My home office

With a huge family of 8, plus in laws, it is not optimal for us to work in the living room. It gets noisy and there are people walking around all the time. What we have though, are ample rooms for everyone to share quite comfortably and we are very grateful for that. I never liked the idea of having a home office in the bedroom but that’s the only viable option for now. Suddenly, I’ve found myself managing 3 jobs, all of which are intertwined and which I am deeply passionate about. The only way to keep everything under control is to have a good system going!

This is an image of a work station with a Mac and ipad
iPad 9th generation

I decluttered the room and carved out the far corner for my work station. Thanks to my vegan daughters, we are very mindful about purchasing new items and try to reuse what we can. I asked if any of them had a spare desk and one was all too happy to let me adopt hers. She finds it too bulky as her laptop has replaced her books. I like it as I can keep everything nicely tucked under the desk. A clutter-free desk helps me think better!

With a nice big desk, I needed a proper computer! My laptop doesn’t serve its purpose of convenience as I am mostly working from home. Besides, it is getting too old and is not very reliable. I nicked the Mac from the study room as it was under utilised. The hubs bought it years ago for the kids to share, but now that they are in Uni/Poly, they have their own laptops.

Ah, so nice to have a large screen.

You may be wondering why I need 3 screens, but ever since I started using them, I can’t do without them anymore!

Before, I would use my phone to snap photos of particular screens and toggle between them. With the luxury of multiple screens, I can watch a YouTube tutorial on my iPad and follow the instructions step by step on my Mac. I also need to look at different documents at the same time and this makes it so much easier. I keep my Whatsapp open on the iPad mini as I’m constantly receiving work texts as well as texts from the family.

This is an image of a child studying at her desk
Kate’s study desk

Kate’s desk is at the other end so we have our personal space to do our work yet we are in the same room so that I can keep an eye on what she’s doing and I’m within easy reach when she gets stuck with her homework. However, it does get frustrating when I’m trying to concentrate and she comes to me every 10 minutes!

I’ve found a way to get around it as best as I can, by segmenting my work into 2 categories – “full attention” and “easy work”. I try to finish the former when she’s in school and do the latter in the afternoons where it’s a to-do lists of small tasks. It’s harder when she’s on HBL and needs more help with her work. With the time crunch, I’m forced to focus intently and get my important work done while she’s on her live zoom lessons. If I need more time, I’ll tell her that for the next hour, she is not to disturb me. Thankfully, she’s old enough to understand and comply. Sometimes, I get a pleasant surprise when she returns and tells me that her sister has explained everything nicely to her 🙂 These days, it’s the little things like that which turn my days from good to great!

This is my zoom set up
Zoom meetings

The last thing I needed was a set up for my zoom sessions. I can’t have anyone walking in and out of the room while I’m having a staff meeting, giving a talk or recording my courses. I set up a small table just behind my work station so that the screen has the wall view. This Macbook was a hand-me-down from my sis-in-law and although it’s not functioning well, it still works for zoom meetings.

I’ve also discovered the joy of tending to plants when my Spurflower finally blossomed after 7 months! Watching the delicate purple flowers open one by one brightens up my day. I read up a bit more on plants and discovered that some plants, like these snake plants or “mother-in-law’s tongue” help purify the air and are easy to manage. Perfect!

Wardrobe whiteboard

We never intended the wardrobe doors to be used as a whiteboard, but Kate finds it so much more fun than writing on paper. She also pretends to be a teacher, which is something she’s been yearning to do because her teachers said that she’s too short to answer the questions on the classroom board. Knock yourself out, girl!

We start our days at 7:30am and after breakfast is when I do my most difficult work which requires a lot of thinking. We stop at 11:30 to prepare lunch. By mid-afternoon, I’m ready to take a brain break and happy to play with Kate or be her student. I’ve found that factoring time in between to do something physical or creative helps me to focus better and be more productive after the short break.

This is an image of iPad Mini 6 generation
iPad Mini 6 Gen

During the day, I move around the house a lot. Cooking in the kitchen, sitting with a child in the living room or hanging out with them in their rooms. My newfound love is this super cute pink iPad mini paired with a white smart folio. I use it more than my phone as I get urgent texts throughout the day and I can type with the keyboard and it’s easier on the eyes with the bigger screen.

