Reblog: Great Expectations

Most parents have great expectations of their children. But many don’t expect the same from themselves. Ironic, isn’t it? Parents expect their children to treat others with respect, to know how to share, and to act accordingly during playtime and sleep time (and all the time). But the real question is, do you (as a parent) even practice what you preach?

I’m a firm believer that all children are born pure and good. It is under the guidance of their parents that will eventually lead to the flourishing of goodness in their little big hearts. If you practice what you preach, chances are your child will follow suit.

IMG_5156_1

Don’t just tell a child to be kind, sharing and all things good; show them and lead by example. If you’re always arguing with your partner on who’s right, or snatching toys away from your kid when he refuses to share, you’re indirectly telling him that it is of utmost importance who wins in the end (in an argument or a fight), and taking things by force is an acceptable thing to do when things don’t happen your way.

Actions speak louder than words. When you portray negative behaviour in front of your child, they will learn. And trust me when I say, they will learn FAST. At two years of age, my little munchkin is absorbing her surrounds like a sponge. Children learn best by imitating you, the parent. And whatever that you do on a day to day basis will indirectly be how you mould your child’s character and behaviour. As Clarence B. Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.”

Don’t expect a kid to know the meaning of respect if you don’t raise him with respect. I’ve seen parents who smack and “publicly humiliate” their kids for the littlest of things. That’s not just disrespecting your child as a small human being, that’s just uncivilised in my humble opinion. You wouldn’t smack your friend over some small issue, but you don’t hesitate to do just that to your own child, that’s just stupid.

12568334_931590570287571_1615032610_n(1)

You can’t teach a kid the concept of sharing when the first thing you do is to snatch away his toys when he refuses to share it, with a stranger. Yes, you might be good friends with a fellow mother, but don’t expect your child to naturally be long time friends with her kids. And don’t expect him to be as willing as you are to share, because heck, even you might not be that willing to share your stuff with someone you’ve just met. So no, don’t expect something from your kid when you might not even be able to live up to that expectation yourself. Or like Sarah W Caron says, “Don’t be a hypocrite, mama!

And how do you define appropriate behaviour? Expecting a two year old to sit through a two hour dinner is like expecting a medical student to sit through a mathematic convention. If your kid can actually sit in his high chair quietly and obediently for two hours and not put up a fuss, that’s not normal, I’m serious, you probably need to get him checked. That maybe an appropriate behaviour for an adult, but it is not for a kid. Appropriate behaviour for a two year old is to want to run around, explore and parallel play. That’s normal. And really, even you might want to walk around to socialise with your friends during dinner functions, why would you deny your kid the same benefit?

IMG_5158_1

Seriously, parents, enlighten me will you? I know many of you aren’t like that, but I have come across some who are. Why in the world would you expect so much for a person who’s been around for less than two years, yet expect so much less for people who’ve been around for at least thirty to forty years? Cos I really don’t understand it at all. Ugh. Bleh.

2030287696155814270116

 

I’m no Tiger Mom, and that’s okay

This particular article below was taken from Jacq SunYoga’s Facebook page:

 

————————————————————————–

Parents, do read this.

My third son Jack has Sensory Integration Disorder, which is on the autistic spectrum. He went to a school that pushed him to go to University, though I fought with the head of sixth form on many occasions, telling him that Jack went to school for the socialisation and sports, not damn A’s. Anyway, Jack was influenced and wanted to go to University (because everyone else was).

I tried to make everything as smooth as possible for Jack. During exams, I made sure he had good breakfast, I made sure there was petrol in his car, I made sure he knew what he was supposed to revise, and I made sure he knew the time and date of every exam.

He scraped enough grades to get into a second rate University back in the UK.

And guess what? Because I was not there for his first year finals exam, he missed a crucial paper. And then he went on a downward spiral after missing one paper. To stay on the course, he would have to repeat the whole first year again. He dropped out, demoralised.

I had to spend a year rebuilding him and put him back on track. Today, he works for the Haywards Group and earns a six figure salary doing a job he loves without the degree that his school pushed him into just so that the school looks good on the league table. I unfortunately played my part and became a helicopter parent in Jack’s case.

Helicopter parenting does not work. Because what happens when you stop? And when will you stop? When your child is 18? 21? 25?

My 16 year old should’ve been in an exam this morning but we last saw her on the football pitch at 9.30am. Maybe in her infinite wisdom she has decided not to sit the paper. Who knows but she.

If you want to see Jack’s work, go to this website. He is the one who does the house designs.

————————————————————————–

 

Reading Jacq’s post on education prompted me to jot down my own feelings toward this subject.

 

Many people ask me why in the world would I put my children into Waldorf, my answer is simple. Mainstream education interferes with their learning. I’m no Tiger Mom, my children don’t need to know their ABCs by age 3, nor do they need to know programming by age 8. They only need to know the joys of learning, without social and peer pressure.

 

Why not let them be children? Let them climb trees, walk on balance beams, draw with a stick on the sand, or water the garden. There’s always something interesting to learn from these simple activities – watching that praying mantis camouflage among the leaves, putting your hands out can help balancing easier on a small plank, a shorter stick is easier to draw with than a ultra long stick, water helps the plant grow, etc.

