I’m not letting working mum’s guilt trip me up this time

So how’s it like going back to work?

October was a month of adjustment for me where I returned to work. After being home with Sophie for more than a year and a half, it’s back to being a juggling mum and finding that elusive balance between family and work like so many working mothers in Singapore.

Just like how my career break wasn’t an anticipated move, the decision to return to work was equally unplanned. But here I am 4 weeks into my job, doing something I am so familiar with as I transit from being a SAHM to a FTWM.

Returning to Work as a Stay Home Mum

While I enjoyed every moment as a stay home mum, spending more time with Sophie in her important pre-teen years, a part of me yearned for more beyond the walls of my home.

At the start of the year, I took on some freelance work and also volunteered in Sophie’s school, with Angel Hearts and also in church. I really couldn’t ask for more because these part-time work kept me meaningfully occupied while ensuring I kept my marketing skills relevant.

And the best part is having pockets of time to meet my friends, especially other SAHMs when our kids were in school. But there was a growing restlessness that I wanted to do more instead of shelving my skills and experience away for fear that they would be regarded as being out-dated or irrelevant.

My initial plan was to return to work next year after the parent volunteer mums prepped me about the long school hours once Sophie hits Primary 5. With extra lessons on top of CCA and other school activities, I’ll see less of her and don’t even get me started on Primary 6 when the school will run at full steam for the PSLE.

So I committed my heart’s desire to God and asked Him to pave the way for both me and Alexis’s job search. To open doors that are in His will and to trust in the waiting. With the fourth quarter of the year was approaching and a slowing economy, I tempered my expectations and hoped for the best.

Out of the blue, an ex-colleague shared a job opportunity and it was perfect because it was a contract role which would allow me to ease back to work gradually.

The First Step is Always the Hardest

You would have expected me to jump up in delight and seized the opportunity in an instant, but instead, my first response was that of doubt. I second guessed my decision to go back to work and doubt stood in the way of me saying yes.

Doubts if I was up for the job after being out of action for some time.

Doubts if I was able to cope with the demands of the job and the unknowns that came along.

Uncertainties if I’ll be laden with mum guilt especially when Oct is the final year exams for Sophie.

Fears if I can do this whole juggling mum act all over again and not feel mum’s guilt.

But God knows me better than I do and He sent people my way to encourage me to go for it.

 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Fear Gives Way to Faith

I didn’t want fears to stand between me and what God has clearly provided. And as I loosen my grip of fear and surrendered them to God, I asked for a double portion of faith.

Faith to believe that I’ll do well where He has planted me and that I will not just survive but thrive. That I will thrive well as a working mum, capable of balancing work and family with understanding boss and colleagues as well as back home with a supportive family. That I don’t have to feel burdened with working mum’s guilt because I can be my best both in and out of the home.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6

There is a peace that comes from being in the will of God and giving up my rights to control my life to someone who knows best. At the same time, I will remember that I have chosen this path for myself and to be thankful for this contract role.

In fact when Sophie asked if I liked going back to work last week, I told her that I did without having to feel mum’s guilt because now we both have stories to exchange at bedtime.

More importantly, I want to remember that work can be a form of worship but it doesn’t define my worth. My identity is so much more than a job, a title, and even possessions which will never be enough of. I don’t want to forget this sweet spot where I’m in right now where I am contented.

Work can be a form of worship but it doesn’t define our worth.

 

I was hesitant to share this story of how I rejoined the work force. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about how SAHMs should never regret our decision to choose our family. However,  life is never about staying still in one spot. Life ebbs and flows and we have to be ready to readjust our sails when the winds of life take us on a different course if we want to keep thriving instead of sink under the waves of change.

And after having the privilege of being a SAHM, I am more aware of my life choices and I don’t believe that working mums must subscribe to a life of struggle and be burdened with mum’s guilt. Make our choices well and don’t regret our decisions be it staying home or returning to work. If we always wake up in the morning feeling torn by our decisions, we will never be able to be our best for ourselves and our family. 

If you are facing a situation that requires a leap of faith to go from fearful to faith filled, I hope that you find courage to change your situation. To be able to look beyond what lies before you and see what the future holds for you when you make that decision to be brave for yourself. If you need an extra dose of courage, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to pray for you too.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting and mtherhood

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Where to stay in Johor Bahru – Airbnb in KSL D’Esplanade Residence

No one ever says no to a staycation.

And ever since we discovered the KTM train to Johor Bahru, it’s been a major game changer where our staycation is just 5 minutes across the causeway.

READ: Singapore to Johor in 5 minutes

via GIPHY

 

I’ve often raved about Doubletree by Hilton as our choice of accommodation in JB. But on our recent trips, we decided to explore the many Airbnb options and landed ourselves up in a Star Wars studio apartment.

Airbnb in KSL D’Esplanade Residence

Where to Stay in Johor Bahru for Airbnb

For families with 2 or more kids, Airbnb are Godsend. Not only is it a more budget friendly option, Airbnb also gives you plenty of choices for apartment size to fit everyone in your family without having to make them sleep in the bathtub or balcony.

