I am constantly asked, how do you find time to do so much for your kids?
With 6 kids and a business to run, I have to consciously decide what to prioritise and where to focus my time and energy.
I used to try to accomplish too much and ended up running myself to the ground, always high strung and frustrated with everyone and myself.
Now, I aim to keep myself in a zen-like state, where the world can spin around me but I still hold firm and not get sucked into doing what everyone else is doing.
Honestly, I don’t do a whole lot!
I don’t drive them to school.
I don’t even wake up at 6am to wave them up the school bus. Kate comes to me every morning and gives me a goodbye kiss before leaving. Yup, she’s ready to be the mum around here!
I don’t help them with homework in the evenings.
I don’t nag them or test them their weekly spelling.
I don’t send them for tuition.
I don’t coach them for their exams. In fact, I don’t even know exactly when their exam dates are!
I don’t drive them around for enrichment classes. I find it incredibly stressful to be on the road, frantically watching the clock to get everyone on time for classes.
I don’t expect them to win medals or awards. Anything they come home with are always a big surprise and greeted with great claps on the backs and a celebration!
I don’t compare them with other children. Heck, I don’t even bother to know what other kids are up to in their spare time. I’m more interested in how others are bringing up their kids well, not what they are doing or achieving.
I don’t fret if there isn’t a proper dinner on the table some days. Porridge with ikan billis and spring onion makes a complete meal, no?
I don’t pretty up pictures for social media. Too time consuming. I know, my pictures are probably the worst out there!
I don’t worry very much.
I don’t feel guilty about being a lousy mum or not doing “enough” for them.
So, what DO I do?
I take time off to attend all their parent-teacher meetings, performances and important school events.
I guide them well, then expect them to be on top of things in school and to be completely in charge of school-related matters, including their weekly spelling and revision for exams.
I teach them to be independent from a young age.
I encourage them constantly. I am their biggest cheerleader.
I tell them they are good enough.
I guide them to find their strengths and interests.
I support their dreams and passions.
I open their eyes to what is possible.
I love them a whole lot. Unconditionally.
I let them take responsibility for a lot of things.
I allow them to make their own decisions.
I provide a listening ear.
I guide them from afar.
I close one eye when there is a need to.
I let them figure things out for themselves.
I let them fail.
I’m always ready with a hug, and never with an I-told-you-so response.
I don’t talk down to them. I talk with them.
I don’t do things for them. I do things with them.
I teach them to be grateful.
I believe in them.
So, if you are feeling guilty, don’t. We know that all mamas are trying their very best, and wouldn’t our families prefer to have us sane, happy and energized instead of being overworked, tired and snappy?
We ARE ENOUGH.
We are stars in our children’s eyes. Sometimes, all they want is to have us there, sitting beside them, listening to their stories of the day and feeling like they are the most important people in the world to us and we are not looking at our phones or rushing off to the next errand.
And that isn’t too hard to do, is it 🙂
Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.