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how do you (I) do it? – two years later

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I vaguely remembered writing a post on this. And I Googled myself. hahah. Eh, that is the fastest way to find a post okay.

And so I did. I wrote a similar post 2 years ago. Has anything changed since then? Well…we added a new member to the family and boy, are things even more hectic. I was ‘inspired’ to write this post because in a span of a couple of weeks, I had this question posed to me: how do I do it, with 4 kids? 

I don’t. Let me tell you as it is now: I’m seriously sleep deprived, clocking 5-6 hours each night. I have been shoving the kids to their father because I cannot deal carrying a newborn and 3 kids having a shouting match. The last 3 weeks was probably a vacation for me cos at least I have the option to simply tell my husband that I was going to take a nap and just waltz off and do it.

Except I got a shit brain who makes me a light sleeper and it takes me forever to settle and by the time I actually wind down enough to sleep, the baby wails for a feed and I gotta restart all over again. BOO.

The same shit brain also makes me feel inadequate, makes me feel that I am not doing enough despite knowing that I have clocked a lot of stuff in an hour, just cause there are still veggie peels in the sink, breakfast dishes not washed, I am stuck on a chair nursing the baby with my now lukewarm yoghurt sitting in front of me, and a toddler sitting outside playing by herself. START PACKING FOR YOUR GUILT TRIP  says the brain.

And I do just that. Why are there stuff still not done? And oh, your shit eyes also decide to spy a dried patch of god-knows-what on the floor and you add mopping the dining room to your never-ending list of stuff to do. But you know what? The smart thing to do would be to practise self-care. To say it is okay to leave some of the stuff to be cleared after you are home from running errands outside.

That you have done just enough, and it is okay. That it is time to head out with your kids and spend some time with them, away from the chores. Those chores CAN wait, well, except if everyone is running out of undies, then sorry that cannot wait. Hahahaha.

But how do I do it some days? I do it because of this man who makes me feel I can do it.

Daddy Ting and his minions

I laugh to myself recounting the messages between him and me whilst I gave birth to Alex, and him missing out on the birth. All because we thought the labour would take a while, and he could go home, check on the kids a little and come back to the hospital again. Oh what a story to tell Alex when she grows up.

This man handled 3 sick kids and looked after me after we got discharged from the hospital. He tried cooking my meals for me, but I kicked him out of the kitchen on day 5PP. Hmph. I want the food I want to eat! Then he had to handle the 3 sick kids AND keep them away from the newborn. That was week #1

sick kids means mask on all the time!

Week #2, he fell sick but still looked after the recovering kids sans Sarah who stayed over at my parents’ place so he could rest more. Then things got better, we still stayed home a lot. Sorta, this momma went out a bit cos I was getting cabin fever. I got to meet some friends! Oh happiness. Trips to the polyclinics for jaundice checks were the highlights of my week!

Week #3, Ollie broke his toe. Sigh. So dunno who kena confinement siah. Daddy Ting really got his work cut out for him lifting his 20kg son around cos we were trying to keep the cast clean (else how to sleep in bed?? Yucks). On the other hand…Quentin had a lot more opportunity to be out of his brother’s shadows cos Oliver is out of action. That would be another post in itself.


We are into week #4 and we are catching up on errands. A LOT of errands plus sending Quentin to his day camp. This is a trial run of how it would be like when the kids go back to school next year, esp when Oliver commences primary school. I told Daddy Ting that we cannot do enrichment classes for the kids, cos it is just not our style. We are way to chill to do the mad rush on weekends. Even swimming classes was pushing it a little (5-6pm, and then the rush back to have dinner wth).

But this man, my husband, takes all these in stride, and still takes time to make sure that my mental well being is taken care of. Once that is taken care of, everything else goes. He was there when I needed him (well, except when he missed out on Alex’s birth hahahahahah.) He is almost at my beck and call, at this time, if the kids are not all piled on him, hounding him to play Uno with them.

mummy not free, nehmind, teh-bao daddy!

we played copious amounts of Uno.

Etched in my memory forever:

1) Watching him put Sarah on the toilet and him squatting next to her waiting for her to be done, and then cleaning her up. I laughed, and he chuckled as well, shaking his head. There was just something about that scene that made it endearing and funny.

2) We have a recycling box at home, and he spied some ziplock bags in the box earlier today.

Him: are those ziplock bags in the box??
Me: oh yeah, they are the ones that the clothes came in. I didn’t know what to do with them, but they are in pretty good condition eh?
Him: yeah, I was surprised to see them there. I thought you would use them to store something.
Me: waaah, not bad hor. You noticed!
Him: Of course, I was thinking how can it be that you would put those bags into the box?? Where’s my wife and what have you done with her??
Me: Bwhahahahaha. You’re an idiot.

The little actions he does to support the things that I do or want to do. They remind me that we have a thing going on always.

So how do I do it with 4 kids? I will run solo with them when Daddy Ting goes back to work, but I do it with some help from the village I have behind my back. It pays to have a big family and have the kids close to them.

It pays to have married my soul mate and knowing he has my back. 😘


Category: Special

how do you (I) do it?

