The Challenges of the Study Mama

Hi Nix

I m VL from singapore, and again like many of your readers, I have been reading your blog to prepare myself and family for our move to mel next year.
I am a stay at home mum with 4 girls (aged 11 to 14 month old) and hubby is sole breadwinner. Our plan may be girls and myself will move over in jan (sch starts 3rd week of jan I think) and hubby to join in April.
I understand that singaporean mum D and M also made the shift with their children first, so I like to learn from their experience of the daily challenges in the new environment.
If they r willing, you are welcome to give them my email address or I could write to them...
By the way, thanks for your well written sharing on guilt ridden migration. 
Have a good weekend.
Warm regards

Hi V,

Singaporean mum M does not wish to reveal her identity or contact so I will respect her decision. However, she gave you a reply which I will post below. You are welcome to write to her if you have further questions. I will help you relay the message to her.

From Singaporean Mum M
I suppose my challenges will differ. I mean different ppl will have different issues in the new environment. My main challenge is myself... My own fears, stereotypical views and the lack of faith in self and my child at times. The challenge is to change my stereotypical perspectives and just take the leap of faith.  
The usual challenges of finding accommodation, school and transport I feel, can be taken care off with much organization, time and money. A lot of these should be sorted out before you move the whole clan.  
Challenges with school really boils down to what you want and expect for the children. If you are not picky, find the school nearest to home. Or home nearest to the school with confirmed places for your children.

I have 1 child so that's obviously v different compared to managing 4 kids. I don't know how ppl do it, but it amazes me! Have faith in your child/children, believe that they can be good and independent and helpful.

Also I think it's important to get some real help and advice from someone in the area. A real person who can assist and point you in the right direction will be awesome. Nix, Jen and a very good friend Jolene were my panel of advisers when I first made my move and for that, I am forever grateful.

I Always do my homework... It isn't a challenge for me coz I'm OCD with planning but some might find this a challenge. :) Try your best to gel with others in the new environment. Try not to compare.. It's tough not to compare your current and past experiences... But try! It's also hard not to miss home (yet another challenge)... And obviously It's tough luck meeting the right ppl, let alone the right kind of friends. But God has his ways of paving the way for you. So heck the worries!

There will be heaps and heaps of obstacles, foggy roads, bumpy terrains and shaky bridges to cross. And I think the biggest challenge is really me... And if wanna am willing to take the leap of faith. It is still a constant challenge for me despite spending couple of years here now.... It is still a lot of learning and adapting to the way of life here, accepting things as they are. 3 decades of my life in sing will not disappear in a mere 2-3 years so everyday is a challenge itself.

Take heart, you'll get there, adapt and be glad you took the leap of faith! Cheers!

/Singaporean Mum, M

I'll add a bit for your benefit, these were my observations from the two Singaporean Mums M and D, particular the areas that seemed to make them wail. Although a "study mama" has the financial and moral support of her husband, the reality is that she has to run the family as if she is a divorcee. The key differences are there is someone to rant to at the end of the day and the spiritual support he can provide. But so does talking to god. That perhaps explains why Singaporean M will blabber about her Higher Being whenever she was overwhelmed with what life threw at her. 

The similarity between living away from the husband and devoting to god is that, neither of them is going to help you screw a nut on when you most need it. Fortunately though, both will eventually guide you (usually when your house is floating on water) to the solution. One will tell you who to call, the other will "bring the people to you." In a nutshell, there is no differentiation between "man work" or "woman work". If it needs to get done, it's your work.

All of a sudden, you need to be an expert in selecting a used car. You have to know where to switch on that switch that jumped after a short circuit. You will have to inspect the water tank or the gas heater to see what are wrong with them. You will need to sort out how to, somehow, move furniture using metaphysical talents. Well of course, if you are well stocked in the bank, that usually solves a lot of problems. In fact, if you have several million bucks stashed somewhere, you probably don't need a husband. Regardless, you will have to be both the father and mother to your children. As far as I know, Skype doesn't come with a Hug Function. In fact, in my opinion at least, Skype probably makes thing worse. Imagine if you are hungry someone gives you a picture of a burger that can emit flavour of the real thing but you can eat it. The biggest challenge is playing the role of both parents, followed by day-to-day surprises. 

I don't mean to scare you but these are real life observations of some of the challenges I saw these women had to handle. That being said, even the weakest woman will gain strength from the love of her children and overcome her odds. There were many who walked the same path before you and eventually found the way. So will you.


  1. Dunno wat kind of school her children is enrolling in Perth but in the east coast most schools does not start until at least after 26 jan Australia Day or later

    If this is the kind of planning we are dealing with, I have serious concerns about her ability to cope per herself

    1. for Victoria

      Mid 4th full week start.