My Gap year, as an adult

I took a gap year last year. Trendy right? If kids need a break after studying for 4 years, I deserve a mighty break after running a 25 year marathon! Finally my brain could switch off, not having to worry about keeping a company afloat nor dealing with issues of the almost-adults in the house, much of which happened concurrently.

Some young people tell me that they need a gap year to “figure things out”. Wise words indeed. As I’m heading towards the big 5-0, it was the perfect time to recalibrate and reassess my life. 

We closed TLE as the business side of things was not something either of us enjoyed nor was adept at. I made time to focus on my family. And to grieve the change and loss. The end of a shared mission. The excellent staff we parted ways with. The children we saw week after week, whose lives we transformed. The wonderful parents who poured forth their support right till the end. Some offered us their condo function room to continue our programme, professional expertise in business development, capital injection, even jobs for our teachers. So much gratitude for the community we built.

So what did I do? It was a year of stepping out of my comfort zone, adding the long forgotten aspect of fun into my life and fulfilling many things on my bucket list.

I worked at a fast food outlet. Yup, my friends had a good laugh. It all started because I’ve been playing “Overcooked” with the kids and just had to experience real life “Overcooked”. It was an eye opener and I loved how everyone worked together under time pressure to get the meals served. I even got to man the fries station all by myself!

But what was most humbling was seeing the aunties who have worked there for 20+ years. My heart went out to them. One told me she comes in a few hours early because it’s too hot at home. I met a 19-year old girl who travelled daily from johor to work and save up for her University fees because she didn’t want to burden her parents. Here in Singapore, our kids take so much for granted.

I spent time travelling – 10 trips with different people and different agendas. It was the first time I did a 1-1 trip with just one child. Such a great idea, why didn’t I think of it before. My 21-year old was off to Paris and Budapest on a solo trip, and a week before she left, my hubs felt that it was better if I accompanied her.

I’m glad she accepted the suggestion of her uncool mum tagging along. I was surprised when she said “Mum! It’s fun hanging out with you. You are different on this trip, more like a friend than a mum.”

Something changed within me on that trip. I felt free. Without too many kids to manage nor packed agendas, I was able to shed the stiff Mum identity of always being responsible and keeping things shipshape. We ditched the Uber and scootered around Paris, which seemed reckless to me, zipping so close to cars and trucks!

In Budapest, I followed her to a hip festival where 40,000 youths camped out for a whole week in tents, and partied with them way past my bedtime. I attended a tantra session, a trauma healing workshop conducted by an art therapist who works with holocaust survivals, and several other funky activities that we don’t get here. We also met a lot of random young people from all over the world and had meals with them. My daughter seems to have the ability to draw people into conversation, even the snobbish Parisians.

While in Australia visiting my eldest, instead of doing the usual, I spent a few days at a “find your inner joy” retreat in the mountains. So zen, so refreshing. Will share more about the fruits of my travels in another post.

When we came back, inspired by our new found carpe diem mentality, I realised that I didn’t have to revert to my old boring self. I could take baby steps out of my comfort zone.

Instead of taking my daughter for a meal, we flipped the experience. We did waitressing together! It was such a bonding opportunity working together and I really enjoyed interacting and serving people. I even got a big tip from a family who brought 2 sets of grandparents out for a meal.

One activity I enjoy but stopped doing since I had kids was dancing. My kids are now of clubbing age and have asked me to join them. As much as I appreciate them asking, I’ve been reluctant to go to crowded clubs with unfamiliar music. Finally, there was a retro night organised by the expat community and we had a blast! Even strangers were heartened to hear that they were my kids and partying with our young adults became the new parentgoals.

It was also a year of learning. I took up courses I’ve put on the backburner for decades. At 12, I decided I wanted to be a therapist after reading about it in the library. I was drawn to music therapy, art therapy, play therapy and was keen to continue with a Masters in Art Therapy after attaining my OT degree. But with 5 young kids, I relegated all of that to my bucket list until now.

Thanks to skills future credits, I signed up for a dance movement therapy course. It was very insightful as I witnessed how things can be drawn out so much quicker and more authentically than talk therapy. It became a beneficial modality in my therapy toolkit that I attended the follow up course for therapists and also went on to take an art therapy course.

With these additional skill sets, I have become more effective when I counsel teens and children with a range of issues like self-harming behaviour, parent-child conflicts, divorce of parents and depression.

The learning bug has continued and currently I’m undertaking a course to get certified as a mentor. Can’t wait to start my mentoring journey.

Besides all of these fun stuff, the one thing that I found the hardest to do, is trying to be a good cook! I’ve been persevering at it and hopefully I’ll see the fruits of my efforts soon.

With a year of deep thinking and reflection, I’ve crystallised what I love doing and what I don’t. I want to continue working on my passions, being intentional about not getting sucked into being saddled by work that I have no interest in. I’ve stepped up my volunteering activities and they have brought me a lot of fulfilment and it is so true that we receive more than we give when we volunteer with a sincere heart.

I went off social media and focused on living in the present and centering back to self. It made me realise how nice it is not to be ensnarled by the web of the polished bits of the world out there.

Instead, I filled my year with adventure, contemplation and growth. Stepping back allowed me to step forward with more clarity and purpose. Taking a full year to breathe life is a privilege I am deeply grateful for.

I am so ready to take on a big new goal!

How did I raise a champion?

I posted about my daughter and her teammate winning the championship in an International Moot 2022 (proud mama moment heh heh) and friends were keen to hear how she did it. They know of my hands-off approach yet how did she end up in a prestigious competition, beating 140 law teams from around the world to clinch the top spot?

