from around here

That’s what they said

I love that the kids are turning out to be genuinely fun to talk to. As a newly minted stay home mom, the one thing I missed the most was having a decent conversation with someone, anyone.

Most days, it was just me going on a monologue all day, and even when the kids started using words, it hardly counted as a conversation because nothing toddlers say is remotely interesting. I might have looked like I was interested in what they were saying, but it’s only because they are my babies and I’d do anything for them, including having to participate enthusiastically in the most boring conversation in the world. If those words were coming out from anyone else’s mouth, I am not even tryna do it.

But big kids, they’re actually wonderful to talk to.


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Truett and Kirsten were telling me about a kid who was very popular in school.

Kirsten: [this kid] is so popular, I think everyone in the whole school knows who she is.

Tru: Ya. Everyone definitely knows her.

Me: Wah that popular??!! Would you guys like to be popular too?

Kirsten: Of course! If you’re famous, everyone will be like “can you please sign my autograph?!!”

Me: Hahaha, okay fair enough, popularity has its perks.

Tru: And people will treat you like royalty everywhere you go.

Me: Where are you guys learning these things?? Although that is also true. But hey, being popular is not the most important thing. You know what’s better than being popular?

<I was setting it up for a teaching moment here, expecting them to be all like “what mom? Please impart to us your great wisdom on life and other important topics”>

Tru: RICH!!

Me: Hahahhahahh What? No. WHAT?? I wasn’t expecting that answer. Okay, here’s the thing, when you look back on your primary school years, the things you’ll remember fondly are the friends you had and the fun moments you spent together. Also, being a good person is more important than being popular. Be kind, help people, make a difference – you guys don’t need to be rich or famous to do that.

Tru: HUH? That’s it?? That’s kind of boring, mom.

Me: Haiyah, one day you’ll remember this conversation and realize that I’m right, as I am with most things.


Kirsten: You know why it’s better to be a girl?

Me: Why?

Kirsten: When boys grow up, they have to go to work, earn money. Girls can just stay home and play with babies all day, good right?

Me: Whatever gave you that idea???

Kirsten: You lah. And papa.

Me: First of all, not all girls want to have babies. And having babies doesn’t mean you have to stop working, plenty of moms keep working after they have babies. When Hayley is bigger, I’ll totally go back to work. What do you think mommy does all day anyway?

Kirsten: Hang out with the babies, play toys, read books, go pick us from school, go playground, eat dinner…all the fun things.

Me: Okay, when you put it that way…

Kirsten: And if I work when I have babies, then who will take care of them?

Me: I’ll watch your kids for you if you like, I’m pretty good at it. How many are we talking about here?

Kirsten: At least 5-6.

Me: Wow nice.

Kirsten: Kor kor says he only wants 2-3 kids, then plus Finn and Theo and Hayley, maybe 15?

Me: Hahhahahahahhahaa ok challenge accepted.

Kirsten: Just kidding lah. When I have kids, I will take care of them myself. My husband will work hard like daddy.


Pretty perfect

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I managed to sneak in some alone time with Finn this week while Theo and Hayley were down for a long nap (a miracle!!). Special dates with Finn don’t come around as much as I’d like, and it’s such a treat to have him to myself, even if it’s just for a while.

If there’s one kid who’s had to deal with being the middle child, it’s probably Finn. He’s not quite in the big kid club with Truett and Kirsten just yet, but too big to be in team baby with Theo and Hayley. These days, with the high maintenance babies always getting dibs on mommy time, plus the big kids needing help with exams and school stuff, Finn has to make do with what’s leftover, which isn’t much. In the midst of all the day to day firefighting, I don’t always remember that Finn is just here quietly growing up.

He’s super sweet about it though, just waiting for his turn and being so thrilled when it’s date day, like “are we really going for a special treat today?? Just me?? WOW THANKS!!” 

I had picked him up from school and we were discussing our snack options at White Sands shopping mall because all proper dates have to have snacks. On the list was ice cream, chocolate white chocolate chip cookies and soft chocolate buns.

Finn: Mom! Mom!! Can I also have a waffle please??? I like waffles!

Me: Sure! Which flavour would you like? There’s plain, kaya, peanut, cheese, blueberry…

Finn: *peering at the board with the flavours and prices listed* Ummmmm, how about plain?

