Friday, March 22, 2013

I Quit My Job...

...for 2 weeks. My helper is back home, enjoying her break with her family. It's sad to think that she (and all the helpers in this region) only gets to be with her family once a year, in fact it's once in two years by contract, but I'm nice like that.

Last year, I remember being a little apprehensive about taking over the household chores for 2 weeks. There was this fear of trying to survive without her. But 2 weeks was a very short time, I did minimal cleaning, minimal cooking and spent most of my time with the boys which was nice.

This time, I was actually looking forward to my short stint as a stay-home mom. NOT tai-tai. A full-time housewife! It has been a week and I must say, it's fulfilling! I know you SAHM/housewives out there are rolling your eyes and thinking what a stupid thing to say but really, not every woman gets this luxury to look after her family and her home. OK, roll your eyes summore...

Think about it. Don't you feel that people are buying homes to have others to clean and maintain it? People are having kids to have others look after and raise them? WTF right? That is why I feel fulfilled having to do all these FOR myself, my home, my loved ones. I am watering my garden and plants everyday, I am feeding my family everyday with home-cooked meals, I am making sure they have clean clothes to wear everyday, I am playing with my little one more. And preparing breakfast for my husband and boys has been my dream. Why? Because I'm out of the house for work, even before sunrise. So you see madams, it IS a luxury to me. To be able to fulfill that nagging inner desire to do all those.. for years. I don't even want to travel for a family holiday! My home feels like a resort already!

So anyhoos, if you are desperately wondering why I'm loving this housewife shitty job, this is why. My helper seemed to have a system, so I mimicked a similar system and routine. It really helped a lot.

I wake up slightly earlier to boil water. I make sure there's enough water in our dispenser. I sweep the floors downstairs and then start preparing breakfast. Half-boiled eggs, toasts, milo. On two occasions, I cycled to a nearby jalan to buy kuih or nasi lemak from a roadside stall. It's great living in a Malay-dominated area, coz the nasi lemak rocks. It's very homemade.

Then the boys wake up and starts harassing me. Or sometimes they harass each other, while I make breakfast peacefully. Then the husband comes down all ready to go to work, and I serve him breakfast on our patio. We eat together, it feels like we're on a resort, munching toasts and sipping milo by the garden. Hee hee.

Then he leaves for work. I wash up. I go upstairs and make the beds, sweep the floor, and bring the dirty laundry down to start a wash cycle. Laundry IS A DAILY thing. (you housewives going DUH!)
Thank God for washing machines! And boy do boys generate A LOT of dirty clothes!

Then I sweep the patio and the porch a bit because we are always barefooted there. I water the plants.
I hang out with the boys awhile until 10.30am. I start preparing lunch for Daniel. OK, I have meals planned for the week.

While I prepare lunch, the boys either watch the morning cartoons, or play at the backyard sandpit where I can watch them from the kitchen. The husband is a genius.

I serve Daniel his lunch after he showers and changes into his uniform. I feed Darren as well. The schoolbus arrives and Daniel is off to school. I wash up and hangs out with Darren. Then we take a quick fresh shower together and get ready for nap.

He naps for 2 hours, while I get a quick 30 min rest/sleep. I collect the dried laundry, and hang the freshly washed one. I fold the clothes, do a bit of ironing.

I thaw the meat for dinner. Then I relax or craft a bit.

Darren wakes up and I tend to him. Usually he likes some TLC and milk after he wakes up. Aren't babies adorable. So we cuddle a bit.

Then he plays on his own while I start preparing dinner. Dinner is a major meal thing. I have my Chinese soup boiled 2-3 hours prior to dinner time. For the rest of the evening, I'm in the kitchen. Darren plays on the sandpit.

Dinner and beyond is pretty standard again. Dinner, wash up, hang out a bit, shower, bedtime stories, and DONE!! PHEW!!

That's my day for the past week. And I'm happy :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Beautiful Advice to My Children

Written by Leo Babauta, from here.

