Happiness is... seeing what truly matters

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 15, 2019

It's easy to say that we want to see the big picture in life and learn to enjoy the things that really matter. It's hard to do it when we get caught in the mayhem of everyday life and are always rushing to and fro, always busy with errands and chores, always picking up after somebody, always can't seem to stop nagging, always having to raise our voices because no one seems to listen, and always feeling like we screwed up today but console ourselves that there's always tomorrow to make up for it.

In the month of February, it's about reminding myself that "Happiness is..." about seeing what truly matters and learning to close an eye to what ultimately doesn't.


Delaying the kids' nap time a little, being under the hot sun and getting mosquito bites. Don't matter.

Spending some time in the afternoon to take a walk and do things that the kids like to do. Matter.

I've been telling that to myself for a while now, stop being so frustrated when they sleep a little past their nap time or bedtime. It doesn't kill anyone. Yup, it's not hard to tell I am one of those mums who fail terribly at getting the kids to sleep early. I've no idea how some kids can be in bed by 7pm every day but the fact is we are happy with our routine and as long as it works for your family, just do it because there ain't no right or wrong way.

Getting lost in a run and not being able to complete a race route that you've been looking forward to. Don't matter.

Staying together as a family, cheering each other on and being the last but happiest family to cross the finishing line. Matter. 

So we took part in the Safari Zoo Run 2019 and I shared about our unique experience previously here. It would have been easy to get annoyed and start pushing the blame to each other - in fact, we almost did - but the harder thing is to look beyond all that and remind ourselves that as long as we stayed together, it wouldn't have mattered that we had no sense of direction and were not sure where to go. It wasn't about being the first few to finish the run or making sure we got our medals; it was about letting ourselves enjoy the experience and have a good family day out. And that, we did.

Wearing old clothes during CNY, getting fat on goodies and losing money during mahjong or card games. Don't matter.

Celebrating CNY with loved ones and letting them know how much you treasure them. Matter.

CNY remains as my favourite festive season of all and it was the highlight for us in February where we had numerous gatherings with family and friends. For some of the friends, we only catch up with them once a year so we always look forward to these meetups where we will talk about the good old times and be amazed by how our kids are growing up so fast.

This year, we also made our way to River Hongbao for the first time and I have to say that the fireworks were so spectacular - one of the longest we had ever seen! We also watched Jack Neo and Jackie Chan's new movies, feasted on a lot of new year goodies, lao yu sheng many times and had yummy steamboats too. It was definitely a good new year celebration!

Seeing the kids squabble much too often which drives you up the wall. Don't matter.

Letting them learn to resolve their own conflicts and avoid stepping in to mediate, or worse, dictate. Matter.

I concluded that no matter how much they promise me that they will be 相亲相爱, get along well and not pick a fight, the truth is there will always be something to quarrel about. If not between A and B, it will be between A and C, if not then A and B, or worse, all three together. The last scenario doesn't usually happen but there will always be two parties who find fault with each other and start to complain, scream or fight. It's my destiny to live with it. Haha.

Sometimes, I get weary and short fused and my first reaction would be to ask them to stop and if that doesn't happen, it escalates to yell, command or punish. Yup, mean mum appears and even that has no effect on them sometimes. I remember a friend telling me once he lets his kids resolve their own issues most of the time so I try to remind myself that and take a step back if I can. It might sound irresponsible when I utter the words 自己想办法解决 to them and ask them to solve their own problems, but it does work from time to time, especially for the older ones and they have surprised me at times by how they learnt to give in or take turns with each other.

For instance, we played with this new bubble toy that allows you to catch the bubbles if you put on the glove. Yup, apparently this magic bubble is thicker due to the more saturated soap solution and lasts better than normal bubbles so you can hold it. There were only two gloves in the set and as they say, three is a crowd and we happen to have three kids. So they had to learn to take turns to be the catchers and the blower.

Taking insta-worthy pictures of the kids at every outing you go. Doesn't matter.

Seeing what makes your child special and taking time to appreciate the things he/she does. Matter.

Being a blogger and a mum who is active on social media means I am constantly thinking of what pictures to post on these platforms, what angles to write for my next post and what experiences I can share that will benefit others. It's like this virus that is inside me and I find it hard to shake it off. The hubby has commented on more than one occasion that I should stop taking so many pictures/videos and immerse myself in those moments more. Yup, the wise man speaks. I still find it very tough, especially when I do up all those growing up video compilations and everyone feels thankful that I captured those fleeting moments and we have something to remind us of the precious years.

We were at a chalet getaway and every time we go there, hitting the beach is a must! These kids love to pick seashells, feel the sand under their feet, touch the waves and most of all, hunt for living creatures like crabs, shrimps, mudskippers, sea stars and more. We always release them to the sea but it's the process of finding them that thrills them.

Once, I asked them to let me take some shots of them and subsequently I tried to keep my phone so I could build more sandcastles and be present with them more. Well, I did whip it out to take a couple more shots after but let's just say it was quite controlled already. Then, when I was busy with the little one, I noticed that the big girl had wandered off further and had be alone for some time. When I walked over to her, what she did brought a big smile on my face.

Yup, she's usually the one who loves the sea creatures the most but this time, she took time to do something more meaningful. She gathered all the rubbish she could find and wrote a message on the sand to remind others not to pollute the ocean. It was her own initiative and her own effort, and I absolutely loved seeing this nature-loving, kind-hearted part of her.

