Singapore’s Aunty Is the Babysitting Help Single Parents Need


“I call it my modern day village,” Amanda Ong, 30, the founder of babysitting application Aunty, tells me in excess of a Zoom get in touch with. Aunty is the to start with of its form in Singapore, where it helps to hook up mothers and fathers to opportunity babysitters with a basic swipe of their fingers. 


Load Mistake

With a pool of pre-vetted sitters, the app offers as a present-day panacea to the final-moment scramble dad and mom know all much too well when either pre-arranged assist falls as a result of or when your kid falls ill. In truth, boosting small children does take a village, and with more grandparents (the common caregivers of young youngsters) remaining in the workforce, mother and father have to come across possibilities and types they can entrust their small children to as nicely. 

Aside from having absent the stress of looking for ideal and appropriate babysitters, Aunty has also authorized dad and mom to choose greater care of on their own and, in flip, turn out to be much better parents and spouses. 

Pricey agencies and dodgy Facebook pics

As a mom of two youthful little ones, Amanda sees and empathises with the numerous joys and heartaches present day parenting involves in Singapore. Following all, Aunty was born out of Amanda’s struggles with getting good support when she observed herself at the beginning of Chinese New Calendar year with a newborn, a toddler, and a cancelled nanny. 

“The nanny claimed, why is your little one born on the to start with day of  Chinese New Yr? She should really be born in March.” Amanda claims, “I cannot time this, correct?”. Amanda experienced just sent her helper home with a cranky two-12 months-outdated, a new child, and a severe lack of snooze it was undeniably tense and tiring. 

In a natural way, Amanda experimented with the common route of heading to babysitting companies. “Agencies were being genuinely high priced they quoted me S$4,700 for a confinement nanny in the course of Chinese New 12 months,” says an exasperated Amanda. 

“And they stored introducing things like a exclusive deal of S$300, past-moment see cost of a further S$100, and the customary pink packet,” states Amanda. Alongside with the exorbitant costs, there was the rigidity of babysitting and confinement nanny agencies wherever you couldn’t replace the assigned even if they weren’t a fantastic in shape. 

Turning to the web, Amanda went on Facebook in hopes there would be a more practical possibility. Nevertheless, the effects have been a minor unsavoury, to say the least. 

“Random people DM-ed, and I didn’t know who these people today were being,” claims Amanda, “plus, there are no testimonials. You never know if the expertise is what they say they have. Often, they don’t even have a profile image or their photograph is so dodgy,” shudders Amanda. With the spate of unfortunate and tragic babysitting incidents in the news, there is a cloud of stress and uncertainty bordering babysitters and confinement nannies. 

Photo: Amanda Ong with her child

© Provided by Rice Media
Picture: Amanda Ong with her baby

“After you’ve just presented birth, they are so little I imply, if they have been seven years outdated, probably it may be alright. But, observing as they are so tiny, I did not want to just take that chance,” stresses Amanda. 

Amanda reached a tipping level when she was inundated with articles about mothers grappling with postpartum melancholy. “​I believed that it would be beneficial if somebody could just arrive at out to her (the mom in the short article). Or somebody could just give her a break,” Amanda tells me.

“When you are in your thirties to your forties, you’re seeking to develop a thriving career and a family—trying to juggle all these issues at the exact time and with Covid-19? It can be so exhausting,” relates Amanda. 

Amanda figured there were so a lot of moms close to her there experienced to be an less difficult way to hook up with them. With this in brain, Amanda arrived up with Aunty to bridge the babysitting hole and support mom and dad uncover rapid and safe and sound relief. 

Babysitting as a one of a kind vocation

As Amanda puts it, profitable babysitting hinges a great deal on rely on, and this often fragile connection is not straightforward to foster and can be shattered instantly. 

“Babysitting is exclusive because it is really informal. At the similar time, it’s also very particular as it consists of small children. You absolutely need to develop that belief there,” describes Amanda. “You cannot have a certification for babysitting, you know, there is no these kinds of matter as ‘certified babysitter’,” laughs Amanda. 

