Walking with God as a Christian Parent – my Interview

I am extremely humbled to have been interviewed by Dr Phillip Towndrow for his new book, Walking with God as a Christian Parent – Developing wisdom for the 21st century.

As Rev Ezekiel Tan puts it, “Raising a child today is more challenging than ever before, with an unprecedented range of influences and experiences making an impact on parenting decisions.”

It is indeed not easy for parents to navigate the complex landscape our children are growing up in and with each of my 6 children, I am constantly learning something new.

At the heart of the book are 8 personal sharings of how God has worked in the lives of these parents, with lots of wisdom to be found.

Dr Towndrow expertly extracts the pertinent points, guiding readers to avail themselves of the insights and practical advice.

Walking with God as a Christian Parent

The 8 chapters include: Intentionally Passing on the Faith, Sowing Seeds Building Foundations, Sharing the Treasure I have Found, The Parenting Project, The importance of Presence, I cannot Fail, Discipline and Parenting, and my chapter is titled – Walking with God.

Here’s an excerpt:

Michelle also has a deep grounding in God’s divine provision. She explains her personal circumstances in simple yet impactful terms:

Even when it comes to my children and the schools they wanted to get into, my friends would ask, “Hey, what are your plans?” Everybody had plans. They would either send their kids to all kinds of tuition to get the necessary grades or they had other plans through sports or the arts.

I had no plans. I had total faith in God’s provision of what was best for them. To me, kids should be kids. My third daughter just went into Secondary school this year. In the end, to everyone’s amazement, she got in through DSA (Direct School Admission) in a sport she’s never played in her life.

I remember the day we went to church and I prayed so hard. It was funny. I prayed for two things. To get into her sister’s school, or a mission school. I wanted her to be involved in a sport that I didn’t have to pay for. And she told me, if the appeal was granted after school had started, she didn’t want to transfer. Within a few days our prayers were answered perfectly, just before school commenced.

And that’s how I live. I know that things will be fine. If there’s anything I need to discern, I simply go to the adoration room in church and pray about it, with all my heart and all my soul, and I will get my answer, either through people, through the psalms in Church with touch me deeply, or other signs. When my last child started preschool, I wanted to do some meaningful work. I had so many criteria – flexible timing, minimal work during the school holidays, working with passionate people in an area I was interested in. It seemed a long shot, as I had not worked much in the past 15 years. I prayed about it, and the most perfect opportunity came about, with all my criteria met!

I like how Dr Towndrow concludes each chapter with succinct summary points and discussion questions for us to ponder about.

One such example is this question: “How do you discipline your children? Do you make a distinction between discipline and love? Explain your answer.”

I can see how this book would also be useful in small group discussion sessions.

Armour Publishing
I have been enriched by reading Dr Towndrow’s new book and I’m sure you will be too.

I’ll be happy to personally give away one copy to a lucky reader, please leave your details over at our Facebook page. Emails can be privately sent to mummyweedotcom@gmail.com.

Walking with God as a Christian Parenting is retailing at major bookstores @ $18.19. You can also purchase it online from Armour Publishing at a special web price of $15.46.

Wishing all a fulfilling parenting journey. Do your best and let God do the rest!

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

Kate’s been having a rough time

For the past 2 weeks, Kate has been crying every morning when I drop her off at school.

It started because of a change of routine, as some days I could not pick her up after school when I was still at work.

It did not help that the first time the hubs had to pick her, he completely forgot about it! By the time he reached her school, he was half an hour late.

To a little child, 30 minutes feels like an eternity.

She later told me that she was afraid daddy had forgotten about her and left her in school. Besides, she was very, very hungry.

From that day on, she kept saying she didn’t want to go to school anymore and would cry upon arriving at school.

We kept trying to talk her out of her fears and reason with her, to no avail.

After trying to problem solve for 2 weeks, I found out that she has 2 trigger points.

Poor lil Kate

The first is that she does not take to change well.

Her teachers explained that in children around 3 years of age, their sense of order is quite strong. More so in some children, and less in others. For Kate, she has a very strong need for order and her teachers mentioned how on Fridays, she gets out of sorts because they have music and outdoor play, which throws her out of whack.

