6 November 2013, by Tan Li Lin
Working from home and running my own business means weekends aren’t weekends. They are an extension from Monday to Friday, just with more people at home, and seemingly more hours. I still get into the weekend mode, squandering more time in between stuff to do, and sneaking in the occasional ‘MasterChef’ or ‘The Great British Bake Off’. There always is 1001 things to do ranging from work and assignments, to tidying my room, to baking or planning some upcoming trip/project/event.
But last Saturday wasn’t like any other Saturday. I could’ve done the same ‘ol weekendish stuff but nooooo, I decided to venture beyond my comfort zone. Forge ahead into new frontiers. Bungee jump out of my comfort zone and into a realm of nothingness. Catapulting myself into the air not knowing where I”ll land.
I decided to head to the MaybeBaby Celebri-Tea Afternoon.
Parenthood galore. Smiley glowy parents wander around. Expecting mommies ambling about . Happy curious couples hand in hand. Ahh…… the smell of joy that children bring.
And that’s exactly what eclairs do for me.
Since Coco and Claire came into my life, my hair stops standing on end every time a baby is in the vicinity. Nonetheless I still stand as far as I can from little strangers and find myself suppressing the occasional shudder. I guess I still prefer the way my body reacts to kids (now) as opposed to my ovaries churning in excitement every time I look at one. You can slap me on the back with a ‘I told you so’ 10 years later. The jolt might be good for my retiring ovaries by then.
To tell you the truth (coming from someone who would never ever make time for such a talk), the afternoon was well thought out, with pertinent topics addressed. Fringe events leading up to the Celebri-Tea Chat covered input from couples and aspiring parents that was really good food for thought. It was value-adding and eye (or ear) opening, helping people gain a foot forward into this sometimes scary subject.
Personal opinion, the only barrier to having kids is ourselves. If we want it, we’ll find ways to work it.
That’s essentially what I walked away with from the session. As much as I’m not into kids right now, I know I will be one day. I just don’t feel that’s my priority now, and I want to take care of myself first so that I can be a great parent. Needless to say existing concerns like finance, business, housing and my relationship with Ronald are part and parcel of this future topic. They are like jigsaw puzzles that need to fall into place first.
Here are some interesting themes that came up in the Celebri-Tea chat session.
As much as they are meant for parents (or aspiring ones), they could be useful for non-aspiring (but curious) peeps.
Heavy weights on the panel – what do they have to share?
Seen here from left to right: Celine (Organizer & GM of I Love Children), Joni Ong (President of I Love Children), Darren Lim (Mediacorp Artiste), Violet Lim (Founder of Lunch Actually), Paul See (Founder of Priority Wealth Pte Ltd), Petrina Kow (Radio DJ/Speech Coach), Jim Lim (Director of REAL Academy), Evelyn Kwek (Co-founder of thYnk Consulting Group), Dannie Cho (MaybeBaby blogger and my BIL yo!)
1. Work-life Integration
Structure your life around _(insert important thing)_. In this case it was …… FAMILY! (but how did you guess?!)
This applies to everything else that’s important – business, passion, loved ones, health etc. No amount of worrying and concerns will resolve the “… but how to?!” except action itself. Get going!
2. The Art of Persuasion
A guy admitted that he was the one who convinced his other half to come for the event. Then, another lady voiced out that she had to bring hers along to the event. The underlying question was about how to ‘convince’ the other half who seemingly might not be as ready.
The panelists’ shares summed up in that there is no convincing that needs to be done. Everyone is ready at different times, and yet you will never be fully ready (esp. for something you haven’t experienced before). Therefore there is never the waiting, convincing or persuading of the right time – the best time is when the choice is made that it’s time.
3. (I loved this one) >> Who comes first? Spouse? Kids? Work? Self??
Immediately the 2 Men on the panel were invisibly whipped into responding “SPOUSE”! (haha). Dan shared that with 2 kids clamoring for my Sis‘s attention and energy everyday, he’s job was to take care of her so that she will take care of herself.
Petrina had a different say. She said her priority is herself. And that’s not in any way selfish, but to me most integrous. In order to give your kid the best, you have to be in your best shape. That means being in the pink of health, taking care of yourself and being sharp so that you possess the energy and the emotional/mental space that your kid needs.
This is something I’ve learnt to learn in life. I find it difficult being selfish, and I really wish I was more. Becoming a coach has helped me ease into that more, by forcing me to pay attention to my own needs so that I can be in the best shape for my clients. You wouldn’t hire a coach who’s overweight, unsuccessful, low in energy and utterly uninspiring to help you achieve your dreams, would you? Same goes for being a parent, and beyond that, being a girlfriend, boyfriend, sister, brother, child and friend. Demanding more from ourselves means being a better loved one for someone else.
4. The STANDARD way of parenting …
… is the unique way. I worry about how good a parent I will be next time, and I’m sure many, many parents-to-be feel the same way. While a zillion books, blogs, articles and peer advice could be useful, there is no right or fixed way of parenting. “Everyone does it differently, so you’ll find your way.” That was hell assuring for parenting a child… and a business too. Every day I wonder if I’m doing my business THE right way, and if there’s a best way.
So there you have it: 4 pieces of parenthood advice that applies to everything else in life. I hope this comes as timely reminders to you as much as it was for me.
So was it an afternoon well spent? I must say it surely was something new, different and surprisingly pleasant. Plus I benefited from the wisdom of the panelists, and – pardon the Singaporean thing – the tea buffet spread was gooood.
They blog for MaybeBaby (and Evelyn Tan too), so do check their entries out 🙂
Great bantering amongst the Panelists
Couldn’t recognize you Darren… under all that hair.
Thoroughly enjoyed Petrina’s shares. She’s Hi-LEH-rious!
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicates more time to making society a better place over making babies. Follow her blog on ilovechildren.sg and journey with her as she embarks on all things ‘life after 30’.