 

10978513_10153215973085312_304122036851790411_n

 

Learning doesn’t have to come from books. Learning comes from the heart, it comes from what you see, hear and feel around you. There’s always something to learn about anything, anyone, and anywhere.

 

I came from a typical “mainstream” life. That includes schooling, social life, and well, life. But I won’t talk about social life and life in this post, I’ll leave that for another day. I went to mainstream education, had tuition (thankfully not all the time), studied enough to pass through all my subjects. Key word here being studied. Because quite frankly, I never really understood what I was studying. It wasn’t a requisite. I wasn’t encouraged to make sense of it, I was only programmed to memorise what I’m suppose to “learn” in order to pass my exams. It was peer pressure that I went on to Science Stream, because you were considered “smart” if you were in it. Once my exams were over, I would literally forget about them. Looking back, what was the point of learning my algebra, history, geography really? It’s something I never understood.

 

It is because of my own educational experience that has led me to parent my kids differently, to show them that there is a different route in life that they could take. They need to know that there is always a choice when it comes to life. Mainstream schooling doesn’t allow that. There is no choice. You either excel or you fail, and the ones in between just get through life doing what they hate, but don’t have the courage to pursue what they are truly passionate about.

 

B5TgS

I’m no helicopter parent either. Because if I was, Big Warrior wouldn’t be attending Waldorf, where she gets to jump on muddy puddles, plant gardens, climb trees, bake bread, and draw on the pavement with chalks. I’d be too worried about the dirt, the height, the lack of academia. But I’m not, so we’re good. Soon, Little Warrior will follow suit. I want them to enjoy the process of learning, to know that there’s more to learning than just text books. They learn how plants grow by actually witnessing the growth process from seedling to plant because they were the ones who dug the hole and placed the seed in to the ground. They learn how they reap what they sow. They learn that it’s okay to share their harvest, because they have the necessary skills and knowledge to source and grow more. They learn that it’s not the end of the world if there’s no TV or iPads, because Waldorf children are not encouraged to have any gadget or technology time during Kindy and Primary years. The earliest they can use a computer for their home work is when they reach high school. As a result of all these, my children are never dependent on technology to keep them entertained (they do get to watch movies on the weekends but they never demand for it), and they can be just as happy just playing in the garden looking for dandelions. For that, I’m forever grateful.

 

 

I get that I’m no tiger mom, and that’s okay. I don’t seem to have that urge to push my kids academically at this point (or ever, but we’ll see). I’m not so much of a helicopter parent as well, and that’s also okay. I let them fall, cry and pick themselves up, because the world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and they need to understand that. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between, somewhat of a lazy parent. LOL. I let them figure out how to entertain themselves when I’m busy, but I also try to spend time with them when I can. We co-sleep because I’m too lazy to sleep train them, and because I believe that they will eventually move out into their own room in due time. I still breastfeed my 18 month old because I’m lazy to wean her. I let them eat by themselves even though my Little Warrior still makes a mess most days because I’m too lazy to chase her around to feed her.

 

Being a lazy mom is tiring, and adhering to Waldorf teachings can make it even more tiring, because I can’t rely on the idiot box to babysit my kids. But this combo works for me, and the results are so worth it. My girls are happy, and that’s the most important. They are blossoming in their own way, and they are doing it beautifully.

 

Having said all that, as tiger parents, helicopter parents, lazy parents, we all just want what’s best for our children. If it feels right to you, and your children are thriving, then you’re on the right track. Have faith in your judgement and your parental instinct. After all, it is our human instincts that have allowed our species to survive for so many years.

 

 

2030287696155814270116

 

Waldorf and Montessori for Dummies

Many people have been asking me what’s the difference between Waldorf/ Steiner education and Montessori teaching. I’m no expert, but having had a go at both schools before settling down with Waldorf, this is what I know. Obviously there’s more than what I’m about to write, but consider this a summarized version.

