In my 20’s I exercised to get toned and to look good. It was all about creating an aesthetic effect when dressing up and standing in front of the mirror. As I entered the 30’s that slowly changed into wanting to stay fit in order to age well and live longer. The moment I turned 40, I also had my fourth child, who was born three days ahead of my birthday. And that was the beginning of a sudden downfall.
For a positive thinker (though cynical and sarcastic) and an ambitious go-getter who loves challenges, life became too much of a burden. Probably it was the post baby-blues coupled with having a newborn and three others at different transitional stage- a teen, a tween and a pre-schooler. And thrown in for a good measure a full on teaching job at a place where I spent most of my waking hours. Although quiting wasn’t easy, I wasn’t left with any other choices. Since I couldn’t settle for anything less than 110% for my students that was the best thing by far.
Unfortunately the dark period continued on but there wasn’t anything else that I could quit from. I thought I’d be able to deal with the home front better but I was wrong. As my life spiralled out of control, my workout sessions suffered the same fate.
Somehow one day I woke up determined to snapped out of the bad dream. So I dressed up in my favourite gear, shod my feet in trainers and off I went. Despite the commotion inside my head and the heaviness in my heart, I carried on. Each session only lasted 25 minutes max, but it became a ritual of prayers, meditation and letting go. It was an important part that grounded me back to myself after being lost for a while.
Suffice to say, in my 40’s, working out makes me feel exceptionally good. It clears my head, calms my emotion and allows me to function as best as possible. There’s something about breathing the air outside whilst exercising in an open space. You’re kind of like all pumped up to seize the day. And that’s definitely a fantastic start I don’t mind having.
As I was rushing home after a class, I bumped into an ex-student and her mum. Now the girl is a teenager and looking all grown up. In my eyes I can still see the sweet little Japanese girl who was all friendly and shy at the same time. Her pleasant ways with everybody and her lovely notes for me are still fresh on my mind. And the tears she shed on the last day of school because I wouldn’t return the following year. I promised to visit but that didn’t happen. It really got me. Until now.
Whether you’re a mum or a dad, a stepmum or a stepdad, a single mum or a single dad, an aunt or an uncle, a grandma or a grandpa, a sister or a brother, a woman or a man who’s responsible for looking after a child, you’re a parenting idol. Being the carer, you’re known as the parent of the child. A role that comes with huge responsibilities and quite a number of occupational hazards.
Because of the risky lifestyle that you keep facing everyday, your amazing achievements in numerous feats that only a parent knows how, should be celebrated. Such as,
preparing meals and snacks for a picky eater and a ravenous monster, so they won’t go hungry throughout the day (regardless how the food gets to the table, isn’t an issue here)
ensuring a clean supply of clothes for daily wear, despite only seeing the piles of washing that need to be done, in the laundry baskets and on the floor
your expertise in finding lost items from the most treasured underwear to the easily missed minuscule hand of a lego minifigure
being the most reliable alarm clock that doesn’t run on batteries and can wake everyone at different times, without having to reset it
a walking and talking dictionary that possibly has a bilingual option, with interchangeable explanation and translation tools
a Google expert who finds the answers by a simple touch and swipe, and best of all, it’s able to function without wifi sometimes
a homework helper machine that can provide support and coaching in most areas of the curriculum- when it can’t, the Google expert will step in
a life skills’ coach who teaches those functional stuff like cleaning up after your own mess, boiling water in a kettle for times when a hot water dispenser isn’t available, taking trash out on collection day, washing dishes before there’s none left to use, turning off electricity when not in use for energy conservation and saving costs etc.
fixing things using tapes, super glue and whatnots
DIY, art projects and research work advisor
kisssing countless boo- boos to make it better and tries hard to believe that it actually works
highly sought after problem solver who’s on demand round the clock
a skilful driver, professional chauffeur and bodyguard all rolled into one
Though being a parent can be a nightmare at times, do know that you’re doing just fine by loving and caring for your children in the best possible way. No one should undermine what or how you do it. As a parent, you’re simply wonderful ❤
With the many things that took place in the month of June, the weeks felt short as the days blurred by. Honestly I didn’t get a chance to digest and think properly, but had to let everything washed over me. Now I’m left with a combination of mixed feelings and a strange aftertaste.
Since it was also the holy month of Ramadhan for the Muslims, observing the obligatory fasting somehow affected my night time sleep. I ended up taking too many short naps in the day which was pretty unusual for me. As a result, sluggishness was hard to rid off and it stayed a bit longer than expected.
Anyhow despite the erratic rhythm in June, there were abundance of blessings sprinkled on my path. Alhamdulillah. All praises to Allah for His love and mercy.
Let me share my list of gratitude:
Mr Teen was accepted and started the second half of the year at a new school with a smaller class roll.
Mr Tween and Little Missy showed positive progress in their recent exam.
For the first time Little Missy tried fasting and managed to do a full day.
Had short catch-up sessions with a couple of good friends.
Secured some freelance jobs for the coming months.
