2017 – Where did all my time go? 

Happy New Year!

I know…writing a post to reflect on 2017 is so cliche and perhaps boring to the readers. So I tried to draft a more exciting title. Maybe this looks more like a vlog title? Maybe you can skip this post, but it is important to me to reflect the past year so that I can set the new year in the right tone.

I took a couple of days to think of what to write and was still brainstorming as I started my draft. Unimaginative as this post seems to be, it is rather tricky to start. Perhaps if I log my thoughts into a notebook especially set up for blogging, I might have an easier time writing. As I wrote, I sidetracked into my grouses while I recalled the frustrating journey I went through in 2017. This post is not about my complaints, so I stopped writing.

Then I received a newsletter from Christelle Lim, a successful Korean-American fashion influencer. She asked herself some awesome questions to reflect on her 2017. I decided to adopt some of the questions to answer too.

1. What were my best achievements this year?

This first question stumped me already. As a full-time mother, I have no KPI, no numbers to meet. My son’s school result is important, but it should not be my KPI. Then what? The children’s weight and height???

Fine, I have a number to show off. FOUR. I have 4 children this year. Every achievement comes with a price. My hubby and I worked exceptionally hard to keep our household in order.

#1 started his P1 journey. My wish is simple. I hope he would like school and enjoy the company of his new friends. There were some mini-dramas along the way, but we helped him to overcome his fears by understanding and listening to him. We encouraged him. By the end of his P1 journey, he said he likes school and can’t wait to attend P2 soon!

I started a blog in 2016, and it’s growing, slowly but surely. Growth is slow because of my lack of time, knowledge and support to nurture the website. I started the blog without any photography skill nor any knowledge of HTML, coding or editing skills. And I invested only nominal sums into my site for fear of getting no returns.

Today, my website is generating income! Though merely token sums, I am confident that the amount will gradually grow as long as I persist and put in consistent and meaningful efforts.

2. What were my most significant challenges or obstacles I faced this year? How did I overcome them? Who did I become as a result?

Spreading myself too thin

Managing 4 children under 7 at one go is a test of my ability and tenacity. They spread me thin, especially when all four or sometimes five including the hubby require my attention simultaneously. How does this happen? It’s usually in the late evening when the babies are tired and need more comforting, the two elder ones fighting over something and refusing to go to bed on time, and the eldest one who returns from work and wanting to share his exciting day at work.

But just like what my friend commented, “Isn’t this what you want?” I can’t complain. I choose this life because this is indeed how I want to spend my time. As long as I remain to focus on my priority and cut out the distractions, I will stay happy doing what I am doing now, that is bringing up my children the way I want to.

Related post:

Defining Success: Am I a success or a failure? 

Lack of time

This somewhat is a continuation of the first point.

The babies take up most of my time though my helper assists too. Having 2 babies to look after, especially with one baby who is very reliant on me and needs lots of comforting (luckily not 2 needy ones), there was a ton of work that I could not complete, either with the elder ones or for my blog.

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How I keep my sanity with 4 kids at home

We are trying hard to prevent the Middle Child Syndrome

Pressured for time means also a test of my patience. Other than completing their schoolwork, I want the older ones to gain some self-care skills, such as picking up their toys or simple cooking. #2 can prepare her own scrambled eggs mixture now, but she still leaves the cooking to our helper. Her scrambled eggs taste good!

Without the luxury of time, my patience runs dry. I frequently have to remind myself to run slowly because the kids cannot catch up with my pace, and I have to stop myself to overhelping them just so that they take lesser time to finish their work.

With the day and night care rendered to the kids, I could only spend my late nights typing away. And I did very little yoga. It didn’t help that the babies have started to sleep very late recently, I am left with less time to complete a post before my mind turns fuzzy and sleepy.

I don’t think I have any solution to overcome this obstacle, other than to sleep lesser and type faster. I have no budget nor intention to hire a ghostwriter. I just need to cut myself some slack and grow my blog at snail pace.

3. How have I developed or changed as a person?

I have become stronger than I already was. I feel like a wonder woman, and my hubby gifted me a pair of wonder woman shoes to validate my contributions. But I have also learned to stop and listen to my body.

My Melissa Wonder Woman Shoes

Last year, I pushed my pregnant-self so hard that I was hospitalised for three weeks. This year, I almost risked hospitalisation again for dehydration. I was so focused on feeding the babies, busy with other commitments that I forgot to drink water. Drinking water is a basic requirement for nursing mums.

4. How much fun have I had in 2017? Was I fulfilled?

I had a lot of fun!!! Beyond the cries and the quarrels, the children were really sweet to me. The older ones helped me out when I was burdened with the needy babies. They massaged me when I felt tired. They poured me drinks when I breastfed. I have lovely children!

And because I am maintaining a blog space, we become more mindful of our daily lives. We record meaningful time spent in fun activities. The elder ones would remind me to take photos of our lovely experiences and post them in melissa.com. That is how they name my website.

5. What am I really proud of?

I think this is really obvious. I am proud of myself as a mother of 4 and I am proud of my children.

6. Is everything I have done this year in alignment with my big dream or goal?

Yes, it is. I am going in the right direction!

That’s all for me. Have you reflected your 2017? Would you like to try answering these questions?

Happy New Year again! Hope you have a happy and fulfilling year again!

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