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Friday, April 25, 2014

There's Still Me in Motherhood

It's taken me a while to write this, but I think it's important to put this across.. that's it's ok to still have "me" in motherhood.

Speaking to single friends or married but childless friends, I think that other than it being a lifestyle choice, what is holding some of them back from having a kid is that they feel that they will lose themselves; that they will have to sacrifice their individuality. No more career, no more travel, no more beauty spas.. heck, maybe even no more time for sexual intimacy.

After 5 years of being a mum, let me tell you that it doesn't have to be this way. You can still be yourself, and be a mother. You can still think, feel, have your own dreams and purpose in life. It's like being a parent with more than one kid. You may feel like your love has to be divided, but it's not. Your love is actually multiplied and there's more than enough to go around. Motherhood doesn't take anything from you {ok, maybe sleep!!}... it gives you more.

More opportunities to explore the world through a child's eyes, more chances to relive your childhood, more creativity to make the most out of the limited time & money we have, more reason to treasure even the simplest things in life.

Treat motherhood as an extension of your own self, rather than a threat. The only threat here is your idea of how a woman in a family should be. In a way, this was one of the reasons I started this blog. To show people that individuality does not end after motherhood. When you have kids, your life revolves around them but that doesn't mean you give up on yourself as a person. Your passions and interests can still exist in a family setting, and your kids can be part of pursuing them. I'm not going to fool you that it's easy, but it is possible.

How? Well, I can only speak from my experience. If you like to travel, bring the kids along, It's tough, yes, but still doable and very fun as you notice places you never knew until you were a parent. If you like fashion, then you will love shopping for the children and dressing up your mini-me. If you like food, then make it your objective to discover all the kids-friendly restaurants in Singapore or creative ways to feed your child. If you like photography, then now you have a little model to work with and can encourage the kids to explore life through their lenses as you do. 

Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about taking care of yourself, and doing what you love to do. You are not being selfish and honestly, only you know what's best for your family and how it all fits together. Our kids benefit from our strengths displayed when we pursue our passions, and happiness from living the life we want. We gotta be happy ourselves, so our kids know what happiness look like!!

I hope for Lil Pumpkin to be the hero in her own story and grow up to be whoever she wants to be, and I know that when I look in her eyes, I can say with conviction that I am living the life that I want to its utmost, thanks to being her mother. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Avocado & Herbs Cream Pasta | Week 17

 What's in my obento this week? 
Avocado & Herbs Cream Pasta.

Obento {お弁当} is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and doesn't always need to be complicated or time-consuming. I hope to inspire you to create delicious, everyday obento meals for your family with these simple ideas and tools.

These photos are part of the 52 Weeks Family Obento Ideas series.


Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Reflections of Blog Goals 2013

Almost 4 months has passed since last year ended, and I was thinking of skipping a reflections of the blog goals I made in 2013 all together, but then, what's the point of making goals and not seeing how far you've come? Writing this also gives me a good opportunity to reminisce on the time that passed by :)

2013 was about stepping out of my box and breaking boundaries, to challenge myself and my blog.

1. Step-Out with Action
I wanted to more be outgoing and reach out to work with people, brands or organisations that I admire. From the beginning of the year, I had a little project, Joys of Parenting, where I approached random strangers on the street to ask them what they loved most about being a parent. It wasn't easy but I'm glad that I managed to complete it for 52 weeks!

As not many dads were forthcoming in wanting to write a guest post in Celebrate Fatherhood series, I had to pitch the idea to complete strangers {e.g. Daddy Wayne}, ask my mummy friends to help me ask their hubbies {thanks Daddy Adrian & Daddy David!} or even the owners or the brands {e.g. Daddy Guillaume} who approached me to work on other projects haha.  

Also, as there was more focus on health and fitness in our lives, I also approached brands that gave us the opportunity to run in Safari Zoo Run 2013 {we did it again in 2014} and Energizer Night Trail Singapore 2013. I would love to do this more with other brands, and there are a few other projects I have in mind but haven't had time to execute. Hopefully, with me being more willing to propose projects, I can continue on this year too.

2. Step-Out with Heart
We've donated to some charities off the blog and on it, I worked with small local shops like Precious Junior and Mama Shoppe to build their online presence and raise awareness on their charity work. I also hope that I inspired others to see the rewards of a simple life when raising kids and live healthier with the start of my Fitness Diary on the blog and on Instagram.

