Letting my mother role spill over 

This week, I made a mistake.

I allowed the emotions of me as a mother to spill over into the me as a worker – I cried in front of my colleagues (to my own horror really, on hindsight).

That morning, I woke up elated “Little Foot is exactly 2.5 years young today!” And I texted Papa to get some small cake for celebration. It was tradition since she was born to mark the half-year milestone. And the little lady really loves a good chocolate cake these days.

Work is always busy, but this week was particularly crappy. And that day was the start of a series of atomic shit hitting rhe ceiling.  And then despite my remarks about having something on in the evening, and I had to leave, somehow I found myself being made to stay back. AGAIN.

The frustration started to build up because this is happening rather too frequently. Despite me already burning  midnight oil on Fridays or Saturdays just to work on things so as not to waste time or push too close to deadlines.

In my blog post ‘Of working mothers and our unnecessary guilt‘ over a year ago,  I have said this very clearly , as a working mother, I do not allow myself to show my emotions at work.

…We don’t bring our moods to work. Because moods and tantrums makes us less effective at work….

And then I allowed myself to let my frustrations get the better of me that evening as the clock ticked away, one by one people carried their bags and left and a few asked me “Why are you still here?” The good-natured show of concern for me still being there simply allowed the dam I had built to break. I really couldn’t care less anymore, at that point, what people thought of me.

And so the dam broke.

On hindsight, if I didn’t waste time crying, I could have typed faster. If I didn’t waste time airing my “grievances”, I could have shut down sooner. If I had just stood up and insisted that something at home was more important that evening, I would have made it in time for the cake session.

And so in the end, I reached home after Little Foot had cut the cake and done many replays of “Light candle, Little Foot sing ‘Happy Birthday’, Little Foot blow out candle”.

She happily informed me when I got to our lift landing and found her there waiting for me that she ate a chocolate cake and she had burnt her lip a little on the candle. “Mummy! It’s hot hot!”

Taking a picture after I missed the party

It was past her bedtime and Papa had dragged for as long as he could before he took out the cake. I understood he had tried his best.

This is every working mother’s recurrent nightmare. Somewhere along the way, there will inevitably be something at work will make you miss the party, miss a milestone, miss a moment. Perhaps cumulatively, it will make you the absent mother.

It is a fate that no working mother can avoid. So really, who am I to think I am special or right to demand that my after hours time be out-of-bounds?

As a working mother, I try my best to ensure that my motherhood status does not become a convenient excuse to shun work or make others take on my load. Put simply, I don’t ask for concessions at work just because I am a mother. Since we take the same pay., as far as I can, I will put in the same amount of effort and hard work as the rest. I detest people who pull this trump card out to ask single or childless colleagues to take the odd hours shift, or settle something that crops up in the weekend. Singles and childless folks have their own life too, and they too have private affairs and families which are just as precious as ours.

Yet I cannot help but feel that perhaps, there are times when something gotta give, and maybe, just maybe, I should speak up.

 

My child is in a full-day childcare and gave up her right to my time while I am at work. The least she deserves is that work don’t encroach into her time with me at night and on weekends. 

Just like employers don’t want distracted workers, children don’t want distracted parents. Simple yet so hard to make a reality in this society. 

If only people stopped to think that way, then perhaps we will stop promoting this crazy culture here in Singapore where people just work longer and longer, and start expecting others to do the same.  No, we do not get paid overtime, and in this day and age with phones and mobile devices, work just encroaches more and more into our family time. For one, the phone messages never stops, and that is in itself a destructive distraction from family.

What will I do next? I have no idea, but at this point, I can only give you the other side of the story. Stop invading your employees’ personal time unnecessarily. Sure if there is a crisis, we will drop everything and rush back, but this privilege is abused/taken as a given, overtime, burnout occurs, people stop reacting. Like the boy who cries wolf, by the time the real wolf comes, you can bet, half the people who can help would have left the farm in search of a better place.

 

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Family Day! 

Today is a good day! #tgif!

On leave to spend time with the family. 

1st up: GV Gold Class! 

In our late 30s and this is the first time we went to experience the atas GV Gold Class! Finally utilised the prize I won in January during D&D. And Wonder Woman was so Wowowow!! Totally loved the movie! (But I  really can’t justify paying over  $30 for a ticket)

Next Up: School Family Day! 

