The Importance of Mummy “Me-Time”

I AM A MUMMY.AND I ALSO AM ME. (1)

I have three gorgeous kids. I love spending time with them. I do. They make me laugh, they make me giggle, they amuse me with their cute antics, and I thank God daily for my three healthy, beautiful babies.

They also frustrate me, irritate me, and have a knack of bringing out the “nagger” in me.

When I was still working full-time, I missed having time with the kids.

And now that I am at home the whole day (and night with them), I got to admit… I miss being alone. You know, I would be able to go to the bathroom without a little boy knocking on the door, screeching, “But I need to peeeeee nooooooooooowwwww Mummy!!” I would like to be able to savour a good meal, instead of having to shovel spoonfuls of my Japanese curry rice down my throat while trying to keep up to Zoie’s pace of swallowing her favourite ramen noodles (which is just one mode – non-stop). I would love to be sitting in a hair salon for 3 or 4 hours, just getting my hair done. I would love to go for a pedicure and a manicure. My friends back in Singapore would be shocked I reckon – but my poor nails haven’t seen the inside of a nail salon for more than a year! *cue the melodramatic music* I have been thinking about getting those adult colouring books, but I’ve put that off, cos I know it will probably sit on my shelf, taking up valuable space, as I don’t really think I have the luxury of sitting down and doing nothing but colouring.  As tempting as that sounds. I have that basket of dirty laundry to do. And that other basket of clean laundry to fold and keep. And once that’s done… whatd’ya know? Another basket of dirty laundry pops up!

But I have to admit, it was easier getting “me-time” back in Singapore. It was a combination of having the security of a monthly, fixed salary, coupled with a LOT of family support to help me look after the kids so that I could sneak off to my favourite hairdresser for a fix, or to have a facial, or to have a cup of Starbucks. Even while working, I enjoyed time with ADULTS (as opposed to, you know, mini-adults) and having proper, stimulating, engaging conversation.

So carving some me-time while here in Sydney has been challenging. Not impossible. Just challenging.

Yes, I am a mummy. But I am also me. And to be a good mum, I also need to be a good me. So having some alone, me-only recharging and renewing and rejuvenating time is important, for my mental state of being.

So how do I manage? On a shoestring budget and in a place where my closest friends are an ocean away?

Well, that’s just it. I manage. Sometimes, “me-time” isn’t about the quantity of time away from kids, it’s really about the quality of time.

A long, hot shower. (And I make sure everyone knows I am going to bathe, and if they need to use the toilet, they’d better do it noooooooow!)

I catch my favourite shows on TV. And getting the Apple TV was probably one of our best buys. That, coupled with a few choice apps on our iPads means that we have access to shows like Suits & Criminal Minds (two of my favourite), catching up on the latest episodes of Masterchef Australia, or even watching Running Man (my favourite TV game show, even if I can’t understand a word of Korean haha!)

Grocery-shopping / window-shopping on my own. And the words “on my own” being the operative ones here. It may just be in my neighbourhood shopping centre, but just walking on my own, without having to constantly keep an eye out for a wandering toddler is heavenly. In fact, grocery shopping with the kids in tow is often an expensive and unproductive one – we spend too much time in the snack aisle and not enough time in the “proper food” aisle. And trying to think of what to cook for the week’s meals can be challenging when your 4-year-old gags when you pick up a tomato, and goes, “Eww, mummy, are you buying a tomato?”

How about you? How is your Mummy “me-time” like?

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This post is written as part of an ongoing blog train, hosted by PrayerFull Mum, and you can catch up on the full list of other mummy bloggers and how they spend their “me-time”!

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Waiwai is a full-time-working-mum to a 7-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy. She blogs about her parenting journey at PeiPei.HaoHao. Hop over her blog tomorrow to find out how she tries to find some me-time!

Marriage Equality – And Being A Christian Parent

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a history-changing ruling, legalising same-sex marriages.

