Why I am so kaypoh and overshare everything.

Why I am so kaypoh and overshare everything.

Parenting is tough. Most of us don’t know what we are doing, most of us are figuring things out through trial and error.

I don’t know everything. What I do may not be correct. All I hope for is to make it easier for others on this parenting journey by sharing my own trials and errors so that others can take reference and decide for themselves whether they want to try or sit it out.

If maturity in parenting is accumulated through experience, surely learning through the experience of others would be beneficial. If children are the citizens of the world, even just one more child raised in a respectful manner that allows him to be the best that he could be, would make all the difference.

No, I’m not worried at all that other children will excel and do better than my daughter. Because seriously… who would think that way. It boggles my mind. They are all children of the world. They deserve to be loved and nurtured in the best way possible whether they are my own or not. Talent and goodness does not have any limits. Just because someone has a lot of talent doesn’t mean that my daughter will have less of it. My God is a limitless God and our children can all be wonderful, in their own unique ways.

If you happen to have this mindset of keeping everything to yourself so that other children will not outperform your child, please be reminded that your children will model what you do. If you don’t want them to be selfish, don’t have a selfish mindset. You may not say it outrightly or be selfish in obvious ways, but your petty thinking will permeate in little ways through the innumerable moments in life. I don’t know why this came up but I thought I should mention it. If you don’t mind them being selfish, be prepared that one day, this trait will backfire on you.

Other parents who have generously shared their real life on IG Stories have also helped me a great deal. It helped when I could see that their house wasn’t spotless like in the perfect little squares. I was elated when I saw that there were piles of laundry in the background of the stories. It’s not just me! IG stories seem more real because instead of capturing that one millisecond of sometimes carefully staged moments, it’s made up of several 15 second segments of a family’s life. That’s a little more difficult to stage. When I saw that their children were messy when eating by themselves, it helped me to let go of this idea of perfectly well behaved children eating on their own that was put into my mind by the photos I saw on Instagram. It’s my way of returning this favour, of having the honour to have had a peek into their real lives. That’s why I make it a point not to tidy things up before I take any videos. 😜

There’s so much advice out there and many of them are conflicting. I just want to state that it is perfectly ok to try a myriad but do always observe and see if it works for your child. It is important to tailor any advice or style of parenting you wish to try according to your own beliefs and circumstances. The same set of principles can look very different when applied for different parents and even different children in the same family. You can be fixated on a method such as Cry It Out for the result of a goodnight’s rest but if you are not able to come to terms with hearing your child cry for an extended period of time, it will never work no matter how much you want that night of uninterrupted sleep.

Going with the flow, don’t swim against the current.

Going with the flow, don’t swim against the current.

As a nursing mother, I often find myself stuck on the sofa with a baby (now toddler) firmly latched onto my nipple. All while the clock is ticking away, dirty dishes sitting in the sinks, laundry piled up high, crunchy bits from the floor stuck to my feet. There are home school plans to print, flash cards to arrange, weekly meal plans to sort out, family schedules to finalise and update, medical appointments to coordinate. Also there's workout that needs to be done, nails that need to be trimmed, legs that need to be shaved. You get my point.

It's tempting to remove the baby so I can get on with doing what needs to be done. But I have often found that counterintuitive because said baby will not allow it. I can be firm and stand my ground for 5 minutes. Maybe 10 minutes. Or even 30 minutes. But that just makes everyone cranky and stressed out.

Now I prefer just going with the flow and having my list of priorities right. If baby wants to nurse, nurse she will. I make use of the time to lie down and rest, type a blog post, do some e reading or online shopping for groceries or even buy some new clothes. Once she is satisfied and happy as can be (she flashes me the widest smile ever and her eyes become like crescent moons), I am free to do whatever I want for a good while.

This way, we are both happy. I don't want to deny her the comfort by standing firm. Because, for what? I don't need to assert my superiority. She knows that I am her MAMA. I am secure in my role as her mother and she knows that. There's no need to go into this silly power struggle. My limits are simple. As long as she is not harming anyone or anything, I'm cool. She can do whatever she wants but at the same time I want to remind her about the fruits of the spirit – of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.

What I would do is if I'm washing dishes I will not stop whatever I am doing right away. I will tell her "I'm washing the dishes right now and I'll be with you once I'm done. Please wait patiently." I sometimes remind her what patience is, and I do not pick her up until I am done including drying my hands. Yes she will be crying but just for a few minutes. Before I pick her up, I will say "Emma, would you like it if I please carry you, please?" Hopefully when she is able to speak in complete sentences she would be able to say "Mama, I would like to be carried please." For now she will just say "carry please".

If she messes things up, we put them away together. If she plays with something she’s not supposed to play with (wires) or something that doesn’t belong to her, I give her something else that she can play with. Interestingly, even though I have very few boundaries, she knows when I mean it and doesn’t kick a fuss when I stop her from reaching for scissors and knives.

There will be times when she cries out of frustration from not getting what she wants and that’s okay. I tell her it’s okay to feel frustrated and angry sometimes and redirect her to something else.

