5 Survival Tips of a Mum Boss

I was running on adrenaline last year which I documented in “A week in the life of a blogging mum”. I started The Little Executive with my partner and as with any new start-up, there is a never-ending list of things to look into.

I worked in the mornings when Kate was at school and was home by 1 pm to see to the kids as they streamed home. Although there is flexibility as your own boss, it is in a sense worse, because with no clear demarcation, I ended up working round the clock. Many a night, I crashed at 9 pm only to wake at 2 am to start the day.

It came to a point where Kate hid my phone because she had to fight with it for my attention on a daily basis. It is worse to be physically present but mentally absent as it sends the message that whatever I’m doing on the phone is more important than her.

I also fell sick a couple of times and I knew I couldn’t sustain that level of energy. I needed a better strategy.

This year, I changed my routine. After dropping Kate off at school, I work until about 4 or 5 pm, depending on which kid I need to pick on the way home. I take one day a week off to go for yoga and spend the day catching up on household admin, fixing a good lunch for the kids and taking Kate for class. Of course, I end up doing sporadic work on the computer as emails or texts come in requiring my attention.

With this new arrangement, my working hours are more structured but it is physically exhausting. When I was a SAHM, it felt like running a marathon with no finishing line. Now, as a full-time working mum, it feels like I am walking in quick sand. I wish I had a remote control where I could press the PAUSE button.

To be honest, I do enjoy the part where I drop Kate off at school and head in to work. I can do my thing in peace, have adult conversations and dream up ideas to implement.

But when I get home, I can’t kick off my shoes and lounge on the sofa as my second shift begins! Kate will be running to me with open arms exclaiming “Mummy you are home!” and starts regaling me with her day’s escapades. She could go on and on, if not for #5 who would be dragging me to see yet another of his creations. Soon enough, our helper sets dinner and it’s full on action until bedtime.

The thing with 6 school-going kids is that the clock doesn’t stop. I was a FTWM yonks ago when the 3 of them were below the age of 6 and it was different. There was no agenda and no urgency. Now, I have #1 coming to me to discuss her Poly assignments (which I actually enjoy), #5 to nag at when he realises at 7 pm that homework is still not completed, and the rest of them to sort out issues arising from school.

The weekend rolls around and as we all know, it’s not like we can lie in bed and rest our weary bodies and minds.

I wondered how working mums do it. By the second week of January, I was so exhausted I wrote a post “Are we killing ourselves?”

I have since put in place these 5 simple strategies to keep things in balance before I lose my sanity or end up neglecting the kids.

Rooftop picnic

1. Simple Bonding Time

When Kate sees me at home, she will look at me expectantly with a bright smile and say, “Mum, shall we have a picnic?”

Thoughts of where to take her zip through my mind – Botanic Gardens? Chinese Garden? “No, another day ok. I have too much to do.” She doesn’t give up. “Don’t worry mummy, I will prepare the food. We can have a picnic at home!

Dawned on me that we don’t need to come up with grand plans or constantly take them to new places. To us, it may seem simple, but these moments are special in their eyes. And because it became doable for me, the bonding time happened. I just had to follow her up to the rooftop patio and give her my full attention for 20 minutes, and she was pleased as punch.

The hubs used to ride her to market on the weekends and I’m sure that would remain a precious memory to her.

These moments of connection are important for their emotional growth as they feel they are important to us and because it fulfils their need, they don’t play up so much just to get our attention.

Family Command Centre

2. Stay organised

I have a Family Command Centre right smack between our kitchen and dining room which I blogged about 4 years ago, and had to make changes since starting work. I had a mountain of paperwork piled on my desk which put me in a frenzy because I couldn’t find things I needed, and I didn’t have time to waste digging through the mess.

The 1st tray is Urgent, so nothing important is missed, and I look at it every morning. Things I’m working on currently at work go into TLE and I slot accounting receipts separately so it’s easy when I pull it all out once a fortnight to get that filed.

I teach the little kids at church once a week, and notes for that go into the CGS slot. I also handle the GST filing for the hubs’ company, so that goes there. These are the areas I have to tackle on a regular basis and the rest of the documents will get moved upstairs to our home office. The black tray on top is for the kids to put papers they need me to sign so nothing gets misplaced.