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being recently minted mother of three, I still get the question from some friends and associates.

how do you do it?’ how do I whaa..? How do I…

run a few businesses,maintain a blog, handle 3 kids, do the household chores, do the grocery shopping, cook meals and still look like I am in one piece?

Truth be told, I don’t. As much as I look like I hold it pretty well together, I don’t sometimes. Social media can be deceiving. We post happy and funny stuff cos we want to remember the good stuff. Of course, it can be embarassing to show that things are not good in the background, and who wants to air their dirty laundry in the public? We skip those and deal with it privately.

But yeah, I don’t do it. The correct answer to that should be “we do..” Behind, behind my Facebook profile, there are family who help me out so that I can cope better on the days I post on social media.

Family ..

…who help take Oliver to school because there is a HFMD case in his class and the teachers were worried about exposing Sarah to potential germs (yes, Oliver does have really awesome kindy teachers!);

…who help look after the boys so that I can attend the rare meetings;

…who come along with me so that I get speak with the doctor easily without getting interrupted 100x and forget what exactly the doctor told me 5 minutes ago;

…who come over to entertain the kids so that I could whip up a slightly special dinner for everyone. Case in point, homemade fish fingers for the boys two nights ago cos, well, special request from them. For every stack of waffles or pancakes served at breakfast, Daddy Ting is busy making sure the boys do not spill their cup of milk, nor make a mess with the pool of maple syrup on their plates so that I can put everything together quickly and get those waffles out.

I get a break from the boys over the weekend. It is wonderful to give my ears a decent break from their yelling, their out of tune singing (trust me, it is horrible when I am musically inclined), the incessant ‘mummy, mummy, mummy!’ . I regroup over the weekend, spend some time with my husband, catch up on some work, catch up on some sleep. It is a wonderful break. I am fortunate. The grandparents get their dose of the grandkids. We get our dose of peace. Sweet deal isn’t it?

It is a double edged sword though. Simmering beneath is the guilt of enjoying this peace. Guilt that says we should be spending the weekend doing things together as a family and not be catching up with work.

Before I got pregnant with Sarah, we would go cycling with the kids. It started off with one bike and a Yepp mini for Donald & Oliver. Then Quentin came along, and Donald scoured for a second-hand seat, and he also got me a bike. It was tiring, but it was fun. Some weekdays, I would even take both kids on the bike and we’d head to the rooftop waterpark nearby.

We would have picnics at Marina Barrage or the East Coast Park too. The boys love picnics. I love it too. I have fond memories of my parents taking me to picnics together with our extended family. They were one of the best bits of my life.

Then we got the boys balance bikes and skate-scooters. There is a mini scooter graveyard in the back of my kitchen. Despite me being a SAHM, the boys don’t get to scoot around much. Yet at the back of my mind, I have memories of my dad taking us to the nearby stadium for a run in the evenings when he comes back from work. Now, he takes his grandkids to the nearby reservoir on Sunday mornings to run around at the playground, and have a go on the balance bike.

I do get jealous. They will have awesome memories of having their grandparents guiding them on scooters and balance bikes. And I’m not in them cos I am busy playing catch up. But we are changing that soon. We used to have a weekend to ourselves as a family, then we got really busy. We will be taking a weekend back to ourselves again. The boys would love it.

I advocate gentle and attachment parenting. I preach it a fair bit to my friends, toeing between line of overstepping my boundaries. For everything I stand for with gentle parenting, there would be days where I question it. The days where I snap and lash out at the kids. The days where the yelling matches between Oliver and I get bad enough for me to breakdown and cry together with him, because I went against what I promised him in the first place, which was no hitting/smacking. It is easy to say that I’m only human and I have my limits. But as an adult, I should know better and manage it better. Yet I felt the need to want to lord over a 4 year old. Just because he was being obnoxious.

Fortunately, these occurrences are rare and few. I am thankful that Oliver is capable of understanding what is communicated to him. I am thankful for a husband who supports my beliefs in parenting and will co-parent with me in the same direction. It does make parenting a lot easier.

And the chores. As much as I want to do heaps of activities with the boys every day, there are days where the chores sorta pile up. Laundry, mopping the grimy floor, washing the bathroom. Wiping poop. OMG. I have to deal with poo in my face with 3 days, multiple poos from Sarah. Cooking lunch & dinner. I have to admit that some days, the chores are my escape.The boys sorta get it that they are not to bother me when cooking is involved. They are constantly hungry and they now know better than to annoy the cook.

No waffles, no pancakes, no scrambled eggs, no bacon! But these are the very things that earn me the title of ‘the bestest cook in the whole wide world’ from Oliver. How leh?

Planning activities use up A LOT of brain capacity. When you are running on 256MB RAM as a result of interrupted sleep, engaging a child in an activity is the last thing that I want to do. At that moment, the television is my best friend. And whilst I stone with them in front of the television, that same guilt hits. That tiny voice at the back of my head goes ‘aren’t we supposed to be limiting screen time?

The same guilt that hits when I am not in the mood to cook and we order fast food. The boys are happy obviously, but I worry about juvenile obesity if this keeps up. Ooohhh, so easy to send me packing on a guilt trip.

