I don't think I will ever forget the details, or maybe I will. There are far too many happenings over the past few months. I never quite understand what motherhood really is until I became one. It's the most complex and rewarding experience that I ever had and each day I just pray for wisdom and strength to walk through the day and more to come. I talked about my SAHM experience and have been wanting to pen my thoughts on being a Full Time Working (ftwm) and Part Time Studying Mum.
It has been 5.5 months since I returned to work along with part time studies that ended 2 weeks ago. I still miss my 4 months maternity leave. It isn't the toil I am talking about, it is the precious time with Emma. Hence, I did my very best to spend every quality time I could have with her and capture all these precious moments. Nevertheless, we are thankful that to have an infant care that has taken care of her well and the teachers love her.
So, how's life as a ftwm?
1. Early waketime and late sleeptime
Emma takes her first feed at 7am and that's the latest I could sleep in till on the weekends. On the weekdays, I wake up at 530am to prepare for work - cook porridge, brush teeth, shower, pump milk, feed Emma, take weekly photos on Tues, diaper change, dress up, make up and straighten hair everything by 730am. As for sleeptime, it usually 1130pm or latest 12pm after the last pump. I was never an early riser nor a late sleeper and I just love to sleep. It's indeed by God's strength that I could survive these past months.
2. Short weekday nights with baby
Weekdays night time with Emma are really short and I seriously can't wait to be home at early as I could. Emma takes her dinner at 7pm (+/- 15 mins), so I need to be home by then. I knock off at 6pm and it takes me an hr to walk to train station, train back, walk back home along with a stop by at the coffeeshop to buy dinner back. (Tip to save some waiting time: get the zi char/western food stall number and order over the phone). Hubby picks her up at 6pm and spends little more time with her in the evening. On those days that he need to work late, I will need to fly down to the ifc by 7pm and I usually reach on the dot due to the long taxi queue. She would then take her milk at 8pm followed by some light play and bedtime routine - wipe-down, clothes/diaper change, sing "Jesus loves you", pray and kiss good night.
3. Lots of multi tasking and long list of to-dos
There are really lots of multi tasking going on. I will feed Emma on her high chair, gobble my dinner, pump and chat with Hubby at the same time. As for the other pump sessions, I will surf the net, watch some random TV shows, write up blog posts or I will read my cases and complete my assignments when I was still studying.
4. Baby sleep time = mummy's free/housework time
Having Emma to sleep by 830-9pm is a blessing! The sleep training paid off, she slept well other than when she was sick. She started sleeping through 6 hours by 2 months old and 9 hours by 3 months old.
I take around 30-45mins to wash the bottles/pump parts, toss in the clothes into the washing machine and hang up/fold clothes. So, it is usually 9-945pm, depending on what time I put Emma to bed, when I get to settle down. During school term, I try to put her to bed as soon as I could so that I could hit the books by 9pm. This leave me with around 2.5hours to do my school stuffs before bed.
As for these days, I am so happy that I can play with her a little while more before putting her to bed. After housework, I get to relax a little, head to nearby mall for marketing, pack the house, watch movie with Hubby or do some art crafts. I am still trying to catch up on thorough clean up/packing as I did the minimal when I was held up with school stuffs.
5. Missing baby
I can't help but to view my instagram for regular doses of Emma and look forward to the evening to hug/kiss/play with her. She is growing so fast and never fails to surprise us with her new milestones. For the start, it was more of worrying if she is drinking/playing/sleeping well in ifc. But the ifc has been doing a good job, so I'm worrying lesser (on healthy days) and just pure missing her.
6. Precious weekends!! and quality time
Weekends are really precious and we totally enjoy the time together. :) She brings so much joy and laughters to us. It's so amazing to see how much and fast she has grown. I just can't get enough of her. It probably just me, I feel that she can't wait to show us what she has learnt from the other babies/toddlers at ifc.
7. Planning and time management
Weekdays routines and pumping sessions (both home and work) are pretty standard. As for weekends, it can be rather varied on different days so I need to plan out my pumping time and Emma's feeding time based on the programme for the day. I also need to plan in time for housework and visits to parents/in laws. Thereafter it's the race against time to get everyone and everything ready. For the record, it takes minimum of 1.5hours to get out of home.
8. Fearful of baby falling sick
All the above are for good days. Life turns upside down when baby falls sick. It can be really worrying, tiring and stressful to take care of a night-waking, needy, cranky, hard to soothe baby. In addition, parents need to take leave from work and leaves run out pretty fast. Just imagine a 2 week long of school closure due to consecutive hand foot mouth diseases. It is hard for full time working parents without additional help to cope. Thank God that Emma has been rather strong, she had 1 major episode of fever/cough/flu and another 1 minor episode of fever due to teething. Each day, I pray to God that she will be strong and healthy.
9. Support from hubby and family
I am thankful to have hubby being so hand-on and actively involved in the upbringing of Emma. I won't be able to do all these alone without the support from him and family.
To quote a few, hubby took care of Emma when I was at school, mum and mother in law to cook nice dinner for us during the weekends, parents would pop by to help out/play with Emma while I do some housework on weekends, mum to help me to prepare Emma's dinner stuffs and brother who always shower Emma with lots of gifts.
10. Responsibilities and satisfaction at work
There are lots to cope at home and being a ftwm means to juggle with the additional responsibility and probably stress at work. Nevertheless, many working mum derive satisfaction from work as well.
It has been a very joyful and rewarding journey even though these few months of being a full time working part time studying mum have been challenging, tiring & stressful at times. I praise the Lord for walking me through and indeed with God all things are possible. I am give thanks for a supportive husband and family. And, am thankful to have a good job with reasonable remuneration, understanding boss and nice colleagues.
However, I am still wishing that Hubby gets a even fatter paycheck and commission monthly so that I can be stay at home mum for probably a few years :P I certainly don't think that being a sahm is easier and I do admire many of them. I would love to spend more time leading and developing Emma's faith, character, skills and knowledge. In the meantime, I trust that the Lord will continue to lead, provide and protect our family.
This is certainly just the beginning of the life long journey and there are definitely more challenges ahead as Emma grows up. As we face the different stages of parenthood, I pray that I will always seek and trust God to walk us through this journey.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12 : 9-10.
2 Corinthians 12 : 9-10.