Happiness is... knowing my best is enough

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 15, 2019
in ,

As much as I love April since it is the month I was born and wedded in, I have to say that this past month has been a trying one for me.

It was one that saw me in tears, saw me frustrated, saw me lose my cool, saw me blow my top, saw me become someone I didn't want to be and saw me at my worst. I can blame many things for all of this you know, let's see, I was a full-time solo parent to three kids on most weekdays, I had to be a naggy mum with exams around the corner, I wanted to keep up with our no-tuition lifestyle, I rushed between schools to do parent volunteer work, I took on a freelance writing job, I had to go to the hospital to do a swab because of a fungal infection and I only did that after bearing the pain for weeks, only to realise that it wasn't going to go away on its own and I had to do something about it.

Yup, as usual, I try to bite off more than I can chew and I always have that positive thinking that "I can do it". But in truth, can I, really? I mean, I am still a human with only two arms and legs and even if I have the passion and heart to do something that I love, perhaps there's a limit to how much I can take up and if the kids are still going to be my priority in life, then something's gotta give. You can't have the best of everything, can you?

In April's "Happiness is...", it's about knowing and accepting that while I may never be perfect in what I do, especially in being a mum, it's enough just doing my best.




We made our way to Sakura Hatsuri at Gardens by the Bay on the last night of the event. Yup, it was nice to talk a walk at night where it wasn't so crowded and we brought my in-laws here too for them to experience the romantic blossoms after having a hearty family dinner at Satay by the Bay.

I keep reminding myself that it's good to take a breather outside when things get heated up at home. For instance, when the kids quarrel, when we start to have arguments, when one party starts to storm off in anger, when we fail to resolve things amiably without having to raise our voices, that is when I think it's actually better if I take all the kids out so that we can take a break as we scoot, stroll, eat, play, run around and just let the outside world broaden our perspective and cool us down.



To be honest, I think that it's easier bringing the kids out for a meal rather than having to buy groceries, cook and wash up at home. It takes a lot of effort on my part and the process of preparing and cooking is so much longer than the time it takes for us to gobble everything down. We have so many kopitiams, food courts and shopping malls near us so why do I still bother to cook for them when I can better use the time to help them with revision, play with them or just rest more?

Well, I guess I just want them to remember the love contained in all these simple, homecooked dishes when they grow up. Of course, I also wish for them to eat healthier food but I think the main reason still boils down to love. Even though I keep cooking the same dishes over and over again, I can see how much they still enjoy the food and are always so sweet to give me their thumbs up and say "Thank you, Mama, for cooking for us" before they start eating. So even though I might not be a domestic goddess or a great chef, and I don't have the heart to hunt and try out new recipes, I guess my best is enough for all of us for now.



We made it to the preview of Jewel Changi Airport! Yup, the kids and I were lucky to get tickets at the last minute and we changed all our plans just so we could make it here. Like I said, it's nice to get out of the house with the kids and to be able to explore a new place together, that's even better. We didn't check out the retail part of the mall at all but instead spent our entire afternoon picnicking at the Canopy Garden, admiring the Rain Vortex and checking out the beautiful Topiary Walk.




We fell in love with the garden paradise in Jewel and will definitely be back again to explore more - probably when the crowd dies down a little. It's like our airport keeps getting better and better along the years and no matter how good it is, there is still always room for improvement. As time and technology evolve, changes have to take place too.

It reminds me that as a mum and as a person, I can always strive to be better too and learn from past mistakes. As the kids grow up and as we move on to different phases of life, my parenting style has to adapt accordingly too and I can't think that there is a one-size-fits-all method here. Every child is unique and every phase that they are in also presents with itself a different set of challenges - all I can do is try my best to understand, to listen, to show empathy and to be not just their mum but their best friend too. It's what my hubby reminded me one day, that our kids will be our soulmates next time and I think I would really, really love that.


The boy has started his art lessons at heART Studio and even though he still likes me to accompany him on some days, he has also shown signs of independence on others and told me that it's okay if I take my leave and just observe him from outside. Awww, my koala will soon be a koala no more and when the time comes, he will be the one smiling while I might just shed some tears secretly.



