Life Lesson #1: What having 6 kids did to me

I was reading a post on a fellow blogger’s Facebook, about the struggles of having 3 kids, and of having parents or in-laws watch you barely surviving and telling you, “Want so many kids for what?”

So for those of you with multiple toddlers and struggling, this piece is for you. 

I totally agree that the early years are difficult, even torturous maybe. I remember the time when all 5 of them (plus the hubs AND the helper) were ill with stomach flu and were vomiting all over the place, day and night, over the course of 3 weeks.

I was so sleep deprived, tired and frustrated from cleaning up and changing sheets that I wished I could just walk away. But I couldn’t. I still had to be there for them. I learnt to find my inner strength.

However, that is just a season. It will be over before you know it (yes, even though it doesn’t seem so).

The wonderful thing is, do you know what are the 3 greatest gifts I have received after becoming the mother to 6 little human persons?


1) I’ve got my priorities right

We race through life, chasing after so many things. This is just how our society is.

We don’t have time to pause to think.

But at the end of it all, did all those things bring us any lasting happiness?

Probably not.

Having so many kids, I didn’t have the luxury of time to do whatever I wanted. I had to scale down my lifestyle.

I was forced to sit down and think.

What exactly were my priorities?

What was important to me in life? 

I realised that it was to have family and friends around me whom I care about dearly and who care for me.

I used to take my parents and in-laws for granted, but after going through many challenges myself, I can understand what they must have gone through.

I now attempt to spend more time with them, to be more patient with them and to do what will make them happy as they are on their last leg of life’s journey.

Now, I also much prefer having intimate chats with close friends as compared to gatherings in big groups, as we share our lives and our struggles and we listen and support one another through the ups and downs of life.

I’m also trying to find time to do more charity work as a family and to help others in any way we can.

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer. – Jim Carrey

2) I’ve learned to live

Have you ever watched kids playing in the rain?

They look like they have absolutely no cares in the world.

They radiate joy and happiness, laughing and having so much fun.

Just by being fully in the moment and enjoying whatever they are doing.

So simple yet profound.

We as adults have forgotten how to live.

We are doing, we are accumulating, but we are not living.

And we think, when we have that, when we have reached that point of success, (or for some of my single friends) when we find the right person and get married, things will be perfect and we will be happy.

How wrong we are.

Life is in the now. 

After all the physical pain I have gone through with them; sitting with one at the A&E with a fractured arm, carrying one after an eye operation with both eyelids bleeding, rushing one to the clinic when an allergy almost killed her, all these re-focused me on what is important in life.

At times, I was so physically, mentally and emotionally drained that I didn’t know how I was going to carry on.

But you do, you just do.

And only when you are stretched, when you are pushed beyond your boundaries, do you grow.

Only by emptying of yourself are you fulfilled.

The irony of it all.

I have learnt that I have a capacity to love so deeply.

Having children makes you go beyond yourself.

Be it the ups and downs of life, the happiness or the sadness, I am now able to embrace all of it. 

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde


3) I’ve found true happiness

Yes, having so many kids have limited what I can do at the moment.

With little kids, my life slowed to a crawl.

But it was then that I learnt to appreciate the simple things in life.

Marvelling at the beauty of a flower, watching the ripples in the pond, sharing a mug of hot chocolate with an easily contented child.

All of which I would have never had the time to stop and appreciate, if not for the kids. 

I dare say the memories of those precious times of sitting by the kerb, hearing the delighted voices of the kids sharing their joy of seeing yet another beautiful flower “Mom, look at this one! And this!” can rival my experiences of being at the Eiffel tower, sitting in a gondola in Venice, and even skiing in the mountains, all of which I did before I had kids.

It dawned on me that it’s not so much the place, but the people whom I am sharing the experience with, that counts.

I realised that true happiness comes from being with people you love.

And it comes from living for others. Your children, your family, strangers in need.

To be truly content, I only need my family by my side.

Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but also becomes richer and happier. – Albert Schweitzer

So take heart, as those early years are but a season.

A season where you struggle.

But in your difficulties, you learn to appreciate the simple things. I took so many things for granted before, even something simple like being able to walk, and it was only after going through difficult times that I learnt to appreciate the good times.

Before you know it, that season is gone.

No more constant cuddles and little feet climbing into your lap. No more “I wurve you mummy” every other minute.

No more having the cutest little face peeking up at you with some mischief up their sleeve.

