As part of our “Inspiring Working Mums” series, Christine Khor shares her advice to help other working Mums.

Christine Khor: Founder and CEO of Chorus Executive, Leadership Coach, People Branding Expert, Speaker and Author

My best advice for your career is …

As an executive recruiter I give career advice to people all day long but the best advcie is the advice that I give to myself and that is:

  • Be honest with yourself.  No-one loves what they do 100% of the time but there needs to be more joy and passion in your work than not. I live by the 75% rule.  If you are happy at least 75% time you are on a good thing.  If not then you need to be honest, delve deep and understand what will make you happy.  It is importnat to be passionate about what you do and to feel that you are adding value and being valued.  If we don’t work can be really really hard and who wants that.  Being honest with myself led me to leave my career in Marketing, open my own business in recruitment and now transition into coaching and leadership branding.  And trust me, it hasn’t always been easy!
  • Explore options and think with possibilities – consider and explore your options and before you say “I can’t do that because……” maybe consider how you could make things happen.  Too often we find the reasons why we “can’t” do something before we find the ways we can. Life with possibilities is so much more fun than a life of “I can’t”
  • Be open to feedback and advice but always remember it is your life.  Do what is right for you not for everyone else. Everyone gives us advice because they believe it is the right thing, but they are not you. They have their own lens, their own baggage and their own needs.  All feedback is a gift but you don’t always have to accept that gift.  Again, remember it is your life and you are the one who has to live with the consequences.
  • Be brave and ask for what you want.  Take control of your career – don’t be the wallflower waiting to be asked.   Remember, if you don’t ask the answer is already no. If you do ask there is alwyas a chance the answer will be yes. Have a go. What is the worst that can happen?
  • It will be ok – Finally, whatever happens, it will always be OK in the end.  If you take a new job and you don’t like it, don’t worry, you will get another one.  If you put your hand up for that project and it doesn’t go to plan, don’t worry I am sure you will have learnt something along the way.  It is never as bad as we think it is at the time.
My most satisfying thing about being a Mum is …

As I write this I am watching my son master flipping pancakes.  So what brings me joy is watching the development of amazing people who are independent, interesting, inquisitive, kind,  challenging and annoying (of course).  What scares me is the responsibility I have to do the best for them and to raise them as good and kind human beings. What brings joy to me is when I hear them be kind to others or when they get angry about issues like marriage equality, discrimination or the environment.  More than anything I do in my life or career, my legacy will be the impact I have on these 2 amazing people.

My best advice for managing the juggle of work and family is …
  • Accept you are not perfect – you don’t have to be and no-one else is either.
  • It doesn’t matter if the kids socks don’t match or if you serve pizza at a dinner party (I have done that before!!).  If they are good friends, they are there for you not your food.
  • For me, I always put the kids ahead of the house work– when I get home, or on the weekend, if I have a choice between being with the kids or cleaning the house guess what I pick.  Anyone with OCD would not like living with me!
  • Don’t be a martyr – we women are really good at taking on everything and not saying no enough. Ask for help and pay for it if you need it.  In my life a cleaner is an essential not a luxury.
  • Have brave conversations with your partner – when it comes to managing the house and kids it is not MY JOB. It is our job. My husband and I are true partners. Are you? And if not, why not?
  • Your kids are not useless – they can make their own lunch or breakfast, make their own bed, and get themselves ready.  Well many not at 2, but definitely by 6.  Let them have a go. They won’t do it as well as you will do it but they don’t have to.
  • I don’t believe in mothers guilt. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that I can do better sometimes.  It just means that when I think I should have or could have done better I take the action to do so. It is no use feeling guilty about something that I can’t change.
  • Finally make time to be present with your kids … it doesn’t have to be a lot of time but it does need to be quality time.  I just asked my kids and they  said “it doesn’t seem too hard for you mum (and I do work at least 60 hours a week)  You always have time for hugs and kisses”

So if there was one thing you take from me  – make the time for real, present, big smoochey, kisses and cuddles every day.  PS – if I get home late at night and they are asleep I make sure I give them a kiss with lipstick on. When they wake up they always know I have been in to given them a kiss.  It’s the little things that make them feel loved.

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