Her teacher managed to solve this problem by giving her ample time for transition and to pre-empt her before a change in activity.

Thus the fact that it was a different person picking her up everyday, either myself, the hubs, or one of my sisters-in-law, made her anxious.

Her teacher said that like clockwork, at the start of their dismissal routine, she would suddenly burst into tears.

I solved the problem by letting her know the night before who was going to pick her up the next day. Initially, when she asked me in the morning, “Mummy, are you going to pick me later?” I would say yes, or I’ll try. I didn’t know what was behind that question, and that a vague answer made her more anxious.

I also asked whoever was picking her to be there 10 minutes early, so that once she started craning her neck to see if someone was going to be at the school gate, she would spot one of us before the fear seized her.

We did this for a week to reassure her and this stemmed her dismissal meltdown.

Secondly, I discovered that she is very sensitive to tone of voice.

Every time she cried, her teachers would try to gently talk her out of it. When that did not work, they must have talked to her in a firmer tone, and sometimes they got her to sit in the thinking chair in a corner so that she did not disturb the other children while she cooled down.

I’m quite certain that none of her teachers have really scolded her, but to her, even a raised tone is considered to be a “scolding”.

It reached a point where I was asking her to do something and she replied, “Ok, I will do it, but can you ask Ms C not to scold me anymore?” When she responded that way the whole weekend, I knew something was wrong.

She was so fearful of her teacher!

After many, many little talks, she mentioned that she likes one of the new teachers, a soft-spoken, gentle lady.

I spoke to her teachers and they were very understanding, and stopped putting her on the thinking chair.

Whenever she started crying, the new teacher would sit with her and speak to her quietly.

Thankfully, that 2-week crying episode is over.

Even after 6 kids, I am learning something new every time.

I’m just glad I managed to resolve her worries and learnt more about her in the process.

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

The best compliment I’ve ever received

We often get complimented by our friends, family members or colleagues.

A few days ago, I received a compliment from an unexpected source.

We visited the condo where we used to live, and the security guard who had worked there for more than 10 years recognised us. Upon learning that we had moved out, he said, “Your family is very good.”

I smiled at him, and he continued.

“Really. I know. I work here many, many years. You never talk bad about others, never complain. Your mum and dad are very kind.”

When the kids were growing up, my dad would drop my mum over everyday to help with the kids, and on the weekends, both of them will come over.

Following in our footsteps

I thanked him and went our way.

The few words that he said, and the depth of how he said it lingered in my mind.

We had not done anything big. Perhaps it was in the smiles we gave. Perhaps it was how we asked the children to greet the cleaners and guards. Perhaps it was simply making them feel acknowledged and valued.

As young children, we grew up watching how our parents interacted with the people in our neighbourhood.

My mum was friends with many of our neighbours, and they helped one another out by minding each other’s children when something cropped up.

I still have vivid memories of the garbage collector, a tanned man with long hair, always busy near a huge, smelly collection point at the corner of the carpark. My mum never steered us away from him but would stop to chat and we kids even had an endearing name for him – “Uncle in a basket”. Don’t ask me how that came about.

Mum was also well-acquainted with many of the bus conductors as we lived near the interchange. Some of them knew our weekend schedule so well that if we were a few minutes late, they would wait for us knowing that we had some class or other to rush off to.

When we moved and renovated our house, my mum would make an effort to go over regularly to give the workers cold drinks and snacks.

In today’s mercenary world, it is so much about what we can get out of our dollar. About making every minute count.

In the rush of life, there is little space for simple human kindness, and our children lose out.

Parents are indeed the first teachers, not only by instruction but by living out values in action.

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

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

When I dropped Kate off at school, she was more clingy than usual and wanted me to stay.

Ms S, the teacher who taught her last year, called me aside and told me about a little incident that happened the day before.

Ms S was walking past the children when she heard Kate saying to her classmates, “You all better put the books properly back on the shelves, if not teacher will put you on the thinking chair.”

