end-of-year-wrap-up-2016

It is interesting to read my past resolutions and then reflecting on where I am at the end of each year. My past resolutions usually revolve around the same common things like:

  • Cut down social media
  • Live in the moment
  • Slow Down

I think it is alright to repeat some resolutions. Life changes with each year and sometimes life events prevent us from keeping to our targets. For some resolutions, they need more conscious effort and change of personal habits. Most importantly, we need to reflect and check on what we have done correctly and let them continue; or for those that we did not handle so well, we need to learn from life’s lessons.

As I realized that I had not really done up any goals right in the beginning of the year, I shall reflect upon the following areas that kind of sum up my life in 2016:

1) Health and fitness
2) Hobbies
3) My Life
4) Family Life
5) My random thoughts

1) Health and Fitness

Getting in shape and maintaining good health have always been a priority for me. I need to be in tip top condition to mind little children and run the household. No wonder a friend marveled that mums are the BEST EMPLOYEES because we can multi-task super well within a very tight timeline! Don’t you agree?

Exercising

I have signed up for the National Steps Challenge and synced it to my Samsung Health app on my mobile. Ever since then, I have been diligently checking my steps. For the first few weeks, I was tracking my meal calories too, but eventually gave it up as it was quite a tedious tracking. I was not sure if the represented meal that I chose from the list was correctly matching the calories that I was taking in. Plus I was not going to succumb as a calorie tracking servant. However, tracking it for a few weeks helped me to understand that a bowl of dry mushroom and pork noodles has a calorie of 500cal! My usual jog of 3km only burns 160cal! I need to choose my options carefully and remind myself to eat in moderation of everything.

This app motivates me to walk more. For the second half of this year, I have been walking to and fro the MRT station everyday to work and back home. Most days, I clock about 8000 steps. On weekends, I can clock more than 10k steps because I need to run after the kids and ferry them to and fro playgrounds, classes and running errands.

I am doing Pilates once a week. But I have stopped jogging due to the school holidays. I have to sleep more while I can. Once school starts, I will have to wake up at 615am everyday, then jogging or brisk walking can resume, yeah!

Eating

A recent medical report showed that I have tipped the scale and now officially “OVERWEIGHT”! This is the first time I have fallen into the unhealthy range in BMI and you bet I am super upset. I am determined to shed off 3 kg by Chinese New Year which is in a month’s time. I have already shed off 1.5 kg with the following changes to my diet:

Eating salad with minimal dressing twice a week for lunch.
During dinner time, I will cut down my rice intake to 2 tablespoonfuls and eat more vegetables and drink more soup.
On weekends, I will still eat as per normal with my family. But, I am consciously choosing healthier options even during this feasting period.

Sleeping

I find it challenging to go to bed early. The night is so short and I have so many things to do with the kids. After the kids sleep at 10pm, that is when I have my own me-time to do my own things. I will need to work more on getting adequate sleep, perhaps sleeping early and waking up an hour earlier than usual.

2) Hobbies

Reading

This is probably the only thing that I am consistent in. To date, I have read 10 books this year with a couple that I was not able to finish due to library date due or simply it was too depressing. I have never had such a thirst for reading in my school days. I will certainly be reading into 2017.

1) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
2) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
3) It’s Easy To Cry by Subhas Anandan
4) Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph
5) 最美的一课 by 杨红樱
6) Charlotte’s Web by E. B White
7) Your Time-starved Marriage by Les and Leslie Parrott
8) When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us by Jane Adams
9) It’s OK to Go Up The Slide by Heather Shumaker
10) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling
11) Harry Potter – The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Baking

I have been baking more frequently these days. While I am no master in baking, I enjoy the baking moments with the kids and even with their friends when they come over. It is encouraging when the kids have all praises for my cakes, cookies and ice-cream.

3) My Life

Working Life

This year is a year of career change. I have never thought that I would quit my job of 11 years and change to a different industry and different role. It was a rare opportunity that came knocking on my door and I could not have left at a better time. This new company is a true “Work-Life Balance” company that I need badly. It has flexi-work arrangements and is pro-family. Next year, I will need to spend more time with my eldest as she will be taking her PSLE exams, and at the same time spend more time with my young kids.

A few days ago, Master 4 decided that I would not be going to work anymore. He told me,”Mummy, you are not going to work anymore.” in his simple and limited words. But I totally got what he meant! He is such a cutie, isn’t he? He wants to make a decision for me to quit my work!