No more hearing those belly laughs with no cares in the world.

My oldest is now 15, yet my job is far from done.

The early years of physical demands are over. Now it’s a mental challenge. Yup, the teenage years.

I hope that I can continue to raise them to be people of compassion, to have a good and kind heart to go out into the world and make a difference.

For them to embrace life, treasure it and go forth with passion.

To find their destiny and to fulfil it.

To grow into adults with the right values which they will pass on to their children.

That is the legacy I hope to leave behind.

I am far from it but at least I have charted my course and I will plod along one day at a time, never forgetting to pause and smell the flowers.

I am thankful beyond words to have the chance to enjoy another little being. I was too busy surviving to have really enjoyed the journey with the other 5.

With Kate, I will be more present to her.

Because I have realised that life is indeed made up of the little things.

Here’s to kids.

Here’s to life.

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

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family
Linking up with Mamawearpapashirt:
~ www.mummyweeblog – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Gymnademics: 6 reasons why we love this gym

Kate is halfway through her term at Gymnademics, which they have so generously sponsored us. 

Here’s 6 reasons why we love this early childhood enrichment centre.

1) Physical component

I strongly feel that children should be allowed to do a lot of physical activity such as walking, running, climbing, balancing, and rolling from as young as possible. This will go a long way in aiding them to be more coordinated, and have better motor skills in future. And by allowing them to participate in rough and tumble activities, they will be less afraid of trying out new physical challenges as they grow up.

2) Musical component

Music can aid in brain functioning and learning to beat to the rhythm of music is important. Singing along will also help in language skills.

3) Holistic approach

Besides having a very strong physical component, they have the music component and the Glenn Doman intellectual component, so the body is developed as a whole.

4) Small class size

I like that they keep the classes small at a maximum of 9 children per class, because at this age, any more than that might be hard to control and could also be too stimulating or intimidating for the young child.

5) Attentive and caring staff

What really stands out at this centre is that the teachers put the kids first and really try to get to know the kids. When they are introducing an activity to the toddlers and Kate wanders around, they can remember who hasn’t been shown and they will seek out that child and present it to him or her. And last week, I called in at the last minute to say I wasn’t turning up as I was still unable to walk and they showed a lot of concern.

Very friendly teachers

6) Reasonable replacement policy

Some parents forget to ask about this when they sign up, then when they have to miss some classes, they realise that it cannot be made up, so that means money down the drain. Here, they have a very reasonable make-up policy whereby parents have 14 weeks to complete the 10 sessions, so there’s a buffer just in case the child falls ill or something crops up. At this age, the kids are still quite unpredictable with illnesses, especially if they are also starting childcare or pre-nursery.

We can see that Kate has definitely shown some progress. She wanders around less and is able to participate in the activities even without my prompting. For the welcome song, she now knows she has to shake the bell and happily does it.
Ring, ring

She is even able to follow what teacher Aly is doing and will clap her hands at the right time!

Enjoying herself!

One thing she’s still not too keen on doing is the trapeze. The other kids absolutely love it and will squeal with delight. However, she prefers to watch and cheer them on as we all count “1,2,3,4,5!” And she will shout very loudly at the 5!

“That doesn’t look very safe to me”

Today’s activity out of the mystery box is to teach them about table setting. The theme this week is “Our daily routine” where they will learn about sequencing and their routine.

“Eh, how come there’s no food?”

We ended with a goodbye song where the kids are supposed to shake their tambourine but Kate is more interested in trying to get both her feet into it than to shake it to the beat. Oh well.

“Look at me!”

Sane tip: For the first few lessons, I had to keep carrying her back into the centre where the action was happening. She didn’t quite understand what was happening and was busy exploring the whole studio. Now, she more or less knows where she’s supposed to go and what she’s supposed to do, although she’s still the top wanderer. Progress! Yay.

Save tip: The fees are $698 for a term of 10 sessions, but I’ll have to say that it is definitely value for money. The amount of background ie. the philosophy and the preparations, and the sheer number of activities they run through, plus follow up information for parents to re-enforce at home makes this a top-notch program for toddlers. Weekday classes are slightly cheaper at $658 per term*.

Parents can also try out a 4-session package for $298 (weekends) / $278 (weekdays) if they are not sure if their child will like it. However, the 4 sessions have to be completed over 4 straight weeks.

*Registration fee of $68 applies for all packages

For a glimpse of her first lesson, click here.


