Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Relationship

Why Our Kids Are Not Our Priority

It wasn’t always that way, just so you know.

Before our eldest son was born, my husband and I were the best of friends. While we did almost everything together, we still had our own space so that strengthened our friendship, I guess. What I love the most about us then was how we could talk about literally anything. Every day, there was something we talked about – we shared our thoughts on it, we compared what we knew about it, we argued when we had different opinions, and at the end of the day, we would come to a conclusion on what we talked about.

Sure you might think that sounded serious, but when I said we could talk about literally anything, I really do mean anything. I remember once how we spent several hours arguing if a snail without its shell is naked or homeless.

When our son was born, things sort of took a turn.

It was fine for the first couple of weeks because I just got back from the hospital and I had help for the first few days I was home. Then slowly the truth of how we’re parents now started to dawn on us. I find myself constantly pushing myself to keep up with my son’s needs in between juggling housework. My husband felt the sudden importance of earning because now we got extra things to pay for for our son.

Along the way, our eyes were set only on our son.

Every single thing revolved around him. Me taking a shower? It had to be while he was asleep. My husband needed to go out and get some bread and eggs? It had to be after my son was fed and burped so I could take a minute of sleep while he slept. Our sex life? Had to be scheduled when our son was in his deep sleep.

It was okay, I guess, for us to go through all that because we thought that’s how our lives were going to be from that moment on. I mean, hey, after all, we have a son now. We can’t exactly go out whenever we want anymore, right?

Wrong.

Turned out making our son’s (and soon our other kids’) needs as our priority was one of the most damaging things that ever happened in our relationship.

From the best of friends, we tried so hard to be the best parents. To be the best parents, we believe in being attentive to our kids, attending to all their rational needs, we believe in being there for them.

19437219_10155454958974197_4875216214273405108_n.jpg

What we forgot to do was being attentive to each other. We forgot to attend to our rational needs. We forgot to be there for each other.

In the chaos and pressure of looking after our kids, we forgot to look at each other.

Our sights were dead set on our kids, we neglected each other. Our attention was so focused on our kids, we lost track of each other’s lives. Our thoughts, passion, and hope were directed to our kids, we lost our own way to each other’s mind and heart.

Being parents to two kids (then) was so crazy for us that at one point, I realized that we have not touched each other for almost a month. I’m not talking about sexual caresses or romantic cuddling; the actual human physical contact was gone between us and it was only after a month I realized it.

I was watching the TV while our kids were in bed and my husband fell asleep on the couch next to me. I turned to look at him and I realized how much I miss the man who was sleeping right next to me. I forgot how warm his hands were, I forgot how he looked when he smiled, I forgot how safe I felt when he hugged me. As much as I wanted to lie down on his chest while he slept, I was more taken aback by how I was afraid he might react. It literally felt as if I were to lie down on a stranger’s chest on the subway.

The next morning I told my husband how I felt when he was asleep on the couch last night and while I was ready to hear him say he was too tired from working, I didn’t expect him to look at me under hooded eyes and said he felt the same way too. To be honest, I would’ve preferred to hear him raise his voice complaining that I didn’t understand his workload than it was to hear his quiet voice telling me I felt like a stranger to him too.

That very weekend, we decided we needed a break from our kids.

I battled guilt and shame for wanting time alone with my husband. I came up with hundreds of scenarios to tell my mother she needed to watch over the kids while my husband and I had to attend “a function.” I packed and repacked our kids things before we dropped them at my mom’s place. I almost told my husband we should skip going out because I was feeling too guilty about leaving my kids behind for no apparent reason.

But that’s just the thing. We had a strong reason to go out.

We were falling apart.

We thought having kids would bring us closer, but all it ever did was sent us down different paths, further and further away from each other each day. We had to do something before we were too far away from each other and could not see a way back home.