For the first time, we had the chance to visit Google's office and it was an awesome experience for all of us as the kids were taught about internet safety. Even though my kids do not have their own mobile phones or tablets yet, I know it is inevitable and it's only a matter of time before we have to deal with this issue. This was a good start for us and I learnt so many precious tips from the parents' workshop too. It's gonna be a tricky issue for many of us parents once our kids start to be technology savvy and risk getting addicted or putting themselves in danger online but it's something we just need to learn along the way and try our best to tackle. Let's all learn together, shall we?


So we also celebrated my birthday last month and I've dedicated my last post to it. I hope it is true that with age comes wisdom and I think it's good to remind myself that it's okay to fail once in a while but the important thing is to pick myself up and fight harder, stronger and better. My kids deserve my best and even if I doubt it on some days, my best is more than enough for them already. Don't be such a perfectionist in life, yeah?


One of the biggest highlights of April has to be the launch of my writing column in Lianhe Zaobao and while I'm not sure where this road will lead me eventually, I'm just thankful to get a chance to make my dreams come true. Stay tuned for my sharing on every third Monday of the month, okay?


I don't really get to see this man much on weekdays due to the nature of his work but when I do, I cherish it a lot even if I don't say so. We had a rare hour off when the kids were in art lesson and went on a date at Sakae Sushi to eat his favourite chawanmushi. After that, we also queued up to get my favourite bubble tea too. Hee. Fair fair mah. Let's see if we can make time for more couple dates!


Despite my hopes, frequent nagging and good genes, the big girl ended up doing not so well at her eye screening test and a visit to the optometrist confirmed that she is now myopic. Oh well, I guess it just needs a little time for us to get used to and I have to say that she does look pretty decent in the purple specs that she chose for herself. I don't want to keep saying the words "I told you so" or keep hoping that it didn't happen because the fact is that it did. As her mum, even though short-sightedness and having to wear specs is something really foreign to me in my 36 years of life, I am going to do my best to support her in this journey and we will take things slowly as time - and her degree - progresses.


For the first time, she also attended a 3D2N camping trip and it just felt so weird having just two kids around me. Yup, something was missing when she was not around and I felt the longing for her. Even though we got into bickers and lots of backtalking soon after she was back, it's still nice knowing that the family was reunited and all the kids were together again. That's the thing about family, right? You have your good and bad moments, you go through ups and downs, you love and you fight, you give and you snatch, you dote and you scream at each other, but no matter what, you will always be there for each other. Always.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around how to parent an adolescent and I find it the hardest of all, given our strong wills and stubborn streaks that run in the family. But I know that step by step, we will get there and as long as we all keep trying our best and never stop loving each other, we will be fine. Till more updates next month! I can't wait for the June holidays to be here so that we can play more, laugh more and relax more. How about you?


Thirty six

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 25, 2019
in ,

It's funny, didn't I just write a post on turning thirty five and yet in the blink of an eye, another year has passed? It kind of scares me to think about how fast time passes and makes me wonder if I'm doing my best to make good use of each day that I have.

Does losing my cool, raising my voice and getting into heated arguments with the kids mean that I'm wasting and not making use of my days? Well, I hope not because I have a feeling that is something that will stay and will continue to happen, no matter how much I dread it. The kids will always find a way to push my buttons, test my boundaries and stretch my limits, and having three of them versus one of me on most days means that I will need to learn to handle it on a constant basis.

Not easy. Not easy at all.

I've been doing a lot of reflection this month because there were days when I felt like a failure and despite being nine years into this motherhood journey, I don't seem to understand how to be a good mum on some days. I said and did things which I regretted and the sense of guilt inevitably crept in. The good thing is the kids still seem to love me to the moon and back no matter what I do and the way they tend to forget and forgive is what every adult needs to learn to do.