(I can just imagine a tiny little Miss Bossy wagging her fingers at her bigger friends.)

The other kids looked worried and started packing up the reading corner.

Uh-oh. Who’s naughty?

Ms S pulled her aside and asked her what did she say to her friends.

“Nothing”, came the immediate reply.

Nobody gets punished because of a slightly messy reading corner, and Kate was aware of that.

“Nothing? You sure? What did you say to your friends?”

“Nothing”, and she looked away.

If Kate had simply explained what had happened, that would have been the end of it.

However, she knew she did something wrong, and decided to lie and cover it up.

After pressing her repeatedly, Kate said that she wanted the corner to be tidy.

Ms S spent the next few minutes, or however long it must have taken, to get Kate to admit her mistake, before teaching her that it is wrong to scare her friends with untruths, and that she should not lie when being questioned, but to own up to it and apologise.

Some might say it is just a small matter.

It was an incident that could have been ignored.

After all, Ms S was on her way out as she had finished teaching her class for the day.

She did not need to make the extra effort to pull Kate aside to discipline her.

As parents, we know how draining it is to correct kids and it takes a lot of patience. We have our excuses – a bad day at work, a multitude of worries bothering us, or simply being too exhausted juggling between work and family.

Kate wasn’t even her current student.

Yet, Ms S was committed to her calling as an educator. To raise the next generation of children with right morals values.

For every time when we allow a transgression to go unchecked, we have failed them.

For every time when we do not hold our children to higher standards, we have failed them.

And when we start to see bigger issues in future, we wonder how that happened and what went wrong.

The more I am aware,

The more I have grown as a parent,

The more I can see how I fail as a parent.

Sometimes, I wonder.

Is it really their fault? Or mostly mine?

After recounting the whole incident, Ms S awaited my reaction.

Nope, I was not defensive.

I did not make excuses for Kate.

I did not doubt Ms S nor think that she was making a mountain out of a molehill.

After so many kids, I have gone past such myopic responses.

Instead, I was worried.

“Oh dear. For the 1 time that you catch her, there may be 9 other times she’s gone unchecked.”

I can just imagine this little imp, with all her tricks up her sleeves.

And she’s only 3.

Ms S burst out laughing, “I’m sure you can take it. She’s your 6th.”

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

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


A week in the life of a Blogging Mum

When people hear that I have 6 kids, they want to know how I manage.

I’ve heard that question so many times that I simply smile.

They look at me expectantly, almost demanding an answer, like “Tell me the secret, now!”

I ask them to read my blog because, where do I begin?

“You still have time to blog?!” comes the incredulous reply.

“Yes, and I am also working on 2 start-up businesses!” My excitement can hardly be concealed.

That is when they give me a look of utter incomprehension.

3 years ago, I gave birth to my youngest child, Kate, after a break of 6 years.

Close friends were joking that they can’t imagine what it is like to raise so many kids, having to start all over again, and the financial obligations we were putting ourselves through.

They suggested that since people are always coming to me for advice on parenting, I should start a blog and put it all down without needing to repeat myself.

They enticed me into the world of blogging by saying, “Bloggers get a lot of free things! Who knows, you may be sponsored diapers and milk powder.”

That was how I became a mummy blogger, and for the record, we still haven’t been sponsored diapers nor milk powder, although the journey has been nothing short of amazing.

The community of blogging mothers I have met, the people I have interviewed for my {101 Paths to Success} series, being on TV and radio, giving talks, being invited to pen a chapter in a parenting book and of course not forgetting the exclusive events we get to attend!

Our slightly large family

Last year when Kate started preschool, I finally had freedom after devoting 17 years of my life to my kids.

Having not had a ‘proper’ job for that long, I prayed that opportunities would open up and I might find meaningful work which I would enjoy doing.

Things couldn’t have turned out better and I met people whom I connected with immediately, bringing synergy to ideas we had individually.

I am in the midst of setting up an enrichment centre with a speech pathologist. In all my years, I have never seen an approach like hers.

With my background as an occupational therapist, one main concern I always have is that the programme must be developmentally sound for the child.

