But there's also a down side. I think it is a local culture but I am often amazed at how interested people are in my procreation abilities. Before marriage it is "when you are you getting married" questions. After marriage, it was the "when are you having a kid" question. YET, many still find it unsatisfactory that we just have an "only".
Now that I have a kid, people are asking me the various versions of "so, when are you gonna have a #2" questions: from the cute "you thinking of having a Wanton for Dumpling?" to the annoying "when are you gonna have a BOY?" (which I want to announce that my preference is still for a GIRL!) to the ever curious Facebookers - "You Pregnant / No. 2 on the way / Preggy with No. 2" in response to a recent FB status shout.
So every year, during this festive period, I feel a bit like this:
I suppose that I am one of those that the Government may not be entirely fond of at the moment (since I only have an "only") to which I will look to my brother for helping me with the stats (he has 3 kids).
Honestly, having #2 is not an easy decision. I understand that there is a declining birth rate in Singapore and we have a scary aging population. And to be frank, while I understand, this seems a bit remote to me.
On a lighter note, perhaps the Government can include this in the pledge for new PRs to help with the situation. LOL
On a more serious note, "alamak, why no #2 yet".
Because to me, it is a bit beyond the package. Sure, I would definitely appreciate a 6 months maternity leave break (great for nursing mothers) and the 1 month paternity break (coming from an ex Post Natal Depression mum, this is especially important I feel for new mothers as things can get a bit overwhelming).
But perhaps as an individual and as a parent, I overthink.
~ Will I even able to love another child as much as I Dumpling? (I am not talking about the same way but the same amount)
~ Will it even be fair? Having a #2 means that I now have to split my time between 2 kids. If anything, I think #2 will be left to his / her devices since Dumpling is older and more interactive. So, how will this be fair to #2?
~ Will we able to cope with long working hours and high cost of living? All parents want the best for their kid, will we still be able to provide the same with two kids?
Honestly, as a working mum, not all organisations are pro family life. I know many who are passed up for promotion or being "penalised" for being away on maternity leave. I was made redundant in a previous role within 2 months (or so) of returning to the work force. How's that for assurance?
Personally, I like some of the approaches adopted in the West and these would be some encouraging measures
1. A multi tiered maternity leave approach
(for e.g. paid maternity leave for the first 4 months and maybe half a month of pay for 5th month and if staff wants to take anything beyond, it would be unpaid leave)
2. Job security for a year (companies are not allowed to terminate the staff within a year of delivery)
3. Better access to infant care and more affordable cc services (which many of my mummy friends have an issue with especially on space availability)
4. Better preschool program across the board which then narrows the fees gap between the "premium" schools and PCF schools hence taking off some heat on the "curriculum" / "prep for P1" per se
5. Flexi hours (work from home policy would be greatly helpful especially for parents who place their children in Infant Care / Childcare and the child is down with HFMD, etc. and there are no other care givers. While there are Childcare leave, it may not be enough since HFMD is quite rampant here in SG and sometimes, parents are wary of applying for more leave if they do not have such an understanding management)
But more than that, I think it is the "mindset" of parents which needs to be addressed too. Some may not be able to "relate" (for the lack of a better term) to these national issues as by the time this becomes a red flag situation, many of us will no longer be around.
So, I think any campaigns / any messages need to be at a level where the parents feel that it is relevant and it speaks to them on a personal and emotional level.
For me, what spoke to me recently was this. This is what I mean by relevance.
The entire mortality issue and worry came up again and it pains me to know that one of these days when we are gone, Dumpling will have to deal with it on her own.
As a mother, it hurts me to even think about how this will hurt her in the future.
What about you? What are your thoughts on #2 if you have an "only" so far.
Disclaimer: the someecards used here are created by yours truly. They do represent the silent thoughts buzzing in my head and are intended for some light humour fun and are not meant to be disrespectful in any way. And yes, every year, I DO stuff my face with ham, turkey, roast beef and devil's curry. And YES, I still am not able to shed that extra 3k which I really want to. So if you are reading this and work for a Yoga / Gym studio and are looking to sponsor someone to lose that last 3kg. I am VERY willing to be a guinea pig. Just no tight leotards and gym outfit shots please. LOL