Postnatal depression is real

Hearing about the mother jumping to her death with her newborn in her arms was just so heart-breaking. Mental illness is still a hush-hush topic. It shouldn’t be, and mindsets need to change.

We need to raise awareness and remove the taboo surrounding depression so that new mums have the courage to seek help. I was planning to share my own experience and was heartened to see a fellow mummy blogger Justina from Mum in the Making post on her Instagram accountDepression is NOT a dirty word, where she shared her own battle with PND and encouraged other mums to do so as well.

When #1 was born, we were studying overseas and did not have any help at all. Besides the usual household chores of cooking and cleaning, we were studying full time and had a newborn on our hands. With no experience and no advice from anyone, all I could do was to read books on getting baby into a routine. They were not particularly useful and I did not know at that time that her crying had almost everything to do with her lack of sleep.

She cried all the time and had to be carried. The hubs would try pacifying and rocking her, but when she cried incessantly for hours on end, he gave up. On days when the hubs was at school the whole day, I carried her until my arms ached and in desperation would plonk her on the bed while I went into another room to cry. I didn’t know what to do with this baby who was driving me insane. I was waking up every 2 hours to feed her and I went to classes exhausted. Besides all that, I had many other concerns weighing on my mind.


There were these community huts where we took #1 for her regular check-ups. I remember the nurse doing the usual developmental milestone checks for her and she gave me a questionnaire to complete.

I still remember what she said to me, which was very cryptic at that point. “Oh dear, we would like you to come in again in a week, not so much for bubs, but for you.”

It was only a year later while working in the mental health community hospital that I understood. I was looking through the different questionnaires for depression and chanced upon the same one that I did. I roughly remembered my score and was stunned to discover that I fell under the moderate to severely depressed category! Every time I went to the cosy little hut, the nurse would have a chat with me about our situation and my concerns, and those were counselling sessions!

Imagine what new mums have to go through. Apart from the rollercoaster of hormones after the birthing process, there may be extreme physical changes and pain to deal with, and external worries such as work and childcare arrangements, added responsibilities, expectations, and even clashes in child-rearing philosophies with the grandparents. The list is endless. Plus round the clock demands of tending to a new baby who doesn’t come with a manual.

These unexpected emotions and avalanche of changes may be overwhelming, and mothers need to be reassured that there is nothing wrong with them and they should talk to somebody about it and ask for help. I have heard stories of how some mums had thoughts of harming their baby or even trying to fit their baby into the rubbish chute before suddenly ‘waking up’ and being shocked at what they were about to do.

Just as motherhood is a beautiful experience, it can also be a lonely and terrifying experience. No one can understand exactly what we are feeling nor going through. And sometimes we need to put on a brave front and soldier on because we want to shelter the other kids from our stress and not give our family members undue worries.

The motherhood journey is not easy. Yet in this journey, we rediscover ourselves. The depth of our love, the layers of our being. If you were to ask me now, after having 6 kids, do I regret it? Despite all the pain and difficulties, the answer is a firm no.

Let us open the conversation on depression and acknowledge that it is real and could happen to any of us.

May we find support in our families and communities and draw strength from other mothers.

May we walk with open eyes and outstretched arms to see another mum’s needs and provide support where we can.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – A blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Where can I find happiness?

I remember having a happy childhood, surrounded by family and friends. Dad worked long hours but mum was a stabalising presence at home.

As a teenager I went through the typical phase thinking that happiness could be bought, only to discover it is short-lived – until the next purchase.

The greatest challenge came when we started having kids and the past 18 years have by no means been easy. In my toughest and darkest moments, I struggled to find meaning in the sacrifices and sufferings of those early years.


On hindsight, it taught me so much.

It shaped me into who I am today. It made me strong.

Living life at survival mode with the 5 older kids, it dawned on me that happiness could be found in the simplest of things and hey, I lived to tell the tale, share my experiences, and hopefully inspire others along this journey of life as parents.

I have been fortunate to enjoy the past 4 years since Kate came into our lives, seeing the world through the lens of a child. It was a breather for me, to recharge body and soul.

The next few years will be rocky, in many aspects. My parents are past their 70s and this is the first time seeing dad hospitalised. Soon, they will be unable to care for my brother which adds to their burden.