We were invited to the Family Day organised by the preschool Little Foot is in. Displayed my hopelessness at painting and handicrafts (It’s not the same as scrapbooking!), also displayed my uselessness with a Capteh (a feathery shuttercock from yesteryears)

Grand Finale: coffee and cake 

Oh we love to bring Little Foot along for our hipster cafe sessions. So here we are with a Rainbow cake to share, Flat White for the Papa and an Iced chocolate topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Happiness is so simple yet so terribly hard to achieve because of the pace of worklife in Singapore. 

Can’t believe one has to take leave in order to just mute the phone and spend time with the people who matter the most. 

In any case, it was a good day even with small pockets of tantrums from Little Foot. 

If only everyday was like today. 

Mothers’ Day… dilemma dilemma

Mothers’ Day weekend was a flurry of activities for us, and from the floods of postings on my Facebook wall, everyone too, was busy showing some family love. 

So what exactly is the dilemma I want to talk about?  For a mother of a toddler, me to be exact,it is this: 

Actually on Mothers’ Day, the inner voice is asking to be let off from being a Mother with all the duties and responsibilities for one day. 

Really how odd, that on a day that celebrates me being a mother, I just want a chance to siam!(the word means escape in Hokkien, but so much better expression-wise). 
Motherhood can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Especially when, unlike work, there is no “I quit!”. I think SAHMs get it worse. There is no leave to take, no calling in sick, 365 Days a year, except for those few precious getaway moments. 

SATURDAY 

So on the morning of Saturday, I woke up wondering if I would get to sit back, put my feet up on a chair and relax with a book and coffee. 

One can always dream… and I got that one proper “me time” slot. While baby went for her class. I sat at Yakun with kaya toast and coffee using a $10 note Papa Long passed to me. I left my purse in the car accidentally (#truestory).
And then the day found a momentum of its own.

Mothers’ day lunch for me at Yacht Club –  Little Foot continued with her usual demanding self and she thought the complimentary  cake was for one of her countless “birthdays”. Cute. 

Papa spent the entire evening fixing the new bunk bed that arrived. That left me and Aunty Lily to entertain Little Foot and keep her away from the “site”. I couldn’t resist trolling Papa Long with the popcorn shot. 

I spent midnight to 3am working on slides for work after Little Foot finally went to bed. 
SUNDAY

No helper day. 

Woke up and end up bathing the princess. Papa Long has blisters on his hands from fixing the bunk bed, I decided to relief him of the duty. He slept for awhile more.

Went to music class, and we were informed that class size was big for this day (quite a few kids came for trial), so we could only have 1 parent accompanying. Again I looked at him and said you go la kopi. I knew he was aching all over. 

Lunch and shopping at United Square.. after Udon and animal rides, I end up carrying Little Foot in carrier while she snoozed. Backbreaking nowadays. 

Went to my parents’ place to chill… Little Foot woke up and there goes my chance for a nap. Papa again snoozed. The bunk bed fixing really no joke! Luckily, he bathed her before we left. 

Dinner with Papa Long’s family for celebrations. Papa was very good – he fed Little Foot, sharing the seabass, mushroom soup and she got a milkshake too. Then a lot of running around by the Little toddler at the open space outside the restaurant and several rounds up and down a set of escalators until we had to conduct “Ops Extraction” and carried a meltdown toddler crying all the way to the car. 

Throughout the day,  I was so exhausted at some points that I simply dozed off while we were on the roads. We arrived at our carpark… me with my head leaning back, mouth hanging open..about to drool in my snooze when I was woken up by the sound of the engine turning off. 

I need my bed…

MONDAY

Celebrations in Little Foot’s school. A Kawaii sandwich-making session which was mainly us mothers trying  to make something decent while the kids kept trying to eat everything up. I loved the singing performance by our toddlers and the tear-jerking photo montage they played to kick off the celebrations. 

Unable to convince Little Foot to stay  on in school for the rest of the day, I walked her back to my parents’ place… and tried to interest her with nature. She loved it and we had a happy walk together. I showed her dandelions and mimosas, the little plants which my mum showed me when I was a child. 

