Tackling the new school year

We made it! The first week of school has come to an end. What a week it has been. With the exception of #1 who is in the middle of her poly semester, there were lots of changes for the other kids.

We toned our activities down on Sunday and the younger ones were in bed by 8pm. I was all psyched and set my alarm for 5am.

I felt like a chef in a restaurant after watching Ratatouille too many times with the kids, and I’m proud to say I surpassed my own expectations! Managed to whip up a tasty and wholesome meal in 20 minutes and the kids wiped their plates clean and left for school in a jolly mood.

First day of school breakfast

We did not have a harrowing start with bag mix ups and mad bus chase like last year, but things did go downhill from that perfect morning.

With several kids and new routines, that is hardly surprising.

#4 started Sec 1 in a school in our neighbourhood, and she decided to walk home. We have driven past that direction on numerous occasions and she was confident of finding her way home and was unfazed by the 40-minute trek.

However, she got lost!

She was dismissed at 4pm and I had a call half an hour later. I told her to sit and wait at a bus stop and we would come get her after Kate’s enrichment class ended.

She waited for more than an hour at the bus stop and needless to say, she was famished and tired. What an end to Day 1 where she was already feeling lost as there was not one student from her previous school and everything was new and strange.

At dinner, the older girls shared their first day of secondary school stories, which included both laughter and tears.

As for little Miss Kate, we had it all planned. We opted for extended day and she would stay in school till 3pm for afternoon activities. That would give me more time to work and I wouldn’t need to rush around so much. She herself asked for it as she said she was a ‘big girl’ and wanted to stay back with her friends.

After the first day, although she did brilliant, she refused to stay back anymore and wanted to revert to the same 12.30pm dismissal as 2016. Perhaps the reality was not what she imagined! Did she envision just hanging around and playing? Possibly.

Sigh, it would have been a perfect arrangement. That one day of having her at school for the whole day spelt freedom! Having time from 9am to 3pm all to myself to work in peace was something I haven’t experienced in many, many years.

Alas, she is not ready, and I shall not push her. After all, in the big scheme of things, she barely turned 4, and I will wait patiently and give her space and time to grow more independent. We’ve managed to squeeze in time for our short daily strolls to unwind and chat, and that is something she looks forward to.

“Pretty flower for you, mummy?”

#2 is awaiting her O level results and it was funny seeing her at home on a school day. Next week! Such exciting times! To see where the next step of her education will take her. She’s been such a dear and came down to my centre to help with the cleaning and packing as we prepped for the new year.

#3 has moved up to Sec 3, and has a new set of classmates as they were streamed into the different subject combinations. It’s going to be 2 of her most important and memorable years as she and her peers head full swing into preparing for their SYF performance, focusing on their chosen subjects, enjoying their school trips together, and form unbreakable bonds for life.

As for my one and only dear son, it’s unbelieveable that he is already in P5. Seeing what #4 went through, I imagine the pace in school to pick up tremendously this year and I have to monitor his progress as well as make sure he is able to cope with the added demands of school.

Now that they are all nicely settled in school, I have time to devote to my work and do what I enjoy.

Speaking to the parents coming through my enrichment centre, I can see the tide turning and in the wake of the recent suicide cases, parents are worried about stressing their kids too much and are searching for a better way.

We are running parenting workshops over a relaxing high-tea session to share tips and ideas on how to help our kids tackle the academic year successfully with less stress. It will be an interactive talk with lots of opportunites to answer your questions.

School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

#11 – How #2 topped her level in English
#12 – DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 – Tuition – First line of attack?
#14 – Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 – First day mix up!
#16 – The day I forgot to pick my son from school
#17 – No more T-score. Now what?
#18 – Get into the PSLE fray? Not me

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

Blog Tour: Why we write, How we write

I’m part of a blog tour where we write about our writing process and link up with other bloggers to introduce new blogs to their readers. I was linked by Dorothea, who blogs at A Pancake Princess. Some of you might have heard of her blog as I did a guest post for her Mother’s day series recently. For those who have not heard of her, she is a mummy to 2 little boys and she shares about the fun things she does with her boys, cool eateries, and lots of craft ideas too.

So these are the questions I’m supposed to share about:

What am I working on?

Even with so many kids, I can honestly say that I’m not very stressed. So I try to share what I do and how I do it with my readers, many who tell me that even with just 1 or 2, they are highly stressed! I also have a series of Life’s Lessons on Thursdays, which are stuff that I have learnt through the hard way, such as “Don’t scream at your child”, “A lesson on sincerity taught to me by #1”, “Marriage is no fairytale”, and many others. Some days I’m swarmed with running the household and I’m not ready with a Lessons post. I don’t fret about it, and just try to find some time to do one for the next week. I also have a Thankful Tuesdays series, which I link up to another very lovely mummy blogger of 3 kids, at Mum in the making. I think it is very important to remember to be thankful for everything we have, even the little things. Because if we don’t have a grateful heart, we can have the best, but still not appreciate it. We’ll be unsatisfied and probably unhappy. How poor we are then. Every week or so, I put up some pictures of our littlest one on “Kate’s antics”. This is just for some mid-week humour and many of our friends look forward to it. Many new mums also like it as a picture shows many aspects of a child’s development, and it’s just reassurance that their child is similar.

How does my work defer from others in its genre?

The fact that I have 6 kids makes my experiences and perspective a little different from other bloggers. I also notice that most other bloggers have children who are still young (mostly under 6) and as my eldest is already 15, I’m ahead of them in the curve and have different things to write about. I am also able to share with them what I have learnt over the years.

Why do I write what I do?