Safra Toa Payoh
293 Toa Payoh Lorong 6
Singapore 319387
Tel: 62590307

Disclaimer: Gymnademics has sponsored Kate a term of classes. All opinions are my own.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

6 things to do in the PSLE year

#3 is taking her PSLE this year. Her grades have a lot of room for improvement,  as she scored mostly Cs. However, we are all very excited as she has proven (for English) that with the right teacher or tutor, she is able to jump from a C to an A. So this is our game plan to tackle her PSLE.

1) Set a Goal

The first step is for her to have a goal which she sets herself, not mummy. This will ensure that she wants to achieve it as it means something to her. Her goal is to be able to get into #2’s secondary school, and she will have to work very hard to achieve the necessary grades for admission.

Another one doing her PSLE

2) Engage a tutor if necessary

We have started her on English and Chinese tuition since the middle of P5 as these are her 2 weakest subjects (every year, she barely manages to scrape a pass for both). For Science, she has a teacher who is new to this school, but she has a track record of getting 34 of her students to achieve A* for Science last year! After hearing from #3 how strict she is, I like the sound of this teacher, and I think #3 is in good hands. However, I will still monitor her progress and hire a tutor if need be. #1 has decided to tutor her for Math, so we’ll see how that goes. She may need a tutor down the road if #1 gets too busy with her own ‘O’ level revisions.

3) Early bedtime

We’ll try to stick to a 8.30pm bedtime on weekdays unless there’s way too much homework to be completed that day. Might not be feasible though. Today, she came home with a ton of homework, and it’s just the 1st week of school! For English, she has to read 10 compositions, complete 1 composition by the weekend, learn her spelling list of 106 words, and do some grammar worksheets. She also has Science and Chinese homework. I believe sufficient sleep is vital for her to be alert to learn well in school the next day. I guess she has to learn to work smart and work fast!

4) Destress & decompress 

During the P6 year, the students are pushed to work very hard in school and are swarmed with homework. She will need time to de-stress everyday and I think for her, that is best done by playing with Kate!

5) Family activities

This year, we will still carry on with our family activities as per normal even with 2 kids taking major exams. I have heard of families where the kids in their PSLE year are not allowed to go out once the Chinese new year festivities are over. Well, I think the kids do need a break and even I would go crazy being kept at home for a year! Besides, the message I want to get across to them is that yes, academic achievement is very important, but not at the expense of family life. We’ll just have to strive to achieve some sort of balance.

6) Communicate, communicate, communicate. 

I will take every opportunity to communicate with her teachers. We need to have a balance between school and home. 2 years ago, when #2 was taking her PSLE, she hardly had any homework at all. Finally, when I spoke to her teacher, I realised that they didn’t want to stress the students further as the parents were already going overboard with tuition and home assessments, and the teachers were afraid that the students would break under the tremendous pressure. There was a boy in her class who scored 100 for every Math exam. He revealed to the class that his mum makes him do 6 hours of Math work everyday! For us, we were relying only on school as #2 did not have any tuition at all, so in the end her teacher gave her some individual homework. 

I will also be communicating with her tutors constantly to see if their approach is working and if we are seeing improvement. And I have to be the bridge between her school teachers and her tutors so they would know how to supplement the knowledge needed. 

And finally, I have to communicate with #3 even more frequently to know what is going on in school, if she is feeling the stress, and if there are any other issues bothering her. If I take all these little steps, the PSLE year can actually be quite an adventure where she will learn how to work hard, but where the journey will still be enjoyable. 

Sane tip: I noticed how a lot of parents go into overdrive in the P6 year. All the kids do is to go for tuition, do endless assessment books, and they are not allowed to play. This makes the kids detest exams which is not how I want them to feel about education. So after having 2 kids go through the PSLE, I have come up with this simple strategy which hopefully will bear much fruit! 

Save tip: I have heard of many tuition teachers who can ‘guarantee’ good results, and their fees are exorbitant. Their methods are through drilling and I’m glad I don’t feel the need to sign my kids up for one of those as I believe learning is for the acquisition of knowledge, not just to pass a bunch of exams. 

For what I expect out of a good tutor, click here.

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

Awards ceremony

#3 went for the awards ceremony yesterday. Such a proud moment for us parents. There were quite a few grandparents around, and they were more excited than the students and parents! 

