I may not need much space for sex, but my child needs space to live
Do we really need our own house before planning to start a family in Singapore? Here are five main reasons most couples here think so
Singaporean couples have just been told by the Senior Minister of State, Josephine Teo, that we only “need a very small space to have sex”, so we should not wait to get our own flat before thinking of starting a family.
Sure, we don’t necessarily have to chase each other through an open grass field or dance around a tree before consummating, and there are many creative sex positions we can try out that can be done in the kitchen, bathroom, or bomb shelter — but what we truly want is our very own space to raise our children.
This tiny island is home to over 5 million people and the struggle for privacy and personal space is real.
Take a ride on the public transport and you might get trampled by the hordes of commuters; Go out to a shopping mall and you’ll have to elbow your way through the throngs of shoppers; But stay at home and you’ll get to listen to your next door neighbours singing karaoke while the occupants above you move the furniture around with (what sounds like) the help of their pet elephants.
So if you have to share a space with your own parents, in-laws, grandparents and siblings once you get married and are still waiting to obtain your balloting number from HDB or for your BTO flat to finally be completed, there are probably a few reasons you want to hold off having children until you get a space of your own:
1. Awkward sex
Even though you’re legally married and your whole family knows you obviously will be having sex with your partner, it still feels weird to kiss your mum and dad goodnight, retreat to your bedroom and proceed to lick whipped cream off your husband or wife’s bare bottom while you can still hear your parents watching Tanglin on the TV just outside.
Forget about spontaneous morning sex on the kitchen counter before you head off to work, because you don’t want your grandfather to walk in looking for his cup of coffee, only to be shocked by a free show instead.
Bathroom sex with the water running for an hour will most likely get a few impatient knocks on the door as a queue is beginning to form and your siblings are out there grumbling about how they are now going to be late for school.
Even if you have the whole house to yourselves while everyone is out for the day, you still can’t help but wonder if they can smell the after-sex in the air and pray that they won’t notice the wet spot on the living room sofa.
2. Unsolicited parenting advice
As soon as you have a baby, you will quickly discover that apparently everyone else in the whole world thinks they know how to be a better parent than you do and will be very generous in giving unwanted advice on how to burp, carry, feed, dress and discipline your child.
Of course it’s great to have the help of your family members to keep an eye on your bub as you pop out to run some errands, or just have a quick shower (with or without your partner in there too), but it’s frustrating to come back and see that your mum has undermined your parenting beliefs such as by adding rice cereal in your baby’s milk bottle because she claims it will help keep him full for longer and sleep better (which is not recommended and actually unsafe for your little one!).
Your know-it-all sister who isn’t even married nor has a kid yet might also like to chime in her two cents’ worth about how you’re raising your child, based on all the TV shows she’s watched and the daily inspirational quotes her friends post on Instagram.
So maybe they all mean well and are just trying to help because they love your child too, but it’s nice to be able to wave goodbye to them at the end of each family get-together and go back to your own home where you can breathe easy and feed junior your special homemade dairy and gluten-free snack in peace without any scrutinity or sarcastic remarks from others.
What are the other possible reasons some couples need their own flat before wanting to start a family? Go to the next page to find out!
3. No playroom
Although the size of most homes in Singapore are pretty small and some couples prefer to opt for the more affordable two-bedroom or three-bedroom HDB flat, if we have a space to call our own — no matter how tiny — we can pretty much do anything we want to our house without having to consult all our family members, or ask for permission first.
Our kids’ mountain of toys, books and pint-sized furniture from Ikea and Daiso will probably spill out of their own bedrooms and into the living room, making visiting friends wonder if they’ve accidentally stepped into a neighbourhood childcare centre instead, but we don’t mind because we just want our little ones to be happy and have the freedom to play.
If you’re sharing a house with your parents and other family members, it’ll be good enough that you can get one room for you and your spouse, but there just might not be much space left for your children to sleep, play and grow — plus you might also feel a little guilty that your kids’ stuff has encroached into everyone else’s personal space.
4. Never leaving the nest
How can you think about laying your eggs and having your own chicks, so to speak, if you haven’t actually left the nest yet?
No matter how loving and supportive your family is, you might not feel like you’ve actually become a proper grown-up until you move in to your very own house with your partner.
There may be many beautiful memories in your parents’ flat that you grew up in and you might not mind living in the same estate, or block, or even the unit next door to them — but the point is that you want to start this next life chapter in your own space and create new memories.
You never know, but your mum and dad might also secretly want their own privacy back once again and may be looking forward to turning your old bedroom into a karaoke lounge, or a sewing room, or a walk-in closet, so it’s better that you finally spread your wings and fly off to your own nest.
5. Uncertain future in rentals
If you have actually moved out of your parents’ home and are renting a flat with your spouse, this still poses a problem for many who are worried when exactly their lease will be up or whether their landlord will one day change his mind and kick you out on the streets with only 30 days’ notice.
It’s probably even worse if you have to share the space with other tenants because things will be even more awkward and there will be limited communal space for sure.
If you already have a baby and suddenly need to vacate the premises to search for a new place to call home, it could make things more difficult and stressful for everybody.
Getting the keys to your own flat is a huge milestone in a married couple’s life together and the next natural step most will take is to finally have a baby.
So how much space do we actually need?
A child does not really take up a lot of room, but having our own home means that we also have the freedom and independence to start our own family whenever we please.
It is not wrong for a married couple to want to have their own flat before adding children to the equation.
Whether you are from Singapore, France, the UK, or a Nordic country, it is your personal choice and right as a citizen to be given the opportunity to buy your own house and have a baby when you are ready to do so.
Yes, we may not need much space to make babies in Singapore, but personal space is scarce and precious to us here, so we’d prefer a place of our very own to raise our children and let them live in happiness.
Do you agree that couples in Singapore should have their own flat before having a baby? Or is it better to raise our children under a shared living space with others? Share your views with us by leaving a comment below!