My teen in a Neighbourhood school

One reason many parents worry for their children and push them towards excessive tuition is to cross the first academic hurdle – the PSLE. I hear parents lamenting that despite MOE scrapping some exams, it makes no difference if at the end of the day, students still have to sit for the PSLE.

When I ask them what are they worried about? The majority tell me that they are concerned about their children ending up in a neighbourhood school because of the negative influence.

I had that perception too. I guided my 3 older girls towards mission schools for their character development.

When #4 did not do well enough to enter a mission school, we pored over the grey book and narrowed down 2 neighbourhood schools which had interesting niche programmes. We checked out the open house, spoke to the HODs, asked around if friends knew of any friends with children from that school and made our decision.

The first year was a culture shock for her. Coming from an elite school, she was used to chatting with classmates about their overseas vacations, which air pods to buy and the movies they are planning to watch together. With her new classmates, the topics of common interest were limited and she wasn’t able to make any close friends.

I did feel her sadness, especially when her older sisters brought groups of friends home and she wished that she had classmates she could bond with.

However, 3 years on, she tells me that she is happy in school.

At her recent PTM, I was glad to see her chatting with friends of all races, some from her class, some from CCA and others from previous classes. Her form teacher is a lovely experienced teacher and she had good things to say about #4. She’s not academically strong, but she tries her best and is always polite and cheerful.

My birthday present

She’s been writing me cards for Mother’s Day and for my birthday and I am so pleased to see that she has become such a sensible child. She wrote:

Thank you for everything that you do for us, it must be so so hard to raise 6 children! I really appreciate all the encouragement you give me too! And how much you believe in me! I am also super proud of you and you living your dream makes me see that I can too.


She took much time and effort to knit me a beautiful bag dotted with pearls and made me a set of jewelry. Look at the bracelet! She moulded each piece from clay, baked them carefully in the oven and strung them into a bracelet. She designed earrings in my favourite colour and completed the set with a pearl ring.

So impresssed!

I admit I was worried about this child, being a teenager in a neighbourhood school. What negative influence will she pick up? Who will she mix with? I heard horror stories of kids in Sec 1 who stayed out for weeks playing Lan gaming with their classmates and skipped school and their parents could not control them.

My other kids went through the dreaded teenage phase. Of rolling eyes, bad attitude and monosyllabic responses. Some came out of the phase quickly but some were difficult to handle for years.

My fears of her being influenced by “bad company” has been unfounded. Instead, we have seen the silver lining of her being in this school. Because of what she witnessed around her, she is more appreciative of everything she has. She thanks me for every little thing. For making her a healthy dinner, for buying her a special art pen from the bookshop or for buying back flour so she can make cookies. She has also developed great empathy for those around her who are struggling.

I remember during one dinner conversation, the older girls were discussing their grad night and problems in finding the right dress.

In the midst of the conversation, she shared what was on her mind and said, “Miram’s dad is going to jail tonight. He told her to take care of herself and her mum.”

All of us froze. We didn’t know what to say. What to think. Finally, one of the girls blurted out, “Why is her dad going to jail?”

#4 said, “I didn’t ask. And I don’t want to know. But Miram must be feeling really sad. I didn’t know what to say to her when she told me that.”

On another occasion, #4 asked me for money to buy a calculator for Math. It cost more than $100 and she felt bad that I had to fork out the money. She shared with us that she had a classmate who is feeling the pinch of this extra expense as she has been taking care of herself since Sec 1 and who works during the weekends and pays for her own needs.

She doesn’t take anything for granted anymore and when she askes me for her weekly allowance, she gives me a discount and says “Mum, this week I won’t be spending so much so give me less.” Although she finds school work very hard to understand, she is good with her hands and dreams of the day she can have her own accessory line and is able to provide for us.

Having this one child in a neighbourhood school with friends who have real struggles have opened the eyes of all the other siblings.

I’ve also heard from teachers that it is not only in the neighbourhood schools that children end up with bad company. Even in the so-called “better” schools, students do get into trouble, be it in boys schools, mixed schools and even in all-girls schools.