3. Schedule in breaks

Since working 2 jobs (as I call it now) I have felt my stress levels rising. I’m running non-stop and there’s no breather. The only way is to factor in de-stressing activities into the week.

My teens are such darlings. They’ve been noticing how hard I’m working “hey mum, you actually go to work!” and surprised me on Mother’s Day by drawing up a nice warm bath and making a lovely moisturising bath bomb. They asked me to “relax and take your time, dad is fixing dinner.” It was the first time soaking in my own bathtub after so many years.

Instead of taking Kate to busy places, we go to quiet parks. She roams around on her bicycle while I get to clear my mind and refresh my soul.

#2 and I started drum classes on Sundays for some mummy-daughter bonding time and found it quite relaxing. More than that, by taking an hour out to do something for myself, it changes my overall frame of mind from scarcity to abundance and by allowing myself permission to do something fun, I feel better overall. The last time I took any classes was before I had kids!

I used to turn friends down for tea or lunch as it takes up too much time, but now allocate 1 day a week to allow myself to chill, talk about things of leisure, have a heart to heart chat with close friends.

4. Cut myself some slack

As though I don’t have enough on my plate, I have an added duty of preparing 4 lunchboxes every night after dinner. It started because of #2. Her JC releases the whole cohort for recess at the same time, so it is a 30-40 minute queue for food. She would rather not waste time queueing and buys a cookie or pie from the cafe.

I offered to pack her a salad (thinking she might say, “No thanks mum, who brings a lunchbox to school at 16?) But she loved it, and so did her friends! Since I started doing that, the other 2 teens reasoned that I might as well pack them healthy salads as well.

Near the end of the week, I was really tired and instead of pushing myself to do it, declared “Kitchen Closed – due to mum fatigue”. Glad the kids took it in their stride, and now they don’t take my lunch box for granted!
5. Enjoy the little things

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life with kids and end up feeling frustrated and defeated a lot of the time. I have learnt to be present in the moment and to savour the little things.

After a challenging Thursday night where I scolded the 2 younger ones, I went to work and didn’t see them on Friday. I had dinner out with the hubs and when we returned, I saw a note stuck to the bedroom door, which read: 

Dear Mummy, Kate and I are sleeping happily. Love, #5 & Kate. 

And to see them fast asleep, arms wrapped around each other, was just the best thing.

Being a mum, however way you spin it, is tough. I’m grateful to Debs for initiating this very meaningful series, to give us mothers a chance to learn from one another and know that we are not alone.

I’m finally getting into the rhythm of this FTWM gig and finding my balance.

No matter the demands, mothers make it work.


This post is part of the “Mothers Make it Work! Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other inspiring stories, please click here.

If you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting stories, you can start with this one here by Debs G over at Owls Well as she considers the challenges that her Aged P faced as a stay-at-home-parent. Debs is a Sunda Scoops Owl who married a nice British Barn owl and is raising a trio of hungry young owlets in a highrise tree in Singapore. Debs is a trained medical professional who is currently training to be A Parent.

At next week’s stop, we will be visiting June at MamaWearPapaShirt. June is a work-at-home mum to 3 kids. She is a writer and trainee educational therapist who is passionate about helping kids with learning needs. Her idea of self-care is drinking a good cuppa and enjoying a good book. She is constantly exploring calm and positive ways to parent her children.

~ 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 ~

Nassim Hill Bakery

Now that Kate goes to school for an extra hour, my mornings have become more productive.

Previously, she was in school for 3 hours and I barely had enough time to commute, do what I needed to do, and rush back to pick her on time.

Now, I drop her off at 8.30am and get to enjoy a proper breakfast with my mummy friends or have casual meetings over breakfast for the new projects I’m working on.

Nassim Hill Bakery

I’ve been meaning to try this cafe for quite a while now as it opens early at 8am and is conveniently located at Tanglin road.

I brought #1 along to my breakfast meeting as she is on term break and she remembers this place as the ‘treehouse cafe’ which they loved going to when they were younger.

Eggs Benedict $19

They have a wide selection of egg items on their menu and it is good to know that they use antibiotic and hormone-free eggs.

Our food came fast and their presentation is good and portions generous.