As a mother, your worries never end. Slowly but surely, I will have half a dozen teenagers on my hands. Our childrens’ joys are ours, their sadness, multiplied a thousand times in our hearts. The paths they choose to walk may give us sleepless nights. I need to brace myself emotionally.

I have been pondering things the past few weeks, and worries started to surface.

Someone shared these lines, and it has redefined happiness for me.
Being happy is not having a sky without storms, work without fatigue, or relationships without disappointments.

Being happy is finding strength in forgiveness, hope in one’s battles, love in disagreements.

It is not only to treasure the smile, but to reflect on the sadness.

Being happy is not an inevitable fate, but a victory for those who can travel towards it with your own being.

It is not only to cross the deserts outside of ourselves, but still more, to be able to find an oasis in the recesses of our soul.

In your spring-time, may you become a lover of joy. In your winter, may you become a friend of wisdom.

Happiness is not about having a perfect life but about using tears to water tolerance, failures to carve serenity, obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.

These words shine like a ray of light.

We can find happiness in the bad, as much as the good.

At church, one of my kids asked, “Why is Good Friday good when Jesus suffered and died? It should be called Bad Friday.”

It is precisely because of Good Friday that the miracle of Easter Sunday is celebrated.

As much as laughter and joy will flow, so will tears and pain.

I am not afraid. In darkness and despair, I shall find peace.

And when the storms blow over, the bright hues of the rainbow will be appreciated like never before.

Other lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?
Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society

Lesson #19: Are we slowly killing ourselves?
Lesson #20: What does it take to keep a marriage going?

~ www.mummyweeblog.com: A blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

What does it take to keep a marriage going?

I have friends married for the second time and they tell me, “It’s not easy raising kids and keeping the marriage going. Please share your wisdom!”

I’m embarressed to say that I don’t have much advice to dole out, and happily married for 18 years is hardly an accurate description of our union. I’m still scratching my head, because those successful marriage cliches like “don’t go to bed angry” or “go on date nights” are easier said than done. In the first 10 years of our marriage, I didn’t even have time for proper meals, let alone go out for fun?

Anyhow, OUR MARRIAGE SURVIVED 18 YEARS!

I don’t know how we made it through all those years with 6 kids thrown into the mix. It must be God’s grace.

The odds were stacked against it.

We’ve had (more than) our fair share of arguments revolving around the usual issues of differing parenting styles, chore division, financial burdens, plus we were young. Young, immature and saddled with a child. And then some more. The responsibilities and obligations kept mounting, and statistically, this marriage would never work.

Seeing our brood, people tell us how fortunate we are, and automatically assume that it must have been a textbook marriage. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

We all know what the experts say. Get married for the right reason, find common interests, communicate, communicate, communicate. I totally agree that all of that makes things so much easier.

But relationships are complicated matters. What if most of it doesn’t apply to the both of you?

Friends who know us find us really amusing as we are poles apart in so many ways.

Common interests? The hubs spends hours on the golf course, while I do yoga with some mummy friends. I enjoy watching deep, meaningful movies, while slapstick comedy or battling it out on screen with the kids is his preferred form of entertainment.

He fills our travels with activities while I prefer to simply stroll around and absorb new cultures. When we were up in the mountains of Switzerland, his aim was to make it to the top and take lots of jaw-dropping pictures. Me? I stopped halfway, and I just had to sit there for an hour, letting the vast expanse of the snow-capped mountains envelop me. It was such a profund experience, being transported right into the palm of creation, listening to the sound of silence. When we regrouped, he was ecstatically showing me his amazing crisp shots while I was trying to explain my experience. We both could not comprehend the other.

Time and again, we hear how important communication is in a marriage. Well, the hubs is a man of few words, and when my friends with caucasian husbands sweep them off their feet with words alone, I do wish he was more eloquent. But I guess there are different levels of communication, no? I understand the hubs, without words.

We don’t share the same religion, and in the early years when I saw happy couples in church with their offsprings, how I wished we had the same faith as surely, life would be easier.

I love to read and ponder things. He loves to tinker with gadgets and machines. He cooks, and I eat. Well, maybe marriage experts meant complimentary interests?

doesn’t this make you hungry?

