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14 March 2013

FTWM—Celebrate motherhood, life & work

This year marks my 8th year as a mummy. It also marks my 13th year as a working adult. (you can figure out how old I am!) Out of my working life, 60% was done as a FTWM (for the uninitiated, that’s Full Time Working Mother). I thought that’s pretty amazing! However, I figured & I know for a fact that there are many many others FTWM around, and there’s really nothing much to shout about.

But there is. There’s a cause to celebrate. It is common to paint the really tough and challenging life of a FTWM. (We also describe that for SAHM, WAHM & PTWM…looks like being a momma just ain’t easy!)There are countless valid reasons why one is a FTWM. For most, it’s the practicality of a duo income. Whether it’s a reluctant decision or a willing choice, we are here to stay for sure.

So what’s there to celebrate for a FTWM? Let me count the ways… …

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FTWM: My ambition was to be a full-time working mother

A few of you may know this story.

I was fresh out of junior college, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, hoping to land a scholarship like all my other peers. At one of the interviews (by one of my dream organizations to work for), I was asked “where do you see yourself in ten years time?” I did a quick mental calculation – she meant 29.

I was without a boyfriend then, but somehow I confidently replied “oh I see myself happily married with kid(s)” and as an after thought added, “with a successful career”. The interviewer stared at me blankly, grinned, thanked me for my honesty and said that was the most original answer she’s ever heard (probably a euphemism for “hello, which world do you come from??”) And nope I didn’t land the scholarship. I was not ambitious enough for these organizations.

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FTWM: I Chose It!

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 torturevery 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.

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12 March 2013

FTWM: Sacrifices Of A FTWM

When I knew I was pregnant in 2005, the thought of being able to care for my baby full-time as a SAHM has crossed my mind several times. But in reality, the high living standard, responsibility, commitment and obligation are tying me down with one word "MONEY". Seriously money is never enough in my dictionary because we need to pay for the mortgage loan, car loan, medical bills, children's daily needs & educational expenses...etc..the list can go on & on.

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FTWM: Guilty as charged

On the day a group of us decided to each do a post on our lives as FTWM (that's Full Time Working Mom in case you are wondering), I was close to tears at my desk.

It was already 5pm and the prospect of me NOT taking work home for the 4th time in the week was bleak.

The very same evening, J's IFC teacher asked me whether I was expecting my number 2 because J's recent behaviour in school suggested he may be slightly neglected or may need to share the attention he is getting from us with another. My heart broke.

Last night, J refused to let me feed him...he screamed when I came close to him and threw a hissy fit. On the other hand, he sat quietly and allowed my mil to feed him. I felt helpless.

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FTWM: The worth of a working mom.

There’s been quite a lot of talk recently on the worth of stay-at-home-moms. I thought I would do a post on the worth of a working mom, since this topic has been on my mind quite a lot of late.

I’ve worked almost continuously since I graduated from university in 2001. The only two breaks that I took were when I was pregnant with Alison and Zoe. Both times, I worked from home as a freelance writer, and returned to work when the girls were a few months old. The first break was about 10 months long; the second, longer because of Zoe’s surgeries.

Apart from these breaks, I’ve always had a full-time job, although I’ve not always needed to work. In fact, I used to be quite proud of the fact that I could stop work whenever I wanted, because K’s income then would have enabled us to live more than comfortably on a single salary.

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FTWM: Yes I am a Full-Time Working Mum

Thoughts on this topic constantly knock about in my head... so I wanted to write it all down for posterity at some point.

As I dragged my feet along, this linky happened! Perfect kick-on-the-behind to finish this and post it up before the end of the month.

So. Why am I a FTWM? How did I come to decide upon this apportionment of time spent at the office and at home?

As I mentioned before, I had always seen myself as an SAHM, and had a 14+ month stint at it when my first child was born. Thereafter I went back to work, since I knew we wanted another child, and 4 months of paid maternity leave was too good to give up.

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FTWM: what is that?

The above acronym actually means Full Time Working Mums.

Well there was a whole big celebration linky party about SAHMs who all believes that they strive their best to be there for their family, nothing less than perfect. To be honest I really look up to these mummies who stay at home for the sake of their families. They are not paid, no annual leave nor bonus is given.. And they work 24/7. I salute you mummies for the sacrifices you made for your love ones. Well there are always two sides of the coin and I happen to be on the other side. So we, the FTWMs, also want to hop on the bandwagon for some celebrations! Well here is my version of why I decided to be on the FTWM side.

Yes I work full time (I tweaked a little of my working hours for this year) but still my working status is still reflected as a full time staff on my payslip.

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FTWM: Letters to my girl #9 | "Mum, Why do You Work?"

Dear Lil Pumpkin,

Sometimes in the morning, you'll start crying and hold my hand tightly, telling me not to go to work. It doesn't happen often, but every time it does, my heart aches a little and I wish I didn't have to go. So I sit by your side a little longer, hug you a little harder, hope hard that you won't hold this against me and pray that you'll understand that I'm doing this for the best of all of us.

Sometimes you'll even ask, "Mum, why do you work?" I usually give a simple answer, "to make money and buy you presents" but my Lil Pumpkin, it is more than that.

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FTWM: Livin’ and lovin’ it!

A FTWM, for the uninitiated, stands for a Full-Time Working Mother. Which, basically, is precisely what the acronym means. FTWMs hold full-time employment and are clocking in overtime back home as moms.

Some women look like they have it all. Some look like they struggle every minute. Some make it look effortless. Others may be dragging their feet at every turn. But no matter, all mothers have an awesome and huge responsibility the moment they leave that delivery suite with another living, breathing being.

Before I had Jayvon, I was pretty much clocking long, long hours at work. Public holidays, weekends… burnt, and I was happy to do so, working in an organization I loved and believed in. And I kind of harboured some thoughts my life would hardly change with the little one in the picture. Probably that was my biggest mistake. Cos change did happen, and struggle I did. I didn’t get that being able to sleep for a stretch of 3 or more hours was such a treat. I never imagined myself being so happy to see soiled diapers after a bout of constipation of the little one. I didn’t expect the heartbreaking cries of my sick child to wrench my heart so. I didn’t expect juggling all my commitments to be so hard. All the sleepless nights and the constant worrying and fussing over my baby who didn’t like the bottle and cried and whined all day at the Nursery… my work took such a plunge, and I am thankful for understanding bosses who gave me a certain amount of leeway and a great hubby who helped with the slack.

“Something’s gotta give.”

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$AHM: Through the eyes of my child

This post was written by Baby Ariel, as part of the $AHM Linky party started by Sarah Lee-Wong of The Playful Parents.

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Dear Prime Minister,

First of all, I have to thank you for the additional $2K that you are giving to me since I am born after 26 Aug 2012. However, I have to sadly tell you that I think the steps you made in raising the baby bonus, increasing paternity leave and housing support are not enough to help boost the fertility rate in Singapore to your long term goal of 2.1.

You might have forgotten something very important - that Daddy and Mummy decided to have me out of L-o-v-e, not incentives. That love for babies might be something running low in our land and needs to be cultivated. If there is no longing for a bigger family, then no amount of money is going to make all the aunties and uncles have babies like me. I can see that many of the newly weds postpone having kids and while they might quote financial reasons as the cause, the root of it lies in not having a strong enough desire for babies like me.


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