Readers who have been following my blog would know that I don’t subscribe to the drilling-and-pumping-kids-with-more-tuition path, but believe in the acquisition of fundamental skills and real learning that stays with them.

In her work with children over the past decade, she has successfully crafted a curriculum to bridge our educational gaps and we are so excited to share that with other children and impact the way they learn.

I have also been roped in as Editor for a crowd-funding social enterprise start-up which hopes to rally and inspire the community one story and one campaign at a time.

After hanging around little people for so many years, it is refreshing to sit with adults and brainstorm new and creative ideas, and have the time to actually work on them.

Cosy catch-ups at home

Even though I have taken on paid jobs, my priority is still the children and I work everything around them.

This is what a typical day looks like for me.

#1 is in a polytechnic and runs on her own schedule. The subsequent 4 kids are in primary and secondary school and they get themselves ready to board their respective school buses at 6am.

Kate wakes up automatically at 7am and gives me a peck on the cheek as my cue to get up and start the day with her.

She goes off to school at 8.30am which leaves me with 4 hours to do as I please.

My precious mornings. My mornings are all specifically allocated. I find that working on a strict routine helps me to be more productive.

Mondays are reserved for meetings for my enrichment centre, Tuesdays for the social enterprise, mid-week is Yin yoga with a group of mummies, Thursdays are for breakfast with the hubs, and Fridays are for catching up with other mummy friends.

These regular gatherings with other mummies help to keep me sane as we discuss issues our kids are facing and give one another support. That is also where I get inspiration for my blogging!

In a week, I usually get 2 mornings free when the hubs is away or when a meeting is cancelled and that is allocated to working on my enrichment centre or social enterprise.

12.30pm Already? I run off to pick Kate and my niece up from school.

Kate has lunch with her cousin who lives right next door (yup, the convenience is unbelievable) and that buys me time to prepare lunch for the other kids.

I try to accede to their requests and cook their favourite food as usually only 2 or 3 come back for lunch each day. Some days, everyone is back only at 4pm and that gives me 3 extra hours to work on the computer.

Best pals

2pm #4 and #5 come back on the school bus if they have no CCAs or supplementary classes and I make it a point to be home for them everyday after school as that is the best time to chat as they unload the events of the day.

Meanwhile, Kate is shooed off to shower and the hubs will settle her for her nap.

She is at the age of resisting her naps and daddy is way more successful than I am in managing that. His bait? 15 minutes of TV followed by “just a small nap”.

Some days, #2 or #3 might bring their classmates or CCA mates home and will let me know a day in advance so I can prepare something special for them, usually Tacos or Mac & cheese bake.

I enjoy sitting down and chatting with the teenagers, to get a sense of what is happening in their world. These chats give me new perspectives and also spark new ideas for my posts.

Simple lunch

Kate usually has a 1 – 2 hour nap and if the older girls have friends over, I get a break as they love to entertain her when she wakes up.

The smartest thing I have done was to set up my work station in the living room so that when I get pockets of free time with no one needing me, I can work on my blog, creating content or writing reviews.

After lunch, the older kids will retreat to their rooms to tackle their homework, while I get one-on-one time with my youngest.

I either arrange a playdate for her at home, at a friend’s house, or we simply paint or do craft together, followed by playground time.

On Friday afternoons, I take her to church where she attends faith formation class while I volunteer as a cathechist. The quiet, spirit-filled environment not only grounds her, but is a weekly reminder for me to slow things down.
Faith formation session
Everyone sits down for dinner at 6pm, except for those not back from CCA.

7pm Time to wind down. I get #5 to shower and into bed and he falls asleep within 15 minutes as he is totally exhausted from waking up at 5.30am to catch the school bus.

I used to get both Kate and her gor gor to prepare for bed together, but they would end up laughing and playing for the next 1 hour which drove me up the wall.

It’s one of those parenting mysteries why kids seem to get along the best just before bedtime, while they can’t even get through 30 minutes without squabbling during the day.

My strategy is to stagger their bedtime and conquer them one by one.

1 down, 5 to go.

