Work-Life Balance Hacks For The Modern Woman
To most people, work-life balance means leaving the office at a decent hour, and having the time to exercise, pursue our hobbies, and spend quality time with our loved ones. While that is difficult enough to achieve, being a woman in Singapore today makes it even more challenging.
On top of working most of the day like our male counterparts, gender roles and expectations still remain quite traditional in many Singaporean families. Many women juggle domestic responsibilities like housework, and caring for family and children. On the other end, some of us are so busy with work that we wish we had more time to date or hang out with our friends.
Work-life balance means different things to different women today. But with Singapore’s rising costs and the hectic pace of life, the pressure of stay on top of our commitments can get overwhelming, and it is easy to feel alone at times.
Here are some tips on how to get the support you need from the people around you, to keep your balance atop the challenges and responsibilities in your life:
1) Make time for your gal pals
It's easy to put friendships on the back seat when we're so caught up with work, busy dating, or just tired out by the demands of daily life in general. But at every point of your life, and especially so as you get older, a female support system is invaluable.
At a certain age, often after we leave school and pursue different paths in life, friendships often diverge, as we all want and value different things in life. Some of us find fulfilment in work and fight for a successful career, while some are happy to settle down early and start a family. The truth is, we are all unique individuals with diverse needs and goals in life. There is no right and wrong, and our differences can offer us new insights when facing life’s challenges.
Moreover, female solidarity proves indispensable in times when the men in our lives don’t understand quite as well. From relationship conflicts to the challenges of pregnancy and motherhood, these are moments we will appreciate our female friendships the most, as we support one another through life's milestones together.
2) Make communication and teamwork the foundation of your relationship
Maybe you’re dating, or you’re in a long-term relationship - we often put in the most effort into becoming the best versions of ourselves when we are looking for a partner. But when we are in a stable relationship, it is easy to get comfortable and communicate less often, and less deeply.
At the point where you're starting out on a journey together, it is important to communicate honestly and envision the future as a team, so that you are aligned on your life goals and understand how to support each other in tough times.
That often means asking the difficult questions: Are we growing as much as we want to, together and as individuals? What do we want to improve or work on in our relationship? And what is our biggest fear about the future?
Even when you’re married and exhausted with housework and/or caring for your child, always remember that your relationship is where everything started. Once in a while, it’s good to slow down and spend some quality time together. And from the mundane routines of everyday life to the moments when arguments arise, always make sure you are working as a team to solve problems together.
3) Build rapport with your employer
There are situations where being a woman can be disadvantageous in the workplace, especially so if you do not have an understanding and supportive work environment and culture. While the government has been generous in its Baby Bonus packages, employers at their best have not been all that keen on losing female labour. At worst, it can be difficult for women to return and adapt back to the workforce after pregnancy.
Even in work environments without a supportive culture, remember that culture starts from the interaction between individuals. Whenever you can, build rapport with your employers and get to know them better as individuals. There will be times in life when you need their understanding and support, and you will feel more comfortable opening up to them.
4) Establish healthy and respectful family boundaries
Family can be a source of stress for many young adults in Singapore, for most of us live with our parents until marriage, and sometimes even with our in-laws after that. From not spending enough time at home to when you are going to bear them a grandchild, our family members’ concern and involvement in our lives can sometimes be stressful, although well-meaning. Living with family, especially a multi-generational one, may be a source of tension, especially when everyone has different beliefs and goals at different stages of life.
To prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, communicate with your family members candidly and update them about your life on a regular basis. In times of being challenged, share your thoughts in a calm and rational manner, for often it is the lack of understanding, not trust, that causes our elders to question our choices.
While it is important to maintain harmonious and strong family relationships with open and honest communication, it is essential to establish healthy boundaries with the people we respect and love, and seek their understanding in our choices.
5) Get professional support and information on family planning
Looking towards the future, starting a family can be an exciting and daunting point of time for a young woman. Some of us are apprehensive about the responsibilities that come with being a parent, while some have been dreaming about starting a family for the longest time. Many young adults and couples in Singapore, understandably, are daunted by the financial cost of raising children here.
Government incentives definitely help, but the financial support is short-term. For those who are daunted and stressed over the long-term financial planning, engaging professional help may help to lighten the burden. Gather all the resources you can, talk to people who have done it before, and don't hesitate to seek a professional counsellor or someone experienced who can advise you. After all, having a child is a huge life decision, and we want to be prepared in every way — physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.
To achieve true harmony and balance in our lives, we need the support of others around us. Don't be afraid to ask for help and communicate your needs honestly to the people who matter.
And don’t forget to take care of yourself too, so that you can enjoy everything that life has to offer you ahead. Income recognises that the role of a woman has changed over the years. As times change, insurance should too. We are here to support you with a dependable plan for every stage of your life.
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.