Happiness is... remembering I'm still me

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 03, 2017
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I hate to admit it but I've been losing my grip more often recently. I flare up easily, I raise my voice, I lose my cool, I make mountains out of molehills, I break my own promises and I forget to remind myself about what truly matters and what can be let go of.

Sounds terrible, doesn't it? Yup, life isn't all cherries and cupcakes, no matter how hard I try to see the good of everything. I can blame this recent outburst on many factors. I can blame it on having a lack of sleep, I can blame it on a lack of focus, I can blame it on having to take care of three kids 24/7, I can blame it on my stubbornness for not wanting to get a helper, I can blame it on the hubby for coming home so late, I can blame it on the menses which just returned, I can blame it on the white hair which keeps increasing by the day, I can blame it on the start of a mid life crisis. You get it, the list goes on.

Have you ever felt that before too? To wonder why you do what you do day in day out, to wonder about your life's purpose, to wonder if there's anything you can or should do to make it better, to wonder if you are indeed making the most of our very short lifespans. I have forgotten, yes I've really forgotten, what it means to be me and that is never good for myself or the people I love. Yes, I'm a full-time mum and homemaker. Yes, I love being a stay home mum. Yes, I love my three kids to the moon and back. Yes, motherhood is still the best thing that happened to me ever. But yes, I'm still a girl, a woman, a human being who has her loves and hates, desires and cravings, hobbies and interests, abilities and weaknesses.

Nobody said being a mum was easy, right? In the month of April, a month that that marks some very important milestones for me on a personal level, it was a time when I sat down to reflect, to carve out some time for myself, to allow myself to remember what it feels like to idle, to catch up with old friends, to go on a long overdue couple date, to indulge in some me-time without feeling the guilt. In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about remembering that I'm still me.

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I am a very sentimental, and emotional, person. Once in a while, I like to reminisce through old photos, watch videos of my kids when they were babies, flip through our albums and allow myself to immerse in all those memorable moments once more. So, I was packing up some of my stuff in my mum's house (yes, I've still got quite a bit of belongings there which has taken me years to clear) when I came across some pictures that evoked the feeling of nostalgia.


Primary school days. Secondary school days. JC days. Uni days. Courtship days. Sports hall days. Badminton tournaments. Orientation camps. Clubbing days. Fun moments. Crazy moments. Wild moments. Let your hair down days. Don't have a care in the world days. And yes, I'm going to say the clique, those were the days.

I wouldn't wanna change any of my journey if given the chance, because those experiences are what made me into who I am today. Someone who is strong-willed and scarily determined (this was what got me through three childbirths without epi), someone who knows the importance of having a closely-knitted family, someone who treasures friendship and true love, someone who believes that life is beautiful and every moment worth living, someone who tries not to count the days, but make the days count.


We had an impromptu birthday celebration with the parents and in-laws to celebrate me turning 34 this month. It wasn't a fanciful or elaborate one, and considering how I had to feed the tiny mouths and make sure I feed myself in the midst, it was a night just like any other. Except I felt so much warmth when my parents brought me a rich, sweet chocolate cake. I felt the love in the steamboat dinner and the handwritten messages on the board. I felt thankful for simple celebrations filled with love because fanciful ones are a thing of the past.


I used to be stressed whenever I could not churn out any Creativity 521 post but this year, I've learnt to take it easy on myself. Yes, you can tell, for the first time, I have started to skip some posts simply because I still need time to find the inspiration, pack my stash of craft supplies and set up an art and craft corner (hopefully soon) in the new home. Yup, my apologies to the small handful of you who do keep track of my humble creative posts but rest assured they will make a return soon. I just need to remind myself that I don't owe it to anyone, that I do this for myself and the kids, that stress is utterly unnecessary and that I need to rekindle this passion that I used to feel so strongly about.


