Material Moms, The Mothership

[Material Moms] This Crazy Lil’ Thing Called Love – Elisa Woodward

One moment you are going, “I wish I were still single!”, the next you are going, “I love my kids to death!”. Don’t worry. You are not crazy. As Material Mom Elisa Woodward explains, these conflicting feelings are totally natural. 

elisa1Kids – one minute they are driving you up the wall with their antics, the next, they fill your heart with such intense love. Only a mother can understand that it is perfectly normal to oscillate from one to the next in the same hour.

Hands up if you have friends who openly lament the loss of freedom and personal time, and yet still continue to post up pictures of their kids coupled with public declarations of their love and adoration. Or, what about the colleague who complains how little she’s slept the previous night and proceeds to light up with joy when her kid calls her at lunch? We grumble about the mess our kids create, the toys that never get put away, and yet, the sight of them asleep in their beds makes our heart melt and all resolve to discipline them just vanish into thin air. All you want to do is hug and kiss them.

I think the love a parent has towards his/her child is indeed one of the truest loves of all, and it’s a love even my staunchest non-kids friends cannot deny.

A friend – who has made it more than clear that she doesn’t ever want kids – recently admitted that a child does give you a sense of purpose. “The child creates a purpose in life that goes beyond your career, marriage, and lifestyle. This is someone you are prepared to love unconditionally, someone you are prepared to take care of and nurture throughout his/her entire life. Even after you are gone from this world, you want to make sure they are well taken care of.”

I have no regrets about about having my kids at a young age. They bring to my life joy and completeness – although some days I need to be reminded. No matter how old they are, no matter if they are in university or are married with their own kids, your children will always be children to you.

As parents, we have such huge responsibilities because we bring children into this world not by their choice but our own. How we bring them up, how we teach them about life … everything depends on us. The years between 7 and 12 are particularly important because these years are when they formulate their thoughts and impression on love and human nature. Someone once told me that the only thing he remembers of his childhood was how it was particularly dark and unhappy, and that has somewhat coloured his views of the world and how he sees people. This is why it is crucial to make sure your kids end their day and go to bed knowing they are loved and protected.

Even when I’m miles away from my children, the thought of them brings a smile to my face. Just the thought that I have people to live for and that they are also dependent on me gives my life purpose.

And love is simply just this amazing.


About The Author: Elisa Woodward, a career-focused wife and a mom of two active boys, is a Jack of all trades, who enjoys flummoxing people. She likes getting her hands dirty (figuratively and literally), yet enjoys dressing up just enough to “look acceptable”. She embraces wholeheartedly the concept of getting older.



Material Moms, Small Purchase

[Material Moms] For The Love Of Crafts – Selena Quah

Love creating crafts with your kids? Read on to find out what Material Mom Selena Quah thought of the new Brother’s ScanNCut machine.

I remember cutting out ‘Happy Birthday’ alphabets for my son’s 4th birthday party and my husband rolling his eyes at me for putting in so much effort.

“Why don’t you just buy the bunting?”

“But it’s more meaningful to do it yourself. Plus, I can make my own design!”

That was just one of the many times I spent time and effort cutting things out manually with a pair of scissors. To be honest, I did wish I could magically zap it out so I could finish up and go to bed early.

Well, someone at Brother must have heard my wish, and the wish of many crafters out there I’m sure.

The Machine

The ScanNCut with the materials for making the card.

The ScanNCut with the materials for making the card.

Brother, better known for their sewing machines, has developed an innovative machine that can scan any image, whether printed or hand-­drawn, and cut out your desired pattern from paper, fabric or vinyl. I know the concept sounds simple, but if you’ve done things the manual way, you’ll understand the draw of this device.

Loading the adhesive mat with the paper to be cut into the ScanNCut

Loading the adhesive mat with the paper to be cut into the ScanNCut.