They have revolutionised the capabilities of the mini with advanced machine learning functions that even doctors, pilots and architects use it to quickly pull up real time graphics and information like scans and weather conditions. My girls were happy to hear that it uses 100% recycled aluminium and that Apple’s global operations are carbon neutral.

I’m still exploring its many new features and am most excited that I’ll be able to slip this tiny little device in my handbag when I give talks instead of lugging along my heavy old laptop!

I’m learning to embrace technology to help me work more efficiently and I try to tune out after 6pm and go into zen mode. This has been one of my best decisions in 2021 as it is all too easy to blur the lines between home and work when you are working from home.

I have found my peak rhythm, put in place proper systems and I schedule in time to recharge. This makes both work and family time more enjoyable than doing both while being fully present to none. I have to be intentional about it, and I feel a lot more in control now even in the midst of WFH and HBL.

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist and mum of 6. She is co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre developing resilience and executive function in children. She is a Parent coach and Award-winning blogger and is regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media. She is at the same time proud, yet humbled to be awarded Singapore’s 40-over-40 inspiring women 2021.

I’ve launched my Online Parenting Course!

Woohoo! We have just launched our online parenting course last night at my Webinar! My small team of 3, consisting of my second daughter and Kate, are extremely delighted! 🙂

So much hard work getting familiar with the tech side of things, and persevering through the technical issues. It is such a personal achievement because barely 8 years ago, the only thing I could do on the computer was to surf the internet and use Word docs. I’ve really harnessed a growth mindset in approaching technology and managed to create my own website as well as online course! Such a win for me!

It also showed my kids that age is no barrier to learning and we as women can be empowered to chart our own path and follow our dreams to do good in the world, sharing what we can with others, in our own little ways.

My daughter was in charge of the videos and I must say we had great fun and a lot of laughter while creating the videos to engage with you!

I want to thank those of you who turned up for my webinar, almost 90 of you! And the participation was excellent. I hope you picked up valuable tips and enjoyed the session as much as I did 🙂

I’ve heard you, sharing that the biggest hurdle to sign up for a parenting course is to find time to join me live, and we’ve been working on creating an online course.

And ta-da, here it is!

Now you can watch it at your own pace, whenever you get time admidst your busy days. You can pause, re-watch, get your spouse to watch it as well so you can parent on the same page.

You also have lifetime access to it, which is especially useful for those with more than 1 child. You can watch the modules again when they move into the next developmental stage so you know how to respond appropriately to them.

This course is packed with practical tips which you can implement immediately to create real change in your kids.

Parenting is such a tough job and when done well, we can raise well-adjusted kids. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.

When we parent in anger, shouting or caning our kids, we inflict emotional hurt on them which affects them way into adulthood.

Some of us were parented with a negative approach, by being talked down upon, shamed, and yelled at all the time. We are desperate for a better way and don’t want to do the same to our children.

We want effective ways to get them to behave, and we also want to have a close relationship with them.

I’ve condensed everything into easy to implement strategies, walking you through the steps with clear videos.

Besides watching the lessons at your own time, we will meet once a month online where I will answer your specific questions that you have about your kids.

My course, From Screaming mom-ster to stress less mum aims to help parents with children from 3 to 12 years old to gain the knowledge to parent better and be less stressed on a daily basis.

I equip you with strategies to manage issues like tantrums, discipline, boundaries, attention seeking behaviours, dragging their feet to get things done, meal times, anger outbursts and finishing homework.

My bonus modules include dealing with Sibling Rivalry, managing their Digital gadgets, and easy ways to take care of yoursef and parent on the same page as your spouse.

I have been passionate about sharing with parents over the past 10 years via my blog and face to face courses, and I’m so excited to move into the next phase of bringing this to more parents through my online course! I sincerely hope to see more of you soon!

Click here to find out more!

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist and mum of 6. She is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre developing resilience and executive function in children. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger and is regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.

My kids refuse to listen and I have to keep nagging

This is the most common frustration I get from parents.

We were the same. We asked nicely, repeated ourselves, nagged, scolded, and finally, lost our patience and started yelling.

It was a slippery slope, and the shouting went on for years.

