Thoughts on being a full time working mum with 2 kids

As of 29 Jun 15, I started working and got back to life as a working mum, this time with 2 kids.

It’s been almost 4 weeks since and I survived! Thank God for a supportive hubby who helps with some chores at night and helps to put the baby back when he refuses to sleep after nursing in the middle of the night! Yes, the babe still wakes up 2-4 times every night. Sobs!

Work has been pretty busy, so it’s just full steam ahead in the day ….. don’t have much time to miss the baby. The few days before I went back to work, I was starting to miss him already after spending so much time with him the first seven months of his life and rarely away from him.

Certainly life has changed quite a bit. Time at home and with the kids is much shorter and hence seems more precious. The baby adapted quite well to the change. We had been preparing him quite a bit and he was finally taking bottle quite well. Something which I wasn’t expecting was for Daniel to actually feel the difference. He seemed more moody after I started work and after talking to him, he did express that he was sad that now he saw less of me. Did not expect the impact on him to be that great as he is after all in childcare full day 3 times a week. But I guess it does make a difference to a child when he sees you when he gets home. Thus it can be really painful as a working mum, knowing that there are some things your kid has to get used to – like having less time with you. It also happened that these few weeks have been really busy in school and I have to come back later quite often.

This week, things got worse as Daniel came down with hfmd. I really felt sad that I couldn’t be with him more while he was sick and having painful ulcers. Guess this is one of the woes and heartaches of a working mum…..not being able to be fully available to your child.

I happened to read an interview with Jaime Teo this week. Something that she said resounded in me and brought tears to my eyes. From: http://sg.theasianparent.com/jaime-teo-interview-motherhood-and-breastfeeding/4/#

Q: Has being a mum changed the way you do things, especially when it comes to your business?

I’m a mum first and a businessperson second. I think that being a mum makes people more effective workers because you want to finish everything quickly and go home.

Getting back home as soon as possible to Renee after work was always my priority, which is why I think mothers are always more efficient — because they have a purpose and they have a place to be at, and that place is always by their kids’ side.

What she said really encouraged me on a few points. Firstly, that perhaps it is possible for working mums to be successful at work without sacrificing family. I always feel that working mums may not be able to shine as much as their counterparts who do not have kids as they have so much more time and energy to give and are more able to commit. What she said made me see things from another perspective ….. that being a mother motivates you to think of how you can do your job better and faster so that you can go home quickly.

Secondly, it made going home quickly and early sound really good. It is important for working mums and for that matter working dads not to stay late as much as possible. As it is, working hours in Singapore are already long. If one were to put in extra hours, you may not even get to see your child at all for that day. And to put it in another way, the child may not get to see his parents at all that day. In my job as a school counsellor, it troubles me when I hear about kids who hardly see their parents at all because parents are busy working and weekends are taken up by tuition and other enrichment activities. In busy Singapore, one has to deliberately make decisions to guard time with family. Kids do need their parents to be around and to have strong presence in their lives especially in their formative childhood and teenage years.

In trying to explain to Daniel why mummy has to work, it also made me think about why I am working. I choose to work because I do believe in the benefits and like the stability of having dual income. Also, I do not feel that I am fully effective and most fulfilled as a stay home mum. I truly do admire some really awesome stay-at-home mums who are able to do so much with their kids! I do like what I am currently doing and I like that working gives you something else other than your kids to focus on and adds another dimension to life. Ideally I would like to work part-time. Unfortunately, part-time working arrangements are not so readily and easily available.

So for now, I am still a full time working mum. And I am inspired to be efficient and effective at work so that I can do my job well and go home and spend more time with my kids!

My two lovelies!

My two lovelies!

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Breastfeeding – God’s beautiful design

I decided that I really need to write about this as an encouragement and reminder to myself, especially when the going gets tough in this breastfeeding journey.

Right from the start, when I was expecting my first child, Daniel, my dear husband was very determined that we should fully breastfeed the baby. Hence, it was a joint decision that no matter what, I would try my best to fully breastfeed Daniel. For the first month, I had sore nipples and Daniel also spent a couple of days in hospital due to jaundice. Hence, we had to supplement with formula. But after the first month, Daniel was on full breastmilk …..all the way till I went back to work when he was about 7 months. I was very proud of myself, that I had met the WHO recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, save for a couple of formula feeds in the first month.

However, I was never fully convinced about exclusive breastfeeding. I was actually ok to supplement with formula and felt that my husband was rather extreme in his position about breastfeeding. But nevertheless, since he felt so strongly about it, I just went along with it. It was not till recently, after I had Ezra that I changed my view of breastfeeding.

I clearly remember one evening in January this year …..my mum and sister were having a conversation about losing weight in preparation of Pris’s (my other sister) wedding. I remarked that my reward for hard work of breastfeeding is weight loss and I didn’t have to deliberately try to lose weight. I was dropping about 1 kg a month since giving birth, thanks to breastfeeding. During that time also, 2 month old Ezra had caught a cough from Daniel and I was so worried for him as he was so young.