46d8267c60ecf118fd936129268f0a2e
Pic credit: www.morguefile.com
We started Big Warrior’s “schooling” journey at Perth Montessori School when she was about 2, for playgroup. We were there for 6 months before we decided it wasn’t the system for us, well, for Big Warrior. Montessori was very focused on independence. Children were taught to rely on themselves to get their jobs done. They were treated like little adults. Sharing and teamwork were rarely encouraged (I might be wrong, but every time when Big Warrior wanted to play toys with others, the teacher told us everyone would have to wait for their turn, it didn’t seem like they were too keen on children working together). Big Warrior was reluctant to attend playgroup, she didn’t want to stay indoors doing ‘jobs’, she only wanted to go outside to play on the slide, balance beam, bikes, etc. So after 6 months of trying it out at Montessori, we went to Waldorf, which was recommended by a Japanese friend of mine whose siblings attended Waldorf schools in Japan.
When we first went to Waldorf, I never really did much researched on it. All I knew was that it was an alternative system just like Montessori, and they were child-led instead of blindly following the mainstream one-size-fits-all system.
So, first day at a Waldorf playgroup and I could see straight away that this was it. This was the school for Big Warrior. Everything, from the environment to the class setup to the teachers, were exactly what she needed, what every child needed if you were to ask for my opinion. Open space, gentle pastel coloured silks draped around the classroom, vegetable garden to plant their own kiddy crops… So needless to say, we stayed. We stayed alright. And now fast forward 2 years, Big Warrior is in Kindy 5, and she’s blossomed so much under the gentle guidance of her amazing kindy teachers.
Anyways, enough about my opinions. This post is supposed to be about the difference between Montessori and Waldorf. But I thought I’d share a little of my experience of the 2 schools.
So, below is a summary of what I know.
Similarities between the two schools:1. Both respect children as individuals and creative beings.
2. Both believe in protecting children from the stresses of modern life and the overuse of technology such as iPad, computers and television.
3. Both emphasize education as a whole and focuses on spiritual, mental, physical and psychological developments over the orthodox academic curriculum.
4. Both stress the importance of nature and the natural environment of things. such as minimal or no usage of plastic, having their educational activities within a natural surrounding (park or garden), etc.
5. Both systems were banned during the Nazi regime during WWII as they refused to teach the ideology of the state. Their beliefs are that education must be based on the needs of the child, not the state.
6. Both emphasize on a rich variety of art, music, dance and theatre, believing it to be beneficial for a child’s development.

Differences between Montessori and Waldorf:

Academic
Montessori: Children are given the opportunity to do “real work” such as cooking, cleaning, caring for themselves at a very young age (3-6 years old). Academic lessons are also offered, but as something to enjoyed by the children if they choose to participate. It is never required or forced onto the children. The real world is seen as a wonderful creation, therefore, children are introduced to the real world in all its variation beginning at a very young age. The word “work” is used to described the child’s activities instead of “play” because the children are respected as small adults.

Waldorf: Children are kept from academic subjects such as reading and writing until age 7. Academics are thought to be necessary but not especially enjoyable, and is best put off as long as possible so that children are able to explore their creativity and childhood with make-believe, fairies, art and music. The philosophy views play as the work of a young child, and make-believe fantasies of a young child is an integral part of how the teacher works with the child.

Method
Montessori: Children developed in real life situations as they are usually not kept in a group of same-aged peers (3-6 years age span). The teachers provides lessons individually to one child at a time, and often, lessons are given by one child to another. The choice of what to study is solely left to the child, and is guided by the teacher whenever necessary.This form of learning produces high academic level as the depth of concentration of the children is high when focusing on a subject of their own choice. Children also learn to make decisions at an early age. Montessori teachers believe that if children are allowed to follow their interests, they will be able to excel into greater heights.
Waldorf: Children are kept together with peers their own age, and the teacher ideally moving up each academic year with the same children so that he or she becomes the focal point in the child’s learning development. Academic subjects are taught in a more traditional way – teacher speaking at the front, and children sitting at their desks. Activities are often taught and carried out in groups, with the emphasis on art as part of the academic curriculum. Socialisation is an important part of the Waldorf system. Competitive sports and activities are absent in the school curriculum to prevent social bullying.
 Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Education System
 Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori Education System

Do bear in mind that because there are many schools which piggyback on the Montessori or Waldorf name but do not follow the exact teachings of the originator. So be sure to look up the list of real Montessori or Waldorf schools from their official website or contact them to verify before signing your child up to a particular kindy or school.

Sites to visit:
http://www.montessori.edu
http://www.waldorflibrary.org

2030287696155814270116

Crunchy parenting. What?

12328234_549047675276668_1449360645_n(1)

If I had to tick off boxes based on Are You A Little Crunchy Too’s “What is Crunchy Parenting?” post, I’d say I’m preeeeeeeeeety crunchy. LOL. Want to find out what being a crunchy parent means? Read on to find out!

Here’s a general list (found on the link above) of the things a cruncy parent would do. And I’ve put my answers (in bold and italic) next to the questions.

  • Attachment Parenting checked
  • Co-Sleeping checked
  • Baby Wearing checked
  • cloth diapering nope
  • Elimination communication barely there
  • natural birth checked
  • home birth nope, not thaaaat crunchy
  • water birth checked
  • delayed cord clamping checked
  • breastfeeding checked
  • extended breastfeeding checked
  • delayed vaccination checked
  • selective vaccination nope
  • vaccination exempt checked
  • holistic medicine checked
  • alternative health checked
  • Veg/Vegan nope
  • Tree Hugging drug free Hippy Mama 99% there
  • Homeschooling/Unschooling checked almost there with alternative schooling
  • Natural Products checked
  • Toxin Aware checked
  • Plastic Free 50% there
  • No Cry It Out checked
  • No Spanking checked
  • Peaceful parenting checked
  • Minimalist most of the time
  • Free Range Children checked
  • Child Led learning checked
  • TV Free almost there
  • Limited Media checked
  • Eco-Friendly Home 50% there
  • Buy WAHM checked
  • Buy Small Business checked
  • Buy Local checked
  • Travel Green (On foot or Bike or bus) *guilty* nope
  • Organic Gardening LOL NOPE, no green fingers here
  • Buy Organics First checked
  • Poison Free Homes almost there
  • Midwife Care checked
  • No Circumcision we have no sons but we don’t agree with circumcision
  • Handmade checked
  • Activism checked
  • Human Rights / Animal Right 50% there
  • Active Parenting checked

Now that’s quite a few “checks” there and add the “half way/ nearly there”, I realised I have somehow unknowingly fallen in to the “phenomenon” of crunchy parenting. To be honest, I never knew there was an actual term for parents like me, until I keep sighting the term in one of my parenting forums.

