Category Archives: #2

Perfect in our imperfections

This year, B (mostly) ran his first 800m race at the 2015 Cold Storage Kids Run.  Seeing him press on despite feeling hot and tired made me proud – and reminded me to persevere and not give up despite how we feel sometimes. Motherhood is kinda like that, isn’t it?!

We're almost there, B!
We’re almost there, B!

This year marks our fourth Mothers’ Day. Every time, I can’t help but thank God (again!) for B who finally made me a mommy – and provided the catalyst for this blog, Finally Mama.  I’m all too aware of my imperfections as a mom but am glad that since I made my 2015 Chinese New Year resolutions, I’ve been able to find greater contentment this year at working full time, supporting CRIB, and being a mom to (just) one – adorable, amazing, appreciative, and at times, aggravating – 3.5 year old kid.

Thanks to B’s teachers and dad, I received some nice (surprise!) dedications this year:

Presenting me with my letter
Presenting me with my special letter
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with DIY coupons to redeem and art for Mother’s Day

What was inside was so simple yet awesome in its effort. B’s drawing and colouring isn’t great at this age. I know he wants to write and colour better, but I’ve been trying not to “correct” his grip and control, but rather let him keep scribbling, drawing, painting, clay and play doughing et al.  So, it touched me to see him try to write his name, illustrate each “coupon” accordingly (with his smiley faces) and colour the flower as best he could.

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Coincidentally on Mother’s Day, I also started to volunteer once a month at his Sunday School N2 class.  Many (including the hubby) would argue that my schedule is packed as it is!  But I just wanted to play a bigger part in his faith journey, support the regulars that put in so much effort to manage the kids while we attend the main service, and also spend a few more moments with him on a weekend, especially on weekdays when I’m away.

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I’m not perfect, but I’m in the “World’s Best Mom” to someone 🙂

Last but not least, this year, I also wanted B to appreciate not just mama but his grandma, as both grandparents have stepped up this year to help with chauffeuring and childminding. Daddy took B to a nearby nursery where he chose fresh carnations for each of us “moms” – mama, ama and nainai.

Ultimately, what makes most happy as a mom are the spontaneous expressions of love and honest remarks that affirm the bond B and I have.  Just as we love our kids through the ups and downs, so too do they love us despite our imperfections.  And although we “older and wiser” adults should guide them as they grow, our kids often teach us wonderful lessons too – like ending a race well, no matter how tough the journey can be sometimes.

This post is part of the “Dear Mummy” blog train, a series of letters and dedications from our kids to moms.  

Next up is Winnie, who blogs at Toddly Mummy, where she shares her thoughts on parenting, and fun moments from their home learning sessions and outdoor adventures. She sometimes share about her favourite food too, along with occasional side orders of stuff that she finds useful as a busy mum.

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For updates, reviews and more, follow Finally Mama on Facebook or on Instagram

Try something new this Goat Year

新年蒙福, 新年蒙恩 – Blessed Year of the Goat!  I’m sneaking in my post for the Things I Will Do Differently blog train in between house visits and prep for another overseas work trip. In the spirit of Chinese New Year, here are my reflections on what to do differently this year, inspired by 春聯 (spring couplets), which is quite a new feat for me too given my preschool level Chinese :).

心想事成 – Last year was quite a fruitful year – getting CRIB off the ground, transitioning B to full-day childcare and the grandparents to help more as I moved from entrepreneur back to corporate life. Yet, there was always this underlying frustration around our failure to conceive #2. With each passing month, I kept burying my emotions under a cover of busyness. This year, I’m focusing on enjoying what we have and not dwelling on what we don’t.

岁岁平安 – When days get busy, inner peace tends to flee, and we fall in a vicious spiral of stress and sleeplessness. This year, I aim to give 100% in areas that matter and not split all my time, focus and energy on everything everyday. No matter how early I wake, weekday mornings are always rushed, so I’ve settled on a new routine: After my son and I end his nighttime routine with his daily devotional, I linger in his room with lights out to reflect and recalibrate for the day ahead. I know once I walk out, I’ll start attacking my to-do list again, so this is precious quiet time for me.  Philippians 4:7 The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ

笑口常开 – A related change I want to make this year, is to be more JOYFUL. When I do pause to take stock of things, I realise there’s so much to be thankful for but why aren’t more of my waking moments “happy?” When I look at my son and see such unadulterated joy in him (most of the time), I find that my happiness is more a function of choice than circumstance. This year, I choose to nurture a more positive, cheerful spirit which can hopefully affect every aspect of my life.  Laughter is the best medicine, right? 😀

事业有成 – Planning is in my DNA. I tend to live by “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.”  I’ve worn the planner hat for so long though that I forget to release control in my personal life – ironically, I’m better at delegating and bending at work than at home.  This year, I’ll go with the flow more in my leisure time, entrust the big dreams to God, and corporate goals to the collective team. Stop filling up my evenings and weekends with work or schedules – take detours like evening walks in Pierce Reservoir and Bishan Park near the office. Less nagging the hubby on his lazy weekend mornings – join him instead!