The ScanNCut looks like a small ink­jet printer and is equipped with a built-­in 300dpi (dots per inch) scanner. In place of an ink cartridge is the cutter blade. The machine has data storage so you can save scanned images and have the machine cut out those shapes on any material you feed it, up to a maximum thickness of 3mm (so even cardboard and felt is fine). If you want the same shape cut out from various types of paper or fabric, this feature is a real time saver.

The Hands-­on

I had the opportunity to try the ScanNCut with my craft­-loving eldest son to get a feel of how the machine works. We were guided through the process of creating a ‘pop­-up’ Christmas card with layers of different sized paper on the cover.

The machine proved to be fairly easy to operate. Even my five-­and-­a-­half year old understood the basic functions quite quickly, and eagerly helped some of the participants sharing the same workstation as us. You scan the pattern you want and save it into the machine’s memory, then using the adhesive mat, put the pieces of paper you want cut onto it, load the mat into the machine, click a few buttons, and voila! All the pieces are cut out for you. In all, it took less than 10 minutes to cut the pieces and assemble the card.

The ScanNCut’s blade made clean and smooth cuts. I thought it was impressive that the machine could even do more delicate work like cutting out the words ‘Merry Christmas’. All these are not impossible to do manually, but it would easily have taken three to four times the amount of time (or more) compared to using the ScanNCut.

We did find that you have to make sure the paper is stuck firmly onto the adhesive mat otherwise the paper will slide and will not be cut properly. The group I was working with encountered this problem a few times, but besides this we didn’t have any other issues.

The Good

If you like crafts, the possibilities with this machine are endless.

Close up of the finished product

Close up of the finished product.

The scalloped edges cut perfectly.

The scalloped edges cut perfectly.

It’s great for kids’ parties; you can do the bunting (without your husband rolling his eyes at you), customise the invites and decor to suit any theme you want, make all kinds of confetti (this really excites me because I love confetti!), prepare art and craft corners with themed cut-­outs, make face masks (with the ScanNCut, cutting out the holes for the eyes is a lot easier), make customised T-shirts by cutting out designs from iron­-on paper or cloth appliques, and so on.

Scrapbooking fans will love how they can create all kinds of paper and fabric embellishments. Quilters will love that the fabric pieces are cut to precision, and you can even specify the seam allowance you want when cutting the fabric. Pre­-school teachers will appreciate that the machine saves them time when preparing materials for art and craft sessions for an entire class of children.

Plus, if your kids like arts and crafts, making a card together like I did with my son is a nice time of bonding.

I really wouldn’t mind having this machine, but …

The Price

It’s touted as being the ‘world’s first home and hobby cutting machine’, but to acquire it you must have quite a lot of spare cash lying around. At $828, I feel the price is prohibitive. There’s also the other issue of replacing the adhesive mat (around $20 for the 12 x 12 low tack adhesive mat). Apparently each mat can be used up to 20 times. Even if you rotate the mat around so you use every inch of it for different projects, I figure you’ll need to make several replacements a year if you use it intensively.

I like what the ScanNCut can do, and I can see many groups of people who would like to use it and can benefit from such a machine. But until the price drops, I’ll just use my scissors.

Oh well.

Material World was invited by Brother to try the ScanNCut machine. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is neither paid for nor advised by the brand. Please read our advertising policy here.

Selena Quah with Asher Selena Quah enjoys the little things in life and hopes her children will pick up this trait from her too. She thinks kids are an excellent excuse to indulge in things she likes such as strolling through parks, doing art and craft, and baking. A dancer from young, she hopes to get back to it when the kids are older, though for now she’ll have to make do with dancing around the house while her boys wonder why Mummy is mad. You can find Selena’s blog Unlikely Lady of Leisure here. 

Child's Play, Material Moms

[Material Moms] How To Take Share-Worthy Pictures Of Your Kids – Delphine Tan

Cute kids’ pictures are EVERYWHERE on social media. But our Material Mom Delphine Tan (@mummydelphine) took photo-sharing one notch up when she created an adorable photo series for her newborn son. 

