It Is Time For Me, To Live, & To Live It Well

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Being a single mum and sole breadwinner of a household of 4 persons (including my mum), a maid, mortgage to pay, car loan for over 15 years, I wondered how I ever made it. Looking back, I realized that if I ever stopped to think, I might fall into pieces and never get out of the black hole.

In the course of my work, I do travel some and I always made sure that I am back by the weekend to ferry my two lovely daughters for enrichment classes. I’ve decided that quality time is most important, even if it’s an hour of my time. There were and we still have, a lot of sharing, listening to them, and speaking WITH them. At times I make special arrangements like taking one child out at a time to spend uninterrupted time with her.

As they grow into their teenage years, I made sure that I spend as much time as possible with them, as I wanted to be their best friend and a mother to them. I don’t succeed all the time, but when I did, I felt really proud. Today, we do not have hidden secrets. We are open and share every intimate moment we experienced.

At the end of the day, I think it boiled down to a choice. I had decided to be someone the girls came to no matter what. And if that meant I wouldn’t have a life outside of work and family, I did whatever it took and I never really did or had time to stop and think about it.

I lived abroad when both my daughters started working. I believe the time has come for them to learn independence. During the times when I was away on long trips, I realized that they bonded better and stronger. So when I left to stay abroad for a period of time, I knew they will learn to support each other. It worked out well as they are now close as two peas in a pod.

When I returned, I’ve decided that it was time for me to live. I’ve given most of my life to them. Now that they have learnt to be independent and dependent on each other, I’ve decided to move out.

Much as I would like for them to move out, with today’s high cost of living in Singapore, no one can survive if they do not have a roof over their head. So, I’ve decided to move out and live on my own. We meet every weekend as a family so that we do not lose the meaning of family.

Well, it’s never too late to start living today. Till this day my girls and I still remained close. Sometimes, I party with them. Their friends do admire the fact that I take them out for drinks and parties.

“Cause I’m only starting to live.”

My circumstances were not something I would have willingly chosen. My work and family kept me so busy I had no friends or life outside of them. However, looking at my girls now, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was all worth it.

Esther Chia,
Regional Head Asia, GM – HR
Commerzbank AG

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