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Friday, March 4

NO to More Babies and NO to Tiger Mom!

Can the revised Baby Bonus Package of Singapore entices women to have more children?


Why? Singapore is a clean and safe place, with high social and economic stability. Ironically it is also a terrible place to raise young children when you are a working mother from a middle-income family.

There are 168 hours in a week. I use 52 hours for working and commuting between home and office. My children use 84 hours for sleeping and napping, another 10 hours wasted on eating very slowly, poo-ing, throwing those much needed tantrums and other nonsense. That leave me with 3 hours a day for my children which also means each of my child gets only slightly over a hour of my time on a daily basis. What magical parenting do you expect out of me, a mother like that? It frightens me to imagine splitting those 3 minimal hours further with an addition of another baby. And did you notice that I had already run out of time for myself?!

4 out of 5 women whom I know returned to work after their maternity leave because there is a huge pressure to earn more money as raising a child in Singapore can be really expensive. But not before long, they become tormented by the fact that no amount of money can buy them time to spend with their children, even though money is still pretty essential for a comfortable home.

Because of the decision to return to the workforce, we, the working mothers often rely on domestic helpers and childcare centres to do most of the child-minding while we slog our butts off so that we can be qualify for some form of government incentives/relief which aren't of too much help.

Then when our children are older, we need to work even harder because there would be enrichment activities like swimming, dancing, drama, marital arts, music and not forgetting tuition, all offered to make parents who don't sign up on them seem like one really BAD parent.

Later, there is the stress of finding a top primary school and even if your child managed to squeeze into one, it would just means more stress to come.

Spelling, tests, examinations! Parents are expected to coach the kids no matter how drained our brains are after a long day at work, so that our children can score perfect 10 in their spellings and excel in all tests and exams. If you don't do it, you will be perceived as a lousy parent who don't care about your kids' education.

To avoid being judged, parents worshipped "Kiasu-ism" like as if it is some form of God. Parents who spent the night camping outside a preschool's gate so that they can enroll their child into the popular preschool are regarded as heroes by the other equally kiasu parents. In my opinion, that's just pure madness! It's just a fucking preschool, do you need to get so serious??

The educational system here is unforgiving! It is at best breeding clever morons who are apathy towards everything, except the Internet and video games! Schools are always about grades and positions; they are weak in character-building, put zero effort in talent appreciations and there is nothing empowering whatsoever. Everyday is filled with endless chores of homework, learning spelling, doing revisions and going for tuition, tuition and MORE tuition!! It's no wonder why kids associate learning to boredom and why they grow up totally clueless of what they want in their lives.

Yesterday, I asked a friend of mine, who is working mom, out, I told her I am flexible and she could choose any evening between Monday to Thur. She was apologetic as she couldn't make it on any of the given days, unless it's school holidays because her son had tuition everyday from Mon to Wed and Thur evening is dedicated to coach her son on spelling.

Her son is only in Primary 1 and he is technically not even 7 yet (born at the end of the year)!

I was beginning to become freakishly mortified!

I don't want to have my son facing the alphabets chart, the moment he learns to stand. I don't want to force my daughter to recognize some stupid Chinese characters, I HATE Chinese just as much! I don't want to be the one to tear my hair out teaching my children Maths. Numbers KILL! And I certainly do not look up to Tiger Mom, Amy Chua's dictatorial way of parenting. I think mom like her is the reason why some kids grow up psychotic.

I want to spent my very precious and limited time outside my work, with my children doing fun things that teaches about the essence of living, laughing at their silliest jokes and watching them grow, enjoy their childhood and letting them form their own identities. And then be proud of them no matter what their lives amount to be in the future, as long as they grow up to be a resilient and independent individual.

Ultimately, I don't want to breed some "champion show dogs" that looks great on the outside but suck at being wholesome. That's not how I envisioned parenting to be.

So ... does that make me a bad mother already?


Anonymous said...

just to share/complain,

i had 8 tuitions a week when i was 7. 2 on saturday and 1 each on everyday.


Double Ls and Mommy said...

so yanrong, retrospectively, are you thankful that your parents filled you up with all those tuitions? just curious.

Madeline said...

I had some tuition from P4-P5 and hated it. Told my mom I don't want anymore tuition and from then onwards, no more. Now I'm studying my masters in NUS. I agree with you, sometimes the tuition takes away the joy in learning. Children should love to learn! Thats what I think.

yannz said...

double ls and mommy:

i wasnt particularly happy or unhappy about it. dont quite have a memory of it infact. but im thankful for the fact that i went to a prestigious primary school:/

i played thru my studying days and score fairly well thru out. prestigious school helped in a way that no matter how lousy u are in school, u are considered not-that-bad outside. and yes the cruel world(singapore) force us to have certifications after certifications to do well. oh sigh. taking my degree now in UOL tho. not a tough route by far. but i guess the basic is pretty much important:)

just my 5 cents worth!

*back to books*



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