With the acceptance of this new job, it means my SAHM dream has to be shelved off too. Perhaps it will never come true if we never come to the day when we can live comfortably on one income. Giving up financial freedom is a big consideration for me now that the kids are older. I love that I can buy gifts for them, sometimes on impulse and bring them to restaurants during our 1-on-1 dates. I can bring my parents to hi-tea and pamper myself from time to time. Having 2 incomes will also not burden my spouse too much and lead to unnecessary stress and tension in our daily interaction. Money is important, but I believe in going through thick and thin with my spouse as long as we are healthy and happy.

After work hours

I am determined to spend quality time and do more activities with the kids just like a SAHM if I were one. I manage to make an Advent calendar to surprise the kids every day till Christmas. During school holidays, I take off from work to bring them out, sometimes for 1-on-1 with each kid. On normal days, I try to read to Master 4 every night and spend some alone time with the elder 2 before bed. Most days are challenging due to homework and academic coaching, so we will spend more time on weekends together.

For what I could not do as a SAHM during day time, I try my best to make up for it in the evening and weekends. This is also made possible when I have a good helper to save my time from doing chores. When my helper goes back to her home town next year to get married, I may return to helperless days. I am pretty sure we can manage alright to split the chores in the family as we had done before.

Connecting with family and friends

On connecting with family and friends, I am keeping up nicely with friends on girl nights’ out, perhaps a little too frequent. I do have many good friends to catch up with. I will have to work on dating my mum and dad and hubby more frequently next year. Although I had a couple holiday trip with my hubby this year, I feel that I am still not spending enough couple time with him.

4) Family Life

…on BIG FAMILY TRAVEL TRIP

This year, we have brought the kids on a road trip to Malaysia in June and a staycation in December. Compared to last year, this is a much humble year in family holiday plans. We missed our big family trip too. Time is not on our side. It is my wish to bring both my hub’s parents and my own parents on a trip every year while all are healthy and able to walk and travel. I am a little disappointed that we could not do it this year but we will definitely plan one for next year after Missy’s big national exams.

Many of my friends around me are surprised that we bring both sets of parents on holiday trips every year. First, the expenses are high and it would be much cheaper to travel as a family of 5 instead of 9. Second, most parents and in-laws cannot get along but we are lucky to have ours on very good relationship and are good travel buddies. Third, the itinerary is challenging to cater for old and young at the same time.

Everyone in the family looks forward to a BIG Family Trip together. Our kids love their Grandpas and Grandmas’ company. Kel and I love to bring our parents around the world. Such happy family moments are to be cherished and so what if we do not have much savings left after each big family trip? Money can be earned but family moments like this are hard to come by and we wish to continue our annual big family trips as long as our parents are able and healthy.

…on Family Bonding

We have lots of bonding opportunities throughout the year. We brought the kids to many places to play. I find that the places we are going are gradually taking a shift towards catering to bigger kids. One good thing is that the elder 2 still enjoy playing childish games with the littlest one. Recently, I got a toy car garage for Master 4, and the elder 2 played on it with cars till midnight! It is amazing to know they are enjoying simple toys and games rather than technology.

This year, my elder 2 have been on very good sibling relationship. They had their phase of non-stop squabbling and fights, so it is heartening to know they are on such good terms now. For this, I am extremely pleased and can’t ask for more.

5) My Random Thoughts

Contentment is really about being happy with what you have in your life. We are not a well-to-do family, but that does not mean we cannot give our kids a happy family. Who doesn’t want to be debt-free and have loads of money to spend? However, as what my hub says, if you earn more, you spend more.

Right now, I am contented with staying in our cosy HDB flat. I am contented that we can spend time with our kids every evening. I am contented that we have home-cooked meals to eat. I am contented that our kids and their grandparents have strong bonding. I am contented that we can still afford to use our savings to travel as a big family. I am contented that we are a happy family. Most importantly, I am contented that we are all healthy.

There are so many things to be contented about. I would like to end 2016 with feeling contented about my life even though it is certainly not a bed of roses. Perhaps it is about reaching a maturity in life when material things do not matter as much as good health and family ties, and making do with whatever I have and owned. Somehow I am treasuring my current life more than ever and I am really, really contented.

At this very moment, I am a happy woman, a happy wife and a happy mummy. I hope everyone is happy and contented at where they are now and able to find happiness in simple things in life.

2016 is a happy year. Toast to many happy moments in 2017!!!