WE’RE MOVING

www.motherinc.org

Moving is a huge pain. The packing, uprooting, shifting, repacking, the whole works. It totally sucks. Moving a blog is just as tedious, but here’s the bright side. It’s always for the best. You get new stuff, better technology and way cooler gadgets.

After toying with the idea for a while, I think it’s time for the big shift. I’m chucking the old honda for a pimped out Audi R4, so it’s gonna be one heck of a ride.

Thanks for taking the time to visit us here at binkiesnboogers, but from today, we’re moving on to greener pastures so come by the new site for a gander.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s finally mother’s day this Sunday. A time to celebrate moms and their supreme awesomeness.

I feel like it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t even been a mom for a whole year and it seems like I’ve been waiting endlessly for my first real mother’s day. I’d like to say that the rewards of motherhood are sufficient to make up for everything, but if you ask me, I’m desperately in need of some pampering and something wrapped up in a bow.

I’m expecting to wake up at 11 am to a sumptuous breakfast in bed and a little blue box with something sparkly inside. Tru will be all fed, changed and ready for his morning nap. After getting smothered with hugs and kisses, I’ll be whisked off for a manicure and a massage, followed by a relaxing bath of goat’s milk.

No diapers, no laundry, no food-slinging and certainly no screaming or whining.

Even then, it’s hardly a fair exchange. A day off to relax at a spa and some diamonds is not fair trade for 364 days of hair-pulling and hemorrhoids. But I’ll take it because it says “you deserve it cos are the most amazing human being on the face of this earth”.

Having recently been admitted to the elite club reserved only for the brave souls who dared to venture into the world of motherhood, it feels different being on the other side, as it were. Like most experiences, you need to be in it to fully comprehend what it really means. I used to hear moms talk about all their mothery stuff and I can try to look sympathetic, but it doesn’t really sink in.

But now, I GET IT. They can talk about 6-hour screaming fits and I totally understand. When Tru was sick and couldn’t fall asleep, I was holding him for 6 hours straight till I was sure my arms weren’t there anymore. I hear about nappy rash and projectile vomiting and I’ve literally been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, took the photo.

It’s like how doctors have their Hippocratic Oath. Mothers also have a code of conduct that they swear to keep the moment the kid pops. In summary, it goes like this. “I shall henceforth cease to exist as a free-spirited individual and place my kids over and above my own needs for the next 18 years. In short, I will become Mother Theresa.”

Only on Mother’s Day, we get a moment of brief respite. To sit back and bask in the adoration and gratitude. So to all the mothers out there, MILK IT FOR ALL IT’S WORTH because it’s over all too soon. Savor every moment and have a brilliant day.

The necessity of nesting

When I first heard about the nesting instinct, I thought it was utterly bogus. Just another lame excuse for cleanliness freaks to validate their obsessive compulsiveness. It’s not surprising since pregnant women have all sorts of incredible terms for strange compulsions.

Wikipedia explains nesting as “an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn”. In humans, it is commonly characterized by a strong urge to clean and organize one’s home. Great, now I’m having the same primal instincts as rodents.

Seeing that I have no qualms subscribing to the philosophy of maintaining an organized mess in my home, I thought I’d escape the nesting instinct by sheer rationality.

*Phew, my superior brains are one-up over the common mammals.

I draw the line at living like a slob, but in general, I’m ok with stuff like rolling my laundry up into little balls and stuffing them in the cabinets. As a rule of thumb, as long as the common areas are neat and tidy, hidden mess does not qualify as mess. (In philosophy, it’s the falling tree in the deserted woods theory – if no one is there to witness it, it technically does not exist)

Which is why I was totally caught by surprise when the nesting instinct kicked in. Against my better judgment, I found myself having the need to organize and reorganize every little thing at home. It was pretty mild when I was pregnant with Tru (maybe it’s a boy thing), but with Kirsten, I’m unstoppable. It’s like an itch that I have to scratch.

