Here’s Why Working Moms Can’t Work Late

Before I had kids, putting in extra hours was a piece of cake. I did it often and I didn’t mind it. I’ll text the husband, order takeaway, share it with my colleagues and finish the work. Go home, sleep, repeat. I’d even have time to squeeze in a workout at the gym.

But like with everything else in life, having kids complicates the whole thing about working overtime.

Since I returned back to work from my maternity leave, I’ve had a few days that turned into late work nights and I soon discovered that it wasn’t the same anymore.

I don’t believe in staying late just because the bosses do. I don’t believe in doing that kind of dance in order to get ahead in my career. I work late only if I have a piece of work (or many) that simply needs to get done.

As I step into this new phase of my life, I also realised that the people around me don’t seem to know what it means to me if I work late. They are nice people who try to understand but I don’t suppose they ever will.

“My husband will have to take care of the kids alone”, I’d explain.
“I’m sure he can do it”, they’d say politely.

Singapore Family Blog

My 2 kids are very young (4 months and 2.5 years old), I have a helper and I’m grateful that my husband’s working hours are relatively more flexible than mine. We have a hectic after work/school routine that goes like this:

  • Every evening, my husband rushes to pick 2.5 year old Daniel up from his childcare before it closes at 7pm and he just makes it on time everyday.
  • My helper will magically manage 4 months old Nathen at home all day and cook dinner.
  • We’ll all get home and take turns eating dinner (because the kids always need close supervision). My helper will then wash up while the husband and I go 1 on 1 with each kid.
  • We’ll all be in bed by 9.30pm because the kids needs to sleep early or the world will end tomorrow when we attempt to wake them up.

That is a routine that will be disrupted if I work late. My helper will have to help with the kids till I get home at 9ish. The kids sleep later, the helper starts cleaning up later, and I don’t get time with the kids at all. My husband would have to fly solo with the kids, while the helper cleans up after dinner, and he will be dead tired trying to keep things under control when I get home. To make things worst, baby Nathen refuses to be carried by him and will launch into a mega crying session if he is held by my husband for more than 5 minutes.

After a very long day at work, I would come home to a lot of chaos and crying. I’m hungry and want to eat but the husband is understandably very eager to be relieved of the kids.

That’s the kind of stress that I face at home if I work late. Imagine when my kids grow a little older and they start forming an opinion towards me working late. That’s going to add to all of this.

And that’s why I never work late if I could. My family needs me. After 6pm, I knock off work and make my way to my 2nd and more important job. The routine needs me to play my part and be there. Daniel listens to me more than he does to my husband. Baby Nathen only wants my helper or I.

I wish there was a better way to do this but I guess only time can help make things better. Are you facing stress from working long hours too? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Also read: How I wanted to give up as a mom & Why I don’t hang out as often anymore.

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81 Comments

  1. August 23, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    I try to avoid working late as much as I can and thankfully the work environment has been supportive. Of course there are times when it’s inevitable and I’ll get calls from my daughter asking what time I’ll be back. Thankfully I have my mum to help out so its still not too bad. The work place needs a lot more understanding colleagues and bosses to support working mums and dads.

    • Ju Ann
      August 23, 2016 / 3:08 pm

      Hi Susan, yes I am worried about when I come to the stage you are at now, where your daughter can ask you why you need to work late, and get unhappy about it all 🙁
      Thanks for sharing your POV

  2. August 23, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    I feel you, although my colleagues didn’t say anything, I’m pretty sure they didn’t understand why I would leave at 6 on the dot to go to my second (and more important?!) job. I’ve also worked in a wonderful environment where everyone was expected to have a life outside of work. I hope more companies can be like the latter! Jia you, or I hope you will be able to find a more family friendly environment 🙂

    • Ju Ann
      August 23, 2016 / 3:08 pm

      Hi Mummyed – omg that’s exactly how I feel too. Like,after 6pm, I have another job to go to!!

  3. August 23, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    I totally get you. This is my life too… Got a 2 years old and a 5 months old. Both very clingy to me plus baby still breastfeeding… I have to rush home daily because I know my kids needs me. I tend to turn done blog events too because I rather be home with my kids

    • Ju Ann
      August 23, 2016 / 4:09 pm

      Hi Honey, ya man! Life with 2 kids is so different from life with 1!

    • Disgruntled single
      August 23, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      It’s true that workplace needs to have understanding colleagues and bosses. But the bosses need to be fair to those singles or those who don’t have children as well. They shouldn’t expect these group of people to take on the extra duties just because those with kids need to go off on time. These group of people have their own life too and shouldn’t be penalized just because they don’t have kids. If you have kids, sure go home on time but please ensure that you are pulling your weight at work too.

      • Also mummy of 2 young ones
        August 23, 2016 / 10:06 pm

        Agreed which is why I would tell my boss I can come back on Saturday for work when needed. Even though she will usually avoid asking us (those mummies with kids) to come back if there is an event. Don’t need to excuse me just because I have kids. I will also want to be fair to other colleagues and to the company.

        I find it’s a give and take thing. If the company is accommodating, friendly, flexible, etc, I’m sure most mummies will try not to take advantage of the kindness and will work extra hard to “compensate” not being able to OT. And I’m sure if need be, they will also be responsible enough to OT once awhile if the need arises.

