Thursday, December 10, 2015

No Carpe Diem? It's OK.

Reading this reminds me of what I constantly feel as a stay-at-home mum.

There are certainly days when I think I have not done enough for the kids and feel really guilty about it. There are even more days when I feel I am not enjoying my kids enough. Even more guilt there.

I have to constantly remind myself to let go of this guilt which is neither productive nor constructive. I am only human and like everyone else, I have only 24 hours a day.

Despite needing very little sleep to function (I can thrive on 4-5 hrs for consecutive days, including broken sleep), which gives me more hours a day to do what has to be done and dabbles in things that interest me, at the back of my mind, there is this nagging thought that I have to spend more time with the kids.

Sometimes I think if I were a a full-time-working-mum, I would probably give myself a bigger break and expected less of myself since there would be less time to spend on the kids to begin with.

But because I am a stay-at-home-mum, I should, in theory, have more time to spend with the kids. And more importantly, enjoy the kids.

To a certain extent, I do have more time than a working mum who is away for most part of the day, to do the higher value activities, like coaching them with learning activities and playing games, or just cuddling and watching a programme together.

However, there is a catch. With more face time and being physically near the kids for the entire day means I also get to experience first-hand all the ugly, dreadful, mentally and emotional draining aspects of parenting - the constant fights, tantrums, tears, screams, demands and emergencies etc that can be overwhelming and stressful.

The challenge lies in my ability to survive those hours and minutes, without losing sight of my bigger parenting goals, then gather my thoughts and reflect at the end of the day, before counting my blessings.

I guess, at the end of the day, it is always a case of perspectives. I may not enjoy every moment of my parenting journey, but I will not trade this journey for anything else.

Chip is 9

(photo taken in June 2014)

My middle child who has turned 9 recently, has grown and changed quite a fair bit.

Perhaps the only thing about him that has remained consistent through the years is his love for pigs and all things related to pigs.

No, he does not like pork. He just loves pigs. He refuses to eat pork unless we can convince him that they were of mean pigs.

The big brother would sometimes be real mean and deliberately suggest otherwise, which often resulted in bickering and some tears. Though I must admit I find it hard to fathom why with a bright mind like his, he would believe our version either. Perhaps it is a case of selective perception.

My middle child has a different personality from his older sibling. He is more adventurous and has no qualms exploring and giving new experiences a go, especially if he knows we approve.

He is still very inquisitive and often asks fascinating questions, which demonstrates his ability to consider the subject from all angles.

His love for games continues and he is always game to learn a new one. Since the Plants vs Zombie phase, he has been deriving great pleasure from a few other games, notably the Dragon City and Clash of Clans. When he plays, he seems to be in an entirely different world, so while I know he has great fun and seems to have a knack at strategizing (so hopefully there is one useful skill that he is honing) I have to enforce curbs to prevent him from turning into one of those gaming addicts.

He still enjoys drawing and would draw almost daily. He has even asked for drawing lessons, but we have been slow at acceding to his request.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Life is so Fragile

A classmate of the Dolly lost her father over the weekend.

Though I had only seen the classmate's parents once in school, I remembered him smiling at me when we both realised our kiddos were classmates. That was only 3 weeks ago, at the Parents-Teacher-Meeting. Who would have thought his family would have to endure such a tragic loss so soon in the future and that he, would have to pass so suddenly, leaving behind a young wife and a few kids.

When I was notified of the sad news via whatsapp, I was in disbelief for a long while. But the news came from the classmate's mum, whom I have only met once at the same occasion, so it could not be a prank. Though we can hardly be considered friends, more like acquaintances, I still felt an indescribable sense of sadness for the man and his loved ones.

I cannot even imagine how the surviving spouse would cope, but yet, I know, as a mother to four young children, she would find in her, the immense strengths to do that; perhaps just to survive in the beginning, but eventually, she would find ways to live. I hope so.

And for the kids.... I have also been so sad for the kids. The youngest is only 4. I kept looking at my Dolly and wondered if she would understand the loss if such tragedy happened to us. To lose a loving parent at this tender age, to never hear and see the the papa again, must be such a painful memory and difficult experience for these young hearts to endure.

It is yet another reminder of truly how fragile life is and how we must never take for granted what we have. Just last month, I also learnt of the passing of the mum of one of Chip's kindergarten classmates. The kids in that family are 9 and 12... not exactly much older. They had time to bid farewell and communicate all last wishes, unlike the family of Dolly's classmate.

For both cases, I explained to my 3 kids and told them the truth. I even explained to Dolly so she could think of how her friend may feel right now.

In times like this, it really puts things into perspective and reminds us to reflect on what truly matters to us at the end of the day.


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