Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What does it take to keep a marriage going?

I have friends married for the second time and they tell me, "It's not easy raising kids and keeping the marriage going. Please share your wisdom!"

I'm embarressed to say that I don't have much advice to dole out, and happily married for 18 years is hardly an accurate description of our union. I'm still scratching my head, because those successful marriage cliches like "don't go to bed angry" or "go on date nights" are easier said than done. In the first 10 years of our marriage, I didn't even have time for proper meals, let alone go out for fun?

Anyhow, OUR MARRIAGE SURVIVED 18 YEARS!

I don't know how we made it through all those years with 6 kids thrown into the mix. It must be God's grace.

The odds were stacked against it.

We've had (more than) our fair share of arguments revolving around the usual issues of differing parenting styles, chore division, financial burdens, plus we were young. Young, immature and saddled with a child. And then some more. The responsibilities and obligations kept mounting, and statistically, this marriage would never work.

Seeing our brood, people tell us how fortunate we are, and automatically assume that it must have been a textbook marriage. It couldn't be further from the truth.

We all know what the experts say. Get married for the right reason, find common interests, communicate, communicate, communicate. I totally agree that all of that makes things so much easier.

But relationships are complicated matters. What if most of it doesn't apply to the both of you?

Friends who know us find us really amusing as we are poles apart in so many ways.

Common interests? The hubs spends hours on the golf course, while I do yoga with some mummy friends. I enjoy watching deep, meaningful movies, while slapstick comedy or battling it out on screen with the kids is his preferred form of entertainment.

He fills our travels with activities while I prefer to simply stroll around and absorb new cultures. When we were up in the mountains of Switzerland, his aim was to make it to the top and take lots of jaw-dropping pictures. Me? I stopped halfway, and I just had to sit there for an hour, letting the vast expanse of the snow-capped mountains envelop me. It was such a profund experience, being transported right into the palm of creation, listening to the sound of silence. When we regrouped, he was ecstatically showing me his amazing crisp shots while I was trying to explain my experience. We both could not comprehend the other.

Time and again, we hear how important communication is in a marriage. Well, the hubs is a man of few words, and when my friends with caucasian husbands sweep them off their feet with words alone, I do wish he was more eloquent. But I guess there are different levels of communication, no? I understand the hubs, without words.

We don't share the same religion, and in the early years when I saw happy couples in church with their offsprings, how I wished we had the same faith as surely, life would be easier.

I love to read and ponder things. He loves to tinker with gadgets and machines. He cooks, and I eat. Well, maybe marriage experts meant complimentary interests?
doesn't this make you hungry?
In today's world with social media encroaching into our days, one unfortunate effect is the "if only" syndrome. Suddenly, we are privy to other people's private lives. Well, the polished parts, mostly. If only we could afford luxurious holidays like the Tans, we would be happy and smiling.. If only you would buy me big, expensive gifts, our marriage would be blissful.. If only, if only.

Over the past two decades, our circumstances have changed in so many ways.

We tried to build a business together, in the hope of giving our children better opportunies, but it failed, and we went through tough times with no money in the bank and several mouths to feed.

We used to live all crammed together, 7 in a room (before Kate was born), together with my in-laws. Now, we have a nice place to live in, with lots of space. And if one day all of these were taken away, I doubt it would matter very much.

Material possessions do not make a marriage fundamentally any better. Yes, perhaps for a brief moment. Soon enough, whatever unhappiness or discontent that was there, will still be there.

Over the past 18 years, we have been through so much. How did we make it this far?

I think it was simply these. Trust, shared values and commitment. A promise to stick together. To try, and try again. No matter how hard the going got.

Happiness can be here. In good times or in bad. In a big house or a small room. In health or in sickness.

Look around us. The institution of marriage and family is being threatened. Raising kids and keeping a marriage going are probably 2 of the hardest things to do.

But they are worth it, aren't they?

Happy Valentine's Day!



