Sunday 27 January 2013

Parenthood package views with TNP

Thanks to my mummy friends who tagged me this published article on The New Paper - 27 January, Sunday, as well as my friends who whatsapp me, that I got to read it. Benita, the reporter I spoke to, was looking for views on the recent baby boosting incentives with our family like profile - 2 children and planning, or not planning for more. I volunteered my comments, but a surprise that I've to accompany a family photo with it. So, sure!  

Significant changes of the new parenthood, 2013 package are:
1. An increase of $2000 cash gift for each child. 1st and 2nd child now gets $6000 and the 3rd and 4th child get $8000.
2. 1 week of paternity leave and another 1 week from the 16 weeks of mummy's maternity.
3. Parents get 2 days of childcare leave for primary school children

I corresponded via the email and over the phone with Benita:
1. What do you think of the recent baby bonus roll out? Enough? Can do more?
Money is attractive, no matter what. The baby bonus roll out is encouraging. But we’re talking about a long term child rearing ‘project’, money depletes and being in a very competitive country, academics and skills sets are constantly required to equip our child with. These are hefty investments. 

2. For you, which factors affect the decision to have more children? is it a very personal decision? how much of what the government does affects that decision?
I’ve always think it’s a very personal decision, no matter how friends, family or government entice; a couple’s decision is quite conclusive. In this competitive society, we need to spend time and give attention to every child, to help them survive well. If I had too many kids, attention is divided and I become less confident in cultivating ‘quality’ kids. I want to have 'quality' children which extends beyond academic grades to social skills and moral character. 

Government measures are definitely added bonus to those who intend and wouldn’t mind having more than 1 or 2. But what needs to be done to those who doesn’t even want children? I think society plays the most vital role here. What can be done to help the ambitious women and yet not give up the wait to having kids in the cooperate world. What can society do to have more tolerance to kids? Making the place a more child friendly environment to live in.

3.Do measures and culture at the workplace come into play when thinking about family planning? 
How tolerant are people working with pregnant ladies and mothers who put family first? Companies appear to be handling these well, but it’s the people that make up the culture and environment, the colleagues and bosses. When I was pregnant with my elder, I was jobless. I quit my job without knowing I was pregnant; I knew I was in deep trouble. Who would want a preggy on job and then go off for maternity? What’s worse, Pay for her maternity! And when I finally found a job, broke the news that I'm pregnant, before my bump was showing, I had my permanent offer swapped to a contract job, ending just before I was due to deliver. Government's good maternity intentions ruined me during those moments. I was extremely upset and I’m really cautious about getting pregnant and having a job now.

4. For your family, what is on the wish list? In terms of what the government can do, what would make or break whether or not to have one more or two more kids?
I really wouldn’t mind having even up to 4 kids! But I’m aware we’re very average income earners. I confess that I've my occasional needs and wants. Money is one main issue, followed by having the quality time with each child. I really hope to be in a society where I can work and have great moments with my kids. The ideal for me would be a part time job that allows me to bring some income home and yet have time with the kids. Cost of living gets so high as we age along, inflation is too fast to pace up with. Competitiveness is driving worrying parents everywhere; can the kids do well without the ‘push’ factor from parents? It’s now not about being the top of the cream, but to survive the society.

And a family picture comes in handy (Thanks YC for this snap shot)
And of course, it was snippet of quotes that Benita used for her write up, not the chunk of my comments. Great opportunity we had and I urge mummies out there to have more kids! Not mainly for the sweeteners government did or did not roll out, but for the companionship among siblings and that these little ones really spice up family life, bitter and sweet, but never a regret. 

Jazz was an unplanned pregnancy, but I'm glad it happened because I wouldn't know how long I will procrastinate to have kids. At least, if I plan to have more, I have more years to decide before entering the unsuitable for pregnancy phase. Children are great blessings to a family!

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