It took me nearly 3 years before I fully embraced motherhood. Embrace meaning I enjoy every aspect of it with minimal complaints haha. I will not say ‘no complaints’ cos that is not possible. I have become better at managing my emotions with the kids, with my husband. I am a lot more patient. But I do have my ‘off’ days. However, I don’t do it by myself. The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a kid’ is so true and I probably would not have been able to do any better if I didn’t have the help.

All these thoughts came as a result of rethinking how I wanted the direction of my blog to be. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up with how the other bloggers are doing. It unintentionally got competitive, especially with the attention that we get from sharing our posts. Social media does have that effect on me. I read back some older posts and see how things may have changed slightly since the blog became more public. Time to regroup and get back to why I started this blog in the first place.


Category: Daily, Special

do you still love me tomorrow?

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to be honest, before Ollie went to school, I had no idea what school holidays meant. Afterall, we spent 24/7 together. We had playdates, we went out, we stayed home, we had naps.

After Ollie started school for that measly 3 hours…OMG. I have been exposed to having to only deal with one kid for 3 hours and that was it. No turning back. I started to dread school holidays cos that meant having to rack my brains for activities to do. But it also meant play dates resumed. I could deal with 1 week holidays, but I absolutely dread June and December holidays.

Of course, if we were going on a holiday, it was a different matter altogether. But we’re not. So there.

And as we would all have it, the one week hols are where things act up. Yep. Just before the school hols started, QT came down with a fever that wouldn’t go away. We headed to KKH when it peaked at 39.6 degrees. And we were back again when QT’s cough just got worse despite the meds. I was brought back to the time both Ollie and QT came down with pneumonia. Yikes, definitely didn’t want that, so off we went to KKH for a chest x-ray. That was Wednesday. Half the holidays were gone and I had spend the most of my time sitting on the sofa with a koala pinned on me.

*sigh* And Ollie was acting up as well, despite going out on play dates with family.

He wasn’t having an easy time. Neither were we. Donald and I subscribe to the gentle parenting approach and try as much not to yell. We are also human, and when we are tired, we are more prone to our frustrations and we flare up easily. It is not an easy journey. There were a lot of sit outs with him (he has a spot on the sofa where he has to sit on with us nearby talking to him). We would try to make him empathise with the situation and reflect about what had happened. After which, he would have to apologise and there were hugs all around.

It backfired. He wasn’t deliberately acting out, but he was selectively acting out. He refused to listen to instructions and wanted his way. That brought on more snapping. A reminder of what was discussed with him the day before. More snapping. We thought we were being patient with him, or rather I thought so. In reality, we were snapping much faster because we felt that he should have understood, especially when the previous episode was just..well, the day before.

Today, it got to a point where I thought I saw a tired and despondent boy. Even I was tired and I was close to giving it all up. I thought, let’s try this differently. 

Ollie, what can mummy & daddy do to make you listen to us? He stared at me blankly.

Are you sad? Why do you not want to listen to mummy & daddy? Do you want to try?

He shook his head. Why not? ‘Because you always scold me.’ My heart did break a little.

Do you feel that mummy & daddy don’t love you anymore? Because we keep scolding you? He nodded, for a long time, he looked at me straight in the eye, saying quietly, ‘Yes’.

Ahh, my heart broke some more. How could I not know how that felt? As a kid, I had that very same thought whenever I was yelled at by my mom. I had thought that by closing each yelling session with hug, kiss, I love yousdo you feel better now?, it was enough. But obviously it wasn’t. Actions speak louder than words.

I told him how proud I was of him, how happy I was during the times he helped out around the house, and when he listened. I told him to never doubt that we loved him, that despite the yelling, we love him. I told him that when he doesn’t listen, no one else has fun. No one gets to continue what we are doing because one person does not cooperate. That makes everyone upset. I told him just like he feels sad when he doesn’t get to listen to his CD in the car despite asking politely, we feel sad when he doesn’t listen to us. I told him that both Donald and I didn’t enjoy yelling, that all of us liked to be happy. I did most of the talking, but he had time to think about it and then respond to me.

Do you want to try listening? Shall we try? He looked at me apprehensively. We’ve been down this road before, ages ago, where both him and I agreed that we would try. And it worked for a bit. Shall we try, Ollie? Let’s try listening. 

‘Okay.’ He nodded. We had a hug & a kiss, and he scooted off to Donald.

Writing this now, do I feel like I failed my kid? Hell yeah. For him to even feel that we don’t love him, the last thing I would EVER want him to feel. It was just a 20 min chat, but it was a heavy-hearted 20 min chat.

Just a couple of days ago, Donald and I were talking about Ollie’s behaviour, and the fine line between reasons for his behaviour and finding an excuse for his behaviour. When does trying to understand your child become denial that the child is an absolute brat? Most of the time..well, yeah, there is a solid reason for the behaviour. But is there a thing as being too lenient to your child, and trying to amp up the discipline now?

Argh. So complex. But for now, let’s all just try. Okay?

Category: Daily, Parenting