I fly through the corridors, doing a quick check to see that all mobile phones are at the charging docks and pop into the teenagers’ rooms (for those who were back late) to ask if there are any urgent issues, signing of forms, which require my attention.

The hubs will keep an eye on the Sec 2 and Sec 4 girls to ensure they are in bed by 10pm.

I get Kate into the room and do some simple tidying while she goes through her very prolonged bedtime routine of pyjamas, brushing teeth, putting oils for bruises or bites, arranging bears and doggies under the blanket, story time, prayers, and hugs and kisses, before finally turning the lights out.

I lie with her, and usually end up falling asleep as well.

I struggled with this sort of haywire sleeping pattern for the longest time, sometimes being jolted awake at 1am to continue the day’s unfinished work.

However, my yoga instructor told us that according to the TCM body clock system, it is healthy to go to bed early, at around 9pm, as that is the optimal time for our bodies to detoxify and rejuvenate.

Now, I sleep a good uninterrupted 7 hours of sleep and when my body is rested I automatically wake up, and if the clock shows that it is 3 or 4am, I jump for joy!

I make myself a hot mug of milo, get organised by writing my list (ok, I have not 1, but 3 to-do lists) and settle down to joyfully tackle the items one at a time.

It’s unbelievable how 17 years of motherhood has changed my perception of bliss.

Working on the computer in the dead of night without anyone interrupting my thoughts is something I look forward to. And ticking off those to-do lists one by one… Ah!

That is on a good day.
Silent nights…

On a crazy day…

While I am trying to get ready, Kate decides to get cranky.

Much whining and tears later, I drop her at school and head off for a 9am meeting. The day has barely started and I’m already feeling drained.

Thank goodness we decided to have our discussion over a proper breakfast instead of eating on the run.

Serious multi-tasking. As #1 is on term break, I take her along as she is studying a relevant course and I like to make learning alive for my kids as much as possible. Her schedule is very tight with school and part-time work, so this is another way of squeezing time in with her.

Besides, I love to try new cafes so that I can share them on my blog with fellow mums who are also looking for early breakfast places.

Casual business meetings

Our meetings are very energising and lots of new ideas are thrown up. We have to wrap it up by 12 noon so I can go and pick Kate up.

We get home and I am all prepared to make a nice lunch for the kids.

Somedays, I start with grand plans to make a fantastic meal, but the cooking just goes downhill.

I am stationed in the kitchen for hours as they stream in every half hour or so, but somehow the starving kids are grumpy because they were expecting something nice for lunch but have to eat what they term “Mummy’s sometimes yucky food.”

(Yes, improving my culinary skills is on my bucket list.)

That really gets to me.

You know those days?

The ones where you have envisioned something nice for your family, tried your best, but the results are disappointing and you just want to throw in the towel and head upstairs for a good soak in the bathtub or a good sleep to escape from it all.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, Kate is getting really whiny and going on and on like a broken record saying, “But nap is so hard.”

Some days, I have more patience but on other days, I would be yelling at her by now.

The hubs is away and I have no energy to deal with it. Our helper takes her upstairs kicking and screaming while I try to regain my sanity.

Deep breath.

I make myself a hot cup of tea and guess what do I do to relax?

I blog.

Yup, it de-stresses me and I am calm once more.

Kate wakes up all too soon and insists on a cookie baking session, for her “picnic”.

An assortment of cookies

I am always for hands-on learning and try not to turn them down. Afterall, there is so much math concepts and fine motor skills going on there. And who can resist the smell of freshly baked cookies?

Halfway through, I have to head out to pick #5 after his CCA.

My brain is constantly buzzing like that. What day? What time? Who? Where? When? Someone I need to pick? Everyone accounted for?

Thank goodness I have a trusty wall calendar with 6 slots and that has been my life-saver for the past few years. Everything goes there and I never miss any event or activity. Well, except for the one tiny time when I forgot to pick my son up from school…

I rope #3 in to carry on supervising Kate.

Uh-oh. Looks like somebody got flour in her eye.

