Tag Archives: Mother

3 Suggestions for Mother and Daughter Time Together

For children, love is spelt t.i.m.e.

And for kids whose love language is quality time, they definitely appreciate it when their parents set aside time for some parent and child bonding. For the kids, the activity itself is not as important as the time spent together. But if you’re stuck for ideas, here are some suggestions of what you can do to enjoy mother and daughter bonding:

Cooking or baking
Weekends give us the opportunity to whip up something in the kitchen together. For those with little budding chefs or bakers, get them involved in the food preparation or even cooking process. Not only will they (or their future spouse) thank you for imparting to them a life skill in future, the time in the kitchen can also be little lessons when it comes to learning measurements, food nutrition, etc.

And if you are wary about the kids hurting themselves, they can be given simple tasks. Sophie likes to help me stir the pancake mix, and even attempts to fry them on the stove while I stand next to her. Other times, she’s asked to help me set the table. After all, helping with these little tasks makes the kids more appreciative of the work that goes behind each meal that is served to them on the table as well.

Art and crafts
When it comes to art and craft ideas, Pinterest and the Internet are my best friend. There are so Crafts by A Juggling Mommany activities and ideas that are suited for all ages and interests. The only problem is finding the time to make or do them…!

Some of these crafts can be games, like what we did with these paper clips fishing game or even finger puppets.

Besides giving kids an outlet for their creative expression, art and craft can all be an excellent form of learning experience as you find fun and creative ways to teach new concepts or lessons.

Some recommended art and crafts sites that I’ve bookmarked are Artful ParentActivity Mom and Childhood 101.

Get outdoors
We didn’t think twice Play by A Juggling Momwhen Sophie requested to pick up roller blading or swimming. After all, it’s important to get the kids moving and anything beats sitting in front of the TV or playing on the iPad. Most kids don’t get enough outdoor play and it will do them good to see more greenery and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Going outdoors can be as simple as going to the nearby park for a walk, letting them ride their bicycles, or heading to the neighbourhood playground for a swinging good time.

There’s probably a lot more that mothers can do together with their daughters (and sons). My suggestion: make it a point to find out what your child enjoys, and make an effort to bond over their favourite activity.

Have any suggestions on activities mothers can do with their daughters? Share them in the comments below!

This guest post comes courtesy of Susan, a mum, wife, career woman and home maker all rolled into one. She blogs about her parenting journey and shares her travel adventures at A Juggling Mom, and tries to keep sane with a healthy and positive outlook in life.

Learning From My Parents: Deborah’s perspective

When I think of Mum, I think of kindness. I think of the chocolates she buys back from the numerous trips she and Dad made to overseas; half of what she buys is typically gifts for other people. Back home, whenever she finds seasonal rarely-found fruits like peaches or cherries, she always brings some to share with her siblings and her mother. The fruit-lover in me protests… Obviously I have some work to do in the generosity department.

Mum is really healthy and disciplined. In fact, Mum is the one who started our family on jogging, and can run faster than I. She remembers (and laughs at) the one time I stomped my way to the end of the track because I was tired. The point of jogging is to jog – not sure how much clearer I can get about that – and my loud steps must have given it away, but I’m thankful that Mum continued to be loving and patient with me.Lees [1]

Mum never complains about making Dad a honey drink whenever he eats too much sambal belachan. She never gets tired of buying a meal back for him, and I have also never heard her complain about Dad or say something bad about him. Think about that! A woman who doesn’t gossip? I think my Dad picked a great woman. I hope I get more than just her genes.

In consolation, I have been told that I am like my mother. Mum has even said that some things I do mirror her. Not her style, but her. Really.

I get really pleased when I hear that! While I am still some ways from that, I think I’m going to be a great woman. Talk about confidence…! Seriously though, I get my outgoing-ness more from someone else. Speaking of confidence, enter Dad.

Dad, to me, is the epitome of selflessness, the opposite of self-centeredness. I think of the times when Dad would do the laundry all by himself when Daniel (my twin brother) and I were studying for the ‘O’ Levels. I think of how he drives our family around 99% of the time. I think about how he circles the parking lot again and again waiting for a parking lot while Mum, my brother and I head to the restaurant and sit comfortably.