So, as I turn another year older but not necessarily wiser, I'm hoping to be able to steer myself into the right direction and be able to find my bearings once again. Even though I might still get lost on some days, I hope I will always be able to return to the place that I wish to be in - to be a good mum, a good wife, a good daughter and a good friend.


For this year's birthday, I received these cards and paintings from the kids and hubby which really brought a smile on my face. Okay, I might have taken out the water colours and asked if anyone would like to paint something for me, but oh well, it's a way of loving myself and making me feel special, right? Haha. The big girl, as usual, had made her own card for me and in it wrote the words "You're the best Mama in the world. There is no other mum that I could wish for" which melted my heart instantly because for all the bad moments we've had, this girl adores me and I love her more than I can say too.


Oh, I also asked the girls to each design a round piece of shrinky dink and guess what I did with them? I punched holes and turned them into one-of-a-kind earrings for myself. Woohoo! Love them!


We also went to Swensen's to have a nice family meal and the hubby wanted to get me a small brownie for a simple cake-cutting ceremony but I settled on a sweet chocolate treat instead. It felt so good just to be surrounded by these people who love me unconditionally and whom I love with all my heart too.


For the first time in a long time, I also celebrated my special day with two of my jie meis and they treated me to a yummy seafood dinner in Melben. Yumz! This was followed by a rare KTV session with two friends, sans kids, and wow I don't even remember when was the last time I sang for three hours straight without the kids. What a treat!


I never thought that blogging would lead me to finding true friends - not when I am already this old - but these two fellow mums have been nothing but blessings to me in every way. We confide in each other, we celebrate each other, we meet up for our kids to play and for us to stay sane, we support each other and I'm just so, so thankful that this road led me to these like-minded mums who I treat more like sisters since a couple of years ago. If you have not, please hop over to A Million Little Echoes and Life's Tiny Miracles and show your support for May and Angie who blog from the heart and are inspiring mums I look up to.


My parents always help me to celebrate my special day year after year and this year, I suggested to take them and my in-laws out for a simple zi char dinner. BUT, my hubby suggested that we hold a gathering in the comfort of our home instead so that the more people could come, the kids could swim, the adults could chill and everyone could enjoy his perfectly cooked BBQ food. Yup, he's an expert at it and he always goes to the expense of buying live seafood from Sheng Shiong, marinating everything on his own, this time he even prepared steamboat and cooked a big pot of soup, plus he also didn't forget to get a cake too. Awww, no wonder I love this man so much. The best thing about my birthday night was that my 85-year-old grandma came over to join in the party too and we had a few rounds of drinks together! Yup, she doesn't remember who we are, says the funniest things yet holds her liquor well, and I was just so happy to see her happy that night. It was such an endearing sight when she tried to blow out the candles for me too. Awww, my popo, I love you!


I think the best thing I received for this year's birthday was the chance to make my dreams come true when I was given the opportunity to write my own column in Lianhe Zaobao. Yup, you can read my first post here. It's something that I don't take for granted but instead cherish very much because it's what I have been hoping to do since I was a kid, like a passion that has long been neglected but just been rekindled. Sure, it might just be a monthly column - which is also the most I can commit to considering how the kids keep me occupied nearly 24/7 - but I am definitely looking forward to putting my heart and soul into it and sharing heartfelt parenting experiences with all of you out there.

I guess that's all for turning thirty six for now. May this year bring me strength and knowledge, teach me to love myself and others more, allow me to inspire as I get inspired and let me make the most of every day. Thanks for all the birthdays wishes too, people!


时间都去哪儿了

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 22, 2019
in , ,

我常常在想,时间一定是有翅膀,不然,它怎么能飞逝得那么快,让我往往措手不及。如果我有超能力,我所要拥有的特异功能就是能让时间停止,甚至把它倒流。但是,梦归梦,现实归现实,如今身为三个孩子的妈妈,我更加感叹时光的匆忙和岁月的流逝。

