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To Work Or Not To Work

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:55 am
by workingmom
There have been a lot of articles in magazines, the newspapers and the forums, on moms giving up their works to be the children are better with SAHMs, the time needed to help children with their work, time which SAHMs have over FTWMs. In this year alone, 3 of my good friends decided to stop working (temporarily or permanently) for various reasons but all related to spending more time with their young children.

As a FTWM who does not have the option to work from home, I feel torn between nurturing my children to the best of my effort and ability and keeping a career which, in my view, gives me a fair amount of independence and a sense of achievement. Of course, family should always come first but does that mean having to give up a career totally ?

I have been wondering how FTWMs cope with the rigors of primary school children and helping them with their work ? For me, I try my best to keep regular hours but as my elder daughter is going to start primary school next year and she will be in the morning session, I can imagine that my husband and I will have very little time to spend with her in the evenings on weekdays.

Would be grateful if FTWMs could share some tips on how they cope.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:05 am
by caroline3sg
I believe that no one can support our children's work better than we ourselves. Not only in this period of financial uncertainty, but also in this century, it is difficult to survive based on one income. I am referring to HDB dwellers. We have also come to a stage where we want to be of our best and also take time to reward ourselves with tours. Tuition is expensive, so is food and travel. So we have to work. I shall not go into which is worth it - SAHM or FTWM as this is subjective and depends on individual circumstances.

What you must have is discipline and determination. To follow timetable / plan. First you must study the topics, understand requirements then you can proceed what & how to revise homework / guide school work with your child. A lot of working mothers are tired, have housework and thus lack discipline / determination to follow through plan.

Several things you can consider:
1) one parent do housework, one parent coach homework or
share housework and split the subjects between parents

2) leave housework until children turn to bed.

3) engage part time maid

4) reinforce know-how-to-do homework to be completed before you get home.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:18 pm
by luvmum
It's never easy to decide which is a better move, though logically a child under the nurtue and constant guide from their own parents benefit more so than any other caregiver. End of the day, you too wish to be close to your own children. However, with the heavy demands at work nowadays with long working hrs and burning weekends, somtimes it's hard to maintain such discipline.

Talking abt myself, on a decent day I reached home at 7plus, bath, eat and with not much rest, I will start coaching my gal from 9pm onwards for an hr, try to keep to 10pm, last milk feed and sleeping time. It's highly exhausting and you find you dun hv any time to rest practically after work. Still that's the routine I'm trying to keep each day.

On days where I worked OT till 8plus or simply too tired, I will just treat it as a rest day.

I'm also contemplating to exit the workforce next year and try out what is best for me and my family. The dilemma will be there as the kind of career,status and money that you accumulate during your working life will be on a standstill.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:44 pm
by BlueBells
I am FTWM with 2 girls, 6 and 8 years old this year, with no domestic help and we stay on our own.

I always feel that it is best if I can work part-time so that I have half a day to coach my kids and spend time with them, but this is not to be. I keep to regular hours as much as possible, and knock off from work on the dot. I rush home, fetch the kids from the childcare / student care, get home, fix dinner and revision starts from 8pm. By 9pm, we stop, and the kids gets some time to play or ride bicycle downstairs, wind down from 9:30pm and by 10pm, it's lights off for the kids.

As for house work, my hubby will wash the dishes, and takes care of the floor, while I handle the A to Z for the laundry, and it is not kidding, ironing is an everyday task.

With the P2, she is pretty self-sufficient. She will attempt all the sums / questions she can handle, and leave the tougher ones to the end for us to coach her. As for the younger one, she's only K2 this year, so I haven't any clue how i will survive next year when the 6 year-old starts P1 ...

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:26 pm
by EN
I'm a working mum too with 2 children age 9 & 7. I'm maidless since September this year. It's really a hard work & precious time spend with my kids have been minimize. Same approach & thinking as Caroline3sg & BlueBells.

Thinking back, I'm being brought up in similar styles. My parents are both working. There is very minimal time spend between my parents & myself. But, my parents ensure that time spent are quality time. Positive thinking, children from FTWM becomes independent at an earlier age. I have no restriction as to which activities I want to pursue either. My dh whose mother is a SAHM feels that his choice & action is often limited by his mother's care & concern.

Of course, the working place must practice work life balance. Otherwise, it is difficult to do juggle everything.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:53 pm
by Candy Ng
I quitted my full-time job when my daughter was in Primary 1. Next year, she'll be taking PSLE. How time flies...

Indeed, five years ago, I do have a hard time deciding whether to send my daughter to before-and-after school care or quit my full-time job. My husband disagree to before-and-after school care, as there will be minimium time spend/coaching with my daughter. I finally made my decision to leave my job.

Since your daughter is in morning session. Try to find a part-time job in the afternoon. You can still spend time coaching her after school.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:05 pm
by BlueBells
When my girl had her SA1, we have no time to supervise, and the results were disastrous. With SA2, we make a conscious effort to supervise and even plan a revision schedule together. End results, overall improvements for all her subjects and we are very happy with her grades.

However, I have to admit that it was very physically very demanding on us (parents), with work, housework and every other thing. I had more strands of white hair after her exams :( I knew for sure that if I worked part time, the situation with her studies and exams revision will definitely be better. I feel I could do so much more for and with my kids if I am not working full time.

Of course, the downside is the financial aspects of the household, and the sacrifices that comes with lesser financial gains.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:38 pm
by sleepy
I heard this comment during my girl's kindergarten graduation recently

The speaker said (gist of message)

if your family depend solely on you to bring food to the table, then really no choice have to work

if you are working to have a bigger car, a bigger house, then forget about that bigger house & car, spend time with your children

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:42 pm
by luvmum
That's a good one...I think we mummies just cannot let go of the financial independence, status and corporate ladder that we have climb thus far. :P But for the sake of children, nothing is too big a sacrifice! :D

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:53 pm
by sleepy
The thing about being SAHM is we are perceived to be not contributing to economy & hence the low social status

Difficult decision to give up hard earned qualifications, career, income and self-esteem.

After a few years away, almost impossible to re-enter workforce unless you are prepared to suffer a substantial pay cut, that is if you can even find a job in the first place.

Anyway, despites all my grumbling, I am happy to be a SAHM :D