Although my father-in-law is still warded at the hospital, he is steadily recovering.
There are many tests thrown in my direction, but I’m at peace with myself.
As July is approaching, I’m praying for a better time and a fresh start, so I can do things with my eyes wide open and the brain is working well. I’ll do what it takes to live a life worth living while riding through the storms.
Things we know for sure but annoyingly keep popping up
Occasional indulgence won’t make the little ones bratty. Childhood is a special time, so they deserve that extra special treatment. When they know they are loved, they’ll be more appreciative, loving and trusting.
Boys and girls should do/enjoy/watch/play things that are gender specific because if they don’t they will end up being less masculine/feminine as an adult. Absolute nonsense! Let them explore what they like in order to develop empathy for each other in the future, so they’ll be a better partner/wife/husband/parent. A decent human being.
Pacifier, security blanket/pillow, thumb sucking for comfort won’t last forever and they are not the cause of clinginess or antisocial behaviour. It actually helps making the child independent and grounded.
Breastfeeding or formula milk is a choice. Whether the milk is a plant or animal based is a choice. Having said that, some mothers don’t even have the privilege to choose due to health or socio-economic factors, and that is not a choice.
A growing child’s milestone checklist isn’t there to freak-out new parents, it is a guideline to gauge the growth of a typical child of that age. If there’s any concerns, note it and book an appointment with a paediatrician. Googling then coming up with your own interpretation is a big No No.
Frustrations and tantrums are a norm from baby to adolescence. Adults have them too but they know how to take control and make it less obvious by not showing it in front of others (though there are adults with bad tantrums 🙄). There’s no reason for a child to act grown-up because they haven’t reached that developmental stage yet.
Our success as a parent isn’t measured against our children’s spectacular achievements, likewise our failure has nothing to do with their inability to measure up with the mainstream expectations.
Life has always been busy and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Not having to leave the house for work and staying home don’t make much difference. But it’s a great feeling to be there for the kids completely instead of barking orders and telling them to get on because ‘I’m very busy’. Busy was my middle name when I was a working mum. The time that I had for my kids was pretty rushed. Learning to be in the moment by focusing on what’s happening without worrying (or pretending not to worry) about the passing time takes a lot of self-control. Although there are only four kids (err, five including their dad who should hire a personal assistant for all the reminders that I need to remember), juggling their daily activities and demands can be quite tricky. Thankfully my multi-tasking skill isn’t too bad, so it helps a little. That aside, I’m still struggling and sometimes I let negativity gets the best of me, which can be unpleasant. So what’s the most brilliant pick me up? Call a friend for a chat or leave the house. Just leave. Haha…
The little ones think that it’s high time I start baking to satisfy their sweet cravings. Well, it’s not like I don’t know how to bake, I’m only doing my bit in supporting home bakers and their small business. All the tasty treats will go to waste and these talented people won’t get to share their masterpiece. Okay, it sounds unbelievably lame. After a couple more attempts in turning me into Mrs Baker, the kids stopped trying. So that was when I felt bad and promised them we’d be baking real soon. But first let me find those simple non-bake recipes to start the ball rolling!
Have you got any good ones to share? Send them my way pretty please!
Time flies, days turn into nights and birthdays pass by. Before you know it the kids grow up and what’s left of yesterday remains in the past. Deep in your heart, you wish the moment won’t come but there’s nothing that you can do about it.
The other day, while enjoying tea with my teen, we looked at a collage of old photos that I made when he was younger. What a great time we had talking about our family and of course, so many fond memories reappeared. Everything started to flow as we recalled the details of different events that took place in the photos.
A strange feeling of melancholy and lightheartedness filled my heart. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. Then I looked at my son and he was clearly having a wonderful time reminiscing while listening to me. That smile on his face was etched firmly in my memory.
During one of our daily chats, Ms. Smartypants, dropped a huge accusation against her dad. Apparently, she noticed that he hasn’t got a clue on how to be romantic. Ok, so what does she know about romance? Well…
Why wasn’t there a surprise dinner to celebrate my birthday? What about giving flowers or gifts to make me happy? And oh, why wouldn’t her manly dad carry me in his arms (I guess with my arms around his neck and my head resting on his chest kinda thing) up the stairs, to our room? Playfully I responded, perhaps I’m a little heavy for him. She huffed and rolled her eyes at me.
Looks like Ms. Smartypants truly believes in romantic dates and heart shaped chocolates. In her understanding, when you love someone, you shouldn’t let the romance die down. Though she’s too young to be a love guru, she’s probably right!
Anyone with children can relate to this predicament. You can have so many rooms at home and yet you don’t even own one. I tried many times to create my little haven, a tiny hideout for a wee bit of respite, but not for long. That space would be soon invaded by my little army. None of them have any sense of privacy (unless it’s about them) when it comes to getting this old soul to listen/make/do whatever it is that crops up at that particular moment. There was a time when I pretended to sleep thinking they’d be sorry looking at my tired body slumped on the sofa with a mountain of unfolded laundry. No. That didn’t work either. I’m still working on it…