It’s only 4.30pm? I can’t believe only half a day has gone by. The cookies are in the oven, and Kate starts preparing her picnic. She wipes the table, fills up the tumbler with water and lays everything nicely.

We bought this adorable little set from Tupperware and the little one has been setting up her picnic every day for the past 2 weeks and ‘forcing’ everyone in sight to sit and join her.

Her picnic is over as quickly as it started, and Kate starts wringing her hands asking, “What do I do now? You tell me?”

#5, ever ready for some action, declares that he has no homework.

Like a movie, at this point in time, #4 trots down the stairs on cue, announcing to anyone who bothers to listen that all her homework is done, done, done!

Kate’s picnic

Suddenly someone shouts, “Let’s go swimming!” Followed by a chorus of “Woohoo! Swimming!”

Before I can utter a word, Kate runs to our helper and tells her, “Auntie Mary, quick get my costume! We are going swimming!”

And just like that, the agenda is sealed.

Again, I am ever an advocate for fresh air and physical activity, especially after a long day of school.

I give instructions to our helper to push dinner back by half an hour and off to the pool we go for some splashing fun.

While the older kids take care of Kate in the pool, I take out my notepad and scribble down ideas for work. The outdoors is always a great place for me to think and come up with fresh perspectives.

We get home and everyone has a quick shower, which leaves me with 10 minutes to sit with them for dinner as I have another meeting to attend.

Before I head out for our parents’ support group meeting in my girls’ school, I put the older girls in charge and remind them to get the younger ones in bed at the right time.
Evenings at home
Everything under control. It is always heartening to see the kids rise to the occasion if you give them the responsibility and trust that they will do a good job. No fights between them and no calls to me!

I reach home at 10pm and check in on the kids, and see the 5 of them asleep, huddled together all in 1 room.

I pause at the doorway.

It’s simple things like that which gives me a deep sense of contentment.

The hubs is away and I stay up to wait for #1 to come back from her waitressing job.
The house is quiet and I love this special time all to myself.

It might sound strange, but I reflect and sieve through the day’s events by blogging.

It’s cathartic.

I usually get carried away and continue to put in 2 or 3 hours of work and have to remind myself to call it a night.
Stand-Up Paddling
Unhurried Weekends. Gone are the days when I try to squeeze too many activities into our weekends.

Now that the kids are older, their school week is very hectic and they need the weekend to rest, recharge and decompress.

Blogging events mean family time. I have come to love media invites and sponsored activities simply because with the fixed dates, everyone is booked in advance and we get to spend time doing unforgettable things like Stand-Up Paddling or having a good meal with fantastic views.

As the events are usually exclusive or something i wouldn’t normally pay for, even the older kids are keen to join in, like the recent Disney on Ice show where we were given VIP tickets.

Our weekends are rather disorganised as it is hard to get everyone free at the same time.

One way we try to make things work is to get creative with how we can fit our activities in.

For example, Kate had a birthday party to attend in the evening, so we cycled together, with the treat of getting frozen yoghurt to entice the older kids, and Kate and I attended the party while the rest cycled home.

Extended family support. My folks come over every weekend and while Kate is occupied with her baby cousin and grandma, I have time to plan the week, settle the bills or just relax.

Grandpa is on hand to ferry them to their classes or to send them to run their errands.

Every Sunday morning, I look forward to going to church as that is where I draw strength from, and we would visit the homebound in our community after church.

With our weekends free and easy, I have time to nip out with the kids individually or in pairs to spend time with them doing simple things like shopping for their friend’s birthday present, while the hubs whips up delicious meals.

Jacob Ballas Garden

The paradox is that the more I work on things I am passionate about, the more energised and alive I feel, and that’s the engine that keeps me going.

One thing’s for sure, there’s never a dull moment around here!

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Singapore Parent Bloggers and everyday throughout the month of April, you will get to peek into the life of a mummy or daddy blogger.

Next up is Diana Ruth, a wonderful mum of 4 who blogs at Mum Craft. Hop over and see what a typical week looks like for her.

Related posts:

Here’s what a day in the life of a stay-at-home-mum looks like on a typical school day in our household.

