‘Mummy Wee’ turns 1!

It’s been exactly 1 year since I wrote my first post “You have 6 kids?” Everything happened so quickly, and I must say that the past year has been phenomenal. I met many wonderful and inspiring people, did fun things with the kids we would otherwise not have experienced, wrote my bucket list and managed to get some ticked off, and received many emails from readers thanking me for helping them in some way. And the strange thing about writing is that you gain clarity in your thoughts while writing to share with others. Before I go on to thank everyone who has helped me create this blog, let me briefly explain how this blog got started.

I left Prudential after a decade of working as a financial adviser and was trying to discern what my next path should be. Within a week, many different friends told me about blogging. Prior to that, I didn’t even know what the term blogging meant. Ok, please pardon my ignorance. With so many kids, I really didn’t have time to surf the web.

So here I was, with a new baby after a break of 6 years. Friends were laughing and saying I might as well write a book about my experiences raising 6 kids. Precisely! I was busy answering texts from friends needing advice about their kids. They suggested why not start a blog and write it all down so people can just refer to it. Another group of friends were remarking how expensive it must be just paying for diapers and milk powder. Then someone went on to suggest why not be a blogger? You might get free diapers and milk powder! Wait a minute. Seriously? I was all ears. But I had one huge hurdle. I’m a total nerd when it comes to the computer. I only know how to open emails and use Word.

Subsequently, we had dinner with another bunch of friends and the topic of blogging came up again. They even threw up names for me: “Half a dozen”, “Mum of 6”, and simply, “Mummy Wee”. Well, the 1st two domain names were already taken, so I went with the last one. After dinner, the fellas decided to adjourn for a round of drinks at someone’s house. The wives had nothing much to do, and began setting up the blog for me. And viola! Mummy Wee was up and running.

So on this first birthday of what feels like my 7th baby (also needs tending to), I would like to say a very sincere and big THANK YOU to all of you who have helped me on this blogging journey.

To Amber, for setting up the blog template for me. To my eldest, for putting all the information into the template and teaching me how to use it. To Elaine, for doing the beautiful graphics even though you are in Australia. I know I can always count on you. To Gloria, a new but great friend, who supported me from day 1 and got your friends to read my blog too. (She was the one who read my very first draft. She put it down, gave me a blank look, then said very gently. Er, blogging is not writing an essay. You can break this up into 5 posts. And add more pictures). Oh. I see. To Mer & Chang, my 2 oldest friends of 30 years – for giving me constructive criticism and enlightening me on why people read blogs – “for info, honest opinions  and if there’s humour, all the better.” To my dearest friend Sandra, for teaching me the nitty gritty tech stuff and for confirming that #1 was right all along, that the Facebook account should be a page, where we add fans not friends. To my brother-in-law who read my first few posts and said encouragingly, “Very good! But you need to work on your photos. You know they are blur, right?” Well actually, I didn’t know. Prior to this whole blogging thing, I have hardly taken a photo in my life. That was the hub’s arena. I only knew that I had to get the object into the square. So please pardon my photos. I have come a long way. And yes, I do know that there is still much room for improvement. To all the mummy blogger friends whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know (thanks to Pamela) thank you for your advice, encouragement and inspiration. And last but definitely not least, to you, my dear readers. For without readers what’s a blog right?

Last week, #4 asked me, “Mummy, what is your job?” #3 quickly replied, “Blogger lah” (sounds way cooler than telling their friends I’m a SAHM). #4 continued, “But if my teacher ask what does a blogger do, what do I say?” #3 replied even more impatiently, “Get free things and write about it lah.”

Just as my kids think a stay-at-home-mum does nothing the whole day, they also think a blogger does nothing besides getting freebies for their kids. Why does my work seem ‘invisible’ to everyone else? Ah, the sad story of my life 😉 Oh, and just for the record, we still have not been offered free diapers nor milk powder.

Yay! (Kate still doesn’t know what we’re all excited about)

So join us in celebrating this happy day! Jump off your chair, fling your arms wide (be careful not to smack your colleague/child in the face) and yell
Happy 1st Anniversary to Mummy Wee! 

Or, um, you could just quietly type on your computer or phone some nice wishes with smiley faces and send it off to us. Feel free to tell me what you’d like to see (or read) more of in the coming months. Have an awesome, awesome day, everyone!

