02 August 2009

Making Money and Raising Children

In today's materialistic world, where savings are eaten away every year by inflation, everybody feels the need to work hard and to earn lots of money. There is professional satisfaction, personal satisfaction and monetary gain in slaving away at work 14 hours a day, maybe 6 days a week.

But once one is married, and the kids have arrived, what happens? There are too many combinations and permutations to go into - housewife and working husband, househusband and working wife, part time work, work from home, babysitter etc...

Today, I'm just musing about the practice where parents leave their children with a minder, at the minder's home, from Monday to Friday, picking them up on Saturday to "play" with them over the weekend. I have cousins who do this too. They tell me they work late and are just too tired to take care of the kids, and that they want a good night's sleep on the weekdays. Don't you miss them? Not really, was the answer. Aren't you worried about what they do or what the minder does, over at the minder's house? Oh, we trust the minder.

I wonder whether the children feel a sense of "home" if they are shuttling between 2 houses, and spending more of their time in the minder's home than their parents' house. I wonder where the bonding happens. I wonder if the children will just view their parents as weekend Santa Clauses who take them out to the malls, buy them presents, let them eat out in fancy restaurants. I wonder whose values the children will take after - the minders or the parents?

People talk about the breakdown of the traditional family unit. No more living together as an extended family. No more influence and guidance from grandparents. No more strong and close ties with uncles, aunts, and cousins. No more playing over at the neighbour's house. Perhaps this new arrangement of weeklong minders takes it even a step further - paid upbringing. Have you read the book a Brave New World? It's about a world where children are no longer conceived through intercourse. Children are manufactured through some sort of advanced IVF in laboratories and raised en masse by minders in special facilities. There is no need for parents, no need for love. Society functions by strict rules, and of course, genetic makeup decides everything.

Everybody has their own reasons for choosing their particular lifestyle, and I am not judging their choice as I do not live in their circumstances. I write this because a friend of mine said it must have been a big decision for me to quit law, to quit work altogether. He too knew of people who send their children to minders for most of the week. But I am glad I stopped working, and I am so grateful that I am able to. Even if I was not able to stop working, I would have (and did for a time) willingly quit law practice and taken up a job which could give me a reasonable work-life-balance.

For me, I need to see my children everyday; I need to know what they are doing, learning, playing; I need to talk to them and see them doing their childish stunts; I need to know what they are being fed; I need to hug, cuddle and kiss them. That's just me.


  1. Hi, what a great blog. Thanks for sharing your link. I am like you, I need to see my children everyday. Everyone's situation is different and how they bring up their children is their choice. For me, I am grateful that I could take a few years off to be home for my girls and now return part-time to a workplace that is supportive of family/work life balance. A brave move by you to quit practising law, but I am sure you are enjoying the time with your family.

  2. Hi Charmaine, yes I am really enjoying staying home. Like you, I am grateful because I know not everybody can do this. Maybe when my children are older I might return to work. Glad you enjoy my blog!

  3. Hi, I am from Penang move to Kedah and now going to move to Klang. It is really tough because every move will start from ZERO no parents, relatives....wish me good luck.