Our first date night felt extremely awkward. We both rushed through dinner, quickly finished our drinks, and went for a quick stroll, each tried to discreetly check our watches. We talked, yes. But it wasn’t like any of our talks before. It felt scripted, it felt forced. When we finally picked up our kids from my mom’s, I swear to God I heard my husband sighed a tiny relief.

However, the next day, my husband came and hugged me around the waist while I was cleaning up after our breakfast.

He told me he actually had a nice night and he felt bad for feeling rushed and wanting to be home quick. I told him I felt the same way and he told me we should go out again that weekend.

Our second date was definitely more relaxed. We took our time finishing our meals, we enjoyed our drinks, and after our stroll, we even stopped for some coffee. And we held hands while we were drinking coffee.

I can’t tell you how much I felt like myself again. That night on the way home, I cried and told him how I miss him and how I wish we could be like how we were before. I hated leaving our kids at my mom’s, but I hated it more that I feel like I don’t have my husband with me anymore. My husband called my mom and said we were not picking our kids up that night and we would be there first thing the next day. To my surprise, my mother didn’t make any fuss and said it was getting rather late and she hated to wake the kids up.

With tears and snot running down my face, I realized that it was late. I forgot to look at my watch during our date and I didn’t feel the hours passed at all. Just the way it was when it was just the two of us before kids.

Ever since that night, we realized how making our kids’ needs our only priority was damaging to the both of us.

Choosing to spend time with each other doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to our kids. Having some alone time doesn’t mean we don’t need to take care of our kids. Putting ourselves before our kids doesn’t mean we’re selfish.

And being able to have regular date nights ever since then actually made us better parents. We’re not stressful when we’re facing challenges with our kids, we’re not losing our temper as often as we did before, we could laugh more, we talk better to our kids, and our kids somehow behave better too.

We can really see how they are happy when my husband and I are truly happy.

I used to feel guilty and embarrassed for wanting time for my husband and I. I used to feel that I shouldn’t feel too free anymore now that I’m a mother. I used to think people would think I’m a bad mother if I want to go out for a movie with my husband.

Not anymore.

I feel free to be who I am not because I’m in denial I’m a mother and I want none of the motherly restraints.

I am free to be who I am because I know by taking care of our happiness and priorities first, I can definitely be a better mother to our kids.

 

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Posted in General

Cooking’s A Peach!: My First Cooking Blog

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a separate blog just for cooking for quite some time now.

It’s nothing fancy or extraordinary because I don’t want to pretend that I could cook haute cuisines (though, I suppose, I would be making several attempts, hahahah) or daydream about my life being like Hassan Khadam from The Hundred-Foot Journey.

I have the idea of having a blog where it serves more as a quick reference that makes sense to everyone, especially those who are short on time or to those who are just learning to cook.

After much considering and slowly compiling my recipes, I have decided to have one!

Simple cooking blog

 

I still have many recipes to upload, but there it is!

I can’t promise that I will write or upload a recipe each day, but I will try to have at least 2 new recipes every week. I will share whenever there’s a new post. Alternatively, you can also follow (and like, of course!) my FB page of the same name so you will automatically see new posts on your news feed.

If you choose to follow my blog and my page, I thank you in advance and I hope you will be able to take something from it!

Posted in Parenting

Is Santa Real?

The kids have been watching Christmas movies for several days now and we’ve been talking about Christmas for quite a bit.