Thankful Tuesdays:

“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 #5’s cooking and caring of Kate
Thankful… for #3 in so many ways
Thankful… for sister-in-law #1

Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for the beauty of nature
Thankful… for my mum-in-law

Linking up with:

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

Let’s just say it: Parenting can be depressing

I was reading this article in yesterday’s Straits Times, which was taken from the New York Times. It was basically saying that many parents experience distress, even 5 years after the birth of the child. However, it seems only socially acceptable to acknowledge that everything is ok, because after all we love our kids dearly so how can it be depressing right? 

When we read about other people’s lives via their blogs or on social media, we see images of adorable kids and happy families. But what actually goes on behind closed doors? Not only are there the sleepless nights, endless crying and financial worries, but as they grow up, you wonder if you have done a good job parenting. And if your teens start to stray or pick up ideology far different from yours, it can be heartbreaking.

We tend to keep it to ourselves, and face it alone. Because we think we might be seen as failures or bad parents if we admit that sometimes we feel depressed with the overwhelming challenges we face or when some days we look at our kids and don’t like what we see.

So let’s give ourselves a break, and not look at the impossible standards around us and feel we have to live up to it. For they are just the nice bits. The reality is that all parents will sooner or later face set backs, disappointments, even despair somewhere along their parenting journey. Some more so, some less. I used to think that once the kids grow up and enter school, my job will be much easier. Yes, definitely physically easier. But it is replaced by other challenges. I think the only way is to expect that it may happen, and be ready to face it. And to have good friends to share their experiences or even a listening ear.

When I had so many questions swirling in my mind, I found my answer in something a friend shared on Facebook. It read: No matter how the craziness of this whole parenting thing turns out, the reward of loving is in the loving. I was lamenting how difficult it is to keep sacrificing selflessly without expecting anything in return. Finally I get it.

As Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in his poem in 1850,

Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.” 

I reckon the same can be said for parenting. No matter how rocky the road has been and will continue to be, I am honoured to have the opportunity to take on the role of everything a mummy stands for, to 6 persons brought into this world, and even if I had known that the path will be fraught with challenges, I wouldn’t have chosen any other way.

I chanced upon this quote last week when I was feeling miserable. Don’t you find it comforting? I would love for someone to say that to me and I hope I’ve been doing some of that to those around me. I’m going to keep that in mind, and remember to give a hand to my kids, friends in need, new mums I meet.

Just when I was feeling wobbly about this whole new phase of parenting teens and wondering what on earth am I doing as a blogger when I myself haven’t got the answers, it cheered me up to learn that I made it to the Top 10 finalist for the Best New Blog Category of the Singapore Blog Awards 2014. Yay. If you have enjoyed reading my blog, do spare a minute each day (one vote allowed per day until the end of July) and vote for me 🙂

I would also like to say a big thank you to you, my dear readers, for your support these past 11 months for reading, leaving your comments, and most of all for your encouragement. For we all have our down days, don’t we?

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

Mother’s Day. Hmmm.

It’s another one of those occasions. Where everything gets hyped up. I get lots of text messages with lovely sayings and videos to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. And you know what? It gets me thinking. The messages are always about how great we mums are, holding the family together, loving unconditionally, always being there for everyone, shaping lives, being such wonderful, almost perfect beings. If I had been all of those things to all of my children, I’ll probably be grinning from ear to ear and giving myself a pat on the back. However, I’m only human, and there were definitely times when I was none of those, and when some days wore on too thinly, I was probably closer to a monster mum than a loving mum. Oh well, all we can do is to try our best to be the best mum we know how to be, right?

Cake baked with love (reads: love mum)

I am again blessed to be lavished with so much love from my kids. I guess the slate is wiped clean and I can start again on this day to try even harder to be a better mummy to them in this next one year. Children are so sweet and forgiving. I hope I never inadvertently cause them to grow up hurt or broken in any way. My own friends have shared that they still carry with them a lot of the hurt caused by their parents when they were growing up. It’s really not easy being a parent.

Up-cycled bag

With 6 kids, I was showered with gifts, cards and cake. #2 carefully cut and stitched her t-shirt into a lovely bag for me. I have to say her workmanship is excellent!

The new in thing: rubber-band loom bracelet

As I was surrounded by all these mother’s day happiness, I couldn’t help but think of friends who had lost children, through illness, accidents, miscarriage or suicide. How unimaginable the pain must have been. We can only pray for them, especially on this day where they are reminded of their loss. I have learnt never to take anything for granted and to be grateful for everything that we have.