With Kate, we have been given a second chance and have finally learnt to parent right, after making so many mistakes with the 5 older kids.

Everyone thinks Kate is such a sweet child, and indeed she is thoughtful and caring.

However, she wasn’t always like that.

She had her tantrums like most other kids, and fake cried to manipulate us.

But we were all aligned in how we responded to her.

Me, the hubs, the 5 older siblings. We were consistent. No one gave in to her whining and prolonged outbursts.

And very quickly, by the age of 3, she was super easy to manage.

I am passionate about sharing the parenting knowledge I have amassed over the past 22 years as a mum, occupational therapist and parent coach because I have seen the damage we can do to our kids unintentionally.

The hubs and I had different discipline styles and we quarrelled a lot. He had a quick temper, and would shout at the kids when they misbehaved and sometimes even grabbed their toys, broke it and threw it in the bin. As much as they enjoyed playing rough with daddy, they also lived in fear of his temper.

Kate has been spared all of this because I handled her well and it never escalated to a point where he has to step in. In her opinion, “daddy doesn’t scold us” but the 5 older kids are quick to reply, “You are the lucky one. He used to yell at us all the time.”

If you are in the same position as we have been, struggling to manage your kids, feeling exhausted and wishing things could be better, make time to join us in my next webinar:

3 easy ways to get your kids to do exactly what you want them to do without nagging, yelling or caning.

No more resorting to physical punishment, time out, threatening or bribing.

I know that parents are very busy, and my strategies are quick and effective to implement. All it takes is 10 minutes a day to make your home happier and more peaceful for everyone.

With the correct methods, your kids will respond well. Most importantly, we won’t hurt our kids emotionally which can be very damaging.

I know, because my older kids hold the wounds of all those years of anger unleashed upon them which they are carrying into their adult lives, and need help to process it.

Many of us refrain from caning, but yelling is also a form of verbal and emotional abuse. It creates a tense environment, which frightens our children and makes them insecure. Their behaviour becomes harder to manage and we find ourselves in a vicious cycle every day.

Parenting is tough, and there is no shame in asking for help. It is our responsibility to equip ourselves with knowledge and skills to be a better parent.

It is never too late to start now, the later we wait, the more damage could be done.

Come with your questions, we’ll have a Q&A at the end. I have been enjoying sharing with my readers live on my past webinars and look forward to seeing more of you soon!

Register for Webinar : 3 easy ways to get your kids to do exactly what you want them to do

Date: 9 July, Friday

Time: 8-9pm

Free, via zoom

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist and mum of 6. She is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre developing resilience and executive function in children. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger and is regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.

Living life with a brimming heart

Being in hospital wakes you up. To life.

I had such a scare 2 weeks ago. Went in A&E due to a severe allergic reaction to a heat pack where I struggled to breathe (sounds bizarre right, it was placed on my skin and I didn’t even ingest anything!) and ended up staying for 8 days.

At one point, the doctors were alarmed with the test results pointing to an internal bleed and it was one test after another to find the site of bleed or clot.

It was a pretty terrifying time of not knowing what is wrong, and it didn’t help with the covid restrictions, making it all the more lonely without family around.

However, the silver lining was that the scans picked up several other issues that I needed to see to before they become bigger problems.

The whole thing started because of a pain behind my ribs, and my daughter gave me a heat pack to try to relieve the pain. Any movement like a cough or sneeze or turning in bed caused sharp pains, and I couldn’t even take proper breaths.

Being stripped to your bare functions, the only way is up.

It makes you grateful for every single thing that we have, and not to take anything for granted. Being pain free, able to move about, that is such freedom!

so glad to go home!

The time in hospital became an unexpected gift.

For the first time, I could rest. My body and mind.

Time stood still. No agenda. Nothing on my schedule. I was alone, with my thoughts and prayers.

I’ve been running non-stop since I had #1. People assume I’m an over-achiever or type A personality, but I’m not!

When you become a mum, the wheels start to turn, and there is no PAUSE button.

And somewhere along the line, I lost myself. Many a day, we were struggling to keep our heads above water.

And here I find myself, 23 years later, finally being able to pause because I am in hospital. Having the luxury to stop, take a deep breath, and recalibrate.

