MUM SAYS If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t have had kids

A brutally honest Singaporean mum shares her heartfelt thoughts on being a reluctant parent of two young children.

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“I’ve been married to my husband, Thomas, for 11 years. We have two kids ― my son, Alex, is 4, and my daughter, Gwen, is 7.

I love my children, but I’m not mum-of-the-year material. I’m not as maternal as I think I should be. In fact, I’m pretty bo chap or blasé about them sometimes.

But I’m a Tiger mum when it comes to my daughter’s schoolwork. That’s because I know that if she’s not diligent and doesn’t do okay, it’ll affect the class she goes to for her next level (Primary 3) and she’ll lag behind her peers. This will have a domino effect, so it’ll be a struggle to catch up.

We do enjoy our time together. We go out on weekends for afternoon snacks and catch up on cartoons at home. We have staycations once in a while for a change of scene.

I love my children, but I’m not mum-of-the-year material.”

But I’m not the type of mum who is super affectionate and wants to spend every waking minute with her kids. I make sure they’re provided for in terms of clothes, proper nutrition and medicine when they are ill, and so on. I take care of practical, nitty-gritty things, like making sure we’re stocked up on the daily necessities, while my husband plays the more nurturing role and spends quality time with them.

I like time to myself after work. Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child and I like to be by myself when I need to decompress. My husband relaxes by being with the kids, but I need peace and quiet.

If I could have a do-over, I wouldn’t have wanted kids. I never wanted kids in the beginning. Back then, my husband commented that there was no point marrying and not having kids. So, I relented and said, okay, we’ll have one.

But when our daughter was 3, I got pregnant with our son. He wasn’t planned, so I was devastated when I found out I was pregnant. I felt that I had a very good balance of family and personal life with that one kid, and having another would completely mess it up. I was also afraid of it being a high-risk pregnancy because I was almost 40 then.