Back to confident Dad. He is really outgoing. Two years ago our family went to my mother’s invite-your-family-to-dinner company dinner. It was held in a Japanese restaurant, and each family was separated by the tall seat back rests. Most families were busy enjoying the food and talking among themselves. Dad looked over our back rest and started talking to the family sitting behind us. It’s hard to describe, but if you think about it, it’s something rather unusual for a Singaporean to do.

family pic in sepAnother incident that would prove my point would be the fact that he – together with another neighbor – organized a barbecue for the neighbors living on our floor. How often do neighbors get together to know each other a little better? Rarely. I liked that barbecue, and am thankful for Dad’s communal ways.

I also like that my Dad is honest with me. He thinks I could lose 1% of my body weight and says it as such. It’s not a toned-down version of “Deb, I think you’re fat”; he just thinks I could trim down the love-handles by a bit. Yes, I feel the “Ouch but I’m happy to hear him speak honestly. Dad is funny too.

He doesn’t eat almonds so when he eats a bag of mixed nuts he asks my brother and I to finish the remaining nuts… all of which happen to be almonds. He is also known in the office to be a joker, someone who lifts the atmosphere and makes everyone feel a little more cheery.

I’ve heard people say of how much they wish their parents – Dads in particular – would hug or kiss them. Me, I think I get a little too much. I’m out of secondary school and Dad still likes holding my hand. He likes telling people that they can find parts of his heart outside the my former secondary school, the consequence of my letting go of his hand one day as the both of us were approaching the school. I feel bad whenever I hear that.

However, the feeling doesn’t last long when I think I’ve experienced hug-overkill: my older cousin remembers my brother and I bargaining with Dad in her house when we were in primary school. Us kids went “Dad, five hugs a day maximum!” But as I say from time to time, I appreciate Dad’s gestures of love and affection.

I am grateful and proud of my selfless, loving, affectionate and community-minded Dad. My future husband is going to be a great man (refer to my brother’s post), and I can’t wait. (Wait… Dad are you reading this? Uh, your princess can wait. Anyhow, I love you Dad.)

daniel and deborah with chipsWhat do my parents model together? My genius brother wrote a post, and you can tell our styles are pretty different. That’s because we are pretty different. But we make an amazing duo, and I believe our reflections paint a more complete picture of our parents.

I hope you enjoyed reading our different perspectives on what our parents model, and what we learn from them.

Editor’s note: This post is written in conjunction with our Loving our Children series. We thought it’d be great to hear the impact parents have on their kids from young adults like Deborah and Abraham. For inspiration on effective ways to love your children, visit our website and/or download a free activity pack!

Deborah, our guest writer, is a second-year polytechnic student. Her brother, Daniel, shared his thoughts in an earlier post on how their parents have been his role models and inspiration.

Learning From My Parents: Daniel’s Perspective

My dad used to joke that we have two models in my immediate family: him and mom, because they are our role models. It’s true, though, because they truly are role models for Deborah (my twin sister) and I.

It is said that as a male, you will marry someone like your mother. And if you are female, you will marry someone like your father. As such, the role of parents in providing healthy role models for their children and its importance is obvious.The Lees

I remember that when they disagreed, they would quickly make up and apologize to each other. Longer, drawn-out arguments were a rarity, and the rarity of ‘serious’ arguments between Mom and Dad was seen when Deborah recently recounted that in Primary School, one of us said “please don’t get divorced!” after they fought.

Mom and Dad taught us to do the same (make up and apologize) when Deborah and I fought. They taught us different skills when it came to conflict management, and always tell me that my fights with Deborah are good ‘practice’ for when we get married.

One thing Dad taught us by example was the importance of family. I remember that when he travelled overseas, we would always plan a time to call each other via Skype. That would require deliberate planning as Singapore and the countries he visited were often in vastly different time zones. The intentionality of these scheduled calls was evident, and we saw that if we didn’t plan, there was virtually no way it was going to happen.

