2016 – What I realized, what I achieved.
In 2016, there were 2 major milestones in my life. First, I ended my 16 years of banking career to be a full-time mother. Second, we got pregnant with twins. A smaller milestone achieved was the setting up of this blog, something totally new to me.
1. Becoming a full-time mother
I think I am just like any other mother who wants to give their children more attention. Having a job that ends after dinner time every night and bringing the children home after 9 pm on a daily basis just did not seem right to me as a parent, especially when my first-born is starting his primary school journey this year. Not complaining the job here as it is very common in Singapore to work till late evening. I believe I made the right choice, at least when it comes to parenting as one of my primary responsibility.
His school starts at 7.40 am and needs to wake up by 5.45 am every weekday morning. It would be simply crazy to bring him home from his grandparent’s place after 9 pm every night!
Staying at home over the past 6 months helps me realise how diligence my maid has been. She helped the children in every single matter. Er…. so did my children (now 7 yr and 6 yr) lift a finger to clean up after themselves?
How about life skills? I always believe in building up my children’s life skills from young to prepare them for greater responsibilities and diversity in the new and abstract world. And every learning process needs time. I can’t expect my children to shoulder a certain responsibility out of sudden when they are still ill-equipped with skills required to perform their role well. What are the life skills which I want them to build up? There are so many. To name a few, independence, tenacity, adaptability, problem solving and multitasking. Learning to take care of themselves sets the foundation to their future endeavours. And for a child to be successful as a person and hopefully a leader, he must first be able to get his hands dirty and do the real work.
Getting them to do the dirty work
But hey, whatever I believe in is not happening because I was too distracted by my many other responsibilities to give some priority in inculcating these values. I tried to reverse some of the damages done. I managed to train up the children to keep their own toys, bring their own plates to the kitchen after a meal, pack their school bags, put on clothes by themselves and bring the dirty laundry to the laundry basket.
These are things that sound very simple to us, and as busy adults, we forgot how we learned them. I also got them started with folding clean clothes, but I think I need to let them practice more. Without my intervention, my helper will continue to do all these for them. But it is not wrong of her to do so. It is her job! She can’t be the one to initiate the children to clean up and I will not empower her to order the kids around. Thus it is my duty to spot the issues and rectify them. And if I had continued clocking in the hours at work, I may regret not focusing on bringing up my children the way I think it’s right.
2. Pregnancy and our medical bills
We chose to have a third child, but we did not expect twins and the complications plus hefty medical bills that came along with the pregnancy.
I thought I was fit enough to carry the twins. At 38, my health indicators were good (still good today) and I worked out at least twice a week before I was pregnant. I was muscular. I thought I would be able to carry out my usual duties, looking after the children, cook, practise yoga. But I was wrong, I overestimated myself and bled heavily one day while I was on the way to pick up the kids from school. As a result, I was hospitalised for 3 weeks.
What do I learn here? Stop pushing myself so hard.
Our estimated medical bill totals more than $45k. This includes the 3 weeks hospitalization that cost $16k, weekly to bi-weekly gynae visits totally $2k per month (including medications and weekly injections), forthcoming caesarean with an estimated bill size of $10k. Our medical bills incurred for our earlier pregnancy was about $10k each, same gynae and same hospital. See my earlier post (click here) if you are keen to know more about the complication.
By the way, we were successful with our insurance claim attempt. Although our private Hospitalisation Plan does not provide insurance coverage for pregnancy complications (unless the complications pose a risk to the mother’s life), the insurer continued to reimburse us a token of $3k. This is because our private insurance coverage is integrated into our national health insurance system. The explanation sounded complex to me and I did not ask more.
2017 – New Challenges Ahead
2017 will be a year to be reckoned with.
My new challenges include the arrival of the twins, house moving and selling, a son attending primary 1 and learning to drive again. I have a fear of driving. Let’s see if I can overcome it this year now that I really need to chauffeur my 4 children around.
Blogging has now become an outlet for me to express myself as an adult while facing 4 children (under 7) every day, and learn new skills. There is a lot to learn in this arena, photography, writing, HTML, etc.
It is life as usual, cook better and healthier food, exercise and getting back to my previous shape and fitness level. Give more love, more patience, be efficient, be nurturing, stay positive. Just do it!