Friday, 31 May 2013

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Cost-&-Benefit Analysis of FTWM vs. SAHM




The following are the advantages and disadvantages of FTWM and SAHM in my context.

Advantages of FTWM:
1. I stay in-touch with the latest cutting edge technology
2. I keep the employer contribution's part of my pension, which is 2:1 of what I am contributing, which I will lose if I am in less than 15 years of service. If I quit, this means that I am losing my hard-earned savings for the past 8 years!!!
3. I reduce the pressure off Daddy from being the sore bread-winner of the family and spread the risk in different baskets.
4. I get a break from being a 24/7 mom.
5. J gets exposed to other adults other than just me.
6. I learn to become highly efficient and productive with the limited time I have, which I might take it easy and waste it anyway if I am SAHM.
7. I have a decent income and can buy expensive educational toys without batting an eyelid.
8. I have a professional network, apart from being a mom (which ironically I currently have no time to spend with).
9. I have a job that others envy.
10. I gain respect from the Danish community, my in-laws and family.

Disadvantages of FTWM:
1. I am not there in the daily life of J, taking long walk, making meals for him, teaching him how to tie shoelaces, smelling the roses, watching ants, chatting, etc. etc. without watching my watch.
2. I am always juggling and in JIT survival mode.

Advantages of SAHM:
1. With more time, I can be a better mom, a better wife, a better daughter and a better friend.
2. I can be there for J during his childhood taking long walk, making meals for him, teaching him how to tie shoelaces, smelling the roses, watching ants, chatting, etc. etc. without watching my watch.
3. I can have more time for the other child, I mean Daddy.
4. I am able to bring J to swimming, piano, dancing class, tennis and football.
5. I can make proper lesson plans in Maths, Science, English, Chinese, Geography and Music.
6. I can dive deep into the research that I all along would like to do in the area of parenting, child development, brain development and learn along with J in his schooling.
7. I have more time to attend to home management.
8. I have more time to plan our vacation (but maybe no more excess money for vacation, and thus no need to plan vacation anymore)
9. I have more time to exercise.
10. I can attend to my parents and family in Singapore on a more frequent basis.
11. I don't have to bring home problems from the workplace.

Disadvantages of SAHM:
1. I might drive J nuts with my presence (read: expectations), if I am home with him.
2. Loss of income and my pension for the last 8 years.
3. I become part of the Danish unemployed statistics (even though being a mom is a 24/7 employment - just thankless and unpaid!!!) and have to brave myself from such self-esteem blows.
4. I have not much professional insights to talk about at cocktail and dinner parties (but then again, my profession is a mom, so what if that topic bores others to death, it is just their loss!)
5. The longer I am away from the work market, the harder it is to re-enter it. I may will have to accept this fact.
6. Our famiy will be more vulnerable in the changing globalization work market, as there is just one sole bread-winner.

Yes, now I have done my Cost-&-Benefit Analysis (CBA), but what is the conclusion?

There is no right or wrong choice. Every family's situation is different. Every person is different. It depends on what we value, as we all value different things in life. It also depends on what we find passionate about. For some moms, it will actually do their children good, if they go to work.

It all sounds so good on paper, the C&B analysis for FTWM, and it seems that it gives the best of both worlds, and it is doable. Having your cake and eat it. I am in the situation now, and how do I feel? I have all the advantages of FTWM now, but I don't get the feeling of fulfillment, but the feeling that I am short-changing things, short-changing everything.

If I do well at work, I slacken my standards at home. If I do well at home, I slacken my standards with my marriage. If I do well with my marriage, I slacken my standards with J. If I do well with J, I slacken my standards at work (and even then I can proudly say that I am still more productive than many in the quality of work I produce). If I do well in all, I fall sick from the lack of sleep. (Ok, I hear you, that I should lower down my standards in all areas- work, family, marriage, parenting and being a mom)

I am constantly going on a merry-go-round - making ít overall well and good. Looking very good indeed really, but who can see my inner struggles, my longing to be more with J, more time for Daddy, more time for my mum in Singapore, more time for my loved ones, more time to pursue my interests. The world only looks at the success outside. I seriously wonder how many FTWMs out there are really honest, especially those FTWMs blogs that I read, who seem to be able to have it all. Perhaps I am just not capable enough as a FTWM, and thus I stand at cross-road and have to make a choice.

FTWM looks like an intelligent choice, but SAHM allows me to spend time with people - both loved ones and people in need. To be there.

How I want to be remembered by J when he grows up and thinks back of his childhood and the things we did together as well as the things I did for him?

Providing a driver to bring J to activities or doing this personally?
Providing a maid to cook for J and us or cooking meals myself?
Providing a maid to clean for J, or teaching him how to clean and doing it together and leading a normal life?

At this point, I don't envy the royalty. They don't get a chance to live a normal life. They don't get a chance to raise their own kids, at least not in the olden days. Their pincelings are raised by others. Come to think of it - aren't all of us today modern day royalty, as we have all delegated our child-raising and practical life chores to maids, especially in Singapore? That's not what I want. I want to do these normal things myself, with my child, and through it grow together with my child. I don't get to do all this in a posh office - my royal palace.

When the journey's end, what's important? People isn't it?

Now that I have done my CBA, I am no more wiser than before.

If I follow my head, I will choose FTWM.
If I follow my heart, I will choose SAHM.

I will park my CBA here, ponder over it and come back to update it.

I will pray for God's wisdom to know what's best for my family and myself as a mom.

Here are some experiences from other mothers:
http://www.hellobee.com/2011/12/05/role-play/
http://homeschoolingsonshine.blogspot.dk/search?q=stay+at+home
http://theplayfulparents.com/playful-parent-sarah/
http://ingspirations.com/2010/05/20/why-i-stay-home/
http://www.loveourchildrennow.sg/2011/12/11/whyforth-art-thou-a-sahm/
http://ourlittlesmarties.com/2009/08/5-great-things-about-working-motherhood/
http://www.mamaworkinprogress.com/2013/06/looking-back-on-stay-at-home-motherhood.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grown-and-flown/why-i-regret-being-a-stay-at-home-mom_b_3402691.html

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