IT'S 22:00 ON A SATURDAY NIGHT IN
“I’ve just finished packing away the last of the mega blocks my toddler Kaden, whom we call Kai Kai, has left scattered around the living room. Being a stay-at-home mum is a full-time job, without many breaks. I finally get to have some ‘me time’, which means a shower, face mask on and time on social media catching up on what my friends have been up to.
I moved to Sydney from Indonesia as a child, and have been a full-time mum for the past year and a half. Prior to that, I was working fulltime as an orthoptist (an eye-health professional caring for patients with eye disorders). My typical day at work involved working closely with the ophthalmologist to diagnose, treat and manage eye diseases in adults and children. Orthoptists in Australia have a salary of about A$92,771 (S$100,120) a year, or A$48 an hour. If you’re really experienced, you can make up to A$130,000 a year.
I love being able to be with Kaden all the time, but I plan to eventually go back to work next year on a part-time basis, once Kaden goes to childcare. The majority of the mothers I know went back to work after about six months or a year. That’s because they were worried about losing their positions at work, and they needed the extra income.
Sydney is a pretty expensive city to live in, and relying on a single income is quite hard, especially if you have a mortgage to pay off. Childcare is also expensive. On average, it costs you A$110 a day to put a 12-monthold into childcare. Government support is available in the form of subsidies, but the criteria for qualification are strict, and we don’t meet them. A nanny is also quite unaffordable – you’d have to pay between A$25 and A$30 an hour. I am concerned about how the cost of living here has consistently been going up.
My husband Philip works in the technology sector. Despite his long hours, he still helps me with all the household chores. I cannot emphasise how important his support has been to me.
Being a stay-athome mum means I am with my son 24/7. But I make time for a social life, especially on weekends. We Aussies love brunch and always have new cafes to try. We also love going to the beach or strolling along the gorgeous coastal walks. Kaden loves the outdoors, so I try to take him out as much as possible.”
Stay-at-home mum Clara spends most of her day with her oneyear-old son Kaden.