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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A peek into the after work hours of a FTWM

Rushing home from work to see our two kids after a long day at work, and zoning out a little from a full day of meetings and reports, who would have thought a BMW Z4 would crash into the cab while we were stationary for awhile at the red light, giving me a huge shock!

I was in shock and could not think straight for awhile. I was glad I wasn't hurt and thoughts of 'what ifs' drifted into my head. Life is too short and we only live once, and I want to make this one as fulfilling as possible. 

Thoughts of stopping work to be a stay at home mum has never crossed my mind when we first had Aiden. I enjoyed being able to carve a career in an industry I am passionate in and I feel good achieving results at work. It helped a lot, having supportive parents who helped take care of the kids while we are at work and occupied with other commitments, and I can't ask for anything more.

Starting out PriviKids early 2013 and with Ava joining our family last November, the very little time we have at night and over the weekend has to be spread out even more, and I feel very guilty for not being able to spend quality time with her. With two kids come its set of challenges as I need to be sensitive to the feelings of the elder boy. It hit me when I was cuddling Ava and telling her how much I love her and Aiden asked me in a soft tone 'Do you love me too Mummy?' 'Of course I do! I love the both of you so much.' I told him and immediately I could feel that he felt better. Reminder to self: Be sensitive to the feelings of both kids. As tough as it may get, be fair.

Ava at 5 months old, her curious eyes and fast reflexes (stuffing into mouth)
A typical day for me looks like this (but I have long dismissed the idea of 'typical days' as I shared with Daddy Darren recently. Kids have their mood swings and we see a different side of our 3 year old toddler daily and sometimes within the same day):

7.00am to 8.00am:
Wake up to prepare for work
Wake Daddy Darren up to prepare for work
Wake Aiden up to prepare him for school
Leave our place to school and to work

9.00am to 6.00pm:
Work meetings, reports, emails
Events (sometimes after work events, so it would mean 6.00pm to 9.00pm)

8.00pm to 11.00pm:
Dinner at my parents' place
Playtime with Ava
Playtime with Aiden (he gets to dictate the top 3 things he would like to do when we get home and we get through these, followed by bedtime stories and off to slumberland. This often stretches to 12 midnight and this is when patience runs thin and he gets scolded when he's still actively awake.)

12.00am to 3.00am or 2.00am to 5.00am (if I dozed off earlier):
Follow up on to do list for PriviKids
Completing work that's outstanding for the day

I wished there were more hours in a day, and more time for catching up on precious sleep. More time for doing the things I enjoy doing. More time for Aiden. More time with Ava. More quality time with Daddy Darren.

Here's how I survive being a full time working mum, juggling the many different roles I play:

1) Celebrate little milestones

I celebrate the little achievements on a daily basis. Being able to get out of the house with no tears (from the boy) as we prepare him for school is an achievement itself. Arriving at home early enough before Ava's bed time so I get to snuggle close to her and see her toothless grin. Stepping out of the house in one piece and be on time for our appointments is also a challenge nowadays.

Her first smiles
2) Relax and go with the flow

Sometimes I can be quite controlling especially with Aiden. I realized that the beauty of letting him take the lead at times (with control of course), would be a happier toddler and that means lesser tantrums and melt downs and quality time spent together. I allow him to jump into the shower with me, snack at night, do art and craft near bed time - all so he would enjoy and go to bed contented. He also lets me have my way, reading books with him and lying down in bed as we fall asleep together.

You win some, you lose some
3) Strong family support

I would not be able to pursue my passions today if not for my parents and Daddy Darren. They take care of me and the kids in all ways possible and keep the kids happy while I am occupied at work. Picture updates in the family group chat never fails to put a smile and sometimes a tear to my eye when I know that I would rather be there instead of churning reports or being at a business meeting. The smile on their faces motivates me and drives me on.

4) Working through the wee hours of the night

Sleep is one sacrifice every parent makes whether you are a working or stay home mum. I am really lucky to have my parents' help in caring for the kids and Aiden and Ava are both not giving us sleepless nights. So why am I up at 3am? Deciding to spend a little more time reading to Aiden, a little more time playing with Ava, the only time left to complete outstanding tasks for our business and my work would be after the family goes to bed.

5) Delegate tasks

I am not good at keeping the household clean and the part time help we engage regularly really helps free up our time for the kids and our own interests. Some mums insist on doing the household chores themselves, but for me, I think any extra time with my loved ones and to grow the business is more essential to me.

I am amazed at how other FTWM manage their roles and there is so much to learn from one another. It is not an easy choice to make between staying at home and working and both choices come with their own set of sacrifices and rewards. I am happy at this stage, and in time to come, I would be sharing more about some changes taking place.

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM“. Read about how 21 FTWMs from Singapore Mom Bloggers handle their kids and household everyday from 1 June to 21 June. The aim is to give other working mums motivation, ideas and support to deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while keeping sane. We will be happy to hear your story, tips and even an encouraging word will make our day! Share your thoughts in the comments!

Next up on the blog train is Jacqeline, a FTWM to 2 kids age 4 and 2.5. She is grateful that her current job gives her enough work-life balance so she can spend a few hours after work each day and the whole of weekend with her family. She blogs over at where she records the fun activities she has with the kids and her husband.


  1. You are certainly one supermom! 12-3 or 2-5am still working? We FTWMs don't mind sacrificing sleep just to squeeze in that precious time with our little ones. I am lacking sleep badly, as much as I would like to stay up late for blogging, I am definitely not able to keep up in the wee hours. I like that you allow your little one to take charge of activities for the evening. And 3 activities sounds like a lot! Surely Aiden looks forward to that daily :) I am sorry to hear about the accident that also caused you to post this late in the night. Totally appreciate your support despite your amazing schedule!

    1. Hi Christy, every mum is a superwoman. I sometimes doze off while reading to the boy, and will wake up to complete my tasks in the night. Some nights where I can't take it, I sleep through and wake up early to finish up. I will limit the time for each of the 3 wishes he has but will try to go with the flow so he will go to bed without a struggle after fulfilling his wishes :)

      No worries at all, and apologies for the late post.

  2. Wow, you sound like you don't need to sleep! You are one supermum who juggles so many roles all at once! Jia you, jia you!

    1. Sleep is such a luxury nowadays! I do need to catch up on sleep though, as I have been dozing off too often at the computer and this means as much as I want to achieve more things, my mind is overworked.

  3. Agree with the celebrate little milestones! These little celebrations brighten up mummies' working life! :) Looking forward to the upcoming changes! *wink* ")

  4. Thanks for dropping by Evelyn. Yes hope things would work out to be better soon :) Spent some time with the boy today at the supermarket and allowing him to choose three items to buy - the smile on his face is worth everything and my stress levels go down.


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