Grow closer in your marriage

A lasting marriage is only possible when two people choose to grow closer instead of growing apart.

In our 13 years of marriages, we’ve gone through so many phrases but the scariest ones is when we grew apart and felt like giving up on each other.

It’s so common to hear couples drifting apart over the years and end up feeling like housemates living under the same roof, staying together only because of the kids.

In our marriage, I’m the annoying wife who forces my husband to talk to me when I feel that we’re drifting apart. There are times, I hit a wall when Alexis prefer to keep silent or when I give him the silent treatment hoping that he can read my mind (I still don’t learn my lesson)

And some of our ‘honest till it hurts’ conversations have led to explosive tension and tears of frustrations and regret. But it’s also when the walls come down after we bear our feelings to each other that we admit that both parties play a part in keeping our marriage alive.

 

The grass is greener where you water it

 

You know the saying, the grass is greener where you water it? Don’t get so busy envying other people’s marriage and wishing yours was as good that you fail to nurture your marriage.Love can be reignited even when the passion is gone and whoever said that men has to take the first step.

If you feel that your marriage has become dull and boring because of mundane routine, make extra effort to make it more interesting. Find a common interest, read a book together, try a new sport, explore the latest dining joint… Sure we have days where we want to do our own things, or just be with our girlfriends but don’t forget to make time for each other.

Our marriages are worth fighting for every single day even when it feels like the world is pulling us apart. A couple doesn’t drift apart because it just happens but because we’ve allowed it to happen. That’s why we must make a choice to grow closer.

Stay on the same course, look in the same direction and remember you have a partner for life.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share about marriage and travel.

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{Review and Giveaway} Science Comes Alive with Singapore’s first AR Encyclopedia

If you have primary school going children, you’ll hear how Primary 3 gets more challenging with the introduction of Science. There is definitely some truth to it as Science at Primary 3 is no longer what we used to know.

Like many parents, I’m surprised that students these days are expected to tackle tricky Science questions where answers have to be spot on with the use of precise key concept and keywords to demonstrate that they have grasped the subject well. To be honest, it’s been an uphill task trying to get Sophie to enjoy the subject as the school expects students to  expectations for the subject

If you have kids entering Primary 3, here’s a list of Science resources which I have been using to coach Sophie at home.

LINK: Tackling Science in Primary 3

Science in Lower Primary

If you have kids who are in lower primary, it’s important to cultivate their interest for Science now. One way to do that is by making them aware of how Science relates to their daily lives by pointing out the nature of Science like where does their food come from, how is weather predicted, life cycle of plants, etc. Encourage your kids to ask questions to promote a healthy curiosity for the world around them.

You can now make learning Science come alive with the latest edition of Mini Science Encyclopedia by Marshall Cavendish Education that is Augmented Reality (AR)-enabled. The very first of its kind in Singapore!

Learning Science with Augmented Reality

If you’ve always associated science encyclopedias with thick, dull and boring books that lulls one to sleep, you’ll be for a surprise with this latest encyclopedia that’s powered by AR!

The Mini Science Encyclopedia (8th edition) by Marshall Cavendish is targeted at lower primary students. But guess what, even I was pretty impressed by the newly incorporated AR feature.

To start the AR experience, we had to download the SnapLearn App.  After activating the app by scanning the barcode on the back of the book, we were ready for our AR experience.

Just look for pages with the AR logo and point your camera on your device. Within seconds, content from the pages leapt off the page, and came to life in 3D. Sophie’s first reaction was, “Wow, so cool!”

Sophie was very impressed by the lively and interactive graphics and went on to scan many more pages and kept asking me to watch the videos with her.

 

As modern day parents, it’s futile to fight against the use of screen time. So in my opinion, this is a more educational option combining traditional encyclopedia where kids flip through the pages while using technology for a more immersive learning experience.

Developing a curious mind for Science 

What I liked is how each topic starts with a question promoting curiosity and triggering little minds to ponder about the world around them. Being curious is an important life skill that children need to be equipped with for the future so that they don’t just end up being book smart only.

The “Can You Believe It” section, has lots of fun and interesting facts which Sophie like to quiz us on and she gets mighty pleased when we are stumped at some of the lesser known facts.

The Mini Science Encyclopedia covers a wide range of topics that range from animals, food, weather, etc to topics that will be covered in the school curriculum, like energy, heat, plants, etc. Being the 8th edition, the book includes current topics like life sciences, stem cell research, emerging diseases and even NEWater so kids can be kept up to date on emerging Science discoveries.

The bite size content serves as a quick introduction for young readers, but it will not be sufficient as a learning supplement to compliment the school syllabus when they proceed to upper primary.

What really stands out from other encyclopedias is the bold and colourful graphics. For young pupils who are visual learners, the Mini Science Encyclopedia is ideal as there are lots of photos and illustrations , making it visually attractive to capture their attention.