Awards presented by our MP

In total, she received a whooping $500 cash! $150 for Good progress award and $350 for Character award. She couldn’t quite believe it. The other kids went “Wah!!!” I think it might spur the others to do well this year!

2 cheques for her awards

Sane tip: It’s so nice to know that the MOE is working hand-in-hand with parents to encourage and motivate our students to do well, not only academically but in the character and leadership arena as well. Although I guess it’s tough for the teachers to be completely fair and objective in choosing the candidates. 

Save tip: Lots of cash to go into her piggy bank, that’s for sure!

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

A look back at 2013

Another year has flown by ever so quickly. This year, the focus was on Kate as we got used to having her around in our family. There’s nothing like a little baby to bring so much laughter and joy in the home, and everyone ever so frequently says “Look at what she’s doing!” And we’ll all be laughing at one of her antics. It could be her patting her big belly and smiling, or nodding her head to a pop song and bobbing along to the tune, or trying to get in and out of a box. Something simple like that. Can’t believe it was just months ago when she was still ‘botak’ and so small. This was her first ride out in her new car seat.

“My throne? Or my prison?”

She goes to the playground with #5 all the time, and sometimes he pushes her so hard that she has to hang on with all her might. Well, the good thing is, her gym teacher says that she has a really good grip. Well trained, well trained.

Full concentration to hang on

At times, he wants to turn her into a cool little dude.

Baseball player?

Sometimes, I don’t quite know what the both of them get up to early in the morning.

“I can’t see properly, gor gor”

Her aunt bought this costume for her daughter, who refused to wear it as it was too restrictive. So they put Kate in it. She’s too stunned to move or cry.

Mummy had a little lamb…

The girls love editing her photos… 

Little gangster
#3 was the one who taught her how to drink from a straw.

Water never tasted so good
But I guess her expression on this one sums it up. She seems to be saying “I’ve got only 1 big brother and even though he bullies me at times, I know he loves me very much.”
“Just 1 gor gor, do I have a choice?”

The other significant thing that happened in 2013 was the birth of this blog! It has come to feel like another baby of mine. It has become such a part of our lives as we share our stories and photos with family and friends on our journey of life. It is really gratifying when people tell me how the blog has helped them, whether it be some parenting advice, some ideas for the kids, or even that it gave them some laughs on a bad day. I want to thank all of your for your support and do continue to follow us on our adventures and invite your friends along too 🙂

Sane tip: They grow up all too quickly. I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy every moment with them because when we look back, life is made up of the little things. And all the simple moments are the most precious ones.

Save tip: It doesn’t take the big and expensive things to build a loving family with happy memories. Looking forward to 2014, I will make a greater effort to scale down our lives and live simply and meaningfully. 

Here’s to a more fulfilling 2014
~   mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Discipline #3 – Never, ever, tell your child that you will go away

The early days were crazy days. As we live with my in-laws, it didn’t help that there were a total of 13 people living in our small condo apartment, so there was no space to take a breather and calm down. There were some days where I told them (and probably meant it then) that if they didn’t stop misbehaving, I would just go away. I was that near losing my sanity that I felt I had to walk away. I kept dreaming of rolling hills and green fields. There were days when I wanted to run away and be alone. I was dumbfounded when #3 told me recently that she remembered me saying that to them. She was probably only 4 or 5 then. I can imagine what those words would have meant to a child. It probably brought out all sorts of insecurities in them. It probably made them so afraid that one day they would wake up and find their mummy gone.

So no matter how difficult things are and no matter how much you want to escape from it all, don’t ever, ever, threaten your child that you will go away if they continue to misbehave.  It is better to remove yourself from the situation, tell them you need to go for a walk to clear your mind. If you don’t have the option of leaving the house, lock the bathroom door and have a soak in the tub. No tub? Sitting on the floor with some chocolate works too. But the best place I found to take a break from the screaming kids? The stairs right outside my house. I realised that if I locked myself in the room, I can still hear them quarrelling outside which doesn’t help me to calm down. Worse, they would sometimes keep on banging on the door (I’m not sure if it was to irritate me more or to see if I was still alive in there). So I would leave the house, shut the door, and sit at the stairs. That way, I got a chance to get away from whatever was driving me nuts and yet I was still close enough to know what was going on in there. And you know what? The kids will immediately stop their nonsense when they see mummy leaving. But before you walk out the door, tell them that you need to take a 10-minute break so they don’t think you are going for good. 