In today’s world with social media encroaching into our days, one unfortunate effect is the “if only” syndrome. Suddenly, we are privy to other people’s private lives. Well, the polished parts, mostly. If only we could afford luxurious holidays like the Tans, we would be happy and smiling.. If only you would buy me big, expensive gifts, our marriage would be blissful.. If only, if only.

Over the past two decades, our circumstances have changed in so many ways.

We tried to build a business together, in the hope of giving our children better opportunies, but it failed, and we went through tough times with no money in the bank and several mouths to feed.

We used to live all crammed together, 7 in a room (before Kate was born), together with my in-laws. Now, we have a nice place to live in, with lots of space. And if one day all of these were taken away, I doubt it would matter very much.

Material possessions do not make a marriage fundamentally any better. Yes, perhaps for a brief moment. Soon enough, whatever unhappiness or discontent that was there, will still be there.

Over the past 18 years, we have been through so much. How did we make it this far?

I think it was simply these. Trust, shared values and commitment. A promise to stick together. To try, and try again. No matter how hard the going got.

Happiness can be here. In good times or in bad. In a big house or a small room. In health or in sickness.

Look around us. The institution of marriage and family is being threatened. Raising kids and keeping a marriage going are probably 2 of the hardest things to do.

But they are worth it, aren’t they?

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Other lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?
Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Are we slowly killing ourselves?

We are just into the second week of January and I need a break. A vacation. The kind where you don’t bring the kids so you can chill at a secluded beach, let the sound of the waves wash over you, and let your mind wander.

It’s been a pretty full-on week. On top of working full-time, I squeezed in a JC Open House, charity event, orthodontic visit, church group discussion and met up with friends over dinner. And then there’s the weekend with a meet-the-principal session, University open house, two birthday parties and a dinner. All while juggling the kids.

We are trying to fit too much into our lives, aren’t we?

I was telling some mums who were concerned about their kids being over-scheduled that they are like sponges. There is only so much they can absorb and everything else will spill over.

It is no different with us. We are rushing from one place to another. Have we stopped to think about our lives? The quality of it? Our connection with others? Our connection with our kids? Are we always barking at them to hurry up? Ferrying them from one activity to another without spending time with them? Do we know what is on their minds and in their hearts?

It’s funny how every time someone asks us, “How are you?” Somewhere in our answer will be “Busy lor, with work, kids, and whatever million other things we have on our plate.”

Since when has being busy become a badge of honour?

Have we given much thought about how we really are feeling? C’mon, there’s so much to do, who has time to stop to think if this is what we really want our lives to be, or if we are deep-down-contented happy.

There are bills to be paid, a household to run. And say, if we did reflect on how our lives are going, do we have the luxury to stop, if we find this is not how we want to live our lives?

#2 has been doing the JC Open house rounds with her schoolmates these past few days. They have 4 days to make a decision and fill in their 12 choices. She invited me to join her to check out her top choice (yes, now mummy can’t just barge in to the teenagers’ activities).

It was a vibrant scene. The aspirants were eager-faced and excited to join the big new JC world and the seniors and teachers were enthusiastic in answering their questions and encouraging them to join the school.

As I looked around the bustling hall filled with students, parents and teachers, as much as a part of me felt joyous that #2 will be embarking on a pivotal and memorable 2 years of her life where they will study hard, play hard and form solid friendships, I had a nagging feeling.

What have we, as a society, driven ourselves to?

Hearing about how hectic their week is going to be made me wonder if there can be another way.

Seems that for the subject combination she intends to choose, classes will end at 5pm most days, and CCAs are at 5-7pm on 2 days. #1’s school was along this bus route, and even though it is 4 bus stops away, during peak hour the buses don’t stop if they are full. Thus we expect #2 to be home between 7-8.30pm. Given that they leave the house at 7.30am, that is longer than a working day for adults! Factor in dinner, shower and homework, and it is beyond what a healthy day should look like.

I’ve heard from many that the weekends are not spared, and they spend it catching up on sleep, revising their work or meeting classmates for group work. My uncles who have been teaching in JCs for the past 30 years concur that times have changed and things have become much tougher than when we were in JC.

It is the same story for #1 who is in poly. She leaves the house at 8am and on days when she has CCA, she is back at 10pm.

