Running A Company, Having A Baby: Celebrity Mum & Entrepreneur Shares How She Found “Work-life Harmony”
Speaking to theAsianparent in an exclusive interview, Wong shared how she found work-life harmony and what she has learned in her journey so far.
Managing a career and family can leave some parents feeling guilty and stressed. Those who make it work and strike the balance between the two often find themselves making sacrifices in order to achieve work-life harmony.
This is a situation in which many Singaporean parents—mums, in particular—find themselves: making tough choices every day trying to maintain a career and still be involved in raising their children. It’s something the former Cantopop-singer-turned-mumpreneur Race Wong is all too familiar with.
Speaking to theAsianparent in an exclusive interview, Wong shared how she found work-life harmony—running her property startup Ohmyhome, and raising her daughter Cara—and what she has learned in her journey so far.
Finding Work-life Harmony
According to Wong, while parents can opt to choose one over the other when it comes to working and parenting, it all boils down to what they are willing to let go and what realities they can live with (or without).
“I think the biggest challenge is to know that you can’t have it all. And I think we have to come to terms with that,” said Wong.
Wong admitted that she is aware of the challenges parents face when they choose to have a career and have kids at the same time. She said she understands that there are instances where she can’t be at work or sometimes, she can’t be with her child.
“But it’s about knowing what your priorities are,” said Wong. “For me, it’s to ensure that my daughter is healthy, she’s getting the education she needs, and that she is provided with what is best for her,” added Wong.
Wong also admitted that it isn’t easy for her, nor her family, when she has to spend more time at work.
“Prior to all the lockdowns, I had to travel [frequently], sometimes every two weeks, sometimes every week.” These work trips, Wong said, made her miss some important events and milestones for her family. “I missed my wedding anniversary. I missed other some important dates because I had to be overseas for work. Of course, I feel guilty, and I am so sorry I was not there.”
With this, the start-up founder acknowledges that it takes a village to raise a child and keep a family together. The 38-year-old entrepreneur said she wouldn’t be able to do as much as she has without the good support system around her.
“It’s only possible—to ensure Cara is well taken care of even when I’m away, to send her to Chinese classes, to send her to swimming and piano lessons—because I have a very supportive family: my husband, my parents, my sisters,” Wong revealed.
“It gives me great assurance to know that my child is safe, she is well taken care of, and she is happy even at times that I cannot be with her,” Wong added. “I’m super blessed to have a really good family nucleus.”
“Being A Mum Makes Me More Compassionate”
Part of running a company is setting an example for your staff and also showing that you can do what works for you. This is something Wong had to ensure when she started up Ohmyhome in 2016.
“Being a mother has allowed me to be more compassionate towards the others, and that’s very important when you’re running a company,” Wong said.
According to the mum-of-one, from the simple going to playdates and making policies at work, Wong owes it to being a mother—which according to her shaped the way she runs her company that is now staffed by at least 70 people.
“Motherhood has allowed me to understand the commitments, the duties and responsibilities, and the amount of time and effort it takes for people to raise a child and provide for their families. So it helps me better understand my employees, and to actually spend more time [getting to know them], and come up with policies that enable them to make it work in the office and at home.”
Wong’s company Ohmyhome is recognised as a family-friendly workplace which fosters healthy work-life integration. In fact, the company was invited to share about its family-friendly values at the Families for Life Council’s Employer Networking Seminar in 2019.
“When we were building our office, one of our key priorities was making it a family-friendly workplace,” said Wong, bragging some family-friendly arrangements at the company, such as meeting rooms that double as playrooms—allowing employees to bring their little ones at work.
“The rooms are kind-of soundproof, and there are toys kids can play with. This way, the parents of these kids in the office can see them and not worry that they are disturbing people and safe in the rooms.” Wong added.
“We also do a lot of family activities like children’s activities where we like to invite everyone to bring their family members. In fact, it’s not just parents bringing children, we have some younger employees who would like to bring their parents too!” Wong quipped.
Doing It All Over Again
Wong just launched the Philippines arm of Ohmyhome several months ago. While that might be a strong feat on its own, it is noteworthy to know that the launch of their business there happened in the time of a global pandemic. To top it all off, Wong also shared with theAsianparent that she is currently pregnant with baby number 2.
And while running a business and at the same time raising a child may be challenging, running a business while pregnant comes with a unique set of challenges, for Wong, doing it all over again is giving her fresh perspectives on the many aspects of life.
If during her previous pregnancy, which was at around the same time Ohmyhome was launched, Wong said there was no time to take a break, this time she is more able to do things she was not able to do previously.
“I document my pregnancy a little bit more than the first one,” Wong said. “[During] the first one, I didn’t write a single note, this time I did! Every single time, after visiting the doctor, I’d keep all the scans, and then I’d write a note about it,” Wong shared.
Just recently, Wong had a baby shower at home with her family.
In an Instagram post, Wong wrote: “For my #babyshower we brought glamping indoors.”
View this post on Instagram
Wong is currently at her second trimester, and while she has yet to reveal the gender of her baby, Wong said she looks forward to becoming a second-time mother.