A peek into the after work hours of a FTWM

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Singapore's the best place in Asia to be a mum," proclaimed a headline in The Straits Times recently.

They must be mad. Clearly I wasn't being surveyed. Ok in all honestly, if you compare us to neighbouring countries, perhaps we are doing better in terms of infant survival rates and care for the mommies. We have extensive services like getting our supplies online from diapers to clothings. Thank goodness for that!  However, we are woefully thwarted by the price it comes with. Which explains why I'm a FTWM (full time working mom otherwise known as Freaking Tired Working Mom)
Despite much introspection on plummeting fertility rates and the obvious need for more babies there is still the glaring need to match it to our standard of living. Take childcare help for example..it can be anything from a few hundreds to close to $2k! And should HFMD strikes (which it did in Big K's school recently), every day of absentee, stabs my pocket bad! No refunds instead lots of logistic headaches.
I am quite thankful that my role as a FTWM is a pretty flexible one. My job allows me to spend time with my children in the day,  send Big K to school before heading to work and occasionally be back in time for bedtime stories though am usually home only at 930pm or 10pm. I'm also able to take urgent leave as and when i like without being accountable to a boss. As such,  the arrangement is much to the envy of many mummies. However if you think deeper,  it isn't that easy wearing the hats of a SAHM, FTWM, a maid,  a chef,  a chaperone,  an educator,  a mother,  a daughter,  a daughter-in-law and a wife. Prevalent social attitudes don't augur well for moms who aspire to do less at home and more at work. It's really crazy and a madhouse on and off work.  Here's a peak to a typical day prior to Baby K2's birth (coz I haven't quite figure out a plan when I have to deal with the two Ks!)
730am Big K asks for her milk
730-8am We laze around in bed and sometimes I get to sleep in for another half an hour should the Daddy decides to report to work late and deal with the morning routines
8am-830am Pooping (normally Big K as mummy often constipates), brushing of teeth and washing of face
830-915am Breakfast time.  Mainly for mummy coz Big K hates breakkie. Occasionally when I'm in the mood I'll create food art to entice her to eat. Meanwhile it is free play or tug-at-mummy's-leg time for Big K. Yup, mummy just can't have breakfast in peace. 
915-1015am simple chores like laundry and washing of dishes and preparation of lunch
1015-1115am home learning, cooking of lunch and preparing my work for the day.  You might ask why can't I do this the night before.  That's because my work station is in my room where Big K sleeps with me. We currently have only 2 rooms and now the other room is occupied by Baby K2.. all the more challenging
1115-12noon food battle aka feeding time
12-1230pm shower battle.  Big K hates getting her hair wet thus the coaxing takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. 
1230-1245pm Getting ready for school
1245pm-2pm Drive off to school,  find a shady spot in the vicinity to chill whilst Big K sleeps in the car and I start replying emails or catch up with some work.  That's the only way to get her to nap because if I had waited for her to nap naturally at home, it'd take eons n I run on a very tight schedule 
230pm school starts and mummy is off to work. My dad will pick her up and send her to my mil's place for dinner and typically the Daddy will pick her up. If Daddy is overseas (major headache), I'll have to speed back like an F1 driver to pick my lil one as anything after 9pm is her winding down period and if she gets overstimulated, I'll have hell making her sleep thereafter
930pm Average time i m home, sans dinner. Sometimes a little later,  sometimes a little earlier.  If I'm home earlier,  I'll read to Big K and get her to sleep  often I'll doze off with her only to wake up in shock much later
1030 - 2am Me time which include taking a shower, taking my dinner, chores, crafting, online shopping,  catching up with drama serial, following up with work (things are so flexible, often I've to work 24/7) and preparing Big K's homeschooling materials 
2 -730am ┼║zzzzzzzzzzzz (this is so not happening with breastfeeding in the works right now!)
I believe all these are gonna change drastically once my confinement is over. Which is SOON!! In particular,  the nights are gonna get shorter unless Small K miraculously decides to sleep for longer periods and I don't have to pump milk every 2-3hrly to match his voracious appetite. 
Despite my daily rants (read: I'm such a complain monger nowadays it irks me! ), i eschew my career by choice (read: I don't have a choice do I? We are a typical family trying to survive the inflations!) and feel happy and fulfilled by being full time wives and mother. Am very thankful for all these challenges at times. Yes, sadistic as that might sound but it makes me a tougher person (read: haggard, exhausted and grumpy old hag) and I appreciate the arrangement thus far. No matter how tough it is, I'm glad I'm able to be there for my kids during their formative years.
Making homelearning materials takes up a lot of my time but seeing the results makes me feel it's all worth it. Plus I get an adrenaline rush by doing such stuff.  Perhaps an occupational hazzard. 

