Chronicles of a stay home mum
Having 2 small kids at home is no joking matter. In fact, on most days, it is very tiring and very exhausting unless, they are at grandma’s. Being a mum needs a lot of creativity to stay sane and, not to mention alive and still walking, at the end of the day.
I used to work in marketing for a MNC which requires a lot of traveling. I had to handle almost 300 personnel and tend to their needs. I’m used to making sales presentations and entertaining until wee hours in the morning but, nothing prepares me for the amount of responsibilities that I have to shoulder as a full time mum.
So here are my survival tips for any stay home mums out there (or those that plan to be one) in no whatsoever order…
LEARN TO LOVE READING
Kids just love to be read to. They will soak up any bedtime stories. Bearing in mind that their choice of bedtime stories may not be exactly your cup of tea, you must learn to love reading. I mean really love it with all your heart so, when you read, you will not be the first to yawn! The trick is to inject animation into the reading so, they will stay interested (hopefully interested enough to want to read on their own one day) and most importantly, to keep yourself awake!
LEARN TO VISIT THE LIBRARY
You have no idea what kind of questions they can come up with. To avoid making up stories (which is a no-no) or in other words, lie, please visit the place where information are readily available to satisfy one’s curiosity. The library visit can be a weekly activity for the whole family. These days, grandma could sip coffee in the café while kids run wild in the kids section with their annoyed looking parents tagging close behind. Don’t worry about noise. Kids section is made to be sound proof! Help your kids to borrow books of their interest, not what you think they should be reading.
LEARN ART & CRAFT
This is a must for any bored kids. I’m not talking about complicated origami. My favorite is decorating picture frames. You can get those plain ones from Ikea or Spotlight. Then, collect buttons, shells, pasta, beads even dry leaves, and glue them onto the frames. Buy the white school glue which is less messy than the traditional glue. Kids will have hours of fun making their own frames. Get lots of color pencils, crayons and drawing blocks. Hang their master pieces on their bedroom walls. Get loads of stickers to reward them.
LEARN TO PLAY
You’ll be surprised that as a parent, you may not know how to play kiddy games anymore. Most of us are too corporatized to let ourselves go crazy. Well, the rule is to never lead in your kid’s play. Be a player, not a leader. You can suggest the following step of a game by asking questions. For example, “What’s happens next?” Even if you know the game, it’s good to let your kid win for a few times before beating him to the game. Teaching him to be a good sport is not easy if he never wins!
LEARN TO LAUGH
Yeah, you read it right. Laughter cures many things. Our body will release the feel good hormones with every laugh we make. This is essential knowing that kids will drive parents crazy almost all the time. Learn to take things easy and believe me when I say, you will not die if you have not made your bed (again) before you hit the sack, again!
LEARN TO SET A ROUTINE
Kids are better off with a proper daily routine. For example, wake at 6am, homework at 4pm, playtime at 6pm, story time 8pm, bedtime 9pm. Once you have set your own daily schedule, stick to it. It’ll probably take about two weeks (to my experience) to do this but it’s worth every effort and sacrifices. Kids are good at bargaining so, beware. Once you give in, they will know that they can get away with some other things. You can set rules for weekdays and weekends so, they will know that Saturday is library day and the play station is only reserved for Sundays!
LEARN TO COOK
I’m serious. Although we all have maids, a mum should know how to cook. I’m not talking about cooking a feast (although knowing how to cook a good curry will always win his heart again). I’m talking about cooking kiddy meals (at least). There are lots of simple recepies that you can learn. Don’t worry about it tasting bad at first. Kids will get used to it (kidding). Get your kids involved when you bake. Tell yourself, messy is good. After all, we all have maids, right?
LEARN TO LISTEN
Some kids talk non stop, almost like a radio. Mine do. With so many things in our minds, sometimes we fail to listen. This can result to some undesirable consequences like shouting, table kicking, and cat screaming, hair-raising situations. In order to avoid these, please don’t mix work with play. When they talk, you have to pay attention. It’ll give you a chance to understand them better. To stop a talk match, tell one kid that he must not talk when another is talking (vice versa). They will appreciate it and you will nurture a good communication bond with them. This is very important in teenage years because, that will be the time when you’d want to talk to them but they don’t. Enough said.
LEARN TO HAVE SOME PRIVATE TIME
Set aside some private time for yourself. My kids go to bed at 9pm everyday so, I have at least 2 hours for myself before I hit the sack. I read emails, have a good bath, do a bit of self-massage and some quite reading just to relax and unwind. So, it’s very important to set a good bedtime routine. I know some mums will let their kids take late afternoon naps and wake the neighbors at night with their play time. This can be very disastrous for the friendly neighbor who has eye luggages after many sleepless nights. Also, remember to keep in touch with some adult friends before you turn into a Mr. Bean. It will keep you sane knowing that you are not alone in this challenging period.
No one said that motherhood is easy but it can be a great journey. After much practice and patience, one will be able to squeeze some time for a manicure/pedicure, a hairdo, tea with friends yet, still able to maintain a happy and satisfying role as a full-time mum. Being a stay-home mum is not a sacrifice; it’s an investment for the future. Remember this the next time your kid comes back with a new word from school, but it isn’t exactly what you would like to hear… 🙂