        • tsewei
          August 23, 2016 / 10:52 pm

          I am always very wary of these “be fair to singles too” reasoning. Pulling one’s weight is not equated to staying late, and vice versa. Working parents – moms and dads – can do just as much as anyone else at work, if not more. They are merely asking for people to be more understanding as to why they cannot stay past 6 – many continue with work emails after the kids go to bed, or come in early to get more work done, and if need be on weekends when planned in advance.

          Everyone can pull their weight in their own ways. The problem is our culture of keeping scores and counting hours – does more hours equate to better work?

          And parents are going home to pull a second shift, not to relax and watch a movie. Parents are going home because the people who need them the most are waiting for them. Parents are going home because home is their biggest responsibility which oddly in our culture sees them spending more time with colleagues than their own kids.

          • Disgruntled single
            August 24, 2016 / 9:10 pm

            Yeah I agree that everyone can pull weight in their own ways and it doesn’t mean that more hours equate to better work. But I have single friends who are given more projects or expected to do more shifts just because their other colleagues have to go home to their kids. The fairness topic that I’m raising here for the singles are pertaining to the work load allocated by the bosses. Yes it’s easy to just allocate more work to those without kids since they don’t seem to have commitments. But is this fair? Those without kids have their own personal commitment which might not be seen by others. They also do have family members they want to return home to and spend time with. So what I’m trying to say here is, yes I know it’s tough to be working mum but please don’t use this as an excuse to push away responsibilities at work too. I’m sure most of us are fine with mothers go home on time, as long as this doesn’t have any negative implications on the rest such as covering up their work for them

      • Working mother
        August 25, 2016 / 12:12 pm

        Well i think, that is the boss problem who should be fair to their staff not the working mom’s fault. You know, if you think about work,work never ends, so it is all about having a work life balanced, and depends on your priorities, but once you become a mother or father you should reset your priorities where family comes first. As an employee you will always become just an employee to the company, once you resigned your place would be replaced and the company will continue to make more money, but your family, no replacement for you or your kids or your family, they are the one will pray n cried for you, coz in their heart you will never be replaced. So you choose your path and company to work with, to satisfy your priorities, life is too short too be a robot to a company, so have a work life balance, you can choose to be happy if you want to be happy, family is one of the happiness to spend time with, so reset your priorities now.

  4. Emily
    August 23, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    A very nice read. I haven’t got a helper and the husband is working overseas 99% of the time. I’m lucky to have a pretty much supportive work environment. I hope others can help to create such an environment for other mums. It would take a huge load of our shoulders. But of course the mums should not take advantage of the situation either. I know someone who brushes off her work responsibilities and doesn’t have the basic courtesy to be punctual for work. When asked, she would defend herself that “I’ve got a family ok!” It totally gives other mums (who work hard for both their jobs and families) a bad rep.

  5. August 23, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    I shoo my staff off on time because we all need to go back to our families!
    But there are staff who choose to spend time idling during work hours and have to stay back to finish their work. This is something I still can’t comprehend.

    • Also mummy of 2 young ones
      August 23, 2016 / 10:08 pm

      Some is just to show that they are so hardworking, they so busy and overloaded that they have to do OT. But most of the time they are not even at their desk! Probably out having dinner!

  6. Tiredmum
    August 23, 2016 / 5:30 pm

    I have been facing this, and I dont think anyone understands (sometimes not even hubby). I end earliest at 5.30pm (sometimes delayed till 6pm), and have to rush to childcare to pick my 16mo by 7pm. Ive got not helper, so the moment we r home, I have to wash all his bottles, pack his bag for the nxt day straight away. While the steriliser is doing its job, i will be doing right brain training sessions. Hubby returns home at abt 7.30-8pm, then we head out for dinner. We aim to be home before 9.30pm (sleeping time for LO). Once home, i will be rushing to change diapers, feeding milk and praying hard LO sleeps immediately. Otherwise, it will be battle till 11pm. It is only after LO sleeps that I get to remove my makeup, shower n do my own stuffs (including minor household chores).

    My job is 5.5 days, and im expected to work late at least once a week. I also work sundays once a mth. Hubz holds a 5 day job, but he works more than 12hrs/day, and when the situation calls for it, he is on standby 24/7. There has been times he doesnt even come home, or just comes home for a wink (2-3hrs max) before heading back to work. If he gets sent overseas, i will have to cope with LO myself for few weeks.

    What frustrates me is that I feel that my independence is being taken for granted. Hubz thinks i should not grumble abt it cos other families r struggling too and it isnt going to change the situation. I earn a very much higher income than Hubz, and he thinks i should be happy that at least Im paid well for my ridiculous work schedule. Hubz tries to help me as much as he can, and he thinks he is already doing his best, so I should be grateful and suck it up. Im paying for the household expenses, the house, my son’s school fees too, so thats another burden on my shoulders. Basically, to hubz, as long as nothing is going to change the situation, dont even talk/grumble abt it. Period. Dont expect hugs. Dont expect any pity from him. I am struggling to manage, ive accepted the fact that i have a very heavy burden on my shoulders, and resigned to the fact that i have to swallow it all down myself. Ive given up expecting hubz to be empathetic. I know it isnt healthy, and have even harboured thoughts of whether the marriage should continue since i dont have to rely on hubz to support the family at all. But have casted that thought aside for now since i already have enough on my plate to manage. I dont need another battle of divorce to suck up my remaining energy.