This, my dear friends, is our school and work culture. We start over-scheduling our kids when they are in pre-school, the schools take over that job soon enough, and we enter the workforce where it is the norm. Somewhere down the line, we pause and wonder, how did we get here? This is not what I envisioned my life to be.

It is like the speedometer where you rev the car, the pointer is going up up up, and we keep revving, until it reaches the red point. It is no surprise that we have kids attempting suicide. There is only so much a person can take.

Something is seriously wrong. We are advancing so rapidly, but getting nowhere.

What can we do?

How can we slow down?

What can we cut out?

Running at full speed for months on end with only 2 long breaks in a year is hardly sufficient. How can we put more weekly breaks into our schedules so we don’t become over-stretched. Both as parents, and for our children.

As parents, we don’t even get the break we need (and truly deserve) during the weekends. There are still children to tend to and activities to get done.

I don’t have the answers. It is even harder for us with big families as things are multiplied and magnified. The good, the bad, the busy.

All I know is I need to not stop searching for a better way. I hope never to fall into the trap of going with the flow and end up feeling tired, overwhelmed and dejected. Because if we, who are supposed to be the pillars for our children, are ourselves overburdened, how can we support them?

Everyone is running on their own treadmill. In a big family, yes, there are more siblings to share their worries and keep an eye on one another, but there are also more children, more unique personalities and a higher probability of one falling through the cracks. And I only have so many hours in a day, and too many kids who need my attention (although I hear the same cry from parents with only 2 kids!) I do worry.

I guess I’ll start with baby steps. Spending time in silence always helps me to recalibrate. I need to be intentional about scheduling that at the end of every week to remove the build up of stress that has accumulated over the week of madness. And I have to engineer the weekends to be rejuvenating, instead of cramming too much in. Some things have to be relinquished.

The big question is, which ones?

You know what comes to mind? The story of the frogs. The one where if you throw a bunch of frogs into a pot of boiling water, they will jump out. But if you put them in water and slowly boil them, they wouldn’t know any better as the temperature slowly creeps up on them.

Are we slowly killing ourselves?


Other lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?
Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

A Day in the Life of a Mum with 6 kids

For the past 4 years, I was a stay-at-home-mum, and prior to that, I worked from home for a decade so that I could be around for my kids as they were growing up.

Now that #1 is turning 18 and not-so little Kate is in school for 4 hours a day, I can finally pursue my own work without feeling bad that I have left so many kids at home to be cared for by the helper and a hubs whose eyes are focused on the computer screen most of the day.

The funny thing is, the kids are so used to the hubs and I both being at home that they find it a novelty that mum goes to work!

When they see me coming down all dressed (instead of being in home attire most of the time), the teenagers will ask, “Mum, where are you going?”

“To work.”

“Oh wow, you have work to go to.” They are amused, and I’m sure they are (secretly) proud of me. Well, I hope.

Our Brady bunch

So how do I juggle my days now that I am a working mum?

As my own boss of an enrichment centre, I am fortunate to have the flexibility of time and can choose to work partly from home. The flip side however, is that even when I’m home, I tend to be on the computer (there is always more to do!) and Kate has pleaded with me on several occasions, “Mummy, can you stop your computer and play with me?” I need more self-restraint to block out time meant for the kids!

My weekday schedule hasn’t changed all that much as I try to fit my work schedule around the kids’ school day. In the mornings while the kids are in school, I go to my centre for training, brainstorming sessions or to touch base with my staff. I leave at 12noon to pick Kate up and spend the afternoons with the kids as they return home from school. After the younger kids have gone to bed, I get some work done before calling it a night at 12 or 1am, although some nights I’m exhausted and fall asleep while putting Kate to bed.

My weekend. The day which has changed the most for me is Saturday. I documented our Saturday a year ago, where it was a balance between seeing to the younger and older kids’ different needs while making time for simple activities as a family.

Now, I work almost every Saturday, to personally run our weekly trial classes as our concept is new to parents and many do not understand what we do even after browsing our website. I have come to enjoy these sessions as we are on this parenting journey together, and it is always nice to get to know the parents of the kids whom we are working with.

