By Siti Nursuraya Ali
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) — Working mothers or women who are about to start a family often find themselves faced with the same question: where do I send my baby for care once the maternity leave ends?
In Malaysia, there are a few choices available but when it comes to what is best for the child, non of the choices are any easier.
The obvious choice would be to leave work and concentrate on raising the family, but not many can afford this option especially looking at the rising cost of living in the cities.
Another option that is probably more practical for many is to ask the help of a family member to care for the child while the mother goes to work.
Other options are to hire a maid, send the child to a babysitter or childcare centre.
Whatever choice the mother makes, she would have to be prepared for some trade-offs. When choosing to leave one’s child in the care of others, there is always the nagging worry the dangers that may befall the child as reported by the media so often.
Bernama delves into the experience of two mothers and a soon to be mother in choosing the best form of care for their child while they go out to earn a living.
QUITTING WORK FOR CHILDREN’S SAKE
Ani Fadhilah Arrif, 23 chose to leave employment after having her first child with husband Syafiq Othman, 29.
She felt it was in the best interest of her baby that she becomes a housewife and get additional help from her in-laws.
“Zafri is our first baby, and I have had no prior experience in childcare. So my husband and I decided to stay at my in-laws so that I have extra hands to help me while Syafiq is out working,” she said.
Ani, who went through a difficult pregnancy, believed she had made the right choice.
“After my confinement period was over, I started looking for a job but it was difficult to find one with suitable working hours. I had to let go of a few opportunities, especially those requiring me to work in shifts,” she said.
Although the child is now older and easier to care for, she is still hesitant to leave the child with a babysitter. The number of media reports on dead or abused children in the hands of babysitters have made her wary of the option.
NOT AN EASY CHOICE
Meanwhile, Roslina Anuar, 29, started discussing childcare options with her husband right from her pregnancy. They had initially decided on sending their baby to a daycare centre. However, the decision was fraught with guilt and fear.
“We decided not to ask for our parents’ help at the time as they were old and lived a distance away,” said Roslina, who lived and worked in Ampang, Selangor.
However, the couple changed their mind once the baby was born. She and her husband, Jumadi Boyot, 29, decided to ask Roslina’s mother, who lived in Kuantan, to care for their firstborn.
“We were so sad, but it had to be done so that she was in safe hands. I missed my baby so much I would cry. I would view her pictures and videos over and over again to ease the pain,” she said sadly.
Roslina took her eldest daughter, Husna, back when she was three to live with her. By then she had a second child, Hanis, whom she also sent to the mother. Husna was sent to a babysitter in Ampang while she and her husband were at work.
“At first we sent both Hanis and Husna to a childcare centre, but when Hanis became infected with scabies there, we took both of them out,” she said.
The situation was what forced Roslina to send her second child to be cared for by her mother.
CAUGHT IN A QUANDARY
Childcare decision was also difficult for Mashitah Mamat, 30, who is seven months pregnant with her first child.
She had decided to adopt a wait-and-see approach and mentally prepare herself for all eventualities.
“The nearest babysitter to my house is already caring for two other babies – and three babies under the care of one babysitter is more than handful,” she said.
She remains perturbed on the post delivery childcare options, and is keeping her options open including resigning from her job to care for her baby if the need arises.
“I have thought about sending my baby to my mother, but she lives an hour away.
“If I become too sad or distraught by the separation to the point it affects my work, I may just quit my job, stay home and take care of my child until old enough to go to kindergarten,” said Mashitah, stroking her pregnant belly.
MAKE SURE CENTERS ARE REGISTERED
Meanwhile, the Community Welfare Department (JKM) Director General Datuk Noraini Mohd Hashim reminded parents to regularly monitor the babysitters and childcare centres they send their children to.
“Parents who are opting to send their children to a childcare centres should check to see if the centres are registered with JKM, and the list of registered childcare centres can be obtained from the department’s website,” she said.
She said registered centres were vetted in all aspects by JKM including the child minders’ skill and experience, the safety of the premises and their cleanliness, particularly the toilets and kitchen.
“We also recommend that parents regularly check their children physically and emotionally. Observe changes in their behaviour,” she advised.
No matter what their choices in childcare, parents should put the well-being of their children first.
Parents should be mindful to the needs of their children’s early education and care. They should not wash their hands off and rely solely on the babysitters or childcare centres.
Many studies have proven that children’s early education plays an important role in shaping their character as well as in instilling values. But for the average working women, juggling between family responsibilities and work is no easy task.
Source Article from http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/fe/newsfeatures.php?id=996097
The Childcare Dilemma Of Working Mothers
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