YOUR VIEW: 'Having kids is not about incentives, but commitment'

Having children is not about the short term incentives but the long term commitment, says our reader. (Getty Images)

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When the government first announced the enhanced marriage and parenthood package, a couple of friends immediately messaged me and asked if I was considering having a third child. After all, I now get more money, they said. But my answer was a firm "no". I am stopping at 2 and 2 is more than enough in Singapore.

My friends have got it all wrong. From the very beginning, it's not money that's the root of the problem. Yes, I agree that the standard of living in Singapore is extremely high but with the little money that the government is giving, it doesn't help much anyway. What difference does it make? Practically none.

Having a kid is not about money. I am sure all parents are clear about their financial condition even before they consider having a kid.

Do they have enough savings to start off a family, buy the basic necessities such as a baby cot, clothes  and can they afford monthly expenses such as milk powder and diapers. No parent will say "let have a kid first and then we wait and use the cash from the government for the kid".

So it's not about money. Then what is it all about? Why are people not giving birth?

I look around my friends, my colleagues and I look at myself... it's the commitment, the responsibility that scares people off. I have a colleague who have been married for 10 years and he and his wife refuse to have a kid.

They get to go on romantic holidays as and when they want, they go golfing in Malaysia and Indonesia every weekend, go drinking and karaoke after work, enjoying life to the fullest while me, I have to rush back home everyday after work, gulp down my dinner and have a quick shower because my baby girl, after not seeing me for the entire day, is clinging on to me like a koala bear and cries once I leave her sight.

Over the weekend, I continue to hear the shouts and cries of the kids and suffer from the perpetual lack of sleep and go to work everyday like a walking zombie.

There are good, happy times with my kids too, times when they make me smile and laugh and think I am most lucky to have them in my life but there are people out there that rather enjoy life than to subject themselves to such "torment".

Not to mention, going from a relationship to two happily married to having kids, your relationship with your husband/wife will never be the same ever again. We do see couples divorcing because they can't work out the differences after having kids, so some couples choose to be happily married ever after without having kids rather than to have to argue over and scream and run after kids. You can say they are selfish but if they can't commit to such a huge responsibility, why force them to?

As a working mother, I constantly question myself and feel extremely guilty on why I have kids when I can't take care of them myself (even though my mother-in-law is taking good care of them) just because I have to work. And it's tough for my mother-in-law taking care of both but we tried to enrol my son into a nearby full day childcare and it's all full and we are forever on the wait list. There are vacancies elsewhere but the fee is S$1,000 per month, jolly well out of my budget.

So if a couple is willing to have kids, yes they will go ahead and have kids, regardless of their financial condition because no matter what they will make things work.

But if they are not willing to have kids, no matter whatever benefits are pushed to them, they will not have kids... certainly they won't say, 'let's have kids now since the government is giving us money'.

Christina Chua Hui Shi, 30
Marketing manager



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