How I limit phone use

How I limit phone use

I frequently upload IG stories of our daily life. Sometimes it is easy to look at what others post and keep scrolling until dinner prep gets forgotten. Instagram and Facebook were my biggest distractions.

It had happened one too many times so I decided that I want to drastically cut down on screen time. I only use it to upload IG stories, use my various home productivity apps, and safari or Facebook groups for researching topics like "how to stop toddler from waking up at night".

For a few months now, I have been unfollowing accounts that no longer serve my purpose. Fashion accounts are the first to go. They only made me feel dissatisfied with what I had. I also unfollowed the cute animal accounts (sorry I don't have time for you), random accounts that I was interested in before but not anymore. I wanted to be more mindful of what I allow to enter my feed. I only want to be inspired in a positive way when I actually get to view my feed.

When I need strict control, I disable data access for Instagram and turn off my wifi. I can still upload my posts to the app but they won't be successfully uploaded until I connect Instagram to wifi or enable the data access. Once connected I simply tap on "try again" to upload the stories successfully.

As for Facebook, I simply opted to delete it since I don't need it that often. It's pretty difficult to avoid tapping on the app when the iconic "f" is staring at you on your phone screen. If I need information from my Facebook groups, I access it via safari. It's just a matter of making it more difficult to go on Facebook and hopefully cuts down on mindless scrolling through the feed.

At bedtime, to ensure optimum rest, I use the airplane mode so that I don't get distracted by messages or alerts when I'm trying to fall asleep. If I do reach for my phone, there's one more step of disabling airplane mode and sometimes that is enough to make me change my mind, put my phone down and rest for the night.

These have helped me curb my phone use and spend more time on the things that matter. Over time, I found that I didn't need to rely on controls such as disabling the Instagram app. The habit of scrolling mindlessly has diminished and the desire to look at random posts have almost completely vanished. I'm not kaypoh anymore!

Why I read even when I have no time to sleep.

Why I read even when I have no time to sleep.

As a mother of an energetic young toddler, there is nothing I would like more than to rest my head on a pillow after a long day. Instead, I find myself reading ebooks in the dimly lit room while my toddler is asleep next to me or while I'm breastfeeding her.

I read because there is so much I don't know and need help with. I'm sick of dealing with a messy home day after day. Sick of wondering where my money went. Sick of being angry and dissatisfied all the time. Sick of being totally clueless as to how to raise my baby. I want to know how to have a tidy home once and for all, how to be happier, how to have financial peace, what is the right way to raise my baby…

So I read. I have read countless articles thinking it's a shortcut way to gain such knowledge but i ended up feeling like a failure. It seemed so easy – step 1, 2, 3. But time and time again, I couldn't do it. I realised that it's because while the articles summarise the main learning points, only reading the entire book cover to cover allows you to fully grasp what the author is trying to tell you. I believe that every author wants to share his or her vision exactly like how it is in their minds. So they write and they write and they came up with a book to hopefully give others a glimpse into their minds.

Take for example Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover. There are just seven baby steps to financial peace.

By looking at this, sure it seems easy enough. But without understanding why he proposes these steps, knowing what made him come up with these seven steps, why he wrote this book, and reading about all the success stories in the book, how can I follow these steps and expect success? He says that personal finance is 80 percent behaviour, 20 percent head knowledge. I think this ratio applies to more than personal finance. It really isn't about the know-how. But about our behaviour. If we can change our behaviour, we can change our life. And to change behaviour, we need to change our minds first.

I see a clear trend in these books – that the authors are painstakingly trying to convince the reader the WHYs, and not so much on the HOWs. By reading word after word, sentence after sentence, it really gets drummed into the head. It starts to create lasting changes in the mind and we start looking at things differently. Suddenly I see things that I have never noticed before.

Screenshot of my Facebook post dated November 2016.

I would like to share a simple example of the Montessori journey I took after reading "Teaching Montessori at Home". That was back in November 2016. I have read several books since and only in May 2017 did I start to actually implement some of the ideas. It took half a year to get my butt moving. 😱 But the concepts have been brewing and concocting in my mind ever since I read about it.

Screenshot of Facebook post after Montessorizing my home in May 2016. This was shared with a Montessori Facebook group. Emma has grown so much more independent since then!

I began to incorporate more ideas, and even came up with my own based on an understanding of the WHY which I would never have been able to if I hadn't gained a firm grasp on the principles by reading the book. The most impactful change was in myself – I had a complete change in mindset. I saw her in a different light. Not as a naughty toddler who is bent on wreaking havoc, but as a wonderful, inquisitive and capable human being. Slowly but surely, I am able to see things from my toddler's point of view and what a wonderful view it is.

Reading and re-reading a book gives me a glimpse into the author's mind and allows me to have a taste of what he or she desperately wants to share with the world. I am so grateful for their work and hope you will benefit from this too! I know it seems like such a chore – but it has been the catalyst to many of the biggest, most positive changes in my life.

