Tag Archives: motherhood

Our Journey towards Becoming a Family of 5

If I had to summarise the year 2014 in 3 words, it would be…

Intentional…

Challenging…

Hopeful…

It’s been a year marked with many transitions – and therein lies all the challenge, from adapting, changing, learning, growing… and just learning to be. I went from being a part-time working mom to becoming a stay-at-home mom, and the decision to stop working completely in order to be home with the children was much more difficult than I had anticipated.

My husband (let’s call him H) and I agreed that we wanted at least one of us to spend both quality and quantity time with our children while they were still young. We chose not to send them for academic enrichment classes, but for me to provide them with what we believe would be enriching outside of school instead.

When I stopped working, it was as if, to me, I was giving up something that I felt had given me an identity apart from being a mother. I had to constantly remind myself that my value did not lie solely on whether I was employed, but that I carried value regardless of what I chose to do.
One month after I stopped working, I found out that I was pregnant with or third child. And then began the onset of terrible, almost debilitating, morning sickness.

Photo Credit: Altamar via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Altamar via Compfight cc

While the children enjoyed having all of my time, I did spend quite a fair bit of time sick over the toilet, or being cooped up in bed. It was a struggle for me, and I’m really thankful for my husband’s unwavering support during this time.

Despite facing a really stressful season at work, he tried to work from home on some days. He went about picking up the ‘slack’ without complaint, doing the laundry, feeding the kids, cleaning the house and more.

There were times when I could not plan meals for the children, so H would try to help out with meals. To ease my worries, he enlisted the help of our neighbour and a couple of good friends to help me with meals on days that he couldn’t.

The arrival of #3 is a major transition for the entire family, so one thing we constantly try to do at home is to involve them in our pregnancy journey as much as possible.

To make the pregnancy relatable to the children, I communicate with them about what it’s like, and what I felt when both of them were in my tummy. We also teach them about anatomy, the baby’s different stages of growth, and bring them along for the doctor’s appointments as often as we can so that they get to ‘see’ their little brother.

In anticipation of the arrival of #3, we’ve been teaching our two children that it’s important to do things together – from playing to making decisions – and this involves a fair dose of conflict management as well.

It’s not always easy, but I’m glad the kids are open and willing to learn. It gives me great optimism about what’s to come.

2015 is going to be a significant and new chapter in our family, where we grow from just the 4 of us to a family of 5. I look forward to enjoying my entire family – husband, myself and my three children – and treasuring the moments I have together with them both as a family unit and with each of them individually.

We’ve also made a decision to be even more intentional with our children: to speak encouragement and discipline into their lives so that they can grow in confidence, discover their potential and build deep relationships with one another.

There are many things to look forward to in 2015, the top of which is family, and for that I am grateful.

Sue-Ann is a mother of two (with another on the way).  She enjoys nothing better than daydreaming of new ways for her family to take the stress out of living busy city lives.  Her children, Rainbow Sky and Chubs Salami – nicknames they gave themselves – are 7 and 4.

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.

That’s My Boy!

When I was expecting our first son, I dived into motherhood like a true blue Singaporean – arming myself with every available parenting website and bestselling mothering manual I could find. I took notes, bookmarked pages and read out what I felt were deeply insightful passages to my increasingly irate husband (he was watching soccer at the time).  But now, four years and two babies later, I realize that my best parenting moments have come from simply being with my boys, and rolling with the teachable moments as they present themselves. In the case of my eldest, some of these have been in the music appreciation class that we’ve recently started attending.

We’re always reminding our boys about The Importance of Being Helpful. Always. I got a great chance to reinforce this recently with my firstborn – when one of Micah’s classmates peed in class. Of course, I realized it only when my hand landed smack in the middle of a pee puddle. Micah watched nervously as I’ve been known to be a cleanliness freak. Swallowing my initial reaction to scream, I gave him an ‘It’s ok!’ grin, and checked on his classmate to let her mom know that she needed a nappy change. Then I went out to get a mop to clean up. I hope the incident registered with him, and he remembers to help someone out the next time he gets a chance – even when it’s none of his business and he could potentially look the other way without anyone thinking the worse of him for it.

After an hour of music class, Micah is usually eager to get out and run about. But we’ve started asking him to thank his teacher first before he bolts for the door. The routine is working well! And of course, he had to up the ante last week by offering her a hug and a kiss too. To my amusement, it inspired the rest of his classmates to do the same, and so his lovely teacher got a hug and kiss from every kid as they left the class. I hope it made her day, it sure made mine.

But perhaps the most important lesson has been one that I’ve learned rather than taught. We’ve always encouraged our kids to march to the beat of their own drum. Independence, creativity and self-leadership are definitely values that the husband and I treasure and want to pass on. However this is easier said than done, as I’ve always felt the pressure to conform when we find ourselves in a public setting – and music class has been no different. While the other kids in the class are doing the actions as instructed, Micah usually adds his own twist on things by including his own dance moves which vary from the slightly odd foot stomping to incredibly bizarre gongfu type moves. I’ve learned to bite my tongue and let him experiment, even though there is an instinctive desire to wrestle him into doing the same thing as everyone else. Perhaps it’s a protective instinct – I don’t like other parents staring at his odd prancing about, but more likely, I see his lack of total compliance as a reflection of my parenting skills. I’m learning to let go, and ‘chill’ as my husband laughingly says. Slowly, but surely, I’m learning to embrace my son’s unique style and personality.

Tomorrow is our next lesson, and I’m looking forward to it, as much as Micah is. If he decides to jump about like a Bruce Lee wannabe, who knows? I just might join him.

Judith Xavier is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about Family-Life issues. Together with her husband of 6 years, she spends her down-time exploring new playgrounds with her two young sons, Micah and Ezra.