The stories that surround our teenagers can get pretty chilling. As parents, we should aim to build our children up with good moral values, which provides them a strong foundation to know right from wrong and be able to make wise decisions and stand by the values they believe in, instead of trying to shield them too much.

We can only do our best as parents. Sometimes, despite trying very hard to raise them well, they still end up giving us endless nights of worry. All we can do is to ride out the storm with patience and love.

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


Are we prepared for the teenage years?

We all know about the dreadful teenage years. Of raging hormones and irrational behavior.

But do we really know what to expect? Are we prepared for it?

Just as we start to enjoy the freedom of independent kids who can function without us, the next phase descends without warning.

As I started to navigate my way around unchartered waters, I reached out to those with teenage kids/young adults for advice.

What a vast difference from when the kids were little. We could relate to one another with similar rants of bedtime battles and sibling quarrels. Bonds were formed with fellow mums as we shared tips and supported one another through those long and tiring days. We could rope our other halves in, the helper plus grandparents to ease our load. We were not alone.

But this. This was entirely different.

Nobody talks about the worrying problems facing our teens. No two situations are alike, and there are no easy solutions.

As I spoke to other mums, the conversations were done in hushed tones. The seriousness of the issues poured out gripped me with fear. They were too real. Not something you read about in the newspapers. Some were lucky that their kids did not give them sleepless nights. But many others shared personal tales of a time shrouded in darkness.

There were stories of eating disorders, self-mutilation (sometimes in groups), being the victim of cyber bullying, peer pressure, depression, obsession with their looks and self-perceived inadequacies, inhaling harmful substances to get a high to escape from reality, relationship issues, negative influence from classmates, staying away from home for days, attempted suicide and other sombre tales.

Having to face just one of these issues can wreck havoc in a teen’s (and their family’s) life.

In some cases, it can be to the most heartbreaking extent where as a parent, you have to turn your own child over to the police after discovering something like drug abuse.

The tough decisions parents have to make.

It really is the most difficult job in the world. Nurturing children to walk the right path and being strong enough to face the pressures from so many aspects.

Nothing prepares you for the things you will come face to face with. With a heavy heart, you witness the consequences of the choices they make.

As a mother, their pain is your pain magnified a thousand times.

At this age, they are hard to decipher and you are unsure what to say or what not to say.

I’ve discovered a sad truth from opening up to other mums. Beneath the surface of good grades, affluent lifestyles and superficial answers lie secrets many mothers carry in their hearts.

They are yearning for a confidential ear to listen to their worries. And when the storms have finally passed, they are more than willing to share their experiences and offer advice to others.

Just because they don’t have the visible signs of toddlers hanging off their arms, it doesn’t mean they are not burdened.

Yet more importantly, what about the teenagers?

Beneath their sullen look and curt replies could be a torrent of emotions they cannot handle, the demands of school and life which they cannot live up to.

Be the supportive village they are so in need of. If you do not know what to say, it is better not to say anything. They are very sensitive creatures at this point in their lives.

To mums of teens, hang in there. It is going to be a bumpy ride. It takes a strong heart.

Be ever vigilant. Teens are so good at covering up what they don’t want you to know. Don’t take things lightly. No matter how busy you are, keep an eye on them.

Don’t be afraid to open up and share with other mums of teens. They may not face the same issues but will understand what you are going through and can provide the much needed support in troubling times.

A wise friend with grown-up children shared this:

Never give up on them, never cease praying for them. Keep on loving them especially when it is so hard to do.

Some moments, I wish they were little again. When I could scoop them in my arms and life was so much simpler.

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

2018 – Can I run and hide?

2017 went by like lightning because work picked up momentum. I finally felt the weight of a working mum holding down 2 jobs. A busy work week, followed by an even busier weekend of seeing to the kids’ needs. I was on a bullet train that couldn’t stop.

