Manbir Lalwani, creative director at Sketch Worxs, a boutique agency dealing with all above and below the line Marketing and mummy to Dilshen, 11 and Arnesh, five. She is also a part-time lecturer at Kaplan.
How do you find a balance between work and family?
It boils down to time management and a great believe in systems at home. I also schedule my meetings to coincide with the boys’ schedules. We reserve the weekends for the children (unless absolutely necessary), and I make sure I tuck the boys in every night. If I have dinner plans, it mostly happens after 8:30 p.m. when the boys are asleep.
Do you think a woman can have it all?
It’s a desirable proposition but I feel everything comes at an opportunity cost. To excel in the professional world translates to investing time in your professional capacity and this in turn means sacrificing time at home. In that sense something’s got to give right? But what I think you can have is managed expectations. If you are realistic, you can attempt to balance family and work. But to claim you have it all – super high flying career and 100 per cent hands on mummy is tough. Kudos to those women who have done so.
What discipline methods do you use at home?
Three strikes and you are out! That pretty much sums it up. I rationalise at the first strike, second time I will sound angry and third time I will be loud (this normally ends with a punishment where I take away something). In more serious matters, I will give a spank. I am a strong believer of ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’. Kids need to be grounded and disciplined at their formative years, else it will be too late when they hit later years.
Can you offer any advice for mums deciding between heading back to work and staying home with their kids?
I feel if financially it is viable to function on one income source, then it is good to spend the first few years with your kids. 11 years ago, I left my job at a huge career milestone that would have set me up many notches on the corporate ladder. When my first born was three months old, I went back to work for six months and felt it was not workable. I quit my job and started the small agency. It meant a huge pay cut then, sans the glamourous office work space and perks. But it is a decision I never looked back on.
If you have to go back to work, then try to settle for something that allows you time to be with the kids. If you are leaving home early, and coming home after they sleep, then it translates to being a weekend mum. Remember at the end of the day, who will remember you – your boss or your child?