Photo: Screenshot of Aunty App

© Provided by Rice Media
Photograph: Screenshot of Aunty App

Nevertheless, this does not mean Amanda does not have stringent checks on Aunty. Sitters on Aunty are pre-vetted this implies Amanda can take down their NRIC and verifies their identity. Then, prospective sitters have to indicate if they have any childcare-related experience and CPR teaching on the software forms.

“If they never have any expertise at all, or it is not what they say they have, I really don’t approve of them on the system. It’s a closed platform, so it is not like any individual can just be a part of.” She also does a cellular phone interview to get a even further sense of who they are and what form of expertise they have. 

Because she is the only individual taking care of the app, Amanda has spoken to all two hundred sitters on the app herself. She stresses that Aunty is a system and not an company, so they do not educate the sitters but do their best to execute considerable checks. 

As a bit of price-insert and assurance, Amanda also provides her sitters with a little toolkit with critical figures and what to do in emergencies.

From students to nurses to grandmothers

With this kind of an expansive definition of what it implies to be a babysitter, Amanda utilised it carefully to her edge. She amassed a various set of sitters ranging from fellow mums, university pupils, tuitions teachers, pediatric nurses, and grandmothers who wouldn’t head possessing a couple a lot more grandchildren for the afternoon. 

Other than supplying dad and mom a split, Aunty has some babysitters who are experienced nurses to support mothers in additional complicated clinical treatments these types of as tube feeding. Tube feeding comes about when infants do not have more than enough energy or muscle mass coordination to breastfeed or consume from a bottle.

This procedure can be accomplished at residence but as one can envision, inserting a tube into your thirty day period-aged infant is a rather challenging and scary endeavor for new moms. With Aunty, some babysitters are skilled nurses who can support moms with tube feeding for their toddlers.

As another person who utilized to function in HR, Amanda noticed to start with-hand how several positions have been slash and how tricky the position marketplace was, especially for new grads all through the initial several waves of the pandemic. With Aunty, she can develop opportunities for her sitters and tide them by this difficult time is in particular fulfilling and one thing she feels passionately about. 

For some, performing as a babysitter is a way to nutritional supplement their revenue. Babysitters on the application can established their costs, and it ranges from S$20 to S$25 for each 3-hour sit.  For others like retiree Helen Lim, 55, it has specified her life newfound joy and objective. 

After chancing on Aunty in an write-up, Helen imagined she could greater use her spare time caring for her aged mother. Her babysitting work are primarily on weekday afternoons, for an typical of 4 hours for each working day. “Besides diaper transforming, feeding, and napping, every minute expended with them has been remarkable, joyous, enriching, and memorable,” pushes Helen. 

“Joining Aunty has specified me brighter perspectives to my early retirement many years. They have been extra meaningful, effective, and energetic. Getting on Aunty has also provided me the overall flexibility to fulfil my commitments and realize a perform-lifetime equilibrium,” Helen continues. 

Other than supplying retirees like Helen’s time additional meaning, Aunty shines the most mainly because it empowers mothers and permits them to tap into the community of fellow mothers.  

Then, there is Mariam*, a mum to two grownup boys and a cancer survivor who is at the moment in remission. Even though Mariam needs a whole-time work, it is nonetheless far too taxing for her at the minute. As she loves youngsters, getting a sitter on Aunty works in her favour. This way, Mariam has a job that does not compromise her overall health, and she will get to interact with kids. 

A village for distinctive desires kids 

Amanda shares how it can be overwhelming for some stay-at-residence moms to enter the workforce following 20 decades of becoming at dwelling being component of Aunty can assistance these mums relieve into new routines without the need of sensation too intimidated. 