It seemed like not so long ago that we held our firstborn in our arms. And now she has graduated. She is the same age as when I had her! She’s been working hard curating an online museum for her final project and was feeling stressed. And we had a good laugh when I did a “in my time..” Sometimes, shifting their perspective helps them know that they can rise up to the challenge.

In my final year overseas as an Occupational Therapy student, I was attached to a hospital for 2 months. It was physically and emotionally draining working with burns patients, a lot of heavy lifting, and I remember a gentleman who was in my care and he suddenly passed away in the middle of the night. His wife and children were flying in to be with him, but never got to see him for the last time. Heart wrenching.

After work, I went home and cared for my little one, who was still not sleeping through the night. The hubs and I had decided to have a second child as we thought that 2 years was a good age gap.

I guess it was all too much for my body and I had a miscarriage scare and the doctor told me to take it easy.

What were we thinking, right?! My classmates used to look at me in disbelief. This heavily pregnant petite girl, with a toddler in tow, walking around campus, trying to get all my work done before I went into labour.

That momentum never stopped and one thing led to another. The 6 kids, our first failed business, my blog, starting The Little Executive and being a parent coach.

It was never about setting out to achieve anything, nor was it about making money. I just feel compelled to help. My mind is always bustling with ideas on how I can better reach out to parents and children, and this has been my focus for the past decade.

Suddenly being stuck in hospital, with shocking scares of internal bleeding, a lump found, elevated cancer marker, falling blood count, it jolts you.

Not being able to see Kate and the other kids, simple things that are suddenly taken away, it refocuses you to the real priorities in life. Work becomes the last thing on your mind. All you want is to be well again. To be healthy, so that we can be here with our family.

I look at things differently now. Every moment we have with people we love is so precious.

It reminded me of a personal story a lady shared with me. She lost her young son to cancer, but what was beautiful was that they spent every waking moment enjoying life with him in the months before he passed on. How many of us parents live like that? We never imagine our kids being taken away from us, and we go through our days with a lot of yelling, unhappiness, unresolved conflict.

I don’t want to go through my days living a life of dull routine.

I want to live a life where my heart feels like it is bursting with love and joy! Where every day feels like a miracle of life.

I remember living like that, before the responsibilities of being a parent, challenges of making a marriage work, financial worries and chronic sleep deprivation pushed me into a zombified state. Where the pressures of keeping a business afloat occupies your mind constantly.

I need to acknowledge that we have come a long way. I live my days with calm, no more a screaming momster, I make time for self-care, and both the hubs and I have learnt to become better parents.

It’s time to take the next step, to not just get through our days, but to live it with passion and a heart brimming with life! Both the good and the bad.

I want to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed! Simply because it’s a brand new day!

And to shout it on the mountain top, that

Life IS a miracle. Every moment of it.

Haha, not sure if anyone can relate.

But I’m determined to find that magic back!

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist and mum of 6. She is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre developing resilience and executive function in children. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger and is regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media. Get her FREE guide: 3 easy ways to get your kids to do exactly what you want them to do without nagging, shouting or caning.

Bespoke Perfume Workshops at Maison 21G

We were invited to Maison 21G for a Family Perfume Workshop and my girls said that it was the best workshop ever! The ambience was posh, service was excellent, and product definitely very unique and much needed!

I was very keen to customize my own perfume because it’s not easy to find the perfect scent that I really really like. I don’t want it to be strong and overbearing, and I also don’t want to smell like someone else in the same room!

I wanted a signature scent that was me, which gives me a spring in my step as I walk out my door to take on the day with great enthusiasm and confidence.

Upon entering through the glass doors, we were transported into an elegant atelier where strong scents hit you.

We were warmly welcomed by Amanda, and the workshop commenced with a short introduction about the world of perfumery which was quite interesting.

The usual Eau de parfum fragrance concentration is 20%, while Maison 21G has the highest level of perfume concentrate in the industry at 21%. This basically means that it can last longer and take you through the day. In comparison, Eau de toilette is 12% and Eau de cologne is at 5%.

Do you notice that your perfume changes slightly throughout the day? That is because all perfumes have 3 parts to it. Top notes are like first impressions and lasts about 30 minutes while heart notes which makes up the character of the perfume lasts about 6-8 hours. Bottom notes has the longest and most complex molecular structure, which is like your soul, or the impression you leave behind.