After a nice, slow December, I am all rested and recharged. I have put Kate in childcare which took a load off my mind. Initially hesitant to move her at K2 as she was happy in her preschool but glad she managed to settle well today, with just a little bit of tears halfway through the afternoon. She missed her mummy, her old friends, and has to adjust to a new routine.

If 2017 was crazy, 2018 will be pure madness. Our student numbers have tripled and it’s going to be an exciting run with my team of teachers this year.

On the home front, first of all, I have a PSLE child. After going through this 4 times, the PSLE is just another year to me. However, dealing with my boy is a whole different ballgame altogether. His Chinese has been deteriorating year after year and is now at a miserable 20/100. He used to enjoy Science and was scoring 80+ but failed his P5 SA2 exam paper. This was what he wrote:

Yes. The type of answers we laugh about on Facebook. When I questioned him, he explained the whole molting process and exclaimed, “Mum, such a tough life right?!” His imagination is that vivid. I went for a talk recently and the speaker was explaining how children can be categorized by their fingerprints and he called this group of kids Type R. Creative, full of original ideas, our future designers and architects, but constantly getting into trouble with teachers.

Headache.

This requires a different tact from how I guided the girls, as I’m sure if I left him to his own devices, he will go through the week without any homework handed in nor relaying important messages from school.

His teachers said that a big part of his problem is his motivation, and we are scratching our heads on how to get him to buy into the idea of having to conform to the PSLE structure and memorizing appropriate key words for the sake of doing well in the exams so that he can go into a better school. This is something that baffles his immature 11-year old mind.

Thankfully, the older girls do understand the importance of the crucial years as the 3 of them are taking the O and A-level exams as well as Sec 2 streaming. I do worry though, that they don’t get enough sleep and it will doubtlessly be a stressful year even without me putting any pressure on them.

As for #1, she is in a bit of a dilemma trying to decide what her next step should be. After 3 years in poly, she realised this is not where her passion lies, but her interest is veering towards design. She is unsure which aspect of it should she pursue, and several friends in this field have shared their own experiences as we are exploring whether to go for a degree, another diploma, or gain some experience working. Such a tough decision with no clear answers.

Academics aside, these teenage years are the hardest in our parenting journey. The influence of friends and social media is a big concern, along with raging hormones, doubts, self-esteem issues, being critical of everything, and their world view being starkly different from ours.

Sometimes after an exchange with the lot of them, I feel like I’ve come out of a battlefield. Parenting a bunch of teens is not for the faint-hearted.

When I stop and think about this coming year and how I’m going to fit everything in while setting aside enough time to guide this brood properly, it looks extremely overwhelming. You know, the deserted island in The Last Jedi? The notion of escaping is enticing. Being alone. In silence. Where no one can find me.

Ah well, it’s nice to dream for a moment. But this is my reality, these, my responsibilities.

I am so thankful for little Kate.

She’s the ray of light with her sunny disposition as she runs into my arms like a furball greeting me with an exuberant “Mummy!!”

Whether it is after a long day at work, or when a heavy issue is weighing on my mind, I can still smile.

When things seem impossible, I can only put my hand in God’s hand and let go. By faith, I can find hope. I can find peace.

Rejoice always
Pray without ceasing
In everything, give thanks

Bring it on, 2018! I am ready 🙂

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

ECHA – The Mother of all Awards

I’m a proud mama. So very proud of #1 and #2.

All the prouder because they did it on their own.

We take them as they are and they know they never need to be top just to please us.

#2 mentioned being nominated for some award. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was until the letter came in the mail.

You have been awarded the Edusave Character Award (ECHA). The ECHA is given up to 2% of students who have demonstrated exemplary character and outstanding personal qualities through their behaviour and actions.

WOW. 2%! That was quite something.

Well done, kids!

Glad we had kids way before any of our friends and were never bombarded with smiling faces and awards floating around social media making us feel inadequate.

It was a good 5 years after #1 started primary school that we first heard of such awards given out by MOE. That same year, 2 of them received awards and we were thrilled!

One was for good results being the top 25% of her cohort. But what surprised us even more was that the other child also received an award. She has always been weak academically even though she is very bright.

