Trials and Tribulations of a Pregnant Woman

The Weird & Wonderful Journey of Pregnancy

Life as a SAHM

So I took the leap. And because the Lord was so kind as to pave my transition with so much lead time and preparation, the leap was very much cushioned. Life as a full time SAHM has been hectic, but also full of moments I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

Just thought I should record down how our schedule looks like, at 5 months (FM) and 2.5 years (GM).

(On school days)

7+am: GY wakes up, goes down to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher, make GM’s milk and heat up breakfast, while I try to catch a little more sleep (bless him). Around this time, GM might have woken up. If she does, she’ll stay in bed before GY goes to her, gives her her bottle of milk and puts her on the potty.

8+am: FM wakes up and I go to her room to nurse her. She usually stops crying when she sees me and smiles very excitedly. After nursing her, I’ll leave her on the mattress on the floor for some tummy time while I quickly go wash up and change. Then I’ll bring her down with me to the dining area where GY would be feeding GM her breakfast. If I can, I’ll eat my breakfast too.

8.20am: GY brings GM to school and sometimes eats his breakfast outside. I bathe FM (one of her fav times of the day) and spend some time playing with her. This is usually the only one-on-one time I have with her that’s not hurried or distracted.

9+am: GY comes back and prepares to go to work. If he’s got no morning meetings, he’ll spend some time with FM. By now, FM is usually quite sleepy and cranky. I nurse her and put her to bed. She’s learnt to sleep on her own in her cot after undergoing sleep training at 4 months old. Sometimes, she goes to sleep without any fuss, sometimes she cries for a couple of minutes before going down. After putting her down, I’ll go to the kitchen and spend the rest of the morning preparing GM’s lunch and chopping/cleaning/preparing food for dinner.

Sometimes, I’ll put on a sermon to listen while I work so I’ll get some spiritual input since I hardly get to hear full sermons in church these days. When GY leaves, I’ll see him off at the door. After all the food prep has been done, I’ll mop and sweep the floors, put in a load of laundry and try to tidy up around the house. I’ll also try to eat my lunch before the lunch-nap rush hour when GM comes back.

11.30am: GM comes home with GY and eats her lunch. She’s able to eat on her own but sometimes due to time constraints and also because I want her to eat everything on her plate, not just the things she wants to eat, I’ll end up feeding her. FM usually wakes up around this time too so she’ll join us for lunch. GY buys his lunch from outside and eats with us. After lunch, GM is given a piece of fruit which she’ll munch on while she plays at her craft area or jumps on the living room couch.

12.30pm: I bring GM to the potty and makes her milk. If GY doesn’t have to rush off for meetings, he’ll help me carry FM while I see to GM. If not, I’ll carry FM around as much as possible, and put her on GM’s mattress while I bathe GM. Usually, GM asks for a story while she’s on a potty and I read a brief one to her before quickly showering her down. Then I’ll put on the diapers for her, moisturise her legs and after she settles into the bed, I repeat the nap time rules to her:

1) No touching the electricity 2) No sitting up, standing up or sleeping upside down 3) Her head must be on her pillow 4) No peeling the stickers off the wall 5) No playing with the milk bottle after drinking. She usually gets very excited reciting the rules with me and I’ll have to calm her down. If FM is on the mattress, she’ll usually be at the end of her patience by now and I’ll have to carry her. I’ll say a quick prayer for GM, before asking her “Who wants milk milk?“, to which she’ll exclaim, “I WANT MILK MILK!!!” After giving her the milk bottle, she’ll always try to make me stay with her saying, “Mummy, please lie here“, or “Mummy please lie for a little bit“. I’ll tell her that I need to do housework and try to leave as promptly as I can.

1pm: After leaving GM with the milk, I’ll bring FM to her room to nurse her and settle her down for her 2nd nap, while checking on GM intermittently via the video monitor. If I see her breaking any of the rules, I’ll go in to discipline her. Sometimes, she gets so upset I’ll end up having to lie with her for a while to comfort her before I can leave. I monitor both kids on the video cam until I’m sure both are asleep. Some days, GM doesn’t nap at all and spends almost 2.5 hours squirming about, singing and talking to herself. Our cut-off time for her is 3.30pm. If she doesn’t nap by then, I’ll go in to get her and she’ll have an early bedtime (around 8.30pm).