Maison means “home” in French, and everyone is welcomed to feel at home, where you have total freedom of self-expression to create your very own scent according to your desires, whether you want to feel light and fresh, sophisticated or sexy!

Maison 21G specialises in clean perfume which are made with natural essential oil blends. Their fragrances are freshly blended by hand, and are preservative-free, cruelty-free and vegan which is great for sensitive skin and noses. They are also transparent and sustainable in the sourcing of natural ingredients. Definitely a brand that resonates with my environmentally conscious young adults!

After the presentation, the fun began!

We started with a Personality quiz. That helped to narrow down some suitable scents for each of us from the 35 individual scents.

We were advised to choose between 3 to 4 different scents. We had to resist the urge to be too “greedy” as more is not better!

I wanted something for the day, which could be grounding yet sophisticated, and with a zing to inspire me. Something that when I spritz on in the morning, I get invigorated to get to work or whatever event I have for the day. Haha, sounds like a tall order?

Amanda was a great help in guiding us, and she did understand the scent I was envisioning.

At one point, my girls got slightly FOMO when they sniffed each other’s chosen scent. I heard them going, “what did you put in there, it smells nice!”

With her expertise in the combinations of the perfumes and in reading people, she helped us to settle on our final scents. Once that was decided, she calculated the exact weight of each scent which was to be added, as different percentages would bring out a different end result.

Now, it was time for us to take our seat at the very cool science-lab looking section of the atelier. Very carefully, we filled our perfume bottles with the exact measurements of the essential oils as per the formulation.

Ta-da! We now have our very own signature scent! Such a thrilling feeling!

It was very interesting to observe how each of my girls’ creation reflects their personality! The youngest chose one that was light, fresh and reminds me of the ocean. Another chose a floral, sweet, happy scent with jasmine. The older one chose a more complex, warm, comforting scent which had honey and almond.

Mine was a lovely scent which is grounding and sophisticated yet with refreshing and motivating notes.

It is such an indulgent experience to have an exclusive scent made just for you! Truly, a touch of luxury in a bottle.

If you want a custom perfume in Singapore, now is the chance! I have a very generous promo code for you! Just mention mummyweeblog to enjoy 21% off all perfume workshops and 15% off all online products.

This workshop is the perfect gifting idea for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Ladies’ Day out, your wife’s birthday (calling all dads!) or even a team building event. Grab your people and create your own unique scent!

Family Atelier $350 (2 adults & 2 children, 1.5 hours, $80 per additional child)

Private Love Atelier $350 (2 pax, 1.5 hours, 2 glasses of champagne)

Private Creation Atelier $150 (1 pax, 1 hour, up to 8 people)

Team Building Atelier $150 (1 pax, 1.5 hours, 1 perfume, up to 50 people)

Bridal Atelier $150 (1 pax, 1.5 hours, 1 perfume, up to 8 people)

Maison 21G

Flagship Store

77 Duxton Road, Singapore 089536

Ion Orchard

2 Orchard Turn, #B2-48, Singapore 238801

BHG Bugis Junction

200 Victoria Street, Singapore 188021

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger at Mummy Wee Blog and has been regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.

Not just one mindset to the top

If you are getting all stressed about the frenzy and nitty gritty details of the new PSLE scoring, and want a breath of fresh air, this is for you.

First, pause and take a deep breath. All that anxiety is not good for you, nor your child.

Let me share the story of my daughter.

She was a diligent child, paid attention in class, and did her homework. We had 5 young kids then, and with no time nor desire to be her tutor, we were completely hands off, except to provide encouragement.

Here grades were consistent and there was no reason for her to have tuition.

Until 3 months before her PSLE.

She scored Bs and Cs for her Prelims and I thought she needed additional help. On hindsight, it was a waste of time and money. Her SAP school had set the exam papers so tough which seemed an unnecessary and demoralising strategy.

For the PSLE, she scored 3 As and 1 A* which to us were excellent grades, all by her own efforts over the past 6 years.

However, it surprised us that even with straight As, her aggregate was 230. With the T-score system, the value of an A became discounted because there were too many students with high scores.

