Monday 24 May 2021

Resigning from a Stay at Home Mum

I have tendered my resignation from a stay at home mum. It's been 8 years staying home with the kids. It wouldn't have been this accidental if our family didn't re-locate to California, Monterey. That was when I left my last job to go as a family. Contributing in a corporate world had always been my ideal. I was all ready to embark onto a life of working mum when we returned from Monterey. But we had plans for a third child.

Which not long later, our eldest progressed into primary school. We realised it was tough to leave her transportation to the school bus. It meant extreme early wakes and late home arrivals. Gradually, I withdrew from the thoughts of going back to work, just so I could chauffeur, tutor, keep the house in order and put home cooked meals on the table. The desire of going back to work was always on the back of my mind. Just a matter of time.

Endlessly, tirelessly and uncomplainingly, I did these with no salary, no bonuses and no leaves, not even medical leaves. The purest form of love and sacrifice defined. These were not possible with deciding to live within the means of single income. We were prudent with our spending, we ate home more than out, and I banished the act of 'shopping' out of my world. After all, the needs of a stay at home mum are extremely down-to-earth. A few good dresses which I already have, and many inexpensive shorts and tees for working the chores in home.

When our second child made it to primary school too, I began to feel the morning void. CCAs kicked in and the kids spend more time in school than before. I knew I needed to be more useful with my personal self. No, blogging and social media-ing are not jobs. They are hobbies. And just last year end, the littlest started full day preschool. I couldn't find any more satisfaction staying home. There’s a stigma around being a stay at home mum, and society doesn’t talk about the loneliness, isolation, and loss of identity that sometimes accompanies this choice. These are real emotions. I will not lie that being a stay at home Mum is always fulfilling. Like any job, there's the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

The kids' junior years are also my prime working years. It's either now or never. I'll probably end up working in a fast food joint if I were to continue sitting in the comfort zone of staying home.

A job opportunity dangled below my nose 2 months ago, I took it on full time without much hesitation. It was time I had do something for myself. The job comes with the flexibility of time, which I'm grateful for. I'm glad to be back into the bigger society, working my mind with bigger opportunities and the healing to fill that empty nest syndrome.

Fast forward today, the eldest is already in the final year of primary school. The most important year with that grand PSLE battle, and I started a full time job. I'm not sure what's ahead, but in our years of having laid the foundation of home routines, it is without worries. I'm contented to have been with them in the large part of their growing years. The kids have grown, we have no more babies although we insist the youngest is still one. Our way of curbing with the pain of growing kids.

And no, there is no replacement a family can get to fill the job of a stay at home mum. I will double up because God made Mothers amazingly strong and awesomely capable in managing the fort.

Yes, weekends are so much more precious now

Friday 14 May 2021

Getting the covid fatigue

Covid fatigue is the exhibiting symptoms of tiredness and exhaustiveness due to the many measures in placed that were very much different from a lifestyle we used to have. This new normal has been long running, a marathon that never seemed to end. 2020 bolted like a year that never existed, but the number in age moved. 2021 seemed promising, until it turned at the flip of a switch. Not very much impacted, but it feels like the race has no finishing line.

The kids are at the prime stages of growing up where many exciting milestones are not fully experienced. I am getting impatient with the progress and efforts of containing covid. It's no joy. 

The kids photos taken in school are all masked up. I can't watch the littlest do his swim classes like I did with the older two, the public pool is closed very strictly to its maximum capacity. I can't watch live performances of our preschooler like I did with his older two. The kids need their learning journey with schools. The kids need their school camps, assemblies and proper graduation ceremony. The attractions we decide to go last minute are no more accessible like before, advance booking is needed. Activities are capped to fastest fingers due to social distancing measures, meals are confined to time limit due to less seating arrangements in restaurants.

And from 8, it became 5 and now 2 can be gathered socially out. With dining areas closed. For our family of 5 who always move as a tribe, it's as good as staying home. And what about school run mamas who have to pick several kids at one go from school? That flouts the more than 2 gathering rule.

And then, we get the elearning fatigue if schools move to Home Based Learning. Not surprise that schools are always the last decision to halt after society. Or perhaps, it's nicer to phrase it by bringing forward the school holiday. 

The biggest let go will be travelling. It was the most valid reason in our busy days to get off work and routines to focus on family bonding. Travelling is now too vague and far to even think about.

The plans that were firmed became fluid and the exams ahead are uncertain. Sports lessons are moving back to online and so are their music lessons. It's back to what seemed like a circuit breaker, but milder. 

The fatigue of pandemic is hitting gradually hard, not so much for the kids who are mostly adapting, but for parents who are feeling shortchanged for the kids in the many many areas of lost opportunities. This of course is a parenting perception. Above and beyond, there are couples awaiting a grand wedding, there are social butterflies whose happiness is measured by socialising in groups and there are travel enthusiasts who are feeling totally imprisoned.

When can we ditch the masks for good? When can we walk the streets without worry? When can we do big playdates? And when can we travel like we did? When will the freedom we used to have make a come back? It doesn't seem something imaginable now. This truly is an era of a covid century that will make it to History books.

BUT. Like we always say, the world is our best teacher. There is a lesson in everything, and there is thankfulness in every situation. We are not in lack. We are intact as a family, we have peace in where we are and we feel safe even in midst of worries. We do want a life of normalcy back, patience may be running thin but at least we are running the marathon together. 

Being grounded means more time for the daughter to focus on her PSLE revision, and the boys... they will be happy doing more toy reviews. And of course, the fate of preschool operation is another uncertainty. 

More toy reviews ahead!

Emotional fatigue caused by covid is real and affects us all. I think it's important that we find things that make us and our family happy in a way or another. For some, it could be that extra piece of chocolate. Find that little joy in midst.

Better days ahead!