She’s a kinesthetic learner and a curious questioner, which our education system is unable to develop and recognise. When she received a good progress reward, we all laughed, but it was wonderful that MOE gives out such a category to recognise the effort these children put in to further motivate them.

The kids turned it into a joke and quipped: next year, I will purposely do very badly for SA1 so that by SA2, I will have the greatest improvement!

Since that first award almost 10 years ago, they have received different awards for results, progress, leadership, Eagles, and the level of excitement has muted.

Until now.

We opened the letter with the MOE logo and #2 was overjoyed that she had clinched the ECHA award in JC1.

Now that is something else altogether. Not only is it accorded to the top 2% of the cohort, but hearing about the stringent selection process made me immensely proud of her.

First, she had to be nominated by her classmates and also her CCA mates. Crossing the peer hurdle is already a big deal when you are a teenager! Next, the nomination has to be approved by her own teachers and CCA teachers which says a lot as they are in class with you on a daily basis and everything from work attitude to conduct to punctuality is taken into consideration. Thereafter, she had to write not one, but two 500-word reflections on her education experience. Only then was she selected for a face to face interview with the panel of school leaders.

AND SHE MADE IT!! (I’m sure you can tell I’m still elated.)

Before our excitement abated, #1 came home beaming and showed us her cert. She has been placed on the Director’s list! What better way to wrap up her 3 years in poly.

For her, the journey was tough. Over the course of the diploma, she realised that this was not her area of interest and some days she really couldn’t sit through one more boring lecture. Yet she trudged on as I told her that no matter what, there is something to learn in any field and she should still put in good effort.

She has made it through her first diploma and I’m excited to see how the next few years unfold for her as we guide her to explore and narrow down her career choices.

For now, it’s all smiles around here 🙂

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

All that glitters is not gold

I haven’t blogged in a long time. I’ve been busy. So busy that I only had an hour to whip Kate’s birthday party up, just before her little guests arrived.

Maybe my next post should be entitled, “How to prepare an awesome birthday party in under 60 minutes.”

I was going to put up a pretty picture of her birthday party and dedicate the post to her.

Afterall she turned 5. What a sweet little milestone.

Best buddies

But you know, with so much going on in my life right now, it kinda feels like a lie to just shine the spotlight on that one bright moment while brushing everything else aside.

So, plot twist.

Life has been running at a breakneck speed. I’m working a full work week now but I can’t complain because I love what I am doing – I just wish I had more hours in a day. Like triple the amount.

The folks are also getting old and this is the time where things shift from having help in ferrying the kids around to having to ferry them around. We’ve been so lucky to have had their limitless love and support from day 1 and now is where the care is to be reciprocated tenfold.

And when you are running so fast, being pulled in every direction, you wish that everything at home is going just great. That somehow, the kids are behaving beautifully, so that you don’t have to worry and can concentrate on doing what needs to be done.

Unfortunately, having a current houseful of unpredictable and hormonal teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 can make life very blustery.

One moment they are sweet, sensible, helpful young ladies, voicing opinions that I appreciate. Yet the next, they are moody or sensitive or in tears about something someone said.

My days are really long now. Our house seems to be running on two separate time zones. A too early morning start with noisy bickering younger ones while the other half of the house comes alive only when the sun blazes high (the kids in secondary school have already started their holidays. Already?)

These nocturnal animals who communicate in their own lingo are cheeriest between the hours of 8pm to midnight, and there’s a mini party going on in the kitchen or their bathrooms most nights.

Then, they wake up grouchy. I asked a perfectly normal question with a smile, “Would you like to tell me your holiday plans now that school has ended?” Only to be answered with “Nope” and the offender casually resumed eating her breakfast.

And that was it! No explanation, no elaboration.

Breathe.

I need to keep calm and mother on, and re-present that question after 8pm.

No, actually, I gave it to her, telling her that it was an unacceptable answer and I expect a proper response.

It is tiring. Tiring to come home to little kids who need to be nurtured and watered, and big kids who look like they don’t need you, pretend that they don’t need you, but still need you as much as the little ones.

