I think it's a mother's natural instinct to care and protect her cubs. Other family members included.
I have reached the age where friends around me 1) have children, 2) are adding children, 3) are planning to have/add children, or 4) made up their minds not to have any.
This time back in Singapore, I met an old friend at Bukit Timah Plaza on a Sunday afternoon. The elder of his two girls was taking ballet lessons. We went there with our friends whose boys were taking music lessons. Being out of Singapore for several years now, HG and I didn't know that Bukit Timah Plaza is actually a popular site for children's enrichment classes.
Pulled along by the tides of time, we bump into friends these days at places like Bukit Timah Plaza, and no longer at yuppie coffee joints or pubs at Holland V or Mohamed Sultan.
I don't know about other moms out there but I often think about what kind of mother I want to be.
Is staying at home full time the best decision a mother can make?
I enjoy the autonomy to decide how I want to bring up our kids. It's also fun planning the menu and whipping up delicious and nutritious meals for the family. I am thankful I am there whenever my kids need me, like when they fall ill and need to stay at home, or when the teacher calls that they'd run into trouble at school.
However, I think this routine is dulling my senses. I miss meeting deadlines, socialising with colleagues, dressing up for work, traveling and most of all, the satisfaction of a job well done. I don't wish to be enslaved to my family, not now or in the future. I want to live my own life!
I was rather pleased to strike a balance in Singapore and Beijing, where I could work from home and still travel occasionally for press events and conferences. Work has dwindled since I come to Finland. I'd bet the cashiers at the local supermarket recognise this Asian woman who comes in nearly every day, sometimes to buy something, sometimes nothing.
Besides personal satisfaction, a full-time job would certainly boost our family income. More money is helpful, not to mention, gives me the power to pamper myself with material things. I'm far from noble so I must confess that I wish I can splurge liberally on designer clothes, jewellery, shoes, holidays... the list grows the more I mull over it.
These days, I can't help but feel resigned to my state of affairs. Then last night, I read an article by NYT columnist, Judith Warner. Warner is a stay-at-home mom and an author. This week, she wrote about her run-in with working moms.
On the other end of the spectrum is Lucy Kellaway of the FT. Back in February, she wrote about her guilt as a selfish working mother.
I can identify with both women. At some point, I was one or the other, and my status may change again when we move to a new country where career opportunities and childcare arrangements are more readily available.
"I am woman, hear me roar." Do you know this feminist anthem by Helen Reddy?
Stay at home versus full time work. I'm still searching for the point of equilibrium.