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

School Stories #16:The day I forgot to pick my son from school

Last week, I caught a stomach bug and was throwing up through the night.

I was exhausted and weak and drifted in and out of sleep the whole day while the kids were at school.

The hubs was away and I asked my sis-in-law to pick Kate up.

At 2pm, while lying in bed, I could hear the familiar noise of #4 and #5’s school bus dropping them home.

I tried hard to think.

What day was it today?

Tuesday? Or Thursday?

It must be Thursday.

It was the week before CA1. Was there CCA?

I strained my ears to pick up their voices.

Normally, if the both of them were on the bus together, there would be a commotion as they race each other into the house, shouting, “Me first!”

But if it was just one child coming back, there would be silence.

In my foggy state of mind, I heard some voices and convinced myself that they were both safely home.

Waiting in vain
The thought of having to drag myself out of bed to go downstairs to check if the both of them were home seemed like a herculean task at that point in time.

I drifted off to sleep.

I must have slept for 3 hours.

Suddenly, my phone rang.

I woke up, looked at the unfamiliar number, and croaked into the phone.


“Is this Mrs Wee?”

My hair stood on end.
Having been slightly energised by the nap, my mummy instincts kicked in.
Something has happened to one of my brood.


“I am Mrs Ong, the VP. Your son is here with me in the general office and he seems upset.”

I started blabbering, “Oh gosh! I’m so sorry! I was sleeping. I was not well. I’ll be there right away. Please tell him to wait for me at the general office.”

I tried to think. How long must he have waited?

He ended CCA at 4pm. It was now 5pm.

Poor boy. He usually waits for me at a designated spot just outside of school.
He must have stood there for what seemed like an eternity as the other parents’ cars drove off one by one, leaving him all alone.

Without a phone, he must have felt helpless and afraid.

We have a no phone policy for the younger kids, but it is something we have to re-look.

As I was rushing out the door, Kate asked me what was happening.

She had come into my room earlier to look for me but I told her that I was really sick and could not attend to her.

Yet the next minute, she saw me up and about, frantically grabbing my car keys, dashing out the door.

“I forgot all about your gor gor! He is still waiting for me in school!”

She trailed me with her million questions as she followed me into the car.

As mums, we can somehow summon our inner reserves even though we are running on empty.

I reached his school, and as I drove past the playground, I spied a boy who looked a lot like #5, playing with 2 younger boys.

I quickly parked the car and walked towards the playground.

Yes, it was my son.

Thank goodness he was happily playing with some new friends he found at the playground.

He ran towards us and scooped Kate in his arms. “Mum, can we play at the playground for a little while?”
I am constantly baffled how boys get over things so quickly. My girls would have been fuming.

Of course I had to oblige.

“Just a little while ok, mummy is not feeling well.”

As I waited in the car, the hunger, weakness and light-headedness came flooding back. Physically I felt really awful.

But the emotional roller-coaster was over.

My son is safe. All is well.

Back home, I asked #4 why was there a commotion earlier when she was the only one alighting from the school bus?

“Oh, my bus mates were shouting bye to me.” 

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

An exciting year ahead

We have come to the end of 2015.

A time to reflect, a time to look ahead.

Usually at this juncture, I will be feeling very kan cheong (harried), desperately trying to get everything ready before New Year’s Day descends on me.

House organised, schedules drawn up, making sure all 6 of them are ready for the new school year.

I have stopped bothering about resolutions, which never get achieved.

Last year, I decided instead to write down my top 5 priorities to concentrate on.

I had a re-read of it, and will continue to focus on them, with some additions.

This year, I feel surprisingly calm. I think I’m reaching a more zen state, where I have learnt to focus on the essentials instead of running around like a headless chicken.

It was nice to see the girls on auto-pilot, de-cluttering their rooms and doing DIY decorations to spruce their rooms up for the brand new year. Their room feels all light and breezy and I want to sit at their desk and study!

2016 is going to be an exciting year for us. #2 will be taking her ‘O’s, #3 will be having her streaming exams and #4 will tackle the PSLE.