My parenting style has always been a “controversial” topic within my side of the family, alternative methods and mainstream ways don’t seem to get along somehow, but that’s another story for another day. Despite that, I have over time learned to trust my own maternal instinct. I didn’t just decide to jump on the crunchy parenting bandwagon, but most of what crunchy parenting depicts are what I’ve been practicing all along anyway.

I was having a meaningful conversation with a dear friend the other day and we got into the topic of parenting. She asked, “how do you know if you’re doing the best you can for your children?” If I was asked this question a couple of years back, I would have pondered on it, come up with a thousand ‘what ifs’ and begin doubting my capability as a mother. Fast forward 4 years, after numerous ups and downs in my parenting journey, I answered her without a second thought, and I said, “There is no perfect parenting, you just have to do your best to nurture them according to their natural needs, and that’s the best you can do for your children and as a parent. No one else knows your child better than you, not even your parents, your grandaunt, nor your doctor.” And I think that is exactly what crunchy parenting is about.

 12568154_774091809363678_2209485_n 11429776_1726438297584013_999482526_n
All those baby wearing, breastfeeding, no crying it out, co-sleeping, etc are really about nurturing according to nature. Babies are born to be loved, cuddle close to mom (or dad), and drink human’s milk (of course if under unfortunate circumstances a mother is unable to breastfeed, she shouldn’t feel guilty about it, because life is never perfect). I’ve been told I’d be spoiling my babies by carrying and wearing them all the time, and not giving them enough nutrients if I extend breastfeeding (apparently nutrients in breastmilk depreciates after six months according to doctors… Well then, everyone should stop drinking cow’s milk because cows are milked for more than a few years in average, and mass market milk are filled with unnecessary antibiotics, pus and what not. Ugh. Again another story for another day).

 12534450_228214147512031_317836496_n
Co-sleeping is one of the best thing we’ve decided to do
Eating organic? It’s not that we’re being hippy or OTT, it’s about going back to what is natural, what is basic. Our ancestors have always eaten organically grown produce from their own farm, it wasn’t until not-so-recently that farm crops became heavily sprayed with unnaturally harmful chemicals and pesticides (and you wonder why more and more people are dying from cancer). If you ask me, I’d rather pay the farmer for health that comes naturally than pay the doctor for health that comes in a bottle or syringe. But but but, having said that, it’s not always affordable to buy organic, we just buy whatever we can afford to, and it’s okay to not eat organic if budget is a constrain. We just do the best we can according to our own budget.
Unschooling/ homeschooling/ alternative schooling. Why do crunchy parents aim to stay away from common education systems? Reason is because our mainstream education system does NOT nurture according to nature. It’s a one size fits all, and all size fit one concept. Ken Robinson said in his famous TED talks on education, that schooling kills creativity. Why? Because mainstream schooling is about learning within a specifically set boundary. Unschooling/ homeschooling/ and some of the alternative schooling systems like Waldorf, Reggio, and Montessori offer a wider scope of learning experience. These “other” schooling methods actually nurture according to nature, embracing that each child is different and that it is best to work according to the child’s passion and interest so that they will become the best they can be in whatever they chose to be, instead of being a jack of all trades and master of none, like most mainstream school children are.
And with regards to holistic medicine or alternative health care, I find from my personal experience that alternative health care practitioners are generally more knowledgeable about your well being than medical doctors are. No offence to doctors out there (and the one in the house). It’s not that medical doctors do not care, it’s just that they are not equipped with adequate knowledge about preventive health care. They are trained to treat, not prevent. Many doctors think it’s absolutely fine to take paracetamol (acetaminophen) for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I clearly remember (when I didn’t know better) the nurses at the hospital prescribed me twenty strips of paracetamol to help me with my postpartum recovery. My father is a retired doctor, hence I grew up taking paracetamol for a lot of things and it just didn’t occur to me that twenty strips of it is actually CRAZY! Too much acetaminophen actually causes liver damage according to a Forbes article (and numerous other scientific studies). And to think that I finished almost all of it except for one strip. Sigh, if only I’d bother to read a bit more on my own instead of relying on medical professionals who almost always view our body’s natural immune system as flawed when in actual fact, it can be almost perfect if you know how to care for it.

Crunchy parenting is, in my opinion, overrated because really, it should be the basis of all parenting practices. Why? Because crunchy parenting is what feels natural, it is a way of life according to nature. Dr Andrew Wakefield once said in a radio interview, “Trust your instincts, maternal instincts in particular. The reason we’re on this earth now, is because of maternal instinct. It is one of the most powerful forces of nature. It has equipped us for survival, far more so than any public health, medicine, or anything like that.” My maternal instinct tells me I’m on the right track being crunchy, and to see my little free-range warriors growing up healthily and happily is all the indication I need to know that I am doing the best I can for them.