During my confinement period, I wanted to take a picture of David beside something I could use for comparison to gauge how much he has grown, which is why the pictures are dated. It had to be something that wouldn’t change in size and wouldn’t get thrown or given away, so I used the kids’ dolls.

The picture that started it all.

The picture that started it all.

I get my inspiration mainly by just looking around the house to see what I can use. I also love the creative photos of kids on Bored Panda, which were taken by more artistic parents with better cameras. The matryoshka one was definitely inspired by one of those photos but mine’s not as beautifully executed!

Delphine's favourite!

Delphine’s favourite!

Going by the number of “likes” on Instagram, the most popular post so far is the caterpillar one, but my favourite is still the matryoshka one. I also like the one of the astronaut going to the moon.

I was planning to stop by the end of my confinement (today!) but may take photos now and then if I’m inspired. In the meantime, enjoy!

Most popular post

The famous Caterpillar post.

Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars.

Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars.

Does not like being compared to a Minion

Does not like being compared to a Minion

Attacked by dinosaurs!

Attacked by dinosaurs!

All ready to play golf with Dad!

All ready to play golf with Dad!

Star Wars, as requested Delphine's sister.

Star Wars, as requested by Delphine’s sister.

Guess who's cooking dinner tonight?

Guess who’s cooking dinner tonight?

Which photo is your favourite? Share with us in the Comments section below!

Delphine - 2About The Author: Delphine Tan still feels like a kid but is married to Adrian and mother to Anya, Adam, and David. Since she has no artistic talent and does not know how to cook, she spends her free time reading, blogging, and collecting matryoshka. Besides being addicted to caffeine, Delphine also suffers from the compulsive need to Instagram every single plate of food that she eats. 


Material Moms, The Mothership

[Material Moms] Live In The Moment! – Selena Quah

One of the moments Selena managed to capture.

One of the moments Selena managed to capture.

Selena Quah enjoys the little things in life and hopes her children will pick up this trait from her too. She thinks kids are an excellent excuse to indulge in things she likes such as strolling through parks, doing art and craft, and baking. A dancer from young, she hopes to get back to it when the kids are older, though for now she’ll have to make do with dancing around the house while her boys wonder why Mummy is mad. She is expecting her third child and today, she wants to make it known to everybody that she will strive to be less trigger-happy in 2014. You can find Selena’s blog Unlikely Lady of Leisure here.

I had prepared another story for this week’s submission, only to be faced with a 21st Century problem – a technology blackout. My PC, netbook and smartphone all decided to take an unannounced holiday at the same time. My story and all the associated pictures were wiped out. Add to that, hardware malfunctions of my two portable hard-disk drives.

I was left reeling from the fact that I had lost all the photographs, notes and contacts on my smartphone that I hadn’t gotten around to backing-up, not to mention all the years of pictures of the time we lived abroad, of family gatherings, and other special occasions that were stored on the portable hard-drives. Precious memories lost.

Then I thought about my remaining store of photographs. 48,443. That’s the number of pictures I have on my hard-disk. Yes, I can rationalise that it spans from 2007 until now – a good six years or so. But still, that’s crazy!

But that’s the problem that we face nowadays, isn’t it? And this is especially true of parents with young kids. We simply have too many pictures. The advent of digital photography has brought about a conundrum. It is so easy to capture little moments compared to when we saved our film for the truly significant events. And while this means more memories of fleeting kisses and secret hugs, it also presents the problem of sheer volume. How many of us have actually gotten around to printing our photos for posterity. Well, I certainly haven’t. I’ve spent more time taking and uploading, than sorting and printing. I harbour ambitions of compiling the significant pictures into photobooks. But going through 48,443 of pictures is simply too daunting. And how can you possibly pick one to represent so many that are different and unique in their own special way?

'fess up. How many pictures did you take of your kid blowing out his birthday candles?

