How good it is to start the day with free cappuccinos at your favorite coffee joint? And a smiley household too? Bliss!
Free, now that’s a word I like. Together with sale, discount, promotion… and I could apply it to everything. Unfortunately, some things never have discounts, not even if we try the quantity discount. We are 6 after all!
When people ask us if we would have one more kid our answer is immediate: “We can’t afford it!” More and more I start to think that I wouldn’t mind another bundle of joy in our house, number 4 has been a dream baby (so blame her for my thoughts).
So let’s try and explain why we “can’t” have more babies:
We are an Expat family; my husband and I met in Macau. We lived in Hong Kong (where our oldest daughter was born) and now Singapore (where our other 3 girls were born). I’m Portuguese, my husband English, my mother-in-law Scottish, one of my sisters-in-law American, my dad’s side of the family lived in Mozambique, a cousin and an aunt lives in Peru. We have family in Brazil, England, Holland, Morocco, friends in Norway, Turkey, East Timor, USA, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, Slovakia, Japan, Switzerland, South Africa, Malaysia, Qatar, France…
So explain to me why shouldn’t our kids be in an international school? I’ll tell you why they should: we can afford it! And we can’t think of a better environment for them. A place where they learn that there are different cultures, religions, skin colors, languages. They learn about tolerance (we so need that in these troubled times). One of the girls’ class has 15 nationalities among 22 kids! Privileged I know. So yes the biggest chunk of our budget goes towards schools and we do not have a quantity discount at the moment!
Extra School Activities / Birthday Parties
Just writing this one tires me. There are 6 days in the week (we try to keep Sunday as a family day), we have 4 kids, at least 2 activities per week, 20 birthday parties in each girls class plus the parties of their besties outside the school… Math is not my strongest subject but putting it all together: 416 activities in a 312 activity days a year (not counting Sundays), 80+ birthday parties on a 52 weekend year… I think you’re getting the point. It’s like when we have to cut those little nails and toenails we need to cut 40 nails and 40 toenails, a staggering 80 nails are being cut every week.
No more space in the car unless we change to a mini van. Grandparents don’t fit in the car anymore! Same with the house, the family members increase but the house budget doesn’t. And while we have nice space in Singapore, when we move back to Hong Kong space will be even smaller and I’m not sure how long the girls will be happy in the same bedroom. Grandparents lost the car space; let’s see if they lose their guest bedroom too! 🙂
These girls are not picky eaters (Thank God). So I have multiple heart attacks when I need to do the groceries, go to the butcher, the fishmonger… Seriously it is a lot of money! And then chicken has to be hormone free (we are talking a $30 whole chicken – each!). We can’t do everything organic there is no budget. Everything is imported here in Singapore so it is very difficult to be on a tight budget and eat healthy. We remember Hong Kong to be a little cheaper when we lived there, so here’s hoping that it is still the case.
Six plane seats, minimum 2 bedrooms at the hotel, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners… I’m tired already! Can we go back home please? You are getting the idea again.
“Hello? This is the Bishop Sisters mum”… Yes that is what I say when I call the pediatrician. They know us well. We are very lucky to have an extraordinary pediatrician, Dr. Belinda and her staff have been amazing with us throughout the 5 years we have been living in Singapore. And with 4 tiny ones we do have lots of doctor visits (Note to self: I need to suggest they give me an express pass ;-). And again no quantity discounts here either.
But, we do save on clothes, toys, dinners / lunches out, movies and gyms! We do a lot of running and exercise, little sleep or couch sleep and little booze (we are just too tired). And the girls run a great lemonade stand, so teaching family financials early! So if you ask me (not my husband) if we would go for the 5th kid, I would say yes I would love to! But the reality is, if we want to give them the best opportunities in life then we can’t have more children.
About the Writer
Rita Silva Bishop is Co-Founder of MumRadar and lives in Singapore with her husband and four daughters. Originally from Portugal, Rita had a career in the fast-paced world of Motorsport event management before starting a family. With the craziness that comes from being a parent to four girls five and under, she has a passion for helping mothers overcome the challenges of motherhood and make life simpler.