11357821_435159666684169_1022814668_n
2030287696155814270116

Great (toddler) expectations

Most parents have great expectations of their children. But many don’t expect the same from themselves. Ironic, isn’t it? Parents expect their children to treat others with respect, to know how to share, and to act accordingly during playtime and sleep time (and all the time). But the real question is, do you (as a parent) even practice what you preach?

I’m a firm believer that all children are born pure and good. It is under the guidance of their parents that will eventually lead to the flourishing of goodness in their little big hearts. If you practice what you preach, chances are your child will follow suit.

12568334_931590570287571_1615032610_n(1)

Don’t just tell a child to be kind, sharing and all things good; show them and lead by example. If you’re always arguing with your partner on who’s right, or snatching toys away from your kid when he refuses to share, you’re indirectly telling him that it is of utmost importance who wins in the end (in an argument or a fight), and taking things by force is an acceptable thing to do when things don’t happen your way.

Actions speak louder than words. When you portray negative behaviour in front of your child, they will learn. And trust me when I say, they will learn FAST. At two years of age, my little munchkin is absorbing her surrounds like a sponge. Children learn best by imitating you, the parent. Andwhatever that you do on a day to day basis will indirectly be how you mould your child’s character and behaviour. As Clarence B. Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.”

Don’t expect a kid to know the meaning of respect if you don’t raise him with respect. I’ve seen parents who smack and “publicly humiliate” their kids for the littlest of things. That’s not just disrespecting your child as a small human being, that’s just uncivilised in my humble opinion. You wouldn’t smack your friend over some small issue, but you don’t hesitate to do just that to your own child, that’s just stupid.

You can’t teach a kid the concept of sharing when the first thing you do is to snatch away his toys when he refuses to share it, with a stranger. Yes, you might be good friends with a fellow mother, but don’t expect your child to naturally be long time friends with her kids. And don’t expect him to be as willing as you are to share, because heck, even you might not be that willing to share your stuff with someone you’ve just met. So no, don’t expect something from your kid when you might not even be able to live up to that expectation yourself. Or like Sarah W Caron says, “Don’t be a hypocrite, mama!

And how do you define appropriate behaviour? Expecting a two year old to sit through a two hour dinner is like expecting a medical student to sit through a mathematic convention. If your kid can actually sit in his high chair quietly and obediently for two hours and not put up a fuss, that’s not normal, I’m serious, you probably need to get him checked. That maybe an appropriate behaviour for an adult, but it is not for a kid. Appropriate behaviour for a two year old is to want to run around, explore and parallel play. That’s normal. And really, even you might want to walk around to socialise with your friends during dinner functions, why would you deny your kid the same benefit?

Seriously, can someone please enlighten me will you? I know many of you aren’t like that, but I have come across some who are. Why in the world would you expect so much for a person who’s been around for less than two years, yet expect so much less for people who’ve been around for at least thirty to forty years?

See, even my little warrior is facepalming herself trying to understand this logic of toddler expectations… :p

2030287696155814270116

 

 

Reblog: Dear Children, let’s talk about men

Dear children,
The time has come where we welcome in a brand new year, which means we’ve survived another year as parent and children. Hopefully, we all have become slightly wiser too. It’s been a wonderful journey being your mother, and I hope I will continue to watch you both grow and blossom into beautiful young women.
DSC_7682
So, before we end 2015, I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about men. 20 years from now, you will probably meet someone. Someone who will sweep you off your feet, someone who will take your breath away. And then before I know it, you’d probably be telling me you want to get married, which comes to the first point I want to make. If the guy doesn’t even bother seeking permission from us before asking your hand in marriage, don’t marry him. Call me old fashion, but that’s how it should be done. It shows courage (that he’s brave enough to face your daddy who will be holding a rifle) and respect (that your then old woman has had to put in so much love and effort into raising you). But let’s talk about what you should look for in a man, before you even think about getting hitched.
IMG_4610_1
In all honesty, I can’t tell you what is the perfect man, because what is perfect for me, may not be suitable for you. But I know what qualities a man SHOULDN’T have, and if you notice any of the points below, then please just head to the other direction sweetie.