With 9 weeks to go, I’ve repacked the nursery about 4 times. Each time, I would dig out all her clothes, re-iron them, re-fold them into neat little stacks (in exact dimensions) and place them back in the wardrobe, only to repeat the process all over again. I’ve arranged all her diapers with the precision of a neurosurgeon and practically sterilized the entire room.

The bizarre thing about the nesting instinct is that it just completely disappears the moment the baby is born. Within a week after Tru’s birth, I was back to the ball-rolling thing. Believe me, with a newborn, there was barely enough time to take a full crap, much less organize stuff.

But for now, I can’t help myself. Apparently, my super brains aren’t so superior after all.

The happiest birthday ever

For the first 25 years of my life, birthdays were a massive affair. It’s the only day I get to act like the Sultan of Brunei and be the high-and-mighty-princess-of-the-universe. I get well-wishes (even the perfunctory ones like “Happy Birthday, hope you have a great time”) and plenty of useless presents that eventually end up on the shelf or worse, in the trash. But still, it was nice knowing that I’m important enough for folks to pick up another photo frame from the store and have it wrapped up and all.

It’s the one day in every year that you get to stand and shout “Look out world, here I come!” The only chance you get to celebrate your very presence in this world and all the potential greatness you hope to achieve.

But after 25, it’s all downhill. You start to realize that birthdays are nothing more than a reminder that you’re quickly moving past the age of being a “sweet, young, thang” and into the “frumpy, middle-aged” zone. Before you know it, you’ll be steep into the “nasty, old hag that tsk, tsks at other sweet, young things” phase.

I used to think I was invincible and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. And then the years start to slip through your fingers. “Like the sands in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives“. (Don’t ask, I was a fan of daytime soaps) Suddenly, you start to consider Botox and facelifts in a desperate bid to hang on to what’s left of your youth. Not a good place to be, if you ask me.

And with a kid and a half, it gets even worse. Somehow after giving birth to another human being, it kinda takes away the gloss of birthdays. Ok, so it’s the day you were born. Big deal. It’s not like you had anything to do with it. EVERYONE’s been born before so what makes you so special. If anything, birthdays should celebrate mothers for having to go through the ordeal of childbirth.

So unlike all the other years before, I found myself missing the anticipation of celebrating my birthday. More of like a “Oh, it’s my birthday already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was still 26.” 27 seems so old. Sportsmen approach retirement at 27. Britney’s 27 and she’s got 2 kids, a whole bunch of plat albums and more moolah than she can spend.

When I was a kid, I used to dream that by 27, I’d do something great like invent the cure for cancer or be a rock star or write a New York Times bestselling novel. But I actually turn 27 and I realize that my life is just… well, painfully ordinary. And every year, I’m running out of time for greatness.

But now I understand why so many mothers put their own dreams on hold for their kids. I look at Tru and I know that he’s going to rock this world when he grows up. He can be anything he wants, and we’ll make sure he gets a decent shot at achieving any crazy dreams he has. And best of all, I realize that maybe all the fame and recognition in the world can’t take the place of having my kids draw me a butt-ugly picture (that resembles giant blobs) and say, “I wuv you, mommy, Happy Birthday”.

Sock’er Mom

Tonight is the big night. Manchester United is taking on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium for the 2nd leg of the Champions League Semi-Finals. After we demolish the Gunners at their own pitch, we’ll be moving on to whip Chelsea (I hope it’s not Barca) in the Finals.

I have to explain my fascination for soccer. It all started way back in 2000 when Italy took on France for the Euro finals. A bunch of girlfriends decided to come over to my place to check out the cute Italian dudes, and I’d reluctantly agreed to watch 22 men chasing ball like a horde of wildebeests.