You can do this, by the grace of God! 🙂

How I stop myself from being a – SAHAANM – Stay At Home And Accomplish Nothing Mum – Part one

How I stop myself from being a – SAHAANM – Stay At Home And Accomplish Nothing Mum – Part one

Firstly identify all the time suckers! For me, it's snacking and my phone. For snacking, I find that if I snack on junk food, I have an intense urge to reach the bottom of the pack. And that takes up quite a bit of time. I also can't stop thinking about snacking and will snack whenever I have a chance to. There were times when I could not stop snacking and will dump out toys for E so I have a few moments to snack. It was terrible.

This was what he used to get me.

The first step was to get rid of the junk food. I may or may not have eaten them all at one go. 😔 Then I tell my husband under no circumstances bring junk food home or leave it where I can get them. I also give him my preferred healthy snack choices so when he feels like getting a treat for me, he doesn't have to resort to Hello Panda, chocolate bars and such. If you don't allow junk food to enter the house, tell me, how is it possible to snack on junk food? 😉

This is what he got recently. The seaweed is still unhealthy cos it's fried but it's a huge improvement.

Then I try to stock up on healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, smoked salmon (my ultimate indulgence) and most importantly, worthy snack foods like chocolate balls.

My favourite are these Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites. They are easy to make and so much healthier then chocolate bars. Also, I can eat up to a maximum of 5 balls which isn't so bad considering I can eat 2 Cadbury chocolate bars at one go. The energy bites provide satiety and actually fill you up with goodness instead of empty carbs that leave you craving for more.

Now that snacking doesn't take up a huge amount of my attention, I can now focus on more important things like spending time with my loved ones!

Cucumbers, Guavas and Carrots. ď»ż

Cucumbers, Guavas and Carrots. ď»ż

Hard fruits and vegetable like these are great for entertaining our little one. She’s 9 months now and teething. Whenever we are out having a meal, I would bring some along or head to the food court fruit stall to buy a bag of guava. She loves chomping on them. 

Ever since I discovered this little trick, I’ve been able to cook in peace, eat my meals with both hands while the meal is still hot, change a diaper without her trying to roll over every second. 

Happy baby, happy parents!

Why breastfeeding is so darn difficult.

Why breastfeeding is so darn difficult.

Most mothers who breastfed or tried breastfeeding would probably tell you it’s the hardest part of motherhood. For me, the learning curve at the very beginning of my breastfeeding journey was basically a vertical line. But I am glad I persevered because it’s easily the best decision I’ve made thus far as a mother. I was thinking a lot about why this act that should be so natural is so darn difficult in reality! I mean, if you know what the obstacles are, you will then be able to devise ways to remove or overcome the obstacles, right? So here are my top reasons. There are only four. Not too bad, really. 🙂

1) No one else can breastfeed for you. 

Need a break? Sorry mama.  Gotta press on and latch or pump that milk out. Every 2 hours, round the clock. It’s something that no one else can do for you. Daddies and grandparents can help with changing diapers, bathing the baby, bottle feeding formula, etc. But only mom can breastfeed the baby or pump milk. I mean, we are the ones with the lactating breasts.

But hey. You’re human too and you need a break sometimes. If you’re really exhausted and can’t go on without sinking into depression, it’s fine to supplement with formula or skip a pumping session. You’re human, mama. Almost superhuman but not quite there yet.

2) It’s stressful. 

Because when your body is capable of providing food that essentially sustains your fragile newborn baby, you want to get that *word poop that starts with an S* done right. This is all she needs and it’s the PERFECT food for her. This is important and you don’t want to mess it up.

Ok. Deep breath.

Relax and know that you are in fact the most important piece of the puzzle. Let’s try to get your perspective right.  All baby really needs is mama and not breastmilk. Because mama will do anything to care for baby in the best possible way. As long as you shower your baby with lots of love, little else matters. Including whether she’s breastfed or not.

3) It requires the cooperation of a newborn baby. 

How do you work with someone whom you’ve just met, can’t speak a word in your language, can’t control their movements, and is screaming most of the time? I rest my case.

However, do remember that your baby is learning so many new skills everyday. She will get better and will one day latch on perfectly without causing you any pain. It wouldn’t hit you until one day, you realise that hey, your nipples aren’t sore anymore! Hurray!

4) Chances are, you’ve never seen anyone breastfeed before. 

Think back to the time you had sex for the first time. You heard people talk about sex all the time, watched it on TV, imagined it a hundred times. But nothing quite prepared you for the real thing yea? Breastfeeding is still a really private act between mother and baby. If it were normalised like eating and drinking, mothers probably wouldn’t find it so awkward to breastfeed for the first time. I literally did not know where to put my arms, how to sit or position myself. And I watched a ton of breastfeeding videos while pregnant.

You’ll be wondering for quite a while: did I get the latch right? But that’s ok. Breastfeeding is an art form so personal that there’s no one size fits all method to it. Don’t worry if your breastfeeding style is different from what the lactation consultants say is correct. As long as your baby is feeding well and isn’t hurting you, you’ve more than likely got it right.