Defining my success, or am I a failure?


To some people in the corporate community, I am a loser. A loser who drops out of the rat race, a loser who cannot take the stress of a full time working mum, a loser who cannot handle the office politics, a loser because I don’t bring in any money.

The definition of success in our little world here, Singapore, is very narrow. To most people, it means being financially well-endowed and having a swanky corporate title.

My Definition of Success

To me, success encompasses other aspects of life too. Success is about having a healthy life, living till ripe-old age before passing away on my deathbed peacefully. Success is about having a happy family, surrounded by my loved ones and bringing each other joy. Success is about having the freedom and opportunity to find a job I love.

I didn’t feel accomplished when I was working full-time and earning a decent income. My health was failing, and I was sending my two children to bed long after my desired bedtime for them because I worked long hours and we reached home late. They slept at 11 pm every night which was not right, especially for my son who wakes up at 5.45am with the start of his primary school journey. See post here for my half year reflection on his Primary 1 journey.

Today, with much lesser spending power, I feel like I am heading towards the right direction because I directly contribute to my family’s well-being. I try to cultivate my children’s healthy sleeping, eating, living and learning habits. I am helping them to become better people, and this is a job I have always wanted to do well in. I am truly privileged to be a stay-at-home mum, with my hubby’s full support.

Or perhaps, I am merely associating success to motherhood.

If I had measured success financially, my children would still be sleeping late, and I may never know whether they are picking up the right life skills; skills that help them study better, skills and value system that they need to live as a well-rounded and healthy person.

I have not achieved success. Success to me is a not final destination but a journey because life is a journey. I have to work hard to maintain my achievements, just like any other corporate individual. My health will deteriorate if I stop eating wholesome food and if I stop exercising. My relationship with my family will worsen if I stop paying attention to them.

But I am failing in my financial health because I have no source of income. Dividend income is peanuts, like what I mentioned in my earlier post. My friend just reminded me a couple of weeks ago to cherish whatever I am enjoying now. I may have to return to the workforce in a few years’ time to regain my financial health. If I can continue to achieve whatever I am attaining now, coupled with a regular income, that may be a real accomplishment.

How do you define success?

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