I have mixed identities.
Some acquaintances think that I am not working and is a stay-at-home-mum (SAHM) looking after my 2 mischievous boys.
Some ex-colleagues think that I am still in the same industry as them and looked for me to help them out in part-time assignments.
Some present colleagues think that I am a part-timer and don’t actually do serious work.
Some facebook friends think that I worked all weekends and miss family time.
Well… the truth is: they are all correct in some ways!
My true identity: I left a full time job some 5 years back shortly after Xi En was born. Took on a flexible-hours-almost-like-your-own-business type of job and stayed on till now.
This job gave me enough flexibility for some to understand that I am working and yet others; I am not!
In a nut-shell, I see myself as a full-time working mum (FTWM) but with flexible hours and schedules. Having said that, I don’t have “after hours” (!!!) because I am in a sales line which requires me to response at almost any hours (no, my clients don’t think I observe regular sleeping hours).
Make better sense now?
And that’s just the introduction to my post today in support of a fellow mummy blogger’s blog train on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM”.
Now that my FTWM’s (another way to term it suitably in my context be “Flexible Time Working Mum”) identity is established; just to give you a peek into my “after-hours” life which can be any time of the day.
Knock, knock, Is it similar at your house?
Some snippets of what my boys are up to daily:
My 2 boys are not always disciplined; they enjoy a good tug-of-war brotherhood.
They watch TV a few times in a day (TV is a love-hate relationship with me; you just can’t deny it is an engaging nanny; we try our best to limit it though.)
They sleep at unearthly hours at night (they like to play “OUTLAST”; we lost to them often. We snored before we hear their snores.)
They eat in front of the TV/piano/play corner (except the dining table!);
They often refuse to keep their toys after play (or they simply forgotten; we are still working on it.);
They draw on the walls/TV/windows/floor (anywhere is more interesting than paper);
They do scream and shout to get attention (I have a loud voice to begin with; but they win me in this);
They do bouncy jumps on the bed/sofa (the older boy sometimes practise a few WWF moves: jump high; plunge down and land on near his brother);
He need to be coerce to eat his meal (I meant Xi En of course; for Eizac – we need to eat in the dark so he won’t come for the nth helping.);
They get to sit out at thinking corners;
They get spanks on the hands with a cane (yes; we do cane; constructive caning we choose to think so);
By now, you must be thinking I rear 2 monkeys at home or this Mummy is in bad need of some parenting course.
Honestly, I am no supermom. But please tell me that I am not the only one facing such situations back home while we work in the market place?
Alright, it ain’t always that chaotic at home. We have warm, fuzzy and fun moments too!
No, I never regret having 2 boys if you might be thinking. They can be a handful but when they behaved like proper boys, they are a bunch of giggling cute monkeys!
I don’t have proper tips to share; but I have some little tricks which hopefully comes in handy for you too!
I have 2 time-saving machines in the kitchen: the Philips Airfryer and my mum’s highly recommended 3-tier food steamer.
We try to have home-cooked dinners at least 4 to 5 times a week.
The Airfryer is my guilt-free alternative to deep fried food and it actually turns out decent quality. If you are active on Facebook, do check out some groups which share recipes regularly. The food you can churn out is unimaginably endless!
The humble steamer might not exist in most household but holds a unshakable position in my kitchen after the kids arrived. We use it to steam fish for the kids, warm up food for Eizac, whipped up ladyfingers and tofu for a simple lunch etc and this is the best part: steam enough rice for my 6 pax household every dinner. The rice cooker is in cold storage in the storeroom as it takes up too much space in my small kitchen.
This is undeniably the most important help to a FTWM. Mothers, Fathers, Parents-in-Laws, Aunties, Uncles, Neighbours!
I am very blessed to have my mum who agreed to stay with us. Without her, I won’t be working in the corporate jungle at all. She quit her job so I can have mine. Even though she is not always at home (I have a very sociable mum who has a long list of extra-curriculum activities too); it is always helpful to have that extra pair of eyes and hands.
My parents-in-law don’t stay near to us. But thankfully, they are just a phone call away whenever I need to head out to work. They are our back ups whenever we are running thin at home.
Glad to say that the grandchildren like to spend time with grandparents too!
I know of friends without their loved ones around them. It is not easy at all when you don’t have trusted ones to help out with your kids. Our last resort is to hire external help. We resisted that idea when it was just Xi En. But when Eizac came along, we gave in. It is not the best solution but maybe the best interim plan while the kids are still young. The helper does all the housework and most of the cooking; thus leaving child-minding to us which is what we prefer. As much as we dislike the idea of hiring a helper, we recognised that we are happier when we don’t need to dig through piles of laundry to find a missing sock or feign ignorance to the mountains of dirty dishes.
If you are a FTWM and not keen to hire a stay-in helper, there should be alternatives such as a part-time helper, tingkat (catered dinners), nannies, full day childcare. Anything that help to maintain family harmony goes a long way in my opinion.
Last and very much not the least, a supportive spouse is key!! My single friends: Marry the man who is willing to cook, do the dishes, clean the bathrooms, change the bedsheets, fold the clothes, feed the baby, shower the toddler and after doing all the chores he still have the energy to play/read with the children and sing lullabies till they sleep! hahhaahha! We need a Super Daddy huh? I have a closely-matched one at home and I can only say I am glad he doesn’t need to watch nor play soccer with his buddies! (yea! sorry… football-fans…).
As evidenced above, I relied a lot on help (machines or humans) to get the daily nifty gritty matters sorted out. If enlisting help freed up my time for my children and myself/hubby, I will gladly do so.
I enjoy an independent working life but it is not in my dreams to be a supermom because I know I cannot do everything.
I only wish my children will remember that Mummy was around to kiss their boos boos when they fell; Mummy cooked healthy meals for them; Mummy wasn’t too busy to shower and feed them; Mummy was there to read a story book and say a little prayer with them during bedtime. And even that Mummy was there to discipline, teach and punish!
And… of course, remember that Mummy also put in solid work hours so that they can lead a quality life too!
There are some easier and some tougher days. I live by this old Chinese adage :
水来土掩， 兵来将挡 [shuǐ lái tǔ yǎn bīng lái jiàng dǎng]
It simply means this in English: When the water rises, use earth to keep it back; when the soldiers approach, use a general to keep them off.
i.e. my interpretation: DEAL with it when it happens!
Xcuse’ me as I go back to the reality of bringing up my 2 irresistibly-adorable and rambunctious boys (plus earn some loose change for the milk powder!).
Are you a working mummy/daddy too? How do you make it work for your family? Share some tricks with us too!
This is a blog train hosted by Kids R Simple on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM“. Read about how the other 21 FTWMs handle their kids and household everyday from 1 June to 21 June. The aim is to give other working mums motivation, ideas and support to deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while keeping sane. We will be happy to hear your story, tips and even an encouraging word will make our day! Share your thoughts in the comments!
Coming up tomorrow on the blog train is Jolin:
Jolin is a full-time working mother to two active boys, aged 3 years old and 1 year old. She captures and documents memories of her motherhood and parenting journey on The Js Arena. Her free time after work evolves mostly around her kids – feeding, playing, bonding and sleeping with them. She doesn’t want to miss any of these moments. Join her tomorrow as she shares her tips on how to tackle her two boys when the hubby is not around.