Archives for category: Imperfect Housewife

What are five kinds of house work you HATE to do most, in descending order?

Here’s mine:

  1. Changing the sheets: My mom and mother-in-law both agree that bedclothes should be changed once a month. Well, screw that. This has got to be The Most Annoying piece of housework on my list and should be relegated to when you have NOTHING left in the house to clean/change/fix. Don’t get me wrong. I love clean sheets as much as the next person and am the kind to bring my own sheets and pillowcases whenever we’re going to stay in a motel. I just don’t like changing them. HATE IT!
  2. Doing the laundry. This was on top yesterday, but because I had to change the sheets today, it got bumped down.
  3. Vacuuming. I have a love-hate relationship with vacuuming. I like to vacuum only when it’s REALLY dirty. But you can’t see dust, and so even though the house ‘looks’ clean, the fact that my carpet could be harbouring an inch of dust and fungus and mould just irks me that I will reluctantly vacuum, cursing ceaselessly as I do it because I am not receiving ANY visual gratification that it’s any cleaner than before. It’s just irritating!
  4. Doing the dishes. I don’t know how I’ll survive without the dishwasher.
  5. Scrubbing pots and pans. Asian cooking is messy and oily and often leaves pots and pans with stubborn residue at the bottom of our soups and stews and curries. For instance, steamed egg with minced pork residue is one SONAVAbitch to clean. You have to soak it in baking soda for a few days for everything to come out. What the fack is up with that?

There. You go.

Nothing says “I’m maternal” like baking cookies. Submitting to the cliché, I agreed to try my hand at making a few dozen for our town’s annual tree lighting tomorrow. Needless to say, they completely ruined my diet the last couple of days. It’s a conspiracy!

Raeven did the icing. Aren’t they perfect? The no-brainer recipe is at my cooking blog. These are simple sugar cookies (we call them butter cookies in Malaysia and elsewhere).

And nothing warms the heart more than a buttery-smelling house and the sight of one’s children tucking in happily.

And just for fun, I took a pic of some of my cinnamon-y pinecones. If I could eat them, I would.

Have a good weekend, all.

Copyright © 2006 The I’mperfect Mom. This blog is for non-commercial use only. If you’re reading the entirety of this entry on another website (excluding your RSS aggregator), please email me to report copyright infringement so legal action may be taken. Thank you.

“Because, you see, I do have a job. It concentrates the mind.”

For some reason, this line in a dialogue in Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, jumped out to me this morning as I was enjoying a little alone time in the can (a rarity. Lokes had the kids downstairs, breakfasting).

If I were to name one of the things that I miss most about giving up my career to become a stay-at-home mom, was the focus I used to have, to make sure I did my job well.

I may not have been an award-winning journalist, perhaps not even a winning one (how life-altering can a piece about the future of pro-gaming in Malaysia be, pray tell?), but at the very least, I had focus. If we truly use only ten per cent of our brains, then I had perhaps used 110 per cent of that ten per cent.

Not so easy when it comes to kids, is it?

While we women, experts believe, may be by and large better multitaskers than men, it is no less strenous an activity, one that scatters the focus like no tomorrow. The logic is there. The ‘job’ of raising children is really a million mini jobs (feed them, keep them warm, keep them from breaking their fingers on drawers, keep them from becoming losers).

More importantly, it also lacks one key factor in KEEPING that focus: motivation. You don’t get days off. There are no promotions. Very rarely do you get sufficient thanks for it (yea, try taking all the hugs and kisses and I love yous to the bank). And boy, does your world shrink quickly, to suddenly become just a series of The Little Mermaid, The Little Mermaid, the extended version, The Little Mermaid soundtrack. Making breakfast, making lunch, making dinner. Trips to school, trips from school, trips to the supermarket, trips to the park, trips to the bathroom. Your mind and body racing from one place to another just to get things DONE.

Focus? Yeaahhaa right. What’s in it FOR ME?

