The Paradox of Being a SAHM

I am thankful to be able to stay home with the kids. I know there are many who would love to stay at home, being with their children, spending more time with them and watching them grow up.

Being a stay home mother can be exhausting. A great friend of mine just told me yesterday, that my daily routine can be summed up in one word: INSANITY. To that, I laughed and yes, I do agree with her.

On a good day, I would be full of energy, tackling lots of stuff with the kids.

On a bad day, I had thoughts of running away and escape to a deserted island somewhere and not coming back!

But, ask me if I regret staying at home and if I would do it all over again if I were to relive my life, my answer would be, NO and YES!

No, I do not regret making the decision to stay at home 4.5 years ago.
Yes, if I were to relive my life, I would still choose to stay home with the kids!

Yet, as the demands of my routine creep up on me, I find myself drifting further and further away from the very purpose of me staying home in the first place.

These days I am getting so busy that although I’m at home physically, I am not present with my children. Most of the time, I would be in front of the computer, busy typing away, doing my work. If not, I would be in the kitchen, busy with cooking or washing.

I woke up this morning with a thought, “Why am I staying at home?”

Isn’t it to be with the kids during their formative years?
And I felt a tinge of sadness.

I felt bad pushing them away when they asked me to play. I had been saying no to Elly when she wanted me to read book after book before her bedtime. I had been telling Jay to go find things to play by himself, when he wanted me to play with him. I had been asking Zac to go find something useful to do instead of coming to interrupt me while I was trying to work.

This morning, I saw remnants of the kids’ toys left at different parts of the house.

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Farm animals left by Elly
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Elly was playing near me while I was busy at the computer.
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The boys played Monopoly yesterday afternoon, while I was busy at my computer. Again.

They had been really wonderful, leaving me alone to rush out my work. Knowing that mommy was busy, they have learnt to find things to play by themselves. I am thankful to have such sensible kids.

But, I want to remind myself, that life is short.
My time as a SAHM is short.
Childhood is short.

I must remember the purpose of me staying at home. Of course, “me-time” is important. But after taking care of the “me-time”, I want to be PRESENT with my kids when they are still little.

There will come a day when they will no longer ask me to read to them or spend time with them.

Simple Craft: DIY Musical Shaker

It has been ages since I last did craft with my kids. Elly has been asking me to do things with her and I have to admit, I have been REALLY BUSY! So busy that I had no time to do anything with her.

Last week, she came home from school with an assignment. They had to make a musical shaker for their year-end school concert. It was also a parent-child-craft homework, to encourage parents to spend time crafting and bonding with their kids.

So, that finally gave me a chance to slow down, and spend some time making this musical shaker with my girl.

Materials needed:

1. paper/plastic cups (x2)
2. fillers for the shakers (eg. beans, small rocks, rice)
3. masking tapes
4. double-sided tapes
5 coloured paper, stickers, ribbons (for decorations)

These are the steps we took to make our DIY Musical Shaker:

1. I got Elly to scoop some soy beans and small rocks into one plastic cup.

2. When she has done that, I helped her to tape the 2 cups together with masking tapes.

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3. Next, I cut some coloured paper into strips, pasted double-sided tapes at the back and she pasted the paper strips on the 2 cups.

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4. Finally, I got her to decorate with stickers and I helped her tie a nice ribbon around the shaker.

That’s it!
Our DIY Musical Shaker.

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She had fun making it and making music with it. :)

Looming for a Cause: Rainbow Looms for Club Rainbow

Ever since I bought a box of Rainbow Looms for Jay a few months ago, he has been hit by the rainbow loom craze. For weeks, the first thing he would do when he woke up was to make rainbow looms. And the last thing he would do before he slept was… you guessed it, make rainbow looms!

I was not expecting my boys to enjoy making rainbow looms. After all, isn’t this more of a girl’s craze? :)

But… Jay enjoyed it so much that he would ask us to buy him refill packs, so that he could make more looms.

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So, when I heard from Susan (who blogs at A Juggling Mom) that a group of mothers are selling their handmade looms bracelets and charms to raise funds for Club Rainbow, I knew I had to get my two boys involved.
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The Final Quarter

October is here.

Which means we’re into the final quarter of the year. Where did all the time go? I vividly remember the kids just started their first day of school! Hadn’t we just celebrated Christmas not long ago?

There are usually two times in a year when I get into a deep reflective mode – the beginning of the year, and the last quarter of the year. Not that I don’t reflect at any other time! It’s just that these two seasons make me reflect and think more about my life, my goals, what I want to achieve and what I have achieved.

So, today marks the beginning of the final quarter of the year. And for this year, it also means that my days as a Stay-at-Home-Mom (SAHM) is nearing an end. I have to return to teach when school starts in January next year.

There is a lot of thinking and planning to be done. What will happen to the kids? Who is going to look after them? Do we have to send them to child-care or student-care centres? Do we have to get a domestic helper?

