Happiness is... not being too hard on yourself

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 26, 2024
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If there's one thing that I would want my kids to learn, it's how to embrace failure in life. 

While we all love to taste the sweetness of success, it's important to remember that it usually goes hand-in-hand with failure and comes as a result of sheer hard work and determination. When we fail to achieve something, it is how we get the opportunity to learn, to figure out what went wrong, to develop a growth mindset, and to make ourselves stronger and more resilient as we set out to try again.

Instead of being putting ourselves down when the results don't meet our expectations, we should find our positive inner voice, stop the self-criticism and move on from the past. It doesn't mean that we don't work hard or we do things half-heartedly in life; it just means that we give ourselves credit, celebrate the small wins and remind ourselves that we are enough. In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about not being too hard on ourselves.

One of the highlights of July for us was the National Taekwondo Poomsae Championships which was held at Toa Payoh Sports Hall. Similar to last year, the three older kids joined in the siblings category and they were to perform a synchronised poomsae (a sequence of movement) together.

For weeks leading up to the competition, they trained hard together, got into bickers, got nagged at by their coaches and were pushed to their limits. It wasn't easy for them to execute the moves in sync and they also had to make sure they put in adequate strength and power into every punch and every kick. I was there to witness their trainings and help guide them along too, and I saw the effort, sweat and tears behind the scene.

On the big day, I could feel their nerves but they gave it their all on stage and I actually thought they did a much better job than expected and their timings were more synchronised than last year. Alas, we didn't manage to get onto the podium as they missed the bronze medal by just a tiny margin. Yup, it was really by just a small fraction of a point. 

Their disappointment was evident and could only watch on with envy as the winners collected their medals. It was easy to blame each other and feel guilty about not putting in more effort, but what I wanted them to know was that they already did their best and it wasn't easy standing in front of an intimidating panel of judges and doing a poomsae in front of hundreds of people.

So I gave them a pat on the back and told them we could learn from the experience and try again next year. The hubby treated us to a nice dinner, assured the kids they did a good job and we made sure they knew we were proud of them. To my dear kids, please remember that failure is a part of success and that it should motivate us to try harder in future. Instead of giving up on ourselves or each other, let's give support, show courage and be confident that we will only get better with experience and time. 

With four kids to keep me busy all day along, one of which is stuck to me 24/7, it's hard to always find time to get groceries to cook. I would love to have home cooked meals for my kids every day but I also realise that cooking (which also includes preparation and cleaning up) is a truly exhausting and time-consuming chore. 

On some days, I just choose to give myself a break from it all and we would make our way to the nearby coffee shops or food court for lunch or dinner. The kids love going on such trips too as they get to scoot, chat with me and get a breath of fresh air. Now that the youngest one is not a baby anymore, I guess it's really okay to eat outside food too, even though it is a tad saltier than what I cook at home.

I don't feel the guilt like I used to in the beginning because I know I can't do it all and yup, I can't be too hard on myself all the time too, right? In any case, I relish the joy of eating with my kids, no matter if it is home or out. Since the hubby comes home very late on weekdays, it means I have Mondays to Fridays to dine with my kids on my own and that is quite a lot of mother-and-kids time we are talking about. I love hearing all their stories in school, telling them about my own childhood secrets and just sharing about anything under the sun.

My sisters and I turned 40 this year and yup, this is the group of friends who have been my pals from Secondary 1 all the way to now. It's amazing that we still meet up whenever we can even though we are all mums now, and I love how our kids can play together too.

So yes, I might be a stay-at-home mum who has very limited me-time and friends-time because without any other caretaker or part-time helper, I have to be there for my kids and for my home. But I still find snippets of free time here and there to do the things I want to do and one of them is meeting up with friends where we can confide in each other, share parenting tips and reminisce the good old days.

We also did a mini family photoshoot with Bloom Photography at their new studio and I am deeply thankful for all the precious moments they have captured for our family over the years since 2020. We have done numerous shoots with them, including Christmas, maternity, cake smash and more, and every of them left behind such treasured memories that I hold dear.

That said, I do realise that we have likely been dropped from their list of influencers and I totally understand why as I have not been as active on social media or the blog as I had been in the past. It gets harder as the kids get older, even though I would never wanna give up writing and sharing about our lives. I feel a little sad when clients stop collaborating with us and it's easy to berate myself on why I am not doing as much as I could or being more pro-active in creating content.

However, I need to be at peace with the decisions I've made regarding how I wish to move on as a blogger, as a mum and as a person. So while I am still appreciative of any new 'job' or sponsor that comes knocking on our door, it's not my priority now and I need to be cool with that. If you have been a faithful reader all this while, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and please know that even if I tend to write less and at a slower pace these days, I am not going anywhere and I will still be me - a happy mum.

See our messy home? Toys strewn everywhere, a sofa forever filled with laundry, a dining table that also functions as a put-anything-and-everything-on-me table, dusty floors, buckets of dirty clothes, untidy study area, unmade beds and more. It's what I face every day and trust me, even if I get everything back in its place and make the whole home seem neater and cleaner, it lasts for barely a couple of hours before everything gets messed up again. It's a vicious cycle, isn't it? 

But you know what? We've all learned to close one eye and not mind the state of our home. Whenever I asked if we should get a part-time cleaner, the kids refused and said they do not want and that they can try to help out more (the key word is 'try') or that they are totally fine with the mess. 

Amazingly, our untidy living room is still the one place that we play, dance, have fun, watch movies, enjoy family time and make lots of memories. Yes, we still dance and exercise together from time to time even though I have not been posting about it on social media. I love seeing their happy faces and how they can all dance together, sometimes pairing up and sometimes piggybacking each other. The firstborn has less free time as she grows older and she much prefers to dance to Kpop than any other dance, but she still joins in from time to time and it is just a heartwarming sight to see them like that.

So yeah, never mind the mess but care more about the smiles and memories, right?

If you are reading this, please know that you are doing more than enough for your family too and it's okay to take credit for it and give yourself time to rest and relax every once in a while. Nothing can be perfect and there is no such thing as a perfect mum, a perfect kid or a perfect home, but we can see beyond the imperfections in our lives and realise how they all fall into place and let's just say that life is perfectly imperfect.

I love my life as a mum and I hope you are loving yours too. Till the next post on "Happiness is.."!


  1. Just love your stories of family and joy. Your kids are really cute! 😍

  2. Awww, thanks so much for reading about our rather mundane life! Appreciate your kind words!

  3. Hi! Thanks for the encouragement previously through IG when I was worried about #4! He is turning 1 soon ◡̈ and yes, my place is as messy too and it’s a phase of our life ◡̈

    1. You are most welcome! Hope you are doing great now, fellow mum of 4! 1 is a precious age to be. Haha, hi 5 messy homes! :)


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