It started with several different groups of friends who enlightened me about this whole blogging arena, and they encouraged me to share my tips and experiences with new mothers. They also told me that I could get free stuff like diapers and milk powder, and I thought “That would be really nice! The 6 of them are getting really expensive to raise.”  Along the way, I started writing about our education system, which I feel very strongly about. In previous years, the only way I could voice my opinion was through the Forum page in the Straits Times. Now, I have the platform of my blog to do that. The whole pressure-cooker system of our education system has to be redefined, and it takes not only the Ministry, but the parents to work together to do something about it. The fact that the number of children who are seeking help from IMH is increasing is a very disturbing fact. My kids have a good childhood with lots of time for play, yet they still scored all As and A*s for their PSLE. I hope that more parents will see that there is more to life than spending 6 years preparing for 1 major examination.

How does my writing process work?

In the beginning, I thought I would probably write a post once a week because I can’t have that much to say. However, once I got started, I realised that I have so much to say, and if I had more time, I would probably churn out a post everyday. With 6 kids, there is something going on everyday, and new things I am experiencing that I want to share with my readers, be it about their learning, their upbringing, some recipe, some new place or family-friendly eatery. Currently I have about 30 drafts open as either someone has requested a topic or I come across something that I want to write about, and when I have a block of free time when the kids are all in school and Kate is napping or out with her grandparents, I’ll work on them bit by bit. In between, I will do posts which are about the day to day stuff that is happening.

Ok, that’s all from me. Next up on this blog tour is a link to another mummy blogger, Sandra. She is a mum to 2 beautiful kids and her husband is French. She blogs about her parenting experiences in a mixed culture marriage in Across Two Cultures.

Do hop over next Monday, 9 June to take a peek into her writing process. 

Her blog: www.across2cultures.blogspot.sg

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

My guest post on A Pancake Princess blog

I was invited to do a guest post as part of a mother’s day tribute on this lovely blog, “A Pancake Princess”.

Dotz is a mummy to 2 very cute little boys and she shares her parenting journey with a lot of honesty. Do also drop in at A Pancake Princess to get some creative craft ideas!

For the full write-up of my guest post, click here.

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

An interview after my talk

A big thank you to all of you who came down to attend my ‘Parenting 6 kids without going mad or broke’ talk last weekend. For those who didn’t manage to make it down, I will try to summarise as best I can and break it down into digestible posts. Do give me some time to get that done.

A blogger mum who attended my talk interviewed me to find out more about how I parent my kids. She was also keen on getting my views on being a stay-at-home-mum as many of her readers are faced with the dilemma of choosing to work or being at home for the children. We were lamenting that sadly, Singapore is still far from being a place where permanent part-time positions are available for mums in most industries.

Don’t you just love the graphics

More than 10 years ago, when I requested for a permanent part-time position as an occupational therapist at the end of my work attachment, my supervisor widened her eyes in disbelief and flatly informed me that there were no such positions available. I pressed her for a valid reason, because in the hospitals where I was attached to in Australia, it was a norm for 2 therapists to share 1 person’s workload and the arrangement worked well. She asserted that no, it would not work here, it would be too challenging administratively, and besides, you would be looked down upon as not being ‘serious’ about your job. I was baffled, and further enquired about the marital status of all the OTs there. She told me that 14 out of 15 of the OTs were female and not married. The last one was the director in his 50s, and he was married.

Fast forward a decade, and I do see a minute improvement in the mindset of employers with regards to hiring females on a permanent part-time position (although hearing from friends, the reality is that on paper, you are on a half position, but over time, the workload creeps back to a full workload!) We need to do much better than that. We are losing a lot of valuable contribution from professional women because of this all or nothing employment situation. Studies overseas have shown that over the course of decades, the highest percentage of women who state that they are satisfied and happy with their life and family situation are those who are gainfully employed in a permanent part-time position. I can understand why. I don’t want to work full time so that I can spend time with the kids yet I need to keep my mind occupied and to find satisfaction in my own achievements and passions. I guess that’s also why there are now more and more mumpreuneurs sprouting up.

For the full interview of my thoughts on life, parenting, being a SAHM and even living with in-laws, click here.

Ruth’s blog

As Ruth is a first time mummy to her 8-month old son Noah, her blog: The Pacifier Diaries has great information for first time mums such as choosing a suitable gynae, what to expect from a confinement lady, and reviews of baby carriers and breast pumps.

After chatting with her, I realised how far I’ve come in my parenting journey. The days are long, but the years seem to fly by much too quickly. My best advice? Enjoy your kids while they are young šŸ™‚

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

Stress-Free Parenting workshop

I’ll be conducting small group workshops on how to go about parenting with less stress. We will delve into the common areas which causes stress:

  • Rushing around and feeling stressed with daily routines
  • Feeling like there’s not enough time in a day
  • Being needed by your kids all the time
  • Dealing with unexpected things that crop up
  • Handling their schoolwork, tuition and revision

There will be lots of opportunity for questions and discussion, as well as hands on relaxation techniques to induce relaxation and reduce stress.

Cost per person is $40 for a 2.5 hour session. Email: mummyweedotcom@gmail.com or give us a call at 98159789.

Do enquire about other available dates. Private/corporate groups can be arranged.

I’ll also be giving a free talk this Saturday at 4pm on ‘Parenting 6 kids without going mad or broke’.

Will be sharing on these areas:

  • How to tackle school and exams with minimum stress and money spent
  • How to raise independent children
  • How to have fun and hassle-free holidays without costing a bomb
  • How to teach your child to save instead of always asking to buy toys

Date:12 April 2014 (Saturday)

Time: 4-5pm

Venue: Brahm Centre @ Ren Ci Hospital
(Next to Novena MRT)

71 Irrawaddy Road
#02-06 Singapore 329562

Do come early as parking is quite limited. Early bird entitled to itsy bitsy door gift šŸ™‚ See you there!

~ mummy wee –  a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~