Happiness is... knowing my best is enough

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 15, 2019
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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?


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