As we were travelling with group of families, we had a list of criteria that the apartment has to check off.

  • a variety of apartment sizes
  • centralised location (<15 minutes drive from JB Checkpoint)
  • amenities such as swimming pool and gym
  • free carpark
  • food choices without having to drive out

We decided on KSL D’Esplanade Residence for our Airbnb which met our requirements and we had no complaints.

Okay, maybe just one and it’s how s.l.o.w the lifts are. Both towers service 37 storeys and there are easily 20 units on each floor… It was quite a nightmare waiting for the lifts during the peak hours like breakfast, lunch, checking out, dinner time.

I can vouch that we’ve all flourished and bloomed with the fruit of patience after this trip.

via GIPHY

But that aside, it was mostly made up by the fact that there was so much good food and of course the company was priceless too.

Airbnb Star Wars Room in JB

Our studio apartment fits a family of 5 nicely. Upon entering the apartment, there is a kitchenette with an induction stove, fridge, microwave and sink.

 

King size bed and bunk bed

The room will be a hit for Star Wars fan with its consistent theme around the apartment. Good size for a family of up to 5 pax.

We paid S$175 for 3 nights, which works out roughly to S$58 per night.

For those with drive, the apartment in KSL D’Esplanade Residence also has free parking and rest assured your car wheels will still be there in the morning as there are security guards patrolling the carpark. 

Shopping Mall at Your Doorstep

KSL D’Esplanade Residence sits above KSL Mall, so there was never a lack of food or shopping for us.

I prefer shopping at City Square Mall, the newly opened Mid-valley Southkey, Paradigm Mall and AEON Tebrau but KSL does have a few shops that make the cut for me.

READ: Things to do in Johor Bahru for families

One of them is Sports Direct on the ground floor, which is a sporting outlet. There is also a supermarket, Tesco, at the basement where you can pick up household necessities.There are also your usual suspects like Popular bookshop, Watsons, Daiso.

And lately, they’ve also turned into a bubble tea heaven with so familiar names like The Alley, Tiger Sugar, Whale Carp Tea and Ji Long Tang on level 1. The latter is worth a try as this is the first outlet out of Taiwan and a first in Malaysia too.

Try their signature items Brown Sugar Boba Thick Milk or Brown Sugar Boba Milk. Their brown sugar pearls are cooked to perfection and I was happy to indulge in them with a daily fix here.

KSL Mall is also the go to place if you’re planning to visit the hair salon and nail palour as they have more than 40 names to choose from. Head up to level 2 and you’ll be spoilt for choice.

And of course, there’s also the food glorious food where we explored local options that were highly raved this time. Check back on the blog for more 🙂

The next time you’re deciding on Where to stay in Johor Bahru, do check out the Airbnb in KSL D’Esplanade Residence. Let me know if there are other recommended areas to stay too.

 

KSL D’Esplanade Residence

Address: 56, Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

 

Don’t miss these posts where I share where to stay in Johor Bahru and places to eat across the causeway.

Getting to JB

Where to stay in JB

Fun Things to do in JB

 

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Dear SAHMs, never regret your decision to choose family

They say that time flies by when you’re having a good time and I can’t agree more. I counted the months I’ve been a stay home mum, and it’s been a grand 17 months.

It certainly doesn’t feel that long.

2018 was a sabbatical year of rest where I focused on both physical and emotional healing after two surgeries. Once I came out of the woods in March this year, I dabbled with freelance work from home which gave me the flexibility of time so that I can be home with Sophie

I’m often met with choruses like,

“You’re so lucky to be home with your child.”

“I wish I can stop work like you.”

“If only my husband will allow me to stop working.”

I know that not everyone gets to have a choice to stop working and it’s something that I never take for granted. Or perhaps for you, it was more of not having a choice.

Kids who kept getting sick. Parents or in-laws who can’t help with the kids. Long waiting list for infantcare or childcare centres. Spouses who preferred you to be the main caregiver for the children.

Even though stay home mums are the envy of many working women, there is also a lot we had to give up to be home with our kids.

What Stay Home Mums Give Up

We gave up security.

The financial security of having two paychecks, not worrying about savings or having to tighten our purse strings. Going from dual income to single income means that we have to be extra prudent with our money so that we can still save and provide for ourselves, our kids an our parents.

The security of the future because in this day and age, no one is ever indispensable in the workplace. Whenever there are news about retrenchment, economy slowing down and recession, I say a prayer for my husband as the sole breadwinner.

We gave up advancements.

When I chose to stop work, I know that this move will be be a dent to my career advancement. While my peers were climbing up the corporate ladder, I took myself out of the rat race altogether.

We gave up community.

Ask any stay home mum, and most will tell you that it can be lonely being at home with the kids. Even though I make time to meet up with friends when my daughter is in school, the only voices I hear in a good part of the day are mine and my kid.