I am a Christian. I came to church when I was 18, met my husband, had my 3 kids, had a career, made lifelong friends… all within the compounds of the church. The church, God, worship, the teaching, the values have all shaped my life, my outlook on life and my value system.

Wedding Bouquet - mine!

And yes, that’s my wedding bouquet!

So much has been talked about this topic. And emotions are running high, and sometimes some reactions are so ill-balanced, it gives me a perpetual frown while reading it. Like the Canberra couple who’ve announced that they plan to divorce if same-sex marriages are legalised in Australia – but yet, they still intend to live like they’re married, but they apparently feel that such a move in Australia means the very thing that makes a marriage now “has an altogether different sense and purpose”.

Hmm.

Or the recent news about same-sex couples who are forcing or suing their way to ensure they get the wedding that they want, having scant regard for the religious beliefs of these same business owners who might not feel comfortable to provide said service.

Hmm.

What is my stand?

If same-sex marriage is allowed in Australia, and if I have friends who wish to get married, will I go to their wedding? It took probably a minute of reflection, and my answer would be yes. My Christian beliefs might mean that I don’t subscribe to their lifestyle, but as a friend, I can certainly celebrate their “big day” with them. After all, we had close friends who flew in to Singapore, sat in our church, and they are a lesbian couple who didn’t subscribe to our Christian beliefs, and yet thought it fitting and justifiable to blow a huge expense to celebrate our “big day” with us.

There will be some same-sex couples who’d be more than happy to sign on a piece of paper to stamp their commitment to each other. There are some heterosexual couples that do that too. But I also know of other heterosexual couples who are very happy NOT being married, and just being together. Marriage? No thanks, for them. And similarly, I think there will be same-sex couples who are also happy with the status quo.

When Nic & I got married, we had a total of three different “ceremonies”, each to fulfill “marriage” in different aspects. We had the solemn signing of the marriage certificate, so that in the eyes of the law, we were now legally married. We said our marriage vows, exchanged our rings, served communion to one another, lit the unity candle, had a prayer of blessing said over us by our pastor, in front of our church mates and friends… and we were married in the eyes of God. We had a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, offering tea to our parents and relatives, we held a huge dinner at Orchard Hotel, to also announce to our relatives that hey – yeah, we’re married!

More than just a signature, marriage is still marriage – it is a commitment to stay put, and to stay true. Can a Supreme Court ruling threaten the sanctity of marriage? Only if you let it. I look at my husband, at my kids, and my life has not changed one iota from the ruling.

Do you want to show your kids what marriage is, how to respect your partner, what God intends for a marriage? Well, then show them. By your own marriage, by your own actions, show and teach them.

But let’s not impose. Let’s not impose our religious beliefs on others. Yes, I believe marriage is sacred, it is between a man and a woman – but some people don’t, and they too have a right to live their lives how they want. A country may have  “Christian values” or be steeped in Christian history… but it doesn’t mean that the rights of non-Christians should be overlooked. On the flip side, you can live where, say, polygamy is an accepted practice, but if you do not personally subscribe to it, that is fine too.

As a parent, this is how I will broach this with the kids (as with many other topics). Different people choose different paths. In God’s word, it says we should do this. Not everyone agrees with God (or agrees there is a God), so not everyone does it. But we do believe, and therefore we do.

Everything has changed.

And nothing has changed at the same time.

Parenting is still a matter of instilling right values, and sometimes society doesn’t help. Say, sex before marriage? Others may, others do, but we will teach abstinence. Will the kids listen? I hope so. I hope our love and support and guidance helps them make the right decision, when the time comes. But it is their decision to make, and as parents we can only pray they will make the right one.

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Love Languages for Children

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Three kids. So alike in many ways. And so different in many ways as well. And if there’s anything that parenthood teaches you, it’s that you can expect the unexpected with them!

