Recently I see so much talk in our newspapers about babies. I do agree that raising kids is expensive. Then again, it is relative isn't it? It all depends on how you want to raise your kids. Some parents think that it is mandatory for their child to attend baby gym and ballet lessons, piano and violin classes etc from birth. Obviously the government is concerned that we're not producing enough kids and is dangling carrots to entice married couples to conceive.
Then people started analysing how attractive the government incentives are and the value of stay-at-home-mums. I know I'm going to piss alot of people off here but come on, if you don't have a kid or you don't plan to have one, you can whine about policies and such. But when you already have them, you raise them in the best way you know how. Any incentives given by the government is a bonus. And whether you choose to be a stay-at-home-mum or not, it is completely up to you.
Nobody is going to dictate that you should have kids or not, or it is best you stay at home to look after them. Or that your husband should get paternity leave or help out with the chores. Or that your boss should be more understanding. These are all very personal issues.
As I grow older, I have come to realise that while there are 'ideals', alot depends on circumstances and the personality of every individual. For example, not everyone will make a good stay-at-home mum. What good is it if the stay at home mum doesn't find any pleasure in being at home with the kids? Ultimately, what is most important is having a set of happy parents. Happy parents = happy kids.
The same goes for every child. While it is ideal that the kid excels in studies and sports, the fact is, every child has his own personality. Getting your kid into the most elite school doesn't mean that the child will turn out better than the rest. In fact, it may even cause more harm than good.
Having said that, it is every parent's responsibility to nurture the kids in their own best capacity. In my case, due to circumstances, I know I could never be a stay-at-home mum but I've managed to find a way that works for our family. It's not my personality to be a stay-at-home mum either. I work and spend enough quality time with my kids everyday. I don't feel that we've compromised anything.
I grew up in a family of working parents. We all helped with the chores during the day and had lots of family time at night. My parents didn't receive any incentives. In fact, they were chastised for having 3 kids instead of 2. Remember the "Stop at 2" policy? Yet, we were always happy and everyone turned out well.
It all boils down to finding the right balance. Every parent will find their own way somehow. Besides, situations change all the time. What's ideal today may no longer work tomorrow.
So, my advice is, do what you feel is right for your family. To have kids or not? To work or not to work? A happy and loving family is above everything else.