Photos taken in collaboration with Ang Wei Ming

When I first found out that I was pregnant with my third child, I remember everything around me fell silent as the stick turned positive.

While this pregnancy was completely planned, the reality of having three kids under the age of four hit hard. How are we going to do this? Is this too many too soon? How will I give each of them the attention they need with the finite amount of time that I have?

Fast forward to four months since our third baby's birth, our lives have been surprisingly less chaotic than expected and I cannot imagine our lives without our little Beth.

DAILY QUALITY TIME

Being a mother is a multi-hyphenated role: we’re pulled in every direction because everyone needs us. And I know that as parents, whatever amount of time we get with our kids is often not as much as we would like. We just have to seek quality instead of quantity.

For myself, I make it a point to set aside time in the morning and evenings for the kids. Mornings consists of getting everyone ready before they head out for the day, making breakfast and catching everyone up on the day’s schedule.

On work days in the evenings, my phones are kept away till the kids go to bed so we can spend uninterrupted time together. In addition to that, I try my best to ensure I have at least 10 minutes of one-on-one time with each child.

Most days are uneventful, but that time is always carved out for the children so they know it’s our safe space should they ever need it.

SCHEDULE IN ONE-ON-ONE DATES

In addition to daily quality time, I calendar in one-on-one time with the kids, if I don’t consciously do that, the haste of our daily lives will catch up with me and I overlook that.

I’ve learnt that these dates don’t have to be "equal", meaning, not every child requires me to spend the same amount of time with me to feel "topped up". The three of my kids are so beautifully different, and our best dates are spent according to their unique love languages.

My oldest, Sage, who is four, is a quality time kind of girl. Our one-on-one dates span an entire day, in the form of a shopping trip and a meal, or a full day of running errands together.

My second, Levi, who is two and a half years old, is an acts of services kind of dude, very much like his father. He loves it best when we are out on a mission getting something done. It can be as simple as running an errand like choosing library books for his siblings, or anything framed as some kind of "adventure".

My youngest, Beth, is a 4-month-old baby with a developing personality. Lots of touch and cuddles are how babies feel most loved. I try to ensure that I block out time to nurse and hold her in the early mornings before the older ones wake up, and give her an extra long cuddle at night after the older ones are in bed.

ASK FOR HELP

On weekends, I engage the help of my parents to take the older kids for their afternoon naps so that I have the a nice 3-hour block dedicated just for her.

If you have someone who you trust to help off load pockets of time for you, be it a grandparent or a trusted friend, I highly recommend reaching out for their help. Most people want to help, and more than we know!

Not only does this free your time and mental space up, it helps the child form a bond with someone else other than you so they grow up knowing their village.

LIFE HAPPENS IN SEASONS

As mothers, I feel like we want to be able to do everything and be everything. We want to be present in our careers because doing good work is important to us. We want to be present with our children because they grow up so fast and you are holding onto the days where they still need you with everything you have.

But we only have a finite amount of time and it truly is not possible to do everything. I work in the advertising industry and have seasons of highs and lows at work.

During a high campaign season, work is just full-on and time with the kids are reduced. While that can be a downer, I know that the low season is coming, and during that time, I consciously prioritise the kids.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, MAMA

If you’ve ever taken a flight, you’ll know that in the case of an emergency, put on the oxygen mask for yourself first before helping the child. This holds true even in how we give our time.

Be kind to yourself and remember to nourish yourself first so that when you are pulled in every direction and everyone wants a part of you, you have enough to give.

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Tags: Parent-Child Relationships