That night, as I was praying for the Lord to heal him, I felt the Lord whisper to me ….”Trust in the beauty of my design”. I will never forget those words. I knew that He was referring to breastfeeding. He was reassuring me that the Ezra did not need any medication and by taking in the breastmilk which contains antibodies, he would get better. I also felt the Lord say that losing weight is not the only reward of breastfeeding but there are so much more benefits and rewards for baby and mummy. I never saw any beauty in breastfeeding prior to this. In fact, I personally felt that nursing especially direct latching which I am doing is quite unglam. But that night, I totally changed my view. I wept at how lacking in understanding I was previously ….and now I will never view breastfeeding in the same way ….because I now know it is God’s beautiful design for a mother to nurture a babe. Every pro-breastfeeding article I read now is no longer some ‘propaganda’ in a bid to support breastfeeding by the breastfeeding fanatics but now serves to reinforce the wonder of how God created the human body and His beautiful design. I have been converted! I now belong to the pro-breastfeeding camp! The Lord also put in my heart a certain length of time to breastfeed Ezra to which I cried out that I need grace!!

The breastfeeding journey is not an easy one and also quite a lonely one. Total breastfeeding by latching is not quite the norm here in Singapore and that is something quite difficult for a conformist like me. I don’t like sticking out like a sore thumb. Right from the start, there will always be people suggesting that we give some formula so that I can get more rest. I understand their intentions…cos full breastfeeding is toughest on mummy. Ezra breastfeeds on demand and even now at 5 months, nurses as frequent as 2 hourly or a bit less. Breastfeeding inconveniences mummy a lot …..baby goes wherever mummy goes….can’t be away from baby for long. And sobs …… I can’t wear all my nice dresses ….the type of clothing a nursing mum can wear is also limited. The list of inconveniences goes on.  The challenge would also be to pump regularly when I return to work! I hate pumping!! I really salute mums who exclusively pump. So time-consuming, so much washing and logistics involved and I suck at pumping ….output is poor ….still trying to be more skillful and pump more milk.

Have I every felt like giving up? Often! But after understanding and revelation on breastfeeding from the Lord, I am more determined that I am going to breastfeed.

Goodbye to my old car

I always remember the pictures my family took when we sold our first family car, a Datsun which was non air con in the early 1980s.

So I decided I am going to do the same with my first car. My first car has served us faithfully for more than 8 years since I got in on 14 Feb 2007. It was a gift from my dad. And I saw it as a sweet blessing of love from my Heavenly Father too. That it was registered in Valentine’s Day makes it really precious too. It has seen us through many wonderful times and holds many memories. From single to married to having one kid and now 2. From carrying just me, to ivan and me, to having one carseat and now carrying 2 carseats. I have driven it to 4 workplaces since 2007 and It has been with me for all the 3 jobs I have had. So much has happened in the span of 8 years.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to our trusty grey Toyota vios. It has served us well. It has never given us any major problems. Been through one accident, a couple of scratches and knocks. Time to say goodbye. Will always fondly remember it and the memories I had with it.

   

       

Maiden solo trip with two kids

Last Friday, I made my first trip by myself with 2 kids! It was only a short trip to the market near my place and to the playground but it was a personal accomplishment nonetheless!

Wasn’t planned though. I needed to go to the supermarket to get some stuff and decided to bring baby with me. I asked Daniel if he would like to go with me and he said yes surprisingly! He normally prefers to stay at home. So off we went. I was feeling a little nervous and reminded Daniel not to run off by himself when we were out.

It went pretty well….thankfully both boys were good and no fuss. Whole trip lasted about an hour 🙂 Certainly helps build my confidence for more solo trips with the boys in future!

Baby Ezra has not been the easiest the last few weeks. Was complaining to Ivan and he suggested that I find some way to celebrate and remember my successes and good times rather than just looking at my failures and the challenges, being the pessimist that I am. So I decided to write about milestones and this is the very first of them!

       

Welcoming Baby Ezra to the family

Finally, after 38 weeks in the womb, Baby Ezra arrived on 11 Nov 2014.

The past 38 weeks have been a time of trusting in the Lord and am really thankful to God for seeing me through this pregnancy. Apart from the nausea and fatigue during the first trimester, the rest of the pregnancy has been pretty smooth and energy levels have been better. I even managed to attend the ladies conference organised by church for 2 nights in JB!

The Lord has really been so faithful even at times when I have been lacking in faith. Even as we prayed every night for the baby in the womb and committed every fear and anxiety to Him, He has really been faithful. Everything that we had prayed for Ezra was answered. The c-section operation went smoothly and Ezra was born a healthy baby. The few days at the hospital were quite painful …… the wound hurt quite a bit and I was down with flu and every time I coughed, the pain was terrible. I had sore nipples and engorgement too. It really put me in the place of dependency on the Lord and really had to lean on the Lord for strength to get through it. After I was discharged, things got better quickly. We were blessed with a good confinement nanny and also the breastfeeding got better and my supply was quite good this time. Did not have to supplement with formula. Ezra was also a relatively easier baby and my confinement period was pretty restful.