It is very important to take time out to care for yourself. We tend to keep on sacrificing and putting the needs of our kids above our own. Before we know it, we have turned into grumpy old women and I realised I was constantly simmering just under the surface. #4 who is very sensitive, gets upset when I’m in a bad mood. Now, we make a pact and she would tell me “mum, you are getting very grumpy” and that’s her sign that I need to chill. I have a good friend who goes away by herself once every year while her wonderful husband takes care of the kids. That is one smart husband, if you ask me!

But not everyone is so fortunate to be able to take a few days and scoot off. If you do have enough family support, checking into a hotel for a night would be a great option too. That was my birthday wish for many years, which never materialised. I felt that I couldn’t leave them and because there was always a child who needed me in the middle of the night, I never gave myself permission to put my own needs above theirs. And in the end, I was like a wound up toy that would jump at any slight provocation.

So what do I do when things get really bad? Like when you are pregnant and 4 other little kids are sick or/and misbehaving and you are about to go mad? I take one day at a time and keep reminding myself that “This too, shall pass.”

And above all, always keep love in your heart. Only if you love yourself, can you love your family well. To all the mummies out there, you are doing the best you can, so give yourselves a pat on the back!

Other discipline tips (which I’ve learnt after having 6 kids):

Discipline #8: What do you do when your 2-year old lies?
Discipline #9: When the gramps can’t say ‘no’
Discipline #10: 6 Tips to stop tantrums in toddlers

Discipline #11: Who has the energy to discipline our kids


Linking up with:

“How do you manage?”

That’s the next most common question I get asked, after they say “You have 6 kids?” with a very incredulous tone.

One of their favourite past times: Climbing trees

So how do I do it?

1) Close one eye

When I had 3 kids, I had to ‘close one eye’. When I had 6 kids, sometimes I had to ‘close both eyes’. When #1 was little, if she dropped her spoon on the floor, I would go to the sink and wash it before giving it back to her. After I had more kids, well, I would just give it back to them sans washing. A little bit of germs wouldn’t kill them, and it would help to make their immunity stronger, no? 

In the early days, when the hub would do silly things like let them play in the rain, I would be nagging at them until I got all worked up. However, now I look at them squealing in delight kicking the puddles of water, and if I “have no eyes to see” (loosely translated from a Chinese phrase, meaning can’t bear to look at it), then I will find a quiet room and enjoy my half hour of solace by reading a book. After all, those are what childhood memories are made of, aren’t they?

2) Make them independent


I figured early on that the only way I was going to be able to manage all of them was to make them as independent as possible. My mom always comments that she has been seeing a lot of families on outings where it’s 1 kid with 5 adults (mum, dad, grandma, grandpa and helper) whereas for us, it’s usually 5 kids and 1 adult. I have no problem taking them out by myself, and the times when I was pregnant and needed to rest at home, the hub would happily take the 5 of them out.  We never ask the helper to follow us out as she has her hands full with housework. So when we go out she doesn’t need to cook and can have a break. 


From the time they entered Primary 1, I told them that they are in charge of all things pertaining to school. That includes the packing of their school bags, homework, spelling, revision for exams, basically everything. I have to say that my 4 girls did remarkably well in handling all their school work, but I can’t say the same for #5. Many parents tell me it’s a boy thing. In just this one year of him entering P1, I have received more phone calls from his teachers than the other 4 girls combined in their entire school life.


I allow them to venture out on their own on public transport. #3 and #4 (who are in P5 and P3 respectively),  take the bus by themselves to the library to help me return books or pick up stationery they need for school. Some friends think I’m nuts, but there aren’t any major roads to cross, they have a phone with them, and they only go in the day so I think it’s fine. Once they are in secondary school, they take public transport to school.


From the time they were in kindergarten, they were able to pack their own luggages for family trips. Initially I had a huge luggage where they all put their clothes in. During the trip, everyday I would get a chorus of “Mummy, where’s my blue t-shirt? Mummy, where’s my socks? Mummy, mummy, mummy.” It drove me nuts, so I bought each of them their own little luggage. Problem solved.

Moving house…

When we moved house last year, we did it in stages as I had just delivered Kate and was still recuperating from my C-section. The kids did all their packing by themselves and the loading and unloading. Some time later, I went back to the old house to pick up some items, and #5 tagged along. He was only in K2 at that time and I was surprised to see that he managed to pack his own things into the cardboard box, hauled it up onto the trolley, pushed the trolley to the car, and loaded it. He went back and forth several times and packed up his sisters’ leftover things as well. When I went to the car, I found the boot almost full! He had watched his dad do it and he followed suit.