Other lessons (which I've learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?
Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Chinese New Year 2017

Chinese New Year every year is more or less the same for us. A few weeks before, we start decluttering and spring cleaning the house. I'm getting better at letting go of things, yay! The hubs and I will make an annual trip to Yong Peng to buy his favourite pineapple tarts from a family bakery and seeing the table full of cookies in the red-capped bottles signifies the start of the season for the kids.
Breakfast with her bear
The day before CNY, the excitement picks up as the younger kids dress up for celebrations in school. By 11am, all the kids are home and there's a buzz around the house. With kids spanning such a wide age range, busy with their own schedules, I can see the wisdom in the reunion dinner tradition and schools and workplaces giving everyone half a day off.
Steamed bamboo clams with garlic
The hubs and our helper start cooking early in the morning and relatives come over for prayers followed by lunch. After which, the older kids head over to my parents' place to help prepare our steamboat reunion dinner. We have an early dinner with my family and return home by 8pm for Round 2 with the hubs' side of the family.
Yu Sheng
This year we had a lavish reunion dinner complete with freshly shucked oysters. Stomachs full, it was time for the rather riotous "lo-hei" ritual.
Annual family photo
We take our annual Wee family photo on reunion night as that is the only time everyone gathers at the same time.
Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets
Kate and her cousins, and the ubiquitous gadgets. This is what bonding looks like in their generation.

It's a long day for the kids as they woke up at 5.30am for school, and we call it a night just past midnight.
Look at those cheeks!
The 1st day of CNY is spent at my parents' place as that is where my dad's clan will descend. He is the youngest in a family of 11 kids, so it's twice as many relatives on my side of the family. Sadly, because we only meet once a year, my kids are not close to their cousins. We get home and the hubs starts cooking again for friends and relatives who come visiting.

On the 2nd day of CNY, we go over to my parents' place for lunch as relatives from my mum's side and family friends will gather, as they have been doing from as long as I can remember.
Bak kut teh
By Day 4, the hubs was exhausted from 4 days of cooking. We had friends visiting from overseas, and as the kids were back in school, we accompanied them on the drive up to Meleka. It was a nice 2-day break and we took things really slow.

We like this aunty's bak kut teh, and it's quite amusing how everyone at the coffeeshop sat and waited patiently as this aunty cheerfully prepares the claypots for one table at a time.
Memories
Felt like we were transported back in time as we strolled the streets and spent the whole day eating, without background complaints of "Where are we going? Why are we eating again?"

It's been a good CNY thus far with no tempers raised nor cranky meltdowns, only hoarse voices from too much bak kua and pineapple tarts.

I was asking one of my kids what she liked most about Chinese New Year. Is it the ang pows? "No". The food? "No."

"I like that there's a lot of people around. And relatives. And your friends."

There's grounding in family and traditions. I hope that's something we will pass on from generation to generation.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

In my bid to spend more time in nature and to slow down our hurried lives, I took Kate to the Turtle museum. Not only has she never seen giant turtles, she has also never stepped foot in the Chinese Garden. Perfect outing for a Friday afternoon!

I expected the place to be fairly quiet, but was still surprised that there was only 1 other family there, and they were tourists. Must be because the place is so ulu (secluded), and I guess turtles doesn't seem exciting to kids (nor parents) these days. It is called a museum, but is more like a garden.

They have a really impressive collection of rare species from around the world, but all that was lost on Kate. She just wanted to see them and feed them.
Free to roam turtles
We purchased our tickets along with a bunch of long beans ($2) and entered the garden. As Kate approached the pond, the turtles seemed to know she was bearing food and started climbing out of the pond towards her. Seeing an army of turtles advancing, she ran away terrified!

