after having 2 kids, being a ftwm isn’t really a choice for me. it’s the default option that i have to choose because of ONE reason. Being financially sound. with the current cost of living in singapore, the bills that we have to pay, the insurance/medical fees/school fees for the kids, the house and whatever cost necessary to build our own home just isn’t possible with a single income (at least not with any of our income). and let’s just not going into the quality of living or us indulging in whatever luxury that we can afford (e.g. travels, new gadgets).

well, thing is.. i actually think being a ftwm is a much, much easier job than a sahm, so i definitely welcome the extra moolah, the extra me-time out of the household and not being at the beck & call of babies wailing simply because it keeps my sanity very much in check. I never really think i would ever feel this way one day! because, i was soooo lemming to be a sahm for the longest time before i had a kid!

i admit. i used to have misconceptions about sahm. i used to think its damn shiok without the need to work, no deadlines to meet, no bosses’ wrath to face, and can own time own target to go about things, go shopping on the weekdays where there is no crowd etc and the best bit? Have my husband provide for me. i used to bug my husband to let me be a sahm and kept telling him i want to quit my job. i couldn’t be more wrong in thinking life is good as a sahm.

22 months ago after i had my first born, Jerry, life changed. i sunk into depression while being on maternity leave. I feel spent all the time, constantly fatigued at all the household chores and moo moo duties and the worse bit of it is that it is a neverending cycle. it just keeps going on and on and it got to some point where i suspect that i don’t have any maternal instincts in me because i was so depressed, i just wanted to get away from the baby, or throw away the baby for that matter.

well, i now know the truth. the truth is, facing any boss’ wrath is better than facing a constantly crying baby. at least for me. not that jerry was constantly crying, but just saying.

being a sahm is really tough. I really admire all sahm (especially those who even start their own businesses) because its really no easy feat, especially when there is no helper in the picture. imagine the housework, the constantly attention seeking kid/baby, the need to cook, the need to feed, the need to bathe, the need to wash, the need to adhere to their schedules and routines instead of how you’ll like things to be. not being able to brush your teeth the first thing you’ll wake because it is likely your baby is crying and you need to feed him or that your boobs are bursting and you need to do something about it. woah. all it took was 4 months of maternity leave to have me running back to the work force after i had my first kid.

now that i just had my second baby and am on maternity leave, i dont deny that the time spent with the kids is priceless. Being able to interact with my kid everyday is fun but it is very very tiring. it drains me mentally and physically (gosh, they are just so energetic! or maybe im old), more so than being at work and i truly find that being a ftwm does have its perks.

1. other than income, there are also employee’s benefits like annual leave, child care leave, medical subsidies (and leave), insurance coverage etc that can be very useful at times. and the subsidies at childcare for working mums. a sahm works 365 days non stop and there isn’t anything ‘leave’ to take and there isnt any subsidies for them to enjoy.
2. being at work helps recharge the mind (i know, the irony!) and reset any feelings of frustration in facing the kids, and i find that i have a lot more patience facing my toddler as compared to the days i stay at home with him all day. its true!
3. being at work also makes you miss the kid more and it makes you look forward to going home! well, for some, it also means being more efficient at work because you just want to finish your work and head home as soon as possible.
4. the weekends are a lot more precious and makes you enjoy them more than to being inclined to sleep them away because someone is on hand to help and you just want to rest.

of cos, being the ftwm is not easy.. work schedules are tough shit too. there are situations where one struggles with the roles of a mum and the work roles, and not all companies (or bosses) are pro-family (unfortunately). i really think the government needs to look into this to get more people to procreate. It’s definitely one of the factors because my colleagues are mostly single and unmarried. its quite hard to have any social life for some of them! i guess my line of work isnt easy, especially for a mother. i work with non-moveable deadlines (think advertising deadlines), launches that need to go out on time, events that eats into my weekends in a fast-paced industry and the work is ever demanding, because things changes with a snap of fingers with the competition out there. there is hardly any lull periods and there are many days where i work way past my kid’s bedtime (sometimes even past midnight!). i find it depressing that i am not able to spend time with the child. it does get a tad frustrating as well when it happens way too often and you’ll be ridden with guilt for not being able to be there for the kid and it’s a different demoralizing situation altogether. its a tough juggle.

thankfully, i am quite lucky with the support of my mum to help care for my baby on the days i gotta work late since i am still staying with my mum for now. sometimes, my in-laws chip in to help in the evenings or take leave when my mum needs to travel or go for her medical check ups. it really helps set my mind at ease that my kid is being cared for when i am still rushing my work in the office.

on the days where i do get to leave on time, i rush home to spend time with the kid, play or read stories and put him into bed first (usually about 10.30pm or whatever time the child decides to sleep) before going about eating my dinner and bathing because the window of time available together is so short and too precious. now with #2, i shudder to think about the time when my maternity ends and i have to head back to work.. simply because i know my work isn’t gonna sit well with me being a mum of 2.

for the uninitiated, FTWM simply means full time working mum.

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