Day in a Life (DIAL)

Hopping onto this blog train initiated by a fellow mummy blogger – Justina – to share a glimpse of what goes on behind the scene of a Mummy’s daily life.

I have a mixed identity due to my flexi-work nature. While being able to arrange my work schedules around my family’s schedules, at the same time, my work also require me to revolve around my clients’ availabilities. So that brings about a really flexible work day 24/7, 7 days a week.

Day in a Life 1

Here’s sharing a typical Friday since I am due on the blog train on a Friday.

7am to 730am

On a good day, I wake up with an uninterrupted night. After migrating  Eizac out of our room, my night rest will depend on how sharp  my hearing is and how tired I am. If I am hyper-owl at night, I will still hear Eizac asking for milk at night and get out to help my mum make the bottle of milk or soothe him back to sleep. Now that both boys sleep with their grandmother, I am grateful for the more restful nights.

I am naturally an early bird but the kind husband draws the curtain every morning to let me sleep in a while longer. 🙂 Then, It’s a habit to grab the phone next to the bed, download the emails on the phone, do a quick check on FB and reply some messages which are sent in the late night. All these within 5 mins of waking up. Not the best of habits I admit; but it’s a habit as said. :S

Breakfast is a must for me. I don’t know how some can skip breakfast and still function. I am a irritable zombie if I don’t eat. Simple fare of coffee and 2 slices of wholemeal bread with spread, tuna, ham/cheese etc – I am good as long as there is food in  the tummy.

If the kids are not up at this hour, I get 30 to 45 mins to read the newspapers quietly with my breakfast. Simple luxury often taken for granted. I am a traditional sort who still read the good old, printed newspapers. Call me old-fashioned: Just like between a real book vs an e-book, I still prefer smelling the carbon print and getting my hands dirty. :p

8am to 9am

One or two of the boys will be up. Both of them normally sleep late and thus wake up later. I wish they do a regular 9/10pm in bed and 7/8am wake up. But they don’t and that is another different story on discipline to be able to achieve it…

As Xi En is in the afternoon school session, we idle the morning away by reading some story books or doing pretend play or forever getting ready for school.

10am to 1pm

These are my unofficial working hours. Xi En gets to school and my mum normally entertains Eizac at the playground so I get to work. If I am not out for appointments, I will be in my home office, replying emails, making calls, doing paperwork, checking websites, blogging and etc. The window of working is really short before Eizac comes back for lunch. We decided on having a helper about 2 years back as the household chores and meal preparations are just too time consuming for a family with young children. Either I stop working altogether or we have a helper. With much struggles, we agreed on hired help to ease the tension at home. It is not the perfect solution since both Kim and I are not comfortable with having a stranger share our home. But probably the best interim-solution till the kids grow more independent. Sometimes it is helpful to have an extra pair of hands at hand if you know what I mean.

If there is no urgent work, I like to use this window of time to drive my mum out to do some marketing. My mum is particular about buying fresh fish from her old neighbourhood in Hougang Ave 1. That market stocks the freshest fishes at good prices according to her and so I read on some food blog sites too. Eizac is at the stage of enjoying a marketing trip (more than going to the playground!); his favourite activity being to “pay money”. He is at a vocal stage now and totally enjoys blabbing non-stop on his thoughts, his findings, observations and more. We totally enjoy a gesturing and blabbing conversation with him these days.

We lunched out if we are out or if we are at home, lunch is a simple affair too.  I am a Teochew and thus is comfortable eating plain porridge with salted egg, preserved olive veg, steam tofu with salted soya beans, pork floss or just stir-fried veg with oyster sauce. Some days when I am in the mood, I make myself some cold soba, udon, salad or instant noodles with Ajitsuke Tamago (Japanese marinated soft boiled egg). Not quite your healthy options, but there are cheat and lazy days.

1pm to 3pm

Eizac watches his cartoons and then take his bath before winding down for his nap. That’s if he actually takes one. If I am home, he will insist that I nap with him. As much as I loved an afternoon nap, I try not to. That’s because I find myself lazier if I sleep in. Instead, I tasked my mum to take him for his nap! haaa.. She can rest and I continue my work! Perfect! But Eizac is quite clingy to me these days; so I try to get out of the house during this timing either for work or appointments. Last Friday afternoon, I attended an blogger’s event with AMC – a long standing brand of pots and pans. Food is another passion and I enjoyed baking that occasional cake or bread or whipping up some new dishes for the family. Anything to do with food piques my interest and I am keen to start trying out the new AMC pot which many older generations raved about.

