how do you (I) do it?

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

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