Relating the story to the older kids at dinner, they were amused, "What kid is afraid of turtles? Kate, as-slow-as-a-turtle, you know?"
Hungry turtles
We moved away to the tortoises kept in the enclosures and she felt much safer. She fed them by dangling the beans and dropping them when they opened their mouths.
First time feeding tortoises
There are many different species of turtles housed in the tanks, and several strange looking ones like this pig-nosed turtle that I pointed out, but she was hardly interested in the amazing facts I was reading out to her.
Pig nosed turtle
She much preferred the open garden, and went back to look for the bigger turtles and tortoises. I encouraged her to go nearer, but she kept a good distance, thinking they might crawl to her very quickly like the small ones in the pond.

I demonstrated how to stick the long beans out, and we watched the turtle chomp on it.

Kate tried to be brave, and edged closer and closer, but chickened out and threw the beans from a safe distance before backing off. I was amused watching her doing that repeatedly.
"Here, for you!"
It was rather hot at 4pm, but Kate thought we were on an adventure and gayly explored the place. She found a (really) little cave and called out to me excitedly to come explore with her. City kids.

She asked to buy another round of beans and spent the rest of the time simply watching the turtles, as they climbed on top of one another to get to the food.

We spent more than an hour there and I'm happy that she is still at the stage where it does not take much to keep her entertained. I'm sure the older kids would have walked one round, fed 1 or 2 turtles, and ask to leave after 10 minutes complaining that it is "too boring".
Live Turtle Museum
In fact, Kate loved the experience so much that we went back to feed her "turtle friends" 2 more times!
Getting braver..
She managed to face her fears, and hung on to the beans instead of dropping them quickly. On our third visit, I was surprised when she wanted to challenge herself and finally dared to touch the ambling tortoise.

She was exclaiming jubilently, "I touched the shell! I touched the shell!"
and braver!
We bought a cold ribena from the auntie manning the entrance (she sells drinks and ice-cream) and sat here enjoying the silence and serenity.
Just what my soul needed, to wind down from a hectic week.
Great spot for 'me time'
The Chinese Garden is now top on my list of favourite outdoor spaces to unwind with the kids. They even have lovely picnic spots!
Garden picnic
The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum is located within the Chinese Garden, near the entrace. Just walk up this slope and it's housed in the pavillion in the background.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Are we slowly killing ourselves?

We are just into the second week of January and I need a break. A vacation. The kind where you don't bring the kids so you can chill at a secluded beach, let the sound of the waves wash over you, and let your mind wander.

It's been a pretty full-on week. On top of working full-time, I squeezed in a JC Open House, charity event, orthodontic visit, church group discussion and met up with friends over dinner. And then there's the weekend with a meet-the-principal session, University open house, two birthday parties and a dinner. All while juggling the kids.

We are trying to fit too much into our lives, aren't we?

I was telling some mums who were concerned about their kids being over-scheduled that they are like sponges. There is only so much they can absorb and everything else will spill over.

It is no different with us. We are rushing from one place to another. Have we stopped to think about our lives? The quality of it? Our connection with others? Our connection with our kids? Are we always barking at them to hurry up? Ferrying them from one activity to another without spending time with them? Do we know what is on their minds and in their hearts?

It's funny how every time someone asks us, "How are you?" Somewhere in our answer will be "Busy lor, with work, kids, and whatever million other things we have on our plate."

Since when has being busy become a badge of honour?

Have we given much thought about how we really are feeling? C'mon, there's so much to do, who has time to stop to think if this is what we really want our lives to be, or if we are deep-down-contented happy.

There are bills to be paid, a household to run. And say, if we did reflect on how our lives are going, do we have the luxury to stop, if we find this is not how we want to live our lives?

#2 has been doing the JC Open house rounds with her schoolmates these past few days. They have 4 days to make a decision and fill in their 12 choices. She invited me to join her to check out her top choice (yes, now mummy can't just barge in to the teenagers' activities).

It was a vibrant scene. The aspirants were eager-faced and excited to join the big new JC world and the seniors and teachers were enthusiastic in answering their questions and encouraging them to join the school.

As I looked around the bustling hall filled with students, parents and teachers, as much as a part of me felt joyous that #2 will be embarking on a pivotal and memorable 2 years of her life where they will study hard, play hard and form solid friendships, I had a nagging feeling.