Actually, the biggest change with the new grading system is doing away with the T-score, and students will no longer be measured against how well they do in relation to their peers in that cohort.

It will follow the O and A level system, where the grades will be based on their absolute standards, NOT in comparison with their peers.

Anyway, back to my story.

We looked at her aggregate and chose a school with COP of 228, which was 2 points below her actual aggregate, so that she would get in quite comfortably. It turned out to be a very good school in our opinion, with a Principal who led with a heart, and very caring and dedicated teachers who went the extra mile.

She made it to a JC and there, she studied hard, played hard, and took on a plethora of extra activities like mission trips, public performances and headed countless committees.

Somehow, she managed all her responsibilities as well as her studies.

She scored straight As and was amongst the top scorers in her JC.

Many friends and relatives congratulated us, like it’s some kind of badge of honour that she was well on her path to becoming a successful lawyer or doctor and was also offered the provisional PSC scholarship based on her grades and extra-curricular activities.

Honestly, I am as proud of her achievements as I am of my other daughter, who will be graduating very soon with a degree in fashion. The funny thing is, her sister who pursued fashion had a higher aggregate for PSLE than her.

We encourage our kids to follow their passion and find their purpose, rather than conform to our pre-set expectations of the path we want to force upon them.

We didn’t immediately narrow down the top courses based on her eligibility but kept her options open and explored courses based on her interest.

It was a toss between law or liberal arts at Yale-NUS. She is clearly an arts student. She enjoyed literature, taught herself to play 7 instruments and loves performing arts. After her A levels, she went to Artfriend, bought some materials and produced paintings that were pretty amazing for an amateur!

Life-like doggie

We attended several open houses, spoke to artists, musicians, arts graduates and concluded that she could keep these interests as hobbies. She applied to law schools both in Singapore and in the UK and we finally decided that it was best to study locally as we still have 4 younger children to support through University. It turned out to be a wise choice due to the current situation.

She started school and told us how she was the only one who scored so low at PSLE haha. The majority of her classmates had scores of 270 and above.

It is not that she is a late bloomer, but most of them had tuition all the way from primary school till JC.

It was an intentional choice I made right from the start and was prepared that my kids would not have that kind of perfect scores like their tuition-aided peers. I wanted them to have a balanced view of life and to develop other skills. They learnt to be independent, self-directed learners, and spent a lot of time exploring and creating.

I aimed to give them a happy childhood, and was always mindful that the mental health of our children are just as important.

I am deeply concerned about the mental health issues and suicide cases amongst our young people. There are many contributing factors – the impact of social media on their self-esteem, high academic demands, expectations of parents, grappling with teenage issues of relationships and identity. I shudder to think that the severity and finality of taking one’s own life has been lost on this generation of young people, and the impact it will have on their parents and family. The almost nonchalant response of peers towards a life lost is chilling.

We all need to take a step back and look at the big picture. How can we bring the stress levels down? No one can fix this problem alone. Not MOE, not the parents, not the schools, nor the counsellors.

The only solution is if we can come to a consensus that making mental health a priority cannot be compromised, and that underpins everything else.

I try to support my children where I can and keep a lookout for their breaking points. We want them to do their best and not waste their potential, but not at the expense of their mental health.

Success to me means that they are always willing to try, to keep going forward, to learn from their mistakes, lend a hand to others, be a good person, develop other interests, enjoy the journey, and know when to push forward and when to rest.

this sweet child made me my fave biscoff cake once her exams were over

Being in law school is no joke. The amount of content they have to pore over can be overwhelming and they study long hours. She relaxes by baking and is getting quite good at it! We joke that if the day comes, when she becomes jaded by the profession or of having no work-life balance, she can do the trendy thing and become a home baker.

Kate will sit for her PSLE in 3 years’ time.

I am unperturbed by the new changes because nothing very much has changed fundamentally. Not the curriculum, not the exam questions, nor the number of places in each school. Yes, it all sounds rather confusing and we have to get used to the new numbers, but I view it as being similar to the O level system.

Will I re-strategise and do anything different from my 5 older kids?

The answer is no.