3) Just do it

Sometimes when we think too much, things seem insurmountable. When you are in the midst of things, you don’t even have time to think. You just do. Now looking back, I really wonder how I survived those years.

4) Change your perspective

One of my good old friend just gave birth to her first child. She felt very overwhelmed with the 2-hourly feeding schedule and she said it was tiring having to tend to the baby with the little sleep she was getting. I shared with her that for 10 years, the longest stretch I slept was 4 hours. I was either breastfeeding a baby every 2 or 3 hourly, waking up to make milk in the night for a toddler, or waking up to go to the toilet when I was pregnant. I am a light sleeper and any little sound would wake me, and it took me ages to go back to sleep. In the day I still had to tend to the kids and at times, I was also working part time. She was surprised and it shifted her perspective. There was a joke among my friends whereby every year, they would ask me what I wanted for my birthday present. My reply was always the same, that I wished I could have a room to myself where I could sleep for a full 10 hours uninterrupted.

In one of my stints in a hospital when I was a student, I had the privilege of meeting a very inspirational man. He was in his 30s and was an avid sportsman. He got into an accident while para-gliding and had to amputate all 4 limbs. Instead of falling into depression which most of the doctors expected him to, he did not dwell on his misfortune but instead set his mind to get better. He set himself high goals (the doctors thought he was delusional) and he perservered at his treatment, working very hard to tone up his muscles and master the use of the prosthetics. He eventually managed to go back to work, and to his hobbies of surfing and para-gliding. Everyone who watched him during his treatment sessions were speechless. Here we were, nurses, therapists and doctors, who were all prepared to aid him in his recovery, but instead, we were all humbled and inspired by his strength of spirit.

My motto? What don’t kill you makes you stronger. When the going gets tough, I always think to myself, “We have 2 hands and 2 legs, what can’t we handle?”

5) Delegate

These days, teachers expect parents to supervise their school work. #5’s Chinese teacher sent me a WhatsApp text to say that I was supposed to craft a speech for his “Show and Tell”. To begin with, my chinese is nowhere near fantastic. And besides, I really had not factored in “Teaching them show and tell” into my daily to-do lists so I didn’t have the time to do it. I got one of the girls to help him out with it. The next day, the teacher called me to say that it was not up to standard and she gave me suggestions on the sentences to use. I had to again delegate the job to one of the girls to re-teach him.

Taking care of Kate is also a full time responsibility. The helper is not able to look after her all the time as she has to do the housework. When my hands are full, the kids will take turns looking after her. #3 spends the most time with her as she loves babies. Once she returns home from school, she will look for her and play with her. When daddy was away, Kate missed him and would cry sadly at times calling “daddee”. #3 knows that her favourite thing is to play with water so she cleaned the long bath, filled it with water and put Kate in to play. That never failed to cheer her up.

6) Good family support

I definitely wouldn’t have been able to manage without the help of my hub, my mom, my dad, my mom-in-law, my dad-in-law, my sisters-in-law and my previous maid of 14 years. My hub works from home and he is very hands on with the kids. In fact, when #1 was born, I didn’t quite know how to bathe her as she was so small and slippery. But he was a natural and handled her really well. He could bathe her, change her diapers, make her milk and swaddle her. When the kids were younger, he would swim with them all the time. My neighbours would say “Your hub very free hor” because sometimes they would see him swimming with them a few times in a week. Then they would comment “Wah, he can manage them so well!” They were amazed at how he could handle all 5 of them especially as none of them could swim! But swimming with daddy was always the highlight of their week and they would all come back after an hour beaming and chatting happily.

When they were younger, my mom came over everyday to help take care of them. She did anything that was needed; feed them, bathe them, put them to sleep, etc. She can easily hold the fort if we are not around. When #5 was just 2 months old, the hub had to go away for work. I was just about going crazy with the 2-hourly breastfeeding for the 5th time round, that I told him I was tagging along. We left the baby and the other 4 kids to her and the helper for 2 weeks. 

My dad’s job is to ferry them around. Especially during their P6 years when they had tuition the whole weekend, he would be in charge of their transport. My parents also loved to take them to the zoo and the bird park. When #5 was younger, they literally took him there every other week. Of course, they are also in charge of spoiling the kids, which I used to frown upon, but I have realised that that is what makes them happy so now I leave my dad alone.

