27 November 2006

Mildly Sexist Letter

    ST Nov 27, 2006
    It's not the money that counts but the parenting

    I REFER to YouthInk's discussion on family ties (ST, Nov 13).

    I applaud Ng Chuin Song's philosophy that leaving kids in the hands of care-givers is unfair. This shows that she would be a responsible parent.

    Hui Min wants to 'provide the best' for her children - she wants the assurance of a good balance between time and money before she 'can be convinced' to start a family.

    I want to tell Hui Min that the best person to provide this assurance is herself. She is spot on in pointing out that 'it all boils down to the lifestyle we choose'.

    We can spend all our lives chasing material luxuries - pursuing a Dink (double income, no kids) lifestyle in the fast lane - and end up lonely in our old age, regretting bitterly about the decision not to have kids.

    Our parents raised large families on small, single incomes - but we turned out pretty okay, didn't we?

    I want to assure Hui Min that not being able to afford 'musical or sporting activities' for the children does not make one a bad parent.

    Think of parents who are too busy with material pursuits, and have no time for their children. Is that what kids want?

    Being constantly chauffeured from school to tuition and enrichment classes?

    Wouldn't they prefer to return from school to a home warmed by mum's presence?

    Many well-educated women lament that their education is wasted because they have become stay-at-home mums.

    But that is shallow thinking: Employment is not the ultimate goal of education.

    The most important aspect of education is character building and value inculcation, which is so important for bringing up kids.

    We need to be good role models for our children, and we need to impart good values to them.

    Finally, there is nothing wrong with the woman holding the domestic fort while the man concentrates whole-heartedly on his career.

    If he is successful, financial stability will be assured and the kids will also be well taken care of with mum around.

    And don't wait until the children become older; research shows that a child's intelligence is largely set by the age of five.

    Tan Chor Hoong
    Mother of three children aged 12, 15 and 18
I've informed my wife that when I've earned enough, I will retire early and be a house husband. She can carry on working. I'll make sure the kids do their homework, do some stock analysis and be a day trader on the Internet. I'll also sell some advertisement space on my blog and earn a couple of thousand dollars a month like Xiaxue.

My wife has agreed, provided that I also learn to cook.

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Anonymous said...

indeed. The idea of a househusband trading full time is an intriguing one. Cooking classes are offered at community clubs : )

it will be a challenge not to go after the 5 Cs in Singapore; and it takes courage for one parent - no matter the education and earning capability - to stop work to look after the children. But it can be done, with prudent financial and goals management.

All the best for trying. Me too

Anonymous said...

well, when porco has saved up enough money to send any piglets he may have to university, he will stay at home and perhaps do some cooking ... soushite ne?

Philip said...

Indeed Mr Wang. If there is a burning desire in me to learn something. Its cooking. Another great post from you. As always. Hope someday you will cook something for all your readers. Heh.

Kevin said...

Two-prong approach here I suppose. Wife stays at home with the kids, does a pretty mean job at it. Husband goes out, win bread for the household. One can't do without the other, especially if your aim is to fulfil all your kids' needs. Physical, mental and most importantly, emotional.

Jimmy Mun said...

I think Mr Wang is confusing retirement with househusbandry. The retiree is not concerned about earning money or maximising his youth, while the househusband needs to believe that the family income and his potential is maximised by him staying at home.

Not to mention the destruction of his social network. Think about it. When men come together, do we talk about work related stories, or about the texture and colour of our babies' poop? If the househusband choose to mingle with housewives, he may end up in a messy web of jealousies...

Even the credibility of Mr Wang as a blogger will be hurt, for who will give two hoots if he doesnt own a car when he is "just" a househusband, not a high achieving lawyer in an European bank?

And a househusband is supposed to do HOUSEWORK, not blog full time with two maid toiling in the background. Xiaxue-class blogging is a full time job. You can bet she will be a whole lot more boring if she get bogged down with housework and kids.

Speaking of kids, I think most fathers will agree with me that, given a choice, the kids will rather have mummy than daddy.

And, this doesnt apply to Mr Wang, but if it comes down to divorce, the househusband is not going to get the same deal as the housewife.

moomooman said...

Oh boy... if you aspire to be like xiaxue...

does that mean you are turning this blog into something juvenile?

Just kidding. I knew you wouldn't downgrade your blog.

Anonymous said...

The grandparents leh. Often they should not have too many employment obligations ... well unless the government raised retirement ages again or they have CPF issues.

Anonymous said...

We have twin infants almost a year old. There's a huge difference in the kids as they become more accustomed to leaving the house and experiencing new and exciting things. Like going to the market, getting on the bus, or splashing around a swimming pool.

Noone would trust the maids to hop into a cab and take the girls out, so obviously a family member needs to be around. Problem is that retirees don't have the energy to run after a pair of 10kg babies; and non-retirees, well, they're working.

We've been trying to decide if she should quit work to look after the kids. At first we were reluctant because there's a mortgage, and the extra income is always handy to have around. But I think we're leaning towards taking the plunge. The kids learn a huge amount from her, and it's only meant to be a temporary measure. She might spend the time to further her studies, before rejoining the rat race in a couple of years.

There's nothing wrong with a professional quitting work for a few years to look after children. In fact I think it's a gutsy move. Something to respected.

Oh yes, I'm a crap trader, but decent cook...

Anonymous said...

I feel that to stay home with the kids or not is a question of priorities. I'm an NUS graduate and was a manager of a department earning a pretty good income and loving my job. But I chose to leave the job and be a stay-at-home mom. Sure our standard of living took a beating, but I dare say our quality of life improved.

Before we married, I got my then-fiance to agree that I will quit working once we have kids. My philosophy is if we want to bring a human being into the world, we must be responsible for every aspect of his/her life. While material comforts is important, I feel, and thankfully he agrees, that a child's emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical development is even more important. One of us should be responsible for our child's nutrition, discipline, and the values he/she will learn and uphold. If our children turn out alright when they grow up, we can pat ourselves on our backs and say, "we've done our job well." If our children screw up, we have no one to blame but ourselves. I want that kind of responsibility in our household and since I don't expect him to be a househusband, I decided I will be a housewife.

Being a stay-at-home mom is NOT an easy. It's a 24/7 job. Even maids have a day off, you know and they don't put in 100% when taking care of other people's children. Personally, I found my previous job as a manager a whole lot easier than taking care of my own kids, and managing all the housework and cooking but the rewards are immensurably higher. The sheer joy of being the person who saw my babies take their first steps, say their first words is priceless.

We now have 2 young children and everyday is a real joy. Everyday, I wake up to kisses from my 2 babies, spend the day playing, teaching and guiding them, hearing them tell me they love me a million times and receiving a trillion hugs from them. That's the love children have for their primary caregivers. Can you really afford not to be that person?

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