Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Got Maid?

In my inner world here behind the facade, there's been a paradigm shift since becoming a mom just a few months ago. I still make comparisons of my adopted culture (Australia) and the culture in which I was raised (Malaysia)- but I have been thinking of how modern mums take on the task of raising their kids.

In Malaysia, it's fair to say that the majority of kids are raised by maids or grandparents. I do see amongst Malaysian women, more and more smart young execs giving up their high flying careers to stay at home and raise their kids with the help of a maid. Malaysian kids spend half the day in school (either morning or afternoon session) plus extra curricular activities on certain days. Then the rest is taken up by tuition classes and extra lessons.
I saw a 2 month old baby on Orchard Road, at the time, was similar age to my own baby except that the Singaporean baby was carried in a cloth sling by the maid, with the new mum walking alongside (the new mum still looks about 6 months pregnant) together with an older woman (looks to be the granny) carrying a bag bursting with bottles (can conclude that the new mum was not breastfeeding then). This woman had a maid and a mother at home to help. No wonder she looked fat.

In Australia, the number of children in daycare and those raised at home with their mums (with some days in daycare as well) are about equal. And here, too, being a strong woman also means making a choice and commitment to give up your career and dedicate your time to raising your children. Australian kids spend most of the day in school (starts at 9am to 3pm with sports or extra lessons mostly in school grounds) and weekends are for extra lessons. Most women here have to hit the ground running once the baby is out of the uterus. If there are no grandparents around to help, they're on their own with the husband. Imagine doing all that yourself!

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