Putting it into place meant that the specified time was meant for family, and just because we were not in the same place (and time zone) did not mean that we were not going to talk to each other. Mom and Dad made it clear that family was a top priority; relating to one another was not a matter of convenience. Of course, Dad could have used the time to rewind or catch up on work, but the importance of family time, albeit virtual, was important.

Also related to travel, Mom demonstrated sacrifice for us. Often times Mom and Dad were supposed to travel together for work trips. However, considering that it would entail leaving their then-pre-adolescent (and eventually adolescent) children alone at home, Dad would often travel alone while Mom stayed home to hold down the fort.

Even though she could have entrusted us with someone else, she explicitly chose to stay on for our sake (and probably for hers as well, so she would not be so worried about us). Though it would obviously be refreshing to go to another country and not having to worry about childminding, Mom chose to give it up on many occasions.

Of course, doing it all the time would be unrealistic, and she did go with Dad a couple of times. People might say it is not always possible or preferred, but again, it is down to priorities: what you value you will show through your actions. What Mom and Dad have done over the years have certainly showed Deborah and I that they value our family.

When I have kids, I hope I will be a great role model for them; just as I learnt from my parents in order to pass those lessons on to my kids, I am sure they will pass it on to their kids. The impact of a parent goes beyond the immediate second generation.

Mom and Dad, thank you for being my inspirations, role models and parents. I Love you both!

Editor’s note: This post is written in conjunction with our Loving our Children series. We thought it’d be great to hear the impact parents have on their kids from young adults like Daniel and Abraham. For inspiration on effective ways to love your children, visit our website and/or download a free activity pack!

Daniel, our guest writer, is a second-year polytechnic student. His sister, Deborah, will be sharing her thoughts this Saturday on what’s she’s learnt from her parents. Be sure to keep a look out for it!

Confessions of a WAHM (Part 2)

Earlier this week I shared my challenges, joys and struggles in my journey as a WAHM, and if that hasn’t deterred you from considering becoming a WAHM, there are some things I’d like to share with you as you contemplate your decision.

I haven’t figured out all the answers, but in the course of my journey I’ve learnt 9 things that I hope will make yours a little bit easier.

Get family support / external help
Help can never be enough. No mum is meant to be a supermum. Recognise that you’re just one person and that you want to be in this for the long haul (and not burn-out halfway).

Establish designated work spaces
Get organised and put a bit of thought and planning into your work spaces. Invest in the right tools for your trade, like a laptop or a particular software. If you work best when you’re out of the house, try to get help so you can spend some hours at a café or library.

Seek support and advice from mums who’ve been there, done that
There is something precious about learning from others who have travelled the path before you. There is wisdom to be found, not to mention friendship as well.

June and Work around kids’ routines
Plan to get major tasks done when the kids are at school, having their nap, or when help is at hand.

Be prepared for interruptions
Kids being kids, at times they just won’t take “no” for an answer. Sometimes it helps to give them a bit of attention, guide them to engage themselves in drawing, or playing with their siblings, and then go back to your task once they are happily busy.

Tip: Keep a stash of ready surprises in the storeroom as part of your weaponry if you need to whip something out for them in a jiffy. Bubbles, puzzles, or even an old box of toys will to the trick. If you’re really desperate, throw some ice into a tub and let them have some sensory playtime!

Be flexible
Be prepared to give and take where work is concerned, and recognise that you’re still a team player even though you see the team less often.

Prioritise and learn to say no
Recognise that you have a finite amount of time and energy to invest in both your work and family. When faced with new opportunities, ask yourself, is this in line with my long-term goals? Can I commit without putting unnecessary strain on myself? How will this impact what’s already on my plate?

Have a positive mindset
Look upon challenges as opportunities for creative problem-solving. 
There was once I felt guilty for not bringing the kids out to different places. Now I try to schedule small pockets of time for intentional bonding, through art, reading, exploring museums or running about in open spaces. I realised it’s not possible for me to be focused on them 24/7, so I start with 20-30 min of bonding time each day. This helps me to plan for meaningful activities, be it making a gift or designing a card, or encouraging my eldest to write/design a simple book.

