It intrigues me how other mums and dads spend time with their children and run the household at the same time. Reading the many awesome blogs before me in this blog train, I have nothing but admiration for these blogger mums and dads. Being parents isn’t easy, with hardly time for ourselves, and we can still find the time to blog and even participate in this blog train! If you hear a blogger mum/dad say that blogging is his/her hobby, please please please do trust him/her. If there is no passion, no one blogger mum/dad will be able to sustain spending gruelling hours of blogging at unearthly time at the expense of sacrificing sleep and energy.
Remember the last time I blog on my Daily Routine as a FTWM 2 years ago? Now, things have changed a great deal mainly because the house chores part is taken care of. I need not fret over changing the bedsheets weekly, washing the bathrooms, washing dishes, mopping floor and washing clothes every evening and before work. However, it doesn’t mean that with a helper now, I am leaving everything to her. Some things I still insist on doing by myself, especially when these things concern the children. I still insist on waking up at 6am just to be the one to kiss them awake, make breakfast for them, ensure they finish their breakfast and see them off to school. I will wash their favourite bolsters and stuff toys by myself. I stitch up the duckie’s torn off wing, fix their toys, cook their favourite dishes. So, having a lived-in helper really is not replacing me as a mummy, but freeing up time so that I get to reserve my energy and spend the limited precious time with my children after work and on weekends.
Weekdays are days of routine and weekends are days for flexibility, relaxing and for family bonding. When it comes to blogging, I usually do it out of sight of the children. After all, blogging is the least important task in a day and it is more of an indulgence which I can only do during limited slots of me-time. I blog early in the morning when the kids go to school and before the toddler is awake. I blog during commuting. I blog while waiting for my kids to finish their art class. I blog after the kids go to sleep.
So, how is a day’s life for me to juggle family, work and blog? And how is a week’s life for me to juggle family, work and blog? Where do I find inspiration for blogging?
The alarm rang off, I went back to sleep for 5min. Then I got up, washed up and changed into jogging wear.
I woke Master 9. Two minutes past. I gently pulled him up and pushed him along to the washroom.
Then, I went to check on their allowance and gave them pocket money. I do this on a daily basis partly to check how much they had spent the day before. Not so much as distrust but more on checking if they eat much or not during recess and lunch.
I woke up Missy 11. She usually prepares herself faster than her brother so she can sleep 5 min more.
While both of them were getting ready for school, I sneaked into their room to scribble some Good Luck messages on 2 slips of Rilakuma notes. That day, both of them had a competition of their own. I slipped the notes into their pencil boxes to surprise them. I went back to the dining table, prepared their breakfast and talked to them about their day ahead. Sometimes, it is just me rattling off some commands like finish your sushi/bread/spaghetti/egg, drink your Milo/milk, quickly tie your hair, do you have last minute notifications for me to sign, etc etc.
I woke the hub up. He drives them to school everyday. But that day he decided to sleep in and asked if I could bring the kids to take the public bus. So, I got the kids out the door and walked both of them to the bus stop. I love seeing them up the bus. On the 3 minutes walk to the bus stop, I could talk much to them. The hubby thinks that I am disturbing the peace and quiet in the morning and wonders how a person can talk so much just minutes after she wakes up. Hey! I have to treasure every second of bonding time!
After seeing them up the bus and waving to them till they could no longer see me, I started jogging all the way to the park connector.
On days that I jog, I will have a good half hour of peaceful moments and that is when I think of ideas on activities, where to bring the kids to, think of solutions to a parenting problem and also find an inspiration for my blog.
On days if I do not jog, I will start blogging on my laptop after I see the kids and hub to the lift. I do not have much time to blog as on most days, my toddler wakes up slightly past 7 and there goes my precious me-time. Sometimes, it is choosing between blogging for an assignment or marking my kids’ assessment books. I treasure my short me-time, and I need to be very focus for the morning to be able to finish an obligated blog post, or reply readers’ comments, blog emails or simply complete planning for my kids’ academic revision or to reply to school notifications. It is also at this very short time that I write diary to my kids. On this particular morning, I decided to pick up a book to read.
If the toddler wakes up before 7am, there goes my time to do the 101 things I could have done. Well, I take it positively that this is the limited one on one time I have with him in a day. How long more do I have to enjoy my toddler waking up to find me before he goes to formal school like his siblings? So, I will lie beside him while he drinks his milk, play puzzles with him, read to him while he poos, and then he will go in and out of the room, sometimes driving his kiddie car into the bathroom while I put on my make up to get ready for work.