Somehow though, I expected the pancakes to be fluffier.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake $18
Cheddar Cheese Bacon Waffles $19

#1 was adventurous and went for the Cheddar cheese waffles, but found the cheese flavour a little too overwhelming.

Their steak and eggs plate is what I call a hearty breakfast to start the day!

Brings to mind my late aunt who used to advice us to “Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dine like a pauper”.

Steak and Eggs $23

It was nice and quiet when we arrived at 9am and the crowd picked up just before lunch.

I’ve found an unpretentious cafe to add to the list of ‘after school-drop-off breakfast options’.


Nassim Hill Bakery

Nassim Hill Bakery
56 Tanglin Road
Tanglin Post Office
Tel: 68351128

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

Bed bound, again

Last Friday, I had a sharp pain in my back and it got progressively worse to the point where I could not move.

I had to lie in bed and couldn’t even turn right or left.

By Saturday, the pain became unbearable and when I sat up for more than 10 minutes, I became breathless and had to lie down again.

My dad-in-law, aunts and my mum advised me to go to the A & E. I saw no point in it as I knew it was either a muscular or nerve problem, although I couldn’t figure out why I was hyperventilating.

I had already called my physio and the earliest he could see me was on Monday morning.

I just had to suffer through the weekend.

Bed bound

The last round, when I had complications from my caesarean, I could not walk and was homebound. I thought that was bad enough not being able to go out and do the things I needed to get done.

This time it was much worse because every little movement resulted in intense pain and I was literally confined to the bed.

The feeing of utter helplessness was extremely frustrating. 

The hubs had relatives from abroad staying with us and instead of being able to attend to them, his aunt who is a retired nurse ended up tending to me!

Everyone went out for dinner and I was left in the dark and silent house.

Made me think this is how it feels when we get old, become wheelchair bound and stuck at home while everyone gets on with their lives.

A pretty depressing thought.

Monday morning came, and boy, I will never see Mondays the same way again!

Thankfully, the physio was able to identify the problem and start treatment. After the first session, a whole lot of pain was relieved and I could walk again.

The hubs wanted to know what caused my sudden intense pain.

The physio explained what was happening in great detail but basically what I gathered was that the muscles from my neck all the way down to my hips were strained to the point that they were inflamed and in spasm.

The things I did over the preceding days must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, such as lifting Kate, sitting with a poor posture and perhaps using the new back support seat the wrong way.

As we talked further, it was apparent that all those years of neglecting my back cumulated in the severe pain I was experiencing.

When I had the first few kids, I didn’t know anything about sleep routines. Whenever they fell asleep in my arms, I would be afraid to move them in case they got woken up and started crying, and ended up holding the babies in all sorts of awkward positions.

And when the kids were sick with fever and very whiny, I would try to pacify them by rocking them to sleep on the rocking chair, and ended up sleeping through the night on the chair.

Add to that the half dozen kids that I carried over the years, always on my right side, which put my body off balance and resulted in my hips being rotated.

So yeah, I can clearly see why my back is busted.

I’m so glad for all the help that I have received over the past few days. My sisters-in-law for covering my taxi duties, my parents for taking the kids to run their errands, my dad-in-law for buying me the very expensive back brace which he swears by, the hubs for settling Kate and taking over all my other tasks, and my dear friend Sandra for being there at the right time, meeting me at the carpark when I started hyperventilating and waiting with me throughout my second physio appointment.

As I left the carpark, a lady who was dressed in work attire saw me struggling with the heavy doors. She asked with such concern in her voice, “Are you ok? Do you need any help at all?”

It was not what she said but the manner in which she paused, and stood there to see if she could render any assistance, that startled me.

In our world of frantic rushing, that gesture from a kind stranger put me in such a delightful mood even though physically I was not feeling so great.

I am also really glad that Kate has been taking my immobility in her stride and never demanded anything from me over the past few days. Never once did she whine for me to play with her, make her food, carry her, take her to the playground nor put her to sleep.

In fact, she was ever ready to help by handing me my painkillers, running downstairs to get a straw or covering the blanket over me properly.

Some moments she was rather insistent and kept asking, “Do you want more medicine, mummy? I open for you some more?”

Perhaps she thought the more pills I consumed, the quicker my recovery.

When I returned home after my physiotherapy session, I told her that it was better if I did not carry her anymore.

