Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My life after work as a FTWM

Ever since I first found out I had EV, the idea of being a stay-at-home-mum hardly crossed my mind. Not that I never wanted to be one. My mum is a SAHM, and she sacrificed everything for us three siblings, and I do have lots to learn from her. However, due to our uncertain financial situation then, it was a given that I would continue working after she was born.

Despite being a FTWM, I'm not career minded. I'm not eager to rise through the ranks or try my utmost best to outdo others. It was, and still is, clear to me that my priority is being a mummy to my kids, whether I'm at home or at work, and that working is to help bring moolah home for the family.

My typical day starts at 6am. I'm always the first to wake up, so I get maybe about ten minutes of private time in the shower. Soon after getting dressed, it's on to waking DaddySay and EV up. I dress EV in her nursery uniform, tie her hair, while DaddySay gets prepared. And we are out of the house at around 7am, as we bring EV downstairs to wait for her school bus. If AA should wake up, my trusty helper will look after him.

In the day, my helper, and father-in-law, look after the two monkeys from the moment they return from their kindergarten and play group. I'm really grateful for their presence, which allows me to go to work with a peace of mind. Especially my helper, who adores the two kids and also cooks dinner. It's an awful lot to do while I'm at work, that's why I also try to get back as soon as I can in order to relieve her and my father-in-law.


One way I've tried to make it easier is to create a fixed menu for weekdays, based on what the kids like to eat. For example, pan fried egg tofu and prawns on Mondays, oven-baked chicken wings on Tuesdays and braised pork with eggs on Wednesdays. This saves the hassle of having to think about what to cook each day amidst the babysitting. Of course, my helper has the freedom to change the dishes if she wants, but other than that, she doesn't have to think about it. We just make sure the ingredients are well stocked up. On weekends, I take over the cooking and we get a little more experimental then.

Bring no work home policy
Every day, I am motivated to end work on time, because I want to go home to my two little darlings. Sometimes, it doesn't quite work out that way because of too much work, but I try as much as I can. I also have a personal policy that I don't bring work home to do, unless really necessary. My time after work, my second shift, is dedicated to the kids, except for piano practice, but more on that later.

Disconnect to connect, be there with my whole heart and soul
Because I only have a few hours with the kids before they go to bed, I make it a point to be there with them with my whole heart and soul, no matter what we are doing. I remove myself from the wired world, resist the temptation of checking emails and social media, so I can be there, physically, mentally and emotionally with them.

Do things together, have fun even when I'm tired
There are a few activities that I do every night to make my time with them as meaningful as possible. Generally, it's categorized into the following activities:

- dinner together. With dinner as early as 6pm, I try to make it a point it have dinner with EV and AA, and to spend quality time with them. Usually, I will chat with them about their day. While AA is still learning and perfecting his speech, EV is ever eager to share with me what happened to her in school.

- piano practice. This is for both EV and me. EV is currently taking the Yamaha Junior Course, so she enjoys performing what she's learnt. Also, I myself am taking piano lessons, so it's crucial that I practice every day, though sometimes, it doesn't happen as I plan.

- home learning activities. We spend about an hour each night doing home learning activities, or craft activities. It can get messy in the room especially when both kids have such different interests, but that also is where all the fun is. Sometimes, we just ditch our home learning and play a game or two.

EV drawing DaddySay and AA
- do chores together. I encourage my kids to clear up their toys and other mess that they have created. Or bring their bowls back to the kitchen after meals or help to hang the laundry. I believe it's important for them to do so, instead of relying on the helper. Having a helper doesn't mean that one can do nothing and leave everything to her. On the contrary, because there is a helper, it is even more crucial to let EV and AA do things for themselves.

- story time. This has been a daily routine ever since EV was born, and I'm glad to say that AA has also picked up this habit. They love to read books after books after books. And I must admit, it can get tiring for me. I have ever dozed in the middle of reading a story, only to have EV or AA say' mummy, read!'

AA having a blast singing and reading.
- just be silly. At times, when I'm really tired, I will just be silly with the kids. Anything from making funny sounds that never fails to make them laugh, to just tumbling around in bed. Recently, EV is very into singing. She will use a shaker as her 'mic' and starts singing her favourite songs. She's even insisting that AA and I join her. So we've been having some impromptu karaoke sessions before bed.

But you know, as much as I want to do everything I've listed above, it doesn't always happen. It all depends on my energy level when I reach home. The higher the energy level, the more I will do with the kids. I try, every night. Because no matter how tired I am, I feel happy just looking at EV and AA enjoying themselves, or discovering the beautiful world of books.

Where is DaddySay, you ask? Well, he often has to work late, so he usually doesn't get home till after the kids are asleep. But when he does get home early, and doesn't go to dreamland, I try to take a little 'breather', and give myself some me-time earlier than usual.

Well, that's provided I don't visit dreamland myself while putting the kids to bed. When I'm not in la-la land, I will revel in my own personal time, when I blog or do my finances and budgeting.

It's extremely exhausting and back breaking to be working full time, and have two young monkeys just two years apart, who can get into fights any time. Especially with one requiring extra care and attention. I'm lucky to have DaddySay who is ever willing to take the kids out of my hands, strong family support, and a trustful helper whom the kids love. Being a FTWM makes me treasure my kids more, and the time that I spend with them. Every second with them is precious.


A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM

This is part of a blog train hosted by Kids 'R' Simple on "A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM". Read about how the other 20 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!

Next up is Jiahui.

Jiahui from Mum’s the word can't stop working either as a mummy of 3 or working adult. She journals down her balancing act so that she can remember what it was like!


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  1. I am impressed that you can still find time for piano lessons. It can be a motivation to the kid learning piano. I like that you plan your fixed meals like a childcare centre. That certainly takes the stress off on what to cook and what to buy each day. Good tips you have too. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Christy! Glad you like our meals plan. Like you said, just makes it all easier. :)

  2. So fun that you and EV are taking piano lessons together! And your menu looks yummy. Egg tofu and prawns it will be for me tomorrow! Oh but Chope, it's Wednesday... Ah never mind la eh? :)

    Hehe we have dinner at 5pm!!!!

    1. Thanks Adora! Hope your kids like it.. they can have it any day!! :)

  3. I like your cooking scheme! I've been thinking I should do one but since I am not the slightest bit passionate about cooking (3 years of SAHM took that away, kids et too often ;) ) I hate thinking of what to cook every night, and can only think of something for to night but not for more (Maybe I should use my summer holidays now to prepare for the next year? ). But one of my friends gave me the advice to lable the weekdays vegetarian, fish, chicken, red meat and soup days, and that actually makes it easier to think of something!

    I like the disconnect to connect and do fun things even when tired parts! I aim for it too, but it isn't always easy!

    1. Thanks! I didn't like the hassle of thinking of what to cook every day, that's why I came up with this solution. Make it a lot easier. Your suggestion of themed days is good too. Maybe I should try that. :)

  4. Hi Winnie, I'm so glad to be on the same blog train as you. I really like the layout of your blog. And I love this post. I particularly like that you are fully present with your kids - disconnect to connect. And it's heart warming that you try to have fun with them when you are tired - not as easy as it sounds. Kudos to you. :-)

    1. Thanks for your kind words Meiling. Glad you like the blog :)


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