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Working Mothers: Work vs. Your Children - a Necessary Conflict?

Interview with District Councilor & Law Firm Founder Ms. Sarena Young

Ms. Sarena Young

District Councilor & Law Firm Founder
A Mother of 4 Children
(2 of her children, Norm Yeung &
Rupert Yeung, are students at
ARISTLE Gifted Institute)

How many positions do you hold currently?

I am currently a district councilor, a solicitor owning my own law firm, and a mother of 4 children.

You must be extremely busy being a district councilor, a solicitor and a mother at the same time. How do you strike a work-life balance?

I set 3 pm as a cut-off time for the day. Every day, I aim to finish all my work at the law firm by 3 pm. After 3, I will go home and take care of my children. If I really can’t finish my work on time, I will bring them home. And for my position as a district councilor, I would limit my time spent on social activities that might not be necessary, such as parties and ceremonies, so that I can spend more time with my kids.

Then what activities do you like to do with your children when you are off work?

When my children are off school, I bring them to different interest classes such as music and drawing lessons. They play cello, violin and the piano. Besides, since they were young, I have been fostering the habit of reading in them. Our living room is decorated to resemble a mini-library. I let my children choose the books they like and now there are a lot of books in the ‘library’. I believe children can learn a lot from reading books.

What advices would you give to working mothers?

Number 1: Try not to bring home your emotions from work
I think one biggest challenge of all time is how to handle the emotions and tantrums of my children, and more importantly, my own emotions. To help your children with their problems, you really have to spend a lot of time with them and be patient. I think that when children are young, you can still control them by authority. But as they grow up, you really have to change your way of communicating with them. One of my biggest shortcomings is bringing home my emotions from work. I still have a lot to learn on how to control my emotions so that I won’t let my emotions affect my children.

Number 2: Do not spoil your kids with luxurious lifestyles
As a parent, I understand we always want to give the best to our children, but we have to bear in mind that more does not necessarily mean better. I always remind my children about two things. First, I would provide them with a good living environment, but never a luxurious one. I want them to be responsible for their own future. I always tell them if they want to reach high, earn a good degree and get a good job, they will have to strive for themselves by aiming high and working hard. Second, I don’t want them to become materialistic. Thus, although I would spend money in providing them with the best education, I would not encourage materialism by getting my children luxurious goods or prestigious club memberships.

Number 3: Learn to prioritize
I think it is important that you know you have to make choices and sacrifices. You have to prioritize. If taking care of your children is your first priority, I think that working part-time will be much better so that you have more time for your children. I really love taking care of my children. In particular, I support breast-feeding–giving the best to your baby and nothing can replace that kind of bonding, really.