Mums need time out too

Some days I feel overwhelmed.

By the things I’ve got to do, by the kids acting up, by the conflicts I’ve got to manage and resolve. Some days it just gets a little too heavy to bear.

And I start to react.

I start to scream. In my head or out loud.

I start to feel like my world is caving in.

That’s when I know I need to call for time-out.

I’d send an SOS message to the hubby. It’d read something like, “I’m feeling damn crappy, I need to get out of here.”

And (during the moments when I don’t feel out of control) I’d try to communicate to the kids too. “Vera, JJ, mummy is feeling mad. I’m going to go downstairs, get a cup of coffee and calm down.”

That’s the better scenario. Often, I would have screamed and let it all go already.

…I’ve learnt that feeling overwhelmed isn’t necessarily an evil thing.

If we listen to our bodies, it’s signaling to us how it’s doing every day.

You’re tired – get some rest.
Your mind is bogged down by work – relax, go for a walk, write down the things you have to do, and prioritise them.
You’re upset at the kids for not listening to your instructions – see if you can do things differently, instead of saying it louder, use a softer voice to make them pay attention, let them feel the consequence of their actions, rather than keep nagging at them.

Often when I feel overwhelmed, I send out SOS-es to my hubby or girlfriends, asking for prayers.

I share with someone who will listen without judging.

I check my schedule and cut down on things that can wait.

By doing these things, I’m telling myself that I care for ME. I need to take care of my needs and sanity, before I can tackle the rest of my responsibilities.

Most of all, overwhelmed is a big sign, telling me to STOP. Reminding me to sit and find rest at His feet.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed today, take time out, seek Him, and He will give you rest.

(PS. Here’s a line from a song that I’ve been listening to.)

foot of the cross

Dear Mummy: A hopeful letter

Vera wrote this little card for me, upon my request.

dear_mum_card

She always has a knack for hitting the needle on its head.

“I hope you’ll be more patient with JJ” – represents the many times she wishes I’d be more patient, less “shouty” with the boy and more loving and gentle. (I often ask God for help to be more patient too…Guess it’s still work-in-progress.)

“I hope you will bring me out more” – tells me just how long it’s been since we went out on a mummy-daughter date. When I read her words, I felt so sorry for having neglected to spend one-on-one time with her (being caught up with her two younger brothers most of the time).

She even verbally said to me, Mummy, I think it’s been a year! (Okay…kids are fond of exaggerating especially when it comes to time!)

So last weekend, we went on an ice-cream date. And did girly stuff like shop for crafts and knick-knacks. A simple date but we had fun.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Vera,

I wish I could take you out on more dates too (and will definitely work harder to make these happen!) More fun trips to the museum, to parks, to feed the fish at Botanic Gardens, to anywhere that catches our fancy, just as long as we get to spend time together.

You’re growing up too fast. I wish time would slow down for us.

Love you more than you’ll ever know,
Mummy

~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post kicks off the Dear Mummy blog train – a series of dedications and letters from our kids to us, specially for the month of May.

DearMum_300

Tomorrow, be sure to tune it to Lyn’s Dear Mummy post! Lyn Lee blogs at Lil Blue Bottle, where she writes “letters” that are placed in a bottle, cast off into the bluish sea of the world wide web. She is a FTWM to two not-so-little girls, and enjoys scrapbooking.  

k&B

 

Little Lessons: When going to the supermarket feels like a holiday

My girlfriend came over to bless us with dinner one day and after settling her nearly 2-yo daughter, decided to head downstairs to get some groceries.

After about 30 minutes, she came back, radiating with a glow and smiling to herself.

I asked: “Well what did you get?”

Her reply: “I got myself a teh-si and was walking all by myself around NTUC. I feel like a million bucks!”

I smiled, a knowing smile. I knew she was going to enjoy the little escapade all by herself. Even to the humble neighbourhood supermarket. (I’ve been there, and remember feeling the exact same way.) And what’s more, the teh-si at the foodcourt…is to. die. for.

You know you’re a tired mum when a trip to the supermarket starts to resemble a holiday. (There’s a quote that says something to this effect, I’m sure I’ve read it before somewhere.)

It measures up pretty close to uninterrupted toilet time.

But mums, you’re so worth it. Go ahead, have your teh-si and sip it slowly.  Go for a walk around your supermarket too. (Better still if you can hit the mall.) You’re totally worth it.

be refreshed

Dear gf, may you always find time to discover the simple joys of sweet rest and precious personal time amidst the endless responsibilities of parenting. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of taking time out from our busy schedules, to love and show kindness to others too.

This is Little Lessons #24. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Little Lessons: My experience going live on radio 93.8

I was a bundle of nerves walking down that lonely path down to the radio studio. I kept thinking about what I wanted to say, and also asking myself, what have I gotten into?

Meeting my host, Angela, was a big help as she set me at ease quickly. She also drew clear directions about the topics we would cover and how she will lead me through them. It was very reassuring!

To be honest, when I first got her email invitation to come on the show, I was like, what credentials do I have? What can I say that might benefit others from listening? My first reaction was, no no no I don’t need to put myself through this stress. I should relax and spend my energy on more urgent things.

But it kept nagging at me. That this could be an opportunity to encourage someone, which I guess is the main reason why I write in this space too. (Yes…writing is therapeutic for me but I’m also driven by a desire to share and encourage those who may be struggling and working through similar issues as I.)