Sophea: Mommy, why our house don’t have a Christmas tree?
Me: Because we don’t celebrate Christmas.
Sophea: But I like Santa.
Me: You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to like Santa. A lot of people like Santa.
Sophea: Yes, because he’s so cute.
Me: Hahahaha that’s right. He is cute.
Sophea: Will Santa come to our house?
Me: No. Because Santa is not a real person.
Sophea: Santa is dead?
Me: No, no. Santa is not real because anyone can wear the red suit and be Santa.
Sophea: So Santa is pretending?
Me: Well, Santa can’t pretend because he’s not real. But there are people who wear the red suit and be Santa for other people, especially kids.
Sophea: So Santa is lying?
Me: No, it’s like this. You know how sometimes you guys wear pirate hats and all that and pretend to be pirates? It’s like that.
Sophea: But why people wear a Santa suit?
Me: Because it can make some people happy.
Sophea: What people?
Me: There are people who don’t have enough food or toys. So on Christmas, there are people who wear a Santa suit and give food and toys to these people so they can be happy because sometimes, for them, Christmas is the only time they get more food and toys.
Sophea: But why they have to wear Santa suit? Can they wear a pirate suit?
Me: Yes, they can. It’s just Santa makes a lot of people feel happy. You know how Daddy likes Mommy wears the blue dress? Because it makes Daddy happy to see me? It’s like that. Some people feel happy when they see a person in a Santa suit.
Sophea: If we give food and toys to people, are we Santa?
Me: Maybe they think we are. But we don’t have to wear the Santa suit to give people food or toys.
Sophea: So people wear Santa suit so they can make people see who is in their heart?

At this point, I just can’t. I was literally tearing up because I thought I was teaching her something, but as always, it’s the other way around.

Posted in Home Made

4-Ingredient Steamed Cake

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes

 

My kids have been pestering me to bake them a cake. I would if there was anything to bake because I haven’t done grocery shopping for baking for weeks.

Then I remembered my mom’s go-to cake when she has very limited ingredients.

So I whipped up this steamed cake that only needs 4 ingredients

Simple steam cake recipe

4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh milk
1 1/2 cups flour

1. Beat eggs and sugar
2. Add in fresh milk a few tablespoons at a time
3. Add in flour a few tablespoons at a time and beat at low speed in between
4. Steam on high heat for 30 – 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean

*You may add a few drops of vanilla essence, if you want

As you can see, I split the batter into two so I can marble them, but you can do it any way you want really.

Simple steam cake recipe

Let me know how it went for you if you try this recipe!

Posted in Motherhood

Of Being A Mom and Losing Weight

Work out for moms

The topic of how to lose weight after having kids has got to be one of the most discussed topics among me and my other mom-friends.

For many of us, losing the weight we’ve gained during pregnancy almost seem impossible. It has been the cause of frustrations, anger, and to some of us, even embarrassment.

Even though many of my mom-friends had alluring figures before pregnancy, not all of us are able to get back into shape. I have gone through yo-yo weight ever since I got married and after my pregnancies. Before I was pregnant with my first son, my weight has always been the same. Although far from what I would’ve liked, it has never really gone down, but it has never gone up either.

When I delivered my first, I was at 220lbs. I wasn’t worried about losing the weight because I have never been truly conscious about my size because I’ve always felt that we’re only as big/small as we want to feel. So being at that weight didn’t bother me.

What made me change my mind was the difficulty I had to go through of lugging all that weight while having a baby for the first time.

I hated how I can’t move as fast as I wanted, I hated how I could sit on the floor to play with my son but had to have help to help me up. When I decided to lose weight, it was drastic. I set my mind to it and I pushed through.

And I did it. I went from 220lbs to 130lbs in about 7 months. I wrote about it here if you want to read more on that.

Weight loss mom

Now I have 3 children and most of the times it feels almost impossible to try and lose weight when I have to do something all the time. It doesn’t really help that I’m a writer working from home who has to chase tight deadlines for days on end sometimes.

However, I realize, it is not impossible. It is not an excuse to let the weight pile on. It is not something that I couldn’t do.

I’m not sure how much this would help you, but in this two-part post, I thought I’d share the 10 top things I do to try and lose weight while taking care of 3 kids, working, and getting the housework done.

I’ll tell you now that most of the times it won’t be easy and it won’t take you 2 months or even 6 months maybe, to be in the shape you want, but I’ll also share on how I got through those tough days.

 

1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself One of the things I learned to let go while being a mom and trying to lose weight is how I always berate myself for being fat.