For kinesthetic learners, they will enjoy the hands-on experiment sections where they get to perform simple activities helping  them to understand science concepts better. Most of them can be conducted with adult supervision and it’s a great way to make links on topics like shadows, magnets with materials that are easily available at home.

 

Sophie has been having her nose in the book for the past week and it’s a joy to hear her share about new knowledge that she’s learning about the world around her. As a Mini Science Encyclopedia , this is a great introduction to the world of Science for young readers and with AR, this makes it even more compelling and engaging for kids of all ages.

The Mini Science Encyclopedia is now available at Popular bookstores and retails at $21.50 (before GST).

 

– – – – – – – MINI SCIENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA GIVEAWAY – – – – – – –

 

Thanks to our sponsor Marshall Cavendish Education, we are giving away 2 MINI SCIENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA (8th edition), to 2 lucky readers.

 

To participate, simply:
1. LIKE & SHARE this post (must be set to public).
2. LIKE Marshall Cavendish Education & A Juggling Mom Facebook pages.
3. LEAVE A COMMENT on why you want to win this for your child and TAG 3 other friends to share this giveaway with them.

This giveaway is open only to those residing in Singapore & closes on 8th Feb at 2359 hrs. Steps 1-3 must be completed to be eligible for the giveaway. All the best!

I’ll also be picking another winner from my Instagram (@ajugglingmom) so do take part there to double your chances of winning!

Take note:

  • 2 winners will be randomly chosen from Facebook and Instagram and winners will be notified via email or direct message.
  • Winners must collect their prize by 15 February 2019.
  • This giveaway is only open to all readers residing in Singapore. This giveaway is by no means endorsed, administered or affiliated with Facebook or Instagram.

 

 

A Juggling Mom received a copy of the Mini Science Encyclopedia to write this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are mine.

 

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Getting dads to step up as a parent

Back when we first got married, I quickly realised that sharing the household chores was a potential landmine as Alexis and I had such differing opinions on how to get things done. I’m hardly one you’ll label an OCD but when you have someone who questions why your hangers must all go in one direction and why it’s necessary to fold clothes a certain way, more specifically my way, I almost wanted to tell him to leave it all to me.

But that would be foolish. Very, very foolish.

After all, we have agreed to share the household chores as a dual working couple. Plus, is it that big of a deal if he does things differently from me as long as the task gets done?

 

Rule #1. Pick your battles wisely.

 

Pick your battles wisely. And in this case, he chose right because he cleverly picked out tasks that can be outsourced, like with his irobot and his robot vacumn cleaner. Nicely played…

Fast forward to today, I’m relieved that I have not allowed the differences in our household responsibilities to divide us. But these lessons took time, quarrels and even fights over the years to be ironed out, and ultimately I recognised Alexis’s need for space and freedom to do things his way.

The same can be applied to parenting as well. 

 

The mental load that mums refuse to let go

Much has been shared about the invisible mental load that mums have on their shoulders. This feeling of disproportionate responsibility that mums have to be on top of their family schedule, their household tasks, meals, etc. And because of that many mums are simply tired, over stretched and stressed …

 

The disproportionate responsibility borne by women are making mums feel tired, over stretched and stressed.

 

As a mum, I definitely felt it more acutely when I switched from being a working mum to a stay home mum. After all, it only seemed “fair” to assume more parenting responsibilities, freeing my husband to concentrate on his career as the sole bread winner. Perhaps it’s a similar situation in your family too.

But something happened.

 

For the past one month, I saw how Alexis stepped up as a dad in so many ways while I was recuperating at home from my surgery.

Since the start of the year, Alexis would wake up half an hour earlier in the mornings to prepare Sophie for school, make her breakfast, pack her lunch box, ensure that she has pocket money and walk her to school. In fact on the first day of school, he even wrote Sophie a note for her lunch box which she’s proudly pinned up on her cupboard.

Two weeks into the routine, he decided that Sophie is capable of getting ready herself. So he suggested that she plan her breakfast and recess and get them ready the day before. This way, it cuts down the rush and frustrations in the morning.

A pretty neat hack, I must say, while teaching Sophie to be responsible for herself.

 

Getting dads to man up

The truth is, even the most hands-on dads can sometimes slip into their comfort zone because we mums have it all covered. After all, we are the multi-tasking machines who can compartmentalise our brains into a hundred and one folders for home, work, household, meals, parties, etc and yes, we sometimes want to be in control all the time.

And like my earlier story about the household chores, if we wives get so hung up about how our spouse should be a dad and nitpick no end about their parenting (or maybe even lack thereof) and inability to do the chores our way, we may push them further away from being the dad they want to be despite their best intentions.

 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. Ecclesiastes 4:9

 

If you’re feeling exhausted and hope to get your husband to step up as a dad, why not ask for help?

