Friday 12 October 2012

SAHM - Tough Job

I'm into the second month of my role as a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM). I've also realised this term has more definitions to me, SAHM with homeschooling kids or SAHM with schooling kids? It makes a whole lot of difference. The perceptions and attitudes of a SAHM make every mum different. Being a mum with kids in school is so much more manageable to me. Should I say I'm fortunate or unfortunate that both kids are stuck with me 24/7? It really is a blessing to be spending time with them, but too much is just too much for me. I desire my private moments when both kids are away from me, be it for school or even a 10 minutes playtime with their Daddy. But nah, I'm with them ALL the time. I treasure their nap and bed time, but sometimes, it's not as blissful. Good days, they sleep well, bad days they wake up in the night for comfort. Where is rest and peace for the Mum?

Some days, I feel like throwing in the towel to surrender, I think I'm not cut for this. Yet who's there to take my role? I'm their only unique identity, their Mummy! And the man's wife. There's no turning back in this faraway land. My man suggests that we can send both kids to full day school, but hmm, cost is one issue, we are on single income now. And secondly, I'll be too free, feels just weird. Term me 'tai tai,' if that happens. I hope to bond the most out of the days here too. Yet, I'm not ruling out school option, for the social and peer learning skills. In fact, we did some school hunting and I would love sending them to half day school or even alternate days. The school that I've set my eyes on does not offer half day and offers only a price difference of USD40 between 5 and 3 full days. It's like, might as well max it! It really wasn't my initial idea to send them 5 full days, I want time with them too. It's a tough decision, and so school option is on hold.   

Yet, I need my sanity at times. Jazz often upsets me, and once I asked her, "Can you please tell me what should I do with you? You've been misbehaving and I've no idea what to do." She replied, "Hug me!" I really like her reply, it simply tells me in midst of all wrongdoings, she wants no discipline, but a hug.  But tell me, how to hug a child if she does something wrong intentionally! I told my man, there isn't a day the kids wouldn't get an earful from me. I'm at the top of my voice almost every other day. Anyone can say, "be patient, they are kids." I'm sure Mums in my boat know what a typical day is like.

I run a battle everyday, from morning breakfast to a quick turnover for lunch and then dinner with snacks and house works in between. Am I Mrs Incredible? And homeschool, is there time? I've been trying to take things easy and manage time well, but how to get easy with kids? I can't leave them to laze around or get glued onto the TV or ipad for too long. I want to have good activities with them and not taking the easy way of throwing a pack of chips or cartoon all day long, just to keep them occupied. We buy them toys occasionally, as I prefer them on toys than TV. I'm extremely cool about them on TV, there are good channels and DVDs to watch and learn, but not all day long. I am pretty alright when it comes to buying toys too, it's what makes up childhood and there are great variety of educational toys. If we can afford, we will. I'm cool about chips, ice cream, chocolates and sweets, but very very minimal. Relocating for 18months is a flash for any grown ups, but to a child, it makes a huge difference. Every day is a milestone, I don't want to cruise by their days doing nothing, and before I start doing something, it's time over. Regret is the worst feeling ever. 
Kids treats on the go
Treats on the go - Snickers and skittles are mine! M and M - Their favourite!

And this is how Jazz plays her with new cart

Sponge painting

Jare wants to outshine
I wish they co-play peacefully everyday
It's my personal motto to read them at least a book daily, except on days when we are on the run. I used to buy lots of books for them, but I've learned to make use of the library here since we visit it every week. Cost savings! Other good days, I can achieve more on crafts and homeschool. At the end of each day, I'm just happy if they gained some new learning. Be it a new vocab from the books, a new logic from the toy they played, a released creativity from the art they drew or painted, or even a new knowledge from their Disney junior channel or an ipad apps. Even playing bubbles in the playground or backyard taps on their mobile skills, I'm happy to achieve such days.

So much things, so little time. I need time for myself too, away from kids to google recipes, bake their breakfast and snacks, online shop and so many other hobbies! I google recipes because I'm not exactly a good cook, I want to introduce wide choices of food to the kids. The kids have huge appetite when it comes to Asian food, but when we're out to settle with food like macaroni cheese, quesadillas, pizza, taquitos, burittos and so much more, their tummy seemed to have shrink. And if they were to go to school with school's menu, their tummies will be in trouble.