‘fess up. How many pictures did you take of your kid blowing out his birthday candles?

Admittedly I am quite trigger-happy, and this is my downfall. I’m sure there are the more organised mothers out there, but I am sadly not one of them.

So this 2014, I will strive to do a few things.

First, take less pictures. Still take them, but be more restrained. Just take one or two of them blowing out the candles, not 52! Just one or two of them running in the park, not 185! Capture the special time, but don’t overdo it.

Second, get into the habit of regularly printing out pictures. It’s really so easy to print pictures from our phones nowadays. Although it may cost more to print just a few each time rather than accumulating them, it is definitely much more worthwhile than having them disappear into thin air when software or hardware decides to fail.

Third, something that I had strived to do in 2013 and will continue to do in 2014, live in the moment rather than seek to document.

Lastly, I’m gonna buy me a network-attached storage (NAS) device to double or even triple back-up my stuff lest something similar happens again.

Technology, you may have won this time, but I will have the last laugh! Ha!



Material Moms, Young Minds

[Material Moms] A Letter From a Two-Year-Old On Her Birthday – Shiney Huang

shineyAbout The Author: Shiney Huang is the Founder of Learning Hands, a company that provides toy rental services with a focus on variety and cost-effectiveness. She has over ten years of experience working with children, and is passionate about her work with them although she doesn’t have kids of her own yet. When she’s not dealing with the little tikes, you can find her hard at work at boxing training, reading or listening to music. Here, she talks about what it’s like for a child going through the terrible twos.

Dear Mummy & Daddy,

I am writing to you to let you know that I am about to enter into the first important and difficult phase of my life. I am not trying to be difficult, nor do I really want to start a war with the two of you. I’m just trying to get you to see the positive side of it all and, yes, believe it or not, there is one!

Right now, I am pretty much able to move freely on my own, which means I will attempt to climb on anything and everything that I see. So that baby safety gate you’re installing? Completely useless. I will climb over it if I am determined enough to get to the other side.

I am in the midst of learning how to communicate with you to let you know what I really want or need. My skills will improve over time so right now just be patient with me as I build on my vocabulary.

I will be going through a major motor, cognitive, social and emotional changes and sometimes, these may be really hard for me to deal with but trust me … I will make it through this difficult phase of life.

I want to be independent but I am still very afraid of the unknown. Because of this, it will seem like I’m trying to go against everything you tell me. I will be trying to break every single rule you set for me; this is my way of testing those limits.

Also, I’ll soon be learning all about the power that comes with saying the word “NO”. It will anger and annoy you because I’ll be using it quite often. Strangely enough, I’ll say it even when I actually mean “yes”.  It would be better for both of us if you gave me more options to choose from instead of simple yes/no questions. This will empower me with the ability to think things through carefully for myself.

Blond Boy Crying

People don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing. Yes, I will start throwing those infamous temper tantrums. Probably every day. And as many times as I think I can get away with it. Believe it or not, I do this not to deliberately annoy you; I’m still learning how to cope with my feeling and emotions. Though I don’t always pick the most opportune times to throw them, know that they are a way of expressing myself.

I will also be grabbing any opportunity available to express my fearless and adventurous spirit by climbing and getting on all the tables, cabinets, counters and anything that I can get myself on. It’s all part of my journey of self-discovery and, along the way, I’ll learn what my physical limitations, strengths and weaknesses are. Your first instincts would most likely be to protect me from hurting myself, but you don’t have to be over-protective. How else will I be able to learn if I don’t make mistakes on my own?

Lastly, expect that I’ll be telling quite often, “I can do it myself”. I ask you to be patient with me and do let me try even though I’ll need a lot more time than you do to get it done. That’s what learning to be independent is all about. Sometimes, I will be overly ambitious in what I set out to achieve. If you know that I’ll fail, gently offer me some suggestions as to how I can go about doing it, instead of taking control right away. Otherwise, consider yourself warned that you’ll again meet my old friend, Temper Tantrum.