身体健康 – Those of us whose love language is acts of service, tend to give and give till we run out of gas. This year, I allow myself to be responsibly selfish – to carve out specific ME times, to ask for or outsource help, to not skip meals, to actually complete my Pilates and spa packages, to leave B at home so that hubby and I can dinner date each together.  I believe if I “eat what nourishes my body, do what nourishes my soul, and think what nourishes my mind,” I’ll be a better wife, mom, daughter, colleague and friend…. and stay forever 羊 ;). Who cares for the carers? It starts with us.

恭喜发财,万事如意,金玉满堂,步步高升,青春美丽!

Family CNY 2015

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The next stop is at Meeningfully which is run by Shermeen, a fellow working mom to a 2.5 year old, a day-dreamer and closet romantic. She often tries to do too much in her attempt to juggle her multiple roles, and at the same time hopes time will slow down as she does not want her “cheeky monkey” to grow up so quickly. At 35 this year, read on about what she is going to do differently to acheive some of her goals.

Shermeen

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

There and Back Again: Returning to Full Time Work

“Validate one another: Moms who work outside the home should regard moms who work inside the home as real workers. And likewise.” – Debora Spar

I feel it’s important for a woman to have her own career to gain financial security and self-reliance.  After 12 years of a blissful dual income no kids life, everything changed in 2011 when baby #1 arrived! While being a stay at home mom was unexpected, I had the rare chance to make priceless memories and witness all those amazing milestones in his early years. I also came to appreciate the many choices mothers and moms-to-be need to make.  As I started considering my how, when and where to return to full time work, I came across this article which challenged my attitude and approach.

“Take investment intervals when needed.” There are times when moms need to trade off personal desires for spouse, elderly parents, kids, health, career, etc. Looking back, my Plan A had seemed so straightforward when I was (finally) pregnant: Take 3 months off and return with a one/two-day flexi work arrangement. After maternity leave, a major reorg and my aging parents led me to decide to stay at home for a while – Plan B.  Sometime after #1 turned 1, I had a miscarriage and became a homeschooling mumpreneur while I recovered – Plan C. Eventually we found a great nursery drop off and childcare, freeing mama to pursue full time work again – Plan D!

childcare“Don’t choose a career for flexibility, but one for passion.” We shouldn’t just be drawn to busy work, highest paid or most flexible jobs. Any work commitment will take you away from home and family, and you need a compelling reason – a meaningful ROI – as to why you’re still out there doing it. When deciding to return full time, I only considered jobs that I really wanted to do with a family-friendly boss and/or environment (ideally, both). This means fewer but better options in the long run.

Switching hatsThe freedom to be anything doesn’t mean the responsibility to do everything!” Super women are a myth. I admit I’ve a hard time NOT mothering 24/7 but in preparation for full time work and travel, I have to LET IT GO! I’m entrusting him to regular childcare, after-school drop-offs, visiting grandparents and the school bus on weekdays. I’ll pick him up from preschool if I can, but at the very least, will commit to be home by 7p for dinner and our evening routine (bath, book, bed) together before lights off at 9p.  After then, I have time to catch up with hubby, downtime for myself and/or late night work, if needed. Weekends will remain family time – church, doing what we enjoy like music, plays, parks, pool, and catching up with others as and when.

The busier life is, the more we should take time out for reflection and self-calibration. If your circumstances have changed or compromises are being made that are not what you intended, don’t be afraid to stop and ask “what if?” Having gone through multiple plans, all I can say is you won’t know till you try – be it working full time, staying at home, or something in between!

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple, where 22 FTWMs from Singapore Mom Bloggers aim to give other (current or soon to be) working mums inspiration and support. I’m writing to share my transition to full time work and hope to revisit later with an update on how my after-work hours really turn out :0

A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM
Hop onto the last stop with Meiling from Universal Scribbles!

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A mother to two primary-school aged kids who mean the world to her, she tries to balance their childhood with as much fun and happiness as she can. Read how she manages work, kids, school and family life as she journeyed from a stay-at-home mom, full-time working mom, part-time working mom, to finally settling on being a mom with a full-time flexible work arrangement on her blog.

Also linking up with

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Don’t stop believing

Recently, I was asked by a mom of multiple kids whom I’d just met: “Just one boy? Don’t you want more kids?!”

Sigh. If only she knew.

After missing my otherwise regular period by a week, feeling early pregnancy symptoms, testing and retesting, I suspect I’ve had a chemical pregnancy. I’ve not felt our ongoing failure to conceive again so acutely since last year’s miscarriage. Honestly, it’s hard NOT to be emotional when you’re surrounded by friends who are pregnant or just delivered. I would say I’m a fairly resilient and independent gal, but perhaps, there’s more to it all than to keep monitoring my cycles closely, timing it right (and frequently), taking folic acid, staying radiation and stress-free, and living healthy.

Enter: Supernatural childbirth. Whaaat? If you’re thinking this is about seeing visions of heaven, hell, angels, demons, and everything in between, errm, not quite. Instead of trying NOT to think about conceiving (which is quite frankly, impossible), Supernatural Childbirth is a book that encourages us to actively stand on the bible as God’s Word and believe that “Children are a heritage from God, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” (Psalm 127:3).