If both kids sleep, this is the time I get some respite. I’ll do my QT, work on my writing business, read up on recipes, do next week’s meal plan, or just try to lie down for a bit. If laundry is done, I’ll fold the laundry and put them away. Wash GM’s snack box and pack her snacks and diaper for the next day.

3+pm: Usually FM wakes up first, and I’ll go to her, nurse her, change her and spend some time playing with her. GM usually wakes up shortly after and I’ll bring FM to her room and the 3 of us will spend some time playing, reading together. FM adores her sister and would light up each time GM puts her face close to hers, it’s most heartening to watch. I’ll also change GM’s diapers and change her into her “wake-up” clothes.

4+pm: When FM starts fussing a little, I’ll bring her to her room for her 3rd nap. I’ll leave GM in her room and tell her to read some books while waiting for me. After settling FM down for her nap, I usually go back to find GM reading quietly in front of her book shelf in her room. I’ll ask her to pick a book and I’ll spend some time reading to her. As GM calls it, “Mummy is spending time with you“.

Sometimes, we make up stories and have imaginative play instead. She likes to pretend that her blanket is a swimming pool, and she loves diving in. Recently, she’s got an imaginary friend called Flo, the lying fly. She says that Flo lies down next to her while she’s in bed, and she likes to bring Flo swimming and teach her how to blow bubbles. It’s most amusing to watch her help Flo put on the swimming suit, eat dinner, etc.

5+pm: I’ll bring GM down for a snack while I get the food ready for dinner. While I shuffle around the kitchen, GM eats her snacks by herself at the dining table with a book. GY usually comes home around this time, and GM and I love to rush up and “surprise” him. He knows we’re there but always does a great job of acting surprised, haha. He helps me keep an eye on GM while I finish dinner prep.

6+pm: Dinner is served and by then, FM is usually awake and she’ll join us for dinner. If she’s fussy, I’ll eat with her on my lap.

7+pm: Dinner is usually a quick affair and GM gets another piece of fruit while we wash up. Either GY helps me carry FM while I load the dishwasher and clean up, or he shoos me up to bathe and takes over both kids and the washing up.

8pm or so: GY puts GM on the potty and takes a shower himself meantime. I’ll take over FM and run her nighttime routine (wipe down, change diaper, change into PJs, nurse). If she’s not too cranky, she joins us in bed for a bit and we have family night time prayer together. If not, GY prays for her first and I’ll put her to bed. If FM goes down early, I’ll hop over to bathe GM while GY makes her milk.

9pm: By now, GM would be in our bed, all bathed and clean. I believe this is her fav part of the day, to be in our bed with us. If GY happens to be doing his pills, GM would hover around to try and help, she loves watching GY fill up his pill boxes. GY or myself would read to her while she has her milk, before GY prays for the family.

9+pm: GY or myself brings GM to her room for bed. She’ll brush her teeth before going on to her bed. Either of us will pray for her again and spend some time talking to her before we leave her to sleep. Sometimes, she takes up to an hour to fall asleep, but usually before 10pm, she’ll be asleep.

After putting GM to bed, GY and I finally have some time to ourselves. We will (or are supposed to) do our QT, then head to the kitchen to finish up whatever that needs to be done – wash the milk bottle, start the dishwasher, put in whatever leftovers into the fridge, and sometimes, snack on random things. If it’s not too late, we spend some time talking for a bit in the kitchen before heading up to bed. This is one of my fav parts of the day, spending time with GY after a long day.

10+pm: I brush my teeth and lie down in bed. Usually I’m out cold before I know it. GY sleeps before 11pm, but usually after me.

2/4+am: FM wakes up crying for milk. I’ll go in to nurse her, usually with my eyes closed coz I’ll be so sleepy, pop her back in the cot, go to the toilet and head back to bed.

7+am: It’s another brand new day, and everything begins again…

One of those days

Today was one of those days where anything that could go wrong, went wrong…

Fm woke up ard 6am and didn’t go back to sleep for long. Gm had a diaper leak even though she’s been poo accident-free for months. There was a giant flying cockroach in the kitchen toilet. Chopper pooped in the kitchen. The refrigerator showed a weird error message. Our car is still in the workshop for the faulty aircon and GY had to bring gm to my parents place in a cab.

