weekend baby

Have you heard of the term “weekend baby”? You know, people always talk about being a “weekend wife” or “weekend husband”, now comes “weekend baby”.

A couple of days ago my friends and I talked about the difficulties of moving up the corporate ladder while raising kids. All of us have experienced working with international organizations, so we are more than aware of how much commitment it takes to be high-achievers in the corporate world. Yesterday, my friend Zu reminisced the old times when we worked together (before I moved to MAS). In those days we used to stay at the office till 4am to get things done. Now she’s just happy being a secretary as long as she can go home early to be with her son. In fact, she’s looking forward to the day she can quit her job and become a full time housewife.

Looking back at my previous workplace as an example, most of the big bosses above the age of 45 are either single or married without kids. These people earn something like RM 50k a month or more, drive luxury cars, live in big bungalows and spend their spare time playing golf, attending parties, travelling the world and so on. They are rich, successful and perfectly happy with their lives without having to worry about anyone else but themselves. Their independence becomes the envy to those who are tied down with children to care for.

Then there’s a new breed of hotshots, the not-so-big bosses, who are in late 30s to 40s. They are now paving their way to become the next big bosses, but the road to success has now taken a slight turn. Nowadays, you are only deemed to be successful if you are able to balance your work and your family. And you can only do that IF you have a family. Having a spouse with no kids doesn’t count, let alone not having a spouse at all.

With the public obsession of this so-called balanced life, comes the pressure for these new breed of hotshots to have kids. Though they know for a fact that they don’t have the time to care for the little ones, they need to have them anyway because it boosts their image. Imagine when they tell people “Look, I still can work till 12 midnight, go for outstation assignments every so often, be on call over weekends and more - even though I have kids”. Everyone will be impressed and wonder how they do that.

How do they care for their kids when they are only home past bedtime and leave for work even before their kids wake up?

The answer is simple - they don’t.

They either:
(1) Leave the kids with their live-in maids, or
(2) Leave the kids with someone else outside their home and only see them during weekends.

Let me be the first to tell you, so many of them choose number (2) because they don’t like having outsiders (maids) in their homes. Also, after a long and tiring day at work, they rather not listen to their kids whining and crying and making huge mess all over the house, which only add to their stress level.

This gives rise to the term “weekend baby”. Let me share with you several situations involving people that I know who practice this.

Situation 1
My former boss, a lady with two kids below 5 y.o., is a high-flyer at work. At home, there’s only her and her husband. Their kids are with her mother-in-law. They only spend weekends with the kids. They pick them up on Friday after work and send them back on Sunday evening. They even hire a maid to stay with her mother-in-law and watch the kids. Recently, the kids refuse to follow them home unless the maid comes along, as their house (and they themselves, despite being biological parents) are becoming unfamiliar to the kids.

Situation 2
Another former boss has a wife who is a stewardess with a foreign airline, based in a different country. Therefore, his wife is only home every couple of weeks for short stints. After they had a baby, they sent the baby to his hometown for his mother to care for. The wife returned to her base country and continued flying. The husband returned to KL to do business as usual.

Situation 3
A friend just had a baby. Both her and her husband have busy work schedules. Their parents are too far away to help them watch after the baby. So they send the baby to a caretaker. Similar to Situation 1, they pick the baby up on Friday after work and send him back on Sunday evening. Sometimes they even go weeks without picking up the baby. Although she misses her son, she knows that it’s difficult for her and her husband to care for the baby themselves, given their work commitments.

All three situations have one thing in common - these people have made a difficult choice of having weekend babies. Before any of us start blaming them for feeling reluctant to raise their own kids, lets try to put our feet in their shoes for a moment. These people have worked incredibly hard to achieve what they have right now - the position, the respect, the remuneration and so on. We really can’t blame them for not willing to forgo it all just because they now have kids. They have flourishing careers that they have worked so hard to establish, hence taking a step back while they are steadily climbing up the corporate ladder is not an exciting prospect.

Saying the word “balance” is easy. Try doing it. Sounds like it’s harder than we think it is.

P.S.: What say you? Is having a weekend baby something you may consider, or not at all?

23 comments:

JaJa'Z said...

macam payah plak nak cakap sebab takde baby lagi...tapi macam kerja akak ni tak la seteruk ur bosses or ur friend too...kalau ikut susah pada kerja..memang la terpaksa tinggal kan anak dengan orang lain..tapi macam kes 1 tu..jangan la sampai anak tu anggap maid dah jadi sebahagian besar dlm hidup anak2 tu..susah nanti..sepatutnya their mummy yang kena jadi keutamaan anak2..

dieya dengar cerita akak plak ek..

my sis and bro in law..diaorang kerja jurutera kat one company yang besar jugak la...jawatan ok..gaji riban2..but no life at all..sebab kena kerja sampai 4 pagi..duit berkepuk2 tapi no life at all...dah jadi macam 'hamba' kerja...last2 sekali diaorang decide to quit..berhenti kerja...kakak ipar jadi cikgu..abang ipar sambung jd pensyarah...skang ni anak2 pun rapat..nak gi kemana pun boleh..satu family close to each other....

so, pandai2 la kita pk..