One of my New Year resolutions this year was to read more, and that at least, is giving me some focus these days. Blogging helps too, although that is turning out to be more of an obsession than a hobby. Having moved to the US, reading, which was back home, an expensive pastime because the library was too far away and I could never return the books I rented from those Rent a Book outfits so I’d end up buying them) is turning out very nicely. ‘Coz, you know, Barnes and Noble does not accept hugs or I love yous either, the bastards.

So my dear SAHMS, tell me. What are you doing these days, to concentrate the mind? Scrapbooking? Bakin’ muffins? Making wine charms? Blogging to save the world? Come share!

 

 

Copyright © 2006 The I’mperfect Mom. This blog is for non-commercial use only. If you’re reading the entirety of this entry on another website (excluding your RSS aggregator), please email me to report copyright infringement so legal action may be taken. Thank you.

I have officially run out of things to blog about. That or my mind is a little preoccupied these days with:

1. finishing that damn book. It is seriously slow moving. If not to see how Kate is going to end up and if Aron will really find out his mother is still alive and/or become a minister, I would’ve given it up a long time ago. But I AM FINISHING IT! Good books take effort, right?

2. Leveling my now Level 24 Hunter. Slowwww moving I know.

3. Thinking of new dinner-type dishes. Even though Lokes and the kids don’t really mind eating the same crap every now and then, I think I’m capable of coming up with more choices. Right? Right.

And so, in keeping to my one entry a day (or more) schedule, here are five things I don’t like about being a stay-at-home mom (they shouldn’t be surprising):

1. Cleaning, period. I have this thing about cleaning REALLY dirty stuff. In that I like only to clean when things get really dirty. Like when you can actually FEEL the grime on the soles of your feet when you walk around.

I used to take piano lessons from a neighbour whose mother was religious about cleanliness and hygiene, so much so they never seemed to have many visitors because people were afraid of dirtying the Mak residence. I mean, the woman (my piano teacher’s mother) was most probably suffering from OCD. Whenever my sis and I went over, she would literally be cleaning at our heels, mumbling under her breath about the things we inconsiderate kids drag into other people’s homes and how we, her daughter’s music students, should just stop visiting once and for all. After seven years of piano lessons (I never ‘graduated’), I told myself that I would NEVER clean my house like that because of how miserable she made us feel.

And now that I know how much work is really involved (esp. with two under-five kids), I don’t think I will ever be that clean.

2. Folding the laundry. I don’t mind loading and unloading or even ironing (which my husband can tell you I don’t really do as well, but only because I like to warm up the iron only when I have a lot to iron and get them all at one go) but I truly do hate folding the stuff and putting them back inside their respective little nooks. Which is why our closets and drawers are perpetually in a mess.

3. Doing the dishes. There’s only so much my dishwasher can take, and with two kids (and very few in-between washings), one goes through little bowls and little plates and sippy cups and regular cups and cutlery and sometimes even our ‘guest’ china, at light speed. Suffice to say, our water bill is quite low.

4. Reading the stories. After a full day, I find myself really despising storytimes because firstly, out of the 52 books we have in her room, Rae will only read two. We’ve read them so many times I can recite each one word for word in my sleep.

Secondly, she does so like to interrupt and imagine that she’s IN the story. Now Lokes does all the reading and I, the praying. That, I can handle.

5. Changing bedclothes. Hate it. Since I don’t mark my queens from my kings, I always end up putting the wrong ones on the wrong beds and then have to remove them again.

HATE IT!

I only do it once every two months. Sorry if it disgusts you but we often bathe twice a day so we’re not THAT dirty.

So there you go. Mamatulip and Cuddlymama and Atti2de – consider yourselves cordially TAGGED! Zel I know you’re not an SAHM but seeing you’re about to become one (and you guys don’t use a maid), consider this an essay assignment of things to come!

😀

This month’s Self Portrait Challenge (reading Karli’s reminded me of it – thank God I have you on my feed, babe. I keep forgetting!) is about Enclosed Spaces.

Here’s mine:

selfportrait_aug06.jpg

Although I’ve been a mom for four years, I think I’ve only just discovered the verities of motherhood, and what it can do to someone who’s not ready, or might’ve had romantic or ambitious notions about the job.

Seven months into the role of a stay-at-home mom, it is not unlike the feeling of having walked into a trap. That sounds horrid, I know, but the truth is that much of it isn’t gratifying or liberating or warm and fuzzy. TOTALLY not what your mom or aunts or grandmothers want you to think it is, especially for those of you who are used to independence and travel and meeting people and long dim sum sessions and gaming into the wee hours of the night. Regiment and routine and housework and being mindful of what happens around the house and having always to set a good example for your children – all this feels oppressive and depressing. Most of the time, escape is all you think about.

But to equate full-time mothering to some claustrophobic confine is inaccurate. Unfair, even. Because there will be times that grateful relief for having been given the job will wash over. To be able to witness the priceless antics your kids get up to, moments you know can occur only once (which is why camcorders and digital cameras are a godsend). To be able to have those all-important conversations that can change so much. To rest, at the end of the day, in the loving embrace of a thankful husband for a job well done.

So using what is a bad (but functional) analogy for those who insist on one, motherhood isn’t a box. It’s a cage. You get meals, breaks and holes. For light. And laughter. For love. After a while, it even gets comfortable.

Give it another ten years and you might not even notice it anymore.

We had a really good show this morning where we talked about the dreaded Superwoman Syndrome, where a woman tries to do everything: be mom, career woman, wife and daughter.

We had Patsy and Topaz with us this morning and talked a little about how we are all control freaks to a degree and how the inability to let go can affect our lives.

Listen to the podcast here. Also available on the player in my blog (top right).

Our next topic will be about a largely Asian conundrum: How do women, who are mothers, juggle having to care for their immediate families and their parents? What does it mean to care for parents who are ill? What options do we have to help us out?

Please watch for the time and date at the SAHP Malaysia Yahoo group, and if you want to join the Skypecast, let me know. All you need is a Skype account and the software, a mike and speakers or headphones!

Information used during the podcast regarding medical symptoms of The Superwoman Syndrome and steps to recovery was sourced from the following websites:

Tell us what you think here or at the SAHP Malaysia usergroup. Thanks for listening!

There are times in one’s life as a stay-at-home mother, where one is faced with sudden bouts of self reflection and worrisome contemplation about one’s future.

The experience is not unlike finding and trying an old pair of your favourite jeans you know may be too small.

You sit on your bed, jeans in hand, daring yourself to put them on. Sometimes, you’d chicken out, stuffing them hastily back into the closet. Sometimes, you’d actually do it, only to be stubbornly refused somewhere along the thighs area. Defeated, you return them to their rightful place, in the box marked “old clothes”, before going downstairs for a lunch of two tomatoes and a peanut.

Did I tell you that I was once a journalist? 

I’d started my career writing about supermarkets and hotels and food. And then I began taking an interest in computers and technology and the Internet. Before I knew it, I was playing video games and writing about them.

It was a glorious time, which culminated in my helping to organise the first ever international game development conference in Malaysia in 2005. I got to meet my idol, Chris Avellone, the lead designer of Neverwinter Nights 2. And that was my swan song, before embarking on my journey to the US as a stay-at-home mom.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that life. Sometimes, it hits like a punch to the stomache, to realise that that chapter is now over and that I may never be a journalist again. Not until my kids go off to college anyway. And as much as I console myself with blogging and my experiments with creative writing, and the fact that I am doing the most important job of my life today, I know that part of my life is closed. Greyed out. Dead.

