I recently witnessed a heart breaking sight when I went to nearby doc’s clinic. My daughter has been coughing for a while and she passed on the germs to me. So I started feeling sick too. My office is so busy right now that I can’t afford to fall sick. So, though it wasn’t that bad I decided to go for a short errand to nearby clinic.
|Balam Road clinic|
As I entered in the clinic, and I saw a daddy carrying his little girl (who was howling) who was sick and 6 year old boy was in stroller with the maid (also looked sick). Since daddy was still in office clothes, I figured that he dropped there straight from office. While coughing, she puked on daddy and the elder brother. Dirtying a place in singapore is like a crime. The daddy and the maid hurriedly tried to clean up the baby and the place. The clinic staff standing nearby gave a glaring look at the daddy. Helpless daddy stood outside of clinic, trying to manage both the kids while maid cleaned up the mess.
|Chin Choo Clinic Balam Road|
Just the daddy and maid with sick children gave clear indication that mum is at work. The girl child puked after few more mins. and she continued to cry, holding daddy tightly, looking for security, love and assurance. That sight was terrible and it got me thinking. I am a working mum too and imagining this sight when my kids are sick and I have to stay at work, made me tremble.
In expensive city like Singapore, both parents have to work to give a better life to their kids but to be honest the work culture is such that there is little room for working mothers. First of all, they don’t appreciate that you are a working mother because most of colleagues are not even married. They would expect everyone to stay late in office, no exceptions for mothers. Even though governments offer grants etc. but what’s the use. The country is not designed for working mothers and it’s not just singapore, other countries like Japan and Australia don’t even have maid facilities that give opportunities for mothers to resume their jobs. There is so many women who drop out after they become mothers. One of the reasons why it is hard to achieve gender equality at work place.
Today I went out lunch with a colleague who told me that a senior women in the company came back to work on second day after delivering the baby. My jaw dropped listening to this because that’s very inhumane. The reason is that company cannot wait for 3 months for her to return from maternity. She may have to lose the job which she can’t afford because she needs to feed 3-4 mouths at home. This sounds crazy but the truth is, there is no space for working mothers. Why mothers should be treated special when we are talking about Gender equality? This is a fair question and to that men have also started getting one month of paternity leave which is great. The change is happening but is very slow.
Till then parents have to continue to work hard to survive and children have to adjust with the parents. Kids are the most flexible people on earth and they are just so awesome sometimes!