Parents of large broods: Sacrifices, but things are manageable

Parents of large broods: Sacrifices, but things are manageable
Madam Zurainee Osman and husband Omar Abdul Rahim with their eight children: (seated from far left), Muhammad Assyafiiq, Muhammad Assiddiq, (back from far left) Sofiyyah, Muhammad Hudzayfah, Humayraa, Muhammad Hudzaifii and Muhammad Uthaymeen. Baby Ae’isyhah is carried by dad.

A six-column wall calendar is the lifeline for housewife Michelle Wee.

It is where the 38-year-old jots down every band concert, play, birthday party and tuition lesson that each of her five older children, aged seven to 15, has. She also has a one-year-old daughter with her 36-year-old husband, who runs an electronic business.

A former financial adviser, Mrs Wee quit work in June to be a full-time mum. She began the calendar system two years ago, after child No. 5 started nursery, leaving the mornings free for her to "put my life together".

"I didn't know if No. 1 or No. 2 was going for an excursion and if I had to pack a lunch, I would find I had run out of bread or ham," recalls Mrs Wee, a Catholic.

"Or I would panic when I had to charge calculator batteries the night before a maths examination."

The calendar is part of what she refers to as her "command centre" in their semi-detached home in Upper Bukit Timah.

"With one central calendar, I don't miss anything."

Spurning the trend of shrinking families, Mrs Wee shows it is possible to manage a big brood "without going mad or broke", the tagline of her blog,

Figures from the 2013 Yearbook Of Statistics Singapore show that of the 42,663 babies born here last year, 352 were the fifth child in the family and 187 were child No. 6 or above.

Large families SundayLife! spoke to - those with at least five children - say they see their offspring as a blessing from God.

As Mr Omar Abdul Rahim, 41, puts it: "He decides the number. We go with the flow."

To be sure, his five job changes as broadcast technician over the years, with pay rises of about $300 to $400 each time, gave them confidence to grow their brood.

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