Friday, April 17, 2015

What a Mother of 4 really wants as a Baby Bonus...

I had Audrey when I was only 26 and looking back, while there were times when it got a little trying, I never regretted having kids. In fact, the reason why I wanted them early was really because I was scared I couldn't have them.

People normally joked and said that D and I must be Singapore's most bored couple to keep having them…  (Some of our friends have kindly suggested a new tv set with better programs etc to keep us entertained.. God bless their souls) But many don't know that when I was younger, my aunt died during childbirth. 
They never really wanted kids until she was in the early 30s… And even though she was considered young, she never really thought she would be that few percentage that would have problems conceiving. When my aunt started to try, she had quite a bit of problems with her womb. In the end, she did IVF. Even with that, the journey wasn't easy. 
She suffered one miscarriage and for the second one, she was always in and out of hospital because of threatened miscarriage. Then came the day for delivery. Her amniotic fluid flowed back into her blood stream and she died on the operating table without having a good look at her daughter.

For her, money wasn't the issue. Accidents happen, and while there's regret, I know she's in good hands. But from her, I realized while we can plan for anything and everything, we really cannot plan on how many kids we have or if we can have them.
I didn't want to leave anything to chance. D and I agreed that each child is a gift and if God were to give us, He will give more to sustain us.

Having more kids didn't mean D and I had too much money (rolls eyes… they aren't properties you know). Neither did it mean that we had so many accidents and we didn't know how to count… (In case you were wondering, Audrey was planned). But we cannot deny, the joy and meaning they bring to our lives is priceless.

However, not many have the desire to appreciate these joys. I have to admit that on my part, my aunt has greatly played a role as to why I wanted kids and I want them young. Schools and even church seldom highlight and focus on the intrinsic joys a big family would give. 

I know children are expensive (trust me…) and besides whatever the government has done so far, if they asked me… I wished they could consider these:-

1) Hospital fees (and maybe childcare) to be increasingly cheaper for subsequent births (and child)
Every two years with the same delivery procedure (same hospital, same room, same doctor, same procedure) from Audrey to Julian, our hospital fees would increase by at least $2000 each time. And this is just the hospital fees.
You know how we always have a Buy 2 get 1 free concept? I'm not saying (though I don't mind) that my third delivery is free, but what I'm saying is a repeated customer should have some benefits… 

2) Transportation grants 
We got housing grants, we got education grants, how come it stopped short at transport??? Currently our car is a five seater, we know at some point, we need to reconsider that. Now between getting two cars and getting a 7 seater, we know the latter is a cheaper option. (Of course some smart alec will say use public transport, but I really don't think we should over work our trains that much) 
Now with the new loan ratio and all, to even consider getting a 8 year old 7-seater needs to be recalculated. While it doesn't need to be a luxurious X5, that grant does help cushion the pain.
3) Large families get higher priorities to schools of their choice (Ohhh I love this one)
As much as small families cannot comprehend why large families should get such privilege, I cannot understand why small families are on a same ground for school registration. I would rather Audrey go to another school and while we were within the 1-2km and 2km of the other two schools of our first few choices, it was not possible because suddenly, everyone shifted near there or had grandparents living there or whatever reasons. 
But the thing is they only get to use the benefit once or twice (for most)… I have no 2, no 3 and no4 waiting to go to school too… 

4) More income tax relief for dads.
I suspect why the benefits are usually tied to the mothers because the mothers are graduate and they are earning quite a bit. (The irony is some mothers don't even work after first child, so what is income tax) But honestly, maybe for the third and fourth child more benefits can be shared with the fathers. D definitely earns more than me and because he does, he bears more of the expenses of the household. 
At this point, I literally don't pay tax (and i declare them honestly). But the whole concept of the richer you are, you should be taxed more, should be reviewed at other angles like if they have more dependents. Julian's milk powder cost $100+/tin (he drinks Enfagrow stage 3) and while we have not gone to the stage of giving him condensed milk mixed with warm water, we pay a lot for their basic needs. I'm sure there's cheaper ones but Julian has been drinking that since young, and different milk powder has different taste, so it is really personal. We tried fresh milk, but it doesn't satisfy him as much as formula. It doesn't help that he is a milk vampire so each tin goes through quite quickly.
My point? Though we may earn above national average, so too is our expenses. And these aren't luxuries on ourselves but main things like milk powder and diapers for our kids. 
I find it silly how we need to earn more to make sure that the family has enough, just to be taxed on our personal incomes (which is over and above GST which is how much we spend). So… should we earn more or not? 

Family life may not make economical sense to many … and it doesn't. At times, it's better to be single and just spend the money you earn, but where's the meaning in it?
For now, and for most parts in our lives, we can only trust that God promises us that He will guide us through. :) 

Have a great weekend guys… with the ones that should matter the most to you. :)

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