We live with my in-laws and my mom-in-law does the early morning walks with the kids. When they were between the ages of 1 and 3, they used to wake up at 5.30 or 6 every morning. We didn’t know anything about proper sleep habits, so we thought that if we kept them up later in the night they would wake up later. Only after I had #5 did I read up on sleep patterns and I realised that the later you keep them up, the earlier they will wake up! It doesn’t sound logical but it’s true. As my mom-in-law was the only one awake that early, she would take them for a walk around our condo.

My dad-in-law comes back once every few weeks and he would make sure that the freezer is stocked with enough food to feed the kids. He would always question them if they are being fed well and he would also enquire about their studies.

My sisters-in-law are also such wonderful aunts to the kids. One SIL cooks and bakes very well, and the kids will ask her to make them their birthday cakes. She also takes them out when she goes for nice meals with her hub or her friends. They always come back and tell me excitedly what yummy food they had. Another SIL is good with her hands and she would make earrings for them or teach them to braid their hair. The other SIL lives overseas but every time she is back, she makes an effort to take them out or buy them boardgames to play.

I am extremely grateful for all the support that they have provided us over the years.

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Discipline #1 – Don’t scream at your child

My life as it is now is the best that it has been since I became a mom.

I can think clearly, function properly, and I am in the right frame of mind to enjoy my children.

I have come a long way.

I wanted to share more of my stories but have been busy writing about day-to-day happenings and never got round to writing about those challenging years.

I was reading a fellow mum blogger’s post on Life’s Little Lessons and was prompted to pen these lessons down which I have learnt over the past 15 years of parenting 6 kids.

Bit by bit.

Perhaps it would be cathartic to let it all out and slowly re-build the fragmented pieces of my relationship with the girls, especially #4.

She has such a sensitive soul that she was the one most affected by my horrible parenting.

As my words flow, I start to recall little incidences.

What was our discipline style back then?

It was a let’s-scold-them-when-we-can’t-take-their-nonsense-anymore style.

We didn’t know we had to be consistent.

As they misbehaved, I would tolerate and wait for their nonsense to stop. Which of course any mom could tell you, that’s just an absurd notion.

As a result, my anger would escalate and suddenly, boom!

I reached my threshold and unleashed my full anger on them.

I would rant on and on, and once, a neighbour even peered into my window to see if everything was all right.

Because you see, I have always been a very patient person. My old friends would tell you that I was the calmest and most patient person amongst us.

Somehow having the responsibility of taking care of 5 little people under the age of 9 turned me into a monster mom.

I was so busy trying to survive from day to day that I never stopped to think if there was a better way.

We had no siblings nor friends with kids to learn from or discuss things with.

Obviously I didn’t have time to read books nor surf the internet to gather some insight. Heck, I didn’t even know parenting blogs existed.

I just plodded along in my own crazy world. 

I vividly remember one incident.

I was driving the kids home after an evening out.

I started scolding #4 about something, and got so carried away that I was literally screaming at her.

Yes, in the confines of the car.

She recoiled from me and shielded her face.

My words were like bullets firing at this poor little child.

My child.

I must have been so exhausted and frustrated that I took it all out on her.

She must have been traumatised.

It was not the first time I had yelled at them, and definitely not the last.

And when you get into the habit of screaming at your kids, it just gets worse.

The first time you scream at them, it seems to work like a miracle.

They are momentarily stunned and would be on their best behaviour for the rest of the day.

I would finish yelling at them, then send them all to bed (it didn’t matter what time it was).

They would promptly fall asleep, probably in fear, and I got my hour of peace.

Subsequently, they got so used to my screaming that they did not fall in line immediately anymore.

What happens next?

I have to scream even louder thinking that somehow what I was trying to say would get into their little heads if I yelled LOUD ENOUGH.

It became a habit and I was yelling at them constantly.


Please don’t scream at your children. Except in a dangerous situation.

Let peace prevail in your homes instead.

Other discipline tips (which I’ve learnt after having 6 kids):

Discipline #8: What do you do when your 2-year old lies?
Discipline #9: When the gramps can’t say ‘no’
Discipline #10: 6 Tips to stop tantrums in toddlers

Discipline #11: Who has the energy to discipline our kids

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