What have we, as a society, driven ourselves to?

Hearing about how hectic their week is going to be made me wonder if there can be another way.

Seems that for the subject combination she intends to choose, classes will end at 5pm most days, and CCAs are at 5-7pm on 2 days. #1's school was along this bus route, and even though it is 4 bus stops away, during peak hour the buses don't stop if they are full. Thus we expect #2 to be home between 7-8.30pm. Given that they leave the house at 7.30am, that is longer than a working day for adults! Factor in dinner, shower and homework, and it is beyond what a healthy day should look like.

I've heard from many that the weekends are not spared, and they spend it catching up on sleep, revising their work or meeting classmates for group work. My uncles who have been teaching in JCs for the past 30 years concur that times have changed and things have become much tougher than when we were in JC.

It is the same story for #1 who is in poly. She leaves the house at 8am and on days when she has CCA, she is back at 10pm.

This, my dear friends, is our school and work culture. We start over-scheduling our kids when they are in pre-school, the schools take over that job soon enough, and we enter the workforce where it is the norm. Somewhere down the line, we pause and wonder, how did we get here? This is not what I envisioned my life to be.

It is like the speedometer where you rev the car, the pointer is going up up up, and we keep revving, until it reaches the red point. It is no surprise that we have kids attempting suicide. There is only so much a person can take.

Something is seriously wrong. We are advancing so rapidly, but getting nowhere.

What can we do?

How can we slow down?

What can we cut out?

Running at full speed for months on end with only 2 long breaks in a year is hardly sufficient. How can we put more weekly breaks into our schedules so we don't become over-stretched. Both as parents, and for our children.

As parents, we don't even get the break we need (and truly deserve) during the weekends. There are still children to tend to and activities to get done.

I don't have the answers. It is even harder for us with big families as things are multiplied and magnified. The good, the bad, the busy.

All I know is I need to not stop searching for a better way. I hope never to fall into the trap of going with the flow and end up feeling tired, overwhelmed and dejected. Because if we, who are supposed to be the pillars for our children, are ourselves overburdened, how can we support them?

Everyone is running on their own treadmill. In a big family, yes, there are more siblings to share their worries and keep an eye on one another, but there are also more children, more unique personalities and a higher probability of one falling through the cracks. And I only have so many hours in a day, and too many kids who need my attention (although I hear the same cry from parents with only 2 kids!) I do worry.

I guess I'll start with baby steps. Spending time in silence always helps me to recalibrate. I need to be intentional about scheduling that at the end of every week to remove the build up of stress that has accumulated over the week of madness. And I have to engineer the weekends to be rejuvenating, instead of cramming too much in. Some things have to be relinquished.

The big question is, which ones?

You know what comes to mind? The story of the frogs. The one where if you throw a bunch of frogs into a pot of boiling water, they will jump out. But if you put them in water and slowly boil them, they wouldn't know any better as the temperature slowly creeps up on them.

Are we slowly killing ourselves?



Other lessons (which I've learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?
Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 6 January 2017

Tackling the new school year

We made it! The first week of school has come to an end. What a week it has been. With the exception of #1 who is in the middle of her poly semester, there were lots of changes for the other kids.

We toned our activities down on Sunday and the younger ones were in bed by 8pm. I was all psyched and set my alarm for 5am.

I felt like a chef in a restaurant after watching Ratatouille too many times with the kids, and I'm proud to say I surpassed my own expectations! Managed to whip up a tasty and wholesome meal in 20 minutes and the kids wiped their plates clean and left for school in a jolly mood.
First day of school breakfast
We did not have a harrowing start with bag mix ups and mad bus chase like last year, but things did go downhill from that perfect morning.

With several kids and new routines, that is hardly surprising.

#4 started Sec 1 in a school in our neighbourhood, and she decided to walk home. We have driven past that direction on numerous occasions and she was confident of finding her way home and was unfazed by the 40-minute trek.