My mum pops by. It is a blessing to stay near my mum. She comes by almost daily to chat with me while I eat my breakfast. You know, ever since I was a child, she had always been there at the dining table whenever I took my meals. I was never alone at mealtimes. She is a good listening ear while I simply offload my day’s events to her. She is my BFF for life. Now, I try to be there at my kids’ mealtimes as much as I can. Being a FTWM, it is a pity I can’t be there during their lunch time to listen to their stories from school. My Father-in-law will come over to our house every morning too. Both of us will catch up on the kids at this time together with my mum. It is a good chance for the 2 in laws to talk and bond a good relationship. That’s also why we can travel together harmoniously once every year as a big family. I feel so blessed.
I got the toddler ready for his pre-school. I packed his snack box and bag and helped him changed into his uniform. He can wear his own socks now and on this particular morning, he wanted me to walk him to school. Hmm… but I was running late for work, darling. Nevermind, once in a while of reporting late should not reflect too badly on me. Not to mention I work late for half the time. Usually my Father-in-law is the one who brings him to school. So that morning, the hub waited for me and I happily took the toddler by the hand and walked him to school. He didn’t talk much but sang instead. I kissed him before he walked into the class and waved goodbye.
Being a FTWM, such moments are much treasured. Just the short walk to school gives me contentment, and it triggers my SAHM dream again.
At work, I thought of my kids’ competitions and made a last minute decision to show my support to Master 9 at his Weiqi competition. I rescheduled a conference call and applied for urgent half day leave. Nothing is more important than supporting my child. After a work discussion, I saw that I had missed a phone call from school! Oh dear! What could the matter be? I called back and was told that Master 9 was running a fever! But he looked so well this morning! I dropped my work, sent an urgent message to my boss and rushed to his school to fetch him some medicine as he had decided to go ahead with the competition nevertheless. I ensured he was better just before the match and left him for a few hours and returned just in time for the prize ceremony. Parents were not allowed near the child when competition was on. So I left him there and told the teacher to call me if he showed discomfort. Then being a busy FTWM, I had to treasure my every second and I arranged a last minute lunch with a good friend who is a SAHM. I could always count on her for company for last minute weekday tea session as I know what time to catch her in her flexible hours when her kids go to school. Oh, I envy her for her flexibility to meet me!
Master 9 got bronze in the competition and I was there to see him up the stage. Working full-time will not stop me from showing support at such opportunities. These are the important things I hold dearly.
We returned home from the competition. Master 9 had a sleep since he was not feeling well. Dinner time is an important time for us. I make it a point to return home early everyday to dine with the kids. On most days, the kids are always interrupting each other to talk to me about their day’s events. I enjoy listening. However, recently I learnt that I need improvement in my skills to ask about their day. I am still not getting enough insight to what goes on in their day in school. Ok, I shall research on this and I made a mental note this goes on the blog inspiration list.
On most days, the kids do their homework and one would have thought everything is peaceful, but that is not the case. While Missy 11 can be in a playful and jovial mood to tell endless silly jokes, Master 9 sniffed in some “laughing gas” somehow and laughed non-stop. Being an active boy, he usually sits on half his bottom at the edge of the chair to do his homework and walks around in between his assignments. To make matter worse, Master 4 comes into the room and start jumping on the bed. This enrages Master 9 and then they start to fight. I have to put a stop to all these nonsense amid the chaos and no one seems to be listening to me. Sometimes I end up shouting or threatening the cane to bring to a few seconds of quietness before someone starts a laughter. Then as if on cue, the 3 of them restart the “orchestra” all over again.
It can be hard to handle these 3 active kids alone on weeknights when they are all trying to unwind for the day and all their pent up energy and feelings to be released at the same time. They are all trying to get my attention and I can hardly decide on who to attend to. It gets on my nerves when it comes to serious teaching when one of the child needs help on his homework and I have to settle the noisy chatter and fights in the background. Another research to solve this problem and document on the blog.
