Happiness is... making time to connect

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 02, 2018

There are some days in motherhood that I feel like I've done a million things, yet when I go to bed at night, I feel like I've done nothing at all. You know what I mean? I might have done a whole load of chores, run many errands and did all the things that I need to do, but have I done anything that I want to do?

It's not easy having to juggle the needs of three kids in different phases of their lives on top of having to take care of a home. The littlest is in a very needy, clingy phase and he still demands for my milk every few hours. The middle one is in Kindergarten 2 this year and is trying hard to cope with the new syllabus and weekly spellings. The big girl is in Primary 3 and I must say her workload is much increased as compared to previously, and it seems like there is a good deal of homework to complete every day. Will we be bogged down by homework, tests, exams and lots of studying from now on? I seriously don't think life is easy for a primary schooler but at least the good thing is she loves going to school. Phew.

Nonetheless, I've realised that while I've taken care of their needs, making sure they have food to eat, their homework is done, their uniforms are ironed, they get to go for their enrichment classes, they go to school on time, they get to watch movies, they have toys to play with and so on, it seemed to me that I was just getting by the days without making them really count at times. It didn't help that solo parenting made me so tired on some days that all I wanted to do was get past each day, survive with the kids, get the chores done and make it through to another sunrise. No matter how some of you might think I am a super mum, the truth is I am not as super as I hope I can be and I do get tired, I do flare up, I do lose my cool and I do things that I'm not proud of too.

In February's "Happiness is...", it's about reminding myself that no matter how busy life gets, I need to make time to connect. I need to connect with family and friends, I need to let the kids connect with nature, play and outdoor fun, I need to connect with the hubby and I need to let the kids connect with me as a mum too. That is what I want to do.

I LOVE visiting Chinatown, especially during the Chinese New Year period. Yup, crazy right, considering how I always have three kids in tow and the crowd is horrendous. For the past two years, I've brought the kids here myself because I just really want them to feel the festive mood and get in touch with our culture and heritage. Yes, we need to stay connected to our roots too!

This year, I was so relieved and delighted that the hubby had the chance to come with us. We came on a weekend afternoon and surprisingly, it wasn't as packed as I imagined and we had such a good time shopping for CNY goodies, sampling treats (I lost count of how many jellies they ate), listening to CNY songs, admiring the lanterns and decorations and taking a photo with this super cute doggie family of five.

No matter how busy our schedule gets, we never missed a lesson of their art classes because the girls enjoy them tremendously. Yup, it's been a good five years since I've started coming to heART Studio weekly and even though I always have to entertain the toddler for over an hour while waiting for his sisters to finish their lessons, I am glad that the kids are still connected to this passion of theirs and we are constantly exposing them to the arts, to something outside of worksheets, textbooks and quizzes. I love this shophouse painting done by Angel, which was partly inspired from our recent outing to Chinatown.

Attending birthday parties is one of the ways I get to stay connected with my long time friends. It's amazing how we don't get to see each other often yet that feeling of having known each other for nearly half a lifetime doesn't ever change. Some of my jie meis are giving birth this year so I'm looking forward to more baby showers where I can get to meet up with friends and hold cute, chubby babies too! Here we were at the airport after attending our friend's daughter's first year party. We spent the early afternoon connecting with friends, singing birthday songs, chatting on what's new in our lives; and then the late afternoon connecting with the kids by playing in the arcade together, dining at a new restaurant and running around whenever there was space. The kids were screaming in joy when Daddy let them sit/stand on the airport stroller and whizzed them around so fast, complete with sudden stops before they crashed into walls, that it felt like they were in a roller coaster ride!

I made sure to bring the kids to more playgrounds this month because I realised I hasn't been doing it as much as before. Yup, seriously, there shouldn't be any excuses like the sun is too hot, it's going to rain, I am too tired, you are nursing a cough, it's too far, we have better things to do etc. You just gotta do it. We checked out this fun playground at Changi Beach and I also brought the kids around our neighbourhood in search of more playgrounds we've never been before. They had a blast each time!

My kids love being at the beach and it's something that helps them to stay connected with nature. They love picking seashells, finding unique shaped leaves, looking for bugs, playing with sand, splashing around in the seawater and just having a good time enjoying the simple joy that life has to offer. While we still need to always keep an eye out for the kids, I think they are now better aware of the dangers (especially the toddler), which in turn gives the hubby and I a little more time and freedom to enjoy our time together. It's so important to stay connected as hubby and wifey, to invest in our marriage, to keep the flame burning as a couple because that is what brought us here as a family in the first place.

I think I nag a lot at home and the one who suffers most from it is the eldest. I'm always asking her to finish her work, to look after her siblings, to help out in the house and so on. Sometimes, I tell myself to hold my tongue and just let her indulge, connect and have some fun with her siblings - even when her homework is not yet done.

This was a sight I witnessed when I was cooking dinner halfway and went into the playroom to check on the kids. They were all sitting on the bed, the boy was busy doing his own thing while the eldest was holding an ukulele and strumming away (she can't play but we can all strum at least, right?) as she made up a story and the younger sister would use their stuffed toys and puppets to act it out. Very creative, very heartwarming.

