MUM SAYS Accept help for better work-life balance

Mum of two Jayme Shing is thrilled that the government’s pro-family policies and financial grants benefit working parents like her.

“Becoming a mum is a life-changing experience ― there’ve been many times in my motherhood journey when I’ve felt overwhelmed by the different responsibilities and decisions that are being thrown at me to make for my family. So, I shall share several of Singapore’s parenthood policies in Singapore that have helped me as a working mother tremendously. Hopefully something that you can explore as well to cope with work-life balance.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

This is probably the most well-known parenthood policy that all parents know and are thankful for! For both my pregnancies, besides looking forward to seeing my baby, this was one of the reason why I couldn’t wait to pop! Hahaha, I am sure I’m not the only one feeling this way! Having that 16 weeks of maternity leave, being away from work, so that I could ease myself into motherhood is something every mother would smile about! You can either take it continuously or stagger your last eight weeks of leave flexibly over 12 months from the birth of your child.

I took the 16 weeks in one go as I preferred not to interrupt my work responsibilities once I had already settled back in. There are definitely pros and cons to this, but it was pure bliss to be able to spend every day of those 16 weeks with my baby!

Having him [my husband] around during that week to help me settle into the routine of caring for the baby alone definitely made it less stressful for me!”

From 1 January 2017, all daddies are also eligible for two weeks of paternity leave! Hurray! Like most daddies out there, my husband took his first week of paternity leave at the beginning to be around at home for offer whatever help that was needed. He was basically my extra hands and feet as he helped to buy groceries for my confinement meals, run endless errands to pick up items for the baby that we’d missed on our list.

He even brought our baby out on his own for his jaundice checkups while I stayed home to catch up on some sleep. His physical presence during that first week helped make the transition for both baby and me a lot easier. My husband then utilised his remaining week of paternity leave after my confinement lady had left. This was extremely crucial for me as well because it was the start of the real deal of parenting! Having him around during that week to help me settle into the routine of caring for the baby alone definitely made it less stressful for me!

Subsidies for centre-based infantcare and childcare

When I was pregnant with my second child, Coen, one of our main concerns was making appropriate childcare arrangements for our firstborn Zoe after I delivered. At the time, she was being cared for by my mother-in-law and myself as I have flexible working arrangements. But given that we were going to have a new baby in the house, we knew that we had to send her to school, so that things wouldn’t get overwhelming for us at home during the day.

We found a childcare centre we were comfortable with and Zoe started school about four months before I delivered Coen. This gave us both ample time to settle into the new routine ― most importantly, she did not feel that we had ‘abandoned’ her when the new baby came along. Though our pockets felt the pinch when we enrolled her in full-day childcare, we were extremely glad to know that, as a working mother, I am entitled to a basic subsidy of $300 a month, which is a lot of savings for us! If you are looking to put your baby in infantcare, working mothers are eligible to get up to $600 per month. You’ll get an additional subsidy if your monthly household income is below $7,500.

Find out how hiring a helper helped Jayme reclaim some work-life balance…