When people find out that I have 6 children, the first question that pops up is “How do you manage?” As much as I would like to take credit for being a supermum, I have to admit that it was only possible because I had a lot of family support. The hubs worked from home and was a very hands-on sort of dad, and my parents were also very involved with the raising of the kids.
There was one period when we tried starting our own business and we were very busy. My mum used to come over daily to take care of the children even though they were living all the way in Pasir Ris and we were in the West. It took her more than an hour of commuting and by the time she reached home and finished her housework, it would be close to midnight. I kept asking my parents to move closer but my dad refused as he was accustomed to living in the East. Finally one day, when I realised the toil was getting too strenuous for my mum, I prayed fervently that my dad would change his mind.
Miraculously, the next day, there was a front page article in the ‘Home’ section of The Straits Times about a woman who committed suicide due to post natal depression after giving birth to her first child. My dad was very shaken and told my mum, “She is about to give birth to her fourth child, we better move closer to her.” Within the month, they had rented a unit in our condominium and moved over.
About 2 months after I gave birth to #5, I was waking up every 2-3 hours to breastfeed him and I remember feeling extremely tired from the chronic lack of sleep and very sick of being a ‘cow’ for so many years. It was one of my lowest points and I was almost going crazy dealing with a newborn and 4 other kids. The hubs had to go away for 2 weeks for a business trip and asked if I could manage. I looked at him and said, “Yes, go. I’m coming along too.” We asked my mum to come over to stay and left all of them to her. She had to carry the baby most of the time as he kept crying because I had suddenly stopped breastfeeding him and just disappeared. My mum understood my need for a break and never complained.
When my mum accompanies us on holidays, she is always the one who volunteers to stay behind in the hotel to accompany the baby who is sleeping, or any other ‘job’ that is most uninteresting or unsavoury. To her, being around her grandkids brings enough happiness and she doesn’t mind any part of it. My dad encourages her to tag along even though it means he has to take care of his own meals. He knows it is better to have an extra pair of hands and an extra adult to watch over the kids.
During parties, I am usually busy either entertaining or enjoying the food to take notice of what the kids are doing. I can do that simply because I have taken for granted that my mum is always around to ensure the younger kids are properly taken care of. And whenever she comes over, if one child is sick with fever, she will automatically give the child extra care, sometimes even carrying and rocking the child the whole day. She knows that I would have been exhausted staying up all night with the sick child and she would tell me to take a rest while she takes over.
And so the saying goes, “Mothers are the best”. I couldn’t agree more.
Or is it, “Mother knows best”? I couldn’t agree more on this one too.
(Unfortunately, none of my kids think so. Yet.)
Thankful… for #5’s cooking and caring of Kate
Thankful… for #3 in so many ways
Thankful… for sister-in-law #1
Thankful… for all who helped create this blog
Thankful… for #4’s resilience and forgiveness
Thankful… for blogging perks
Thankful… for my husband’s extended family
Thankful… for #2, the dream baby
Thankful… for school