That’s it, really. It sounds like a lot to take in but this phase will pass in due time. As they say, tough times don’t last, but tough people do. I’ll be heading out to play now!

Hugs & Kisses,

Your little toddler

[If You Like This, You Will Also Like]

[Material Moms] Motivate With Love

[Material Moms] Being a Rockstar Mom

[Material Moms] Let’s Talk About Play

Career, Character & Soul, Family, Material Moms, Relationships, Self-Improvement, The Mothership

Don’t Try To Be A Super-Mum – Deborah Tan

Being able to “do it all” – that is something women of our generation seem to think we HAVE to do. And I think this is especially true for working mums. On one hand, they take pride in having a great career, on the other, they often frustrate themselves over trying to get their homes in order the same way they have done in the corporate world. Kids are, unfortunately, not as easy to file and sort like paperwork. Often, they throw curveballs that test our patience and make us throw our arms up in the air helplessly. So how do working mums do it without losing their sanity?

And, guess what? Their secret is actually in not trying to be a super-mum.

jule&kids“My husband had to talk me out of doing everything on my own”

How have you changed in your professional life now that you’re also a mother?
In the past, I attended more after-work events and would bring work home to do. Now, I don’t bring work home because I’m up earlier (thanks to kids who are up at 6am) and I’m at the office earlier too. I’m also more selective with the after-work events I go to.

I’ve also become more motivated. During office hours, I power through my tasks so I can knock off on time to get home to spend time with my kids. As a boss, I think I’m now a lot more calmer and patience with my staff – though I’m still demanding! Being a mum has made me a better team leader.

What are your tips for women who have to balance work and motherhood?
1. Accept help. Whether it’s from your husband, your mum, your mother-in-law, or your helper. When they offer to bathe the kids or feed them, let go and allow them to do it for you. There’s no need to be a “do it all”. I’m lucky to have a husband who’s a hands-on dad.

2. Take five. No matter what, spend some time on yourself. Whether it’s a quick manicure or drinks with friends. You’ll be a happier mum and a better colleague/wife/friend/daughter too.

3. Don’t get upset when they “reject” you. Always remember that you are their mummy. Spend time with them – even if it’s just something like taking them out for a stroll in the park. Don’t get upset if they grow close to the helper or when they “reject” you. Kids have their moods too.

image“I do not feel bad taking time off to attend to my family”

Does having kids affect the way you view your role as a team leader?
Being a mother tend to make you look at things from a different point of view. We handle disputes more calmly and are able to listen to all parties, ensuring everyone comes to an agreement and learn to play nicely in the adult sandbox called work. I also find myself more nurturing as a team leader and try my best to cultivate skills and talents, giving people the opportunity to grow when I can. I try not to stay in the office late unless absolutely necessary, instead, I get in earlier to finish my work on time. I do not feel bad taking time off to attend to my family.

What are your tips for women who have to balance work and motherhood?
1. Accept that you’ll always feel guilty as a working mum. Understand the reasons why you have chosen to remain in the workforce – financial independence, personal choice, etc. – and come to terms with the reason. Focus on being the best you can be at work and at home.

2. Switch off from work. No emails, no work calls. It’s easier said than done and I’m terribly guilty of this. But this said, don’t fall into the trap of “making up to your children”. When they misbehave, you still have to discipline them, whether you’re halfway across the world or exhausted from work.

3. Be part of a pro-family organisation. If you can, choose to be with an organisation that supports your role as a mum. Nothing is harder than having a boss and colleagues who think you are not contributing to the team when you have a child-related matter to attend to.