She replied, “Ok mummy. If not you will hurt your back again, right.”

I hope she keeps to her word!

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

Wild Honey @ Scotts Square

An old schoolmate is in town and we did the tai tai thing and had a luxurious breakfast at Wild Honey while the kids were tucked away in school.

While writing up this post, I showed #1 my photos and she exclaimed with mock indignation, “Wild Honey? And you didn’t take me along?!” My kids are indeed growing up.

Their breakfast menu is rather extensive and as usual, we decided to order a range of dishes and share everything.

For something different, we were recommended the Tunisian, which was a surprisingly interesting savoury dish.

Sizzling pan of spicy shakshouka (onion, tomato, bell pepper & red chilli), Chorizo, baked eggs. Served with signature brioche and Israeli salad.

Tunisian $22

The buttermilk pancakes were nice and fluffy and came with a berry compote and maple syrup.

Canadian $20

We just had to order the classic English fare with the full works. Starving mummies after doing the school run.

Scrambled eggs, Canadian back bacon, Cumberland pork sausage, dad’s baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, breakfast potatoes, grilled vine tomatoes & signature brioche.

English $25

The Spanish was so-so. Diced chorizo, house Corned beef & potato, two perfectly poached eggs & Hollandaise sauce with signature brioche.

Spanish $24

Love the ambience, especially the comfortable sofa seats which my trusty friend called to reserve as they were mostly taken up by 10am.

Lovely ambience

At Wild Honey, they take breakfast seriously and their breakfast dishes are served all day long.

Wild Honey

A pricey breakfast no doubt, but the perfect place to yak the morning away until it was time to pick the kids up from school!

It’s days like these when being a SAHM seems like the best job in the world.

Wild Honey

#03-01 Scotts Square
Scotts Road
Tel: 6636 1816

Opening hours:
Sundays – Thursdays: 9am – 9pm
Friday / Saturday: 9am – 10pm

~ 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 ~

6 Activities to keep the kids away from Gadgets

I was invited on the program “Parenting Made Easy” with Susan Ng on 93.8 Live to share about how to deal with children and their gadget usage during the school holidays as many are left to their own devices. Literally.

Similarly as with most households, if I don’t plan activities for the kids, they would end up spending hours on their phones, iPads or computers. Here are 6 simple activities I do with my children during the school holidays to keep them busy.

Weekly scheduling keeps me sane!

1. Link what they read/learn with reality

I was reading to Kate “Oh, the Pets you can get” by Dr. Seuss and she has joined her siblings in clamouring for a pet dog. I decided it was about time I took them to S.P.C.A to show them what happens to dogs which have been abandoned, and to impress upon them that a pet is a responsibility for the long-haul.


Kate was attracted to the tiniest dog, and wanted to go inside the cage to pet her. Most of the other dogs are quite big, and some bark a lot, although many just lie there quietly. The kids were taken aback by the listlessness of several of the dogs as they are used to seeing dogs at the playground which are frisky and playful.

Poor little dog

This Christmas, you can spread some love to these animals by sponsoring items they require. Click their wish list for more details.

S.P.C.ASociety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Singapore
31 Mount Vernon Road
Singapore 368054*

Viewing hours: 11am – 4pm

Closed on Thursdays, except on PH
Tel: 62875355

*From January 2016, they will be moving to 50 Sungei Tengah Road, Singapore 699012

Prince, Apollonia and Twinky

Kate has been watching the Jurassic Park sequels and keeps talking about dinosaurs. I took the opportunity to take her to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS to show her the fossils of the dinosaurs and I can see how learning is so much more effective when the child’s interest in piqued.

Tickets have to be pre-bought via Sistic, and collected at their authorised agents, for crowd control. However, they do sell left-over tickets at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis. Call +65 6601 3333 to try your luck!

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
National University of Singapore
2 Conservatory Drive

Singapore 117377

2. Visit other libraries

I have been meaning to take Kate to the Central library at Bras Besah but have never found the time. She enjoyed herself so much that we spent more than 2 hours at the kids’ section.

She took a book, found herself a nice chair and ‘read’ to herself. She returned the book, chose another one, and chose another chair. Yup, that took her almost an hour. I think she had as much fun playing chair rotation as reading the books. Meanwhile, I grabbed a book from the parenting section and sat within sight of her.