And so she followed me to Hai Di Lao for lunch with my mother. Luckily Aunty Lily also came along. We all could eat decently when we took turns to look after her. I think I actually enjoyed it more than if she didn’t come along.

Went home and I finally cannot take it anymore.. knocked out cold for a late afternoon nap. 

There you have it… this was Mothers’ Day weekend for me. I wanted to rest but I am also aware of my roles and responsibilities… and in the end, at so many junctures of decision-making, I chose to give love, rather than insist that I am queen for the weekend. 

On reflection, it was probably a more fulfilling weekend than if I had been left to veg out alone at home while Papa brought Little Foot out. 

Next year, I will still ask for time to rest. And hopefully there won’t be unexpected events like the delivery of the bunk bed to thwart any best laid plans, but I really do enjoy the company of family and I would still want to spend time with them. 

The book and coffee can wait. Ok maybe give me the coffee hehheh. 

For my third Mothers’ Day, I was presented with this flower made by Little Foot. A gift that money can’t quite buy is the best gift of all 🙂

In Little Foot’s words…

 “THE END!”

A Mother’s Perspective – Mothers’ Day, A Day of Gratitude 

Saturday Morning. Tomorrow is Mothers’ Day.

I walked past a confectionary and saw the long queue. Among them are harried men holding little kids’ hands. I know they must be thinking, “better do something else sure kena!” 

I smiled to myself…. Papa Long did this last year too when he strapped Little Foot to him and secretly went to print photos to make a last minute card. 

Sitting down with my breakfast, I wonder – Has Mothers’ Day become as commercialised like Valentine’s Day? Perhaps, could every day be a special day to show love to your mum? 

This will be my 3rd Mothers’ Day with Little Foot, and Monday will be the first time I take part in the school Mothers’ Day activity with her. 

At this point, I felt that one word describes what I think this day is about. 

GRATITUDE. 

Not just me, as a daughter grateful to my Mother, but me being grateful as well that I am and still am a Mother. 

Over the week, we read about the conclusion of a young mother who felt too overwhelmed with the role and life, that she lept to her death clutching her 2-month-old baby with her. 

Yesterday we read about the sentencing of the Taiwanese murderer who had decapitated a 4-year-old girl in front of her mother. 

Some mothers bury their child…

Some mothers are battling illnesses to stay alive for their child…

Some mothers are raising funds and doing everything they can to keep their ailing child alive…

Some ladies are waiting and trying and still waiting for the day they can hold a child in their arms and say “I am a mother”…

And some children do not have a mother to buy flowers for or cut a cake with. 

And hence Gratitude. 

Because I am have my Little Foot, getting bugged incessantly by her, sharing food with her, able to hold her in my arms. By God’s grace. 


A little gesture from her to me, from me to my mum simply acknowledges this. 

Nothing fancy needed. In fact, just some time out to recharge will be the most appropriate for mothers like me… but end of the day, let me hold her to sleep, let me say, 

Thank you Little Foot, for being my daughter and choosing me as your mother. 

Love as always, 

Mummy Joyc

P.S. Thanks, Papa Long for attending classes with Little Foot today so I can actually eat and drink leisurely and write this post. 

And then we reached 29

Over the weekend, Little Foot turned 29 months.

I had the pleasurable challenge (read daunting situation) of being alone with her till late afternoon on Sunday when Papa went for wedding lunch and Aunty was on off day. Not the easiest kid to be with especially when dealing with a stomach bug (me) but we had some fun … music class as usual,  picking out bread for ourselves (Baby chose a rainbow donut while I chose a Mentaiko covered baguette and a ham&cheese sandwich) then hanging out at my mother’s place where she is very familiar with.

We ate our bread and sandwiches, her seated in the baby chair, me beside her…

We had conversations revolving around the food, the weather, where Papa was, about “Papa Mister Moon, Mama Mister Moon and Baby Mister Moon” (a continuation from the night before when we pointed out the moon to her and she said it was a baby Mister Moon)….

I sang and played with her, at times sat aside and watched her play…

Finally, carried her in the carrier around the estate I grew up in and felt her doze off… went back upstairs, laid her down and watched her nap.

What I would give to watch her grow each day (each day that she isn’t hopefully throwing a tantrum).

And for the first time in a long time, I wondered whether I could ever handle another Little Foot.

