Chirine Ajouz Kabbara: Managing Partner at Est. F. Kabbara (kitchen and wardrobe supply company)
. What are some of the challenges you face as a working mom?
Just like any mother out there, I face the usual daily challenges that come with raising children in addition to the challenges that come with your outside job. The biggest challenges have been to find the right balance to make both worlds work in harmony. And in all honesty, the toughest challenge is finding time for yourself. But I have learnt that regardless of what’s going on, a mother needs time on her own to be able to give back to her family and work.
. How do you manage to maintain work and your daily life as a mom?
My family is always my number one priority. I am lucky that I work for myself so it’s easier managing my home and work. I plan my work day and meetings in accordance to what I have going on at home. For example, I try not to take meetings after 3:00 in the afternoon during the school year as I choose to be at home with my children at that time. But that doesn’t always work out. My kids have learnt to rely on themselves more since a lot of the time I have to be out working. Basically you become a master at planning and juggling.
. What message would you send to other moms to encourage them in pursuing their dreams?
For the first 3 years I had children. I was a stay at home mom and it was wonderful, but as my boys grew older and didn’t need me as much I felt I needed to go back to work. It was tough at first but my boys were so supportive. They started appreciating me more and they actually became more independent. It also helped me realize that it’s not the quantity of time we spend with our kids that matters but rather the quality. Going back to work has helped me fulfill myself as a woman. I am not just a mother at the end of the day, I am a woman, a person that needs fulfillment and self-actualization on all levels. It’s tougher out there for mothers because we are expected to balance it all and do great at it all. We do end up working on a somewhat even equilibrium between home and work but most of the days it’s not perfect and that’s OK. So yes I encourage every woman and mother especially to go after what she wants. It’s not going to be pretty all the time, but you can have both worlds.