Mamamya said...

situasi ni mmg agak rumit....tp sbnrnya t'pulang pd individu tu juga...
sememangnya bagi mereka yg b'kerjaya ssh nak m'bahagikan masa dgn anak2..
bagi warga kota lbh2 lg...semuanya perlukan duit...
byk akak dgr kisah2 keruntuhan r/tangga kerana 'anak'...ada yg sanggup x mau ada anak krn m'utamakn kerjaya....

tp bg akak la...our kids is everything...merekalah "harta" yg paling b'nilai dalam hidup kita....di dunia & akhirat.....

P/s: dieya....(lari dr tajuk ni....) about yr mr.cute commando..ehehe... akak dah dapat nama dia...tp ok ker klu akak publish citer ni kt cni???

dieya said...

k jaja,
i wonder how she really feels when the kids dah tak biasa dgn dia and her hubby. luaran nampak ok je selamba coz they hv been doing it for so long, dlm hati tatau la kan.
wow your bro and sis-in-law sanggup tinggalkan kerjaya demi anak2. betul laa when ppl say, some things worth a lot more than money.

k lieya,
mungkin jugak this issue is more prevailent in cities, coz semua org pun pentingkan kerjaya, dah laa kos hidup tinggi etc. tp org kata anak tu amanah kan. kalau amanah tak terjaga, camne tu?
p.s.: omigod seriously?! k lieya ni mmg hebat laa jadi spy.. dlm masa 24 jam bleh dapat info, kalah FBI! hahaha.. adoi sakit perut dieya tahan gelak :-D chup2 jgn cerita kat sini satu dunia baca karang. nnt i give u my email k, kita borak panjang2 ;-)

dyanna said...

dieya, this is a good entry, reflects our society right now.

One thing for sure, there is no such thing as a 'balanced life'. This words comes from a former top notch CEO at my company. Some things definitely will need to be sacrificed. Be it either family, your kids, time, your work or yourself personal goals... depends on what you choose.

I think it's the fault of our society today (saje je nk cari scape goat) that puts a lot of credits on people who has a lot of money and position -siapa nk jadi jutawan? minumlah kopi 3-in-1 byk sampai jadi diabetic, dsb.

it's the culture. the kiasu-ness of people. why couldn't people just be content with what they have? everybody doesnt have to climb up the ladder.. the top of the pyramid can only place only 1-2 people. the work place should also acknowledge it's workers who has worked for so long and experienced (even though they don't want to be managers) and provide pay accordingly in line with the living standards.

yg benar,
sgt tak puas hati.

knitfreak-to-be said...

dieya,
sedih kalo jadi camni, me myself, being single and all, i still cannot made up my mind if i have to face similar situation. to me as long and both partners agreed for whichever way to go, and willing to sacrifice their feelings, insyaAllah, ok, but then again, kesian kat babies tu..

i guess you have to pick what works most for you, kalo nak satisfy the society, you can never see an end to it, rite?

dieya said...

dyanna,
thanks, nice to know that we share the same concern though we are both at the mean time spared from having to make such difficult decision. you are so right, it goes back to whate the society perceive as "success" - the money? the title? the image of perfect family? true to what you say, in the end not everyone can become CEO. sapa pulak nak jadi sexy secretary nanti kan ;-)
p.s.: jgn simpan2 yg tak puas hati tu.. luahkan babe!

azita,
me neither, sounds so difficult kan! at one side, it's so fulfilling to have a good career. at the other side, having a functional family is important too.
yeah, whatever works for you is what matters!

JaJa'Z said...

dieya: u better reveal the story about mr comando okeyyy!!!..kalau tak...akak pecahkan rahasiaaaaaa!!

dieya said...

k jaja,
wahahahahaha!!!!! ooo.. ugut yek?
sabar2 k jaja, tau laa jeneral yamashita.. jgn laa garang2 :-p
nanti tunggu k lieya cerita dulu, pastu kita censor tgk boleh bagi rating U utk tayangan umum ke tak.. hahaha!

Mamamya said...

dieya...i did't receive yr email...

dieya said...

k lieya
owh really, let me try sending it again. ur e-mail sama dgn yg dekat k lieya nyer blogger profile page kan?

JaJa'Z said...

waduh2..ni betul2 punyer serius ni pasal abang komando..akak doakan dieya kekal bahagia..hehhe tetiba je kan...

