Our helper was away, and although it was tough managing the household, everything was still under control. The hubs works from home and held the fort, cooking lunch and dinner for the kids on days I had to work.
Then one evening, he said that he needed to go away. The next morning. For 2 days.
Springing into action I looked at my work schedule. If there was nothing urgent I could work from home. However, I had a few meetings with outside partners scheduled and it wasn’t so nice to cancel at the last minute.
Next, I went to the kids and wrote down all the different timings they would be back, and if they needed lunch.
The meetings were in the afternoon so I had the morning to prepare. I would be back around 8 pm which meant that one of the girls had to fix dinner. I peered into our freezer and pulled out meat that could easily be popped into the grill.
|Breakfast, lunch and tea|
A hearty breakfast. The next morning, I jumped out of bed at 5.30 knowing I had a long day ahead. I was so tempted to give them bread and butter, but seeing that they have been polishing everything up (my teens can eat a full meal at 6 am!), I wanted to give them nutritious food at home as they don’t eat well at school and outside.
#4 was going to be in school for 10 hours, so I made her grilled salmon with quinoa for breakfast, packed her a double portion of pasta for lunch, and included 2 slices of banana cake.
One down, 5 more to go.
Kids home alone. I told #5 that he would be all alone when he gets home after school. It’s possibly the first time ever in his life! In a big household, with siblings, our helper and both sets of grandparents always around it is rare that anyone is home alone. I checked if he was going to be alright and he said, “Woah, ok!” He might have been thinking: I have the whole house to myself!
He listened attentively as I gave him instructions for lunch. All he had to do was heat up the sauce on the stove, microwave the pasta, and pour the sauce over it. Done.
He can fry an egg and boil pasta and I knew that he would be safe using the stove. I didn’t want him to be doing something new with no one at home to supervise. One portion was his, and the other was for #3, who would be back 2 hours later.
#2 had night study and would be back late. So thankful that the mums and dads from the parent support group helped to provide dinner for the students.
4 settled, 2 left.
|Dinner in a foil|
After dropping Kate off at school, I rushed home to marinate the char siew and boil a pot of soup. I wrapped the parcels individually and all #3 had to do was to unwrap the parcels and put the whole tray in the oven.
She often bakes cupcakes and would have no problems removing the hot tray from the oven. I set my alarm to go off during my meeting so I could send her a text reminder to make dinner. (I had a fleeting image of my famished kids trooping home for dinner, facing an empty dining table.)
#1 would be in school from 12 – 6 pm and as she normally doesn’t get to have lunch at home, I made her a huge meal, plus soup. That should last her till she got home for dinner!
Somehow, I think I went into this sink or swim mode, feeling the need to keep them well-fed.
And finally, Kate. I left the house at 12 pm to pick Kate from school and she was the lucky one. We went to Antoinette for lunch, en route to my meeting. I totally deserve a good break after all that hard work and she’s been my helpful little elf too.
I’m one of those who can’t eat after cooking (so stressful whipping up meals within a time limit to get them fed and out the door) and coupled with my insufficient sleep and running around non-stop from 5 am to 12 midnight every day, I lost 2kg! Haha, best weight-lost plan ever.
|A little executive|
Bring your kid to work. Kate was such an angel and kept herself occupied through our 4-hour meeting without grumbling or badgering me to go home.
She came to sit on my lap after 2 hours of doing her own drawing and writing, and after 20 minutes of listening to our boring adult talk, went back to her table. She spent the rest of the time having a tea break, chatting with the other adults and playing with her little toy puppy.
They were so impressed that a 4-year old could sit through a long meeting without constantly interrupting us. Proud of her!
By the time we reached home it was close to 8 pm and I was glad that the older girls had things under control. Kate and I had a quick dinner and it was off to shower and prepare for bedtime.
Fun work meetings. The next day, Kate had to follow me to work again, but this time she was in for a surprise. My meetings were at indoor playgrounds and she had a whale of a time playing by herself.
The hubs is back. By Friday, we’ve had enough of cooking and washing and decided to eat out. Now that #1 has her driving license, it made things so much more convenient. We did not have to go all the way home in peak hour traffic to pick the kids, but she could drive them to meet us, which saved a lot of time.
We ended our meal with a delightful coconut ice-cream treat just the right size for our family!
It was a tiring 2 weeks, but we pulled through, and I have much to be thankful for.
For the hubs who did most of the household chores, my sis-in-law’s helper who took care of the kids’ uniforms, my dad-in-law who filled the freezers to the brim afraid that the kids would starve, friends who had Kate over for playdates, and my mum who came over to make Saturday night dinners.
But it was a good 2 weeks.
The kids know how much goes into running a household and all the “unseen” work that mummy does on a daily basis, and they learnt to rely on each another as many hands make light work.
All of them missed their auntie, and I’m sure that they will appreciate her so much more.
More stories of our first week: Two weeks without our helper. Help!