On the day of my birthday, I wanted to spend it with no one else but the kids and the hubby. I gave myself an off day in the kitchen, took the kids to eat KFC (my favourite fast food), brought them to the playground and had a tea break with muah chee, tutu kueh and a yummy, refreshing lychee-flavoured Thai fried ice cream! Yes, I was with three kids in the food court (read my 15 tips on how to dine out with young kids). Yes, I still had to nag and even scream at them. Yes, it was just like any other day. Except there was this extra feeling of bliss, of content and of happiness. Because I wanted this day to feel extra normal yet extra special, know what I mean?





Thanks to the sweet thoughts of two dear friends (May from A Million Little Echoes and Nat from So.Natty) who sent over an oreo pudding, the girls got to help me sprinkle icing over it while we waited for the hubby who got delayed by work for, erm, hours. Haha. The kids also gave me the painted cards that they did themselves and you have no idea how much I appreciate these little but heartfelt gestures. It ended up that we had our dinner past 9pm and we decided to end off this day at the East Coast Food Centre with a zi char meal followed by playtime for the kids at Marine Cove. You know what I did to further indulge myself? Well, I had a latte for the first time in many years! Nope, I'm not a coffee person, but I just wanted to make this night a little different.



Thanks to the doting hubby who gave me a couple of hours off on one Saturday, he took the kids for lunch in the vicinity (just in case the baby acts up) while I had a yummy treat with my two besties. We've known each other for, let's see, over two decades already? Even though it takes months for us to even arrange for a meet up, I'm just thankful and glad to have them in my life, people that I know I can trust and depend on anytime if I need. It was actually the first time I met them for a meal without kids in a long long while, and it felt so rejuvenating that we could talk about anything under the sun without having to run after a toddler, feed a kid or bring another to the loo. Yes, if I may say so, I enjoyed that catch up lots and just like how the hubby gets to go for his nights out with friends, I kind of think I earned this once a in blue moon mums-without-kids session too.



Talking about once in a blue moon, the hubby and I finally did it - we went on a couple date! Gosh, did it really take us so many years to feel at ease to leave our kids with parents so that we can go catch a movie? Yes, it did. You can say that this movie date was eight years in the making and so to make it extraordinary since it was my birthday gift after all, we decided to go for Gold Class. The movie wasn't phenomenal but the experience and company were out of this world, so thank you dear, and even though we rushed back to our kids the moment the show ended, it was good while it lasted. For all we know, this might just be the start of many more couple dates to come!



While we are on the topic of romance of love, April also happened to mark our 9th wedding anniversary. Yup, nine long years just flew past like that. We didn't do anything special except had dinner with the kids but when the hubby took the toddler out of the restaurant when he got restless, they returned with this pretty glass jar with a beautiful stalk of rose and cute fluffy bunnies just for me. Awww, so much love, right? And the good news is that flower is chemically treated and will last me 1-3 years without me needed to even water it. Perfect, just perfect.



Moving onto the kids (yes, my life still revolves about them), I brought the girls to catch Beauty and the Beast one Friday night while the hubby got to do some father-and-son bonding. Well, the littlest one doesn't seem too keen on movies for now and from the way he fidgets and moves around, it's going to take a while before we can hit the cinemas as a family like we used to. Still, I knew how much the girls love Belle and it would be a pity if they didn't get to watch this show, so we made that Friday night happen and you bet the girls were ecstatic with this 'surprise' that I told them about just before the show began. Hopefully we can have more girly nights next time!




As for the boy, he's been getting really active and is lots of fun to play with. He never fails to make me laugh at his silly antics and I really wonder why I had doubts on whether I could love my third as much as the first two. He means the world to me and being there with him through his every milestone has just been such an amazing journey. Yes, he might be my koala, my super glue, my clingy, needy baby, but I wouldn't trade any of that for the world.

I've also been getting more active in the PSG (Parent Support Group) activities in the big girl's school and even showed up for their weekly dance workouts. I made new friends and enjoyed their company, what was awesome was that these nice ladies let me bring the toddler along so that I can join in more regularly and what was even more awesome was how he was a charmer at our gatherings and stole the hearts of everyone he saw.