For non-critical years I allow them to cruise along, with the focus on having a balanced life of school, adequate sleep, physical activity and lots of simple fun for a happy childhood.

In the important years, the focus shifts to the national exams and they (hopefully) rise to the occasion. I don’t know about my boy, but the girls instinctively know it is a year they work doubly hard and put in their best effort.

I am looking forwards to watching them get self-motivated, set their own goals and action plan while I sit on the sidelines and cheer them on.

For #4, I’ve got it pretty much sorted out with regards to guiding her for the PSLE as I’ve done this 3 times over and have learnt what not to do.

As for #2, I still haven’t quite figured out how involved I should be in the Sec 4 year. The strategy for #1 obviously did not work, as I left her to plan her own revision. At 16, they have to be parented differently from when they were 12. But when do we put our foot down? Ah well, it is a work in progress and I will update you at the end of the year!

As for #5, I’ll be working on his discipline issues as he still has problems behaving properly in class. He likes to do things his own way (which doesn’t please his teachers at all) and he gets bored easily and starts to distract his classmates.

Kate will be in school for an extra hour as compared to last year, which means more free time for me. Hooray!

Ever so cheeky

For myself, I will be embarking on a new venture and hope to see it take shape in this coming year.

I’ve been home with the kids for 17 long years and everything revolved around them that it feels surreal to be gradually reclaiming my life and doing meaningful things I am passionate about. So exciting!

Here’s wishing you a purposeful and intentional year ahead. May you dream big dreams and may they be fulfilled.

Happy New Year!

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

Thankful… for the good and bad

As we approached the Christmas season, so much went through my mind. The past few months have been tough. A family member had a relapse of his mental illness and was warded in IMH. We went through a cash crunch and for the first time, the kids had to be denied things they were used to.

I looked around at our excesses and wonder if all these are necessary and I remember a time long ago when I wanted to be a nun, as I yearned for the simplicity of a zen life.

My kids, on the other hand, get sucked in to the commercialism and wish they were rich and can buy everything they set their eyes on. It accelerates into complains about everything, from our uninspired home decor to the boring dishes our helper serves up. Yes, they’ve been on too much Pinterest.

I keep telling them that if they constantly look at others with better things, they will be dissatisfied and unhappy. There will always be people who have more than us and people who have less. This holidays, they have had much less than past years, and I guess the silver lining is that henceforth, they will be more appreciative of the good life that we have been living all these years.

Thinking back to 2 Christmases ago where I couldn’t even walk, I knew I had so much to be thankful for. Being mobile and able to go wherever I wanted to, healthy children, a big family around us.

A few days ago, we accompanied the hubs up to K.L. for a meeting since the kids were on holiday. I was happy to be there but was griping about the horrendous traffic and for having to sit for hours in the jam.

My dad-in-law on the other hand, insisted on being picked up early so that he could spend time in the car with the kids. His priorities struck me. The inconvenience was irrelevant. He chose his priorities and stuck to it.

What a wonderful way to live our lives, instead of constantly being swayed by other people’s priorities or not even knowing what our priorities are.
Pavilion Mall in KL

We had some time to while away, and as we took in the extravagant display of thousands of sparkling crystals, something gnawed inside me.

What a show.

Are our lives a show?

In these very ‘showy’ times of Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, my first response was to upload a pretty picture. However, it made me feel superficial at best and fake at worse.

Is this reflective of what our lives are at the moment? Or is it just to paint a picture to friends and readers?

On Christmas Eve after a beautiful service in church, we adjourned to my mum’s place for dinner, the same way we have celebrated for as long as I can remember.

It is a simple affair with family and close friends and it always feels like home. A place and time where we can be ourselves.

Big sis
I snapped this photo of Kate and her newest cousin.

She looks sagely matured and seems to know what is important.

Our relationship with one another.

I love how she grabbed hold of the little baby’s hand.

I will stay by you. Hold on to you. Pull you up. And everything will be a-ok!

May the joy and peace of Christmas fill your homes and hearts.
Merry Christmas!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has” – Epictetus

Thankful… for the hub’s cooking

Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law

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