Conducting sprees occasionally.  Ya sometimes I think I'm too free

Online shopping.  Ordering diapers and  essentials online.  Whoever invented the Internet is a genius! 

Every morning,  Big K will demand that mummy does activities with her. At times when I didn't prepare the night before,  which happens very frequently for the last few months,  she'd be happy just to paint.  But I'm not too happy to clean up haha.

The mundane chores coz we don't have a helper. In all fairness, the hubs does his part. He's in charge of all the menial chores in the house if he's around. But typically he does it only once a week.

I make it a point to cook on Sundays and usually this is done with Big K tugging at my foot and the hubs out for his weekly soccer game.  I'm mighty pleased with myself coz at times I cook for more than the three of us. Sometimes I wish I were a man! They have it so easy! 

The house is mostly in a mess.  The OCD me however will try to press the reset button every night simply because Daddy can't lift a finger to even pick a toy strewned on the floor. He'd either kicks it aside or steps over it. Sounds familiar or is this unique to only my man? 

They say we should not reject help when they come knocking at your door. I get occasional 'help' from my cutie pie. How not to love her? 

If you ask me what's my secret to keeping sane and getting all the above done? People hail me as some supermom especially when they see the amount of effort I put into the kids' meals and the homelearning materials I constantly churn out even during confinement. However, when i look around me, sometimes I find myself not all so special coz this is a normal situation faced by many mummies alike. How i survive? I seriously have no idea! I have minimal help from Empress Dowager who works and no helper at home.  I used to be such a planner and go insane should things not follow a schedule. Doesn't help that the hubs takes the plane more than I take public transport. I'm terribly militant at times when it comes to my kids but over the years I've learnt to close one, if not both, eyes. The OCD in me still prevails as there are times I get utterly depressed looking at the mess I've to clear every day and night. Sometimes I just feel like throwing everything away and press the reset button. 

Ok, if you really want some TIPS, here's three for you. But beware! Not everyone can do it:
1) Sleep less do more. I know many mommies out there sleep very little as it is, but sometimes i cross the line. I could have slept more, but I'll engage in some bo liao (useless) in the eyes of some, activities eg blogging, crafting, online shopping etc (ask the hub, n he'll tell you more)
2) Close both eyes on chores or Train the husband. This is an extremely important tip. I incorporate both in my household. Since marriage, the hubs has been very enthusiastic about mopping the floor, vacuuming, washing the laundry and the toilet. You got to love him for this! However, due to his constant travelling stints, he has been pretty slack in this department. Time for me to have a refresher course with him! Very timely too with the arrival of Small K.
2) Shut up and just do it. Whining won't get you anywhere. But i do it anyway! haha Things will get better, or so said by many other experienced mommies. I'm sure it will, but for now, I'll just need to bite the bullet and go with the flow! Wish me luck!

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM“. Read about how 21 FTWMs from Singapore Mom Bloggers handle their kids and household everyday from 1 June to 21 June. The aim is to give other working mums motivation, ideas and support to deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while keeping sane. We will be happy to hear your story, tips and even an encouraging word will make our day! Share your thoughts in the comments!

A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM

Read about Klessis, the next ftwm on this blogging train and her experience tomorrow.
The J Babies is all about the life of two little girls - Joey & Jayne, and their little adventures in life. Mummy Kless shares about the places they visit, activities and programs they engage in and just about anything fun and interesting to do in Singapore!