I will just be more careful in choosing her 1st choice school, and ensuring that it will be within the COP based on the past years because there will be a much larger number of students in that same band, vis a vis vying with students with the same aggregate in the old system.

I am indeed heartened to see some parents staying calm and level headed and not adding to the noise surrounding this change.

Ultimately, we don’t want our kids to be just book smart but to acquire all-round skills and the resilience to help them navigate life and the future workplace.

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger at Mummy Wee Blog and has been regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.

Mother’s Day Hair Makeover at CINQ

I’ve been living with my boring long hair for years, easy to clip into a bun and not bother about. But Mother’s Day is coming up, and yes, I deserve some pampering and a brand new look!

Where better than the salon celebrities head to, in the heart of town. CINQ is Singapore’s Leading Hair Studio and they take pride in not only ensuring that customers get the look they envision, but they will tell you the honest truth if a particular treatment is not suitable for you and is going to ruin your hair.

That kind of integrity and brand ethics, I’m all for.

I was placed at the expert hands of Tristan and he suggested I try a bob as my hair is nice and thick at the top but straggly at the ends. I haven’t had a bob since like 20+ years ago when I had my first child! I hardly had time for a long shower, let alone a trip to the hairdressers, and just kept the most low maintenance hairstyle.

We scrolled through some images and I pointed out the ones I liked. He advised me that a graduated bob at the back would be harder to maintain as it grew out. Not only that, his opinion was that a square cut bob would suit my personality and overall look better, and he read me rather accurately! He said that as I was more the grounded, not flamboyant type of person, the cut he would suggest for me would be more classic instead of edgy.

I felt comfortable with him and was happy to leave him to do his magic!

My daughter wanted some soft highlights to liven up her hair which she had coloured previously. She knew exactly what look she wanted to achieve, and discussed with the colourist, Jackie, to ensure the colour would work well on her hair. Many a times, we like a particular look but the result ends up very different because of our individual hair texture and colour. That’s where we need the experts to advise us.

She chose an ash grey colour and it turned out beautifully. Subtle and nicely blended in. It’s also versatile which affords her different looks when she ties up her hair or fix it in a bun. Most importantly, she loves it!

For me, I didn’t want any fancy colour streaks, but because I have very dark black hair, she suggested we go with red highlights to brighten up my complexion. I do have a pale complexion and my wardrobe consultant used to advice me to experiment with brighter colours, instead of the earthy colours that I gravitate towards.

Tristan was right, and the chic bob suited me well! Paired with the subtle red highlights, my hair now looks less dull and has more volume.

Somehow, a hair makeover can make you feel amazing and happy! I walked out of the salon feeling lighter, fresher and rejuvenated! It’s like all that “auntie” vibe and mental load has been snipped off as well haha. Best of all, my older girls said I look great!

Kate was the funniest. She has always preferred long hair and was shocked that I cut my hair. It was the first time she saw me in a bob since she was born! She kept asking me why did i change my hair? A moment later, she came to me and said, “Actually, mummy, your hair is quite nice.”

And when I posted my new look on my personal FB page, my lovely dear friends inundated me with “stunning”, “loving your new look” comments that really made my day hee hee 🙂

Well, now I’m motivated to spare a bit more attention on my appearance! The past 20 years have been the qet-ready-as-fast-as-you-can-no-time-to-waste mentality but I think it’s finally time for me to embrace me. Not mummy-Michelle, but ME! Thank you, Tristan, and the team at CINQ for this wonderful makeover!

Hooray to all mothers! Let’s celebrate motherhood, and take time for ourselves, in whatever self-care that works for you. The lovely people at CINQ would like to pamper all mums this Mother’s Day, simply quote Mummyweeblog for 20% off all hair services from now till 31 May 2021. Grab your girlfriends, gift your mum a treat, or make this a bonding time with your older kids or sisters. Enjoy!

CINQ

6 Scotts Road, Scotts Square, #03-16, Singapore 228209

Tel: 66360100

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. All opinions are my own

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger at Mummy Wee Blog and has been regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.

Executive Function skills for PSLE students

We ran a series of Executive Function workshops for Primary 6 students to get them ready for the PSLE and it was clear that this is a missing piece of the puzzle in their exam prep.

