Thursday 20 July 2017

Mothers make it work!

I've been a Mum for 8 exciting years and still counting on... the kids are now 8, 6 and 1 year old. I've journeyed from a working Mum to a stay home Mum and now, a work from home Mum with a humble start up that was very much motivated by wanting to get some pocket money of my own. Which through it all, I realised the worth is better to be employed at a fixed salary.

Thoughts have evolved, I'm struggling with the decision of being home full time. Along the years, the older kids have grown to be less needy of me. I have since cultivated an inner desire of wanting to re-enter workforce. Rising cost of raising families!

But each time I think of the routine I'm leaving behind in order to get a job, I withdraw the thoughts. There are just so many departments I've to seek cover for! Which are often better tasked by self handling. I'm their Mummy taxi, chef, tutor, helper and many other roles that won't be competently covered even if I have a live-in helper. With the many portfolios to handle, I've to confess, it's a challenge to keep sanity at bay. I see through almost every nitty-gritty of kids and home, which means I get to frequently witness and handle their nastiest fight, craziest mess, laziest moment and merciless tantrums. Mum gets them all.

Some days, it's a struggle.

Leaping from 2 to 3 kids was such a bold decision that I often wonder, why did I ever get myself into such handful state?!! I'm glad the thought did vanish each time I look into the adorable face of our latest addition. I must have done something pleasing to God, to have been gifted 3 wonderful children! Thankful for the calling to Mother these kids.

So how do I make my days work?! Little things count.

1. Get kids involve in household chores.
I realised my bad of not instilling home responsibilities after I saw how overly pampered the eldest was at certain circumstances. Not cleaning up after herself or not putting toys away. The oversight we often miss when it comes to first child parenting. Responsibilities can be mimic, and habits have to be cultured as young as possible. If the older sibling is doing it right, the younger will follow.

We do not have a helper and it is a good ground for breeding home responsibilities. I get the kids to help themselves in whatever duties they are capable of, by trying to put things at a level they can reach for, or with the help of a stool. I get them to do little chores by putting clothes in the washer, setting up for meals and washing their dishes after meals.

Putting clothes into the washer

Putting his clothes into the laundry

It helps vastly at lightening my load, containing my nags and lifts up the good spirit of a proud Mama moment each time they complete a task on their own.

2. Weekly time out 
I don't get much help when it comes to handling kids. My parents are as busy as bees. To get help, I need advance arrangement. I have recently sounded to my Mum, asking her for a weekly morning time off where she can help with the littlest. With such arrangement, I can either keep the time solo for non-child activities or to catch up with friends.

3. Outdoor activities
Having a boy and girl is vastly different. Boys need that big room for movements and expulsion of energy. While a girl seems able to find anything indoor to occupy her time. It helps that Jare goes to a school that has an outdoor space for play. I only hope they adhere to their outdoor timetable daily. 

Even for the littlest boy, I had try to find time everyday for bubbles or water play, or even if it means a stroll outdoor. The after outdoor time can be rewarding, they fuss less.

4. Cool corner
Very often we may fall into the trap of disciplining in anger rather than love. Which can lead to disastrous and sometimes, regretful outcome. I can be very hot headed when the kids drive me up to the wall. Before I can find time to rationalize a little, I snap.

So yeap, a corner that I can go to and breathe in and out is useful at times. Here's what I've done up at my time-out corner years ago, and still in use. 

5. Wake up earlier
When Jazz started primary 1, it was also the year I started my days at 6 am. Which I realised it was a perfect timing for me to prepare and work on anything that fits the time before the boys are up. I could be in the kitchen marinating my meat for dinner, doing the laundry or blogging. Mornings are perfect, before the kids awake.

Late night options don't quite work for me on some days. I'm exhausted flat after a day of Motherly duties. It doesn't help that age is catching up. 

6. Work with technology
We all have got a phone with an audio recording function. Some evenings when I need to portion myself among the kids for various purposes like bedtime stories, or revising 听写 and spelling, I would pre-record them into my phone and play it for whoever needs it. Usually, the littlest gets to own Mummy, while the older siblings are more understanding to contend with my audio voice.

So each time you read a bedtime story, record it! It will be useful on nights you can't avail. 

7. Well stocked books corner
Our kids love to read. I get really quiet moments when our reading corner is filled with new library books. They would usually devour books after books till called up for meals.

If there is a certain activity that keeps the kids occupied, it will be good to have it stocked and handy.

When book loan doubles!

8. Keep boxes
What do you do to big boxes after buying new appliances? I keep them! Throw the kids into the box with markers, and they will start doodling away! It buys me some time. 

9. Nothing to do jar
Do you get this coming from your kids? "I have nothing to do!" I get it on some days and it kind of frustrates me! Firstly, it's alright to be bored (though I don't quite like being bored), and secondly, are those toys sitting around not of any entertainment value? I came up with a 'Nothing to do Jar' where they can pick out a 'lottery stick' with a suggested activity that they have to adhere to. Strictly adhering to their choice even if it means doing assignments. 

10. Enjoy time with children
Being a stay home Mum keeps me so busy with chores and meals that I think it can be tough to savour quality time at some moments. While juggling with routines, there is also a struggle of guilt when the kids received a big part of my fatigued soul. It is only fair that they play with a refreshed Mummy. It's tough I know, how often can we smile and happily welcome a draggy long game of Monopoly? Well, as we create wonderful childhood memories for our kids, we are reminding ourselves that it's hard to recapture time lost while they are young. Enjoy every little moment.

Motherhood is a calling, I live on God's guidance and intercede for the kids whenever I'm lost. It is essential for Mums to stay positive and happy. It sets the dynamics and atmosphere of the home, don't you think so? Find time for yourself and do what works for you and your family! 

This post is part of the ‘Mothers Make It Work!’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other inspiring stories please click on the picture below.

If you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting stories about how Mothers make it work, you can start with this one here, how mummies make it work by Elisa over at Give them roots and wings. Elisa is a part-time working mum to three boys - two teen and one tween. She works with Kindergarten children. She is learning every day, to enjoy her older children the way she enjoyed the as little ones.

At next week's stop we will be visiting Angie Yeow from GrowingHearts123. Angie is an educator at heart and by profession. She blogs on her home education activities and is passionate about the visual arts. For this blog train, a special insight from husband and wife (Angie's) honest views on: How she grew in slowly becoming a support to hubs! She also shares how she handles the kids when she was a Stay At Home Mum and now as a working mum.

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