So finally I mustered up courage to respond to her email, and in it I expressed my worry about doing a live interview too. But like a pro, my host gave some words of reassurance and then left me with very little room to wriggle myself out of it. (Haha)

And then, I found myself in the studio (that incidentally looks like a big glass tank) yesterday, sharing about my journey and lessons learnt as a mum, wife, and WAHM. I also shared about my thoughts and tips for self-care, as well as the importance of working as a team with your spouse.

It was…surprisingly less intimidating than I’d expected. It felt for the most part (when I overcame the initial jitters) like I was just having a normal conversation with Angela. Also, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to fill up the air-time, since the entire programme is supposed to last one hour. It turned out that the programme would be broken up into four main segments with each segment lasting about 7-8 minutes. And when I was speaking my thoughts, it didn’t feel very long at all! In fact, I was like, hey I want to talk more. 😛

All in all, I learnt some good lessons about going on live radio. One, it’s hard to be 100% coherent and to say all that I really want to. Two, it’s easy to ramble, so it actually helps to have a number of points you wish to bring across for a certain answer, and to quickly move through them, rather than linger. (You’d think that for a PR professional, I would be acquainted with all these basics, but trust me, when you’re preparing other people for the hot seat, it always seems a lot simpler.)

The words may not have come out perfectly. And my thoughts may have been jumbled at various points. But I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to try something new, and to learn from it. I hope in future my kids will read this and decide for themselves (when they are greeted with a daunting task) to choose courage over fear.

It’s good to step out of our comfort zone, once in a while. 🙂

If you can, do catch the repeat episode on radio 93.8 this Saturday at 9pm or Sunday at 3pm. I really hope you’ll enjoy listening to the interview!

my live radio experience

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“Bye, woman.” On wellness and self-care

I told the kids “bye, guys” one morning as they headed off to class. Vera promptly turned and said “bye, woman.”

She thought she was cheeky, and I must admit I laughed. (I only hope I remember this incident years down the road if and when the kids use this reference not so innocently.)

As I spent the last week or so reflecting on my journey and reviewing my goals and plans, I realise that I often forget about my own needs as a woman.

A woman needs love and affection. She is cheered on by words of encouragement and affirmation from the people close to her heart. She loves to be pampered, desires to dream and to realise those dreams, seeks time to rejuvenate herself, time to rest and feed her soul.

She needs to know that she is worth fighting for and protecting, that her thoughts, feelings and ideas are worthy of a listening ear. She dreams big, gives of herself to worthy causes, fights for the things and people she believes in and loves. She nurtures her clan ferociously.

As “mum”, I often neglect the other aspects of womanhood. I don’t dedicate time to care for myself. Exercise and grooming gets relegated to “when I have a minute.”

Many needs vy for my attention, and it can get pretty overwhelming on some days. (Now and then, I feel like locking myself in a quiet room and sitting alone in the stillness for five minutes. And occasionally, I actually do.)

This is where I collect myself; the million pieces of me that have been spread thin like butter on toast.

There, when the sky feels like it’s falling and when my heart is so noisy and worry-filled, I’m able to focus on the promises of God. He often reminds me that He is the one holding it up for us.

I feel lately I’ve been buzzing around without a clear purpose. It’s time to re-focus on the things that matter to me, not just as Mum, but as Woman.

When I became a mum in 2009, I launched into motherhood – mad, glorious motherhood. Now, ironically, being a mum has taught me that I cannot simply mother all day long and neglect my own needs as a woman. This quote says it well:

The quality of a person’s inner being – the body, mind and spirit – affect the quality of his/her outward expressions – the ability to maintain healthy relationships with others, produce quality work, etc. One’s inner wellness is, hence, not an option, but a necessity. Every individual, especially women who tend to sacrifice themselves for their loved ones, must unwind and pamper his/herself to achieve that inner balance and well-being. – Esther Lee

As much as my children mean to me, being a better person for them means stepping away from them, to re-fuel my tank.

Ways to re-fuel

  • Keep fit and healthy (through good food and exercise).
  • Regular me-time (coffee dates work well for me, and the occasional coffee retreat).
  • Catch up with good friends.
  • Invest in personal development, give voice to your dreams.
  • Creative pursuits and fun relaxing activities, like picking up a new hobby or catching a play (not a kiddy one)
  • Nourish your soul by feeding on God’s word daily.
  • Date your spouse. Find new ways to show your love.
  • Create mental white space or thinking space (this should involve stealing away from the noisy world of technology and social media) to reflect on the past, learn lessons, and plan for the future. (This often helps me to gain new energy and perspective. When I take a step back, I often catch a glimpse of the bigger picture.)

In a way, this blog is my way of investing in myself; an expression of my desires to write and create, and to encourage other parents who are going through similar struggles.

It is also a small step towards achieving my dream to be a writer.

Yes, it’s hard to peel away. Yes, it’s hard to find the time. But if it’s something important and close to your heart, you will choose to do it, even if it means saying “no” to other things. This is for you, and for the family too.

Parenthood isn’t an excuse for you to shelf your dreams and needs for personal fulfilment away. Instead, allow parenthood to inspire and motivate you to go beyond what you ever imagined, and to invest in those needs in a different, perhaps more creative, way.

From now on, I’m committing myself to not run on empty, and to re-fuel on love, God’s word, and good company. For the month of July, I’ll be focusing on the theme of self-care. (If you have an idea to share with me, do drop me a note!)

“Hello, woman.”

self-care quote

Do you struggle to meet your own needs and desires too?

How do you find ways to recharge and refuel?

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