The months leading up to the PSLE is crucial, and they need to be able to manage themselves, not get distracted by other things and to focus on their revision. Parents who have gone through this milestone with their older kids realised that it is getting the kids to start on their revision and to stay focused are the hardest part! It is not easy for 12-year olds to get organised, draw up a plan and stick to their revision schedule.

These are all Executive Function skills, and children need to be taught these skills explicitly. Over the years, we have noticed how our own TLE kids who work on these skills weekly are way ahead of their peers when they join us at our P1 Prep camp.

We asked the P6 students how they were feeling about the PSLE and almost all said they were stressed. Either because they felt that the workload was too much and the work itself was too difficult, or that it was hard to focus on revision when they would rather be on social media or play games on their gadgets. Some were stressed because they were afraid that their parents would scold them if they did not do well.

We helped them to gain the awareness that they could be in control of their own thoughts and actions. This was a powerful realisation for them! They realised that while their impulse may be to check their notifications on their phone, they could make a decision if they wanted to give in to their impulses, or use new strategies to stay focused on their work instead of constantly being distracted.

The students were very honest and admitted that they spent long hours playing on their devices especially when their parents were at work. It was heartening that by the end of the workshop, they were motivated to try harder.

We introduced them to an interesting activity using plasticine, and it helped them to think of all the things that they needed to exercise more self-control in.

Parents with P6 kids know that by this age, it is futile to keep nagging and forcing them to do what we want them to. They need to want to achieve it themselves, and that internal drive is what will spur them to push on despite the challenges they will face.

We guided them to see the strengths they had, to encourage them and show them that they can do it! Some of them shared that their parents only nag or scold them, and that there’s no point in studying because even if they improve a little, their parents will still not be satisfied.

Parents need to play a part too! It is a long and demanding year for our P6 kids, try to affirm and celebrate their small wins. If they come home with a 10% increase in their marks, give them a pat on the back and tell them how proud you are for the effort they have put in. The next step will be to aim for another 10% gain for the next test, and the next.

They were given hands-on challenges to develop their Growth Mindset. It was not easy to build the tallest tower and many faced failure when the tower collapsed and they wanted to give up. I heard many versions of “Ms Michelle, it’s too hard. I don’t want to try anymore.”

I kept encouraging them, and asked those who were successful in building it up very high to share their strategies. One boy explained: “You need to start with a strong base, then at the parts when it is weak and starts falling, you reinforce with more plasticine. Settle that part first before moving higher.”

That was such great advice which his classmates could learn from, and it ignited a fresh wave of motivation in the kids who gave up. Sometimes, when the project seems too huge and daunting, we need to break it down into more manageable chunks.

Isn’t that helpful when we are learning something new as well? Get the foundations strong, don’t neglect the weak links, and keep pushing forward. I loved how simply he put it.

They learnt that to tackle the PSLE they need to have that same resilience, to persevere even when the work is hard or when they face all sorts of other challenges. To aim towards daily improvement and keep moving towards their goals.

By the end of the workshops, they felt more encouraged and empowered knowing that they could control their minds and that the outcome is in their hands, and they were excited to put into action all the new strategies they have learnt.

My hope is that one day, Executive Function skills will be a part of every school’s curriculum because not all students are fortunate enough to have parents who can afford to send them for enrichment classes.

Many of my TLE parents who are MOE teachers themselves see the change in their own children and have been trying to raise awareness with their HODs and Principal because they have witnessed that if kids don’t pick up these skills in the primary school years, the gap just keeps getting bigger by the time they reach secondary school.

My amazing Executive Team

While we continue our mission to help as many children as we can to develop this strong foundation, the good news is, if you have a child taking PSLE this year, we have launched this same programme at The Little Executive so that all Primary 6 kids can have access to it.

It runs as a 2 day camp during the June school holidays, 10 & 11 June, 9am-5pm, $620. For my Mummy Wee readers, mention that you got to know about this camp from my blog and you’ll get a 5% discount! Hope to meet some of you soon 🙂 More details and to register: https://www.thelittleexecutive.asia/holiday-camps

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also co-Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function. She is a Parent Coach and her signature Mummy Wee: Parenting Secrets courses help parents navigate this challenging journey. She is an Award winning blogger at Mummy Wee Blog and has been regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media.