While we don't go to the cinemas so often now, that doesn't mean we can't have our own movie nights! I was so thrilled that we got to picnick and watch Kung Fu Panda 3 in Angel's school at a Movie under the Stars event organised by the RC. That was really a night to remember and I'm sure we will be talking about it for a long time. In addition, we've also been having our own movie nights in the comfort of our living room now that we have a cosy sofa and a nice big OLED TV. It's something that the girls and I look forward to and I hope we can keep it up for a long, long time.




It's also been very heartening to see how close the siblings have become and it's especially evident by how they behave on the streets. The baby, who usually sits in the stroller, will want to hold his sisters, one in each hand, and they will do this for a long time until they inevitably have to break up for instance when I enter the MRT gantry, when the path gets too narrow, when we go into the lift and so on. And when that happens, the baby will raise his voice, reach out his hand and ask the sister to come back and hold him before letting out that big, contented smile. Awww, I'm just so glad they have one another. It's moments like this that makes me cherish motherhood so much and remind myself that the downs are only a means to get to the ups, and when I do get up there, I jolly well make sure I enjoy every single moment of the ride.


And speaking of rides (see how I am trying to link up my random snippets of life?), we went on the cable car rides as a family for the first time. In fact, we did it not once but twice because we figured out it will be more worthwhile to get the annual pass. The kids were overjoyed, they pretended it was a roller coaster ride, and we even turned it into our very own karaoke booth and sang our hearts out during the journey. Never a better time to be as a loud as we can (trust me, it was really loud)!


It's been a while since we went to the beach and I was glad we made that happen this month. I don't know why but the sea does have its magical powers to calm and soothe me, not to mention it helps to chase away those blues. I remember how I used to love coming to the beach and wait for the sunrise when I was having a bad day, and while I can't exactly do it now because that would mean I abandon the kids at the most dire moment, it was a good experience for me to be there with them, to breathe in the tranquility, to slow down our pace of life and stop rushing to and fro, to stay still in our paths and just enjoy what life has to offer.



Back at home, it really hasn't been easy dealing with the kids and trying to instill discipline in the way I wanted to, but we will get better and we will get there. The girls are still my best helpers at home and in the kitchen (not counting the baby, I practically don't have anyone else, right?) so I've been trying to involve them more in the cooking. I just hope that they don't do this just for fleeting enthusiasm and then whine or grumble when it gets tiring. Fingers crossed! Oh, no I don't cook every single day because it's quite impossible since I have to pick the kids to and fro, and yes as you can see, our meals are kept simple because I admit, it makes life easier for me.

I might not be a good chef but guess what, the hubby definitely is. Of the two of us, he is the more creative one in the kitchen and what impresses me is that he doesn't even need to follow recipes - he cooks by heart and surprisingly, it usually turns out better than okay. Take for example this crab bee hoon he made, it wasn't comparable to Melben but it sure was a fine, excellent dish. Of course, me not needing to lift a finger in the kitchen made everything so much sweeter and succulent. Thanks dear, I deeply appreciate how much help and badly needed rest you gave me this month!

So yes, I'm finally not guilty to say that I'm a mum but I'm still me. It sounds a little absurd but I've been missing out on me for a long while now and I'm slowly but surely getting her back. The girls who loves rainbows, the girl who loves cheesecake, and even if she is now the mum who ends up giving the cake away to the kids, at least she is still sure of what she likes, what she wishes to do, what makes her happy.

I'm not a super mum, I'm just a girl with needs and a mum with flaws. And for the record, life is still beautiful and full of hope. Hope you had a great month of April too!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your inspiring blog, Summer.
    As I embark on my journey as a SAHM now; which could be temporary or permanent, it all depends on the choices available and priorities in life. Take care and may God bless you and your family! Hope to catch up with you one of these days ❤
    from, Vasmeet

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy birthday! Looks like a very eventful month for you =)

    ReplyDelete

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