I brought fm to the polyclinic but the queue wasn’t moving and the waiting area crowded with sniffy folks. The attendant nurse took forever to key in basic details while I juggled the diaper bag and baby carrier and fm who was starting to fuss coz she was extremely sleepy. She was actually sleeping already but had to be taken out of the carrier to have her weight and height taken. She wasn’t happy. In the end I came home without seeing the doctor or getting any vaccination.

Frankly I felt quite miserable and was wondering why was the world against us today.

I was impatient, frustrated, and basically wallowing in self-pity. Why God? Why are you letting all these things happen to us?

But then I realise perhaps I’ve taken His blessings for granted all along. Perhaps this is His way of pointing my eyes to look for His blessings which have been cradling me all this while.

So I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for the car he provided for our daily traveling needs. And for the ability to call for and take cabs when the car is in the workshop.

I’m thankful that the fridge people are able to come to repair it tomorrow.

I’m thankful for GY’s willing hands to wash the poopy diaper without getting mad at gm for the accident.

I’m thankful that we have the ability to explore other options for fm’s vaccinations and doctor appointments.

I’m thankful that we are all healthy, no one is down with anything at the moment.

I’m thankful that gm has loving grandparents and she’s able to go to Ah Gong Ah Ma 家 during her school holidays, explore the library, ride a bus with my mum…

I’m thankful for a loving husband, baby smiles, toddler laughter and a dog who tried his best to hold his poo in before we opened the door for him to do his business.

My emotions are fleeting. I can feel at peace one moment, frustrated the next. But I know I have God’s peace to ask for and cling on to. So I am thankful.

Marriage

I think one of the most common things couple take for granted after they have children is their marriage.

And I can see why.

The days with kids can be incredibly joyous, but they are long and tiring. Time is a scarce commodity – between working, feeding, bathing, cooking, there is barely any time to even sit down for a proper meal sometimes.

It’s easy to slip into talk which revolve around schedules, doctor appointments, school, kids, groceries, meals, etc… and spend whole days not really having a conversation, and not connecting at all.

I know because that’s exactly how I feel.

We hardly have any proper conversations these days because GY is always tired at night and I can tell he much prefers screen time over human interaction.

I’ve been praying over this, for God to give us the time to talk, to pray, but just now when GY told me he’s going out for a drink with his dad, my emotions welled up.

Didn’t you just say last week that you want to consciously spend more time together?

We both know weekdays are crazy. So that leaves us Saturdays and Sundays. You spend Sunday afternoons out on the soccer field and then drinking by yourself or with your friends. So that leaves us Saturdays. In between the fixed routines, we are left with Sat afternoons when both girls nap, when I don’t have to attend to them, and that’s perhaps just 1-2hrs tops, on a good day.

And you’re telling me you prefer to spend that one timeslot we have to go out drinking with your dad – again?

Hot tears welled up because I felt hurt that my own husband doesn’t seem interested to work on our relationship. I know he works hard at home with the girls, but investing time in our children is not the same as investing time in our marriage.

I felt bitter and taken for granted.

I felt like I’m not important, that our marriage is not a priority. And I wanted to not care either. Because if I’m the only one in this, what’s the point? Doesn’t it take two hands to clap?

I know I’m supposed to find my joy, my security in God, but it’s really a struggle when because of marriage, I’m One with another – and the other just doesn’t seem very interested.

Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes.

Today, I recall 2 incidents. In the morning, I forgot to bring the little berry’s bag home from the enrichment centre, and GY was quite annoyed with me, although he tried his best not to show it.

GY broke some bottles of beer just now – at close to 10pm after we’ve put the kids to bed. It was a dangerous mess in the storeroom and beyond, glass shards n broken glass everywhere. We spent a good hour cleaning, sweeping, mopping, shifting furniture and stuff out from the storeroom.

These were 2 honest mistakes from the both of us, but as I stooped down sweeping glass shards from under the shelves, I couldn’t help but wonder if GY would have been annoyed with me had I been the one to make the same messy mistake that late at night.

I was a little saddened because my first guess was that he would’ve been quite annoyed, based on his reaction from this morning’s incident.