Lelord said...

tu pasal akak benti kije n dok umah..last time ms kije 10 mlm baru kuo opis, weekend pun kena masuk opis. hahahahah tu blom lagi ms perot tgh memboyot pun tpaksa kije smpai mlm. oooh tidak asben kat mlka, akak kat kl, anak lak kat johor


hahahhaha apekah ade skandal di mana2 is aku nak tau citer gak

dieya said...

k jaja,
kahkahkahhhhh!!! apa kes ni belum apa2 dah bagi doa? anyway i take it as a general doa okay, tiada kaitan dgn sesiapa hidup atau mati :-p

k lelord,
gosh that's a double whammy - weekend spouse and weekend baby. mesti k lelord happy skrg hari2 bleh tengok muka ur darling and najlaa kan. dok kat doha pulak tu jadi mem besar kat rumah! good for you!

p.s.: sabar ye kakak2 ku sekelian, penglipur lara belum hantar cerita lagi, camne laa penulis skrip ni nak menulis.. hehehe!

Liza said...

this is purely my personal opinion and never meant to hurt or criticise anyone. i believe everybody has choices in life, and if the choice is to focus too much on the career, let's just reflect that one day, all of us will grow old. if only then we want to spend time with the kids, it may be too late as the kids already have their own life. i believe in what you give you get back, if you do this to your kids, don't be surprise they may think it's not that important to visit what more to look after the parents...and my dear, I have seen this happened

i somewhat "admire" those who manage not to see their kids for days, i don't think i can....

dieya said...

k liza,
i totally agree with you. if parents don't spend time to bond with their kids, how can they expect the kids to feel empathy towards them. what you give, you get back.. but if you don't give, what is there to get..
how sweet, i know u can't go a day without seeing your 3 angels :-)

ZuNas77 said...

simple...

apa guna bwk handbag LV, drive Merc, vacation berdua dgn hubby kat London, tapi darah daging sendiri jumpa sekali seminggu..skrg ni tak rasa lagi..tiba2 nnti if sakit, duduk rumah, kena MC for one month la cth kan, sapa ada sebelah? boss? collegue? cleaner kat off?? hahaha..of coz u nak anak2 gak yg ada kat sebelah kan..sbb tu i pelik org yg boleh hantar anak org jaga hari2 tak jmpa. If keje lagi penting, jgn la ada anak dulu. wait until u betul2 ready. coz ready to be pregnant is diff dgn ready to RAISING a kid..sapa2 pun boleh pregnant, tp nak jaga, nak hidup hari2, tak sama kan??

hehehe..Tp nadiah i rasa if u jadi mother one fine day nnti, u mesti over multi-tasking mcm Puan Salina tuh..confirm!!!..hahaha

dieya said...

zu,
betul tu.. sendiri mau ingat laa kan. i so agree the part anyone can get pregnant (ladies laa kan takkan men pulak pregnant.. hahaha) but not anyone can raise a kid, let alone raise a kid well. kalau tak ready tunggu laa sampai ready kan.
hahaha salina tu supermum.. giler tinggi letak benchmark nak jadi mcm dia :-D

Aida Rezuan said...

Dieya,

Hmm.. tough. Like you said, try putting ourselves in their shoes.

As for me.. I have had my shares of working until 6am, going home to shower and change and come back to the office again for 9am meeting and etc, berkampung kat office sampai lewat malam, even on weekends. For years, I basically had no life at all. That's why I decided to change and quit.

Maybe life isn't as mewah but the feeling of 'finding myself' is there and at the end, that's what matters (for me at least).

dieya said...

aida,
yeah, it's a really tough decision i would think. i had my fair share of berkampung in the office, those times tought me to appreciate whatever better things that i have now. yes, whatever that makes you feel fulfilled, that's what matters!

Anonymous said...

Dieya,

understand all the situation. indeed, i myself am a former consultant from a 'big 4' firm. i left the world of advisory for the sake of my darling angel. duit boleh cari, anak mana bole ganti yea tak?
the long hours are just unbearable and the salary (plus increment & bonus) not justifiable langsung. in the end, the partners yg kaya raya... but are the partners really happy? hhmm something to ponder upon....
p/s - love ur writings. keep it up babe.

dieya said...

hi there!
i so agree with u, duit boleh cari, anak camne nak ganti kan! i also do wonder if the partners are really happy, especially because i usually see them drowning themselves into piles of work most of the time. well, some may argue happiness is subjective, perhaps that what makes them happy kot!
p.s. thanks for dropping by :-) i'm trying to guess who u r (i think i hv a clue hehehe) but perhaps u don't wish to be identified. anyway, rajin2 singgah laa lagi ya!

Anonymous said...

keep on guessing...(with a very big grin on my face)....

dieya said...

owh that's just evil! how could you!!! :-p
do reveal yourself soon.. hahaha!