But when they zoomed in for a close up of Fabio Cannavaro (who still tops my list of hottest soccer players), I was hooked.
Cannavaro

Along the way, I fell in love with the game (and the muscular men all decked out in their soccer garb). There’s all that sweat and testosterone oozing out, complete with masculine grunts.¬†When you watch good soccer, it’s like poetry in motion. Magic.

It’s a myth that only men love to watch soccer. There are plenty of reasons for moms to be a soccer fanatic.

1. Entertainment in your living room.

Being a stay home mom, entertainment options are limited, to say the least. I’m cooped up at home with a kid all day and night, so it’s a good thing I’ve got the telly for company. But with the vast array of trashy programs monopolizing the prime-time slots, soccer is often the best there is, which brings me to my next point.

2. Ogle-fest

It’s the only chance to blatantly ogle at ribbed muscles and tight butts in front of the husband. On a good day, you even get to sneak a peek at their washboard abs when they yank off their shirt with a flourish after scoring a goal. Just make sure you hold a bowl of popcorn so your drool doesn’t collect on the floor.

3. Soccer Barbie

On match days, you get to dress the entire family up in matching soccer jerseys in a show of solidarity. Once you get past the cheese, there’s nothing cuter than dressing the kids up in the tiny jerseys and knee-high socks.

4. Midnight Snacking

It’s the perfect excuse to load up on chips and soda in the middle of the night. So totally sinful, but oh-so-good. And with the occasional ice-cold beer thrown in, the snacks alone is reason enough to be up at 2.30 in the morning.

Recession-Proof Mommy (Part 2)

10 tips to stretch your dollar without compromising on quality (continuation):

6. Scout the newspapers for discounts and promotions.

Supermarkets often advertise their promotions in the papers and a quick browse through everyday will save you quite a bit. I used to mock those who cut out supermarket coupons and promotional codes, but it’s retribution, because I’ve been hoarding coupons like a bag lady.

But look who’s laughing now. I know where to get the best prices for all my essentials, which leaves me more money to buy non-essentials like my Coach baby bag.

7. Rent it.

Instead of buying items that you’ll not need for a long time, try renting it for a couple of months. In the first 3 months after the baby is born, a co-sleeper cot comes in very handy for those midnight feeds. With the cot right beside your bed, you can reach out and grab the baby, feed, and put him back without even having to get out of bed. But items like these lasts for a few months at most, and you’ll have to upgrade to a regular cot, which makes rental a very feasible option.

You can also rent toys for your kids to play with and rotate them on a monthly basis since they get bored of the same old toys very quickly anyway.

8. Most expensive is not always best.

It’s all a marketing ploy to make us think that costly items are far superior than the cheaper alternatives, but the truth is, a significant bulk of the cost goes to paying for advertising and branding. When choosing milk powder and baby food, what’s more important is the nutritional value and how your baby reacts to it.

Likewise, for other stuff like clothes and toys, look for suitability rather than blindly buy the most expensive item on the shelves. I’ve come to realize that Tru prefers playing with tissues, keys, insects and dirt way more than his very expensive toys.

9. Join a library or a book club.

Education is very important and mothers these days start reading to their kids at birth. Hah, but we started even before Tru was born, so he’s going to be like the most ingenious genius around, so there. Instead of buying books, I bring him to the library to pick out a few books to read.

Book clubs are also a brilliant way to start your child on reading programs. Mothers usually gather to share books and conduct storytelling sessions. So while your kids are distracted, you get to chill out with other moms over a cuppa and some scones.

10. Shop at thrift stores or flea markets.

I know it sounds terribly un – g.l.a.m.o.r.o.u.s, but before you go all Fergie on me, I’m pretty sure flea markets don’t actually have fleas (at least, not all the time). Once in a while, you’ll find some really good deals at these places, but you have to look past the grime and see the potential.

A friend of mine managed to buy a whole kitchen play set (RP: $150) for $10. It did take some cleaning up, but after that, it was almost as good as new. Even if you paid a cleaner $10 to wash it, it’s still a steal.