 

Here are 3 tips on how to get your husband to help.

 But before anything else, here’s what you must first do, extend forgiveness.

Let go of the past and forgive.

That means not digging up what should have, could have been in the past and not using them against him because this is bound to be a recipe for disaster. Rather start a clean slate and talk about how you can both work out a better plan going forward.

 

  1. Be explicit

Men don’t get hints very well, so instead of telling him to clean the house, be specific and let him you mean the kitchen, the toilet, the bedroom, etc.

Better still, make a list and split the chore so he’s crystal clear on his responsibilities. Make it visual by pinning it up and if your hubby slips up, remind him. Don’t assume that he doesn’t care, maybe he really forgot and just needs a little nudge.

 

  1. Rephrase how you ask

It’s a fact that men don’t like their ego bruised and nobody responds well to nagging. When we are desperate for help, we may raise our voice, use sarcasm or even huff and puff hoping that they catch the hint. Here’s when you should refer to #1 again and be specific in your request.

Besides what we say, it’s really all in the tone of our voice which can either compel or repel. We definitely respond better when someone asks nicely, so try that.

 

  1. Show appreciation

Yipe men do like their ego stroked, so where appreciation is warranted, show it and be sincere about it. Yes your hubby may just be finally pulling his share of the weight around the home, but everyone appreciates positive reinforcement.

Oh and remind him happy wife, happy life.

 

 

 

PS: Forward this to your man, and get that conversation started.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share about marriage and relationship.

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more sharing on parenting. You can also follow me on Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for parenting and travel posts with the family.

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Perhaps the place we really need to KonMarie is not our home

For the last two weeks, my Facebook feed was flooded with articles of the world’s most organised guru, when the new Netflix series, Tidying up with Marie Kondo was aired. The series came at a fitting time as many were already planning to declutter with Chinese New Year around the corner.

I was no exception and was itching to put her method of organisation based on what sparks joy to the test. But I’ll have to put that off for a while more so I don’t get into a sneezing fit which may burst my stitches.

 

Does it Spark Joy

If you have been living under a rock and are still clueless about the KonMarie Method of tidying up, it can be summarised in 2 points.

 

  1. Tidy by category – not by location

Begin with clothes, then move on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items.

2. Discard items that no longer spark joy.

Aim to keep only things that speak to the heart, and throw away items that no longer spark joy for you. Thank them for their service – then let them go.

 

After I caught 3 episodes of the series, I can see why people are so quick to embrace her philosophy where folks have even termed themselves Kon-verts of her methodology.

What sets Marie Kondo apart is how she advocates respect for your belongings, including the embarrassing impulsive buys that still have price tags on them from years ago, and how her method also makes one more mindful of the things you own.

She encourages her clients to have a vision for their life which serves as a guide as they contemplate if an item is one they intend to carry with into the future.

While the end goal is not to throw away bags and bags of trash, most folks on the show end up decluttering tons of stuffs that they no longer need in their life after thanking them for the memories or service.

 

Successfully Decluttered your Life? Think Again.

What struck me the most after the show is that while we take pain and efforts to KonMarie our home, we often allow other things to accumulate in our lives.

Thing that may not be seen with our eyes but weigh upon our hearts and mind.

 

Like bad habits that need to be kicked.

Toxic relationships that should end.

Thoughts that must be surrendered.

Bad memories of the past that needs forgiveness.

Fears, doubts, bitterness, insecurities…

 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

 

So often, these things are not cut off and we allow them precious real estate space in our lives to clutter up our hearts and minds. And worse when they surface to hurt us or haunt us time and again like a broken record.

Because these are not physical things like a wardrobe bursting at the seams or a drawer filled to the brim, they go unnoticed as no one knows.

No one except you.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

But like those families who long for a change in their lives, a desire to clean up their act, how long more do you want to live with those bad memories, the hurts, the disappointments, and the bitterness that makes you miserable and unhappy?

 

Make Space for a New You

January is the time to start a clean slate and tell yourself that all these that are not profitable for your soul must go. There is no better time to let go, move on and make space for more in your life.

Last year, I let go of bitterness to forgive my Dad and extended the olive branch to ask him for forgiveness as well.

I let go of my pains and disappointments when I knew I had to go for my op because I know that I didn’t want to be bitter on the inside while trying to smile on the outside. I wanted to be healed, both on the inside and out.

 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

 

They were the toughest things to do and if I had it my way, I know I don’t have the capacity in me to forgive or to let go. As cliche as it sounds, but it’s only when I chose to let go and let God and surrender them all at the foot of the cross was I able to accept what had happened and to look ahead to the future God has in store for me.

The pruning process will be uncomfortable. It may even be painful. But knowing that you will be more fruitful as you remain in Christ and Him in you, it will be all worthwhile.