Our Little Executives

Saturday mornings: I take Kate along with me, and she attends her class while I speak to the parents. Some days she stays the whole day with me, and keeps herself entertained by playing with the other kids at our centre, or simply playing by herself.

Meanwhile at home, the 4 older kids sleep in on weekends to make up for the sore lack of sleep on school days. My dad has learnt to Whatsapp them directly to see who is at home, and my parents will detour to the market to buy brunch over so that our helper doesn’t have to cook.

My mum will see to the needs of the kids and ensure everything is ok. She usually spends time chatting with the teens and takes an afternoon nap in their rooms. My parents have been such a life saver for the past 18 years, and even though they are in their 70s, they enjoy their role and the company of the kids.

Afternoons: Some days, the hubs might come by to my centre with #4 and #5  to pick Kate up. He has stepped up to the plate knowing that I am busy with work. Wish I had done this earlier!

There are times when I can’t figure out what they get up to when he sends across such pictures, but I’m glad he is spending more time bonding with them. Now that I’m at home much less to supervise him, #5 spends too much time watching TV and playing on the computer, so the more time in nature, the better.

Dad.. we are exhausted

This Saturday arrangement has been working well and occasionally, I get time in between my sessions to meet up with old friends for lunch to celebrate birthdays.

Initially, when I started to work on Saturdays, I was apprehensive about being away on a weekend when everyone else was at home, but it has turned out really well and Kate has been enjoying her Saturdays tremendously. Time alone with mummy. Fun times with daddy and siblings. Friends to play with or going out for nice meals. What more can she ask for?!

Evenings: I return home in the late afternoon or evening, depending on how many sessions I run, and the hubs would be fixing a nice dinner for the kids. We sit with them for an early dinner (around 6pm) and have a few small bites while seeing that they are all fed.

Once everything is settled, we prepare to head out to meet with friends for dinner, leaving the older girls in charge.

Although we have been going out much less as a family these past 2 months due to me working on Saturdays and preferring to stay in on Sundays to rest and recharge, the timing couldn’t be better as #4 has been busy with PSLE preparations and #2 has been spending the weekends catching up on sleep and studying for her O level exams which commences next week.

Occasionally, the hubs will cook up a storm or start a little BBQ and roast some nice meats, and my parents and brother’s family will join us for dinner or we might head out nearby to have dinner together.

Slow roasted BBQ ribs

Night out: It’s nice to relax and unwind from a long week over a nice dinner with 1 or 2 other couples, and there’s usually some interesting event going on somewhere.

Late night: After a heavy meal, I find it hard to sleep so what’s the best thing to do when the kids are asleep and the house is dead quiet? Besides the hottest topic everyone is heated up over these past few days..

I work. My work is akin to a hobby. I turn to it every spare moment I have, and it brings me great joy and satisfaction.

If my brain cells are buzzing, I’ll put in some heavy work like reading research papers, writing up rationales of our curriculum or doing some bookkeeping. But if I’m brain-fried, I’ll do relaxing work like blogging or sorting the kids/family admin, which is another never-ending task!

Wine pairing dinner

It may be unimaginable, but I’m happiest now than I have ever been since having kids.

I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but there was a period of more than 5 years when I did not have time to meet with friends nor go out with the hubs. It was routine, routine, routine. So much so that now as I make time to re-connect with old friends, my kids are surprised. “Mum, we didn’t know you had so many friends!” Yup, I’m accustomed to such bluntness. Is it just my teens?

Getting the 5 young kids to eat, sleep, and bathe took up my entire day and every ounce of energy. The focus was more like 95% kids, 5% work (to hang on to my sanity), 0% me, 0% fun. I didn’t know any better, but oh well, I survived and emerged stronger.

After 18 years, I finally have balance.

Family time with the children, yet ample time away from them which is just as important.

Work which I enjoy; both meaningful and mentally stimulating, and working with passionate, like-minded educators who bring energy to my days.

Time with the hubs, good friends, and adult conversations where we chat and laugh ourselves silly, as I have almost forgotten how it feels to enjoy the company of friends without my thoughts constantly revolving around the kids.

I become more ready to take on the new week.

I am in a good place now.

For that, I am thankful.


For more glimpses into our days, this is how my week looks like. It does get pretty crazy around here! The last time I documented my weekday was 2 years ago when Kate was 2, and looking back, things have changed significantly.