  1. If a man talks about himself more than he talks about you both as a couple, then smile and thank him, and WALK AWAY. Because he’s just given you a glimpse of how your future would look like – him being all about himself and you’d just be, well, you. Total separate entities.
  2. If you do get to talk about the future, about having children, and you get the hint that he thinks women should do all the work raising a child, WALK AWAY. Parenting is teamwork. If a man is not man enough to change diapers or cradle the baby to sleep, he’s not man enough to be a father. No man should ever tell you he’s not born to be part of parenting. And believe me, I personally know men who are like that.
  3. If a man constantly needs to have the last say, WALK AWAY. You are an educated grown woman who has a good head on her shoulders, you don’t need a male chauvinistic pig to burden you for the rest of your life. Marriage or life as a couple is to be comfortable enough to not have the last say. You should value laughter and happiness over being right. That’s how marriages last.
  4. If you get the feeling as if you’re a maid when the man is around, then you probably are becoming one. In this case, RUN. I didn’t raise you to be slave. I’m not saying that house chores should be shared equally between man and woman, I’m saying that a man should be comfortable doing SOME chores. In my humble opinion, women should still be handling most of the operations at home, but if done right and being showed appreciation accordingly by your man, you shouldn’t feel as if you’re slaving yourself away. Your daddy has always been hands on with everything that goes on in our lives – parenting, house chores, business, etc. And we ALWAYS get things done TOGETHER. The key word here is together. If you’re going to be a couple, you need to work like one.
  5. If a man gives you even a tiny hint that you need improvement in any way, accept his criticism and go to your room. Sit down in a quiet corner and ponder on what he said. Why or what is he telling you to change? Perhaps it’s your temper or bossiness, if so then it’s probably a good sign that he’s trying to bring out the better side of you. Perhaps it’s your boobs that are not big enough, or that you’re not thin enough, in that case you should probably thank him, and then kick him out of the house. Because what happens when 20 years down the road, you go out of shape after giving birth to your children? Is he going to constantly remind you how in need of improvement you are? A genuine man will only try to improve you mentally and emotionally, and give you the necessary support to self-improve physically if you should wish to. God knows how much effort your daddy has had to put in to fix me mentally and emotionally, and I’m forever grateful that he was willing to be with me through every step of my self improvement.
  6. Make sure he treats you well, but don’t let him fuss too much over you. You’re not a tofu, you’re not made of glass. Be independent, but at the same time, let him take care of you. Never let him substitute presents for presence. A Tiffany ring means nothing if he’s never present in your life, especially after you have children. Simple gestures such as peeling the prawn for you, saving the best part of a dish, helping you with the dishes, cooking supper for you, making you hot chocolate milk at 2am in the morning, taking the kids off your hands so that you can have some “me” time, etc tells you how much you matter to him. Yes, your daddy did all those, and more. And if you ever have kids, that’s the best way to show your kids what kind of gentleman to look for when it’s their turn to fall in love. Some of us never had any good examples to benchmark with, but you have had the privilege of watching and feeling first hand how a man should treat a woman, never let yourself be taken for granted.  You’re worth more than that.

IMG_3932_1

Well, enough said about men, talking about them takes a lot of energy away from me, and there’s too many to list in one article. Now I would like to also give you some advice, from one woman to another woman. You might agree with some, and not agree with others, and that’s okay. Because what is right for me, might not be totally right for you. You work out which ones resonates and makes sense to you.
  1. Never ever degrade or complain about your other half in public. You may talk it out with him in the privacy of your own room, but never in the eyes and ears of the public. Why? Because doing so, not only tells others that he’s a jerk, you’re also indirectly telling others that you’ve been stupid enough to fall for a jerk. Internet memes such as this one, “Dear Mother-in-law, don’t teach me how to handle my children, I’m living with one of yours and he needs a lot of improvement” is just plain foolishness. You can’t choose your family, but you can definitely choose your spouse. So if you are telling the world that you’re living with someone who “needs improvement”, you’re basically telling the world that your husband is not good enough. So then, why marry him in the first place?
  2. Value laughter and happiness over being right. Women tend to nag and find faults in men. Doing so won’t bring you any closer, in fact, it will only push the men further away until they find some other woman who will show them smiles and laughters. I see too many divorces happening because the minute the man steps into the house from a stressful day at work, the first thing he sees is a sour-faced woman, and the first thing he hears is an earful of complains. Always smile, because it’s always the smile that leads us to fall in love in the first place. The rest (complains) can wait, at least until a few hours later.
  3. Life as a couple will never always be smooth sailing. But if you are lucky to meet your soul mate, then the journey will be a lot easier and enjoyable.
  4. Be happy. Happy wives equals happy husbands and happy kids. Make  parenting a joyful thing for your spouse. Make them look forward to spending time with the kids. Tell them how wonderful the kids are. Teach the kids to make something heartfelt for their daddies – be it a simple drawing, some cupcakes, a lego creation. Always tell them how awesome their daddy is because that’s how it should be. Never argue or fight in front of your kids. They need to see a united front in order for them to grow up positively. Save the arguments for the bedroom.
  5. Always know that you have a second home with us, no matter what or when. When you marry someone in the future, your home will always be where your husband is. It is expected that at some point of time (and if you marry the right person) you will be more comfortable with your husband than your parents, because that’s who you chose to spend the rest of your life with. You can’t choose your parents or siblings (so we must accept the fact that not all family members get along), but you can definitely choose your other half, so choose wisely. Take your time. Live in together for awhile pre marriage, and please use the necessary precautions. At least then, you get to see each other’s true colours before signing the papers, because courtship is very different to marriage. Your first love might not be your last, but that’s perfectly okay because if you’ve never been through a few, how would you know that you’ve found the right one? Go ahead, and test the waters.

IMG_4010_1

Anyway, I think this letter is long enough for now. I need to go catch some sleep before you both wake up from your slumber, otherwise you’d probably won’t be able to recognise your zombie of a mother. Having said so, please be prepared for another letter sometime in the future my darlings. Mommy and daddy loves you to the moon and back.