So what I’m trying to say is that being a mother is not that tough nor expensive. All it takes is a little bit of ingenuity plus lots of creativity, and you’ll be recession-proof in no time. And in the unlikely event that all 10 tips fail, it’s not the end of the world. McDonalds is always looking for people to flip patties.

Recession-Proof Mommy (Part 1)

Everyone’s talking about recession-proofing. Like any other job, mothers are also in danger of getting fired. So for your benefit, I’ve decided to come up with a two-part series on how to value-add and make yourself indispensable.

With the economy in a state of crisis, it’s all the more important for mothers to make sound financial decisions. While we’re usually happy to cut back on that new Louis Vuitton tote, when it comes to our kids, mothers spare no expense.

Regardless of whether there is a recession or not, their bottoms need to be diapered and their stomachs fed. Then there’s the never-ending list of baby items you never thought you’d need, like strollers, socks and shower foam.

It’s a parent’s instinct to want to give their kids the best. I’ve forgotten the number of times I’ve chosen the $35 shower gel over another brand that’s half the price, or picked the most expensive diapers just so that his delicate bottom will be shrouded in softness.

10 tips to stretch your dollar without compromising on quality:

1. Breast-feed your baby.

It’s free and it helps you lose weight so you can save on those slimming packages. Need I say more?

Until I became a mother, I had no idea how extortionate formula milk is. It also doesn’t help that Tru drinks milk like he’s been starving for three days. I usually spend about $200 a month on his milk, which can easily be channeled to more important stuff like my spa sessions.

It’s also unlimited, so as long as you keep feeding or expressing, it will never run dry. You can keep feeding them till they are 12 and after that, you can use it for cereal, cakes, cookies and cooking. There’s no need to buy fresh milk ever again.

2. Get plugged in to motherhood forums.

It’s a community where mothers gather to sell off excess items or swap for other stuff. You can find virtually anything that you need at cutthroat prices (with a bit of patience and dedication). I’ve been trawling the forums since Tru was born and here are some of the best bargains I’ve found so far.

  • New Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP car seat (RP: $339) bought for $100
  • Preloved Maxi Cosi Priori SPS car seat (RP: $398) bought for $100

Check out sites like singaporemotherhood.com or idobaby.com

There’s a downside to bargaining though. Occasionally, you may get cursed and hexed for low-balling the price and end up having to spend unnecessary money on getting treated.

3. Share and care.

Pass on baby clothes to other mothers who have babies after you do. Kids outgrow clothes faster than you realize, and it would be a waste to let it grow moldy in the drawers. Free up space by passing it on to other moms who will have better use for it. And don’t be too shy to take over clothes from your friends. Tru’s collection of clothes are mostly passed down from friends and he still manages to look like a superstar.

Although, it’ll be good to choose your friends wisely. Those with bad taste can make your kid look like a hobo or a tramp (or both).

4. Organize or join sprees to save on shipping.

It’s a globalized world and that means we can take advantage of clearance sales halfway around the globe without losing out on shipping. Consolidate items with other mothers to save on shipping from anywhere in the world. Plus, you get your hands on limited edition stuff from overseas without paying through your nose for it.

  • Buy clothes from Gap.com without having to wait for the local store to bring it in and shipping usually costs about $1-2 per garment.
  • Get First Teeth Baby Toothpaste at $6 (shipping included) from US or UK instead of $20 from the local stores.

Just make sure you don’t ship melamine-infested milk powder from certain countries. Death is not an attractive outcome for being too cheapskate.

5. Sell off excess items at lower prices.

We often find ourselves laden with excess stocks of diapers and milk powder after our kids outgrow them. Rather than chucking them away, the best thing is to sell them off at cheaper prices to other mothers. It’s a win-win situation for all.

Alternatively, you can trade them for bigger sizes or other items that you may need. Barter trade is still very much in style.

*to be continued…