One of my favourite blogger has put up a series of parenting around the world. The series tells us the many interesting stories of parenting in other countries from the perspective of an American mother. My favourite of all the different posts would be the 13 Suprising Things about Parenting in Congo and 12 Suprising Things about Parenting in Abu Dhabi. The series has actually influenced me to come up with my own version of “Things about Parenting in Australia”. I’ll do a little write up below regarding my experiences being here in Australia as a parent.
I must say on birth, you have 2 options here in Australia. It’s either you go public or private. Public as in deliver in a public hospital or a birthing centre and if you must deliver the baby via emergency caesarean then the next available obstetrician will then do the c-sect. If you’ve got health cover that covers pregnancy and birth then private is the way to go. You’ll then get your own private suite and chosen obstetrician which includes in the labour package. I went public cause I didn’t have private cover at that time and the good bit of working in the healthcare industry is that I get to choose my obstetrician because I knew her personally. So thank god she manage to slot me into her already long list of clients at the very last minute. Oh didn’t I tell you that it’s free when you go public, well technically it’s covered by medicare.
After discharge, the child health nurse will come visit the baby and mother at home the following day and again a couple of weeks later.
On getting help and the working mum; I wish I could hire a helper or maid here but unfortunately there isn’t such services available. Oh yeah, you can hire an au pair but my husband thought nah. My mum and grandma came to help me for a month after birth plus I got 9 months off work anyway (1 month annual leave + 4 months work maternity leave + 4 months paid parental leave) so that was very good. We bonded, love, cried, slept, cuddled and laughed together so much. Yes I have to admit that there were times I felt overwhelmed by it all but my supportive husband has made the everyday routine easy for me. Therefore it was the best 9 months off work ever. Motherhood has changed me alot and I’m greatful each day for this blessing. When it comes to going back to work, my workplace was kind enough to roster me on child friendly shifts (7-1, 8-4 or 2-9) and I was given an additional hour on top of my allocated break time to go home and breastfeed my baby (thank god I live 2 minutes away from work so I don’t spend too much time on traffic). As most would know, Australians pretty much embrace family work life balance which is something one can rarely achieve in sunny Singapore.
Breastfeeding and co-sleeping; It is encourage to breastfeed here. There is also a workplace policy for breastfeeding mothers henceforth I was given an hour to either go home and breastfed my baby or express it in an allocated breastfeeding room. Co-sleeping is discouraged to prevent SIDs but I co-sleep with my daughter ever since she was born because I breastfed her and it just makes it easier for me. Most people I know would put their baby to sleep in the cot and some even place the cot in another room, I’ve tried doing that a couple of times and even got help from Ngala but I gave up trying. Now that Zaara is 2 yrs and is already off the breast but she still sleeps with us. Haha…
On day care and school; Zaara is at day care twice a week. I wish I could put her in for more days but day care does get pretty pricey here. Currently I’m paying $80 per day but you do get child care rebate (non income tested) and child care benefit (income tested). I’ve got friends who are paying $150 per day for day care! There are also nannies who could come by to look after the little ones but they do charge by the hour which usually is between $20-$25/hr. By the way, Zaara joins the Happy Feet Fitness class (which charges $8.50 extra per hour session) on one of the day that she attends day care and she loves it. She usually comes home singing/dancing to the songs and dance routine that they did on that day….it’s so cute. Oh and on primary/high school, there’s this big debate on should the child be enrolled in a private or a public school. Many I’ve asked have enrolled their child in private because there are better funding in private school (Yeah of course! That’s bcuz you’ll have to pay heaps for the school fees) plus their perception is the child does better academically in private than in public. As for me, I feel it’s more of a personal choice because it also depends on how much effort the parents put in when it comes to pushing their child in their studies. Well, we’ll see how it goes in the future with our little one.
Parenting style; I used to attend a playgroup session once a week with other new moms and their lil bubs but I had to stop attending it after I returned to work. It would have been nice if I could continue attending the group as it provided me with an avenue to express my feelings, thoughts and queries on the bub and explored on different parenting ways. Zaara loves playgrounds especially the swing other than that we’ll take her for walks at the park which she enjoys too. Terrible twos temper tantrum; well, we have introduced the naughty corner at home but we only use it if we had to. We try to adopt the Super Nanny style of parenting and only place her at the corner for 2 minutes. I’m happy the method work. When we go out, I have to admit, we do get nervous at times because the lil one does get pretty unpredictable with her tantrums but she often quiten down when she gets picked up (phew).
I wish there are more that I could put up but I guess that is it for now. As a busy working mum, I try my very best to juggle my career, my family and study altogether. It is hard at times but when I look at Zaara and how fast she has grown my tiredness seem to disappear. She completes us. Alhamdullilah.