Apart from providing a risk-free space for mums to re-enter the workforce, Amanda points out that Aunty also caters to young children with specific requires. These sitters come in many varieties, both as specifically qualified persons with skills to manage special desires young ones, siblings of individuals with comparable requirements, or even mothers of specific needs young ones whose individual youngsters have grown up and do not need spherical-the-clock care. 

Amanda shares how a mom with a special wants little one was often rejected by other businesses and platforms right before she observed Aunty. With Aunty, she managed to e-book 6 sessions—a stark change to the shut doors from just before.

How to be better mummies and daddies 

Photo: Aunty App

© Offered by Rice Media
Picture: Aunty Application

With a new child in the household, ‘me’ time is quickly relegated to the track record, specifically for new mothers. Immediately after all, ​​adapting to a new human who continuously wants your interest is demanding to say the least—“because when a toddler is born, a mother is also born”. 

When mothers bear the brunt of these new modifications, Amanda details out that the freshly minted fathers also have a difficult time adapting and might be still left experience a tiny neglected. The common strain from get the job done is compounded with all the adjustments from possessing a new child. 

“Their spouse is not getting a good time or is having difficulties, and the child is crying,” describes Amanda, who had a handful of depressed daddies achieve out to her on Aunty for some enable and temporary respite. 

With the enable of Aunty, new mums and dads can continually build and reinforce associations amid all these new adjustments.

“The other rationale I’m performing this is also that I imagine a great deal of partners should make investments in their marriage,” asserts Amanda, “you know, just to have a dialogue, have a awesome meal, feel like you’re courting again. It’s so important—a good deal of persons get rid of that spark”. 

Photo: Zachary Tang/Rice Media

© Furnished by Rice Media
Image: Zachary Tang/Rice Media

Single dad and mom and asking for help 

In addition to partners, the aid Aunty presents has demonstrated a must have to one mums like Betty*. “As a one father or mother, you are inclined to have to be both equally mother and father, on best of your standard job,” claims Betty. 

With the pandemic, it has been challenging on Betty’s psychological health and fitness, with her notice split between concentrating on her task and producing sure her 3-12 months-aged son doesn’t get up to any mischief. It’s a task she finds both mentally and emotionally draining. 

“Aunty has allowed me to get a split from parenting for just a minor though and aim on matters that I need to do. Like catching up on some significantly-required do the job or some thing as uncomplicated as getting some peace when having my meal or shower. I really don’t have to be concerned that the tiny one particular is creating chaos in other places,” Betty tells me. 

Additional than that, viewing how her babysitter interacts with her son enables her to find out improved ways to much better communicate with her son. “It has enormously enhanced our guardian-little one conversation and at the exact time cuts down the total pressure that I really feel as a dad or mum,” suggests Betty.

As a single guardian in Singapore, this position usually comes with prejudices and societal anticipations, one thing Betty is all as well common with. “If you are a mom, culture expects you to be equipped to do every little thing and set your youngster initially in advance of herself, therefore if she is unable to do so or have been to find exterior support, she is not regarded as a superior mom or is just basic lazy,” states Betty. 

“However, what persons don’t see is the substantial stress that is on our shoulders from all the nitty-gritty troubles that we have to have to oversee from college to work to household chores and parenting,” points out Betty. With Aunty, all of these pressures are considerably alleviated, and for Betty, she sees obtaining enable as a teachable instant where her youngsters are taught there is no disgrace in accepting enable when desired. 

As demanding as it is to be a single parent in Singapore, it can also be enriching. “With modern-day parenting in Singapore, there are aid teams and sources that you can often rely on when you want support in dealing with various worries from 3-year-outdated meltdowns to the inadvertent uttering of negative text,” remarks Betty.

“As moms and dads, we are position products and consider to guide by illustration to our youngsters. If we are not able to get treatment of ourselves mentally and emotionally, we are training our children that it is alright to dismiss our wellness for the ‘greater great.’”

*Name has been changed to safeguard the privacy of profiles.

The post Singapore’s Aunty Is the Babysitting Aid Single Mom and dad Have to have appeared 1st on RICE.


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