To mums who thought you’ll never be a stay home mum

Where and how do I even begin? I guess the title of the post gives you a pretty good hint.

After my recent operation in late April, I’ve been asked when I’m returning to work now that I’m well on the mend. In not so many words, the brief answer is, I’m taking a break.

A career break.

I’m certainly no Tai Tai ( a Chinese colloquial term for a wealthy married woman who doesn’t have to work and goes for high tea in her perfectly manicured nails) at least not in the conventional definition of a lady of leisure. But hubby and I decided that I will stop working and focus on my family for this season of life.

Transiting from a FTWM to a SAHM

To be honest, staying home was the furthest thought on my mind when the year began as I was switching to a new job. A new career which I was looking forward to as it was a new role in a different industry with an expanded responsibility that was going to stretch me. It ticked all the boxes for a shiny career prospect but things turned out very differently from expectations.

Besides close friends who knew what happened, I wasn’t prepared to tell others that I’ve quit without a job after completing my month probation in March as I was afraid of being judged. I was worried that critics would sneer that I wasn’t made of stronger stuff to pull off this new role and the challenges faced especially after I penned this post about making a career switch for mums.

But for someone who’s soon approaching my 40s, my instincts told me that it’s far better to cut losses now, and change the course I’m on than to continue on a path that wasn’t heading where I want, especially when I was feeling dissatisfied and unhappy.

It may be crystal clear now but back then, I recalled feeling a sense of shame when I was contemplating throwing in the towel because it was uncharacteristic of me to quit so easily. I began questioning myself, my abilities and where my grit and resilience vanished went when I needed them the most. to the point that I was having sleepless nights and bordering on depression as I often came home from work feeling feeling so lousy about myself. I had to remind myself that the job was a bad fit and I shouldn’t allow others perception of my decision to affect what I value and chose in life.

In one particular conversations with a close and wise friend, her words gave me courage to do what was best for me. She said, that there is absolutely no shame if I walk away from this role especially when I know this is not going to work out in the long run.

And so I did.

I’m well aware that my choice to stop working is a privilege in itself because not every household can go from a dual income to a single income family. It was a calculated move in all sense of the word and I’m extremely blessed to have Alexis’s support and understanding which greatly eased my guilt when it seemed like I was dropping the ball at the peak of our working lives. I’m glad we’re aligned on how we define “success” for our family and it’s certainly not based on the type of house we live in, the car we drive (wait, what car?) or exotic holiday destinations we take every year.

After my recent op, it further cemented our decision for me to take time off and focus on myself and my family. The operation happened in a whirlwind and one that had my heart aching and emotionally tired.

During a routine check up, my gynae was alarmed by 2 newly discovered cysts and was worried that they may be cancerous as they were growing rapidly. I was made to do a MRI the next day and was on standby for an operation to have them removed. Though the result was benign, the surgery was arranged swiftly as my gynae didn’t want any unnecessary risks of the cysts rupturing. But in the process, both my fallopian tubes had to be removed as they were entwined with the cysts.

What this means is that I will no longer be able to conceive naturally and she advocated going for IVF quickly if we intend to have more children.

Being there for your growing up years

With Sophie turning 9 this year, we have made peace that she will likely be our only child. But hearing those words again was like reopening old wounds as we’ve been trying for years. I was an emotional wreak for weeks and prayed for God to grant me peace even though I may not see the full picture as He sees.

This made us cherish Sophie all the more and she’s also the reason why I’ll not return to work so soon as I embrace my new role as a stay home mum to spend more time with her before her teenage years. Will I return to work sooner? I guess one should never be too quick to say never.

For now, this juggling mum has got less to juggle as I drop my “work ball” and focus on my family and myself for this season in life.

 

If you’ve transited from being a working mum to a stay home mum, I’ll love to hear your experience and now I understand why being a SAHM can be a lonely journey. And if you’ve any tips on how to stay sane and relevant as a SAHM, I’ll love to hear from you too.

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more sharing on parenting. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for travel and fun places to go with your family .

Where to stay in Melaka, review of DoubleTree by Hilton

During the March school holidays we headed up to Melaka and stayed at the newly opened DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, Melaka. As a Hilton Honour member, we were alerted of the hotel opening and managed to book our room at less than S$50 a night during their promotion period, which was an exceptional deal.