Next up on this blog train is Dorothea, a mum of two boys, aged 6 and 4. She writes about life, love, parenting and faith at A Pancake Princess, and is also a regular contributor to The New Age Parents, an online magazine. These days, she also enjoys crafting customised artwork and holding watercolour / calligraphy workshops, and goes by the name of Dottishop. Meanwhile, most of her time is spent chasing make-believe dinosaurs, making messy art, breaking up fights and picking crumbs off the floor – and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you for hopping on board this blog train hosted by the inspirational Justina of Mum in the Making. Click on Day in a Life blog train to take a peek into a day in the life of other mummies!


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Kate’s antics: An ice-cream to make your day

I haven’t posted any of Kate’s antics in a really long time!

Have been busy with other ‘more important’ things that I’ve forgotten to watch out for the little things in life, let myself go, and laugh with abandon.

A simple thing like savouring a good ol’ fashioned ice-cream can bring so much joy.

It takes a little child to put things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Ooh, looks yummilicious
Let me give it a lick..
Woah! Super c-o-l-d!
Just kidding…

She’s at the age where she’s soaking up everything like a sponge, especially from her 5 older siblings and their friends who come over to our place frequently, and constantly surprises us with the things she says and does.

Cheek to cheek smiles

Many of the friends I have known through my children have kids the same age as my 3 older teens and we feel the yearning of the “Empty Hands”. They haven’t quite flown the nest, but want their space.

We no longer have to feed them, change their diapers nor carry them till our backs break.

But we miss their chubby arms around our necks and their cheeky faces looking up earnestly at us.

When they are little, we can’t wait for them to grow up so our job will be less tiresome. And when they grow up, we wish they were cute and little again.

The irony of it.

So.

Hug your little ones more often.

Hold your tongue and listen to what they have to say.

For the day will be gone too soon.

And you would wish you had held them more, nagged at them less, and found time to laugh with them a lot more.

It is not too late.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society

I read about the double tragedy of a straight ‘A’s student committing suicide after hours of receiving her O level results because she had 2 ‘B’s, and of her heart-broken mother following suit 3 months later.

The pressure seems to be getting worse and worse for our children. On all fronts.

Just last week, some mums were talking about how a student from a top school had committed suicide.

We were very heavy-hearted and in an attempt to make sense of the situation, generalisations started surfacing. 

“Grades are not everything. Better not put our kids in top schools. So stressful. Neighbourhood schools better.”

“But in mixed school will have BGR problems. Also headache.”

The common reasons for suicide in our children and youths seem to be disappointing parents with poor grades, family problems and relationship/bullying issues.

As we were quiet and letting it sink in, a friend shared something even more disturbing.

Her daughter was in the same school as the child who committed suicide and she was very concerned about how she has been affected. She raised the issue with her daughter and this was the reply.

“I’m ok mum. Like that lor. She committed suicide.”

Have our young people been numbed?


In this rush of life, of me, myself and I, of gadgets in our faces. Have we lost our connectedness with one another? 

That scares me plenty.

As our country turns 50, we have a lot to ponder.

Yes, our country is prosperous.

Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for.

But dig deeper. What do we find inside ourselves? Inside our youths?

We need to put a stop to the endless and mindless pursuit of more. Of one-upmanship. When will it end?

We need to come back to a life of contentment.


Maybe it’s time we stop thinking about bigger and better.

Maybe it’s time we start thinking about what really, really matters.

Other lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Turning 40. Quite liberating, really.

Turning 30 hardly seemed like a big deal, but hitting the big 4-0 feels different. Such an exciting milestone as we are at the halfway mark of our lives. Kind of like a checkpoint.

What have I achieved? What else do I want to achieve? Am I happy? Am I living the life I want to live? Lots to contemplate.

As a mum of 6, birthdays signify two things. A party at home where I get to see friends and family all at one go that I normally don’t have time to meet with, and a day to myself where I can do whatever I want.

Icy cold beer, anyone?
We had a fabulous party over the weekend – good food (prepared by the hubs of course), great company and wonderful conversations. Which always leaves me knowing that I need to carve out more time to connect with the people I care about.