还记得我初次当妈妈生下大宝时,我们一家身在瑞典,离新加坡十万八千里。当时的我懵懵懂懂,对于照顾孩子的事什么都不会,只能不断地尝试、不断地从失败中学习,才能和孩子一步一脚印地慢慢成长。有一次,我们和朋友一起出外用餐,当时我抱着未满一岁的大宝,说了一句 “不知道要等多久才能和你们一样,孩子学会走路了,让她走在中间,一边牵着爸爸的手,另一边牵着妈妈的手。“ 朋友笑了笑,只回了我三个字: ”很快的“。


真的,转眼间,大宝已经九岁了。现在的她,精力充沛、健步如飞,有时想跟上她的脚步都难。不仅如此,我们家中也迎接了二宝和小宝,二宝现在六岁,小宝则三岁。成为三个孩子的母亲,是我这一辈子最大的成就、最大的骄傲。选择当一名全职妈妈的我,虽不能称得上是好妈妈,但至少能靠自己的本事来照顾好三个孩子和打理一个家。这份即呕心沥血又带来无比快乐的工作,是我有生以来做过最难、亦最幸福的差事吧

一天仅二十四个小时,说起来其实真的是不够用。丈夫因从事海军而常常不在家,所以家中的事务都由我独自打理。有时,堆积如山的家务事把我压得喘不过气,而教导孩子这件事也常常让我摸不着头脑。我每天早上都提醒自己,今天不要大发雷霆,不要大呼小叫,不要过度碎碎念,但是面对常常在挑战我的极限的三宝,这仿佛比登天还难

十月怀胎,一朝分娩,养育儿女却是一辈子的事。为人父人母,也是一条漫长的学习道路。当妈妈九年了,我却好像似懂非懂,只觉得眼前的路还很长,该学习的东西还有太多太多。我希望每天能有多一点时间好好去了解孩子、陪伴他们、享受他们,也希望自己能有多一点时间去调适心情、学会解压和做自己喜欢做的事。现在的我,正努力学习掌握自己所拥有的时间,把重要的事摆在第一位。譬如说,打扫房子不比念睡前故事给孩子来的重要,使用社交媒体也不比睡个好觉来饱足精神重要。我要学会释怀、学会放下、学会不让自己轻易感到愧疚,才能更充分地把握有限的时间。


最近,大宝和我分享了课堂上所学的一首流行歌曲 ,歌名是《时间都去那儿了》。其中,有一段歌词深深触动了我,让我不禁感概万千,热泪盈眶。

时间都去那儿了,
还没好好看看你眼睛就花了。
柴米油盐半辈子,
转眼就只剩下满脸的皱纹了。

(如果你看这个MV的时候哭了,不要怪我哦,因为我也一样落泪了。很写实,很感慨, 很让人有感触,对吧?)

我真的常常在想:时间都去哪儿了呢?明明才刚产下幼小的婴儿,如今要把她抱起来都难。明明刚听到他第一次叫“妈妈“, 现在却从早到晚忙着和我抬杠。明明在享受哺乳所带来的幸福感觉,现在只能怀念那一去不返的经验。过去的一切虽仍然历历在目,但是,随着岁月的流逝,我,还会记得吗?

十年后、二十年后,我希望我能高喊:我做到了,我已把握时间,充分地过着每一天。我要孩子们记得的不是我的唠唠叨叨,而是我对他们坚不可摧的爱。我要知道我们一家人不仅是天天忙着生活,而是真真正正地活着。到时满脸皱纹的我,回顾自己的心路历程,要心存感激,而非后悔。



也许,我们不须要拥有特异功能,因为让时光停下脚步的最好办法,就是懂得珍惜活着的每一分每一秒。

Note: A shorter version of this article appeared in my column titled 快乐妈咪 in 联合早报副刊 on 22 Apr 2019. Do keep a lookout for my post next month, yeah?


Happiness is... enjoying each other's company

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 17, 2019
in

I love being with my kids a lot.

I do mean a lot, to the point that some friends tell me I need to learn to let go and get away from them once in a while, that the hubby and I should go on a couple trip and leave the kids behind, that I might be too obsessed with this stay-at-home mum job that I end up forgetting about myself.