Schedule regular me-time
As a WAHM, it’s easy to forget your own needs amid all the responsibilities you juggle. Taking time off to relax and do things that you enjoy is thus really an essential, and not just a nice-to-have. Having some me-time will help you to refresh and rejuvenate your tired soul, and give you renewed strength for the journey ahead.

I hope the tips above have given you practical insights into tackling the challenges that are part of the WAHM journey. If you have tips to share, do leave a comment below!

This guest post comes courtesy of June Yong, a writer-mum of three and creator of mamawearpapashirt.com. She shares grace-filled stories, lessons learnt, and ideas on how to live a simple and playful life with our families.

Confessions of a WAHM (Part 1)

confessions of a wahm

Hi. I’m June, and I am a WAHM.

Most of you would know that that stands for work-at-home mum, but you probably have little clue about how we operate. My world can be summed up in two words:

Organised chaos.

Yes, that’s me, trying to run a household of mini cute ‘monsters’ – three of them, to be exact. Desperately straddling both work and family at the same time, with no clear divider line.

The fact that I can actually hold down a job while taking care of all three (not totally on my own, thank God) is a miracle in itself. Though I do have days when I feel like giving it all up…

Days when the baby (and two pre-schoolers) fight sleep…

Days when lunch gets burnt or someone’s fingers get run over by a toy truck…

Days when I need to take a couple of work calls, and everybody decides to shout and/or sing at the top of their voices. All at the same time…

Most days, I hardly have the time to run to the toilet, much less sit and type an email. Then I feel like a crazy juggler, with more balls up in the air than I can handle. So what’s left to do but to multi-task, drop a few less important things like doing groceries or searching for a lost piece of Lego, grab a coffee (somehow this never gets dropped) and tell myself that I’ll get better at this. Eventually.

Working late into the night has also become a part of my reality. How else would I find peace and quiet to sit and think and craft with words?

On a good night, I’ll be able to get some serious writing done. Press release – check. Q&A – check. All within three hours of sitting bent over my laptop, furiously tapping on its keyboard while praying fervently that baby sleeps well and no preschooler gets any nightmares.

At the end of some days, I head to bed, exhausted and wondering: Why did I choose to be a WAHM? Did I make the right decision?

There are pros and cons to every career move you make. A major struggle for me is in the area of achievement. I don’t feel like I’m progressing as much as I should. It’s also hard to draw the line between work and home.

Another struggle I face is spending time with the children. One reason I chose to be a WAHM is to have quality time with my kids – but I’ve realised that being physically present at home doesn’t equate to quality time.

There are times when I feel like a failure in both the domains of work and home … and on such  days, I eat lots of chocolate and offload my sorrows onto the poor unsuspecting husband!

On the flip side, there are moments that remind me what I’m doing this for. For instance, just being there when my children need me. To break up a fight, and on a good day, actually teach them something through the process. To encourage them when they fall or find it a struggle to accomplish a task. To try new things together, or just enjoy simple activities like crafting or visiting our favourite playgrounds.

The days when our children need us most are short. I’d imagine that not too long from now, I’ll be wondering where all the time had gone.

This is why I keep at it, even if it’s a struggle balancing both worlds.

Editor’s note: June will be sharing some secrets to make the WAHM journey that little bit easier (and to retain some sanity) on Saturday. Be sure to join us for Part 2!

This guest post comes courtesy of June Yong, a writer-mum of three and creator of mamawearpapashirt.com. She shares grace-filled stories, lessons learnt, and ideas on how to live a simple and playful life with our families.

5 practical ways to being a Back-bone Parent (part 2)

Give of Your Time

Well, from my sharing last week, you may be led to believe that my parents were more the sergeant major type. To some extent they were as they needed to “pull rank” on us sometimes for our own good. However, the reason why we did not rebel against them was because they have found ways to express their love for us. The best outward expression was to give of their time.

Both my parents would ensure that they have enough time with each of my three siblings and I, to find out what we are going through and to tell us that they love us. My mother made the big sacrifice of giving up her job once my eldest sister was born. Until now, my father still has a one-on-one date with us on each of our birthdays. He also makes sure he can pick us from school during his off-day. They both acknowledge their individual responsibility to invest their time in our relationship.