2105721066441417100216

Thank goodness for Daddies!

Both warriors have been down with the fever today, a fever that started just this morning with no prior indication whatsoever, not even at 6am when I checked since I co-sleep. This sudden onset of body temperature meant that all plans were ruined today, and that I was really in big trouble because I hadn’t thought of storing any fresh produce to cook for the warriors since they were due to go spend the night at their grandparent’s place. Worse, I just Googled and the nearest supermarket opens only at 10am. Gulp. Duke has his work appointment at 10am and needs to leave the house latest by 9.30am. Double gulp. I guess I would have to wait till the girls were up (they went back to sleep after waking up to a fever at 8.30am) then take both together with me to the supermarket for a quick run of grocery shopping.

So by 9.20am, Duke gave both girls and I a kiss on our foreheads and then left the house for work. Or so I thought. He called me at 9.45am to tell me he’s at the grocers and will get whatever I needed so I didn’t have to lug 2 sick kids together for the groceries. He’s even gotten 8 out of 10 things right in the trolley before I even had to tell him my list. Blessed him, this husband of mine! I was grateful that he postponed his appointment because it was tough enough having to tend to 2 cranky and feverish kids at home, let alone lugging them to a supermarket by myself. And it doesn’t end there. He then comes home with my dinner at 8pm, telling me how amazing I’ve been taking care of the kids, and helped me bathe them without me needing to ask. He then entertained the kids while I went to take a much needed shower.

12545427_245269525804688_565858610_n

Which brings me to the topic of my article, Thank goodness for Daddies. Seriously, sometimes I think we don’t give the daddies of the world enough credit. Parenthood or the running of a household isn’t just a mommy’s job, daddies play a huge role as well, and I think both mommies and daddies deserve equal recognition in society as “parents”.

Duke, like many daddy friends I know, are equally capable of taking care of the household and their children. He doesn’t just bring home the cash$$, he (some obviously not everyday, but many a times):

cooks, hangs up the laundry, cleans the house, washes the toilet, does gardening, goes grocery shopping, fixes the lights and whatever problems at home, solves my personal problems, keeps me stay positive and patient when I’m about to explode, protects me from physical and emotional harm, supports my breastfeeding journey (even when other friends and family members have been discouraging), watches my chick flicks with me (in return I watch action films with him), goes into the birthing pool with me just so that I didn’t have to go through the birthing process alone…

IMG_3175_1

He also (all the time):

feeds the kids, takes them out alone to the park or mall (so I can finish my chores or work at home peacefully), stays home with them while I enjoy my outing alone, reads to them, chats with them, sings with them, ties their hair, change their nappies, bathes them, babywears them in a carrier, gives them the green light to do whatever mommy says they shouldn’t be doing (not necessarily a good thing)…

And the list goes on.

Most people (mainly the older generation, and certainly society in general) would have had their mouths hanging to the ground floor just by reading the previous paragraph. A man taking the kids out ALONE? Taking care of the kids at home ALONE? Really??!! Men can do that??!! Heck, even my own father was skeptical the first few times I left the kids with him and Duke. Seriously, whoever came to a conclusion that men (2 in his case) can’t handle 2 kids?

A man is capable of many things if he’s determined and passionate enough about it. Also, if only society didn’t brainwash the male population with the male ego and chauvinism thingy, I’m pretty sure many men would actually be okay to show their, for the lack of a better word, nurturing side. Wouldn’t it be great that men are given a chance to show the world what great parents they are, without being judged by silly social norms? That it’s not unmanly to be able to laugh with your kids, or to wipe their bum, or be kissy-huggy with them in public?

Men have been stereotyped since God knows when to be the breadwinner of the house, to work long hours of the day, come home to eat dinner at the table, ask the children about their day at school, and then go to sleep. Thankfully more and more men nowadays seem to have stepped out of that “norm”, and are now more hands on with raising their children.

In fact, did you know that kids fare better in life when they’ve had constant and strong father figures throughout their childhood? As found here, here and here, it seems that children who consistent and healthy fatherly contact have higher intelligence level and psychological security (assuming the father-daughter relationship is a healthy one anyway).

What’s more, do you also realise that fathers are the first man a daughter learns about the opposite sex from, the first glimpse of what kind of man a son will endeavour to be in the future? Therefore, what a father does in front of his children, will influence them for life. Be a loving husband, his daughters will know how she should be treated by her husband, and his sons will know how to love his wife. Be a healthy person, his children will likely be the same. Be charitable, his children will learn that it’s okay to give to the needy, because what goes around comes around. Be filial to his parents, his children will appreciate his filiality and return the favour when the time comes.

IMG_5041 copy

 

Aren’t fathers just awesome? I really think we need to give more shout-outs to fathers around the world. Men need to know that we women and children appreciate their efforts in parenting, even if it means the children eats instant ramen cooked in yesterday’s left over chicken bone broth. And if I were to be very honest, I sometimes cook instant ramen cooked in yesterday’s bone broth too. LOL.