I know I try not to make it a problem as I’ve said earlier, but I have my bad, moody days when I get pissed off when I can’t fit into my jeans, but I try my best to be careful to not let this get to me. I remembered when I was 220lbs and starting to realize how big I was, I was constantly thinking about how thin I was before, how I could wear that cute halter top that my husband bought for me during our honeymoon.

And I vividly remember how thinking about this just made me feel even worse about myself. The first step for me to losing weight was to love how I am now.

I strive to look better, focus on how I want to be, rather than how I was during my “heydays”.

 

2. Don’t Ever. EVER. Compare

With so many blogs, Instagrams, and Facebook pages of super super healthy moms who seem to be able to do it all, I admit it can be hard not to feel bad about myself.

I get envious of how some moms who also have 3 kids can fit into super skinny jeans and look gorgeous with those knee-length boots and cropped tops. Not only that, they bake gorgeous cookies, complete awesome Pinterest projects, and a champion in keeping their house spotless.

Then I realized that that’s them.

I know that that body is not mine (even though I can get it too). I don’t want to lose weight for the wrong reasons, least of all jealousy. I don’t want to lose weight to make other moms feel bad about themselves. I don’t want to lose weight because I want to buy a $200 slip dress. I want to lose weight because that’s what I want it for my body.

I’m not saying these super healthy moms are doing it to make other moms jealous because they’re doing it for their body too, but sometimes you can’t help but to feel envious because you’re not quite there yet (and it feels like you’ll never will!).

So I switched to following health blogs or websites more than I do of these super gorgeous moms with sleek abs. I still check their blogs for tips and tricks on working out or cooking or baking, but I don’t compare my home to theirs, I don’t try to pull off an outfit they just posted on Instagram.

It is completely okay to want to look like those gorgeous moms, don’t get me wrong. But you need to make sure why you’re doing it so that you won’t get frustrated when you don’t look like that after months of working out.

 

3. Use What You Have

I don’t go to gym. Ever. Okay, so I’ve been to one before, but I decided I didn’t like it.

I don’t like how I always feel as though I’m the fattest one in the room. I know it’s probably all in my head and no one really cared about my jiggling buttocks as I tried to do squats, but I don’t like how it made me feel.

I still want to lose weight, so what I did was, I place myself in my most comfortable environment where no one would judge – my home.

I could work out in an unwashed t-shirt and old sweatpants and no one is going to say anything. Since I don’t have the equipments that I need, I look for things I could use at home instead.

I used to use my kids play mat before I could get my own yoga mat. I used to fill water bottles and used them as dumbbells before I could the appropriate ones for me. As a matter of fact, there are many workout routines that don’t require any equipment at all. I would spend a little bit of time to find videos on YouTube for these workout routines and search some more on other health websites.

Though, I won’t deny that it does help to invest on several equipments such as dumbbells, yoga mat, or a resistance strap, but you don’t have to have all of them at once for you to start losing weight. As a mother of 3 on a tight monthly budget, I would think 100 times before buying these things. But I would get one whenever I can and use it in my routine before I could buy another piece of equipment.

Work out without equipment

4. Don’t Put It Off.

I think for me, if not many mothers, one of the toughest challenges in trying to lose weight is sticking to it.

Feeling dead tired after a day at work or having to chase around kids all day and getting housework done from morning to night is enough to make the thought of working out a dreaded one. I know this is easier said than done, and believe me, I have felt it thousands of times, but you just have to do it.

You need to find the time to do it. Even for 20 minutes.

I know it’s impossible for me to work out when my kids are asleep so I do it the moment they’re down for their afternoon nap or at night after they’re asleep where I can workout for a longer period. I would usually do light routines in the afternoon such as basic yoga poses, and concentrate on a full body workout at night.

At first I felt there was no way I could spend 20 minutes to work out when there’s housework waiting to be done because I usually get more housework done in 20 minutes when my kids are asleep than I do in 20 minutes when they’re awake. But most of the times, I ended up checking Facebook for more than 20 minutes after my kids are asleep. When I logged off and got started on the housework, I realized how I could’ve used that time to work out instead.