No regrets as a Stay Home Mum

But despite it all, I never have any regrets being a stay home mum because I know I am only needed for a season. My child will get older and her day will get busier and longer in school. And by then I will know that it’s time for me to return to the workforce.

I believe that money can be earned later, but there is only a window of time when our kids are most open to us before they hit their teens. A time when they are looking for a safe zone in their parents and I want to be around when she’s searching for answers. I want to be around when she needs comfort.

I’ll raise both hands up and admit that I don’t qualify as a domestic goddess. In fact, my mum would shake her head at me since I’m no where near her standard of what it means to be a traditional housewife. But cooking and cleaning is not what I signed up for. The house meets decent living standards but it is no magazine styled home. Meals are simple as I’m just not into cooking anything fancy.

In fact, I had to correct my grandma when she said that Sophie is going to be an A- student with me coaching her. I may coach her, but her exam results is all on her.

Dear mamas, I know there are days that get you down. Day when you feel defeated seeing all the toys on the floor staring back at you, the mountain of laundry to tackle, kids rolling around on the floor because you said no.

But all these will pass.

If you’ve made a choice to be a stay home mum, embrace that choice and all that comes with it. Never regret your decision to choose family. The kids will only be young for a while and before you know it, they have outgrown your lap.

You don’t have to be a perfect mum, just be a present mum. You are exactly where you need to be in this motherhood journey now.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting.

 

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Loving our children unconditionally

Wanna hear a joke from Sophie?

What did the triangle say to the circle?
.

.

.

You’re pointless 🤣😂😁

 

💖Love letters to Sophie💖

You cracked me up with yet another joke and I thought to myself how I adore this playful side to you. You are our constant reminder to always look on the bright side of life, particularly the fun side.

There are also testing days when you challenge my authority to prove you have a mind of your own and no longer a child. Where your persistent whys as a babe have been replaced with why nots. When you are snappy and frustrate me with your angsty tweenage responses.

Loving all of you

But I want you to know that I still love all of you. Not just parts of you that are lovable but also the unlovable bits because even till today, I’m still a work-in-progress myself. And who’s to say that not what makes who you are too?

Loving our children unconditionally is a mama’s super power but it doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It just means I need to rely less on myself and more on God who first loved us so unconditionally.

 

It’s been on my mind to pen a book for Sophie.

A book to contain my love letters to her. A book that will also encourage other mums in their personal parenting journey as we can be so hard on ourselves.

Starting the first step is always the hardest but here goes the first letter 🙂

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting.

 

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Kuai San Dian Xin – $1.30 Dim Sum opens 24-hours

Kuai San Dian Xin $1.30 点心 at 555 Ang Mo Kio

Located at Blk 555 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Kuai San Dian Xin ($1.30 点心) is a 24-hour Dim Sum coffeeshop store that prides itself in selling incredibly priced dim sum at $1.30! I learnt about this gem after it was featured in Eatbook. and brought Sophie and my mum there for lunch yesterday.

My mum who’s the queen of bargain was super impressed that I’ve reached auntie level like her in scouting out a good deal. She even pointed out the online coverage by food bloggers, Miss Tam Chiak and Seth Lui.

The 24 hour outlet at AMK is their 3rd location and you can also find them at Woodlands and Jurong East. Good for you Westies!

 

 

 

When we got there at 1pm on a Thursday afternoon, there was a short queue of 5 people. I heard the queue gets pretty long on weekends, so be prepared to wait.

From a menu of 33 items, we ordered 10 dishes, totaling to only $13.10! What a steal!

I’m sure you want to know if they taste good and here are my recommendations.

 

Fried Prawn Dumpling – The prawn meat is pretty substantial given its price and they were fried to perfection! A dish I’ll surely reorder.

Char Siew Bao – very mild BBQ marinate for the mini-sized char siew baos. But hey, it’s always a hit with kids and Sophie got me to reorder this for her. There were also other buns like coffee, lotus paste and  custard baos.

Prawn Dumpling and Siew Mai – very good mouthful of prawn and meat respectively for these two dim sum staples.The meat and prawn filling were well seasoned but I find the skin of the prawn dumpling too chewy for my liking.

HK Style Char Siew Chee Cheong Fun – very decent amount of char siew rolled in silky soft chee cheong fun.

Chicken Glutinous Rice- The meat was well marinated with a piece of mushroom. Portion was big but the rice was lackluster in flavour.

Chicken Feet – I’m not a fan of this exotic delicacy but my mum said that it had the restaurant quality.

Wrapped Chicken– two pieces of nicely marinated chicken meat but a tad too dry. I had a hard time peeling the meat off the paper too.

Beacurd Skin Roll – this is another of my favourite as the skin was so crispy and the fillings were savory and juicy.

 

Even though, there were some misses the overall experience at $1.30 Dim Sum was pretty good. And for $1.30 per dish, it’s a bargain that all Singaporean foodies will love.

 

Kuai San Dian Xin $1.30 点心

Address: Blk 555 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Singapore 560555

Opening hours: 24 hours

Facebook: $1.30 Dim Sum

 

 

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