Thoughtful gifts and notes

The hubs went to the market early in the morning and cooked a really yummy seafood soup before he left to catch a flight. This time we even had Mexican abalone. What a treat.

Nothing like a home-cooked meal
At the end of the day, #4 helped me to shower Kate and dress her for bed while I relaxed and enjoyed their company. This is a far cry from my early days where I didn’t have time nor energy to be fully present to them, and where I insisted on things being done the ‘proper’ way at the ‘proper’ time. Now, I have learnt to strike a balance, loosen up a little, and enjoy the little moments.
Kate trying to run away before #4 can button her PJs

I was very touched and contented to receive all their gestures of love, knowing that they had put in a lot of effort to make me happy. At bedtime, something else happened which really warmed my heart. Kate accidentally scratched #5’s eye while he was getting her ready for bed. It was really painful and he was sobbing quietly. Nothing I said could console him. #3 heard what had happened and came into the room. She went to fetch his favourite book and read to him the funny parts, dramatising it so much that he burst out laughing. To see them care for one another like that was the best thing to end this special day.

Sibling love

I humbly salute all mums out there who have managed to forge close and loving families, where their children have warm smiles and beautiful hearts. And where their adult children can say with all sincerity that they have the best mum on earth. I hope that day will come.


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

Thankful… for #3 in so many ways

It was only when I was pregnant with Kate that I started noticing how caring and thoughtful #3 was. I had a very difficult pregnancy and was bed-bound for most of the 9 months. Initially, the kids were all very helpful, but they got tired of it and slowly became less and less helpful. Except for #3. Even till the end, she never hesitated or gave any excuse when I called for her. She pushed me to the toilet on the study chair, brought my food to the room, fed me on days when I couldn’t even feed myself, and dressed me when I had to make a trip to the doctor’s. I could be calling her throughout the day to fetch things for me and she always paused what she was doing and came to me. Ever since then, and after the birth of Kate, her character has really started to show, and I can say that there is not much more I can ask for in a child.

2 weeks ago she said, “Mum, is it ok if I take boy for a movie after school tomorrow?” I was slightly taken aback as #5 is only 7, and none of them has taken him out alone. “I asked him if he wants to watch the Lego movie and he said that his friends have watched it and he wants to watch it too. I know you are very busy so I can take him there by bus. Don’t worry mum, we’ll be fine.” Deep in my heart, I knew they would be fine as #3 is very independent and also very nurturing. Besides, the bus goes all the way to the terminal so there won’t be any roads to cross. I allowed them to go and told them I would pick them back so that they’ll be in time for dinner. It suddenly hit me that my kids have really grown up!

Sibling day out

When they came back, she immediately went to take care of Kate as she missed her very much, having been out the whole day. She’s also the one who spends the most time with Kate, playing with her, seeing to her needs, and teaching her all sorts of things. When Kate had quite a bad fall and bumped her head, she immediately ran to her, picked her up and consoled her. My sister-in-law said to me “Why are you sitting here so calmly? Looks more like she’s the mummy.” I quipped, “That’s her first child, but my 6th”.

Her real life toy

Sometimes after school, she invites her friends over to play with Kate as they all dote on her and Kate loves her jie jie’s friends too. We don’t own a dog and she knows that Kate loves dogs, so she goes to our neighbours’ houses to ‘borrow’ their dogs.

#3’s friend taking care of Kate
In the evenings, our helper used to settle Kate to sleep but these days, once our helper carries her into the room, she starts to wail as she wants to hang around with the rest of the family instead of going to bed. I was starting to get worried as this meant that I was a prisoner in the evenings. I was also wondering what am I to do when I go for my trip with my mum next month. One night, when I had to accompany the hubs for dinner, #3 told me that she would try to put her to bed, and she managed to! She even chose the safest bed for Kate to sleep in, which was the pull-out section of a bed, so that she will be sandwiched and won’t be able to roll off.
All in a day’s work

One wonderful trait of #3 is that nothing fazes her. She looks forward to challenges and instead of being stumped or anxious, she faces them squarely and thinks of ways to solve them. If one solution doesn’t work, she will think of another way.

