I hate leaving office after work everyday. You must be thinking that I work late. No I don’t work late. I leave work at 530pm. Oh that’s early! You said. No I don’t leave early either. My work officially ends at 530pm. I leave ON TIME. I am punctual.
That’s the problem. People in your office expect you to be punctual for everything else – meetings, discussions, and project deadlines… But they don’t expect you to be punctual when it comes to knocking off for the day.
I leave work on time because I don’t believe in working overtime unless really necessary. To me it is not, because I am able to finish what I think are important and urgent for the day. Those I have not finished, I think they are neither important nor urgent enough to make me stay back. I have a whole new day tomorrow. There are times I stayed. When I was single I even worked over night on some critical moments. Not that I am not hard working.
I leave work on time because I am a Working Mum. I have less than 2 hours with my baby girl every day. And I do not want to waste a single minute of it.
BUT…I hate that I am actually a coward inside. I don’t walk out of the office standing tall and straight, waving bye-bye to everyone on the way, my eyes looking straight into their eyes, a smile on my face, as if saying ‘Hi there, I have finished my work. I am going home. You know, I have a baby at home’. Instead, these are the steps when I leave:
Step 1: From my cubicle, I half stand, look around me 360 degrees, make sure there aren’t many colleagues and bosses moving around, esp. the path to the back door must be cleared.
Step 2: Quickly put my hand phone in my handbag, still half stand, sneak out of my cubicle.
Step 3: Walking straight line to the back door, looking downward, and pretending I am still perplexed by some important issues at work. If there is anyone enters into my side view, don’t turn the head; continue walking pretending I do not see them.
Finally out of the back door, you think I can relax now? Not yet, I have not cleared the lift lobby yet.
During the whole process I feel like I have conducted the world’s worst 10 crimes, and I should be awfully guilty and ashamed, and I better disappear quickly because it hurts other people’s eyes seeing me.
In my office, I am one of the earliest to leave. Not many people leave on time, even those I don’t see as very busy. Partly it is just the culture here in Singapore, in Asia. My office also has mostly guys. Guys are different. They can have career as their priority even when they are fathers. There are only 7 ladies. One of them is the secretary, she always leaves early but nobody will say anything because secretaries get to leave early, regardless they are mothers or not. 3 are single, they have all crossed 30 and 2 of them are Assistant Managers, so I guess it is not too wrong to put them under the ‘Career Woman’ category for this analysis’s sake. The other 2 are also young mothers, but one of them has 1 maid and 2 parents at home and the other one is driving, so at least they don’t need to rush as much as me.
I am a working mum. It takes me 1hr 15 mins by Bus –MRT –Walk to reach home, so I reach home at 645pm. I then change and walk passes 3 blocks to pick up my baby girl Kahyen from our nanny, by the time we come down from nanny’s place it’s about 7. She sleeps at 830pm and bedtime routine starts at 8pm (Wipe/Change/Milk/Book). I have practically one hour before her bedtime and I make a point to bring her to the park and playground everyday, and then pack dinner for husband & myself. By the time we reach home we have only 15mins for dinner. Did I tell you I forget how to chew food after becoming a mother?
The husband does not knock off so early so we decided it is too stressful for me to pick up the baby and cook dinner. We pack, and Chinese cooked rice most of the days. We decided that spending quality time with Kahyen is of higher priority than what we eat for dinner for now. After she goes to Childcare, it will be a whole new challenge then because Childcare does not provide dinner, and we probably can’t have a less than 2 year kiddo eat outside food everyday. I will have to figure out how to cook and do so many other things at the same time.
So now you know why I leave work at 530pm.
|Picture source: askamum.co.uk|