I had the unexpected pleasure of being able to read while she kept herself occupied. I love this library! She spent the rest of the time watching some older kids play on the interactive computer terminals and after they left, she was so pleased that she had the computer all to herself, pretending that she knew how it worked.

Central Library

3. Take them outdoors

During the school term, we hardly get a chance to spend the whole afternoon mucking around the beach. The weekdays are occupied with school activities while we don’t enjoy jostling with the crowds on the weekends. I love taking the kids to the beaches in Sentosa as it feels like we are on holiday. Best of all, it costs nothing!

More fun with friends!

4. Encourage them to create their own games

On normal days, everyone is in a rush. We like to take it nice and slow during the holidays, to let everyone re-charge. In between our activities and parties, I allocate lots of time and space for them to create their own fun.

There is so much more that goes on when they make up their own games, their own rules, and learn to negotiate and compromise.

#5 set up a simple game with Kate’s stacking cups. He later realised that she could not aim from such a distance and allowed her to move closer, closer, closer.
Cup and ball game
5. Let the kids prepare special dinners

Dining out is not cheap in Singapore, so the next best thing is to DIY our own ‘fine’ dining experience! From planning of the menu, to the preparation of the food and setting of the table. It also teaches kids so many important life skills, not least that food doesn’t just appear on the table!

Besides, it gives them a sense of achievement and a good way to bond. Use adult utensils for an extra special atmosphere. You’d be surprised how careful the kids are with glassware when you set your expectations and show that you entrust them to use them with care. (But of course, no long-stemmed wine glasses for the little ones!)
Dinner prepared by the kids

6. Give them free reign to bake

I know it messes up the kitchen, but there’s so much going on in an activity like baking. Planning sequences, math concepts like measuring and adding, and fine motor skills such as pouring and scooping.

Chocolate chip cookies
And the final product is so rewarding! I love it when we sit around the kitchen table after all the hard work, savouring our freshly baked goods. Sometimes it turns out to be a failure, and we have a good laugh about it.
#1’s artistic shot

Related posts:

6 Family-friendly restaurants that we love

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

Afternoon Tea at Anti:dote (Fairmont)

I love hi tea. Who doesn’t, right? All the better that the presentation is as elegant as this, and the sofas are nice and comfy to lounge a Sunday afternoon away with girlfriends.

Pretty in a Box

The 3-tiered exquisite box that the nibbles were served in made everything look extra special. As my kids would say, it’s all in the presentation, mum. Perhaps I should start serving their meals from a drawer.

Portion for 2 pax
Here’s a close up of the savoury bites hidden in the second drawer. Mostly hits such as Boston lobster roll, Confit Duck riled and Smoked salmon with cream cheese.
Dim Sum appetiser

The items in the white box comes as a standard set, and the only variant is the appetiser. The Oriental Tea Set pairs with the dim sum, which was pretty average, although Kate tucked into it with gusto.

Look who joined us

I went with the Anti:dote Tea Set, which featured a very unique black truffle scrambled egg served in it’s shell. Definitely the highlight of the meal.

Kate has been really lucky to be able to tag along with me occasionally. There was a time when I had kids oozing out of my ears and I refused to take any of them out when I had my ‘me time’. Good thing she’s such a dear and rather easy to handle.

When I asked her earlier if she wanted to follow me for tea, she replied, “I can’t drink tea.” After explaining to her that having tea meant eating yummy food during tea time, not drinking tea, she quickly got changed.

Suited strawberry
The petite desserts were so pretty to look at, but after the scones, we were too stuffed to finish the sweets and I doggy-bagged them home for the older kids. Kate couldn’t resist and ate 2 of the Strawberry man. Yes, it’s all about the presentation.

The next day, Kate chirped, “I like to go with you and all the aunties to eat tea. Are we going again tomorrow?”

Sane tip: Such relaxing Sundays keep me zen and ready to tackle the week. Don’t forget to book in advance.

Save tip: $45++ per person. American Express Platinum has an embedded Far Card discount of 20%. They even do children’s tea sets at $15++. Wonder if it comes in a mini treasure box.

Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Tel: 6431 5315
From 3-5pm daily
Weekends, extra seating 12-2pm
$45++ per person

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