On Wednesday I picked up a copy of Today because I haven’t yet subscribed to the Straits Times, and I only usually buy the Friday and Sunday copies, and Today is free (but full of fluff). There was an interesting letter from a reader who said that she had always wanted 3 children, but ever since she’s had 1, and had to work full time, she’s found it just too exhausting to have any more.
I can completely understand where she’s coming from. I’ve worked in an organisation that was extremely family friendly – strong work from home culture, flexibility in hours, and great benefits. Best of all, the official working hours were 9 to 5, and if you had to leave at 525pm to catch the company-organised bus to several destinations on the island, and were in a discussion, your colleague would definitely understand and accept to continue the discussion the following day. Of course some aspects of this also varies from boss to boss. However, I cannot agree more with her POV – that we should be focussing on changing the working culture for long term gains which will eventually increase the fertility rate, rather than on short term measures such as financial incentives and tax breaks, although these of course are more than welcome.
I’m very pleased though, that more efforts are being made in this arena, and I know that change does not come easily (or fast). I’m so glad that there are organisations such as Mums@Work out there, and more importantly, hiring organisations which see the value in hiring Mums. Sure Mums don’t have all day to spend at the office, but having other priorities also means that at work we’re no-nonsense and will work to get the job done so that we can leave as soon as possible and get to our OTHER job.
I’m lucky to have a part time job with a great work-life balance. But then that’s because I work for my hubby, so he knows that any delays in timelines is not because of any incompetencies, but because of his two larger than life boys. Just this month alone I was approached by 3 headhunters for positions that weren’t suitable anyway, so it was easy to say, the boys are my priority, so I’m not interested thankyouverymuch.
But when a role I was really interested came along, I feel disappointed that I had to turn it down because there aren’t any grandparents available to help us out anymore, and full day childcare isn’t really an option unless we desperately need me to go back to work. I’m sure in time I won’t regret it, but I do wish that there was a better way that I could manage both without having to give one up.
And until that day comes along (maybe when the youngest one is ready for nursery?), it’s back to diaper duty for me. Ciao!