26 May 2014, by Evelyn Tan

Confessions of a Whimpering 40-year-old

The last week of April saw me lying in bed for 2 whole days because of a sore back (coincidentally a month ago, the same thing happened to Darren too!) … Don’t ask me why but I highly suspect it has to do with age and life with 4 kids …… And no helper …..

I was working the day before it happened and because the scenes involved lots of physical activities (Taichi in the morning, Muay Thai boxing in the afternoon and finally running on a treadmill in the evening— all without proper warm-ups and cool-downs), when I bent forward to keep a pot in its place the next morning , I found myself stuck in that position and couldn’t straighten up no matter how hard I tried! And in great pain!

Naturally over the next few days it was either visits to the physiotherapist or my mum’s place (mum’s the best!) I cannot remember if I had mentioned this before but we had engaged a foreign domestic helper to stay with my mother so that whenever Darren and I needed to work or run errands or whenever we felt overwhelmed  with looking after our four kids, we could have that option of going to my mum and not feel like we would be burdening her with our load since there would be an extra pair of hands to help out. We had decided against having a helper since nearly two years ago to promote independence at home.  Amazingly, our children have risen to the challenge to help out with chores regularly, so frankly speaking, I was quite happy to remain status quo.  But two months  before Elliott arrived, my mother sat me down and advised me to seriously consider having one on board . Thus this arrangement was our ‘compromise’.

But thank God for mothers! After running up and down, shuttling between our boat and mum’s place for a few days, we finally relented and agreed to have the helper with us on board at mum’s insistence.  And now after a week of having her help on the boat, I must say I truly appreciate the extra time I can have with the children and the freedom that I can afford myself for occasional treats like going to the nearby shopping mall to run errands without having to lug  lock -stock -barrel along!

Having said all that, I must qualify that I have not thrown all my reservations of having a helper in the family to the wind. Like that of my children being reliant on her for example (Or even myself being reliant!). Just the other day, Way sat on the sofa and asked in a loud voice,”Auntie Win! Can you please bring me my toys?” Fortunately he was within earshot (unfortunately or fortunately, the kids will forever be within earshot since our boat is small) and immediately that day Darren sat the kids down again and  reiterated the point about how the crew on board a real ship works (that everyone is an active contributing member) and the fact that our new crew, Auntie Win should not be expected to cover our duties etc,etc,etc…..

Hopefully, this will be a one off incident and the habits that have been set in place in the past two years will prevail over the temptations to ‘take the easy way out’.  As with everything, things always come in a whole package.  As long as we are watchful over the children and we ourselves demonstrate diligence in keeping to our old ways and lead by example, I should think these next two years will pass quickly and we’ll be able to get right back  to where we want to be —- being  “self -sufficient” and helper-less once more!

Wait! Then again, maybe not …… our backs will be two years older and possibly in a worsen state than they are now  but Kristen would be 11, Jairus 9 and Way 7—-  We would have more able helpers then!!!


Posted on : May 26, 2014

Filed under : Life After Wedding

1 Comment

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

May 26th, 2014 at 5:09 pm    

Sounds painful! Why do you have so many exercise sessions in a day?! :O

It’s really a blessing to have a helper (or in my case, my parents’ helper!) especially when our kids are so little and are more of a mess than of help. (Admittedly, though, we struggle with getting Coco to pick up after herself and giving in because “Well, she’s only 2…”) But then there’s the issue of teaching them where to draw the line between what’s acceptable to ask the helper for help with and what’s not.

A year back, I was horrified to see the helper holding the milk bottle for Coco while she nonchalantly drank from it while sprawling lazily on the mat. Both of them got a talking-to and instructions that Coco was to hold her own bottle and if she didn’t want to, she could jolly well go hungry!

Agree with you – the best way to teach is to lead by example and not be over-reliant on those extra pair of hands.

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