Work, parenting, and home life Working moms and working dads have a lot on their plates working during the day and coming home at night to take care of the kids and do household chores. How do they manage to balance it all? Let’s get some work-life balance wisdom from the real-life stories of Hyundai Glovis employees raising their elementary school-aged daughters.
Being a fierce, and therefore precious, parent
Senior Managers Kim Soo-hyun and Lee Ye-ji have an only child, Lime, who entered elementary school this year. The past years of pregnancy, childbirth, and infant care have been a struggle. The struggle to raise Lime, who is a rambunctious and affectionate child, is no different now, but it has given them a little breathing room.
“I took a leave of absence a month before my due date, and the day after I left, I found out I was having a baby, so instead of relaxing, I spent the whole month doing nothing and freaking out. I remember I ended up having an induction on my due date, haha.”
Senior Manager Kim Soo-hyun remembers the day she gave birth vividly. He arrived at the maternity center early in the morning and fell asleep next to his wife, who was receiving various injections for induction. Thinking back to when he woke up when his wife entered the delivery room, he feels like an immature husband.
After Limey was born, Senior Manager Lee Ye-ji took three months of maternity leave and nine months of paternity leave, totaling one year. Neither of them had ever taken advantage of the compressed work schedule. With the new welfare programs, they didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of them. In addition, her mother-in-law took care of childcare and household chores on weekdays, so she was able to focus on her work when she went to work. “Thank you mom, I love you,” says Senior manager Lee Ye-ji, expressing her gratitude for her support. Senior manager Kim Soo-hyun gives credit to his wife. He believes that his family has been able to get along well thanks to his wife’s dedication and sacrifice.
What kind of dad or mom am I?
I try to be an objective father. As I get older, I’m worried that I’m becoming more emotional and loud, but I try to be as rational as possible at home.
An ordinary working mom. A mom like a friend.
Q What kind of dad or mom do you think my spouse is?
My husband is a fun and supportive dad, and when we go to the playground, the neighborhood kids follow us around like the Pied Piper in a fairy tale. (laughs)
best friend at Lime.
“There are times when I come home late at night after a night of drinking
and Limey won’t go to sleep and is waiting for me to read to her.
I feel rewarded as a “working daddy” when I read her a favorite book and she falls asleep.”
– Senior Manager Kim Soo-hyun
Tell us about your daily routine.
I wake up at 5:15am to get ready for work, arrive at the office by 8am, and work a normal shift until 5pm. After taking the crowded subway, I go home to wash up and sleep. On weekends, I try to go out as much as possible, and I plan to spend one day out of the weekend doing activities outside of the house, and I usually go to a nearby shopping mall or Cheongna Lake Park.
On weekdays, I leave the house around 6 a.m. and get home from work around 8 p.m. After eating dinner and playing with the kids for a bit, I get cleaned up, read to them, and get ready for bed. On weekends, I sleep in, catch up on chores, go out as a family, play, eat out, and just have a normal day.
Which is more challenging, work or parenting, and why?
Parenting. In work, you just do what you have to do, and if it works out, good or bad, you figure out the best way to do it and try it, and if it doesn’t work out, you try something else, but in parenting, there’s no right way to do it, and that’s what makes it hard.
I think it’s harder because there are fewer stakeholders in parenting, but in work life, you have to juggle a lot of different interests. You have to live within the company system, you have to share a lot of different things with your team, and I think it’s not easy to convince different people in the decision-making process.
The work-life balance you can’t and shouldn’t give up on
“Probably the hardest part was when the baby was younger, I had an 8:00 in, 6:00 out schedule at the time, and she was sick a lot and woke up a lot of times during the night, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep and it was hard to get to work. Now that he’s about 5 years old, it’s gotten a lot better, and I think that’s something that only time can fix.”
As a result, she doesn’t think it’s possible to have a work-life balance when your child is young. Rather, she tried to spend as much time as possible with her child, except when she was working and sleeping. She doesn’t want to have any regrets when her child grows up.
Currently, she tries to balance my work-life by traveling as much as possible with my family. She also has a daughter who wants to do a lot of things with her mom, so her husband helps her with household chores, especially cooking, to free up precious time. Senior Manager Kim Soo-hyun feels that her life has changed since her child entered elementary school.
“I have to read and reply to school reminders, organize after-school classes, hagwon, etc. for my mom, who takes care of Limey, and make sure she doesn’t get distracted by kabunda (snack shop) and bangkkutongkku (stationery store), because she has a lot of things she wants to do. It’s true that I have a lot more on my plate than I did when he was in kindergarten, but I’m actually a little more relaxed because Senior Manager Lee Ye-ji, spends more time raising her than I do. He’s involved in activities at work, like bowling and running marathons, and on days when I don’t have any commitments, I enjoy a variety of hobbies, including light running.”
Senior manager Lee Ye-ji, a mom, feels rewarded to see her child grow up bright and beautiful. Dad Kim Soo-hyun, a first-time dad, finds it difficult to judge what he is doing well and what he is lacking. We both have the same desire to be good parents. I want to be a good parent, and I want to be an upstanding employee who fulfills my role in the company. It’s not easy to walk the two paths evenly, and the end is still a long way off, but the working couple is determined. As always, they will strive to make every moment count and to live each moment to the fullest.
Working Daddy said to the Working Mom, ‘I love you, honey, honey, let’s make it to the end. Let’s make it to the end… ^^’
What is your current work-life balance score out of 10?
8 or 9? I’m satisfied with my current life.
8 points. I have a happy enough life.
What kind of employee am I in your company?
An employee who goes above and beyond the call of duty.
What are some welfare policies you wish your country or company would do for working couples?
The day that school ends early is a real problem. I wish there were more childcare services, and especially during vacation time, it’s really difficult. Can’t we give moms and dads a vacation too? (Laughs)
I would like to have a 30-pyeong apartment near the company as my own!
“I’ll continue to use refresher vacations and annual leave to take family trips,
and I can’t wait until 2025 to take my family on a work vacation when Lyme is out of school!”
– Senior Manager Lee Ye-ji
In order of importance, what do you need for work-life balance?
I think there will always be an imbalance between work and life, but I think the more you earn in the current 52-hour work week, the more opportunities you have to find balance. There are many ways to experience things, but I don’t think there are many efficient substitutes for money.
If you had some time to yourself, what would you do?
I want to go on a trip abroad, and I want to mark dozens of landmarks on a map and see how far I can get around.
I want to go on a trip by myself.
What is my or my family’s dream work-life?
Working four days a week and traveling with his family every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
“I’m not very good at housekeeping, so I don’t have a lot of tips to offer. Just put it down a lot. What if I don’t feed my kid organic food! If you let go of being greedy and impatient, you’ll feel a lot better, and your child will grow up faster than you think. Take lots of pictures and videos of your child’s beauty, and of course, love him or her a lot.”
“Our company only allows work-related telecommuting, and there are a lot of things you can do with Flexible Working Time 2.0 within the limits of your working hours. However, if your child wakes up sick in the morning and you don’t have anyone to take care of them, take the plunge and use your vacation days – it’s not a big deal, and it’s good for your mental health.”
By the Editorial Department