 

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

 

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Finding a New Hope for the New Year

Lying on the operating theatre bed just 2 days after Christmas was the last place I imagined myself to be, but this time I was ready for the new life ahead of me.

Having to go through a second operation in the same year was something I’ve been trying to avoid this whole time. But when it became clear that an op was inevitable, there was a surprising sense of serenity and peace to go through it knowing that ultimately this decision was for the better.

 

Putting an End to a Season of Suffering

I thought that I would be an emotional wreak going for this surgery because unlike other ops where I had to remove fibroid growths, this time was different.

As I had already gone through 3 myomectomy ops, the only way to eradicate future fibroid growths according to my gynae is to remove the environment for them to grow – my uterus.

My gynae was very sensitive to my feelings as he knew this wasn’t an easy decision given that I’m no where near menopause coupled with the fact that I’ve been dealing with fibroid issues for the past 16 years. But Dr Chew who has a wealth of experience was very reassuring in his assessment as well as medical advice as he patiently explained the procedure along with the pros and cons of alternatives and that gave me the confidence to go ahead with it.

 

“Mummy, have you ever asked God why He allows you to go through all this?”

Three days before the op, I explained to Sophie that going for this surgery meant that she’ll be mummy and daddy’s only child. She cheekily replied that she cannot imagine having a baby sibling when she’s already 10 years old and that a baby will be so troublesome because we will all have sleepless nights which made us laugh.

But she paused and then asked, “Mummy, have you ever asked God why He allows you to go through so many operations?”

Before I could reply, she added, “My teachers in church says that everything happens for a reason and we simply have to trust God.”

Oh what a great reminder to have childlike faith and trust in our Heavenly Father’s plans from my daughter!

Lovely flowers from friends who brought cheer during my hospital stay

Hope for a Better Future

With this being my 7th op, I went in with the confidence knowing that God is in control and the op will put an end to my troubles as I look forward to a new me in the new year in 2019.

The Lord spoke to me so clearly with these verses from Isaiah 43:18,19.

 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

 

And that was what I resolved in my heart to do- To let go of the past and forget about the pain and disappointments and to look forward to a new season because His plans for my future will be good and far better than what I can even imagine.

Discharged on 01.01 so I can spend New Year at home

Warm welcome from Sophie

After I got discharged from the hospital on New Year’s Day, I was just blown away by the amazing grace of God as I recounted all these blessings.

  1. A fast op that was done in 2 hours. Initially the gynae prepared me mentally that it may take up to 3, 4 hours if they had to do more repair work but it was all over before I know it.
  2. No need for blood transfusion even though this was on stand by in case I lost too much blood during the op.
  3. Being able to walk unassisted to the toilet by the 5th day post-op.
  4. Much faster recovery compared to my previous ops even though this time I had a vertical cut for the open op.
  5. Hospital fees all fully paid as my gynae is on the panel for Alexis’s company and I didn’t even require a LOG for my hospital admission.
  6. Understanding boss. Not mine but Alexis as he was given time off to take care of me in the hospital and a day after I was discharged even though they were already one man down in their team.
  7. My mum being able to stay over at my place to take care of me.
  8. And of course family and friends who have rallied around me during this period to pray and offer support and encouragement as I slowly get back on my feet.

 

Trusting in God’s Perspective

Despite losing a part of me which I’ve struggled with for so long, I’ve been in good spirits and even joked that I’ve already achieved my weight loss goal for 2019 as I was on a liquid diet for 3 days when l was in the hospital. It was a nightmare for a foodie like me and I was squealing with joy when the doctor said I can finally start on porridge.

As I look back on this whole experience, I can only say that without HOPE from God, I would have been a mess dealing with yet another surgery that I didn’t want to go through. When disappointing things come our way, it’s easy to sink into a place where we feel we’ve fallen out of God’s plans for us.

But through this, I can see that God is in the picture, and He’s with me through every single decision as I prayed that He open my eyes to reveal his purpose.

Only He has a perspective of all things, our past, present and future and He’s not certainly not done with the story of my life.

Though I don’t know how the rest of my story will unfold, one thing I’m certain and that is my future is secure in Him. My hope is in Him that his plans for me are to prosper me  and not to harm me and His plans are to give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

In whatever circumstances, good or bad, let’s hold on to this hope and promise that God is going to use everything according to His plans and purposes as we surrender ourselves to Him.

 

 

I’m so very thankful for friends who have been so supportive and encouraging in their personal experiences dealing with hysterectomy. I know this is something that people don’t talk openly about, but I’ll be happy to share my experience if anyone out there needs advice or just needs support if you have to go through it. You are not alone.

 

I’ve shared my journey on these other posts and hope they bring you comfort that you are not alone.

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram (@ajugglingmom) where I share more faith and parenting posts.

 

 

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