SONY DSC“I’m perpetually exhausted – it is quite a normal state for me”

How have you changed in your professional life now that you’re also a mother?
I’m perpetually exhausted – it is quite a normal state for me. I wake up early to send the kids to school and I go to bed late so I can finish my work. But being a working mother has helped me understand my customer better [Shu Ming is a director at Mothercare]. I’m constantly shopping in the name of “research”! As a mother myself, I am constantly thinking how to make the company relevant to other mothers so we can remain relevant to them in the long term.

What are your tips for women who have to balance work and motherhood?
First off, I admit I’m in a unique position as I only have one person to report to at work – my dad. But I’m constantly rushing and I don’t think I’m balancing … more like JUGGLING!
1. Have God in my life. Personally, having God in my life and a good domestic help you can rely on have helped me cope with my perpetually busy life. I wish I had better time management skills!

2. Know that life is unpredictable. I have learnt to accommodate the ups and downs. I try to tell myself to take things one day at a time, take time out and learn to relax. It is okay to watch trashy TV dramas and go for a long (boozy) lunch with friends.

3. Coffee. I drink 4 cups a day. Thank you very much.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and has a great amount of respect for working mums. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.



Denise Li, Opinions

Before You Pass Judgement On Any Woman Who Regrets Becoming A Mum … – Denise Li

By now, you might have read this article in UK’s Daily Mail about a woman, 57-year-old Isabella Dutton, who wrote candidly about her regrets about having children.

The gist of Dutton’s argument is that having children impinged upon her freedom. It wasn’t a career she was interested in pursuing, but in having time to read and reflect  – peace and solitude were things she considered important in leading a full and rich life. Having children – and consequently, having that precious alone-time being taken away – was in direct opposition to what made her happy. She even went as far as to liken children to parasites – always taking, never returning.

I whole-heartedly applaud her for her honesty. I’m sure there are other mothers who have exactly the same sentiments but who would, never in a million years – dared to come right out to say it.

Now, I’m sure she must have been aware of the uproar and backlash she would have to face by expressing her views, which is why her courage deserves all the more to be applauded. The comments below the article – predictably – were from people who thought her “selfish”, “cold-hearted” and “as sparing no thought for those who are unable to have children”.

I think the last sentiment is completely beside the point. But I believe it is crossing a line to label her selfish and cold-hearted. Firstly, although she felt no maternal bond for her two children, she was determined to make the best of her decision. She breast-fed her children and insisted on taking care of them herself rather than leave them to the care of a nanny. That sounds more selfless than selfish, if you ask me.

Shouldn’t this woman be judged on her actions, rather than her sentiments? At the very least, she viewed parenthood as a responsibility and, at least by her accounts, she seems to have done more than the bare minimum. And while she admits she may have been a detached parent, her husband (who was perfectly aware of how she felt towards her children) was more than happy to play the role of the loving, doting father, so I really don’t think her two children were in any real danger of growing up maladjusted for any lack of parental love.

I think the reason why so many people seem to be up in arms is because they think she has violated some code of nature. It is “natural” for a woman to yearn to be a mother. It is “natural” for a mother to love her children. It is “natural” for a woman to be self-sacrificing so she can be a better mother.

What complete and utter bollocks. I believe it is dangerous to argue this on the basis of “nature” and here’s why.

During the era of Abraham Lincoln, it was “unnatural” to think of black people as equal to the white man. Just a few decades ago, it was considered “unnatural” for a woman to be ambitious and want to climb the corporate ladder. In some states in the US, many people consider it “unnatural” for a woman to choose to have an abortion. In this day and age, there are still people who think it’s “unnatural” for someone to feel attracted to someone of the same gender. Heck, in this state, the law still views sex between two men as “unnatural”.

Do you see where I’m coming from?

When you argue for something on the basis of nature, you are according it a form of immutability, and this can make way for widespread and institutionalised discrimination.

People who get too carried away with definitions of what’s natural and what’s not will fail to consider evidence to the contrary, no matter how logically or rationally it is presented to them. Just because Isabella Dutton felt ambivalent towards her children does not mean she’s a bad parent. Let’s not diminish the importance of choice in this matter. By her reckoning, she made a bad choice right from the start. But that should not in any way cancel out the other good choices she made down the line – to devote herself to the task of caregiving, to be honest to her husband so he, in turn, can make an informed choice about the kind of parent he would like to be.