I really love her can-do attitude. I took her for her dental appointment and as we were pressed for time, I instructed her to run up first while I went to search for a carpark. Just as I dropped her off, I asked her “Which floor is it?” (because I couldn’t remember). She hollered back, “I’m not sure but I’ll find my way!” and she dashed off. With this child, I don’t have to worry about her. 

You know, the strange thing was that when they were growing up, I had the most problems with her. She couldn’t sit still (too much energy), was always answering your questions with more questions (her mind thinks too fast), and was always getting lost (extremely curious child). But now, all that is working out really well. The same issues which I had with her became a boon instead of a bane.

I am indeed blessed.

Thankful Tuesdays:

“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 our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for the beauty of nature
Thankful… for my mum-in-law

Linking up with:

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

A day in the life of a stay-at-home-mum of 6

When people hear that I have 6 kids, they always ask me how I manage them, after which they want to know what my days are like. Here’s a peek at what a typical school day looks like for me.

7.00 am: Send 2 of them to school with Kate along for the ride. The other 3 are either on school bus or public bus.

7.30 am: Feed Kate her breakfast and have a quick bite as well (usually her leftovers).

8.30 am: Take Kate to the playground. We rotate the playgrounds in our neighbourhood, if not she gets bored of them.

She loves sand play.. who doesn’t?

9.30 am: Take Kate home for a shower and our helper settles her down for her nap at 10.30.

10.00 am: Either breakfast with the hubs and running of errands, brunch with friends or yoga.

12.30 pm: Feed Kate her lunch and play with her before the rest comes back.

1.00 pm: Cook lunch for the kids if helper is busy with housework or if the kids have specially requested for something e.g. #4 will say “Mummy, can you make me baked rice tomorrow for my lunch when I’m back from school”.

1.30 pm: Pick 2 of them up from school if they are not staying back.

2.00 pm: Have lunch with whoever is home while keeping an eye on Kate. We’ll chat about their school day and it’s usually this time straight after school when they are bursting with things to share with you.

3.00 pm: Pick #1 from the bus-stop, fix her a salad and sit and chat with her about her day. The rest of the kids will either be doing their homework, playing with Kate, reading, or wasting time doing what-not. We have a no TV, no computer/ipad rule on school days.

#1’s salad: Tomatoes with baby mozerella

4.00 pm: Off to pick #4 from school after her CCA (the 3 youngest have their CCAs on different days so it works out perfect for picking them up). If Kate follows me, she will play with #4 and her friends in school for awhile before we head home. But if #3 is free, she will take care of Kate and I’ll go alone to pick her. I’ll take the opportunity to take #4 for one-on-one time somewhere nearby where we’ll grab a bite and chat while she does her homework. On days where no one stays back and I’m home with them, we’ll either be hanging around the kitchen making some snacks like ice lollies or their own culinary creations (read: peanut butter and cheese sandwich with blueberries squashed in between), going over to my sister-in-law’s place for tea, or the kids will jump into the bathtub and have some water fun with Kate if the weather is really hot (which is most of the time!).

5.00 pm: Watch Kate while the helper prepares dinner. The younger ones usually play in the garden with her or sometimes we all head off to the playground. If anyone has school stuff for me to sign or requests for supplies or other issues for the next day, I’ll get it settled.

6.00 pm: Dinner time! The older 2 come back late twice a week on CCA days, so they’ll eat by themselves later.

Dinner is at 6pm everyday

7.00 pm: See that everyone has their shower and are settling down to prepare for school the next day.

7.30 pm: Remind #5 to brush his teeth and get into bed. (Yes, I have to remind him everyday, if not he’ll read past his bedtime).

7.45 pm: Pick #2 from the bus stop as it’s dark and she’s tired after a long day at school, and it gives me a few minutes to chat with her about her day. Warm up her dinner and sit with her for 5 minutes to finish our conversation.

8.00 pm: Read to #4 before she goes to bed.

8.30 pm: Read to #3 before she goes to bed (they are in separate rooms and have different bedtimes).

(Nowadays, Kate doesn’t want the helper to settle her to sleep so I have to do it. Some days, I fall asleep while doing that so the bedtime stories for #3 and #4 doesn’t happen)

9.00 pm: Check if #1 or #2 have any other things they need me to settle or discuss.

9.30 pm: Exhausted. Unwind and relax by blogging. In. Peace. I have never liked watching TV or surfing the Net, so previously, I used to read or sleep. Now, by blogging, I am able to sieve through all the thoughts swirling in my head and by putting it all down, somehow it clears my mind and I know what to focus on.

