I'm Every Woman
Life as a woman in Singapore comes with many liberties and opportunities, but it poses challenges too. After all, having multiple responsibilities while fulfilling your own expectations demands competence and the ability to manage all the moving parts. Indeed, whether you are forging a professional path or meeting your family's needs, the modern Singaporean woman has much to live up to.
Rathi Ho, 38, Lecturer
The Dutiful Niece
"It can get depressing at times trying to find time for everything, but I just tell myself to snap out of it and be kind to myself," says Rathi Ho, who juggles lecturing jobs at two local universities with running her own household and looking after four elderly unmarried aunts. Aged between 75 and 89, two of them have breast cancer and dementia, and to better look after them, Rathi attended a course on dementia care at the National University of Singapore. (Find out more here)
Although she has multi-tasking down to an art, some days are hard. "It is physically and emotionally draining looking after old folks with multiple health issues," Rathi shares. "There are also communication barriers and the generation gap to contend with. The greatest challenge lies in looking after myself so I can look after them." (Get tips on health and wellness)
Nonetheless, Rathi has developed more perspective on things. "I am more patient and connect with others who are facing similar challenges," she says. "I also understand the issues of a greying population better--it is no longer just an abstract concept."
Most importantly, she takes things in stride. "There are bad days, but the good days are worth it. Mini triumphs are what matter."
The Passionate Entreprenuer
Vivienne Loh, 44, Holistic Therapist and Culinary Healer
"Time is always a challenge--there is never enough of it, it seems!" Vivienne Loh quips. A divorced mother of two pre-teenagers, Vivienne raises them while running her own wellness consultancy. (Learn to thrive as a female entrepreneur via networking and business incubation)
Passionate about empowerment, Vivienne teaches others how to maintain emotional wellness and eat healthily. "Most of the time, my greatest challenges are opposition and scepticism regarding my type of healing work and managing my growing girls," she says. "I try to ensure there is good communication, while having to discipline and yet be understanding."
However, Vivienne is adamant about living fully. An active member of a local non-profit dance group, Vivienne recently embarked on an immersion trip to Mongolia and Xinjiang with her fellow dancers. (Pick up pointers on how women can travel better)
Work fuels her too. "It's all worthwhile when my children understand and can create their own good food, and when my clients improve when they persist with the work."
The Selfless MotherLisa Poh, 37, Freelance Writer and Homemaker
"When you have a child with special needs, you're tired," says Lisa Poh. "There is a lot of coordinating and commuting for different therapy sessions and I sit in to learn from the therapists. It's like a full-time job."
Having recently moved back to Singapore after living in Montreal, Lisa writes by night while looking after her family by day, throwing herself whole-heartedly into the care of her 4-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum. She manages his therapy schedule and medical appointments and has just finished writing educational materials for a local publishing company.
Even though Lisa feels lucky to have a support network in the form of her husband and parents, who help respectively with housework and babysitting, finding time for work can be tough. "I only take on intermittent assignments--there're only so many all-nighters I can pull at my age!" The decision to stay at home has not been easy either. "It's stressful thinking about finances and the future, knowing that all the time, my work experience and skills are becoming increasingly obsolete."
Nonetheless, watching her son improve is gratifying. "My husband and I believe that early childhood is the time you can make the biggest difference when it comes to autism, so this is why we are committing so much to intensive intervention," she shares. (For more about child development and parenting, visit here) "When I'm exhausted, I tell myself it's all for my son."
Making it Work
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