A mixed bag of feelings accompanies me on our journey to set up a family.
The decision to be a parent is never an easy one. Especially in an affluent society like Singapore where the majority of us are fortunate enough to not worry about putting food on the table. Our general concerns in life revolve around where to go for our next holiday and what shows to watch. We have the flexibility to be free, both economically and with our time.
Right now, I don’t have to provide for any dependents as fortunately my parents and in-laws are self-sufficient. I can afford to be a bit more liberal with my money, go on a holiday whenever I want and head out with friends after work without much of a thought. I can pursue my interests (like writing) with the spare time I have.
Cost of raising a child in Singapore
It is daunting to think that I would have to sacrifice all these once I am a mother. More than anything, we would need to be able to provide for our child. This infographics from smartparents.com estimated that the cost to raise a child from a baby to age 22 in Singapore is at least $670,000.
Just the pregnancy and childbirth would cost us $8,000. For the first 2 years of our child’s life, we would need to prepare at least $60,000.00.
That is a shocking amount of money, especially for us, a young couple who will be getting our BTO soon. The cost of renovating our flat would set us back around $50,000.00. We would need a total of $118,000.00 within the first 3 years of our baby’s life.
Logistics of being a parent in Singapore
Besides the cost, we would have to consider the logistics arrangements. The most important question being, who will be looking after our baby once he/she is born? Would one of us have to quit our jobs and stay at home full time? Should we put our baby in an infant care? Do we get our parents to help? Do we get a helper? Can we still go on holidays and enjoy our couple time? Do we still get to enjoy a social life?
Mindset of being parents
Fortunately for me, my friends who are parents have been positive and earnest about sharing their trials and tribulations. “I am not ready to be a parent!” I often declare and they would comfort me by saying “No one ever is ready for parenthood”
My in-laws have been supportive too by letting us know that they would be happy to help us when the time comes. It is reassuring to know that we would not be alone and there are family and friends help us when we need.
I have also come to realised that I have been thinking about being a parent in Singapore with a limiting mindset. Having a kid will bring different experiences in our life. Although it is mostly terrifying to think about it, a part of me is hopeful about the joys of parenting.