I can certainly do more in stepping out with my heart. Some of the mums I know have started a little project to craft and raise money for Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore {MINDS} and I recently found out about Mom Bloggers for Social Good which I'd like to look more into. I'm also thinking of how to help my friend, Shannon, raise funds for the less fortunate and needy among us as she runs marathons.

3. Step-Out with Mind
I reckon I was more daring in opening my mind to accepting blog projects that I usually wouldn't. For one, I tried out Restylane dermal fillers on my face. I'm quite particular about health/ aesthetics services because I'm scared I'd have a horrific reaction to a treatment and I already have trusted health/ aesthetics clinics that I attend regularly. However, I've known Dr Kang for a while now and trust his services so accepted this when he asked.

Sometimes other than lack of time and interest, I think I don't take up projects because of fear. Fear that I might not have the technical know-how or specialisation skills to share the product / service properly with my readers. This is quite apparent when I touch on technology as I still think I'm quite a tech noob so can't write deep stuff about it :P However, I did review the Foscam Wireless IP Camera as it'd be very useful in our home. I'm slowly getting my head around that if the brands trust me enough to approach me, then I should have more faith in myself to at least give it a go, and write about the service/ product in a way that I know how and fits with my blog. 

My writing doesn't just involve projects with brands but also my personal projects too, like my Go Local series, where I feature some unique & heritage-filled places in Singapore. I had open my mind to new experiences, step out of my comfort zone and explore the paths less trodden. Singapore is changing rapidly and I want to document Singapore for my memory, and for Lil Pumpkin.

It's been an eventful 2013, and one that I'm very grateful for it was the first time I won the Best Family Award in the prestigious Singapore Blog Awards. All these blog goals that I set for myself are long-term ones. Even those from 2012. They are just signs pointing me in the right direction for my blogging journey and aren't the destination.

What will 2014 hold? I'm not sure but I have my Blog Goals for 2014 ready. I'll let you know about them in a week or two after I return from Shanghai this weekend :P

Have you made any blog goals this year?

I Blog on Tues with Essentially Jess


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014 | Egg Hunt & Games with Friends!

On Good Friday I got together with a few mums to organise an Easter celebration for our families. About 30 adults and 30 children came... wow such a huge turnout! Kind of chaotic but it was all good :) We all chipped in to take-charge of certain stuff and everyone unanimously agreed that it was a HUGE success and we should make it an annual thing (^^)V

There were yummy Easter-themed treats...

Interactive Easter story-telling...

And even an egg-cellent {haha!} Egg in Spoon relay race!

I love this shot of the boy being so happy and proud that Lil Pumpkin managed to hoola-hoop! :)

I didn't manage to take many photos of the event but you know what.. it's ok. I read this article mentioning that relying on technology and taking photos of everything may not actually help us to preserve the moment in our memories. Especially since we tend to take heaps and don't take the time to review them. It's more important to be in the moment to observe and experience.

But that's not to say don't take photos at all. Photography is not only about keeping the memories alive, but to capture and share the beautiful moments as well with those that couldn't be there at that time.

Everything in good balance, right? :)

The highlight of the day was of course the egg-citing {sorry, can't help it!} Easter Egg Hunt!! Since it was drizzling, we had to have it indoors so there weren't many secret hiding places, but the kids LOVED it!! It was the first time for many of them as well.

This was Lil Pumpkin's second egg hunt since she went for one last year at 7Adam Gallery Restaurant.

We divided the kids into two groups - kids aged 4 and below, and another for kids aged 5 and above. The younger kids had a designated area to find their eggs easily {some were just thrown on the floor}, while the older kids kept to another space where the eggs were hidden a bit better.

I brought along her little yellow pail for the Egg Hunt... some of the kids were very innovative and even brought along upcycled 2L plastic milk bottles as pails :P

Lil Pumpkin takes her Egg Hunts very seriously and left no "stone" unturned hahaha..

Yup, even the mini plant pebbles were not spared :P

At the end of the day we all sat down together to enjoy our Easter Egg Hunt loot. Lil Pumpkin was really thrilled so later today we will be setting up another Easter Egg Hunt at home just for her :)

Or maybe I'll get the boy to hide the chocolate eggs himself so that I can join in the hunt too heehee.

Happy Easter everybody!!