Maybe someone can tell me that it will all pass soon enough.

The truth is… this gig called parenting? It doesn’t end. And it doesn’t get easier. It gets – different.

So all I can do is to take a deep breath and mentally prepare myself for the long haul.

It’s funny how people look at us bloggers with our shiny happy pictures and imagine that we live in a perfect world with model kids.

Honestly, how is that even possible?

Perhaps we should stop showing happy pictures of wannabe princesses and fake castles. But then again, we can’t be snapping pictures of grouchy teens or quarreling siblings while in the midst of disciplining them.

So that in a nutshell, is our life at the moment.

Happy birthday my little one.

Life is magical when you are 5, isn’t it?

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

What we get up to during the holidays

School holiday crazy has reached new heights. With 6 kids spanning the ages of 3 to 17, the past 2 weeks went by at breakneck speed as I juggled their schedules while preparing for the opening of my enrichment centre in July.

For the first week, I left the house at 7.30am every morning to send #2 to school and crashed into bed past midnight. Several times, I had to drop a kid and pick another up without having time to go in and check what’s happening with the rest. This is definitely more exhausting than the school week.

School holiday schedule
As #2 and #4 are having their O levels and PSLE exams this year, they returned to school for the first week for supplementary classes to cover what was not taught during the term.

Besides that, they are inundated with homework to prepare for the upcoming exams. I’ve engaged a tutor to come over to our place and they arrange their slots with her themselves. #2 also has study sessions with her classmates and I support her by being the chauffeur if the location is inconvenient.

Robotics class

I have to send #5 for some holiday programs to keep him from watching too much TV at home and from annoying Kate no end.

It was much easier logistically when they were younger and I could bundle all 5 along for the same events. Now, with each child having 1 or 2 activities per day, I’m running around like a mad woman.

This was how Tuesday went for me:

7.30 am: Left the house to send #2 to school. Reached home, quickly made breakfast for #1 and dropped her off for a full day of school. She’s having a busy week with one assignment due every 2 days.

9.30 am: Made it on time for a work meeting.

12pm: Rushed home to pick #5 and took Kate along.

12.30: Picked #4 from school and took #5 for class. Kate whined to follow gor gor and kept saying that she was a big girl and wanted to go for ‘class’. Unfortunately she was not allowed in.

Did the shades herself

As we walked off in search of lunch for a starving #4, with a grumpy Kate shuffling along, we chanced upon an art school. I popped in to ask if they had ad hoc lessons for her age and lo and behold, they did! #4 and I couldn’t be more delighted as we said our goodbyes.

Chicken sandwich

Having bought ourselves an hour of special mummy-daughter time, we ducked into the nearest cafe. After a charming lunch, we turned around to pick Kate from class and #4 was so amused that the young teacher was able to handle her for a whole hour and even managed to teach her to colour in gradient tones. Kate was so proud to show us her artwork.

3pm: #4 had arranged to go over to her cousin’s house for a cookie baking session and I dropped her off before sending Kate home for her afternoon nap. It was time to head back and pick #5 from his class.

5pm: #3 called and said she was done with volunteering at the Home. They are required to complete 15 CIP hours this round. Mummy taxi despatched again. Luckily, the hubs called right at that moment and he went over and picked them up.

6pm: Their grandpa walked through the door and we all had dinner at home together.

8pm: Everyone was in a holiday mood and the teens suggested we go for waffles. Came back, settled Kate to bed and did some work before calling it a night.

Diggersite @ ECP
For #5, I try to get him to go out and do some physical activities to expand his energy. Lots of swimming, trampoline park and play dates with his friends.

Before I left to spend the day catching up with my old friend and her boys, I had to ensure Kate was well occupied when she awoke. I looked around to see who was home and tasked #3 to take Kate out for tea after her nap. They went to the neighbourhood cafe for a slice of cake and tete a tete.