Then I caught myself. It was pride getting the better of me. I was comparing my (gracious) attitude towards his mistake, with his annoyance with mine. And I was thinking perhaps I’m more spiritual, more patient, more mature.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I get on my knees to clean up the mess because it’s an act of obedience to God, because I didn’t want GY to be alone down there cleaning up so late at night, because if Jesus was there, he would’ve done the same, better.

So I gather that instead of comparing attitudes, I should be thinking that whatever I do to others, I do unto the Lord.

Seeing more in him

Today, I learnt an important lesson. I learnt that a wife can look into a moment and see more of her husband if she wants to. But she has to be looking.

I learnt that we can pick each other apart so easily, but it takes time to stop and really look, to see the good, the love we sow into each other’s lives.

My husband loves me like this:

It’s the fishball noodles he brings me for breakfast, or the fish he buys me for lunch so I won’t have to go hungry as I go about my day.

It’s the grocery trips he makes, the heaving of the heavy plastic bags into the car, onto the kitchen counter, keeping them into the fridge, etc… so that I can have all the supplies I need to cook.

It’s the times he stops at the door to say goodbye and look me in the eyes.

It’s the loads of laundry he does late at night, the diapers he hand washes, the dishwasher he starts.

It’s waking up every weekday morning to prepare the little berry for school, make her breakfast, sit her on the potty, etc… while I lie in for a bit more rest.

It’s mopping of the floor of chopper’s drool with the floor rug.

It’s forgiving my grumpy attitude when I feel overwhelmed by the day when it has barely started.

It’s saying sorry when he knows he’s made a mistake, and asking me to pray for him.

In this season of joyful and tiring sowing, there’s nothing like his love to lean on – when I stop and really look.

Staying Home

The email has been sent to my boss and he’s replied with his best wishes. The deed is done, the deal is sealed. I’m going to be a full time stay home mum for the next ‘x’ no. of years. It’s both scary and liberating.

I remember 2 years ago when my maternity leave was about to be over, I was frantically looking for part time work options because I didn’t want to send the little berry to childcare. I was so clear, I wanted to be with her, I wanted to take care of her, I didn’t want to miss her first steps or words, I wanted to be there for all the moments – the small ones, the big ones.

And I felt so torn because back then, our finances were not as stable and we couldn’t afford for me to stay home. In the end, the Lord opened up part time work at my workplace and it was wonderful mercy. I had the best of both worlds – the little berry was well taken care of by my parents for 2 days a week, and I was able to stay home to take care of her for the rest of the time. I was able to stay in touch with society and keep up with trends and colleagues and wear work clothes to go to an office, and meet friends for lunch.

Thinking back, I can see the Lord’s hand of protection over me. He knows I don’t deal well with sudden changes, so He gave me 2 years of transition time. I know my calling is in the home. My passion is in my family and my children. I love cooking for my husband, taking care of the household, being here for my family.

So it has come to this. I’m standing face to face with my calling, and I feel a little apprehensive. Talking to GY about this sometime back, I told him I was afraid of letting go of a part of me. And he wisely asked me, what exactly am I holding on to?

I guess I would like to hang on to the couple of hours a day I can be free from having to be responsible for anyone other than myself, the tiny bit of financial freedom I get from my job, the respect and recognition from industry awards, people giving nods and smiles when I tell them my ideas… These are the perhaps the things I want to hold on to. But I know these are but dust, awards are but human applause, not to last, and money is nothing if the Lord does not provide. I guess it’s time to look for security in the right places, or rather, the right place – Him.

“Even to your old age and grey hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you. 
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
– Isaiah 46:4

A time of learning

Miriam turns 2 months old soon and the longer we are as a family, the more I realise there’s much to learn…

We need to learn that there’s a time and season for everything. What we willfully choose can cause those around us to suffer.

We need to learn to look at our own walk with God, to be disciplined by Him before we can discipline.

We need to love each other through our mistakes, our anger, our words that hurt.

We need to choose silence when we are inclined to shout.

We need much grace on this daily journey of marriage and parenting.

There are times like today when I feel great surges of anger, of injustice and disappointment, when bitterness is lurking in my heart, taunting me to give in, give up, walk away from all that’s good and right.

There are times when I feel like my words fall on deaf ears, and what’s the point when my opinions are ignored.

I guess it’s times like these when I have to remember 48. Remember that these are living words written by a living God, and while man can fail, God’s grace is there to redeem us.