Other than the CNY period, the hubby was away often and so I had lots of time to spend with the kids on my own. While I tried to cook simple meals and made sure we still ate homecooked food, I also told myself that it was okay to dine out or just have takeaways too - if it meant that I was less tired, didn't need to spend so much time cooking and washing, and instead have more time for the kids.

I love chatting with them about how their day went, about the latest movie we watched, about current affairs, about their experiences in school and all the cute stories they have to share about their classmates, friends and teachers. Mealtimes are one of the best ways for us to connect as mum and kids, and I feel so strongly about this topic that I've been wanting to write a post on it. Wait for it to come soon!

Knowing how much my kids love love love butterflies, we also found time to make it to the first indoor butterfly aviary which was held in Harbourfront Center last month. The girls were over the moon to come up close with so many butterflies and insects and I'm still very much amazed by how they are not scared of these bugs but instead love to hold them, pat them and talk to them.

I also realised that even though my kids love water play, there can be weeks when we get so busy and I absolutely forget to include some time for them to go swimming, play at a water playground or just splash around and get themselves all wet. In the month of February, I made sure I included more time for water play and there were even days when their swimsuits were still wet but we went for another round of play all the same. We also went all the way to Sentosa just to let them play at Port of Lost Wonder, which is now free for all, and the kids had a splashing good time with Papa. Woohoo!

Last but not least, the main highlight of February has to be.... CHINESE NEW YEAR, of course! It's my favourite festive season (Christmas comes a close second) and I love how we get to visit and gather with family and friends, have reunion lunches and dinners, play card games, feast on yummy food and goodies, and most importantly, stay connected with the people who matter in our lives.

We were busy right from the eve of CNY where we had reunions and the kids stayed up till 2am to 守岁 (as they watched TV, haha) all the way till 元宵 and we still have more gatherings to come this weekend. I was so glad that I managed to host my secondary school friends because these are the people who I've known for over two decades of my life and shared so many ups and downs with. I hope you all enjoyed your time at A Happy Home and that the BBQ was as enjoyable as we hoped it would be, despite all the hiccups like a faulty pit.

It was also awesome that we got to visit my grandma thrice in a row and spend some precious time with her because now that she has dementia and can't remember clearly who we are, my heart aches for her and I just want her to be as happy as possible. Seeing her great grandchildren and having us around her definitely helps to cheer up her day!

I love watching lion dance performances as a kid so I make sure my kids get to watch it every year too. You know how different it is to watch a live one as compared to one shown on the TV, right? So this year, I was searching for all the places where we could catch a show and was elated that we caught the first show at Waterway Point. It was mad awesome and even involved drums with changing LED lights, a dragon dance, mascots and a breathtaking lion leaping over the poles performance. Woohoo! I remember it was during their Heguru classes and I was the only parent who pulled the kids out halfway just so that they could watch the show - so much so that the teachers had to ask me to do it discreetly so I wouldn't disrupt the class. Oops. It was very much worthwhile though! And I was so glad I went to chope a nice spot so we could watch the entire show in full view. Awesome!

CNY is also a valuable time for us to get together as a family of five and I was very thankful that we had the hubby with us for a good five-day period before he got busy at work again. Yes, being a navy hubby who is away often means that he needs to find time to connect with his kids too and I'm glad he is a very hands-on hubby whenever he is around. The kids love him lots because he injects much fun and laughter into their lives too. Right, why is it that Daddy is usually the playmate while Mummy remains the caretaker? Haha.

Even amidst all the CNY celebrations, we made sure that the kids had time to relax, to unwind and to play to their hearts' content too. It was definitely a much needed break for all of us and to be able to come together like this and reconnect with one another, I think it did us so much good and gave us the strength to carry on when the hustle and bustle resumed.

It was the first day of my menses and I was having bad cramps and even stained my pants when the hubby suggested that we should take the kids to Sentosa. Haha, yesh he did. Not wanting to whine or be a spoilsport, I went to Uniqlo to get a pair of shorts, changed into it at once and off we went to take the cable car because my boy simply loves it so much. The kids did ask why I looked so pale when we boarded but thankfully it got better and better as the day progressed. Yes, it was the last day of the CNY holidays and I really wanted to make it count. Cramps or no cramps, let's carpe diem!

The one thing that keeps me going when the going gets tough is these little surprises and assurance from my kids which motivate me and give me the determination I never knew I had. Writing cards and sweet notes to one another is one of the ways the girls and I stay connected and I hope they know how much all these sweet little acts of theirs mean to me.

No matter what the world says or thinks of me, what matters most is how you see me, my dears. Thanks for being the angels in my life and I am so rich, so blessed and so grateful for all the love you give to me. I hope you know how deeply and how crazily I am in love with each of you too.

To more happiness in March!

1 comment:

  1. Mmm yes I think I've been neglecting bringing Lil Pumpkin to the playground. Shall try to bring her more too.. Happy CNY to your lovely family! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka


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