My limited recipes of food, snacks and packed lunch. Thanks to Mummy Ang for recipe tips!

I salute SAHMs, they are all so amazing. I could have preferred to work, the time at work is my breather and what's more, I have financial independence. What a leap I took. I was even tempted to tell my man, we'll wait 18months for you in SG, with some visits in between. But well, no changes, no progress, we move as a family. I must be thankful for this opportunity.

There are good days and bad days, some days I get really mad with the squabbling and cranky kids, and the never ending chores. What's worse, carrying Jare in my arm or having him tug my legs while I cook. I seriously dislike that. It slows me down. Some nights just don't end early when I need to bake for their breakfast or prepare my man's lunch pack. I yearn to take power naps in the day, but sometimes, it's just difficult to even shut my eyes for rest. The mind doesn't stop thinking, it feels like I need to make use of their nap time for other stuffs. Sometimes, I just want to catch some movies on TV, many good shows here, but late nights means lazy mornings for me. And when the man's home, I thought life would be easier, but not, he needs time for his assignments, tests and quizzes. He needs a much more important space than me. I have a big baby to serve too. I shouldn't complain, because my reward is paid off in my shopping allowance and since I have more flexibility with the chores, it's easier to manage. If he offers to shower or send the kids to bed, it's bonus.

Domestic helpers are not a norm here, the best mums can get is a nanny or school care. I must agree if one can afford in SG, a helper can make parenting more manageable. Outsource the chores and it's more quality time with the kids. All worth it! Read me right, outsource the chores, not the kids. I can't emphasize how much important it is to bond with your kids, especially the early years. Treasure the years before they start drifting as they grow. They grow really fast!

And having sum up my thoughts, I think if I'm back to work, it could be a whole new opposing vision, how contradicting life is. For now, it's making good use of my days as a SAHM here, for bonding, learning or exploring, what matters most is staying positive and bright. Looking ahead.


  1. Hey my dear,

    Firstly, great effort all around and for taking that leap of faith! While my helper was back home for 1/2 month, I was running around amok doing the chauffeuring and chores and cooking too though I certainly have it easier with just one kid.

    If your preschool (that is if you are still considering half day sessions) is nearby, that helps. For Dumpling, she it is 15 mins drive away for us (on a good day) but as her sessions are only 3 hours, I am in and out of the house almost 2 hours later. Still, it gives me some time to prep for the next meal. But if your school is further away, then it may be a bit of a hassle swinging to and fro.

    For homeschool - I have been homeschooling Dumpling for past 2+ years even now (I cant teach Chinese so she goes to Chinese classes). For some people, they run a tight ship with a defined schedule. For others, what works for them is more fluid where they leave items (sensory boxes, easels / paper with paints, montessori items / pretend play items) in the learning area for free play invitation. Then when one child naps and the other is awake, the reading / slightly more formal activities start.

    I see that your kids are out painting and playing in the pictures above and I think that's such a good approach. I know that it is trying, hang in there. If you need any HS resources, do PM me. I have loads of free printables which I collected and hoarded over the years. :)

  2. Hey hey, I think you're doing great going by the photos! Don't get over-stressed about the learning bit, they pick up stuff along the way, and they are learning plenty through just playing and doing art!

    Big big hugs for the sacrifice you made to move over. Living abroad is tough, but it will get easier, it did for me... meanwhile, must take care of yourself ok?

  3. Beanienus, thanks for the comforting words. I salute your homeschooling styles, how did you do it! I'm also very much in love with the letterland series, doing 'beyond ABC' with Jazz now. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. MamaJ, thanks for encouraging. Just hopped back from yr blog, I like you perking up your morning with that cuppa and ipad. I shall try too!

  5. I'm gonna start this journey too, with three in tow and homeschool! I will have a helper w me to do the chores but I'm very frightened by the thought of going crazy and scolding my kids all the time! U r not alone in this! :)

  6. Elizabeth, three! You are the super mum. I'm glad you have a helper, it sure help relieve your chores.

  7. Hi hi..It is certainly tough on you as you are managing everything single-handedly. But you are outdoing yourself as I can see that you are putting in alot of efforts to bond with and care for your children (eg baking for their breakfast! WOW! I salute you!) Jia You! Hang in there! While I was there, I find joy in mixing with the other mummies from the group ^_^


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