So, this is what I do everyday, day in day out. Honestly, it is quite enjoyable as the 5 older kids are between the ages of 7 and 15 and we can have proper conversations about things they learn in school or issues they are facing. When they were younger, a typical day revolved around feeding them, showering them, changing diapers, putting them to bed, cleaning up spills, breaking up squabbles, carrying them when they are cranky, disciplining them, yelling at them. Sounds chaotic? Imagine doing all of that on 4 hours of sleep every night, and being pregnant half the time. Sometimes, I don’t know how I did all of that without running away. Hmm, I think there WERE many times I wanted to run away! So yes, life is great now. Well, if I didn’t know the bitter, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the sweet right?

Here’s what a typical Saturday of ours looks like.

To read how having 6 kids has changed my life, click here.

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

“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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Family Command Centre

Obviously with 6 kids, there are a lot of logistics to handle on a daily basis. I have to be organized or it gets really stressful when things are left to the last minute. There were countless times when a child did not have the materials ready for the next day’s show and tell, they forget they had an excursion and we didn’t have the right ‘healthy’ snack for the lunchbox, or worse, they forgot they had a Math exam and forgot to tell me that their calculator had run out of batteries. Even when I had only 3 kids and had no proper system, I was going crazy. Now I’ve got the whole process down to a pat.

My Command Centre

I rely on these to keep things running smoothly:

Family Wall calendar
Weekly meal planner
Daily To-do list
Yearly pocket calendar
Some notebooks

I love kikki.k over at ion. They have lots of organisational tools to help us busy moms stay on top of things. Colour really brightens my day and all these pretty stationery helps to keep me motivated to get the boring paperwork and administrative work for the family under control.

#3 drew the cute lil’ minion

I needed a huge magnet board so I recycled #2’s old board by turning it around and using the back. We got this magnetic board from Ikea many years ago. There were 2 holes at the back which were meant for hanging the board up. I tied some rope across the top so that I could peg photos of the kids and keep them rotated. It always cheers me up to see them smiling. I got the magnets from Daiso and added some stickers to personalise them.

This family calendar is just perfect for me – it has 6 columns. I got it from Tango Mango at Tanglin Mall, and you can also order it directly from Organised Mums which ships to Singapore. Whenever the kids come back with notices from school, I immediately pen it down on the calendar before tagging it on the board. This way, I will never forget to pick up any kid after ad hoc activities and we’re always prepared for events like wearing traditional costumes for Racial harmony day etc.

Menu planner from kikki.K
Having a weekly meal planner is really a life saver. Before I had it, I would just mentally plan some meals in my head. There were many a time when I was busy and before I knew it, lunch (or dinner) was upon us and I had nothing prepared for the starving kids. We usually ended up eating out (expensive), getting take-away (waste of time and not nutritious especially if it was fast food), or cooking instant noodles (definitely not nutritious). Once you get the discipline of setting aside a fixed time to decide what you’re going to cook and going to the supermarket, it will become a family routine.

On Sundays, I look at the week ahead and mark off on the family calendar which kid is back for lunch on which days so that I can see at one glance how many kids will be eating and which ones. If all or most are eating, I will prepare those meals that they are all ok with. If 1 or 2 are back on a particular day, I can then cook that child’s favourite food.

To-do list from kikki.K
I really like this To-do list as it’s got ‘Top 3’ things to do. When I used to have those normal To-do lists which just runs down, I will get really frustrated if half of the list is undone. Now, if I get my 3 most important tasks accomplished and a couple of the others, I’m a happy mom. Talk about a shift in perception! There’s even some cute icons to let us track how many cups of water we drink a day. Anything that helps to keep us healthy gets my two thumbs up 🙂

Lovely notebooks from Prints at ion

Whenever I saw something interesting in the newspapers or on the internet that I would like to take the kids to some day, I used to tear out the bits of newspaper or scribble the info down on post-its. However when the school holidays or long weekends came about I couldn’t locate the info I wanted. So I got some lovely bounded notebooks from Prints at ion (they have a shelf with past season items at 50% off) and started a resource book where I categorized the stuff I did with the kids and jotted down the info as they came, straight into the right pages. That way, I would just open up the book and scan the options and we’ll decide where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do that day.