Me: You sure? With nothing inside? Don’t you like cheese?

Finn: I don’t want you to spend so much money. Just a plain one will do. It’s only $1.40.

Me: It’s ok Finn, you can pick any flavour you like, don’t worry about it.

Finn: No need, I also like it plain.

Me: Sure, one plain coming right up.

Finn: Thanks mom, you’re the best!


As we were about to head back…

Finn: Mom, is your life perfect?

Me: Whaaat? Why do you ask that?

Finn: Is it?

Me: Yeah, I think it is. My life is kind of perfect.

Finn: I know. Because I’m your baby so that’s why your life is perfect.

Me: You know what? You’re right.

Finn: Because you’re my mom so my life is perfect too.


I really miss alone time with Finn. I need to do this more.


To Moms.

I spend a lot of time here talking about how great being a mom is – all the wonderful baby moments, the cuddles, the chubby cheek munches, the sweet things they say and do – and that’s the way I want it to be because these are the things I want to remember. It’s been almost 9 years of being a mom and I’ve accumulated a lot of amazing mom moments, for which I’m grateful.


When I first became a mom, I was not prepared for how hard it would be. And I’m not talking about the diaper changes, the explosive poops, the bathing of a slippery newborn, those are the easy parts. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much pressure it was to suddenly be responsible for another entire human being, having to come to terms with all my inadequacies, and the mom guilt that never goes away no matter how stellar a job I’m doing.

Then there was the postpartum depression, and the breastfeeding, which for me, led to more depression. I had just walked away from a job I could not afford to walk away from and gone ahead to have two needy babies 13 months apart.

I think the weight of all of it broke me.

For a long time during those early mom days, it was just dark and empty and lonely and scary. My two beautiful, precious, perfect babies were draining my soul from me and I didn’t know how to get it back. Each day felt like an eternity. I would wake up in the morning with the crippling weight of emptiness and the only thing that got me through the day was knowing that if I held on long enough, it would be bedtime and I could crawl back into bed and wallow.

After Kirsten was born, I spent the next 9 months just clawing my way to the end of each day. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house, partly because I wasn’t even going to try to manage two babies alone in public, and partly because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to smile at strangers or make small talk or cry like a baby and then have to have that conversation about how I was losing it. I wasn’t a talker who talked about my dark, scary feelings to people. I was a get my act together through sheer mental strength person and that is exactly the kind of person that gets a proper walloping by postpartum depression.

I tried to pull myself out of my misery but the thing about being in a deep, dark hole is that you can’t.

The best I could do during those days was to force myself to smile at my babies so that they wouldn’t grow up with an unexplainable sadness because mommy couldn’t get it together. I would sing to them and tell that that everything was going to be ok even though I didn’t believe it.

To be honest, I had a pretty low bar – I wasn’t even gunning for good days, my scale of days was between Very Bad to Utter Misery. If I had a below average day, I would reward myself with an extra dose of self pity.

I was thankful for a husband who was there for me even though he didn’t understand why I was broken or how to make it better. Every night when he got home from work, he would ask me how my day was and if I needed to cry. Which I did. I always needed to cry, and I would sob into his shoulders until I was exhausted enough to go to bed.

It was only when I stopped breastfeeding Kirsten that things started to get better. I felt like there was light in my life again and I could finally breathe.


With each subsequent baby, I got better at dealing with the postpartum depression. I still feel the darkness creeping in, but I’m better equipped to keep it at arm’s length so it doesn’t cripple me (too much). Over the years, I’ve figured out some coping mechanisms that help me manage. I learnt to brace myself for the hit and take it instead of letting it catch me off guard. I learnt to fake it until it becomes real, to find that little ounce of joy and focus on it and pour it out because that’s what my kids need.

Experience helps for sure, but if there’s one thing that I could tell my 27-year-old self struggling with postpartum depression, it would be that IT GETS BETTER. In big, shouty caps.

It may not seem possible for a long time, but just keep getting through one day after the next and you’ll eventually get to the good parts. And trust me, that part is better than good. It will be everything you dreamed being a mother would be like. They will bring you so much joy it will make up for all those dark, dark days.

So on this Mother’s Day, here’s to all the moms who just need to make it to the next day. We’re all rooting for you. :)