Our house is constantly in a mess - there are always toys strewn all over, we always have clothes on the sofa and the floor is never clean. Don't matter.

Seeing how the kids make a mess in order to grow their imagination, seeing how they play pretend and come up with creative stories, seeing them having a good time with each other. Matter.

I've kind of acknowledged the fact that if we choose not to have a helper, we will seldom have a clean house. Yup, I was never the OCD type and I'm very good at turning a blind eye to messes. Thankfully, the hubby doesn't complain about that because we are similar in that sense.

Yes, I do make the kids do chores and learn to clean up after themselves but it doesn't always happen and with the three-year-old around, it's like he's a whirlwind who makes a mess within three seconds of me clearing up any part of the house. So, 算了咯,不重要吧. Messes have become a part of our lives. These kids love to play pretend a lot and they come up with their own characters, own script and own storyline. It's quite cute to see, actually.

Trying out new recipes, making the food presentable or taking nice pictures before every meal. Don't matter.

Making sure the kids get homecooked food cooked with love by Mama, no matter how simple they may be, and that we have a hearty meal together. Matter.

Okay, we do take pictures but not during every meal and we usually do so just to let the hubby know what we cooked tonight and ask him if he's returning home to eat later. Yup, he seldom gets to eat with us on weekdays. If you've seen my IG stories, you will know how simple my homecooked food is and how it's nothing to boast about.

But you know what? These kids love it! Yup, I did try one or two new recipes and they were like "Mama, can you just cook those things that we like?" These would be dishes like soup (any kind of Chinese soup), stir-fried vegetables, fried fish, sesame oil chicken, steamed egg (they super love my steamed egg, haha) and other very basic stuff. So nice of them to be so easily contented, right? Haha.

Mealtimes are for us to bond, talk and share about things that happened in the day and I always make sure that we are free of distraction from electronic devices. Yup, no phones and TV for sure. Seeing their happy faces makes everything so worthwhile!

Seeing that the boy suffered bad cuts on his face when he went scooting with Daddy. Doesn't matter (after I made sure he was feeling okay and that the injuries were not serious).

Letting him have a good time and carrying on with plans that you know would cheer him up, as well as showering him with love and assurance. Matter.

It was so hard to hold my tongue and I did nag at the husband for letting the boy get injured when they were out. I tasked him to bring him to scoot to buy breakfast back but he brought out his adult scooter to scoot together and I was adamant that the accident wouldn't have happened if he didn't do that. But, how are we to know what will happen in the next minute? How can accidents be totally unavoidable?

With the elder two having suffered stitches when they were young, I think we have learnt to be more calm in dealing with such situations. It's not that our hearts don't ache - they do - but we don't panic as much as we did the first time. In any case, this boy suffered deep cuts with one near his eye but he was still laughing and singing so we brought him out for a fun day at Wild Wild Wet where we stayed for over six hours and everyone got sunburnt. Haha.

Not having fanciful dinners, romantic cards, luxurious roses or exquisite jewellery for Valentine's Day. Don't matter.

Knowing that your other half loves and values you, as well as spending this day with the gems of your lives. Matter.

Our Valentine's Day was spent with the kids where we had a nice Japanese dinner together. The hubby gave me a surprise gift he bought on the spur of the moment (because they were on sale lar) - matching Liverpool jerseys. Haha. Very practical. I'm not the type of girly girl who likes to pamper herself or who loves flowers/makeup/jewellery (I will tell him it's a waste of money), so this was actually a very apt gift for me since I like to wear comfy clothes.

Eating out on some days and having fast food, fried food or not-so-healthy food. Don't matter. Don't beat yourself up about it.

Eating out because it preserves your sanity. Matter.

We eat out at least twice a week because of their classes or because I'm just too tired or lazy to cook. I really don't see anything bad about it and in fact, I think it's quite a feat and I have become an expert in dining out in food courts and kopitiams with three young kids.

I do allow them to have fast food on some days which makes them totally excited every time. Come on, I admit it, I love McDonalds' breakfast and I love KFC chicken since I was a kid too. Not depriving them, and myself, means we all end up a little happier at the end of the meal, which also motivates me to get myself to the supermarket so I can cook for the next day.

Having stretch marks, bulging tummy and battle scars from giving birth. Don't matter. In fact, be proud of them because you went through the most amazing miracle on earth.

Keeping fit, staying healthy and being able to keep up with the energetic kids. Matter.

I've been dedicating half an hour or so of me-time to working out nearly every day in the hope of becoming more fit, toned and healthy. It's not about being able to wear a bikini confidently or fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans (that is not impossible because... the hips!) but more of trying to stay fit at this age and be able to maintain a healthy living lifestyle. Yup, so nowadays, I remind myself that it's more important and worthwhile to get myself up and moving instead of sitting on the couch scrolling through feeds. I found a workout that I like after trying out a few, for instance I don't like running, swimming or HIIT workouts as much but Latin dance, I am loving it! So if you haven't found something that keeps you motivated, just keep trying till you do, okay?

This last photo was captured by the boy who loves taking my camera or phone to take pictures nowadays. I am always so scared that he drops them and destroys my livelihood, but then again, these devices can always be replaced but him knowing that I am here to guide him, teach him and let him try - that is priceless.

Remember what truly matters.

1 comment:

Yoohoo, thanks so much for reading my blog and leaving your comment! I am feeling the love! (^.^)