Show love for wives and mothers beyond Mother's Day: Minister Tan Chuan-Jin

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin (right) explaining the CDA First Step grant to new parents Mohamad Sopian Hairi and Seri Hirdayu.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin (right) explaining the CDA First Step grant to new parents Mohamad Sopian Hairi and Seri Hirdayu. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Wives and mothers deserve more than just annual grand gestures of appreciation, Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Mother's Day blog post on Sunday (May 8).

Mr Tan encouraged children to make it a point to visit their parents regularly, or to keep in touch with a simple phone call.

He also called on fathers to help out with simple gestures like "helping to supervise the children's homework, changing the baby's diaper, or washing the dishes".

Mr Tan wrote on the MSF Conversations blog: "Although many women are the main caregivers for their children, more fathers do want to be involved. We want to encourage this and to provide more support such as paternity leave and flexi-work arrangements."

Mr Tan also questioned if children take their parents for granted as they grow up and lose patience with their elders as they begin to "slow down with age".

He said an occasion like Mother's Day is an opportune moment to "reflect, remember and to celebrate", from flowers and chocolates to homemade cards and the simple act of preparing breakfast.

"In truth, as a son, father and husband, I have come to realise that our wives and mothers deserve more than these once a year grand gestures of appreciation. We really should show our appreciation every day through our actions."

Echoing Mr Tan’s sentiments, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim said being a mother is the “toughest job in the world”, with no previous experience required, but plenty of on-the-job training available.

Mr Faishal recalled how his own late mother cooked for the family early in the morning before going to work.

He wrote on the MSF blog: “Sometimes, I wondered what kept her going. It was clearly the love, care and concern that she had for the family. It was also her sense of responsibility for the family.”

A woman’s role in society has evolved, Mr Faishal noted, as many mothers are active in the workforce and the proportion of dual-income married couples has also increased.

Previously, he added, women were more likely to cite family-related responsibilities as the main reason for not working, but policies have since been put in place to better support working parents.

This includes extended paternity leave and the Child Development Account (CDA) First Step grant announced in this year’s Budget, in which Singaporean children born on or after March 24 will automatically get $3,000 in their accounts, without their parents being required to make a matching deposit.

Mr Faishal wrote: “Now, we have the choice to build and maintain strong family ties. I urge all dads out there to get more involved with (not only!) housework but in child care.

“I’m sure many of you can become as pro as Mom in no time!”

President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other ministers took to Facebook to extend their Mother's Day greetings.