We’ve never been disappointed with our stay at DoubleTree by Hilton in Johor Bahru and know that we can count on them for an enjoyable family holiday. Plus, we can’t get enough of their lovely chocolate chip cookie welcome.

DoubleTree by Hilton hotel Melaka lobby

Location

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Melaka is in the heart of Hatten City and connected directly to Elements Shopping Mall.

Location wise the hotel may not be so convenient compared to the likes of Hatten hotel, Equatorial or Novotel hotel which are closer to the main malls, but it is nevertheless only a mere 5 minute drive away. Besides, you’ll likely spend most of your time in Jonker Street chowing down their local delights than being in the malls.

Since we took the coach up to Melaka, we relied on Grab and Uber as our mode of transport to get around, so getting a data sim card was essential. Oh wait, data IS always essential for the hubby. We never had to wait too long to get a ride and fares don’t cost too much either.

In fact, I know of friends who rely on Grab despite driving up to Melaka so they don’t have to deal with parking woes.

Room Tour

We booked the King Guest Room for our 4 day stay and were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to a Junior Suite. They sure scored a WOW factor for their customer service with us. Sophie was ecstatic that we had a bathtub for some bubbly bath time.

The spacious Junior Suite had a living area with a sofa and coffee table as well as a desk area where it was often filled with food that we packed back for supper.

I love how bright and airy the room was with its full length window panels where we had a partial view of the Straits of Melaka.

View of swimming pool from our room

Dining

Our stay included daily breakfast at the Makan Kitchen which offered a diverse offering of Asian and Western cuisine.  There were also several cooking stations where you can have your eggs done in the way you fancy, as well as noodles, prata, waffles, etc.

To be very honest, the food standard is pretty average and even local dishes like nasi lemak and prata were disappointing and mediocre as they lacked flavour. It’s okay as fuel for the morning but if you’re expecting a satisfying start of the day, my suggestion is to head out for more authentic breakfast options.

Another grouse I have was the long wait for seats at breakfast. We tend to sleep in on holidays and make our way down for breakfast around 9am, which is also the peak hour since breakfast ends at 11am. And a hungry mum is an angry mum… My advice, head down for breakfast earlier or simply go out for breakfast where you’ll be less disappointed.

READ ALSO: Where to eat in Melaka

Besides Makan Kitchen, there’s also an Italian restaurant, Tosca, where you can dine indoors or outdoors beside the pool. Since we didn’t have a chance to dine at Tosca, so I’ll withhold my comments about it.

 

Hotel Amenities

One thing we were looking forward to check out was the Kids Club within the hotel and you can guess who was the most excited. The Kids Club is located on the same floor as the swimming pool and gym at level 13 and you certainly can’t miss it.

To ensure the safety of their little guests, all visitors have to sign in before entering. Once you step into the Kids Club, you’ll feel so welcome by the bright and colourful space.

The room is divided into different areas with a TV room for screening of cartoons and kids program, video games corner, book corner and an arts and craft area.

When we were there, there was only one staff around, so I doubt they conduct any hands on activities with the kids in the Kids Club, which probably means you can’t leave them to any minders.

I would say that the activities in the Kids Club are more suited for younger children under 7 years old. Sophie who’s already 8 year old felt that the Kid Club was too childish for her and wanted to go for a dip in the swimming pool instead.

The Kids Club is at the end of the infinity swimming pool which is 1.2 meters deep as well as a waddling pool for little kids. At the edge of the pool, there is a step down so kids can sit on the edge before going directly into the pool. I find it helpful if the kids are not confident to enter the pool but they can still play at the edge.

If you feel guilty for overindulging in too much Peranakan and Nyoya food (because who wouldn’t), you can hit the gym. Unlike most hotel gyms, I like that they have a very spacious area where it was well equipped with cardio and weight machines as well as free weights.

For our stay, we were also given complimentary access to the Skydeck where it gives visitors the highest 360 degree panoramic view of Melaka. Tickets are priced at RM 30 nett for adults and children.

Is it worth it? No.

Frankly, it’s just a tourist trap and the views are not impressive. Some have commented that it looks better in the evenings, but I doubt so as the buildings and architecture are so random in the city of Melaka where there are mostly low buildings  Just take a look at my photos, and you’ll see why.

 

As mentioned, a plus point of DoubleTree by Hilton is that it’s directly linked to Elements Mall which is touted as Melaka’s largest mall. Though it may be large, there were just a few shops worth stepping into. But with a cinema just next door, you could go for a late night movie or maybe even archery or karaoke.