    • Alicia
      August 23, 2016 / 7:31 pm

      Babe, as you have already said, it’s unhealthy. I only hope you will find the courage to face the issues and sort them through with your bubby, which is actually most important than keeping the busy routine just going on for another day. Once the issues start haunting the marriage and family, children always suffer the most. Xoxo

  7. Baiti
    August 23, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    I know I am never alone when I walk this path. I know every mom can relate to this regardless of whether they hv extra help or none.

    I hv 2 girls age 3 & 4. They are both attending fullday childcare. My husband works 3shifts while Im on regular office hours. On some days, i do need to be home late. I do not hv a helper.

    I rushed to wrk EVERY morning. That is enough to make me anxious, tense for the rest of the day. I need get ready for wrk, get the girls dressed up for sch (at the same time facing the morning whinings and cries) ALONE most of the time. N then rush to send them to sch (thank god its at lobby) and speedygozalez-drive to wrk (bracing through all jams) that’ll take me abt 40minutes. I probably just start breathing when i reach work *fuh!*

    I make sure i finish all work at work. I try hard not to bring any home.

    I rush home to clean myself up, wash/dry laundry (again, thank god! For dryer!!) cook dinner for the girls before fetching them frm sch. Bring them home, shower them, dinner, hv little chat, play toys, 20mins iPad time (where i can fold the clothes). Finally put them to sleep. Nope, i didnt sleep – I clean the house. If my hubs is on aft/night shift, he’ll do all cleaning in the morning. If he is morning shift, he’ll whip dinner for the girls.

    There you babe! You are not alone! We all feel stressed up and upset at times. I do cry at night at times. But i’ll peep at my girls….and seeing them sound asleep makes all sacrifices worthwhile! I just gotta love everything i do for them because im their Mama and our children love us much more than we can tell ❤️

  8. Fly
    August 23, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Zero OT & Zero personal time ever since i got kids. For me, family is far far more important than career.

  9. Cleo
    August 23, 2016 / 6:00 pm

    Hi, I totally understand your situation as I went through the same stage as you, plus no helper at home. However, I chose to leave my old job where long hours was expected and I landed in a new job where work can be brought home. I chose to leave my children in a childcare near my workplace and I forced myself to work very efficiently so that I could pick them up on time everyday. Time flies and I survived. I am sure you can work out something with your spouse. Hang on there!

  10. WM
    August 23, 2016 / 6:15 pm

    Not to forget why working mums need to take emergency leaves coz we cannot predict when our kids decide to fall sick, or if the caretaker at home is sick & hence unable to take care of the kid. People tell me to find alternatives but really there isn’t any alternatives available when it comes to your kid… Not like u can place a toddler with some other Uncle or auntie within the family that the kid is not familiar with, particularly for breastfed kids. We do wanna do a good piece of job at work, but when u have a kid, your priorities change. We might just get a scolding or a chaser for late submissions at work, but the time lost with your child is something you can never get back. What is worse, missing the deadline at work or a few years down the road when your kid grows up and decided since u do not have time for her, she won’t have time for u either? Definitely the latter for me, but still makes me feel hurt when u do your best at work and people pass a comment that discredits it all due to you requiring a more flexible work schedule. *sigh*

  11. Geri
    August 23, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    Your post really hits the spot! I’m a mummy of two 3.5yo and 9mo boys. Oh gosh… everything you said is exactly what I’m going through now.

    Not to mention the late nights (I’m still bf) and the disruptive sleeps.

    I call it quits at my former place in trade for a better work life environment. My family needs me more than my boss 😉

  12. SP
    August 23, 2016 / 9:57 pm

    Same!!!!!!
    I was getting so stressed and so upset about the lack of quality time with no.1 after bfeeding no.2 to sleep that it was tearing me up inside.
    The reality is that we can’t do everything equally in balance with the fact that our job requires us to be ‘onsite’ for 9 hrs a day during waking hours.
    So I thought it through and decided I needed to do something about it. I requested for shorter working hours, and after a few levels of approvals, was granted this request w a proportionate pay cut and for a limited 1 year period. Which I am so so so thankful for. The extra 1.5 hrs I get a day with my kids make so much of a difference and both were visibly happier from day 2 onwards. I don’t ever leave work on time at 4.15 pm officially, usually about about 5pm ie doing OT for 45 mins every day, but it really still helps in what ‘balance’ means to me.

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 10:10 am

      I’m glad this worked out for you SP! I might consider that too! 🙂 The kids are only ever young once. 🙂

  13. August 23, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    I totally identify with your article, even with one child! While of course we work late because a piece of work needs to get done, and we are pulling our weight at work, it’s hard for fellow colleagues (who are single or married without kids) to empathise why we need to leave on the dot. More so, they do not understand why we cannot work late regularly or why other family members cannot help out for a while longer.

    I dislike that work takes me away longer from my family such that I’m only ‘with’ my child when I’m getting him ready for bed and nursing him. Not to mention, some semblance of quality time with the husband.

    It takes a village to raise a kid, but the core care and concern should be from parents. And parents should be present, not absent.

  14. Rabiyah
    August 23, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    I used to b like tt too b4 i had kids.. When we had no. 1, she was taken care of by mil. Will rush fr werk to fetch her home. Now tt we hv no. 2, both are at 19 mths n 5 mths respectively, both are at childcare. I usually them fetch the ard 5 to 515. Occasionally i knock off at 6pm. The guilty feeling of fetching them left, makes me feel sad. At times i just feel like quitting n work shorter hrs.