Everyday, I am greeted with my floor to ceiling mirror in my living room covered with photos of Little Foot in her first year. Little Foot had happily pasted them all up. And whenever I’m wearing my shoes, working on something on my laptop,  or having my dinner, I get a glimpse of how much she had transformed.

For a mummy who has so much strings attached to her one and only child, it is a bittersweet encounter each day. Some mornings, I kiss one of the photos before I leave the house. I love you, I said. As much as I love the you now, I love and miss the little you too.

Still, such thoughts are fleeting. We have so much to do with Little Foot and already so little time.

Once she wake up from her nap, all fleeting thoughts like this are out of the window. Gone like the wind.

“Come, Mummy! Runaway!!” ~ her cute little voice always rings in my head, even when I am busy at work.

And each time I hear it, I can surely say, I am ready drop my work and run with her, until my back doesn’t allow me to run no more.

And the rest? I will leave it in His Hands… as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be…

For now, one is still enough.

 

Kentang Little Foot Reads Chinese 

Last June, I wrote about how I am trying to raise my baby to be a book lover like me. 

I can safely say, if like me, you have introduced the tablet and YouTube, you know know how challenging it is, to try to lure them to the world of reading while something more exciting is the other option. 

Luckily for school. Little Foot’s preschool is huge on literacy and reading. So other than storytelling time, there’s also natural literacy sessions weekly and every Friday, our toddler drags 2 little books home in her trolley bag. 

That’s homework for the weekend. 

READ. 

So from very sporadic moments of flipping books for novelty, Little Foot has recently been asking me to read to her. She would suddenly walk to her cupboard and tell me that it is reading time. 

Yesterday, we breezed through 3 books and 2 short stories in the Baby Bible.

And today more impressive – I read two Chinese books to her. Complete story! And she skimmed through a third one from the same series. And she could tell me the animals’ names in Chinese “小熊”, “小兔” and “大象”. 

I could leap for joy! Because we’ve been fretting about how she refuses to engage us in Mandarin , and would always reply in English. (Or maybe I am being too demanding of my 28 month old, who has been extremely impressive with her speech and singing). 

Papa had spotted this series of books when shopping on Ezbuy. The characters in these books were the same as the ones in the Chinese books that Little Foot brings home on Fridays.

Familiarity with the characters probably contributed to her interest in going through the books. 

We like the storylines, simple, engaging and teaches some manners/values/habits, like saying “thank you”. And the illustrations are cute and easy on the eyes. 

So yes, good find online!

So pleased to see Little Foot growing in love with books. 

Guess what? Her favourite is reaching the end of the book and saying “The End”. 

Too Cute.

A promise of cake

28 months is a lovely age to be…

It is the age when Mummy is your fairy godmother who grants all your wishes  🙂

This morning, we were scrolling through my phone gallery and Little Foot saw a photo of her eating cake (from the previous weekend). 

She agreed to stop being fussy about changing out of her diaper and PJs after I said I will buy her a chocolate cake. 

So, fast forward to evening. Work tied me down (again!), but I was determined to complete my fairy godmother mission!

I walked really fast to the MRT station, got on the train (Aunty Lily texted to say Little Foot is waiting and keeps talking about the cake. She’s singing ‘Happy Birthday’) argh…. prayed for the train to go faster!

Dashed to the Chateraise shop, bought the cakes, walked as fast as I could home. 

On the way, Aunty Lily texted again.- “We go dwn n wait for u dwnstair…  dwnstair wait for u coz she screaming at home”

Extra pressure. Ahhhh….Walk faster! And don’t fall and smash the cakes!
FINALLY! Reached my void deck and there she is! Eyes wide open looking out for me.

“Mummy!!!!!”

“What is it you buy?!!”

“Is it for me?” 

Ohhh my heart melted…. I made it! Phew! Happily carried her to the lift. 

Happy baby got her cake and party…she was do happy to put the candles, sing the birthday song, and ate the cream and fruits.

A promise is a promise. And I’m glad I managed to keep it. Happy times… just thankful I decided to leave the office with a “whatever!”.  

And before she slept,she kissed us, played and got me to read stories to her. Rare and precious mood for books! 

Good day indeed… no working mothers should be deprived of this precious window of time to spend with their child. 

#alittlefootprint