However, she got lost!

She was dismissed at 4pm and I had a call half an hour later. I told her to sit and wait at a bus stop and we would come get her after Kate's enrichment class ended.

She waited for more than an hour at the bus stop and needless to say, she was famished and tired. What an end to Day 1 where she was already feeling lost as there was not one student from her previous school and everything was new and strange.

At dinner, the older girls shared their first day of secondary school stories, which included both laughter and tears.

As for little Miss Kate, we had it all planned. We opted for extended day and she would stay in school till 3pm for afternoon activities. That would give me more time to work and I wouldn't need to rush around so much. She herself asked for it as she said she was a 'big girl' and wanted to stay back with her friends.

After the first day, although she did brilliant, she refused to stay back anymore and wanted to revert to the same 12.30pm dismissal as 2016. Perhaps the reality was not what she imagined! Did she envision just hanging around and playing? Possibly.

Sigh, it would have been a perfect arrangement. That one day of having her at school for the whole day spelt freedom! Having time from 9am to 3pm all to myself to work in peace was something I haven't experienced in many, many years.

Alas, she is not ready, and I shall not push her. After all, in the big scheme of things, she barely turned 4, and I will wait patiently and give her space and time to grow more independent. We've managed to squeeze in time for our short daily strolls to unwind and chat, and that is something she looks forward to.
"Pretty flower for you, mummy?"
#2 is awaiting her O level results and it was funny seeing her at home on a school day. Next week! Such exciting times! To see where the next step of her education will take her. She's been such a dear and came down to my centre to help with the cleaning and packing as we prepped for the new year.

#3 has moved up to Sec 3, and has a new set of classmates as they were streamed into the different subject combinations. It's going to be 2 of her most important and memorable years as she and her peers head full swing into preparing for their SYF performance, focusing on their chosen subjects, enjoying their school trips together, and form unbreakable bonds for life.

As for my one and only dear son, it's unbelieveable that he is already in P5. Seeing what #4 went through, I imagine the pace in school to pick up tremendously this year and I have to monitor his progress as well as make sure he is able to cope with the added demands of school.

Now that they are all nicely settled in school, I have time to devote to my work and do what I enjoy.

Speaking to the parents coming through my enrichment centre, I can see the tide turning and in the wake of the recent suicide cases, parents are worried about stressing their kids too much and are searching for a better way.

We are running parenting workshops over a relaxing high-tea session to share tips and ideas on how to help our kids tackle the academic year successfully with less stress. It will be an interactive talk with lots of opportunites to answer your questions.
Parenting Workshop
There are still seats available, grab a friend and come join us! The cost is inclusive of high-tea and workshop materials. Quote "MummyWee" when registering for 10% off!

Date: 11 January (Wed) or 14 January (Sat)
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
Cost: $25
Register: Email knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia
High Tea @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront
2017, bring it on!

School Stories:

#1 - When your son gets into fights in school
#2 - My son the loan shark
#3 - So kids can't play once they start school?
#11 - How #2 topped her level in English
#12 - DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 - Tuition - First line of attack?
#14 - Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 - First day mix up!
#16 - The day I forgot to pick my son from school
#17 - No more T-score. Now what?
#18 - Get into the PSLE fray? Not me



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Tangerine at RWS

One of my favourite places for lunch is Tangerine at ESPA over at RWS, Sentosa. I love that the food is healthy and light and presented so interestingly. The peaceful ambience always makes me feel like I've stepped away from our crazy life into idyllic bliss, even if for a short 2 hours.
Sous Vide Pork
This is the first time we took the kids there and they enjoyed the lovely afternoon with the adults. They eagerly awaited every dish, as they were so prettily presented. I've come back with new inspiration for their school lunches to jazz up our boring meals!
Asian Bouillabaisse
Asian Bouillabbaisse - Hokkaido Scallop, Seabass, baby kailan. 4 course set menu at $62++ per person.
Scottish Salmon Fillet
Melt-in-your-mouth Salmon fillet, so good that Kate asked for more. We were joking that top on our new year's wish list is to have an in-house gourmet chef so the kids can have healthy meals everyday.
Cod Fish $34
Seared Boneless Beef Short Rib
Chocolate Mousse
Refreshing lemongrass jelly with berries to end the satisfying meal.
Lemongrass Jelly
Their spa cuisine is low on carbohydrates and the growing kids were hungry by teatime! My dear mum enjoyed the place so much she wants to go back for their New Year's menu.
Tangerine
The little herb garden outside was enough to keep Kate occupied and happy while waiting for the food to be served, and she too asked to be back!

