“Striking the Perfect Balance” as working parents
A panel discussion called, “Striking The Perfect Balance” debated whether working parents in Singapore can simultaneously maintain a healthy professional and family life.
The balancing act
Earlier this year, three panelists were invited to give their opinions on whether work-life balance is attainable for Singaporean parents or not. Suhaimi Rafdi, CEO of Cathay Organisation, Sher-li Torrey, founder of “[email protected]”, Daphne Ling, a mum and business owner who runs her own blog called “Mother Inc.”, and Michal Sarig, an Israeli diplomat at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the panel discussion. We found their tips on how to be working parents so powerful and full of wisdom that we decided to let you in on the key points.
Work-life integration, not work-life balance
Working parents, it is no longer just a balance between life and work. Especially for women, we have to take on more than one role in life. We are not just mothers, but wives, daughters, sisters and employees (or even employers), all rolled into one. “It isn’t just about 50-50”, Ms Sher-li Torrey, who is also the mother of two children, observed. As we become older, particular roles take centre stage, depending on the stage of life we are at.
Dads can be more active at home!
It is still common for mothers to be the primary caregivers at home. But in this day and age where more Singaporean women are choosing to pursue their careers even after getting married and giving birth, the role of the primary caregiver is slowly evolving. Instead of debating over who should be the primary caregiver, perhaps the more pressing issue at hand would be the overall well-being of your children.
Fathers can certainly do more at home. Dads for Life was launched in November 2009, as a national movement to call for more Singaporean fathers to become more active in the lives of their children. Research shows that fatherhood involvement contributes positively to child development, in terms of psychological, academic, cognitive and socio-economic outcomes. Conversely, children with absent fathers are not as well-adjusted in the above-mentioned aspects.
Factors to consider when hiring a domestic helper
Some parents employ domestic help to lighten their load at home. However, we all know that it will be an eternal debate over whether hiring a maid is a good thing for your family or not. Perhaps some questions to think about if you are seriously considering hiring a domestic helper are:
- Which phase of life are you and your spouse at right now? Do you still want to pursue a career? Do you think you can juggle parenting and pursuing a career at the same time?
- Do you have the financial means to hire a helper?
- How many children do you have?
- Are your children independent enough to take care of their own basic needs (bathing, putting on clothes, eating their own meals, etc)?
- What tasks do you want your domestic helper to take on? To what extent would you want her to help you with household chores?
Parents’ involvement is directly correlated to the overall development of their children.
Parents, if you’re deciding whether you want to pursue a career, you have to make a choice between spending more time at work or with your family, which would invariably make a difference in your relationship with your spouse and your children and their overall well-being. Perhaps, it’s about making do with lesser income for more quality time with your family, because your involvement in your children’s lives is crucial to their cognitive, psycho-social, emotional and academic well-being.
Choices, choices, choices…
As the discussion came to an end, the panelists gave their last piece of advice to the audience.
Ms. Daphne Ling, who has three children, commented, “At the end of the day, it’s choosing one thing over the other.”
Ms Torrey added, “Whatever decisions you make, you should be comfortable with them because it’s not somebody else’s life, it’s your own… [There] is something that you’ve got to give, to be given up in exchange for the choices that you make.”
Indeed, ultimately as parents, we have to make the right choice to ensure that our children would grow up well, even if it means that we have to sacrifice our personal wants and our time.
Are you a working parent? How has life been as a working parent for you? We’d love to hear from you! Watch this controversial video talking about working parents: