Mom-Friendly Hobbies You Can Try Anytime

I have always wondered how working moms are perceived from the eyes of strong women.  So took the time to look up how strong women like Princess Diana, Maya Angelou, Anita Roddick, JK Rowling and Joyce Meyer regard playing the role of a working mom. But you know how web surfing has a way of leading you to pages that interest you? The past weekdays and weekends have been a crazy ride for me, with coffee dates on catch up plans left and right, movie dates, haircut and bookstore trips with kids, working lunches and social dinners, plus Sofia’s graduation to attend (super happy about being able to squeeze in lash extensions and nails buffed and painted). My non-thinking surfing habit kicked in after my Sunday watch work-from-home mode, and the pages reminded me that summer is just around the corner. This should give moms like me, respite from busy mornings and takes away several things off our to-do-list (e.g. PTC meetings, test reviews, contest preps with kids, join book fairs in school).

This got me started with finding out a list of options about how I will spend my spare time for summer. Alternately doing it with the scheduled swimming trips with fambam, the list below will surely give you more than enough reasons to look forward to summer.

  1. Train for a Marathon – This brings me back to times when my husband and I have taken lots of active adventures together and 12 years of marriage is not time to stop. It was a milestone to have climbed up Mount Mayon with my husband with a guide and slept at Camp 2 overnight (with our guide leaving us for the night!). I remember preparing with tons of jogging and running around to get my feet and legs ready for the 5-hour climb. Training for a hobby1picmarathon is something you can squeeze in, in the morning now that school is out, you won’t have to get up so early and spend this free time with an early run with hubby. Quality time with hubby and physical benefits in one.
  2. Create Terrariums – I’m not sure about you, but there is something that sight of hobbypic2terrarium does to me, it reminds me how beautiful any indoor or outdoor space can get as soon as you place bottled/glass-jar-plants together. Not to mention that creating one lets you express your creativity, quiets you and allows you to get the recharging you need for the week. Get soil/sand/rock of different texture and sizes, plants and you are ready to create.
  3. Furniture Makeover – Instant makeover idea I have been mulling over to have is to have uniformed black and white lace theme across the rooms in the house. It can be as simple as using a black and white lace dining tablecloth, couch upholstery with the black and white lace fabric or dressing up an accent wall. If black and white lace is not your cup of tea, you can use your preferred fabric colour and design all you like.hoppybic3hobbypic4hobbypic5
  4. Update Pictures around the House – You know when you would have all the time in your hands right after you give birth and so almost always, would update all the frames with baby pictures but then never get around to updating the pictures as kids grow up. That is the case with me. Would love to look into family gallery and get creative with how you will hang them or display them around the house. You can veer away from just putting all frames on tabletops, like I do. I am looking forward to creating a gallery wall with tiered planks, along the walls at the staircase or even print them out as a blind for the biggest window in the house.hobbypic6hobbypic7hobbypic8
  5. Recycling Projects – I actually have a long list I will work on: logs from cut and trimmed trees to be used as planters or backyard chairs. Husband’s old car tires I can turn into outdoor chairs or a mini sandbox for my David! And of course, ending a school year, there are the old workbooks that the younger kids will never be able to use. The plan is to paint all the workbooks solid white, and upcycle them as a nightstand. I can also cover and snack boxes with book pages and automatically create shabby chic accessory. hobbypic9

Hobbies do not need to be expensive, just remind yourselves that a hobby is not as fun or not as meaningful when done alone. Have your spouse and the kids join in. Take pictures and add them to your growing list of daily joy. Summer officially starts now! hobbypic10hobbypic11hobbypic13hobbypic12

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Working Mom’s Angels : Helpers and Yayas

First off, look at the faces of my kids and tell me if you think they can survive the house alone.

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Have you ever returned home from work and see the house in a big mess and felt more tired than you were at the office? It is part of our blessings to find ‘angels’ who help us keep an eye on the kids and keep the house in order while I am at work. On this blog, we will refer to our ever reliable yaya’s and helpers as ‘angels’. Part of our blessings from this day and age are countless ideas for short-prep-time-meals, doing the groceries accurately, setting house rules with the kids and with the angels, and of course, ensuring that you stay on top of everything that concerns the house before you head to work, while you are at work and as soon as you get home from work. Today’s read will not just focus on how we can ensure productivity for our angels while we are not physically present at home but can also help the moms who have just taken their maternity leave and are preparing to go back to work. How do we really ensure that chores are completed and house is spic and span, even while we are at work?