3pm to 5pm

Xi En gets home around this time and as much as possible, I try to be the one (or his grandmother) to pick him up from the school bus. There is something about having a helper which I am yet to be comfortable with – that is to have the helper mind the children alone. Maybe it is the horror maids’ stories, maybe the children are still young, maybe I am just paranoid, maybe it is a combination of everything. As much as possible, we try to have a family member with the children instead of just the helper.

Xi En takes a second lunch/tea at home because he do better with smaller but frequent meals through the day. He is still underweight at 15.8kg for a 5-going-on-6 boy. His weight gain during his earlier years is hampered by poor appetite and made worse by constantly falling ill. The doctor recommended giving him a yearly flu vaccination due to his frequent bronchiolitis episodes and we decided that is best for him. Since his 2nd yearly vaccination, his condition had improved so much. He used to come down with the whole flu, cough, wheezing works every other month. Now, he is cleared for at least 6 months or more.

If Eizac isn’t napping or waking up from his nap, we will have 2 hyper active boys running amok around the house. Some days, we play hide-and-seek in the house. Other days, we do dough play, duplo, cars, pretend play and just about anything.

5pm to 7pm

Most weekdays, the boys get an hour or so playground time. They don’t play well together (yet). Xi En looks for familiar friends’ faces while Eizac chased after the bigger kids to try to be part of the action. We know many kids in the neighbourhood because my mum is very sociable and makes friends quickly; which is a contrast to me as I look more aloof and some say arrogant. :S

On a typical Friday, Xi En attends a Chinese enrichment class at Berries. We weren’t one who thought that enrichment programmes were necessary for preschoolers. But lo and behold, I realised that it is somewhat necessary if you don’t have the time to teach or the school teacher don’t have the time to teach or you don’t teach creatively. We ticked all those boxes. After Xi En’s first PTM in school, his teacher admittedly said that it is not easy to get much Chinese curriculum time in school given that Chinese period is only 1/2 hour to 45 mins max. Since then, I decided before he totally dislike his mother tongue, he need to learn it with a creative angle. And so that’s when Berries came into the picture.

While Xi En is at Berries, Kim and I used this time to park-tor (date!). We seldom have time alone without kids. And so either we share my favourite waffle or walk around the nearby mall together. More simple pleasures in life (after kids came along).

7pm to 8pm

If the kids are at home, after some barefoot, mad dashing around at the playground, the boys get shooed home and eat their dinner. We have a bad habit of allowing them to have dinner while watching cartoons. As much as we tried, we are torn between allowing TV so we can get them to eat more or forcing them to eat at the dinner table and get frustrated with them knocking down plates, refusing to eat, eating really little and etc. As much as we know what is right and recommended, after a day of work, we do take the easier way out so that everyone can have some peace. Do anyone have creative solutions to share here?

This is also the time when Kim and I can chat a little over dinner about the day’s event (or non-events).

8pm to 10pm

The children get their bath time and TV is switched off. We played a little or read borrowed books from the library during this time. Xi En is an avid reader though sometimes I wonder if he really understood what he read. He enjoyed mostly non-fiction books on maps, geography, space and sciences such as burps and farts and the likes! For fiction books, somehow weirdly he is hooked on mermaid books and stories lately. He just proclaimed he is getting married to a female school mate who is crazy over mermaids too. I used that opportunity to coax him to go for swimming lessons just like the mermaids he adores (he dislikes water on the face and breathing underwater).

11pm to 12am

Yes, both the boys only sleep at this witching hour. Eizac used to go to bed earlier but now that both are in the same room, they bounce around, ask for milk umpteen times, request for the last story, say that last prayer, smooch that last kisses and hugs before they eventually sleep. Night feeds are still on-going and so I prepared a tray of necessary items so that everything is at hand.

Xi En is learning to say prayers before he sleeps. A typical one goes like this:

Thank you God for the good day today. Please help Mummy recover soon (from a splinter in the finger). Keep us strong and healthy so we won’t fall sick (we pray this everyday with and for him since he is a baby). Help Eizac not to hit me (errm….). I love XX (our neighbour who has a collection of mermaid books). I like to married XX. Help Mummy to close more deals (He overheard our conversations.)Thank you Jesus for the good night rest and sweet dreams. And all God’s adults say Amen (we say All God’s little children; he improvises).”