Maybe, just maybe, there is some truth in it. Yet, I don't think I would wanna trade what we get to experience now for anything else in the world.

Don't get me wrong, my kids are just ordinary kids who take turns to drive me up the wall and make me want to hide in the loo a little longer to have some peace. They fight, they squabble, they scream, they cry, they whine and they complain about each other all the time. But, even if I shed a few tears on some lonely nights because I feel that this job is really a tough one, it doesn't mean I crave to get away from them just so to have me-time and to be honest, I still can't imagine going on a couple trip with the hubby and not have any of them by our side. It's not what's healthy or healthy or what's right or wrong, no, I don't believe in that. It's just what makes you happy deep down and you know it better than anyone else around you.

In March's "Happiness is...", it's about enjoying each other's company because we had almost ten days of school holidays to make use of and boy did we treasure every day of it.







I'm not sure if you can tell, but we've been attending so much less media events this year. For one, I'm getting jaded about having to take photos and videos and write reviews for every one that we go, so we've been very selective about what we take up. That also means we rejected a number of them which led to us being dropped from the list subsequently. I think if it was five years ago when I was all caught up in the blogging world and trying to better myself each day, I would have been affected by all of it. But now, I look back on hindsight and these years of experience of being a mum blogger have given me wisdom and taught me to be able to 拿得起,放得下, so I don't let myself be bothered about trying to stay in the game but to let this blog be a platform for me to keep it real and share more freely about what I truly believe in.

Okay, that doesn't mean we don't attend any events at all because some are really fun for the kids lar. For instance, they had a blast at Sentosa FunFest where they came up close with larger-than-life inflatables of cute Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty and Gudetamas, conquered obstacle courses and had fun in the foam pool.




I booked our tickets for Disney on Ice previously and same as last year, we took up the cheapest category tickets ($25 each) because we find that the view from there is good enough already. Even though I still took a few photos and videos, I did it for our memory keepsake and it actually felt good to be able to concentrate on enjoying the show as opposed to having to take snippets to post on IG stories. We were blown away by the new Moana segment this year and I think she might just be my favourite Disney princess because of her spunk, her unique and not the kind of classic princess-y look and her never-give-up attitude.

It's the first time Asher sat through the whole show and managed to spot Mickey Mouse and say his name too. Awww, wasn't he just a baby when we watched it last year? But, this boy still insists on sitting on my lap and I just let him too because for how long more can we do this? Read my previous post "While I still can".



The Books Box Sale is one that we don't miss out on too because there are just too many good books not to be missed. We returned home with 44 new children's books even though our library was already full. When there's a will, there's a way, right? In the end, I managed to store my old books, mainly both English and Chinese novels which I don't really read now but don't bear to throw away, in a cupboard so as to make more space for their books. Yup, these kids love to read nowadays, even the youngest one, so I definitely want to let them keep up with this habit and maintain their love for books and knowledge.


We are still on the tuition-free route and the only enrichment class that we've stuck to for years, other than our sponsored Heguru lessons, is their art class at Heart Studio. I still believe that two enrichment classes per week is the maximum I want to let my kids take up because we ought to leave more time for free play and family bonding, so we will try to keep it at that for now. That said, there are usually no art classes during the school holidays because of their holiday program so we get a couple of weeks off (or one month off during June and December) and it's good knowing that we don't have to rush off to anywhere but can be spontaneous to travel to any place we want to and spend as much time as we would like to.


The kids and I had a movie date where we watched Wonder Park, which talks about how a girl's imagination came true when the theme park she designed came to life. I enjoyed this animated film a lot, just like how I enjoy our movie dates nowadays because all three of the kids are accustomed to the whole experience already and seem to enjoy watching shows as much as I do. We also have our movie nights at home where we choose a movie from Netflix to watch together and this month, we just watched Home Alone! Haha. Yesh, a show I loved from my childhood and it still made all of us laugh so much when we watched it together too. I never thought I would re-watch it with my kids, you know, and it's such a sweet feeling as we munch on snacks and watch a classic show together.






