It is tough being a working mother.
A working mother has to juggle eight good hours, sometimes more, at work. The day does not end for her when it is time to knock off.
She rushes home to assume her other role as a mother and a wife. She makes sure that dinner is served for her family, and she races against the clock to spend more time with her children before their bedtime.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone.
According to Statistics Singapore, the number of dual-income families recorded in the 2015 Household Survey has increased to a whopping 53.8 %.
This means that there are now more working mothers in Singapore compared to the past years.
The working mum dilemma
What are some common struggles of a working mother? According to popular parenting platform The Asian Parent, one of the biggest difficulties that you will face is finding a reliable and trustworthy caregiver. As early as when your maternity leave ends, you have to make plans to hand over the role of caretaker to someone you can trust.
At this point, you may make the decision to either have your child cared for by your in-laws or to enroll him/her for childcare. It is then important for you to weigh each option and choose the one best suited to your needs.
Here are some pros and cons of each option.
Pros of leaving your child with in-laws
Safety and loving care
There is nothing more reassuring than having a family member look after your own flesh and blood, as safety is a priority for these caregivers. Not only that, your in-laws will shower your child with love and care, allowing him/her to feel secure and happy especially when you are not around to do so.
Similar family values
You may prefer to leave your child with your in-laws because you agree with their family values and feel that it aligns with your own. This ensures that your child will continue to be raised in the same environment as if you are taking care of your child yourself.
Cons of leaving your child with in-laws
Too much love backfires
While loving care is important, this may backfire if the in-laws are overindulgent. Grandparents sometimes spoil their grandchildren. As a result, all routines set by you may become forgotten. This can be exasperating when you regain control after work.
Lack of learning opportunities
While some in-laws are great role models, they may not be equipped with the necessary knowledge to teach a young child. Some may even resort to keeping him/her entertained with the dreaded telly box when they run out of things to do.
Pros of enrolling your child at a childcare centre
The good news is that the Singapore Government provides a childcare subsidy to help offset the hefty costs of childcare for a working mother. Even better, you can apply for an additional subsidy if you work 56 hours or more and if the total household income does not exceed $7,500.
Besides looking after your child’s basic needs, accredited childcare centres like MindChamps provide a formal and structured learning environment for your child.
MindChamps’ unique S.M.I.L.E.S. ™ and bilingual curriculum set it apart from other ordinary childcare centres. It nurtures all aspects of your child while he/she is being cared for.
In fact, children who attend MindChamps PreSchool are eased into the rigorousness of Primary school with the help of their transition programme in their final term of Kindergarten 2.
According to Baby Center, your child can benefit from socialising with other children when they are enrolled in childcare. This is not possible if your child is taken care of by the in-laws. As a result of this, they may lose the chance to learn how to share or work with others.
Cons of enrolling your child at a childcare centre
Viruses and outbreaks
The biggest nemesis of putting your child in a childcare centre would definitely be the risk of catching a virus. Since your child is constantly surrounded by other children, he/she is at risk of catching the flu bug if another sick child comes to school.
Another cause of concern would be the Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreaks. These can sometimes result in centre closures. You might then be compelled to make alternative childcare arrangements.
Another worry about enrolling your child in a childcare centre would be that he/she no longer receives one-to-one attention showered by a family member. If this is bothering you, do look for a centre that has a low teacher-to-student ratio.
MindChamps PreSchool has a low teacher-child ratio that is well within the guidelines set by ECDA Singapore. This will then ensure that your child receives quality childcare while you are busy at work.
Choose the best option to suit your needs
Whether you choose to put your child with your in-laws or enroll him/her in a childcare centre, both options come with its own set of good and bad points. It will then boil down to what you think is in the best interest of your child.