  15. SO
    August 23, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    After my maternity leave, I went back to full time work, and after 3 or 4 months of struggling to balance out work and family, life has forced me to make a choice. My boss wasn’t supportive of part-time work citing ‘because we’re operational’ as the reason, and even telecommuting was limited to only half-day. The nightly sleep disruptions to breastfeed have taken a toil on my health, falling sick ever so often, as well as my work performance. So come October, I will become a SAHM for maybe the next year or so.

  16. Super-busy-mum
    August 23, 2016 / 10:49 pm

    I have 3 kids (all boys!), aged 8 yrs, 5 yrs & 1 yr. I stay with my in laws which helps a lot. But I’m stressed everyday and try my best to leave work on d dot at 6.30pm but rarely can make it. I’m expected to be at home early to take over from my mother-in-law which manages 4 kids (extra 1 son is from her own daughter), if not she will wonder the lateness home is it due to me going to jalan-jalan? Haiz, always misunderstanding.

    Anyway, I can totally imagine ur situation at home when u describe it. During my weekends my world is upside down with taking care of them 3 as we will let my mil rest. I do not have any social life as my world revolves ard going to work during weekdays and home with the kids during weekends. Repeated, day in and day in. Sigh. No chance of going overseas too as the kids r still young and not nice to throw them to my in laws again since weekdays when I go out to work they r the one who help us. Anyway let’s jiayou together, it will be easier when they grow older :))

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 10:11 am

      yes lets jiayou together!

  17. OkMum
    August 23, 2016 / 11:24 pm

    I have a mil and a maid to help me do every household chores and taking care of my 2 kids, picking them up from childcare, have gòod homecooked food. I found a job near to my home and basically I can spend more time playing with my kids in the morning and staying back to work late if required. I also have the time to teach my kids something daily. No stress but I think paying to hire a maid and leave it to mil, let me have the chance to focus on work and coaching my kids. Btw mil only stays on weekdays.

  18. Cloh
    August 23, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    Can totally relate with juann. I have 3 kids and 2 helpers. I work in a bank and long hours has been part and parcel. Told boss that i have 3 girls but my 3 girls have only 1 mother! My husband’s job is more flexi but he is too lenient and always let the girls take advantage.
    We try to let the helpers rest after dinner. But this means that after a long day at work, i continue another shift work till 12mn. I only pray to be able to spend some decent quality time to read to them during bedtime or on their way to school.

  19. Huahua
    August 23, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    Completely understand where you coming from. When my kids were younger ( they are 6 and 5 now) I had this struggle too. I hate it when I have to come home and find both crying and Hubby dunno what to do with them. Once I reach home he practically relieve himself and start doing his own things. I will have to settle them and put them to bed.
    But don’t worry. Things will get better when they are older.
    Occasionally I still work late now and I would receive calls from my son asking what time will I be back and whether have I had my dinner. If I tabao back, they will sit with me and chat about our day at work and school.
    It’s just a phase in life and before you know it, they are already grown up. 🙂

  20. Jesslyn
    August 24, 2016 / 12:04 am

    I have been working late everyday ever since I changed job. 4months into the job, my son change his preference from mummy to daddy, hubby felt like a single dad, and best of all, I missed a few of his milestones. Time to set my priority straight.

    • Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Facing same situation my daughter was in p1 then I change job need to put in extra time in job plus study in the end I miss out her and nowadays its very hard for me to communicate with her still I am trying its really not easy… As a mum to educate the children in moral or study is really important

  21. Syazwani
    August 24, 2016 / 12:08 am

    I totally understand what you’re going through.. I have a 2 year old and 6mth old. Half the time I feel like I want to pull all my hair out. Other times I’m reciting to myself, “deep breathing~” and if all else fails I’ll cry in the shower. (I don’t have a helper, both boys are in childcare.. Chores are a nightmare!!!!)

    It’s so overwhelming and people underestimate what we deal with at home. My bosses are quite family-oriented and understanding. My other superiors however are still single and “in their prime”.. So whenever I have to explain myself that I have to take cc leave or urgent leave because my Son is having a major allergic reaction in school or my infant is running a temp, I’m thinking to myself..’why do I need to explain myself?! My boys are my TOP priority!!’

    Sigh, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this situation.. Yes.. We still need the workplace to be fair to everybody.. I’m sure, everyone agree, all we ask for is a little understanding and compassion..

    • Sharon
      August 24, 2016 / 11:58 pm

      I am a mother of 3 girls age 9 , 8 and 3. I don’t have a helper. Thank God that I found a job which requires me to work from 10am to 6 pm. My youngest gal is in childcare the other 2 older girls are in student care. I also glad that I have a understanding boss who let’s me take leave when the childcare or student care are close for teacher training , teacher’s day and children’ s day etc. My hubby will help me daily by sweeping the floor, mop the floor and boil water in the early morning. For me every morning 630 I will wake up to send the older girls to take schoolbus to school. Than I go back to sleep for another hour. At 8 am I will wake up to prepare the ingredients for cooking the soup. Than I will bath the youngest. Than I will bath and prepare myself for work. At 830 am I will send the girl to childcare which is one busstop away from my home. After sending her I will go and take bus to work which is at paya lebar square. Reaching workplace I still have half an hour to take my breakfast and by 10 am I will start work. At 6 pm I will leave on the dote from my workplace to catch the bus 76 to head home. The three gals will be fetch by my dad to go home. As for me upon reaching home I will clear the dirty clothes from the 3 gals bag and packing new sets of clothes for them to bring to the childcare and studentcare. I will bath the youngest gal and cook rice. As for the vegetables I buy from the mix rice stall and I have soup that is brew for dinner. At 730pm hubby is back than we all can settle down to take our dinner. I will put the clothes into washing machine to wash while we having our dinner. After the dishes are wash I will hang the clothes to dry it’s no joke to hung 5 person clothes. At 9pm the gals will go to the room to sleep. That will be the time when I can rest and relax to do my own things. Although it can be taxing to handle 3 kids but as days go by they will grow older and things will get better.

