Returning to work in Hong Kong after your first child? Take tips from Meiping Zhao of Freshfields | cpjobs.com
Home > Career Advice > Career Guide > Returning to work in Hong Kong after your first child? Take tips from Meiping Zhao of Freshfields

Returning to work in Hong Kong after your first child? Take tips from Meiping Zhao of Freshfields

Published on Saturday, 22 Aug 2015
Returning to work in Hong Kong after your first child? Take tips from Meiping Zhao of Freshfields

I returned to work after the birth of my first child with a strange mixture of feelings. 

On one hand, I felt a sense of calm, knowing exactly what to expect at the office. When you become a mum, you don’t know what to expect at any given moment, and so I appreciated the ability to return to familiar circumstances. 

On the other hand, I felt guilty about leaving our child to be raised by our helper. 

I also had feelings of doubt. Was I doing what was best for our family by returning to work? Fourteen months on, I still haven’t found the answer. But, along the way, I’ve learnt a lot. Here’s my advice:

● Don’t capitulate. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thought about how easy it would be to quit working — especially on days when I’m running home from the MTR station to kiss baby Emma goodnight, and then getting back to work online. 

A fellow mum once admitted to me that, although the time spent with her children felt priceless, she wishes that she tried harder to find a compromise instead of capitulating and leaving the workforce altogether. 

It’s hard to find that compromise in my life as a corporate lawyer, but I’ve been lucky to have a supportive employer willing to offer flexible working arrangements. 

 Lean in. Author Sheryl Sandberg is onto something with this concept. ‘Leaning in’ at work – or taking initiative – made it much easier to ask for support from my employer when I needed it. 

● Ask for help. Don’t feel like you have to bear full responsibility for everything — at work, or at home.

The debate between working and stay-at-home mums could go on forever. Ultimately, it’s a deeply personal decision. Think about what route would be best for your family, and don’t be afraid to take it. For all new mums out there — especially those about to return to work — there is a balance that can be struck. It just takes a while to find.


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Finding the balance.

Become our fans