As of September 2016, there has been a decrease in the number of babies born out of wedlock. The greater use of contraceptives has led to a significant fall in over a decade. There has also been a decrease in the amount of teen births. This is largely due to more active contraception use among teens. Despite the decreasing trend of unplanned parenthood, those that are currently unwed mums still face an uphill struggle.
Children born out of wedlock consists of those who do not have a father’s name in the birth certificate. They could also be the offspring of unmarried parents when the birth is registered. Social workers have noticed that the age of unwed mothers can range from teens to those in their 30s. This group cuts across all social economic groups. One can envision that those on the lower scale of the economic ladder will likely face adversity.
Unwed parents are at a disadvantage when it comes to family benefits. They still do not get the Baby Bonus cash gift and tax reliefs that married mothers enjoy. The Government has however made provisions to allow benefits to be given to unwed mums which are currently enjoyed by only married mothers. Singaporean children born to unwed parents can already access to the Child Development Account (CDA). This is a savings account that can be used for childcare fees and medical expenses.
Additionally, the children will also receive the CDA First Step Grant of $3,000 with the Government matching dollar for dollar the amount their parents put in limited to a cap. Unwed mothers will also be able to enjoy 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, up from the current eight weeks from early next year.
The question is are these grants going to be enough. We’ve already seen Singapore in an economic slowdown with retrenchments the norm. Single parents who lose their job may find themselves quickly mired in monetary issues. Some already face problems finding a home especially for those who are unable to live with their families. They also have to live with the stigma of being a single mother. Often they’ve made to feel inferior, leaving them with possible emotional scars.
In the current climate, these measures could be most beneficial to unwed mums:
Find A Trustworthy Support System
As a human being, we simply cannot live without relationships. Especially in the early days, most mums can’t do without the bedrock of family and friends. Conflicts are inevitable so sometimes a little give and take does go a long way. Have a heart-to-heart with your support group and let them know how important they are in your life. They will in kind be obliging to offer help.
Switching Mindset To Being More Frugal
Ever increasing overheads often put a strain on finances. Single mums will therefore have to be more prudent in their spending. Perhaps obtain hand-me-down clothes from friends. Monitor your expenses so that you know when to cut back on personal expenses. Breastfeed for as long as you can which is healthy and free. Try cutting down on toys and luxury items.
Let Your Child Be Your Biggest Teacher
Kids are known to stand tall even after a fall. No bruise can stop them from going on in life. When the going gets tough, the tough usually gets going. It’s one of the best lessons for any mum and will become a better person as a result. When you child comes up to you to wish you gratitude for being a great mother, you are doing a great job.
If you have any stories about being a single mum, please do share with us.
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