So yes, cutting down your time on the Internet really, really helps if you needed the push to start working out. My mother always says, “If you have time to watch TV, then you HAVE time.”

 

5. Pace Yourself

Many a time I set myself a goal that I want to lose weight this much weight by a certain date or month. And many a time I failed.

So, I switched from setting a goal of trying to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date to a goal of how much I could work out in a day.

I would set a goal of completing how many reps for one routine. Say if I did 2 sets of 8 rep squats the last workout session, then I aim to do 3 sets of 8 rep squats for the next. It may seem like a trivial thing and a small accomplishment to make and achieve, but believe me you, it works in pushing yourself to reach the goal you’ve set. And without you worrying about it every day, you are losing that amount of weight you initially aimed for.

It’s often the case where mothers want to lose weight because they want to prove it to others as much as to themselves that they can still maintain their shape after pregnancies. I see nothing wrong with this because everyone wants to look good and I know and understand that. I would be lying if I say I don’t want others to look at me and wonder how I’m able to stay in shape after 3 kids. Just like everyone else, I want and love to look good too.

But you have to be careful not to make this your only goal and sole purpose.

Like I said, do it for yourself and no one else. If there are admirations, then it’s a bonus to keep motivating you to push harder. But don’t ever push yourself to lose weight because you want to look thin for others.

 

I’ll share more in the next post on how I push through the tough days and what keeps me going.

But first, why not share what’s your biggest hurdle in working out at home with kids?

Posted in Children, Motherhood, Parenting

Things I Never Thought I’d Say As A Normal Person (But Didn’t Think Twice About It Now That I’m A Mom)

1. Don’t eat that! That’s soap.

2. Can you not smell that. That diaper has poop in it!

3. Why are you licking the wall?

4. Please don’t try to eat your toes.

5. Don’t eat that. That’s.. What is that?!

6. That’s not my butt on my chest. That’s cleavage.

7. There’s no cartoon today because the people who works at the TV station is having diarrhoea.

8. We can’t eat chocolates for dinner because later worms will grow in your stomach.

9. For the last time, no you can’t use your toothbrush to clean the toilet bowl.

10. What am I doing here?

 

Toddler years are only for a few years, but they sure do do things to you.

What’s the weirdest thing you find yourself saying to your kids?

 

Motherhood

Posted in General, Motherhood

Looks Like 2015 Has Just Started

Oh, wow.

Things have been slow for me.

It seems like finally 2015 has decided to wake up and start. It’s been hell for the past 3 months, and I thought things are going to be the same way as it was last year. But thank God, so far things are finally picking up.

My eldest is starting school next year, and I don’t know who’s more excited. I mean, I’m nervous as hell too, but I’m excited as well because he gets to go to school and see what’s it like for himself. Though we wanted to homeschool him, Eros has been asking about going to school so often that we feel he would not be happy if he doesn’t.

Mohen decided that Eros is going to go to school for the experience. Since both of us are leaning more towards homeschooling and we’re not putting pressure on our kids to get good grades, we feel school would be a good environment for him to develop other skills that we can’t teach at home.

It would be good for him, I believe, because we’re going to teach him more at home and let him have fun at school. I know our schools here pay too much attention on how many As a student gets, but I guess as long as Eros knows we don’t measure him with that, it should be okay for him.

Work is slowly picking up for me too. I’m getting more writing projects, and I’m getting several steady clients. So I guess that’s good. Though I wish I can take a long, long, long break, I know I need to push through at the moment. I can’t wait for Mohen and I to go on a holiday, just the two of us, like how we had our holidays before the kids come along.

I won’t speak too soon to say that 2015 is going to be great for me, but as long as it’s better than last year, I’m happy enough. As long as I have the things that I need to make it through the day, I’m more than happy.

How’s your 2015 looking so far?