A lot of adjustments will have to be made.

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Penang With Kids

We spent 5 days in Penang with our 3 kids and my parents during the June holiday last year. Being our first time visiting Penang, we didn’t really know what to expect and whether our kids would like it there. Turned out that we had a blast during those 5 days!

I would say that Penang is generally kids-friendly. The place is safe, food is aplenty, and the few taxi-drivers whom we met during our trip seemed to like kids too. There are kiddy rides at the malls, toys sold at night markets, and fun stuff for kids to do!

These are some of the highlights of our Penang trip with our 3 kids, who were 2, 5 and 7 years old when we visited last year.

THE ADVENTURE ZONE

I’ve heard so much about this place that we’ve got to bring our kids there. True enough, our boys love it! Even our 2 year-old Elly had a great time going down those long, wavy slides. My hubby and I tried the slides too, and believe me, it’s truly not for the faint-hearted.

The red, 7 metres, vertical drop slide is the scariest one I’ve ever seen. Our 2 boys courageously tried it… but only once. Their verdict? “Wah… very scary…” and didn’t dare try it again.

They prefer the blue slide, with the additional fun of plunging into a ball pool at the end.

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The ones which all of us enjoyed the most are these colourful, wavy slides. We went on it countless times. My parents relaxed at the cafe outside the small area, sipping their coffee and watching us play.

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Away with the Mommy Guilt!

Mommy guilt. We all have it, don’t we?

When we thought we should have done better as a mom.

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When we serve instant or hawker food to our kids out of desperation and lack of time to prepare more nutritious meals.
When we allow our kids to stare at the screen (be it TV, iPad, iPhone, computer) just so that we can have an hour of uninterrupted peace to complete our work.

When we see the creative activities that other moms are doing with their kids and we are not.
When we hear about the places that other moms are bringing their kids to but ours are stuck at home, bored.

When our kids drive us up the walls and we snap at them.
When we’re so exhausted and stretched beyond our limits that we get impatient with our kids.

Mommy guilt.
We all have it.

But when we strip away all the external reasons for our guilt, what exactly is the source of it?
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Do Exam Results Matter?

As we enter Term 4 of the school calendar, many are feeling the heat of examinations.

I have always been a tad skeptical about schools’ seemingly obsession of assessing students. What is the big deal of all these assessments?

Exam results are but just a one time mark, graded in a one time situation. They do not determine a person’s worth.

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Very often, the student has only one chance to get it right. It doesn’t matter if you were too tired, too distracted, or simply made a careless mistake.

You are given a mark for what you wrote once, in an instant.

There is no second chance.

And for major exams, such as the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations) in Singapore, that one chance determines where you will spend the next 4 or 5 years of your Secondary School life.

No wonder both students and parents are stressed when examinations are near!

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If we look at examinations objectively, how many of us today are a failure in life because we have failed some exams during our school days?

And how many of us can say that we are truly successful today simply because we have excelled in our exams?

Perhaps some of us are.

But I am pretty sure that there are many out there whose outcome in life has not been determined by the results they received years ago in an examination.

I have seen school dropouts turning into successful entrepreneurs and those with doctorates living miserable lives.

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HeArtfelt Clayworks of Gratitude 1

Ing:

This is an amazing work of clay art created by Growing HeARTS as gifts for the teachers on Teacher’s Day. It sure takes alot of HeART work and hard work!

Originally posted on Growing HeARTS:

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I was very impressed by Sun Hats & Wellie Boots’ Clay Play. And we did our version for Teacher’s Day. I didn’t share earlier due to the long process it took and I wanted the gifts as a surprise to the recipients. : )

Materials needed for Clay Station Set Up:

  1. Clay (I used Jovi Brand from Art Friend)
  2. Cookie Cutters
  3. Sequins, beads and old/unwanted jewellery (thanks to my mum) to be recycled.
  4. Rolling Pins
  5. Clay Tools
  6. I had 2 large ceramic tiles from my previous owner who left it in our store which was perfect for Clay Play!

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The below are examples of how they used a cookie cutter to cut the shape and applied PVC White Glue before embedding the beads and Sequins into the Clay for a firm grip when it dries.

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This process below shows the steps to take to roll an even piece…

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Thankful:: Counting My Blessings

Sometimes, in the busyness of our lives, we can forget to count our blessings.

The past two days have been tiring as the kids are at home for a week of school holiday. I used to love school holidays. Well, I still do. There is no need to rush to get the trio ready for school at three different timings of the day. That alone is a huge relief and break for me!
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Simple Activities for Preschoolers

Keeping a preschooler occupied can be a challenge, with their short attention span and need for guidance.

It can also be pretty tiring to keep thinking of activities to engage the preschoolers at home. I know, because I have gone through raising two preschoolers and is in the midst of raising the third one now. Boy, do I feel my energy waning at times!

So, I thought I’d share what I do to keep my little preschooler, Elly, occupied.
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