For 3M Malaysia’s Gursharan Kaur, Noor Intan Farah Alwee, and Leong Ai Wah, they’ve learned that motherhood is all about finding the right balance, which is particularly essential during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online schooling, home-cooked meals, and household chores have blended into an ongoing routine that is now second nature while performing consistently in their respective careers.
Prioritisation and Curation Maintains the Balance
All these three moms stress the importance of curating their personal lives. Making time for themselves, whether it is for something as simple as a morning jog or treating themselves to a day of shopping, maintaining this balance is an essential cog in the wheel that enables them to be well-functioning, good people, mothers, and colleagues.
Gursharan Kaur, lead for the sales and training development for 3M Safety and Industrial Group Asia (SIBG Asia), is a mother to two amazing daughters (aged 21 – 24), and she shares that balancing her career and being a mom was never a breeze and more of a learning curve. “Celebrating small milestones keeps my daughters going,” Gursharan said, “And finding balance in celebrating those little moments with my children gives her a sense of achievement and empowerment that makes her the best at what she does.”
“Working moms are like jugglers,” Farah added. She is the Sales Account Executive for Transportation Safety Division in 3M Malaysia and, more importantly, mama to two teenage boys. “It’s important to balance your personal life and career because you can pour to your loved ones and your career only when your cup is full.” Farah loves watching science fiction movies with her boys in their free time.
Ai Wah is 3M Malaysia’s Marketing Operation and Make-to-Order Lead; she starts her day as early as 5:30 am on weekdays to prepare her two young boys for school and slots in a morning run before she is off to work. “Mindset is crucial in being a working mom,” Ai Wah shared. “Flexibility and adaptability have been the cornerstone of my balancing act with motherhood and career.”
All three moms further shared that their careers at 3M Malaysia and the open environment filled with learning opportunities have shaped their views and helped them engage in more meaningful and educational conversations with their children.
“Before I joined the Sales department, my background was actually in Civil Engineering. Why I switched is a story for another day, but my interest in innovation and technologies continues,” Farah continued. “I enjoy sharing the intricate, science-backed innovations 3M Malaysia produces with my boys.”
Encouraging Outside the Box Thought Process
Gursharan believes that as adults, rewards are less superior than recognition, particularly from authority figures – something she practises within her team at 3M Malaysia and her daughters. “Everyone loves to be appreciated, and I give my girls the praise or feedback they deserve and always encourage them to think outside of the box to empower their decision-making skills.”
Ai Wah always engages in open conversations with her little boys, a practice that can sometimes lead to dinnertime lasting 2 hours with constant discussion! “My husband and I encourage them always to ask questions and create constructive discussions – we even let them know that the parent is not always right, and they can challenge us if the facts are on their side. This is something I encourage even amongst my team at work, not just during our daily operations but on my leadership, too.”
Balancing the Passion Between Motherhood and Career
Asked about the one tip they had for working moms like themselves, Gursharan said finding your parenting style is essential. “Like any other skill in life, parenting requires lots of practice. Enjoy the journey and remember to stop and smell the flowers along the way.”
To Farah, patience and passion go together. “You need both to be the best at what you do. Taking on challenges is possible because I have passion and drive motivating me to strive for it.”
Ai Wah says that it is crucial to have some alone time despite all the chaos of life. “It is important to take care of your mental health and find some quality time for yourself. The popular saying is, ‘happy wife, happy life – I would also like to say, ‘happy mom, happy kids”.
Gursharan, Farah and Ai Wah –are just some of the capeless heroes at 3M, and we would also like to take this opportunity to all the working moms all over the world. You indeed are our superheroes, and all mothers should be celebrated all year round for their tenacity.
Happy Mother’s Day from 3M Malaysia!
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