In the past, the image of the nuclear family often involved a hardworking father earning a living while a devoted mother stayed at home, tending to the household and the children. However, the dynamics of family life in many places around the world have transformed over the years. In a bustling cosmopolitan city like Singapore, the rising cost of living has especially reshaped the family unit, as it meant that both parents should have careers that pay well.
To illustrate, the mid-range average monthly cost of living for a family of 4 was SGD 7,920 in 2021. However, the median monthly income in 2021 was only SGD 4,680. It’s no wonder both parents are choosing to work, instead of having one parent stay at home to take care of the kids. In 2020, the proportion of working married couples increased to 52.5 percent from 47.1 percent in 2010. Fortunately, their combined median monthly income also increased from SGD 7,602 in 2010 to SGD 11,101, allowing some breathing room in their personal cash flows.
While there are certain challenges to both parents working full-time, there are also some valuable benefits. For one, expat families living in the city-state will easily afford international school or American school fees in Singapore. Furthermore, parents can save money for their children’s future university education while also being able to put money away for their retirement.
To ensure that your dual-income family thrives in the Lion City, here are some essential tips that you can take into consideration:
1. Agree on Career and Family Goals
One of the fundamental keys to a thriving dual-career family is to have a shared vision. Sit down with your partner and discuss your career aspirations and family goals.
What are your priorities as a couple? How do you both envision your family life in 10 years? Understand each other’s ambitions and goals for the future. More importantly, you should both work toward a common purpose. This alignment will help you make decisions and manage your time effectively.
2. Have Effective and Open Communication
Effective communication is the foundation of a successful dual-career household. So, keep the lines of communication open at all times. Furthermore, discuss work schedules, family responsibilities, and any challenges that arise. Who’s picking up the kids from school? Who will buy the groceries? Don’t let important family matters slip through the cracks.
It’s also vital to talk about your expectations and ensure that you’re on the same page. After all, a strong and open dialogue will help you address issues promptly and allow you to efficiently work as a team.
3. Share Responsibilities in the Household
Sharing is caring, and in a dual-career family, it’s essential. Splitting household and childcare responsibilities will reduce the burden on each parent. To successfully pull this off, consider creating a shared calendar to organize tasks. In addition, each parent needs a daily to-do list. All these tools ensure that neither of you will feel overwhelmed. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve a balance that allows both career and family to thrive.
4. Opt for Flexible Work Schedules
Employers in Singapore offer various work arrangements, including flexible schedules and work-from-home setups. Explore these options with your employers, as they can make a significant difference in your ability to manage work and family life. In fact, many companies in Singapore offer family-friendly policies, such as parental leave and childcare support. Take advantage of these opportunities to make your work and home lives more manageable.
5. Build Your Support Network
No one can do it all alone. As such build a robust support network that can come to your aid when needed. This network might include family members, friends, or even local childcare services.
Many families in Singapore also employ domestic helpers. They can provide valuable assistance in managing household chores and caring for your children. With their help, you can manage your household more effectively, and you may even have time for some much-needed self-care.
6. Manage Your Time Efficiently
Efficiency is your ally in the dual-career jungle. Make use of time management tools such as to-do lists and time-blocking approaches. Moreover, organize your day to maximize productivity both at work and at home. For instance, squeeze in grocery runs on your way home from work or spend quality time at a local park with your child after fetching them from school. With efficient time management, you can strike a balance between career and family without feeling overwhelmed.
7. Plan Your Financial Future
Singapore’s high cost of living demands prudent financial planning. That’s why it’s important to practice budgeting, saving, and investing. Set financial goals and work toward them together with your spouse. This proactive approach will reduce financial stress and secure your family’s future.
8. Support Each Other
Last but certainly not least, remember that you are a family unit, and teamwork is the secret to success. Instead of competing, you should support each other’s career aspirations. Moreover, be adaptable to the challenges that may arise. Working together as a united front, you’ll be better equipped to overcome obstacles and celebrate each other’s successes.
The era of the traditional nuclear family may be fading, but the rise of the dual-career family brings new opportunities for growth and achievement. With these suggestions, you and your spouse can navigate the complexities of a dual career setup in Singapore. In finding that pitch-perfect work-life balance, not only will your family survive in this cosmopolitan city, but it will also thrive.