Supernatural Childbirth
Supernatural Childbirth

Although my faith is at a low after this “barren” streak, as a Christian, I still believe there’s truth and power in the bible. So today, despite my ongoing frustration and setbacks, I’m thankful for B, the child that I DO have, the friend who gave me this book, the author and women who shared their testimonies in it, and a God who keeps His promises that:

1) God’s perfect love casts out fear! Past failures bring future fears but the opposite of fear is faith : “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4), “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37)

2) You can do anything when rooted in God’s Word. Pray in agreement with the Word before even trying to conceive: “For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

3) Barrenness is the exception, not the rule. All the barren women of faith in the bible conceived: “He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.” (Psalm 113:9)

4) Conceive, carry and deliver without fear of pain and loss: “God will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field! (Malachi 3:11)

5) Focus on being a healthy mother and having a healthy baby, not about where, how or what others have done: “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10)

“For this child I prayed and the Lord hears my cry!  You have formed and fashioned our baby in my womb, and at the right time You will separate my baby and carry it gently from the womb. We will train our children up in the way they should go, tender to God, the Word and the things of God, and honouring their parents, and they will not depart from these when they are old. Amen!”

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Linking up with

Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true

It’s almost the end of September. While I look forward to celebrate with dear friends who will give birth over the next few months, I can’t help thinking that baby #2’s due date would have been around now. What a frustrating, deferred year this has been! I’d put off the job search when I initially found out I was pregnant at the turn of the year. After the miscarriage, we postponed the start of B’s toddler group drop-off, and me returning to full time work till next year, so that we could maximise our time with B as well as our efforts to conceive again, given hubby’s frequent business travel. Sadly, so far, no luck with #2 (or rather, #2b) and I worry that my career is stagnating the longer I stop working. It’s days like these that I need to pause and reflect that God has given me such a blessed family, with rich life experiences, and all that we hope for will come to pass in His time, in His way.

All that I am, all that I have 
I lay them down before you, oh Lord 
All my regrets, all my acclaims 
The joy and the pain, I’m making them yours
 

Lord, I offer my life to you 
Everything I’ve been through 
Use it for your glory 
Lord I offer my days to you 
Lifting my praise to you 
As a pleasing sacrifice 
Lord I offer you my life

Things in the past, things yet unseen 
Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true 
All of my heart, all of my praise 
My heart and my hands are lifted to you

What can we give 
That you have not given? 
And what do we have 
That is not already yours? 
All we possess 
Are these lives we’re living 
That’s what we give to you, Lord

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook

The only constant in life is change

We made plans to drop B off at half-day childcare sometime this year, thus freeing my mornings for personal and work time while pregnant. Since the start of the year though, too much has changed and the original Plan C didn’t make sense as I’m now working flexi time but no longer pregnant 😦

Also, the childcare center we had registered B in – when I was still working full time – was going through a lot of change too. After visiting again to refresh my memory of the place and meet the new staff, I had more doubts and was feeling so uneasy 😦 I knew it wasn’t just a normal mom-thing about to leave your kid for the first time, so I read Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Solution for Separation Anxiety, spoke to others in similar situations, even checked out and trialed a few other options.

I soon realised two things after the miscarriage: I desire to treasure B’s remaining toddler-hood (18 months now) and I want to be more intentional with our days together. So I’m tweaking Plan C to do “more with less” i.e. to better integrate what he learns externally in (Chinese, music and gym) with our own homeschool plan, weekly playdates and outings.  All this should keep us engaged through year end!

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The elusive fourth

A week ago, my life turned upside down.  I thought I’d be ushering in the 2013 Year of the Snake with a happy “I’m pregnant!” announcement to family and friends, but ended up spending the first few days of Chinese New Year with intensifying cramps, spotting, clotting, bed rest and alas, a confirmed miscarriage. Our baby would have been 8 weeks now.  Physically, the pain and bleeding have passed but emotionally, it’s been a rollercoaster ride to recovery.  It’s hard to explain why such an early pregnancy loss can leave emotional scars.  Some days I do feel better but other days, it still hurts  – esp. when I meet others who “accidentally” conceived another baby when they didn’t plan or necessarily want to.  That said, I’m thankful for the support of those who’ve gone through miscarriages/ still births and gone on to have healthy deliveries.

I’ll revisit my obgyn this week to verify that a D&C procedure is not needed as the tissue from the blighted ovum had passed naturally.  Despite seeing the gestational sac at the initial ultrasound scan around week 5, the embryo had not grown as it should, most likely due to chromosonal defects, so this was considered a clinical miscarriage from an anembryonic pregnancy.

Last night at our rather bittersweet Valentines dinner, we reflected how this has made us appreciate B so much more and acknowledged the need for closure. We’ll definitely try again when the time is right, approx. 3 months from now.  In a small way, there’s some relief that I don’t have to mind two kids under two… and there’s less pressure for B to grow up into the big brother he will be one day.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning feeling a little down but was reminded of this song.  The joy of the Lord will be my strength!

 
I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
 
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen
 
I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy’s gonna be my strength
Though sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes in the morning

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