On my birthday itself, I had a whole day to spend as I pleased. Imagine that.

So what did I want to do?

Big decision.

I decided to get up real early to get the most out of the day.

I haven’t gotten up at 5.30 in many years, and I truly miss the mornings. The stillness and silence of the unbroken dawn. The promise of a new day ahead.

I put on my track shoes (ok, it was my daughter’s) and walked out the door. Breathing in the familiar smell of the morning brought back memories of my secondary school days. I used to wake up early before school and jog a few rounds around the condo. Now, I can barely jog for 10 minutes before running out of stamina, so I decided to go for a long walk.

There is something surreal about the morning air. It makes me feel alive. I should really do this more often.

Tranquility in nature

I made my way to the nature reserve and spent a few hours immersed in the beauty of nature. I need that every once in a while.

This year, I decided to spend the day with just 1 child. The bunch of them got me upset last year, so this time, #3 had the privilege of hanging out with mummy. Why her? Well, #1 has school, #2 & #4 would be badgering me to take them home soon enough, and I definitely wanted a break from having to care for the 2 younger ones.

We started off with a wonderful lunch at Alkaff Mansion as I love places with a bit of history. All that grandeur was not lost on #3 and she was a fine lunch companion. (Truth be told, I chose this place partly because we get 50% off with the Amex credit card. Doubly satisfying!)

Lobster Linguine. So good.

We spent a relaxing day shopping, laughing and having a swell time doing silly things. #3 is such a joy to hang out with as she is easy-going and doesn’t complain at all (hungry, tired, bored, none of that!) She was my fashion adviser and ensured that I bought more trendy styles.

It was nice just to allow myself a day with nothing on my mind. Everything could wait till tomorrow. I was going to put aside the to-do lists, paperwork, emails, kids’ logistics, upcoming plans and what-not cluttering my mind. It felt good having nothing to think or worry about (like a kid being left forgotten to be picked up). Bliss takes on a new meaning after having children!

Of course, dinner with the full force was a riotous affair as usual. I decided buffet was best as the kids could be fed and entertained with minimal effort on my part. The kids love Starz Restaurant at RWS, and since they were having a ‘kids eat free’ promotion, I went along with their choice.

I found a perfect way to keep Kate occupied throughout the meal. She had recently gotten inducted into our family’s love of crab, and spent a long time slowly digging out the flesh. #5 was also kept busy going back to the buffet table to fetch her 1 crab leg at a time (don’t ask me why it didn’t cross his mind to pile up a whole plate of it).

Hard Rock Hotel, RWS

It was one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a long time, and I was also immensely touched by their thoughtful gifts.

After the kids went off to bed, I had time to sit and reflect.


You know, it’s funny how life has turned out. When I was in my teens, I was not one of those girls who dreamed of having x number of kids. In fact, I remember wanting to be a nun! And there was another phase where I wanted to move to a remote place and be a farmer. I think the meaningless-ness of our rushed existence bothered me, and I was yearning for simplicity and authenticity.

I never had any goals of making tons of money, having a super career, living in a mansion, or marrying a tall, dark and handsome prince charming, like some of my friends had. I never ever imagined that one day I would have a brood of 6.

I just lived. I had great trust in God that everything would turn out fine and there would be nothing to worry about.

I am indeed thankful for all the blessings I have today. A basketful of children, supportive family, true friends, and great opportunities.

Gifts from the kids

Turning 40 doesn’t make me feel old. It makes me feel empowered. There is a sense of urgency of if not now, when?

When we were younger, fear or embarrassment stopped us from doing certain things. Now, I look forward to meeting the unknown face to face, and the encounters have usually left me the better for it.

One thing I need to do better is to guard my time well. Not to be afraid to say no to people or events which are not in alignment with my values. To know my priorities and let all else fall away.

For the past 15 years, my guiding mantra was efficiency. I didn’t have much choice because I had to get a lot done in the 24 hours I had. As such, kindness, gentleness and compassion were pushed aside. I was usually curt. Impatient.

I need to bring all of that, and more joy and humour back into my life.

The next decade looks very promising.

It is no more a time of searching, but of consolidating.

A time of being confident and pursuing with passion what I believe in.

A time of embracing and a time of giving.

A time to be me.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~