  22. Charmaine
    August 24, 2016 / 6:56 am

    I can do overtime at home which makes it more flexible. However, I will be very tired to do it after my 2 year old sleep or do it in the morning before going work. Hence, if possible, I try not to do overtime. I had a helper recently but I still choose to take care of my girl on my own. Hence, it is a 3-4 hours 2nd job. I wish she can sleep earlier but we only reached home around 7 plus which is not possible to make her bed time earlier. She used to sleep through which makes it easier for us but recently she always cry during the middle of night for milk. I tried to give her more solids for dinner and milk before sleep but she is getting picky with solids. Woes of a working mum and terrible two

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 10:07 am

      Stay strong Charmaine!

  23. Sharon
    August 24, 2016 / 7:27 am

    Me too!! I’m a mother to 6mths twin boys and is without a helper. Man, on some days I wonder how I get past the days.

    After being on HL & ML for a grand total of 7mths, the work load facing me at office is humongous. I struggled to clear as much as I can everyday without working ot and its overwhelming. Cuz your mind keeps running at full speed during work hours trying to finish as much as you can. That being said, I find myself more efficient after becoming a mother. Haha.

    Just the other day, I try to feedback to my boss that my workload is overflowing and it seems I’ve got even more on my plate after I came back and she causally mentioned oh tats becuz u couldn’t stay back so work keep piling up. Ok fine. I keep my mouth shut after that and went back to concentrate finishing my work.

    My boys are looked after by 1 each by both their grannies and comes home to us at night. It’s just like IFC or CC where I try rush home by 7pm to releive my mum of her duties while my hubby fetches another twin from his mum hse.

    We try have an hr of playtime as a family before putting the boys to sleep at 9.30pm. Then will grab a quick shower myself and jump into bed to catch some sleep b4 the last night feed at 12 or 1 am Then the next feed will be at 6am before we get ready for work.

    Many a time, I feel like a convenience store. 24Hrs in operation. It’s difficult since your co workers though understanding your plight but are not too accommodating towards you. Its like you are expected to work as though you have no kids at office but expected to perform your mother duties as though you are not working full time.

    Such is a life of a working mum in SG. Its tough but I think we all will get there:)

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 9:50 am

      Hi Sharon, you know, I always wanted twins. But thank goodness mine are not! It’s really double the pain! I wonder how you get past the days too! your kids must be so cute tho, twins and all. 🙂

  24. Sue
    August 24, 2016 / 8:24 am

    Oh gosh, tell me about it! I have 4 kids; 8yr old boy and 3 girls (6, 3 and 10mth). I work 5 days a week and reaches home around 7pm. I do not have a helper as all my previous ones can’t make the cut, so my mom comes over and goes back in the evening when im home. The moment i step through the front door, i never made it to the bedroom till 11pm. I go straight to the kitchen, start the washing machine tumbling, defrost the frozen chicken, meat or fish and fold all the laudry from the night before. I have to do homework with the two elder kids, more often, time-consuming art projects with the girl (that i would love to do it when i have 240hrs a day). Not to mention, preparing them for spellings, tests and what-nots. The other two younger girls will b hanging around me, either wanting this and that or crying their lungs out because i did manage to appease their attention- deprived selves. By 9pm, i whisked all of them to bed, (sometimes falling asleep myself , still in my work attire), den by 930pm i have to hang the laundry and start cooking for the next day. After all that are done, it is already 1030/11pm. My husband is in the real estate industry and starts his appointments after evening and comes home very late, sometimes we don’t even have the chance to speak to each other the whole day. We only whatsapp each other in the day to keep track on the on-goings.

    I’m beyond tired but in Singapore, i can’t afford to be a SAHM, so i have no choice but to be this relentless but exhausted working mummy that i am.

    Life is tough, but i think women are tougher! 😘

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 9:34 am

      Hi Sue, omgg you have it bad! Falling asleep in your work attire! :O :O :O Yes women are tough and with the 4 kids you have, you’re awesome!

