Friday, February 01, 2013

Enhanced Marriage & Parenthood Package

A silly thought just occurred to me of late. I've been reading many other mommy's blog but am wondering if there's actually anyone out there who is interested in reading mine. Not that mine is of much intellect or technical information. It's just mostly rants and marking of milestones. But hmmm many of those blogs put me to utter shame. They are so organised, and not to mention so lengthy!!! i'm quite a chatter thus translating them onto a blog shouldn't be such a problem, but the issue here is TIME! it's always not enough, especially when you are with a toddler and half the time the hub isn't around to help. So yeah, i'm always wondering WHY are the mommy bloggers so disciplined and where do they actually find time? Maybe I'm doing something wrong. 

Lately, the government announced the new Enhanced Marriage & Parenthood Package. Rejoice? Ha! not exactly. I honestly think it's a joke to use such a measly amount to entice a significant growth in the fertility rate. The government is aiming for 7million by 2030. That's when BB k will be 18. sweet. I hope she doesn't get pressured to get married and have kids then. The hub and I are definitely in favour of contributing to the total fertility rate especially after the birth of K who is bringing so much joy to our lives each and every day. However, the financial worries always put us, or at least, ME back. We earn a modest living and with the dependency ratio being 2:1 for me, it's quite a burden. How can working people harmonise their family responsbilities if both have to work? Yet if we don't work, how is K gona be able to attend preschools (which are freaking expensive these days! blame it on the area we are residing...too many rich fellows). Guilt pangs often hit me coz i don't wana be stuck in some other kid's home and missing the milestones in my baby's growing up years. I want to witness her first step (she's almost there, gona walk independently really soon) and not to hear that she could do this or that from her grandmother. I want to be there to cook all those yummy and nutritious stuff for her, instead of feeding her with instant cereals or porridge coz I'm too tired or pressed for time. But all these seems impossible with our high standards of living. The enhanced package doesn't seem to help in this respect. Giving one wk of paternity leave instead of what NTUC recommended -- 2 wks. Hmmm...That, I'm actually fine coz if it's 2wks, the hub will probably end up on the greens for one wk instead of frolicking in the water with his daughter. Yet again, look around you and it's not tough to find a handful of SAHM. Friend M is a typical example and she has been doing it for 6 years now. I've always asked her the secret and her answer was to be prudent in spendings and live within your means. Hmm, her means allows her to live in a condo and drive a Volkswagon. In retrospect, I live in a flat and drive a Toyota. Something is seriously wrong.

All the SAHP article that i'm reading never fails to make me feel guilty. I think that it is highly possible for a family to survive on a single middle income. But as with all, many material pursuits will have to be given up. The might translate to eating out less, staycations, less shopping and byebye branded bags. The thing about Singaporeans, like what a Bloomberg article wrote, we are a materialistic lot, always left wanting the next better thing. The reason I work, is that I love to travel. And we would never be able to afford loan payments on our house, car and be able to travel on a single income. I guess its not often discussed because economically, the standard of living here is pretty high. A family would have to think VERY HARD before deciding not to work. Problem with Singapore is probably we do not have the infrastructure to support all choices. But at least they are trying with the Enhanced package. It's unfair to compare with countries which do it better - OZ, the Scandis and so on - as they are typically fairly welfarist states, and one big reason they have that luxury is they have natural resources. At least we are taking the first step towards building a better infrastructure, they can't overhaul the whole thing in a day.

Motherhood is a curve ball, and I am still trying to reconcile that with my career.


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