We took the boys to try their hand at being construction workers and it was harder than it looked! Finally they managed to manoeuvre the diggers properly and could plonk the sand in the bucket and pick up the wooden logs. Only grouse of the parents was the pricey $5 per 5 minute tokens.
Les Miserables

With the older girls, the activities we bond over have changed from kiddy fun to things like watching musicals and going for fancy meals. I was so excited that Les Miserables is back after a 20-year break and I knew the girls would love it as much as I did. To prepare them, I asked them to read the book, which was the same copy I read when I was a teenager. As expected, only #2 finished the book and she had to explain the storyline to the others.

Needless to say, they enjoyed the musical thoroughly and it was well worth the money. I taught them to play the scores when they were younger and finally they had the chance to hear the songs sung live.

Influencer event

Saturday was a back-to-back day for me. Was woken up by Kate at 7am and we cycled to the playground after breakfast. Went back to shower and had a meeting in church at 9.30am. Excused myself from the last bit and rushed home to pick Kate up as we were invited for an influencer lunch with Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO of NTUC.

The hubs was left with the other kids and they took the opportunity to go for their favourite sashimi lunch without Kate around.

Lunch done, we made a quick exit and went off to meet some old schoolmates for a lunch-extended-to-tea session.

Kate was exhausted and had a nap in the car. After her forty winks, she was all ready to go swimming with her little cousin and #5. The rest of the family waited for us to get back to have dinner.

We rested on Sunday, and I had a nice long nap with Kate. All refreshed and recharged for the week.

My very own wheels

Come Monday, we were off again with a full week. Met up with a childhood friend and the nicest thing is to see our kids playing together like we did when we were little. We decided not to try the newly opened places to avoid the crowds.

Instead, we went to Kaboodle at East Coast Park as Kate and #5 enjoyed themselves the last time and we had the whole place to ourselves the entire few hours.

As we parted with the other kids, #5 asked if they could go to Lilliput, the mini golf centre which their grandparents used to take them to. Unfortunately, it was closed on Mondays.

#5 asked for my phone to google other mini golf places. I was quite certain that there wasn’t any other in Singapore and handled my phone to him.

He found out that Amazonia had a 9-hole mini golf, which glows in the dark! And they just had to go there! The 2 of them were jumping up and down with excitement and after much pleading, I relented. It was the holidays after all. Besides, I was busy the next day and the both of them were going to spend the day at home.

Amazonia at Great World

I love going out on weekdays. The indoor playground was relatively quiet and being a weekday, entry was for unlimited hours.

While they made new friends and played happily, I ordered lunch and did my work. Another handy skill I’ve picked up. Being able to pull out my work and delve right into it anytime, anywhere.

We had to leave at 4.30 to pick their cousin up for swimming lessons and Kate fell asleep in the car.

New found friend

When we reached home, she insisted on following us to the pool. While their cousin had lessons, #5 swam by himself and Kate made a new friend. Good for her, as I continued with my work while keeping an eye on her.

Sam @ 8Q

On Wednesday, we met up with an old friend and took the kids to Sam (Singapore Art Museum) @ 8Q. It is housed in a separate building from SAM and is situated on Queen Street.

Added bonus is the free entry for Singaporeans. We spent about 1.5 hours there, although the kids didn’t quite get the environmental message. At least we tried to expose them to different forms of creativity.

Dental surgery

The school holidays are also the time when we get the extras done. #2 was getting her braces fixed but the x-ray showed that she had an embedded tooth which needed to be removed first.

We went to Orange Orthodontics at Lucky Plaza medical centre and had it done by Dr Seah, an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon as it was a delicate surgery due to the location of the tooth. The good thing was that she did not need to do it under general anaesthetic, but could get away with IV sedation. All went well and she is staying home to recuperate.

That was a whole morning gone, and I squeezed every minute out of the 1 hour when she was sedated to zip out and get my partner to sign some documents for submission. I literally ran back to the clinic as I wanted to be there when she awoke.

As though my Thursday was not harrowing enough, while I was home and tending to #2, Kate burnt 2 fingers on the iron while looking for our helper. Thankfully I had worked in the burns department in the hospital and knew what to do.

