Friday, August 29, 2008

Decoupage Ideas for the Nursery

Here are a few fun ideas from Martha Stewart you can do for your child's nursery if you have the time and a pair of crafty hands. Just print out the animals from here, cut it out and paste onto a smooth wooden surface using decoupage glue (available from Spotlight).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our voices have been heard! Qualifying date for enhanced M&P Package backdated to Aug 17

I drafted the letter below to the press yesterday and was about to send it out today with the 113 signatures I collected here overnight. I am so happy there is no need for that now. For those mommies who still have no idea what is going on, read this.

Thanks to all the mommies on this forum, especially those who rallied everyone and stuck their heads out to fight for the benefits that many more parents and babies can benefit from! I am so happy that our voices have been heard. 3 cheers to mommies and mommies-to-be!!!


Enhanced Parenthood Package 2008 – Petition for change of implementation date

We are a group of mothers-to-be, due between August and Dec 2008. Many of us were delighted to hear of the new initiatives announced during the Prime Minister's National Day Rally Speech this year. However, we are extremely disappointed to learn that most of the new policies will only apply to parents with babies born after Jan 2009. We believe that this cut-off date discriminates against many Singaporean mothers like us who are currently expecting and having our babies delivered before Jan 09.

As part of the intention of the enhanced package is to ease the financial burden of giving birth and raising a child in Singapore, we feel that mothers that qualify for the incentives at the time of the announcement should be considered eligible for the enhanced maternity benefits that the government is now offering. We would hence like to appeal to you to consider revising the implementation date so that the new benefits can be enjoyed by as many Singaporean parents as possible.

We understand some of the reasons given for delaying the implementation date, such as giving companies more time to adjust to the new policies. However, we feel that some of the benefits such as the enhanced baby bonus which is coming directly from the government can immediately benefit parents that qualify at the time of announcement rather than those born after Jan 09. We note that under the current guidelines, even a non-Singaporean born before Jan 09 but converts to Singapore citizenship will be eligible for the enhanced baby bonus scheme based on the date of conversion.

Besides extending the enhanced baby bonus to more parents, we also feel that the additional 1 month maternity leave that the government is willing to bear should be given to mothers with babies born after the date of announcement. This can be subject to their employers’ willingness to support the additional one month leave.

Setting a delayed date of implementation for such incentives that can be implemented with immediate effect, and not giving some pro-family companies a chance of supporting their employees with the additional one month maternity leave, does send the message to mothers like us that the government is not sincere about helping Singaporean parents with the financial burden of giving birth and raising a child in Singapore.

We understand that there is a need for a cut-off date and that not everyone will qualify for the enhanced benefits. However, we wish that you consider following the same cut-off date back in 2004, when the last enhancement package was announced, and allow parents who qualify at the time of the announcement to enjoy the new benefits.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Details of the new baby incentives in Singapore announced, much to the disappointment of many pregnant mothers

The new incentives to encourage families to have more children have been announced. The details can be found here.

It is disappointing to many mothers like myself to learn that the incentives would only apply to babies born after 1 Jan 09. While I understand the need of a cut-off date and that there is no way to please everybody, I do strongly feel that the increase in maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks should be applicable to all moms who are currently still within their 4 months confinement period and babies born from the date of annnouncement. Moms that have delivered and are already back at work cannot turn back the clock while those that are still in confinement or yet to deliver should be allowed to enjoy these so-called incentives. Likewise, the baby bonus and tax incentives should be applicable to all babies born from the date of announcement.

If you wish to join in a group of moms who are rallying together to write a petition to PM Lee and Wong kan Seng, click here.

If you wish to join in the petition, please email Phylicia Yang ( your name and ic number. Please let as many of your pregnant friends know.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More pro-family incentives needed in Singapore

I am waiting, with bated breath, the new pro-family incentive anticipated to be announced at the upcoming National Day Rally. Does anyone know when this is?? Here is my wish list (in no particular order):

1. Longer Maternity Leave. I am not asking for 1 year (like Swedish moms enjoy) since I know this is not going to be possible. I am asking for a realistic 6 months, so that more moms can be left in peace to breastfeed their babies full-time for at least this duration of time before semi-solids are introduced.

2. More childcare leave to spend time with your kids throughout the year. Currently, most companies only allow parents to take 2 more days off per year to spend with their kids. 2 days??? Are you kidding me or what???

3. Designated resting rooms in offices for pregnant and nursing moms to rest and express milk when necessary. The rooms should be quiet and designed to allow for privacy. Perhaps we need a design code for this, looking at how some nursing and changing rooms are designed in shopping malls here.

4. More quality childcare centre near work places. This will allow moms to transition comfortably back to work. The last time I checked at a childcare centre near my old work place, the waiting period for a place in the nearby childcare centre was 6 months! 6 months!!!! I am thankful that I opted for 1 year no pay leave instead to take care of my own kid. But I realise that not many families can survive without both parents working full time.

5. Higher childcare subsidies. Not everyone can afford $600-800 paying for childcare each month. If you have more than 2-3 children, all that an average income earner gets each month will probably all go to these childcare centres.

6. Filing for discrimination at work. Expectant moms should have easy access to a representative body (I am not sure the Ministry of Manpower is good enough) which they can go to if they feel they are discriminated at work or laid off. Not all moms are vocal or brave enough to stand up to their bosses when they are being bullied or made to come to work even when they are not feeling well.

7. Flexi-time. Work places in Singapore especially should stop thinking that physical presence or longer hours in the office = more work done. Based on my own experience, it is usually the contrary. Haven't they heard of the 80-20 rule? It makes more sense to measure each employee's contribution by the actual work he has produced at the end of the day. Allow working parents more flexibility with their work schedule may actually increase productivity as workers try to manage their time more effectively and feel grateful (and are hence more loyal) to their employers for trusting them with how they spend their time.

8. More financial help given to low and even middle income families. With the rising ERPs and cost of living in Singapore, it is really tough to raise a child unless you are earning a lot!

I know that I can think of more than what I have listed above but I will leave it for now...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pupsik™ Studio celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

(click on image above to enlarge)

Pupsik™ Studio celebrates World Breastfeeding Week from Aug 1-7 by offering up to 15% discount on our nursing covers! Click here to buy a nursing cover and feed your baby with ease, comfort and style today!