Ever since I have turned 40, I have given myself a challenge to learn at least one new thing every year – let it be a program, a new skill or a new habit. We all like to be in our comfort zone, to stay put in our status quo and to live a life that makes us who we are today.
I grew up in a traditional hard working Chinese family that has certain value and standard to expect all three of us to be having stable job and buy a house. Having to a promising career after finishing school is what my parent envision as measure of success. I have once lived a life that was in that path and to afford getting ourselves a decent small little apartment. Nevertheless a promising career may also bring in more burdens that constraint ourselves to live a certain level of standard and the higher achievement you have accomplished in your career, the higher living standard you are also setting for yourself – buying the fancy car and the high end condo or sending the children to top private schools and hiring two nannies. That’s a life of dream for many yet that also means you cannot afford losing the promising career which is paying for all these. It becomes a vicious circle keeping you committing to more financial burdens that force you to stay in a promising career that you may no longer wish to have.
When I was 35, I made a conscious choice to be a full time mother when my eldest daughter was born. It was a difficult decision but having gone through a challenging fertility journey (That’s another article on its own), I chose to take a step back in my career and focus in my new role of motherhood. I like my work very much not to mention the splendid lifestyle I was having when I was in the financial industry – yet I also knew all that came with a price, a price that I need to work long hours and never see my children much. I had no idea if I could ever get back to work but I did not want to worry too much without knowing what is ahead of me. There are just too many unknowns ahead of us as new parents and the least I cared at that moment is whether I would be able to get back into my promising career.
Having to be a full time mother for 4 years had given me enough time to be there with my child(ren) whenever I was needed, to never miss a moment of them going through all those new challenges in their lives. That moment of life had also given me enough confidence in myself, my loving husband and the children to know what kind of life we want to live. Some say we need a village to raise a child, some say (in Hong Kong) we need $4million to raise a kid, I say we need time to raise a child. At the age of 35, my most precious and valuable asset is my time, my wisdom and my being there for the children. I made that conscious choice to allocate my time and invest myself to the early development of my own children.
Being there with my children is important but it is also as important of having my own purpose of life. I love my children a lot but that does not mean I need to there for them 24/7 – I also need to let go and better yet be the role model I want my children to look up to. In 2018 I decided to get back into my professional life but I pivot and took a different path into entrepreneurship.
Life is full of challenges and it is ourselves to make the choice how we want to live it. Seven years of motherhood has taught me more than 13 years of professional career in Finance. The road ahead still unknown to us but we are confident that we live a life that we can have the resilience, the empathy and the gratitude to nurture our own children.
Do you choose to challenge?
About the contributor
An impact maker, an entrepreneur, an advocate and a mother, Lena has a strong calling to push forward Motherhood & Entrepreneurship. She believes there should be no boundary to how works should be done. She was a finance professional who left behind her decent livings and devoted herself to the family when her first daughter was born. Eventually landed her own consultancy firm and also dedicated in founding Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs – a non profit organization in Hong Kong supporting moms and families in their entrepreneurial journey. Over the years, Lena has developed herself into a change maker in social innovation and also serves herself in initiatives of gender equality and diversity & inclusion including her position at 100 Women in Finance. Lena also appreciate the impacts from social innovations and further pursues her works in promoting UNSDGs.