We had our first visit to Paya Lebar Air Base and it happened because our friend shared a lobang with us and we managed to sign up just in time for this RC excursion and got the last few tickets. Each of us paid $2 only, you know? That included a two-way bus ride, snacks and drinks, and the chance to learn all about our air force, get to try out rifles, dress up as firemen, board a real F-15SG fighter jet, watch our sniffer dogs do a live demo, learn CPR and lifesaving techniques and so on. It was a real eye opener for all of us and I must say one of our best weekends outing ever. Gotta keep my eyes peeled for more of such opportunities in future!





Weekends are still my favourite days because we get to think of where to visit, what to play and how to relax. It's usually outdoors for us because we love to be out under the sun or in the wild. We visited Trapizza and Nestopia in Sentosa and the kids had a fun-filled morning eating pizzas and pancakes followed by climbing over ropes and going down tunnel slides. I must say it was a super hot day and all of us were perspiring profusely, yet we were the last family to leave because I just wanted to make full use of our precious Saturday morning. Oh, and we took the cable car after that too because the kids love the ride so much, and that was our third time in March already (thanks to our Faber License!)


Unlike the sisters who had only a week of school holidays, the boy got to enjoy two weeks off because his school was closed. That meant that the two of us had the chance to go for breakfast every morning and just enjoy our time together. I love seeing how he is hitting milestone after milestone, for instance he can now ride his tricycle on his own already. I still remember his feet couldn't even touch the ground when I first bought this for him. Awww, they get big and tall and strong so fast!




KidZania remains as one of our favourite places to visit because the kids always have so much fun there - even if the crowd is huge and the queues are long. The best thing is the 3yo now gets to join in every station with his sisters too and it's a good chance for him to learn to be less dependent on me and be willing to try out new things. At the KidZ & Heritage event, they were thrilled to ride a trishaw around the city and also became coolies who delivered rice sacks. I hope they learnt a thing or two about our Singapore history from that trip and learn to appreciate what our pioneers have built for us.



Last but not least, we also managed to squeeze in a 3D2N Club Med Bintan trip in March! Yup, this was booked last minute as usual when we could confirm the hubby's leave. Family holidays always make us feel so excited and it doesn't matter if we are going to a kampung or a luxurious hotel, I think we are all very happy as long as we are together. It's the company that matters, right?




For those three days, we partied, we played, we laughed, we got up close with nature and we bonded over simple activities like going to the beach or playing ball games as a family. Those moments were special to me and I hope it meant something to the kids too. I think all they want is our presence at times, and I'm glad we gave it in full to them for those three days. We also went for a foam party on our last night where we danced to the music, got ourselves all soapy and happy, and didn't take any single photo to remember it because we chose to use our hearts, not our phones.




The girls also took a leap of faith by going on the trapeze and attempting to do a knee hang, as well as performing a dance on stage in front of everyone at the Mini Club show. I could sense their nerves and also their excitement, and was most thankful that they plucked up enough courage to do both and gained some invaluable experience and precious memories too.




The last afternoon of our holiday was a fun-filled one spent in Safari Lagoi, which was an excursion we booked at the last minute. Yup, this family is very spontaneous hor. Anyway, it was a blast for all of us because we thought we would only see a few animals but it turned out that we got up close with chimpanzees, rabbits, deer, pythons, crocodiles, sun bears, cockatoos, guinea pig, komodo dragon, chickens, ducks, swans, giant turtles and check this out - seven elephants too! The kids got to carry rabbits and stroke them, feed grass to the deer, picked jambu from the trees to feed the cockatoos, shake hands with the chimpanzees and more. It was more than what we bargained for and we even took a boat ride along the mangrove swamp to end the holiday with a perfect dinner at a kelong restaurant before taking the ferry back. It was a holiday that filled our hearts with joy and gratitude, rejuvenated our souls and left us with so many precious family moments.

March was definitely a fulfilling month for us and even though we won't be travelling again soon, I still can't wait for the next school holidays to come because that is when I will get to enjoy my babies 24/7. Till more updates in April!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...