Mail stand from Typo
I use these giant paper clips to sort my mail. I got them from smiggle (they have many outlets). I will handle the urgent ones, and when I have free time I will file the rest away properly.

The little yearly calendar is to keep track of things like when I paid their enrichment fees, when I paid my helper, or any other info where I can easily flip back to track. We have a Chinese tutor who comes over to tutor my primary 5 girl and to read to the 5 of them (Kate included). With the calendar I would know how many sessions she has already done and when to pay her. I also get the tutor to sign on the calendar so that there’s never any dispute.

Handmade birthday calendar

#2 made this lovely birthday calendar for mother’s day a couple of years ago. It is really handy as I can look ahead in that month and note down which birthdays are coming up. I will then shop for the necessary presents all at one go. This saves time and money as nowadays a trip to the mall is really not cheap if you include petrol, ERP and the exorbitant parking charges!

Gift cupboard

I also keep a cupboard stocked with presents suitable for a range of ages so that whenever the kids get invited to a birthday party I don’t have to make a trip to the shops just to get a present. I usually stock up my gift cupboard during the bi-annual private sales at Isetan or Robinsons as they have good discounts then. For the younger girls I get craft, playdoh or dress up/jewellery type gifts, for the older girls stuff like board games or DIY activity sets. For the younger boys, construction toys and for the older boys, science experiment sets.

Sane tip: With 6 kids, being organised is not an option, it’s mandatory!

Save tip: I realised that being organised helps to save a fair bit of money over the long run.

To know how we manage 6 kids, click here.

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

Don’t babies naturally fall asleep when they are tired?

When my eldest was 3 days old, the midwife came over for a home visit to check her weight and height and to see if I needed any help with breastfeeding. My baby yawned a few times, which I thought was completely normal. I mean, how many times have we seen cute pictures of babies yawning, right? The midwife said ‘poor baby, she is so tired’ and she looked very concerned. My hubby and I exchanged looks and we were thinking ‘What’s the problem? When she’s tired she will just sleep. She is sleeping most of the time anyway!’ We didn’t know about bedtimes, routines or sleepy signs. Some days she would cry incessantly and we had to put her in the car seat and drive around. She would promptly fall asleep. However when we carried her out of the car she would wake up and cry again! When she was 1+, she would sit and do jigsaw puzzles till 10 or 11pm while I did my assignments and she would just take her bear, get into bed and fall asleep almost immediately.

Her first pair of sandals

When she started to walk, I went to the mall to get her some shoes. I couldn’t believe it when the saleslady told me that the cheapest pair of sandals cost $50! Made of leather. Leather? Why in the world would kids need leather shoes? Mummy needs a new leather handbag… In the end, she convinced me how important it was for toddlers to wear the proper footwear with good support.

What a great fashion sense… red socks with sandals!

During winter, I just pulled on a pair of socks with the sandals as I was definitely going to let her wear that pair of sandals till she outgrew it! I honestly didn’t notice that the other toddlers were togged out in closed-toe shoes and some even in boots. Her toes must have been freezing most of the time. Oh and our pram was a $40 one which my mum got from OG and brought over to us, and I used to wonder how come the other babies looked so snug in their ultra bulky and comfortable strollers which were covered on all 4 sides, while my baby looked so exposed in her flimsy pram.

Her favourite toy

She used to play with our phones, the remote controls (don’t ask me what it is with babies and the most important gadgets in the house) and even my spectacles. Of course we told her not to touch those things but we were not consistent or firm enough and many gadgets were spoilt by her. As she grew up, I thought she would just know how to behave and how to be a good girl. Ok, I must have been the most naïve parent in the world. But of course she didn’t, and the other kids just followed suit, both the bad and the good.

Her next favourite toy

I have since come a long, long way. I now know how important sleep is for children (and mummies too!) and I know for certain that babies or children will not just go to sleep when they are tired. In fact, when they are over-tired, they become hyperactive (as some hormones are released) and will find it even harder to sleep. Kate goes to bed at 7pm, and the 3 other kids in primary school go to bed by 8.30pm. I also know for certain that we definitely, positively, without a doubt, have to discipline children. And it should be done as early as possible. With Kate, from the time she was 6 months, when she wanted to take our phones to play, we will say no and take it away from her. Consistently. It saves us a lot of money on replacement specs, phones and whatever else that she may decide to destroy. I will share with you my journey on all the different aspects of parenting in my million mistakes as we trail Kate’s development.

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