I announced bedtime and usually no one seems to treat me seriously. Either one kid is still busy learning her spelling at the eleventh hour or the other one can dance back and forth on the way to brushing his teeth. On seeing that I am still not at his side for his bedtime milk, the toddler will come and jump on his brother’s bed again with a cheeky smile on his face. Kel blames my lack of focus on creating a calm bedtime. But, how can one focus when the kids suddenly have thousand and one things to get me to do just 5 minutes before bedtime? Last minute signing of notifications, spelling books, asking when I will buy this and that for their craft work, miscellaneous fees, thumbdrive, pens, and on and on…
Lights out. I stayed in the bedroom with my 2 elder kids. The darkness has a magic on its own to dish out the kids’ innermost thoughts. It is usually before bedtime that the kids have so much secrets to tell me. And when Kel is not back home, I will be in the room with the toddler. Similarly, while he may not tell me secrets, he will sing songs that he learnt in school. He will kiss me again and again. Ooh… my little angel has returned and ahh… the joy of motherhood 🙂
Finally I got to sneak out of one of the kids’ bedroom and opened up my laptop. Whew! Peace at last! This was the best time to work on my blog, edit pictures, back up photos, reply comments, do up my editorial calendar, and start writing. I try not to sleep after 12 midnight and I really should sleep earlier. I don’t blog every night but I try to do so 2 days of a week. Half my time are done blogging while I commute. Sleep is too precious for me to run the next day’s events. Oh, it was near 12am and I still had so much to talk to Kel! That night, I ended up sleeping at 1 am.
On weekends, while I hope to sleep late, my toddler will wake up the same time as he does on weekdays. I can hardly sleep in. I bring him to the playground or to the market for groceries on Sundays. This is to let Kel sleep in and I volunteer to be the one to sacrifice my sleep so that he and the kids are not woken up by the toddler’s chatter. It is also my one on one time with him, to compensate the neglect to him on weeknights when I have to pay more attention to the 2 elder ones.
Weekends are much treasured days of family bonding activities. The kids are able to watch TV, do their own stuff and even have technology time. On some nights, we have a home movie treat and the kids get to sleep past 12am. Being a blogger, I need to be more active on social media. So, on and off, I have to post some pictures on Instagram. Will taking a picture of us watching a late night movie at home be good for sharing? But how should I take? Take a picture of the kids watching TV? Yet, I cannot show the faces because I want to minimize the exposure of their faces? Or take the picture of the TV screen and add a caption? Would be a boring instagram post. Forget it. Just enjoy the movie.
Kel cooks for one of the weekend meals, which kind of gradually sets the family tradition of dining together on weekends for the future. I am thinking so far into the days when my married kids come back for meals. To entice the kids back home, first, capture their taste buds. Ok, another blog inspiration on family bonding post.
I seldom blog on weekends. Time is too precious to be spent blogging. I prefer that the 2 elder kids and I each take a book and read in the room. Such are the times of simple pleasures to be remembered. I want to set good family traditions that will hopefully be passed on to the next generation. As I thought of this, I wanted to take a picture of us reading together and post on Instagram. But, would anyone care about a picture showing 2 kids reading? I did not want to take a selfie showing me in the picture as well. Too fake. And the angle would be too difficult to take. Delete.
I am not a very avid Instagram user. I am constantly in the dilemma of posting pictures on social media and often find myself spending more than 15 minutes to edit the picture, collage it and think of a good caption. Sometimes, it spoils the moment to post the photo and I end up giving up more often than not.
Every weekend, I will set aside about 2 hours to revise on academic with the kids. This is the only time they have “tuition” in a week. The kids never complain. Well, they know how lucky they are that their parents do not impose high expectations. We are no tiger mum or dad. We prefer play time. They get to scoot around in the neighbourhood and play at the playground. Sometimes, we go for impromptu places or just drive around to explore Singapore.
On some weekends, the kids stay over at my mum’s place together with their cousins. The next morning, they have breakfast together, and they play at the playground for the entire morning. Relationship with cousins have to be cherished while they are still young. My hope which is also my brother’s is for the siblings and cousins to remain as close when they grow up.
While my kids nurture relationship with their cousins and grandparents, I treasure mine very much too. Every Sunday, I will have breakfast with my parents before heading to the market. Relationships are important to me. As much as I can, I squeeze in time to spend with my loved ones and people whom I treasure. This is probably a healthy feed to my mental well-being. While exercising strengthens my physical health, nurturing relationships with my loved ones strengthens my mental health.
The week is over. And a new week starts. The busyness will continue. But, the joy of being a mum, a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister and friend is what makes my everyday life fulfilling and me, a contented girl.
Stay tune for tomorrow’s blogger mum Adeline from www.adesays.com who is a mum to a little boy. What started as a blog to document her passion in sewing women apparels has now evolved to include her motherhood journey of ups and downs, joy and challenges. Read about her week as she juggles between family, work and her passion to sew!