If you’ve picked up a copy of Dr. Gary Chapman’s book series on The 5 Love Languages, there’s one in particular for children, and it is definitely helpful in knowing how to love them. After all, it’s one thing to love your kids, it’s another for them to KNOW that you love them, and so knowing the primary and secondary love languages of your children makes it easier for you to cater to them.

I thought most children love to receive toys and presents, and I found that to be the case with my oldest 7-year-old, Jayvon. His primary love language is gift-giving, and so he writes little cards for us, love to surprise his younger siblings with a “Guess what we’re having as a treat today?” and similarly also experiences love when we get him little surprises and toys. When we were back in Singapore and both my husband and I were working full-time, it was easier to go on frequent little shopping trips to pick up the occasional lollies and small toys for him, but now that we’re in Sydney and watching our budgets like a hawk, such “treats” are fewer and rarer in between, so we have to make do, and just surprise him in other ways!

But yet, gifts didn’t rank high on my younger boy, Xavier, and while Jayvon would go wild when we went to the Toy Store, trying to get Xavier to pick out a toy for himself was like trying to extract a tooth without anaesthesia! It was painful to watch, as he would flit from one aisle to the next, fiddling with this and that, and just moving on. Jayvon, who’d chosen his present out already, would even bring “toy recommendations” to Xavier, but things seldom caught my little boy’s fancy! He simply wasn’t interested in getting any toys at all! Oh the horror! Nothing just seemed to catch his attention enough to warrant a purchase. It would seem like he was an “easier” child to please, but to really show him love, we had to know what made him happy and contented, and physical affection was the key for Xavier. He enjoyed his nightly bed-time “rub rub scratch scratch” (or back massages), he loved cuddling up on us on the couch, and he would show his affection for Zoie by taking her by the hand at the childcare centre. She was new to the centre, and refused to let go of his hands in the beginning, and he would sweetly oblige – even when he needed to use the toilet! He got trained in the art of “holding in his pee” because of his love for his younger sister! Haha! We told him he could tell Zoie to let him use the toilet, but he would shrug and say, “But she doesn’t want to let me go!”

And now when it comes to Zoie, being only 2, it wasn’t easy to figure out what her primary love language was, until she began to speak, and seeing how she beamed when she was praised, it became apparent, and her primary love language is words of affirmation. Giving her the thumbs up, praising her for a job well done or for keeping her toys, this made her break out into a wide smile!

What are the other 2 love languages? Quality Time and Acts of Service. And it doesn’t means that we only focus on that one primary love language and ignore the other love languages. All are ways to show affection and love and care to our children. But being able to identify your child’s primary love language will mean that a little more effort in that area will reap a bigger payback!

Want to know what is your love language profile? Or that of your child’s? There’s a simple online analysis to help you. Click here to check it out!

Winter Fashion Essentials for Baby Girls (Plus a $100 Gift Card Giveaway)

I’ve lived in hot, humid, beads-of-perspiration-rolling-down-your-face, balmy Singapore my whole life. It’s hot. It’s humid. And we live for air-conditioning. So my wardrobe has always consisted of cotton-y basics, and if you wear leather boots out, people give you a sideways glance and mutter “weirdo” under their breath, as they walk past you with their flip-flops and short shorts.

So making our home in Sydney, Australia has been challenging.

I had no idea how to clothe the kids. What is winter in Sydney like? Would goose down feather jackets be too much? (The answer: Yes. A sure-fire way to know who are the Aussie newbies). Layering? What? What layers? It made matters worse when we were first coming over in June 2013 – right at the start of winter, barely giving the kids time to get slowly acclimatised to the cold. Well, we survived, just, and despite my best efforts to get enough clothes before coming over, I have to admit, we had to buy a LOT more when we reached. Singlets, long-sleeved tees, trackies, jumpers… all these became the staple wardrobe pieces for the boys.

Two years down, as winter has crept up on us, I find myself much more prepared. I know what I need to get. I know how much of each item I have to get (to allow for sufficient laundry time in between). And I get loads of plain basics, and make sure I try to jazz up the kids’ winter wardrobes with a few key kick-ass items.