  25. August 24, 2016 / 9:11 am

    A nice write up. I t does bring back memories of mine with my wife when we had our 2 boys 17 years ago. (now they are 17 and 15). My wife was also like you who would sometimes had to work late and only back home close to 9 pm a few days in a week. I know it was not easy for her too. Oh yes… we did not have a helper and I usually had to pick my boys up from our babysitter usually by around 7pm. I would rush back and do as many things as possible and at the same time keep an ‘eagle’ eye on the 2 boys. Sometime it was hell but we eventually got through it. Guess as parents, we will find a way and the love for them, we will enjoy the up and downs. I know you and your hubby will get through it like we did. For me now, it is totally a different stage with them . A bigger headache. =)

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 9:32 am

      Hi SimplyGuy, thank you for dropping by and sharing your experience. I can totally relate to your “eagle eye” power HAHA! You’ve come a long way since. And no helper too! Yes I believe time will make things better, or at least it will change things. 🙂

  26. Nisa
    August 24, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Chanced upon your blog just in time with the stress I am having now. I am a single parent who husband passed away last year in an accident. working in a law firm always requires me to work late. Few times I got home at 11pm! I have a toddler age 18 months and a son age 10 years. My mother in law whom I’m staying with help to look after them while I’m at work. I always ended up crying at my desk when I have to work late. The bosses don’t seems to understand my frustration and stress.
    It got me thinking lately, that to look back, if I work late, I only spent less than 1 hour with them in a day. which is unfair for them as kid who only have me as their parent. and this makes me thinking, of finding a more appropriate job that allow me to go home on time.

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 10:12 am

      Oh dear Nisa. Hang in there. Life is tough but like one of the other commenters here said, women are tougher. 🙂

      • iz
        August 24, 2016 / 11:21 am

        hi nisa, sorry for your loss.. hang in there …look for another job that allows u that family time. having a job that keeps you at work more till 11pm a few times within a month is not ok..

  27. Esther May
    August 24, 2016 / 9:43 am

    Same over here! I have a 31mnths boy & 7+mnths girl. Leaving work 6pm sharp would be frowned upon, but they do not know that i reach home 1.5hrs later beating the superbly hectic traffic…sigh. My daughter doesn’t latch on directly to me, so i have to pump religiously just to give her the best. Sleeping more than 4 hours is a luxury for me after having my two kids. On the other hand, I’m thankful to have a very supportive husband & in laws (living with parent in laws).

    • Ju Ann
      August 24, 2016 / 10:12 am

      Thanks for sharing Esther, I feel a little less lonely!

  28. August 24, 2016 / 10:45 am

    I can totally understand your situation. I have 2 kids, 4 yo & 1.5 yo. I changed my job last Nov to a place thats further comparatively to my previous job which was only 6 bus stops away. Even if I leave on the dot at 6pm, I will reach home around 7.15pm on average. But most of the time I will hitch a ride from the hub, which gets me home (parents house) around 8pm. At night, my dad will be working, mum’s exhausted, the hub isn’t always around as he’s alternating between our own place and my parents, lastly, both kids want my attention the moment I’m back. I tried to read stories and play with them and will end up bathing late, which will get me scolded by my mum. Recently, I told my elder one that she should be sleeping earlier (usual time – around 11.30pm). Her reply was, “You come back so late, play with me so late, that is why I slept late.” ~ something to ponder…

    And yes, I definitely agreed with what you wrote. And I, too, can only hope that my colleagues and boss who are still in the office when I’m off, can understand my situation. Life goes on and I believe we all will pull through, we always do 🙂 Ganbatte ne!

  29. Jasmine
    August 24, 2016 / 11:11 am

    Try being a single mum and have no helper.
    However, we all find ways to manage, don’t we, and I’ve been fortunate to have an employer who understand work/life balance and emergencies that crop up suddenly and the need to stay healthy.
    Just have to remember to take it a day at a time and sometimes, just sometimes, it is ok to let the house look like a bombshell for a day or two… 🙂
    Hang in there, new mums… the journey does not get any easier, just different challenges…

  30. Allie
    August 24, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    I have a 11 Month old girl and a 2 and a half year old boy. I work in a bank and it’s hard. Although my mum helps With the kids in the day, I have to rush back to pick them up from her place every night. My Son asks for me if I don’t arrive by a certain time. And he doesn’t just ask once… He keeps repeating and shout out loud. And I feel you… My girl only wants me or my mum (not my Husband). My mum won’t be able to have her dinner on time if I don’t get to her place early. My dad is already rushing home after work to help my mum with my Son. It’s hard for anyone who is a non parent to understand. And in my team… I’m the only one with 2 kids. My boss doesn’t have any.

  31. Masturah
    August 24, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    I can understand how you feel and i have 4 children age 8,7,4 & 3… After work is another job for me and husband…. It is tough and tiring too…. I do feel stressful sometimes till i can’t take it anymore but i know that i can do it. I need to be patient with my children…. Sometimes i do cook at home or take away…

    After work, i will fetch the 2 young ones from childcare another 2 children my father will send them back to my home. Everyday is the routine furthermore i need to teach the 2 eldest children.

    Luckily, my husband was the one who teaches them as i busy with the 2 young ones as they need me to sleep them not my husband. Sometimes i do cry by myself as i get tired and stressful, after that i feel better. If my husband do overtime, i have to manage by my own and its tough.

    It is not easy being working mom with 4 children to manage….. This is a challenges to me….

  32. August 24, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    I’m sharing this! I work with families and young adults as a life-coach and i cannot tell you how many issues trace back to our first relationships: with our parents! You are doing the right thing providing a more stable structure for everyone; including yourself!
    Do share more in the coming months about this decision’s impact on the children, your marriage (and bedtime *wink).. how everyone may well be feeling/reacting/behaving differently!

    • September 1, 2016 / 11:01 pm

      Hi Jenni, would love to hear more about how who we are today traces back to our parents. I’ve been reading a lot about this recently and I’m very interested to find out how it’s impacted me as a parent to my 3 yo Son.

  33. FH
    August 24, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    I totally feel you. I stopped working late unless it is absolutely necessary. It is just husband and me and baby ….

