One or more kids?

One or more kids?

Planning the size of one's family is a tricky business. Whether left to biological chance or the calculus of contraception, parents can feel they have limited amounts of energy, expenditure and other resources to divide among their offspring.

According to the Department of Statistics' most recent population report in 2013, families with one child are an increasing trend. But two children continue to be the norm.

The parents profiled here chose the size of their families and tell the reasons, outlining the internal and external factors that drove their choices.

However, some parents with larger families offer a different perspective: It is okay to chill, sometimes.

Ms Norlinda Osman, 39, an assistant vice- president at HSBC bank, has five children, aged between three and 15.

She says: "To have three or more, you need to be relaxed, you need to not be so kancheong (Hokkien for anxious) and worried about their food, milk, diapers and university. If it's a planned pregnancy, you should expect it. If it's unplanned and you're caught by surprise, just take it easy. Each kid brings a different kind of blessing."

Yet she does not downplay the energy needed to care for children, adding: "There will definitely be a difference in terms of expenses and time management, having one or many, for instance."

However, some parents say, caring for three is similar to caring for five. "Three children are already a handful, five is not so much of a difference in terms of the routine care needed, for example, when it comes to cooking. When you cook for five, you will cook slightly more," says Ms Norlinda.

But she adds: "You really must be fair and have time for each of your children."

venessal@sph.com.sg

ONE CHILD

Ms Hew Boon Bee, 42, an assistant vice-president at a Japanese bank, and Mr Ricky Chue, 46, a ship broker, have one child: Bernice, eight.

Ms Hew: "It's not easy to raise a child in Singapore, financially and in a competitive environment in school and society. If we had a lot of children, we wouldn't be able to give a lot of attention to all of them.

We want to give Bernice our full attention. If we had two kids, it would be 50 per cent each. For example, I speak Japanese and am teaching her Japanese as well. With one child, I can do it. If I have another child, I don't think I can devote my time after work that way.

Singapore is a very stressful environment, especially for a working woman. When you come home, you want peace of mind. I can imagine feeling stressed if I come home from work to a lot of housework and if I have many children wanting my attention. We have no helper.

My girl is eight years old and I'm at a relaxing stage of parenting. I don't worry about her being lonely because in school, she has her friends, and when she comes home, we are there.

She likes to play with her My Little Pony toys. Sometimes she will say, 'Can you give me a sister to play with?'

I would tell her, 'You don't have a sibling because I want to give you full attention. For example, I don't think I can buy so many toys for you. You would have to share with meimei or didi (Chinese for little sister or little brother).'

My husband and I are not young anymore, why should we go for another one?

If I had another child, how many years would I have to wait for the baby to grow up before I can lead my own life - at 60 or 70?"

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