be difficult and expensive, but that doesn't mean you can't focus on each other. Have an indoor date night by cooking an elegant meal together or even sitting together with a glass of wine and talking (but not about work or the kids).
  1. Create Moments for Yourself
  • By managing time wisely, you can fit in valuable "me" time regularly. A refreshing break will help you recharge while taking care of personal needs.
  • Lose yourself in a book before you go to sleep, take a bubble bath once a week, or treat yourself to a spa day.
  • Fit in time for exercise (like a yoga class) or focus on a hobby. Remember to eat well and get enough rest—simple things that even the smartest mums neglect.