    I guess we all do what we can and hope for it to improve …

  34. Entia
    August 24, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    All mummies here, so glad to read this to know that I am not alone. I change my job so that it can better accommodate my lifestyle. nowadays I wake up as early as 4am every morning to clear some work so that I can leave on time and sleep a little earlier. Not sure if this works for u all but u can give it a try.

  35. Mun
    August 24, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    Thank you so much! .. You have typed out every single words from my heart that I have been dying to pour out! I am working full time with a young toddler at home. Unfortunately, my male boss is single and is a workaholic… Whenever we leave work on time, there is a stare on the other side of the window.. Sometimes he will just call me to the room for discussion till past 6pm though I’m trying to signal to him that I need to fetch my tot from the babysitter
    Like you said, I have my responsibilities at home too.. My colleagues who are mummies will totally understand.. But not my boss 🙁

  36. April
    August 24, 2016 / 11:24 pm

    I have 2 gals, 6 and 4. Working in a bank means a fair bit of OT. I have been able to leave at 6 most of the time but work doesn’t stop there. There are times that i have to wake up at 4am to finish my work. I try not to log on when i reach home so that i can spend more time with the gals, playing or teaching them. Times when i have to work late, i start to feel really guilty about it, and think if i shld cut down my working hours, change role etc. It was worse when they were younger and i had to cry to let it out, but luckily i have a supportive hubby, in laws and parents, else would not hav been able to continue with my career.

  37. Lelian
    August 25, 2016 / 1:30 am

    Same situation here, a 4 month and a 2.5, can totally understand this article 🙂

  38. Nadiah
    August 25, 2016 / 8:10 am

    Oh my god! Yes, it’s the same for me here. I leave work sharp at 5pm in order to pick up my son at 6pm( yeah, 1 hour journey home-driving). He will be starving for dinner by the time i get him from the nursery. So when arrive home, as soon as i put everything down, my 20 months old boy gotta hv his dinner..or else..u know what happens when a baby gets super hungry right…
    my husband usually comes home later.
    Most of my colleagues leave work very much later than me.they do give me the face sometimes when i go at 5. But..hey but i don’t care. My son comes first
    N we love our daily routine. Mommies gotta do what mommies gotta do. Its the best for everyone in the family.

  39. Ivory
    August 25, 2016 / 9:25 am

    Hi
    It feels great to read your article. It shows that i am not alone! Finally there are people out there who understand our struggles as a parent and working adult
    I totally agree with you. I believe the time spent with the kids when they are young now will bond us strong together in their future years. They will feel closely attach to their family and their mummy. 🙂
    Lets continue to do what we feel is right.

  40. Aini Razali
    August 25, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    I work in the oil & gas sector (onshore thankfully!) and I’ve given birth to a baby boy who’s almost 5 months now. Like you and probably every other working mother, I find myself wanting to just up and leave the office everyday sharpat 5.30pm. I find myself selfishly wanting to spend a lot more time with my baby that I even go home during my one hour lunch break. Aside from the things you mentioned above (managing the household and kids), it’s important to make every second you spend with you kids count. I’m so afraid my baby will be attached to the helper and not me. Glad to know someone else shares my anxiety about working late.

  41. Lily
    August 25, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    Hi,

    Thanks for the article. I have a gal 3.5 years old, just started on a new job and at the same time trying to write up my PhD thesis. I am trying very hard to find a balance in my career and motherhood at the same time. I am contemplating whether to have my second baby now or wait till I finish my PhD or till my career is more stable. I am feeling so stress at this moment. Can anyone help me?

  42. Yuri
    August 25, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Same here! I also try to not work late and I still give breast milk now, so feel like everyday time not enough for me. Company also complain everytime I pump milk is disturbing working, feel really sad. Now evenryday 5am wake up pump milk , done my girl and prepare work, after work reach home then continue second work. I’m thinking to change job or how because my working hour 9:30 to 6:30 but reach home already 8pm plus .

  43. Ost
    August 25, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    How I wish my GM can read your post and remove the term of work over normal working hour in appraisal form. My point getting lower because of I have to leave office at 5:30pm sharp, and take 1 hour journey to reach my bbsitter house to pick up my bb.
    Sad that I am not able the fulfill this requirement! 😢

    • Apple
      August 26, 2016 / 10:19 am

      I’m quite sure, even if your GM gets to read this, that person will not understand. They always have they reason/logic or whatever.

  44. Nic
    August 25, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    I get you. I used to work until 11pm everynight. With 2 kids it was never easy. I quit my job after 5months of joining the company. Still trying to hunt for something more work life balance, its been 6 months since I quit my job.

  45. Daniella
    August 25, 2016 / 11:49 pm

    I feel you! Ever since I returned to work, things become different. Though ppl say “you will slowly get used to it” but I doubt so. Family comes 1st, work 2nd. I love my job, but I love my family more! Gambateh together towards achieving both, hopefully. 💪💪

  46. Sathiawathy Veerasamy
    August 26, 2016 / 7:53 am

    High five we r on the same boat.. me working in audit line under semi gov sect. Work stress like hell. I can’t bck on time as well. I hv 2.5 yrs son n 6 mths baby. But thank to The Almighty I’m hving MIL to tc of dem. Yet aft bck home kids 100% with me. By the time I reached hone 7.30. Bath dem..feed. settled by 9.30pm. Need to wash the feeding bottles. Iron clothes. Spend roughly 30 mints with my son. Hv my dinner. By the time on bed 12am. Next day 5 to 5.30 must wake up. My work starts at 7.30am. This is the routine. Robotic life.. just can’t imagine how life wud be when kids enter schooling life. N cook wise so far MIL done. Scared to think when time comes for my turn to cook. Huhuhuhu. My work load are super high. I took 3 mths maternity leave yet I need achieve my kpi same as others. Others will achieve kpi for 12 mths. But me working 9 mths yet need to achieve 12 mths work. Too stress..

