Things I wish I knew when I became a parent
Rebecca Seow, mother of two
4 minutes
Rebecca Seow, mother of two

Photos taken in collaboration with Ang Wei Ming, featuring one of our ParentWise families

Parenting constantly challenges me out of my comfort zone and pushes me to think out-of-the-box to resolve issues.

It’s safe to say no one wants to make mistakes, but in the course of parenting my two boys, I’ve definitely had to make U-turns, recalculations and reroutes along the way.

Like any parent, I wish I could have avoided these pitfalls altogether, but parenting your unique children in your own unique circumstances comes with no manual or self-help book. However, if I had to draw universal lessons for those who come after me, this is what I would like to share:


1. You’ll need to get knowledgeable in many areas in a very short time

Not only did I need to know a lot – I had very limited time to prepare for all of it. Once the baby was delivered, I no longer had the luxury of time to read up on baby care.

Then came the typical teething issues for first-time mothers – breastfeeding being the number 1 challenge. Thankfully, other mothers on a Facebook forum, “Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group Singapore” (BMSG) came to my rescue as I sought advice on mastitis and other breastfeeding pains.

In my case, I also grappled with understanding childhood ailments like laryngomalacia, which was a condition my elder son had. Wanting to know everything I could about what he had, I spent nights or in-between feeds reading articles I could find online.

TIP #1: Do consider having a list of ready, verified links or hard copy resources that you can go to for reference. Join a support group that has like-minded parents to provide timely advice when you need real-time help.

2. It can be very financially draining if you do not watch your expenses

Disposable diapers and baby formula topped my recurring expenses when raising my elder son. It did not take me long to notice that I kept drawing from my savings to meet increasing expenses.

When illness struck, trips to the paediatric doctor drained my savings further. While having a dedicated financial account for child-raising helped as a buffer, it was wiped out shortly after preschool fees came into the picture.

So to track my spending, I downloaded a free expense tracking app. I looked out for bundle offers and accounted for every cent. When my younger boy came along, I persevered to breastfeed him exclusively. That saved me thirty-nine months of baby formula, milk bottles and teats as he transitioned smoothly from direct feeding to using a sippy cup as a toddler.

Tracking expenditure helps, as much as it takes courage to try different ways to stretch your dollar.

To further cut back spending on disposable diapers, I invested in reusable diapers on my younger boy. Washing and drying the diapers was a hassle, but he hardly had diaper rash and this helped cut back my spending extensively.

TIP #2: Spend intentionally on items that matter while never compromising on quality. Tracking expenditure helps, as much as it takes courage to try different ways to stretch your dollar.

Consider insuring your child with hospitalisation and accident coverage for peace of mind when it comes to medical expenses.

3. Relax, children develop at their own pace

Children need space to grow and will blossom when the time is ripe. I recall the times I tried to potty train my children within an expected timeframe, which got everyone exasperated with unrealistic deadlines.

Pressure to keep up with growth development charts loomed over me and for some time, I believed that my children “lagging behind” reflected poorly on my capabilities as their mother.

It eventually dawned upon me one day that as their mum, my nurturing of them stemmed from my unconditional acceptance towards them as individuals, regardless of their “rate of development”.

Today, I simply aspire to be that parent they want to turn to when they need a listening ear, someone whom they can be themselves with, without a facade.

TIP #3: Embrace your child’s unique growth journey and continue to love and support them for who they are through expressive ways such as words of affirmation.

As you navigate your way around parenthood, take stock of your successes and learn from the setbacks. Take heart that parenting will nurture your character, maturing you in ways as it did for me – and beyond.

Rebecca Seow is an educator with two boys who are 5 and 8 years old. She takes delight in going outdoors to appreciate nature and enjoys playing the piano. She blogs about being a mummy with many hats at SAHM with Many Hats.

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