It does NOT feel like a noble job, being an at-home mom. It is not fulfilling, not all of the time. And God knows it ain’t easy. Most moms who do it often ask themselves when the day would come where they’d go off the deep end. Most of the time, it isn’t even because your child is sick or that they’ve somehow found paint and poured it all over the TV. It can be as harmless as the prospect of facing another day of the same old shit.

Waking up and making breakfast. Bathing the kids. Breastfeeding. Going to the playground. Cooking dinner. Doing laundry. Cleaning up messes.

Every. Single. Day. No ifs. No buts. No breaks.

I often wonder if my husband understands what a big deal this is, and why he should worship the ground I walk on for the rest of my life and let me win every fight we will ever have. I wonder if the husbands of other stay-at-home moms who could’ve had huge careers of their own – husbands who will NEVER quit their jobs because they’re, well, men -understand what a HUGE fucking deal this is, and do the same.

Why?

It’s simple. Ask yourself: If the both of you have the same earning power, will you quit your job and be a stay-at-home dad?

No?

Then you must understand that what you do will never be the same as what we do.

Unless you clean pig sties or work in a daycare or fight fires.

 

Yes, it’s another one of those days that I’ve tried on the jeans, knowing I will never be able to get into them again.

And wonder perhaps if it’s time to throw them out.

More than one person from home (one of which is my mother-in-law, who poses the question to me once everytime I call home to check on the old folks) has asked me this past week what my kids and I eat everyday here in the States.

It's as though the US is this big black hole where all manner of edible matter disappears. Or perhaps they don't think much of me as a cook, so keeping my kids and I from the verge of starvation without spending the family fortune on take-out can be quite real a possibility.

Whatever it is, relax guys. I can bang a skillet/wok and a spatula together when I set my mind to it. If you don't believe me, ask my hubby, although I must say his needs are pretty simple to fulfill, Thai Chicken Rice being his only request most of the time. And I don't see my kids complaining. Skyler is skinny not for lack of food, so don't go pinning that on me. She will eat pine chips and plastic tomatoes, so -…

*we interrupt this blog entry with a short message about how cute Jenn's kids are. Again.*

We'd gone to the beach and Rae, my four-year old (omg, she IS four years old!! sigh…) managed to wet her undies so she went up to change herself. Came down with her shorts on backwards.

Mommy: Babe, your panties are on backwards.
Rae: (looks down) Oh! (sheepish smile) Silly me!
Mommy: It's okay, we're at home. You can leave them like that if you want to.
Rae: (looks at me, and then outside through the glass doors, and then back at me again) Did you lock the doors?

*end message*

…she LOVES my cooking, although that doesn't really make me sound very good.

So what do I eat everyday? I call it kid cuisine.

For breakfast, they have some kind of fruit, usually bananas or oranges, and cheese and usually a sandwich. When Lokes is around, he makes breakfast so I can catch a few more Zs, and he makes eggs most of the time. I've managed to convince the girls cereal is yummy, so yay, since that involves not having to turn on the stove. As for me, I eat whatever is left over on their plates. And of course, coffee. Yes, you can EAT my coffee, yum yum.

For lunch, it's more sandwiches, more cheese, more fruit. Sometimes I'll make chicken nuggets or that egg snack they both love if I have leftover bacon from breakfast.

Dinner is the main event which I agonise over the night before. Usually we have one meat dish and peas/carrots and/or rice. I've discovered putting a four-cheese-blend on rice is yummy. I make them into little rice balls, sometimes with steamed chicken and veggies. Sometimes I make Chinese-style chicken and potatoes. These days, we have a lot of pasta, which is Rae's flavour of the month. So again, it's kid cuisine, so long as Lokes is travelling 'coz I can't be bothered to cook for me when the kids will no doubt have loads left over.

By the way, you do notice I have a recipes blog. Motivates me to be a bit more adventurous than just Thai-freakin'-Chicken rice.

Hmm. Wonder if I have some Napa cabbage in the fridge?