Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day 2014 (Part 1)

8th March 2014, Singapore. Today marks the International Women’s Day (IWD).

To commemorate this special occasion, I had interviewed a couple of women from all walks of life to share their story to everyone.

Some of their story might inspire, motivate, influence or represent each and every woman in Today's society.

Sharon Chew is a Sales Director and is happily married with 1 child.

X: How do you cope with your career and your families? Since you need to work and at the same time looking after your cute son?

S: Being a property agent allows me much flexibility in arranging my time. Having strong family support is also very important.

As and when I need to do viewings, my husband, mum and aunty take turns to help look after my son for a while. I try not to bother my mum and aunt too much, so I do my best to be more efficient in my work.

X: Do you think that in Today context of society, more women are accepted in higher-ranking position and being respected compared 10 years ago?

S: Definitely. Women have fought long and hard for more recognition, and I think it is starting to pay off. However, I feel that it is still very much a male-dominated society in the workplace.

X: Do you think that the Mother can actually work to support the family while they left their children to their parent’s/in-law, maid or infantcare/childcare centre to look after?

S: It's really a personal choice, and every mum makes the decision based on her needs and capacity.

We are not comfortable sending our son to an infantcare centre or having a domestic helper to look after him, but I have friends who chose those options and they are doing great.

Some mums don't have much of a choice, as they need to go back to full-time work. Of the 3 options, having our parents to help with our children is definitely the best, but in my case, they are either working or getting on in age, and it's tiring to be running after a 1-year-old the whole day.

I'm blessed in that I am able to stay at home more to look after my son, while my husband carries more of the stress to bring home the moolah.

X: Do you think the public is accepted the mother to breast-feed their child openly in the public?

S: I think they are much more open-minded now. There are more products in the market, such as nursing capes, bras and clothes specially designed to allow breastfeeding mothers to nurse discreetly in public.

I am also very appreciative that there are more and more shopping malls in Singapore that have comfortable nursing rooms.

X: How can we educate the public that breast-feeding is important to the newborn baby?

S: A lot of breastfeeding information is targeted at expectant mothers for now, hence they are usually on motherhood websites, magazines or at hospitals.

I think for the general public to be made more aware, a lot of the advertising has to go out of these spaces to where the general public would be. Eg. at bus stops or cinemas.

X: Do you think that the husband can play an important role to support their wife and take care of the newborn baby together rather than letting their wife to take care all by herself?

S: I think he not only can, but he must! I believe a lot of postnatal depression can be avoided, if the wife receives a lot of support from her husband.

It is a very big transitional period for both, and the husband should not leave his wife to adapt to it alone.

Besides, he would be missing out on a very good opportunity to score points with his wife and bond with his child.

My husband took turns with me to wake up for our son's night feeds, so I could get some much-needed rest, and he bathed our son every morning for quite a few months, until he had to start leaving earlier for work.

Even though he's out running for work most of the week, he still looks after him on Saturdays so I can get some time to myself. Looking after a toddler 24/7 can make you want to go nuts sometimes, and it helps to get some time out.

My husband also bathes our son during the weekends, as that allows him some more father-son bonding time.

X: Do you think that Singapore Company have improved and treat their pregnant employee equally?

S: I think the initiatives from the Singapore government have helped companies to improve in the way they take care of their pregnant employees.

Having said that, I do applaud those companies that care enough to carve out breastfeeding rooms, and set up nursery services for their employees.

X: Do you think that having a kid is a burden to you? As nowadays many new wedding couple do not want to start up a family.

S: Well, many of the things we used to do, we find it more inconvenient to do them now. Not impossible, but they just require more planning and adjusting of expectations.

For example, we used to take off for movies anytime we wanted, but now, we need to arrange for my mum to babysit our son on our date nights.

If we take him along for movies, we are prepared to take turns to carry him outside of the screening hall if he starts making noise.

He doesn't cry often, but he does try to talk to the characters on screen because he thinks they are talking to him!

However, the little inconveniences are a small price to pay for the joy that our son brings to us and our families.

X: What is your greatest moment with your cute son?

S: At his current stage, he is picking up things very quickly, and I go from great moments to great moments! My favorite moments are when he looks right at me, gives me a smile, and touches my face.

X: Do you think that you can inspire other women’s out there? Why?

S: At some points in my life, I may be an inspiration to someone, at other points, I am inspired by others. I think every woman is an inspiration to someone else, if we take the time to listen to her story.

I know so many women who have been through so much, yet they don't think of themselves as anything extraordinary.

To them, they are just getting through one day at a time, by putting one foot in front of the other.

X: Do you have any encouragement words to the reader?

S: To the women, you don't have to try and be tougher than the men. Being a woman is strong enough in itself.

X: Thank you for your time for accepting my interview.

S: My pleasure! Thanks for asking me!

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Movement by 77th Street

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