I have six lovely children — one of them now an adult, and a couple more almost there — and I give a lot of thought to what I think they should know as they grow up and go out into the world.
What could I best teach them to equip them for life?
This is what I’d like them to know:
You are good enough. Most people are afraid to do things because they are afraid they’re not good enough, afraid they’ll fail. But you are good enough — learn that and you won’t be afraid of new things, won’t be afraid to fail, won’t need the approval of others. You’ll be pre-approved — by yourself.
All you need to be happy is within you. Many people seek happiness in food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, partying, sex … because they’re seeking external happiness. They don’t realize the tools for happiness aren’t outside them. They’re right inside you: mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, thoughtfulness, the ability to create and do something meaningful, even in a small way.
You can start your own business. As a young man, I thought I needed to go to college and then be employed, and that owning a business is for rich people. That was all wrong. It’s possible for almost anyone to start their own business, and while you’ll probably do badly at first, you’ll learn quickly. It’s a much better education than college.
Everything useful I’ve learned I didn’t learn from college … I learned from doing.
That said, I’ve had some amazing teachers. They’re not always in school, though: they’re everywhere. A friend I met at work. My peers online. My mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts. My wife. My kids. Failure. Teachers are everywhere, if you’re willing to learn.
Spend less than you earn. Thirty percent less if you can manage. Most people get a job and immediately spend their income on a car loan, high rent or a large mortgage, buying possessions and eating out using credit cards. None of that is necessary. Don’t spend it if you don’t have it. Learn to go without, and be happy with less.
Put away some of your income to grow with the power of compound earnings. Your future self will thank you.
Learn to love healthy food. It’s all a matter of adjusting your tastebuds, slowly and gradually. Learn to cook for yourself. Try some healthy, delicious recipes.
Learn compassion. We start life with a very selfish outlook — we want what we want. But compassion is about realizing we are no more important than everyone else, and we aren’t at the center of the universe. Someone annoys you? Get outside of your little shell, and try to see how their day is going. How can you help them be less angry, less in pain?
Never stop learning. If you just learn something a little a day, it will add up over time immensely.
Have fun being active. Sure, there’s lots of fun to be had online, and in eating sweets and fried food, and in watching TV and movies and playing video games. But going outside and playing with friends, tossing a ball around, swimming, climbing something, challenging each other … that’s even more fun. And it leads to a healthy life, healthy heart, more focused and energetic mind.
Get good at discomfort. Avoiding discomfort is very common, but a big mistake. Learning to be OK with some discomfort will change your life.
The things that stress you out don’t matter. Take a larger perspective: will this matter in five years? Most likely the answer is no. If the answer is yes, attend to it.
Savor life. Not just the usual pleasures, but everything and everyone. The stranger you meet on the bus. The sunshine that hits your face as you walk. The quiet of the morning. Time with a loved one. Time alone. Your breath as you meditate.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They are some of the best teachers. Instead, learn to be OK with mistakes, and learn to learn from them, and learn to shrug them off so they don’t affect your profound confidence in who you are.
You need no one else to make you happy or validate you. You don’t need a boss to tell you that you’re great at what you do. You don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend to tell you that you’re lovable. You don’t need your friends’ approval. Having loved ones and friends in your life is amazing, but know who you are first.
Learn to be good at change. Change is the one constant in life. You will suffer by trying to hold onto things. Learn to let go (meditation helps with this skill), and learn to have a flexible mind. Don’t get stuck in what you’re comfortable with, don’t shut out what’s new and uncomfortable.
Open your heart. Life is amazing if you don’t shut it out. Other people are amazing. Open your heart, be willing to take the wounds that come with an open heart, and you will experience the best of life.
Let love be your rule. Success, selfishness, righteousness … these are not good rules to live by. Love family, friends, coworkers, strangers, your brothers and sisters in humanity. Love even those who think they’re your enemy. Love the animals we treat as food and objects. Most of all, love yourself.
And always know, no matter what: I love you with every particle of my being.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Spectacular Craft Project

Another fun rubber carving project. 

The alphabet stamps are bought from Kiang Trading stationery shop.