Parenting into Management

By Annabel Lui, Head of IT, FUJIFILM Upstream Solutions

Never thought that I would be a mum of three. I did dream about becoming a mum all my life and with the magic number of two kids. Three kids did not add up mathematically as the kids outnumbered the parents. However sometimes life takes you to an unexpected path.

Now that I have three kids, (all under 10) even though I am living my dream, I am not someone who can stay home full time. Work gives me a dose of sanity where I can interact with people with rational thinking and collaborate socially to achieve common goals. Having said that, I feel like having 3 kids is equivalent to being in 3 different management courses.

No. 1 – Talent Management

With our first child, it was definitely ‘Talent Management’. Our first born was (still is) a superstar in our eyes and everything he did amazed me and my husband. We are his life time cheer leaders, motivational coaches, sponsors with extensive resources and development plans, and the list goes on.

In short, we strive to treat him as who he ought to be and help him to become what he is capable of being. Isn’t that what Talent Management is about? It is still too early for us to discuss retention plan but I’m sure that will come up one day.

No. 2 – Relationship Management

With the arrival of our second one, the management course has changed to a topic of ‘Relationship Management’. Everything was about supervision and maintenance of the sibling relationships in the household, establishing rules and policies for taking turns and sharing toys.

Any parents of two knows even with rules and policies nailed, you still get hundreds of complaints and escalation which you need to attend and supervise. This is when rewards and penalties are put in place to ensure the relationship can continue without too much facilitated negotiation. However too much of those measures can also drive some unhealthy behaviors and unhelpful discussion on the definition of fairness.

No. 3 – Risk Management

Moving right along to our third and latest addition, she was a gift from above (just like our other two). We did very little planning before her arrival and that was because we thought we learnt everything we needed to with the older two.

It was more taking the adapt to change mindset. The first 10 months was smooth sailing and claiming it a victory for parenting. However, as the saying goes ‘what goes up must come down’. And it did indeed take a downward turn from the time she started being mobile.

From then on, we were forced to be in a new management course that may not interest most people – Risk Management. Our household is like a risk landscape where I assess and mitigate all the risk areas periodically.

Challenges arise when my three kids are doing three completely different things and they all want my undivided attention. I always go to the one that has the highest risk, for example, one who is holding a scissors while standing on a chair.

The Takeaway

Surprisingly all these incidents in parenthood have helped me to apply at my work especially when risk and compliance are taking a big focus in our organisation.

Finally I want to share why I am writing a post like this. Being a mum is not easy whether you choose to work full time/part time, or full time stay at home mum. So don’t be so hard on yourself, or the mum from school or at work. We all go through different seasons in life. Whether you are slowing down or in a firefighting mode, we all need to take a moment and acknowledge all that we have learnt about ourselves through parenthood.

This post is a reminder for myself on what I have learnt from raising our kids.