Let’s start with Zoie. She’s two, and is as Aussie as they come, having lived here since she was 5 weeks old.

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Basic Winter Wardrobe includes:

  • Singlets or onesies
  • Plain long-sleeved tees (I bought about 5 of these)
  • Trackies (At her age/height, I haven’t found one that fits well though)
  • Jumpers
  • Leggings

But I love fashion. And I love to dress my kids up well. And by well, I really mean well. There are a few buys that I won’t stinge on, and one of it is a good jacket. A nice, thick, warm jacket to drive these wintery chills away!

So Zoie’s Enhanced, Add-On Winter Wardrobe would include:

  • A good winter jacket
  • Thick tights
  • Boots
  • A well-fitting beanie

And these are items I would spend a little more on, as I find the usual stores might not sell quality pieces.

I was stoked when Catimini Australia offered Zoie a little Winter package, and even more delighted when I saw that one of the pieces was this awesome faux leather jacket. I could not keep my hands off it! It was soft, felt luxurious and my little girl loves it. The embroidery detail was lovely – and it matched the dress and stockings that were sent over as well.

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The entire outfit was comfortable enough to allow movement – and the entire hour we were at Bradfield Park, she was running up and down and back up again.

The red long-sleeve dress with attached bubble skirt was a hit. It fit well, and the waistband sat comfortably and the skirt did not ride up as she was trudging along (as some of her other dresses have). The matching tights with the cute details at the foot is adorable, and a versatile colour.

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All in all, I loved dressing Zoie up in gorgeous togs, and look at her – she loves it too!

Now, the best news for my readers: Catimini Australia is offering one of my readers a $100 Catimini Australia gift card. Shop online, or in their Mosman NSW store – and if you hop over now, they are having their Winter Sale now on, with discounts of up to 50%! I’ve been to the store, and it’s gorgeous, and I could hardly stop smiling as I ran my fingers through the racks of beautiful clothes. They stock from 6 months up to 16 years old, for both boys and girls, so I am sure you can find something for that special kid in your life.

To win, simply head on to Catimini Australia, and tell me which is your favourite item from the store! I will pick the best answer, and this giveaway will be closed next Sunday, 20 June, 12 midnight. Use the Rafflecopter below to submit your entries, and don’t forget to leave your email so that we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Catimini Australia has kindly sponsored a set of clothes for the purposes of this review, but no monetary payments were received. All opinions are 100% my own.

So My Daughter Sleeps Much More In Childcare Than At Home… and other tales

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I have a nocturnal daughter. Like, seriously.

She takes a catnap at around 6 p.m., after we pick Xavier and her from childcare, when her brothers are busy devouring their dinners, she prefers to take a small nip of the food, drinks milk and collapses, for 45 to 60 minutes.

And then she is awake. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed. And stays awake till past midnight. Every night.

Which I am fine.

Until I read the childcare report of her sleeping patterns for the week. I usually take a glance, and usually it’s a normal 2-hour nap in the day. But not THAT day. That day, she slept from 11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

FOUR HOURS.

I pay a freakish amount for her to go to a pretty good childcare, with great teachers, and a very well-rounded program.

And she naps for HALF THE TIME.

The next day, she napped for 3.5 hours. The day after, also about there.

She should be up and about and traumatizing the teachers! Erm, I mean, learning stuff, and you know, playing. Haha! Anything but sleeping!

So which begs the question… maybe we should get her out of childcare? We’d save money. And if she sleeps this much in the house, I can still get some work done!

It’s something to think of, for sure, but not a decision we can make easily. It is easy to stop her childcare or even reduce the number of days, but the fact is, with the high demand for childcare spaces in the suburb I am in, there is not a very high chance I can get a placement back in the same childcare!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

(Oh, and my little Miss 2 has just learnt to wink! Haha! I am glad I caught it on my handphone camera – in the montage above, fuzzy though it may be).