As we celebrate his one month of life, we are thankful to the Lord for this precious gift and for His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises. Hence I chose a rainbow theme for Ezra’s baby shower to remember the Lord’s faithfulness.

Looking forward to life with this new addition to the family!

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Getting ready to go into OT

 

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Baby Ezra is out! First pic with Daddy and Mummy!

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First cuddle with mummy

 

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Rainbow theme baby shower to remember the Lord’s faithfulness in keeping His promises

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Pregnancy Diary

Am finally writing about my pregnancy! Been rather inactive on the blog for some time.

It was near impossible to write during my first trimester. In fact, there were lots of things that were difficult to do, including reading and even browsing on my tablet.

This pregnancy is certainly more challenging than when I was expecting Daniel. I had nausea which lasted into mid second trimester. And I actually puked many times! Worse still, I kept coming down with cough and was coughing almost all through first and beginning of second trimester. Thank God I finally stopped falling ill in July. I could barely do much from April to July and was exhausted most of the time. Felt really unproductive. I am someone who likes to be up and about and it did not feel good to be so tired most of the time. I had to encourage myself to lift my spirits.

Thank God things got better from July onwards. The fatigue started to lift a little and it became much easier to function. Really thankful to God for a stable pregnancy. We are so much more prayerful this time round and do not take it for granted that everything will be ok. These last 2 months have been good, both at work and at home. Managed to get quite a bit done and also to prepare for the baby’s arrival.

Am at week 28 now and counting down another 10 weeks more to baby’s arrival. Still lots to do and time is passing quite fast!

Am praying that I don’t experience some of the discomfort I did during the third trimester when I was expecting Daniel. Eg. leg cramps at night, numbness in left hand when I woke up in the morning, bleeding gums, water retention. Taking more care also in these areas. Went to see the dentist few weeks back and also brushing my teeth and gums more thoroughly. Though I am not naturally a side sleeper, I am trying to sleep on my side as much as possible to improve blood circulation. I have a habit of drinking a lot of water at night which I am trying to cut as well to reduce the water retention.

Praying that my energy level continues to remain good and that third trimester will be a bliss! And of course committing my fears on the delivery – though it’s an elective c-section to the Lord. Last week, we had to sign forms for the operation and it spelled out all the risks involved and it’s kind of scary! Previously, it was an emergency c-section and I signed the papers without my glasses on, so not so aware and did not have time to worry about the risks! Lots of things to worry about at every juncture but really learning how to commit them to the Lord in prayer and to trust and have faith in Him. Believing that He is a faithful God who will see me through!

Will be trying to catch up on blogging as there are so many things and moments during the last 2 months which I wish to capture on record before my memory fades!

 

KI 2014

Am back with a much belated post about Kingdom Invasion 2014 after a long hiatus. The past 2 months have been a very trying time and I absolutely could not write though I tried! Decided not to force myself as to me, writing should be an enjoyment and not something I have to force myself to do. Trying to catch up with writing now that I am feeling a little better! This is my third year attending Kingdom Invasion and it was absolutely awesome! It was by far the KI I enjoyed most.

Am thankful that I was able to attend most of the conference as it fell during the March one week break and I was able to settle most of my work commitments before the conference started. This year’s conference was also the busiest for me. Although I was present at the conference most of the time, half the time, I was busy serving. It was the first time I was helping out in sermon editing and it was quite an interesting experience. I learnt a lot, thanks to Dennis, a seasoned sermon editor who patiently guided me through the first round of sessions I had to edit from the conference. I felt that I had so much more understanding of what I was doing after this experience. And also felt the adrenaline rush of trying to meet the tight deadlines to get the sessions out for those who wanted to get them during the conference. It felt good to be able to labour with the rest of the church so that this event will be a blessing to those attending especially the foreign delegates, for whom such opportunities to attend a conference like this is rare.

Besides that, Ivan was also helping out in altar ministry and we were also hosting guests during this conference. Pastor Nabil and his wife Ezel from Pakistan were staying with us for the period of the conference. We were blessed to be able to host them. Through the meals together, car rides and chats over supper, we made new friends. They are a wonderful and loving couple to be with and we enjoyed having them at our place for those few days. Daniel is very fond of them too and kept asking about them even after they left.

Was also very blessed by the atmosphere and the presence of God during the conference, even though for the sessions that I attended, I was really exhausted. But just enjoyed soaking in the atmosphere. The praise and worship by Martin Smith was also really liberating. Was particular blessed by the final day session by Bill Johnson where we also prayed for one another. Felt the Lord drop a few burdens upon my heart to pray about.

All in, it was a great conference, and one of the highlights of 2014 for me so far!

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