Tangerine
ESPA at Resort World Sentosa
Opposite Equarius Hotel
Level 1

Opening hours:
Tuesday - Sunday 11.30am - 10pm
Closed every Monday, except PH
Tel: 6577 6688

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas, without the excesses?

I've finally gotten out of bed after being down with a viral fever for almost a week. From running full steam fitting the kids and work into my schedule, to being knocked right to my feet by a tiny unseen bug, it was very frustrating.

Alas, another timely reminder to take care of myself and not neglect my health. And to get enough sleep, on a daily basis!

Feels like I've being given a new lease of life. Can't wait to spring out of bed and start running again. As I drifted in and out of restless slumber, trying to will the throbbing headache and aching bones away, I was conscious there is still so much to be done.

Oh, Christmas is right round the corner and a whole new year begins in 10 days. I'm not ready!

This year, more so after Konmarie-ing my room, I'm torn between being minimalist and keeping to the excesses of the season.

As I was lying in bed mentally counting down the days I had to finish de-cluttering the whole house before 2017, I was thinking of the presents yet to be bought, and really not looking forward to battling the crowds in the malls.
Kids decorating their aunt's tree next door
Besides dealing with Christmas presents, I still have so many items yet to be struck off my ever growing to-do list before the new year dawns, and I'm feeling frantic.

Settling back-to-school matters, the burgeoning pile of home admin paperwork, work admin issues to clear and planning the schedule for next year to fit everything and everyone in.

Amidst all of this, I have to keep reminding myself to take it slow and not get caught up in the meaningless rush of the season, or end up getting snappy at them. I'm more mindful this year, especially because of Kate.

I have discovered that she has an unusual need for routine and ample transition time. We figured it must be very chaotic to be the 6th child in a household where things are happening all the time and with random (to her) people streaming in and out.

So this Christmas, as I try to find time to plan and reflect, I will be mindful to slow down and focus on the important things and remember to be grateful for all that we have. And perhaps, I will be successful in guiding my older girls to understand the real meaning of Christmas, instead of getting caught up in the commercial excesses of the season.

They want the works. I want it simple.

Kate? She doesn't quite care either way. All she needs is mummy and daddy, to be surrounded by people (and dogs) whom she loves and who loves her, and she is one contented kid.

May we experience the true joy of Christmas and bring peace and love to those we meet.

Blessed Christmas.



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 12 December 2016

6 ways to squeeze time for the kids as a working mum

This is the first time I am working during the school holidays! I took Kate along with me to our enrichment centre for Dino camp, but she stayed home last week while we ran our P1 Prep camp.

So how do I squeeze in time for her and the other kids during the week? It helps tremendously that I don't have to stick to a 9-5 work week, and depending on the demands of the day, I either get in an hour or two later or leave earlier and resume working at home after they have gone to bed.

1. Start the day early

Even though it is the holidays, Kate and #5 are up by 7.15am. Resisting the urge to sleep in, I think of the hours I'll be away from them and that never fails to get me out of bed. There is nowhere much to take them that early in the morning, hence it's always some park or other.