If you’re going with kids, then you must not miss Jumpers Land Indoor Playground. Spanning, 17,000 square feet, this is the largest indoor playground in Melaka and promises lots of fun for kids of all ages. Parents get to enter free with one paying kid and playtime is unlimited too!

READ ALSO: Melaka for Kids

 

We definitely see ourselves returning to DoubleTree by Hilton Meleka for future road trips to Malacca as we enjoy your time there very much. Plus, their unexpected upgrade to a Junior Suite certainly scored points that made us very satisfied guests. But my advice is, don’t pin too much hopes on their breakfast and just head out for your meals.

If you’re heading to Meleka, don’t miss these posts where I share about where we ate and attractions just for kids.

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more family friendly travel updates. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more travel and parenting posts.

Remember, You Are Mum Enough

Mother’s day is right around the corner and a common question that pops up is, what do mums really want on their special day?

In the past, I used to dream about being able to sleep in and wake up on my terms with no one asking what’s for breakfast and expecting me to prepare it. And you know what, being served breakfast in bed sounds divine too. In fact, just skip the champagne and just give me my kopi and I’ll be a happy mum. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be whisked off for an indulgent spa and facial session. Bliss.

But this year, I only have one simple wish for Mother’s Day.

I want myself and fellow mums to remember that we are mum enough. That we are enough.

You are Enough

As a mum of one, I always struggle feeling mum enough.

I know it’s not true, but somehow I believe in the lie that mums of 2, 3 and more kids are more credible mum as they have more experience to boast of.

On days when I lose it and feel absolutely lousy as a mum, I feel crushed knowing that there will not be anymore second chances for me to right those wrongs. They say that we are our worst critics and I know this too well. Just let me list the ways…

I’m not patient enough.

I’m not loving enough.

I’m not doing enough to raise Sophie.

I’m not spending enough time with Sophie.

Even though I try to think rationally when making decisions for my family, I can’t help but second guess myself at times, wondering if I made the best choice.

But you know what?

I am enough.

Leaning on the one who will always be enough

Even though I may feel like I’ve fail as a mum every single day, I know Sophie never see me that way. And more importantly, God never views me any lesser of a mum.

You too may feel guilty for not having it altogether with the kids, juggling your career, the unending chores and messy homes, but that doesn’t define you as a mum.

Being a mum brought about the biggest transformation in my life as I’ve been taught so many lessons. Even hard and painful lessons but they are also the very ones that have shaped me to be who I am.

Your family sees you trying your best every single day. Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

So, this Mother’s Day, extend some kindness to yourself. Be less harsh on yourself and stop the self-condemning thoughts and talks which are not from God.

Instead learn to lean on Him. Rest in Him and receive grace just as you have been given grace.

I hear this every so clearly from God, his gentle whisper that tells me, He’s sees everything and he sees my heart and he will honour the times I choose to serve my family.

Remember, you are mum enough.

 

 

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

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more parenting articles. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more family friendly travel and parenting posts.

 

Be more financially savvy with Bank of China’s improved Family Card

Recently we attended a marriage workshop, where the facilitators joked about how men and women enter marriage with differing views on their future.

 

A woman enters marriage hoping she can change her husband.

A man enters marriage hoping that his wife wouldn’t change.

 

I would say that there is some truth to that and perhaps you can identify with that too. An area that Alexis is particularly proud that he’s been a positive influence is, getting me to be more financially savvy.

Between us, he’s the saver and investor, while I’m more of the … spend and live for today sort of person. However, over the years, we’ve become more prudent with our expenses and learn to cut back on expenses that we can live without. And on expenses that we need to incur, we’re doing it the smarter way with a credit card that offers great cash rebates.

For those of you who know Alexis, he’s one who does his research very methodically and rationally. So when he suggested that we switch to Bank of China’s Family Card and make it our default credit card for all our family’s everyday needs. I was blown away by their high cash rebates. In fact, it’s one credit card that many financial bloggers have been raving about too.

(more…)

Melaka for kids


Melaka may be more of a town for foodies, but there are surprisingly plenty to do for kids too.

Here’s a list of 10 kid friendly attractions and places that we’ve covered over 2 trips as well as recommendations from fellow parents to ensure your little ones have a good time in Melaka.

1. MAMEE JONKER HOUSE

(more…)