I am not afraid to admit that I’m not a very good mother. By that I mean, I choose to work so I can get away from my kids.
I remember after the maternity leave of my first born, I was so relieve to go back to work. To me, the 3 months at home taking care of the baby was a
torture very difficult period. Everyday my life revolves around the baby. Breastfeeding him, cleaning up his poop, giving him a bath, etc. And it doesn’t help that he couldn’t really “play” during that period.
The maternity leave for my second child was slightly better. Cause, I am not only tending to one kid, but two. And my boy was at a stage where we can have fun and play with him. However, I was still happy to get back to work, simply because I realize that the conversation that I hold with Chubby was really not “healthy”. While he share his view on the political or social news and things that happened at work, I could only tell him what the kids have done for the day. Of course, I can spend sometime to read up when the baby sleeps, but I have dedicated those time to either doing household chores or catching up on my own sleep. I really dislike myself in that stage.
You can say that I still love myself very much.
Am I without guilt? Of course not. I’m very fortunate that my MIL is willing to quit her job and help us take care of our kids when my son is born. Every now and then my MIL will try to update us about the kids. Like what they have eaten that day and whether they ate well. And on days where they meet their major milestones, she will happily share it with us too. During these moments, I really wish I could be there to witness all that happens. But as a FTWM, I can’t.
There are also other times where I reach home and see my kids sitting in front of the TV too engross in their show, I blame myself again. Why can’t I stay home and take care of them and plan more interesting activities rather than having them sitting in front of the TV? (I don’t blame my MIL for it. I mean what can you expect an elderly do to keep the kids occupied?)
But I know, I can’t. Cause, I don’t even think I can plan enough activity to engage them. And worst, I think my character is not suitable for coaching. Chubby will probably come back home with a bad tempered wife and kids who are at war with their Mom.
Hence, I choose to go back to work to keep myself sane.
But that said, I think I’m also very blessed that I have help in taking care of my kids. Like I mention, my MIL who is willing to stay with us and help take care of the kids. She may not be the best help, but I’m very sure she uses all that she can to take care of them and love them dearly.
It is also fortunate that Chubby work place have a really good childcare center. One that we see clearly how our boy grows tremendously under their care. And thanks to that, we didn’t have much of a terrible two from him (FYI, he started school at 20 months).
Recently, we got a domestic helper who was transferred from my SIL. We are also fortunate that she is good. Help relieves us of our household chores so that we can have more time to play with the kids after we reach home from work.
Hence, I choose to go back to work as I know they are well taken care of.
Apart from these, money is also another reason why I’m back to work. I came from a not-so-rich family. My Dad had to work two jobs when we were young to make ends meet. My mother went to work full-time when I was 6 as the two jobs that my Dad hold prove too much for him to take. Nonetheless, my parents always tries to give in to whatever we request. I learned drawing, piano and ballet. My parents have to borrow money in order to buy us a piano at home. However, I know that my parents are not rich, so I try to refrain my requests.
Obviously I don’t want my kids to be like me. I wish I can do even more. Send them for classes they enjoy at the good schools, so they can really develop the interest. It doesn’t matter if at the end of the day they may not continue on. At least I didn’t deny them a chance to learn and hopefully, they did walk away with something.
I also wish to expose the kids to more arts. Watching plays, musical in Singapore is not a cheap. How to afford if we are a single income family?
Hence, I choose to go back to work so as to have more money for the family.
Of course it helps that my current company gave me a rather good work-life balance. There isn’t a need for me to do much OT. I can spend the entire weekends with my kids. And we value such quality time together. I always fill them with activities so that they feel our love and presence even though we are not there for them on week days.
All these reasons are very typical of a FTWM. However, having the same reasons means they are the genuine. I’m sure FTWM loves the kids as much as SAHM. However, not all of us are cut out to be SAHM (my salute and admiration to them always). We chose to work for the better of everybody.