And really, thank goodness for Daddies, especially the hands-on ones. 🙂

 

2030287696155814270116

 

 

Reblog: My life as a new and improved mother

*** This was written in 2014, but I thought it was a good reminder again for myself this year.

In just a few hours, we will wake to a new day, and into a new year. While this year has been a fruitful year, I know 2014 will only bring greater experiences into my life. Life has been kind to me, even as a new parent, I managed to pull through the ups and downs of parenting without causing too much damage. Lol.
IMG_0850_1
So to end this year, I’d like to give myself a pat on the back and at the same time, jot down 10 important points that were reminiscent of my parenting experience in 2013, and hope that it will serve to guide to me be a better parent in 2014.

1. The best guide to parenting is your maternal instincts. Skip the best selling books on parenting and pregnancy and whatsoever. Parenting should come from the heart, not mind. If your heart tells you to co-sleep with your child, do it; if your heart tells you to carry your child, do it. No one (including the nanny, grandparents, Great Aunt Beatrix, parenting experts, even your paediatrician) knows your child better than you.
2. It’s all worth it. Having a baby means less (or non-existence) late nights out, sleeping in, movie dates, unhealthy fast food, me time, etc. But it’s okay, because a) none of those things do any good to your health anyway; b) the amount of joy (and occasionally headaches) that you get in return for having your little bundle of joy makes it all worth it. Having a baby completes your life, learn to enjoy it.
IMG_0743_1
3. Happy parents = happy baby = happy family. Noticed how I placed “Happy parents”first? That’s because your baby needs to feel that you’re okay to feel okay. If on the occasion it makes your life easier letting your child watch that thirty minutes of TV, so you could finish off your dinner preparation before hubby gets back, do it. If you had a really sleepless night yesterday and don’t have the energy to cook your child a wholesome meal, consider a simple sandwich, or noodle with soup, or fried rice. It’s okay to go with the flow once in a while. And if you’re happy, chances are your child will be happy too, and when your child is happy, it makes parenting so much easier and enjoyable.
IMG_0824_1
4. What feels natural is best. Yes, at 25 months, my not-so-little bundle of joy is still nursing, but only to sleep; she still co-sleeps with me; she loves cuddling up to her daddy at bed time. In this modern age and day, parents are encouraged to force independence onto their children at an early age. Well, as much as I tried following it out of peer pressure, I decided I feel better going with the flow of what feels natural to me and my child. I no longer feel ashamed to admit that my child still nurses occasionally everyday; I’m happy that she loves sleeping in between daddy and mommy; and daddy can’t seem to sleep peacefully without having her near him. These things feel natural to me, to her, to us. And I can’t think of a better way to live life than to live a life that feels natural to me.

5. Fever and infections are part and parcel of growing up. They are there to help build a strong immune system. Ever since Little Miss was six months old, I’ve learnt to trust her little body to fight off infections with minimal medical interventions. She’s never had anything major that her own body couldn’t fight off, with a little help of homeopathic and natural remedies. Out of her two years of existence, I could count with one hand the amount of times she’s had to take Paracetamol for fevers more than 39 degrees Celsius. Her immune system is stronger than many children I know, and I know it’s because her body has been allowed to develop as it should have.

6. Opinions can differ, but they stem from the same ground – everything we do, we do it for the love of our children. Some believe in spanking, others believe in a more gentle approach; some believe in eating organic everyday, others don’t have the luxury of affording better quality food; some believe in pharmaceuticals, others believe in nature and homeopathy. It’s never easy trying to make the best choice for your loved ones, but as long as it’s acted in accordance to your conscience and informed judgement, there is no absolute right or wrong in your decisions.

7. Respect others. Everyone else is fighting a harder battle than you. Just because you don’t see it on the surface doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Everyone has a history that justifies their actions, and until you understand their stories, don’t go pointing fingers and judging them for their actions. The same goes for parenting styles. Your friend choosing to undergo a C-section instead of a natural birth doesn’t make her less of a woman, it makes her a strong woman who is capable of making her own choices. A relative choosing to bottle feed her baby with formula milk doesn’t make her any less motherly, maybe she has a medical condition that prevents her from being able to provide breastmilk. Respect others for their decisions, their lives their choice.

8. Love your partner. He’s the reason why you’re still sane in amidst of all your parenting ups and downs; he’s the reason why your feet are firmly on the ground with your decisions; he’s the reason you have that beautiful little miracle in your arms. Vice versa. She’s the reason you have a family; she’s the reason why you strive to be better in every way; she’s the reason you have a HOME.

IMG_0740_1

9. Love yourself. Do things that make you happy and relaxed. Because ultimately a happy you equals happy spouse equal happy parents equals happy child.

10. Last but not least, praise your child everyday and listen with an open heart. Tell her how brilliant, beautiful and precious she is. Love her for who she is. She could be naturally reserved, active, dreamy, grumpy, but it’s part of who she is. Nurture according to nature instead of against it. Work with your child’s natural behaviour. Listen to her. Listen to what she’s really trying to tell you, so she knows that her voice DOES matter.

IMG_0812_1
I have a lot to improve on as a mother, but I know I am a lot better than last year. Hopefully, I will be even better next year.
Happy New Year everyone! May the next year bring you more wealth, better health, and an abundance of happiness!
2030287696155814270116