This little monkey shimmied to the top of the pyramid by herself and called down, "Mum, take a picture of me!" She sure is catching up with the older siblings.
Chilling
2. Kill two (or three) birds with one stone

Instead of rushing to finish breakfast before heading out, we hastily pack a picnic basket with breakfast staples and hop into the car. In that relaxing hour, we get to spend time together, have a proper breakfast and enjoy the benefits of nature.
Xiao Guiling
3. Mobilize the kampung

It really helps that the hubs works from home and instead of rushing back to pick the kids and getting stuck in peak hour traffic, we arrange to meet at the destination and have time to enjoy the outdoors before heading home for dinner.

Sometimes we ask the grandparents to join us, or if the kids end up with friends or aunts, we find somewhere convenient for the kids to play or for a quick dinner together.
Southern ridges
We were trekking through MacRitchie reservoir and Kate was convinced that she found a Dinosaur foot!
MacRitchie reservoir
4. Mummy is there in spirit

When I'm not at home, it doesn't mean that I'm disconnected from them. Kate's obsession this holiday is rollerblading. She loved watching Elsa ice-skate during Disney on Ice and has been asking to go ice-skating every other day. After taking her there 4 times (I'm the one exhausted!) I told her she needs to practice with her rollerblades before I'll consider taking her back.

She was so motivated that she spends 1-2 hours per day on her blades and when I get home, she is ever eager to show me how much she's improved. What a great attitude. Looks like I have to take her ice-skating soon, as promised!

Blade girl
5. Find different ways to be involved

As the kids grow older, they require less and less face-to-face time with you. Any parent of a teenager will tell you that they spend a lot more time in their rooms and communicating with their friends via gadgets. However, this doesn't mean that we stop being involved in their lives.

#3 was lamenting that besides filling her time with clocking the required CIP hours and meeting up with her old friends from primary school, she was bored at home as I am not able to take them out nor go on holidays as #1 is not on term break.

I simply told her to start thinking, and find something gainful to do, make or sell. She started experimenting with home beauty remedies and came up with products to gift her friends, and that led to some orders as well! I encouraged her and told her I was very proud of her efforts.

These days, with technology, we can still stay connected even while we are at work. For teenagers, to be there for them on a daily basis means being able to reply their Whatsapp messages when they need advice or permission to go out with their friends.

Sometimes, it's me who needs advice from them about using technology to make videos or helping me to buy presents online for my staff for Christmas, and that's how we update one another about what is going on in our lives.
Mix n measure
6. Support them daily

Even though I only get to see all my kids during dinner, I keep up-to-date with what they are currently interested in and give them words of encouragement and support.

#2 has just finished her Os and she has the next few months planned out. Last week, she was concentrating on decorating her room as the siblings have just done another round of roommate swopping (yes, it seems to be an annual tradition for them).

She was happily showing me what she has been working on and I was extremely impressed. Instead of spending money on decorations for her room, she decided to make her own. She bought a wooden board ($4 from Art friend), painted it marble, and knocked little nails in it to form the world map.
DIY Wall deco
She painstakingly wound black thread around the nails, ensuring that they were taut, to form the design. Wow. I loved it, and told her so. Sincere words are food for the soul they carry with them through the day, even without the presence of mummy. Sometimes it is encouragement they need, while other times, it may be words of concern and care.
Using nails and thread
To be honest, I was caught off guard at how much easier it was to go to work, be tired, and spend the weekend resting, and not having to deal with the day-to-day demands of the kids at home.

However, I am wary that it is all too easy to let this pattern slip into our norm, as the time we have with our children will never be returned, once lost.


Having these pockets of time to be still, to be present to our surroundings is very grounding for me, no matter how rushed my day is nor how tough things can get sometimes.
Idyllic mornings
Even though these days I'm away between 5-9 hours per day, I'm glad we've managed to work things around this new schedule and am able to spend a reasonable amount of time with the younger kids throughout the week.

I am thankful to have flexible working hours and support from the hubs in caring for them, but whatever your situation may be, try to think out of the box and perhaps you might find opportunities to squeeze time out for your kids during their school holidays.

Related post:

Our June holidays earlier this year where everyone was running at breakneck pace.



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~ 


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