  47. Meiling
    August 26, 2016 / 8:14 am

    I truly feel you! We are taking care of our going 2 yr old boy ourselves and my 2nd one coming soon. Every night is like chaos if one of us not around. Now we work out a system to leave work on time..meaning no long lunch, no ot, less or no meet up with friends. At times I have to work ot n weekends and luckily my hubby is there. But no matter how tired we are, it’s a joy to have our short quality time with kids whenever we can. U stay strong and continue what u are doing! U are doing great already! Jia u

  48. Haya
    August 26, 2016 / 9:38 am

    I honestly thought i understood the struggles of mommy/daddy colleagues before and only realised the full reality of their stresses when my baby niece came into our lives. Kudos to all working parents! Keep your chin up and there is no need to apologies for leaving the office on time! The company have other workers but children only have one set of parents.

  49. JC
    August 26, 2016 / 10:10 am

    May be an option will be to get a more flexible job, or a job that allow you to work anywhere, anytime 🙂

  50. Apple
    August 26, 2016 / 10:16 am

    It’s nice that at least your colleagues politely tell you “I’m sure your husband can manage”.
    My case? Bosses tease “You husband cannot do mer? Ask him to take care la”.
    And I’m worse than you that I do not have a helper, and both my hb and I are employees. He has his boss and I have mine, meaning, sometimes he also needs to work late.
    And no one in my office, I really mean NO ONE, will understand a working mother without helper’s life.

    My working life? I really do not wish to talk about it. It demotivates me, even as a human.

    I’m thankful I have a very hands-on husband.

  51. Lyn
    August 26, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    I am more than 100% agreed with you. I have 6 months old daughter, and I have never worked late ever since I am back from maternity leave when she was 3 months old.

    Unlike you have helper, I have none at home and neither my husband can help to take care the baby by himself alone. If so happen my husband is back earlier with my daughter (he responsible to send and pick up from his mother house), he will just wait in the car till I reach home.

    Although I have back to work for 3 months, I am still adjusting myself and struggling between work and taking care baby. I missed my baby a lot as we do not have much time for each other everyday, may be less than two hours a day, how sad. Once she back home, it is almost her sleeping time and early morning I have to wake her up and get prepare to send her off.

    I am finding a way by hoping I have more time with her. She grew up super fast, I hope to have more time with her.

    • Cheryl
      September 8, 2016 / 10:34 pm

      Lyn, I totally share your sentiments. I send my 5mo to ifc and I spend only 2hrs or so each day seeing my baby. I also do not have a helper. So my hubby and I juggle and cope with sending her there and fetching her home after we finish work. I work til 6.30pm but I feel very depressed when my boss schedules a late 5.30pm or 6pm meeting as such meetings overrun all the time. But the time it finishes at abt 7pm, I still have to run ard flagging down a cab or attempt to book one at peak hour. MRT is so unreliable and unpredictable now that you cant squeeze into 1 immed and have to wait say 2-4 trains b4 you can successfully board one. When I reach home, I nurse my baby immediately and delay my own dinner, resulting in gastric pain. After nursing her, she falls asleep for the night. I am effectively seeing her only for a couple of hours whilst teachers get to spend more time interacting with her. I feel sad and try to make up by having quality time with her over the weekends.

  52. yong
    November 24, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    I totally understand u. Im a working mum with one daughter @ 27mths old. I don’t have any helper. I have to go back at 5.50pm sharp and have to be on emergency leave when she is sick. By the the i finish cooking & bla bla bla household it is about 8pm and she has to extend her sleeping time to 10pm. Eventhough my colleagues never complaint about me in front of me, but after the leave i got a lot of msg and notes on my table and my performance being affected due to pregnancy (comment from boss) !! Everyone do have a family, pls try to be understanding. I really can’t recall my life during the past 12 months …. but when i tried to recall back only those sweet memories with my gal will appear in my mind. and i tell myself she deserve my scarification and i feel worth it and she hugs me and call me “Mama”

    • Ju Ann
      November 24, 2016 / 1:44 pm

      Yes dear, your sacrifice is worth it. At the end of the day, family is what matters most. Jia You!

  53. donkeying
    August 25, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Yes I agree! Even with one kid I’m also like juggling between work and family 😭

    • Ju Ann
      August 25, 2017 / 9:05 am

      Thanks for sharing your view. Yeh it’s tiring but we keep going anyway. Jia you!

  54. Nurashikin
    August 25, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Wow, it so shocking how ur routine is almost similar to my household. Also have a 4yr old which is sent for childcare and a 1.5yrs old at home with The Maid. Only difference is when I get home, I do the cooking and then have time with the kids.

    Bottom line is, By the end of the week, I get so tired out with or without help. But I’m lucky to have such an understanding Husband.

    • Ju Ann
      October 16, 2017 / 3:23 am

      <3 <3 Nura you're indeed blessed!!

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