Isabella Dutton gets my deepest respect; for her honesty, courage, self-awareness. In my eyes, she’s a better person than anyone who has ever said, “I want to have children so they can take care of me when I get old.”

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Lastly, she believes that everyone should make it a point to travel solo at least once in their lives.

Guest Writers

[Guest Star] Living Life In The Wee Hours – Delphine Tan

Material World’s guest star this week is popular blogger Delphine Tan. As her blog’s tagline says, Delphine blogs regularly about “faith, family, friends and food”. Her posts are often accompanied by beautiful photography and have inspired many to live life simply, yet fully. Do visit her blog Life In The Wee Hours.

Delphine with her husband and kids

Delphine with her husband and kids

I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years. In the beginning, it was mainly inane stuff about what I did that day, nothing particularly interesting to anyone else other than myself and a handful of friends. I moved my blog two years ago and the focus now is my family and what we get up to on weekends and during the holidays. I tend to pack our free time with quite a variety of activities; so many people who read my blog assume that I must be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) to be able to get so much done.

Now I blog mainly to have a record of where we go and what we do. Along the way, I realised that there were people interested in similar things that would use my blog as a reference and I was happy to share information wherever possible. I like to blog about the food we eat and I’m on a perpetual hunt for the best (according to my personal preferences, of course) Eggs Benedict in Singapore. We try to eat somewhere new every other week just to see what’s out there but we do have a few favourite joints that we find ourselves returning to again and again. We love going on holidays with the kids even though it is usually a logistical nightmare and I blog about our trips. I also blog a lot about the different activities for kids in Singapore, such as the playgrounds and museums.

While I love being a mother to two beautiful children, that’s not my only identity and I do like to have some personal time. Thanks to supportive family members and a wonderful husband, I get to find time for my own activities. People think that Singapore is small and boring but she has so much to offer and there’s a lot waiting to be discovered! I tend to be nostalgic and I like to wander around Singapore learning about the history and significance of various monuments and heritage areas. My recent jaunt was the Tiong Bahru Heritage Tour and the air raid shelter in one of the pre-war blocks there.  I’m also very fond of the green spaces in Singapore and try to explore them regularly.

Not a hands-off mum ... if that's the impression you're getting

Not a hands-off mum … if that’s the impression you’re getting

I think it’s really important to engage in activities without the kids so the husband and I try to have a date night every other week and we also go on holidays without the kids. Our last couple trip was to Yogyakarta and we explored Borobudur and climbed Mt Merapi. We also try to have our own ‘thing’: he has golf and I have… CIRCUS! I went for a trial circus aerial arts class at Circus Swingapore last October and signed up for the Intro course with my cousin’s wife this year. We just cleared the assessment for the intro course last week and we’ll be starting Level 1 next month. It’s the best class I’ve ever attended; it’s so fun and I look forward to it every week. When I first started, I couldn’t even get on the hoop without assistance. Now I feel so much stronger and more confident and that feeling keeps me buoyant the rest of the week.

I like to think that I’m well-rounded and doing a good job of juggling work, family and personal time. I’m happy to be a FTWM (full-time working mom) and I like my job as a teacher because it’s meaningful and benefits others. I try to avoid arguments about whether it’s better to be a SAHM or WAHM or PTWM or FTWM and just spend meaningful quality time with my family when I’m not at work. Of course, there are sacrifices to be made: I hardly watch TV, I don’t get as much sleep as I would like (hence the blogging in the wee hours) and our house is in a constant state of mess. But I think it is possible (and necessary for your sanity) to be a mom and still find time for yourself. It’s all a matter of give-and-take and ultimately, finding balance.


A couple who laughs together …