The hardest thing was to convince my helper not to put all sorts of remedies on her, and to insist that the hubs not run her fingers under cold water but tap water. She was crying hysterically because of the pain and I gave her paracetamol and applied fresh aloe vera to the burn. When she woke up from her nap she was feeling much better.

Casting call

Even though the older ones are independent, they still need mummy to accompany them for certain things like auditions and private vocal lessons. I’m happy that the strings are slowly released and they are not overly independent at this stage.

That’s how our June break has been going so far.

2 weeks down, looking forward to a more relaxing 2 weeks!

~ 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 ~

Dear Mum – You are Pretty Cool

For Mother’s Day, I never know what I’m gonna get. When they were younger, I was disappointed when they did not make any effort at all to show their appreciation and I told them so. I mean, no point feeling upset and unappreciated when the poor kids didn’t even know what happened right?

As a result, they got creative and prepared me an awesome ‘breakfast in bed’ service. They poured milk and cornflakes and placed some cookies on a tray. Of course, the loveliness lasted all of 15 minutes and after that it was back to settling squabbles and mopping up messes.

As they grew up, the girls planned elaborate efforts like hanging streamers from the ceiling which they got the younger ones to help colour in.

Now that they are older, I receive real gifts. Yup, store bought stuff like blouses, t-shirts, and dresses. Maybe my teenagers are trying to tell me something…

I have long stopped reminding them that “It’s Mother’s Day this weekend”, as I’d rather they do something from their heart instead of doing it out of duty. So every year, I get surprised. Some years, they don’t do ANYTHING. Ok, well, some of them. Luckily I have 6, so at least 1 or 2 will ‘remember’ me.

This year, I got one stalk of beautiful red rose, 2 cards and 2 drawings.

#5 drew me a lovely picture and helped Kate draw one too by guiding her hand.

But I was truly, truly surprised to find a proper card from #1.

Let me share with you a bit of what she wrote:

YOU ARE A PRETTY COOL MUM. I AM PROUD.

(hey, pause. For a 16-year old to describe her mum as cool is really something. Just a couple of years back when they started entering the teen phase, they thought I was pretty un-cool.)

Thank you for giving me the chance to develop my interests.

Thank you for always having faith in me.


Thanks for letting me be independent.


Thank you for supporting all my concerts.


Thanks for letting us be noisy and sing in the car.

Thanks for letting my friends come over and being nice.

Thanks for cultivating my love for chips together with dad.
Thank you for being so chill.


And hear this:

I REALLY THINK YOU HAVE A NICE BLOG.

(Yay! From my very critical teenager, that means a lot).

She ended her card with:

Sorry for my bad grades and thanks for trying to help pull them up. I will work hard from now on.

(I could cry. Isn’t that what every mum wants? For their kids to acknowledge their mistakes and try harder next time?)

So. I was really happy. Not laughing happy, but deep down happy. Because I know she has come to her senses. She was not an easy child to raise during the teenage years. But I know it will get better moving forwards.

You know, it is easy for little kids to tell you nice things. “Mum, you are so pretty, your food is nice, I love you, I love you, I love youuuuu!”

As they grow into pre-teens, they are balancing between telling the truth and learning not to hurt people’s feelings.

Thus it becomes: “Mum, you look nice in that dress, but your arms are fat.”

(Er, ok. I’ve learnt not to get angry and to turn their comments into constructive criticism).

Subsequently, when they grow into teenagers, they don’t say much.

So to receive an utterly sincere and honest letter from my 16-year old is something I will treasure for a long time to come.

This post is part of the Dear Mummy blog train hosted by June, a lovely mum of 3 who blogs at mamawearpapashirt. Click here to read the dedications from the beloved kids of the other wonderful mummies!



Tomorrow we have Karen, a mum to 2 wonderful children, who muses over at Mum’s calling. She believes it is almost every woman’s calling to be a Mum. While fulfilling hers, she finds the journey truly rewarding and enjoyable. She is convinced that Motherhood is life changing and full of surprises.



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