Sunday, May 10, 2009

What working mums want

More hubby support to help with stress from the recession

by Lin Yan Qin

05:55 AM May 09, 2009

THE best Mother’s Day present working mothers in Singapore wish for this year? More support from their husbands.

090509-WhatWorkingMumsWant Over eight in 10 women feel they have not been getting enough support from their husbands since the recession kicked in, a survey by the Working Mothers Forum (WMF) has found. In contrast, five in 10 felt this way before the recession began.

More women are also worried about being expected to make work a priority or face limited career prospects, compared to the number who felt this way before the recession began, according to the survey, which polled 100 working mothers last month.

This, they worried, could limit the time they could spend with their children.

Ms Cheryl Liew, vice-chairperson of WMF’s panel of experts, urged women to communicate with their husbands if they felt stretched.

“Guide him or give him specific tips on how he can help,” she said. “Most men want to help their wives out. They just don’t know what to do or where to start.”

Some 68 per cent of the women surveyed feel more flexibility from employers in workplace arrangements would be “the most useful” in helping them cope with the recession.

In addition, 46 per cent feel that employers are in the best position to help them cope with the demands of work and home in a recession.

But working mother Sherie Ng, vice-president of strategy and marketing, Asia Pacific Invensys Process Systems, feels that as long as women continue to bring value to the company, employers would be happy to accommodate the needs of working mothers. Technology like video-conferencing and Blackberrys are resources women can tap to balance work and home, she added.

And pregnant women feeling especially vulnerable to job cuts should discuss with their bosses how to contribute during their pregnancy.

“Remember to ask how you might work with the team, to make the transitions before and after you return from maternity leave easier,” advised Ms Liew.

What was unchanged from the same survey done last year: Mothers still feel guilty for not being able to give their best at home and at work.

This is understandable, said WMF panel expert Geraldine Goh, consultant psychiatrist and clinical director of Child and Family Guidance Clinic at PsyMed Consultants.

“However, remember you are deciding what is best for the family given the circumstances, which in this case, is added income,” she said.

“Working does not compromise the love you have for your child or your ability to be a good mother.”

From TODAY, Home – Weekend, 09/10-May-2009

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