If I didn’t fall sleep with them, I would catch up on some TV drama serials (yes, I am a drama person), Facebook, instagram, some miscellaneous work or pillow chat with the husband. Some days, my work brings me home only around this hour. But we actually do prefer such work arrangement, knowing that my boys are with their Daddy/grandmother and not left alone with the helper gives me peace at work.

12am to 1am

That’s my bed time on most days if I am not too tired out by the days’ events. I try not to work or blog at night unless I really have to meet deadlines.

And so that conclude a typical weekday for me. I am really thankful for a flexible work option which brings in some income and yet I can be around for my children, ferry them for classes, pick them up after school and spend some quality time with them all in a day. 6 years ago, I gave up a stable, salaried job and took up a fully commission-based career because I find life too short to spend in the office jus because I need to “clock the work hours”. Being my own boss isn’t a bed of roses, but I am thankful for the referrals, the support from friends, relatives and clients who get things going for me. Sometimes it sounds like I want the best of everything, but who doesn’t and try? For now, I am happy even if I don’t earn that million dollars or climb the highest corporate ladder. While the kids still want Mummy, I hope to be around to cherish every moment and celebrate every milestones.

Next up on this blog train in Edlyn (MummyEd)

Edlyn

MummyEd works from home whenever she has the chance to, but with 3 kids of ages 3 5 and 7 years old, those moments are few and far between. She blogs at http://mummyed.wordpress.com and has never been happier to leave the corporate world behind.

A peek into the after hours of a FTWM

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? Smile

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! Smile

1) Machines

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.

2) Humans

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! Smile

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! Open-mouthed smile

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! Smile

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!

A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM

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.

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SAHM vs FTWM

Prior to motherhood, I had always enjoyed working (more than schooling!). Not so much because of the work itself, but mainly because it is a sense of achievement and satisfaction one derived from accomplishing certain goals at work. Maybe it is the competitive streak in me that wants to be the best I can be.

 

But lots have changed ever since pregnancy to motherhood. This March, I quit my full time job at RW and decided to become a Stay-At-Home-Mother (SAHM). Somewhat. I knew that I am not suited to be a “full-fledge” SAHM as I do not excel in household chores and baby minding. And on top of it, a dual income family enjoys more financial freedom. Thus, the decision to venture into property – I became an estate agent. Armed with a honours degree in real estate, I decided to tackle this full commission-based but flexible hours job.

 

Probably the decision came easy because I had such a tough pregnancy that I want to give my best (time) to my son. I am not so sure if I would have done the same if I had an easy going pregnancy. Previously, I had always admired friends/cousin who willingly left their jobs to concentrate on taking care/educating their young kids. This is very often a comprise in social interaction and finances in many middle-income families. BUT now I totally understand why they made the choice – The rewards totally outweigh the sacrifices!

 

Many of my Full-Time-Working-Mothers (FTWM) friends lament that they missed the milestones of their children. The first crawl, the first waving of hands, the first step, the first word, the first clap and etc. And hearing the milestones are just so different from witnessing them yourself. I knew I don’t want to hear; I want to be part of it!

Of course, the FTWM have their own woes – mostly $ driven which I can’t deny is a very critical survival factor in this society. It is probably a very tough decision.

 

But being a SAHM definitely have its own drawbacks too. Everyday is about the same – wake up (very early mostly), feed, burp, wash, change. And the cycle just kept repeating itself. When the baby becomes a toddler, then the headache is to find things for them to play (to exhaust their energy) before their nap. All these can be fun if you just do it for a few days. But when days become weeks and months, it can really be a test of patience and energy. It is easier if you have help (another pair of hands) but I knew of some friends who simply coped on their own. Thinking back – I really do not know how our mothers did it!

 

On the grandmothers’ topic – they are just amazing! I am able to work flexibly now because of the great help my mum gave me. Sometimes, I think she is physically much stronger than I am. And of course, she is also like an octopus! She can wash, cook, mop, watch baby and etc all together! And it is amazing she is still sane at the end of the day! Kudos to all grandmothers and my mum especially! 🙂

 

So what am I actually. I am a hybrid. A SAHM cum FTWM! I am happy to be part of Xi En’s growing up years and yet glad that I can keep in touch with work and earn some pocket money. It is probably the best arrangement at this stage. Though definitely $ is less than before, the joy of being there outweighs it out.

Recalling what my cousin shared with me – I want to be there when he still wants me. 🙂

 

2 happy faces

 

“For what will profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul.” Mark 8:36

 

 

Disclaimer:  This is just Eve babbling away on a rainy day.. Nothing against any SAHM or FTWM. Enjoy your role whatever choice you made. 🙂