Category Archives: motherhood

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.

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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”.

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…


Mother will blog for Meals, Milk or Money

You may have noticed a new addition to my blog page – a pink icon at the right column that says¬†maternity exchange. Yes, it’s an advertisement. And that means I’ve officially moved to the big leagues of celebrity bloggers.

I’ll be starting an autograph session every Saturday along the streets of Orchard Road. (You can spot me by the little tin can on the floor beside me)

When I started this blog, I had no idea where it was going to take me, or that it would have become such a big part of my life. I certainly didn’t think it would be big enough to attract the attention of ahem, advertisers. Gosh, it sound so fancy. I’ve had the best time of my life writing and knowing that other mothers (and non-mothers) can identify with the myriad of motherhood experiences.

Well, I just got approached to host my first ad, and I must say, it feels awesome to be paid for doing something that I love. I mean, who doesn’t like to be recognized for their efforts and given a nice pat on the back?

So now that I’m well on my way to making my first million (rupiah), I have a very big announcement to make.

*MOTHER WILL BLOG FOR MEALS, MILK OR MONEY*

If you don’t have a product or service for me to advertise (you losers), I also have the following skills that may be of interest to you.

1. Babysitting

Unlike other fake-wannabe babysitters, I will actually SIT ON YOUR BABY. I have many years of experience under my belt and I come with glowing recommendations from satisfied customers. I’m proud to say that all the children I have babysat are all within the ideal weight range.

Thanks to my unique service, obesity is now on the decline in Singapore. Unfortunately, there’s been several mysterious cases of unexplained trauma among children. (They have absolutely nothing to do with me, I swear)

2. Breastfeeding

You have the option of breastfeeding from the bottle (expressed) or directly from the breast (more expensive, clearly, since there are so many added benefits like bonding and emotional development). With my nutritious diet of chocolates and durians, you can be sure your baby is getting all the goodness and nourishment.

3. Tutoring

I can conduct classes to teach your kids a variety of subjects like mind-reading, telepathy and hypnotism. Nowadays, it’s all about getting a headstart in life and your precious little ones will be equipped with the necessary skills to manipulate their gullible classmates to do their homework, clean their shoes and warm their toilet seats.

4. Dog-sitting

Unlike babysitting, I won’t actually sit on your dogs (come on, that’s retarded). Instead, I will make them sit in the corridor all day leashed to a pole. It’s to teach them obedience while I do my usual stuff. I will check in on them every few days to make sure they’re still alive, so you can rest assured your canine companions are in good hands.

5. Cleaning and washing

Tru will go around your house eating up all the dirt and within minutes, it will be spotlessly clean. Some of the stubborn stains may take several sessions of cleaning to get rid of, but it still beats some of the commercial cleaners out there.

6. Tru-badour

After all the time and money I’ve invested into my son, it’s only right that I exploit his vast array of talents to make some extra dough. I was watching¬†Slumdog Millionaire and there’s this blind kid in who sings at street corners for donations. Not a bad idea. Of course I’m not gonna gouge out his eyes, but cute kids that sing are practically a gold mine.

We’ll make quite a team. I can play the guitar while Tru can belt out hits like Mariah’s Without You. He’s still working on getting the lyrics just right, but I’ll be happy if he manages to pull off this performance below. At the worst, people will pay us to shut up. But hey, whatever it takes.

*To find out more about the packages, rates and special discounts, just drop me a mail.

I will also be taking in donations to the make-me-a-millionaire fund. The money will go towards funding my liposuction and you-know-what augmentation. (Impersonating Pam Anderson will be my backup plan in case this blog thing goes awry)

Picture Perfect

If there’s one thing I should have done more as a mother, it’s to take more pictures of Tru. Most mothers have a gazillion pictures of their tots and I have a grand total of about a hundred since he was born (Most of them not even taken by me). I bet strangers have more pictures of my kid than I do.

That’s the thing though. We’re totally not trigger-happy people. During Tru’s delivery, we didn’t even bring a camera to capture the pivotal moment. I was lying on the operating table with my stomach flapping open, witnessing the following conversation take place.

Gynae: Ok, where’s your camera? You can standby to take pictures of the baby.

Husband: Er, we didn’t bring one.

Gynae (incredulous): Camera phone? How are you going to take pictures?

Husband: Actually, our phones have no cameras.

*Awkward silence*

From time to time, I browse through some of Tru’s old photos (yes, all 100 of them) just to look back at how tiny and helpless he was back then. Here’s a few.

Every time I look at how small he was back then, and it makes me go all mushy inside. That’s it, my middle-of-the-year-resolution is to TAKE MORE PICTURES OF MY KIDS.

Technology, the bane of my life

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I love it because it has made my life a lot easier as a mom (I can’t imagine how mothers used to survive without the assistance of modern technology). But I hate it when it fails me.

I’d like to think otherwise, but on the scale of technology idiots, I’m probably way ahead of the pack. I’m bright enough to recognize the giant (usually red) on/off buttons to work most devices, but when it comes to customizing complicated settings and troubleshooting for problems, it will usually involve some hair grabbing and guttural howls.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having some technological device fail you in the middle of something important like say, preparing a meal. Cooking a decent meal for Tru is tough enough, (I’ll save my culinary exploits for another time) and it is too much to ask for all my kitchen appliances to cooperate?

As usual, the husband and I were puttering around in the kitchen trying to whip up a pot of nutritious porridge for Tru yesterday (it’s a two-men operation) when my blender decided to commit kamikaze midstream. Halfway through the carrots, it let out a final screech and died. It then decided that it could only dice tiny pieces of food one at a time, which is more painful than having to chop it by hand (at least my hands won’t go on strike).

It was just terribly frustrating, to the extent that I considered flinging it against the wall and letting it go out in a blaze of glory.

Die, you pathetic excuse for a blender.

Good thing there’s Superdad to the rescue. After struggling with the accursed appliance for a few minutes, it suddenly resurrected from the dead and sputtered to life. And that’s how I decided to let it continue its miserable existence. But I assure you, it will not be so fortunate the next time around.