Friday, 5 April 2013

A PTD Working Mother

Andi said, maybe I should write a post about being a working mother and especially the challenges of being a PTD officer...well, here goes.....

Mama-PTD Batch DPA 3 1981

It is not easy being a working mother, especially if you are in the Management and Professional Group ( Civil Service clustering of services). Expectations come from all sectors - your boss expects 100% commitment to your work and your family expects you can spend time with them as and when they want you to! So what is left for yourself?

When I decided to get married, having children was something natural that goes with getting hitched. I love children and family life. I love the thought of raising a family, caring for them and building a home....I had an inkling it was not going to be easy, but I never realised it was going to be hard work! It was a situation of "I clock-out from my "real office" and clock-in to my "home office". When others can come home and relax with a cup of coffee and banana fritters, I have to take over my baby from the nanny, put on my apron and start dinner, while still remembering to breathe! But then again, that is the price women have to pay for wanting to have a career besides carrying out what have been destined....being a wife and mother! How do I maintain my cool and not lash out on my family? - I keep telling myself how lucky I am to be wanted and be depended on by my children!

When I held Andi, my first-born in my arms after he was born, I could not believe that I actually was responsible for such a beautiful creation. It was the same feeling with all my children, only more intense because I then had not one but more tiny ones to care for. I am sure all mothers feel the same way towards their off springs. With that feeling also came these concerns "Can I really look after this tiny baby? What if I screwed up? What if he gets sick or something?....and the list of "What ifs?" goes on.....

And then there's the question of who is going to care for them while my husband and I are at work? Back when my children were young, it was possible to scout for domestic help in villages. We still managed to locate young unemployed girls willing to take on the job. But they did not stay long though.......... In between looking for replacements, we put our children up at my mothers or talked my mom-in-law into staying over longer then usual during her visits or placed them in day-cares. All of these options had their own challenges which we had to face with a lot of patience and tawakkal. And before we know it, all our children outgrew the need for babysitters. The one principle my husband and I stood by was that, no matter how difficult it was and no matter what options we chose as measures to solve our babysitting problems, we made sure that we were always there for the children......

I am a PTD (Administrative and Diplomatic) Officer and have worked in various Government Departments and dealt with numerous professionals ( doctors, allied health professionals, lawyers, teachers, town planners, IT people, fire & rescue personnels) who settled for nothing but the best from me.....While I carry out my duties, I am also responsible to upkeep the good name of the PTD that added to the pressure and stress. How can I be a good civil servant and at the same time not neglect my big family because as a civil servant, I have to put my service before my family.

Like everyone else, there were ups and downs, successes and failures, near misses and glorious achievements, frustrations and accomplishments....but at the end of it all, I believe that if we are honest in what we do, whether its taking care of the family or carrying out our official duties, in shaa Allah, all will turn out fine. We just need to be ready to sacrifice and give-in more, making the best of situations while not expecting for things to always turn out the way you planned.

Tired I may be by the time I reached home, but the smiles on my childrens' faces telling me how excited they are at seeing me home is enough to give me the strength to go on. And at work, the knowledge that I have contributed, even though a little in achieving my organization's success and along the way solved my customers problems or fulfilled their needs is satisfaction knowing I have been useful.

I used to envy housewives who have all the time in the world to care for their families, plan their day to accomodate their schedule perfectly, with priority being given to their childrens' needs. However, when I think about it, their working hours may be theirs to command, but their purchasing power is dependent on how much their husbands can afford to give them. Unlike working mothers who draw their own income, housewives' limitations come in the form of their ability to fulfill their children's material needs.

As such, I believe that no matter how difficult it may be, working mothers are still blessed. The challenge to care for your family will turn into rewards that you will reap in no time. An understanding spouse and supportive family members help lessen the responsibility. Like what Afzal always said, trust in the beautiful plannings of Allah. Everything that happens, happens for a good reason which we may not be able to comprehend right away. All the challenges that Allah bestow upon me till now, I accept with humility and I believe that I will continue to be tested for I am but a mere human who errs................Mama Afzal
Andi- PTD Batch DPA 1/2010