Her story, I suppose, is remarkable given that she’s swimming amidst the sharks. Her classmates were from elite schools while she went to mission schools and did not have extra help from tutors. She has an academic mind, but still struggled in her first year of law school. It got better in the second year and she decided to take on the most demanding module of mooting.

Her classmates where complaining that it was such a tough module and she wondered how tough could it be as they were all super smart. She decided to take it and see for herself. Talk about loving a good challenge! She worked hard and was fielded as speaker and not only did the duo fight their way through to the finals, both of them were awarded Honourable Mentions for Best Oralist and brought glory to their University with the ultimate win.

We were at the edge of our sofa as we watched the livestream. She has no speech training nor debate experience and we were relieved to see that she was confident and was able to take the heat and answered the rebuttals with poise and eloquence.

So how did she manage to get this far?

1. Don’t do the thinking for them

Thinking is a great skill! Since they were young, I encouraged open debate, and the children were free to voice their opinions and substantiate why and how they came to their personal opinions or decision. Instead of telling them what to do, they were allowed to make their own decisions, plan their schedules, all within boundaries, and they had to face the consequences of their decisions. They failed many times, and things did not turn out as planned, but failure is the best teacher.

This was a crucial pillar which helped them to look at all angles of a problem and figure out a solution. With so many kids, my priority was for them to be independent. They made their to-do lists, set their goals, and explored their interests and passions in their free time (this meant that the house was in a mess most of the time, but I could live with that!)

2. Build their Executive Function skills

Having to manage such a demanding module means that they have to be organised, focused and know how to manage their time and priorities from week to week so that they can keep up with their already hectic curriculum load.

These are executive function skills which I have been developing in them since young. These skills cannot be taught via textbooks as children have to be guided and given opportunities to practice and hone these skills through activities, games and autonomy to manage their day to day lives. As an occupational therapist, I view the child holistically so that besides academics, other aspects of their development are not neglected.

I noticed that most parents are not able to teach these skills themselves, thus several years ago, I started a non-academic enrichment centre with another therapist who had been teaching children executive function skills for almost 20 years. We have seen such tremendous change in the children who come to us, and teachers are sending their own kids here as they know that we are the only centre focusing on developing executive function skills and resilience.

We are heartened that schools are starting to recognise that children are lacking in these skills. They are unable to pay attention in class, can’t stay focused on tasks to completion, struggle to regulate their emotions and all of these impedes their learning in the classroom. We have been approached by both local and international schools to help their students and are relieved that teachers and parents are now aware that these are skills that can be developed, instead of putting labels on children as being “naughty” or “lazy”. One P4 boy said to his mum, “It’s not that I don’t want to focus better, but I just don’t know how to!”

3. Prioritise sleep

Sleep is so important, yet often overlooked. It boosts their immunity and brain development. During her primary school days, up till P6, I ensured she had 9-10 hours of sleep per night. Sometimes they had too many past year papers to do but I felt that going to bed on time was more important than finishing another paper mindlessly when she was exhausted, then going to school tired, perpetuating the negative cycle.

She was well-liked by her teachers and thanks to her suggestion, they adopted a great strategy whereby all subject teachers had to write the next day’s homework on the whiteboard to ensure the kids were not over-stretched.

Once they enter the teenage years, their sleep pattern goes haywire. It’s alarming how some of our young people are already dependent on medication to help them sleep. While you can still control the amount of sleep they get, please do.

4. Allow for playground time

I insisted they spent 1-2 hours each day at the playground, even during their PSLE year. This gave them the opportunity to practice social skills, learn to make friends, negotiate and handle their own disputes. Her siblings said that she created the most brilliant games, complete with rules and instructions. Social skills are very important as we find that the young generation are unable to work collaboratively with others.

Making time everyday for outdoor play helps them to destress from the hectic day and to let them unwind and relax. We adults need downtime, and so do our kids!

5. Small pond, big fish opportunities

The 12 years spent in mission schools grounded her in values like humility and keeping an open mind, which surprisingly were what set her apart in this competition.

On hindsight, a mid-range JC offered her a lot more opportunities to lead and the experiences gained were invaluable. Being in charge of her band, managing the morale of the team and dealing with last minute changes during concerts helped her develop the flexibility to go with the flow and not be fazed by unexpected challenges. She headed several committees and that taught her to juggle different commitments while keeping her focus sharp.

During the run up to this competition, her group mate had a serious injury plus contracted covid, and they had to do a last minute reshuffle! She had to ditch what she had prepared for months and take on a whole new case, studying 52 pages worth of legalese in a short time. And during the competition itself, technical mishaps like the camera suddenly crashing and wifi not working had to be handled with professionalism and calm, whilst they were madly scrambling behind the scenes!

6. Build Resilience

The week long competition was fierce, as 140 teams fought to reach the semi-finals. After one particularly tough and stressful round where the tribunal grilled them aggressively, both of them broke down. It takes resilience and strength of mind not to be affected, to quickly pick themselves up, face up to their shortcomings, and learn from their mistakes to do better the next round.

I believe that all children are born with their own unique genius. This child thrives on competition and has a sharp mind for facts and figures. Next time, I’ll share about my other kids who are arts inclined, and in our eyes, they are just as successful.

Our responsibility as parents is not to force them to live out our dreams, but to nurture them with strong fundamentals of understanding the value of hard work, perseverance and teamwork, imbue in them a wide range of skillsets and a resilient mindset, and they will find their own areas of pursuit and flourish, while you sit at the edge of your sofa cheering them on!

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 Certified Professional Trainer (UK) and is regularly featured on national TV, radio and print media. She is 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.

By downloading it, you 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.

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.

For those who missed my Webinar, not to worry, I’ve crafted it into a digital course for you which you can watch in your own time. Happy learning!

3 easy ways to get your kids to do exactly what you want them to do ($68)

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.