Because SAHM is not just about surviving! But on a more serious life-and-death note, have you read the SAHM Survival Tips on The Gingerbread Mum’s blog train? Without survival, there can be no happiness :p
When I first started out on this SAHM journey right after Kor Kor was born, I often entertained thoughts of returning to work. I was on no-pay leave after maternity leave, so it would be easy-peasy to cancel the no-pay leave and rejoin the workforce. And guess what, nobody asked me to stop working, and there was no need for me to look after my baby myself – my mother-in-law was very willing to help and I had no worries about leaving my child with her. I became a stay-at-home-mum for only one reason – I wanted to. Despite this, I still felt trapped and unhappy at times….
Fortunately, now I am much more content and happy, even with triple the workload! (Actually it’s more than triple.. cos I had a part-time helper who came weekly to do the major cleaning chores back then.. We stopped engaging help when Meimei was one month old. I am crazy, I know.) Of course, part of the reason is that I am a more experienced mother now and more familiar with household chores. In addition, I believe in making myself happy, and to actively take steps to make myself happy. Cos happiness isn’t served on a platter, you know?
Happiness Tip 1: Change What You Can
One of the toughest problems I am facing now is the heat. No aircon except in the bedrooms, and it is difficult to ‘imprison’ the kids in one bedroom, especially since their playroom is in the living room and the art corner is in the kitchen. Not very possible to install aircon in the living room, cos it’s one huge open area including the dining room and our open-concept kitchen. (Lucky me, Hubby has agreed to get me aircon! But need to get approval from HDB to install an additional condenser.. so the chances of success are low.)
Ya we have fans, but how to sit in front of the fan when I have to serve the kids?? After feeling very unhappy about the situation for some time, I decided I MUST do something about it. Thought hard and came up with a very do-able solution – to wear sleeveless dri-fit tops and beach/sports shorts! I felt sticky and auntie when I wore a regular t-shirt and shorts and perspired like crazy.. but I never felt auntie when I was drenched in perspiration after jogging or playing volleyball under the scorching sun what!
Current situation – still no aircon (haven’t got around to submitting the necessary documents to HDB. Low motivation cos I doubt they will approve), June temperature is forecast to go up up up, but I am happier!
Happiness Tip 2: Don’t Live With What You Can’t Change
Everything can be changed. Even if the thing itself can’t be changed, our mindset toward it can be changed. But the change in mindset only works if you really believe in the new mindset. It’s not going to work if you are just saying it… If you can’t even convince yourself, it’s no use! Keep thinking, keep trying, change something. It can be the environment, or the people around you, perhaps even doing the same thing but at a different time… Remember, there are many dimensions to everything.
Happiness Tip 3: Know What You Want, And Ask For It
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Hubby is always willing to help when I ask for his help. The problem is I don’t like having to bear the main responsibility 24/7, I would much prefer him to be more proactive and hands-on, but I guess men are just wired differently.
(This is not to say he never offers to help on his own intiative. He does sometimes, but when he doesn’t, I would feel unhappy why he isn’t offering. Ya I know, I am hard to please :P)
So, I implemented a new ‘rule’. On weekdays I do all the kids’ baths at night, even when he reaches home early from work. On weekends he bathes the boys, even when I am not busy. On non-working weekdays, we bathe one boy each.
It might sound like a lot more work for me, but it’s not that difficult since I am doing everything on my own when he’s back late from work anyway, and I have been coping well. And since he’s the sole breadwinner and is also working hard at his job, I don’t really mind doing the majority of the housework and childrearing duties.
The new arrangement allows me to totally let go on weekends. I just need to bathe Meimei and that’s it. I won’t have to ask the boys 1000 times to go for their baths. I don’t care if Hubby takes a long time to finally bathe the boys. I am happy, and Hubby is happy when I am happy : )
Err, OK that’s it! Gosh I am feeling quite bo liao for writing so much and it’s actually just three simple points! The thing is, these are common advice for being happy in general, and just because a stay-at-home-mum is a non-monetary, ‘noble’ ‘job’, it doesn’t mean we should be ‘noble’ and put up with being unhappy. Anyway, making ourselves happy doesn’t make us any less noble ok.