Communicate With Your Spouse

Having said that, with the schedules that people have these days, it takes concerted effort to have even an hour a day to spend with your child. That’s where the importance of communication comes in. As mentioned, my mom is a full-time home-maker and so she is able to spend a lot more time with us. There are times when my father only comes home after we are all asleep. On those nights, my mother updates him about us and keeps him in the loop on household matters. Communication is important even in families with two working parents. This is due to the difference in ways that a child interacts with his mother and with his father. Each parent is likely to have a unique understanding of what the child is going through and so it is important for both parents to share what they perceive and know with each other.

Don’t Compare

The last practical step that I would like to share is to not compare. Comparing is something which happens quite naturally in our minds. We must be careful, though, not to let the thoughts slip out into our words or our actions. I have a cousin who is of the same age as I am, but a lot smarter. Not once have my parents asked why my grades do not match hers. My sisters are both a lot more organized than I am and my parents have punished me on numerous occasions for not taking care of my belongings, but they do not tell me to be more like my sisters. You see, the children do the comparing themselves, but if they sense that their parents are comparing them to one another, it could call into question the love that the parents have for them – is their love dependent on how much the child lives up to their expectations? Freedom and even trust can be conditional, but unless the love a parent gives is without condition, it is of no value to the child.

By not sparing the rod and by not ceding to our crying when we were younger, my parents were able to stamp their authority. By giving of their time and communicating with each other, they are able to better understand and support us. Finally, in not comparing me with my siblings, my parents assure me of their unconditional love which enables me to trust and obey their decisions, even the tough ones.

Abraham is an Economics student at the Singapore Management University.

Behind Every Great Family…

It’s an often used, perhaps to the point of being cliché, phrase that behind every great man there is a great woman. While it is a phrase that has proven to be true on many occasions, a more general and possibly more accurate reading would be, ‘behind every great person there lies great support’.

There are various places from which a person can receive this form of support, but the home is usually one of the most natural and dependable places that a person can go to. A great family to me is one that provides the foundational support for each and every member and hence empowers them to pursue their dreams and goals.

Great support requires an element of consistency and there is something that is needed to hold a family together for it to sustain the support that it offers. I believe that the glue that is required is sacrificial love; a willingness to give of one’s self for the benefit of those they love. Why? Mainly because giving real support requires the giving of one’s time, energy and emotions. It is always a sacrifice.

Amazingly but perhaps not surprisingly, it is often mothers who are willing to dish out this kind of love. There are stories aplenty of mothers who have given up and sacrificed their own desires in order to be a support to their families. There are mothers who leave the marketplace in order that they can be at home during a child’s vital developmental years. There are also mothers who work multiple jobs so that they can give their family a better life.

I personally know of a single mother who is in her late 60s and yet continues to clean houses in order to have sufficient income to make ends meet for her and her daughter, who chooses to remain unemployed. Fighting against physical deterioration, she presses on to work convinced that ceasing to do so will end all her hopes of seeing her daughter find work and achieve in life.

Mothers do seem to have this innate ability to put their family before themselves and to some extent it is the natural thing for mothers to do. However, we would do well not to be deceived into thinking that mothers owe it to us to love in the way that they do. No, to love sacrificially is a costly decision that many mothers choose to take on a consistent basis.

What is more astounding still is that many mothers take this decision without expecting much in return. They, like the mother I mentioned earlier, often see their reward in witnessing their family achieve greater things, regardless of how small these ‘things’ are. Yet, they do deserve so much more in return. Our expression of love should and must go further than the recognition we give them during Mother’s Day and other special occasions; it must go into the every day.

Let’s take the time to reflect on how we can love and support our mothers consistently. For the amount they give is great and the role they play is vital. Behind many great people there is a great family, but behind every great family there is a great mother.

A huge shout-out to all mothers out there, including my beloved mom, who have given and continue to give of themselves so that we can be who we are today. Have a great Mother’s Day!

This week’s guest writer is Abraham Ponniah, a 22-year-old Economics undergraduate at the Singapore Management University.