When agreeing with your helpers, it will surely make things easy if you are able to establish what you can tolerate and what you cannot. The sooner that your angels learn what you value in the house, then the sooner it will also be for them to know which ones are acceptable and which ones aren’t. If they know that you want all trash cans from your bathrooms cleaned up every night, then they can make a mental note about it and add it to their daily tasks. Yep, we all should start with an agreement which ones need to be completed daily, weekly and monthly. Below’s list is a suggested list you can also follow. The list is based on mine but feel free to tweak parts of it so it can work according to your preference, house demands, or number of angels at home.

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There are tasks that I need to be personally on top of which include but not limited to:  cleaning up closets, keeping out of season items, arranging to schedule repairmen/maintenance home services, taking out items for donating/recycling/throwing away. Also, work your angels rest day around these chores. If you have more than one, juggle to maintain fair division or alternate assignments so each of them can experience to have all tasks regularly.

Holidays from work, like today (Australian Labor Day) gives you an extra day for chores or an extra day for spending time with kids. Plan your holidays around kids more than you would around chores.

Please remember that how we treat our helpers determine how our kids will treat theirs in the future. They are part of our family, as much as they are blessings to us so keep a constant goal of being a blessing to them, too.

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Does Life Come with a ‘Pause’ Button? Project: Moms Keeping Still

Looking up the dictionary for the word ‘still’, it is defined by Merriam Webster as an adjective that means, not moving, lacking motion or activity. The idiom ‘keep still’ is defined as “restrain or to control someone or something so that a person or thing cannot move”.  What I don’t get about the word still is it does not come with a specific timeline. Whether it has been defined as an adjective or as an idiom, it doesn’t come with a contextual timeline. It is normal for working moms to start busy days pressed for time in prepping for breakfast, while your son asks that you help him find his left sock, while daughter tells you she has forgotten to do her homework last night, plus husband needs you to iron his favourite shirt, plus the dog is sick. But mom readers, how do we really keep still or is it ever possible to keep still? I guess it makes sense to define first, what we need stillness from?

Keeping Still for Quiet Heart “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  (Psalm 46:10) This verse tells me that being still can mean maintaining a quiet heart. The world offers a long list of options to achieve stillness or to keep hearts quiet. There is yoga, a massage fix, me-time, a new relationship or getting out of a relationship, therapy, horoscope and even wearing charms. The list is endless. There is no rocket science formula we can follow, stop exhausting yourself in the process, and just take God’s challenge to be still and know that He is God. He is God over your pain, your hurt, your disappointment, your frustration. God is big enough to handle your emotions. We are always just one prayer away from telling God that we need Him to work on our emotions and grant us a quiet heart. We often hear doctors say: “I have done all I could, the only thing left to do is to pray”. You know why this is so? Because we never allowed God to be our first option. The solution is a give-away. The option to pray should be the first option and not the last.

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Keeping Still for Peace Exodus 14:14 promised that the Lord will fight for us, and we have only to be silent. This is not something I made up, the Bible was clear about keeping distractions at bay by keeping silent. It may seem ironic but the only way we can allow God to work through our need for peace is by not adding to our own noise. Just as we are sure that a person who has the most number of hours of sleep or someone who has nothing to do day after day is not the most peaceful one can become, ‘peace’ now has been defined as keeping a heart full of faith over what God can do over a very chaotic season. Prayers of peace pointing to admission of the fact that as long as we are alive, we cannot escape problems but we can get better at coping with it. Accurate picture of peace is God equipping us to walk on water, while admitting that the water will not always be as calm as we want it to be.

Keeping Still for Rest Asked an American friend about the appropriate use of ‘keep still’ and according to him, he would use ‘keep still’ as an ask to keep someone from moving, but not necessarily to keep someone from talking. It is interesting to know that ‘keep still’ when used as an expression, then, would lose the definition of ‘still’ as ‘silent’ when used separately as a word. Isaiah 30:15 has expressly told Israel that repentance and rest is their salvation and quietness and trust is their strength. Mom readers, wanting and praying for rest from distractions? Trust God and you never have to put on your plate more things than you can handle. You will rest in having confidence from God and focus on things that God wants you to do.

Keeping Still to Hear God Psalms 4:4 …Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. How do I hear the voice of God amidst multi-tasking all throughout the day? Do we wait to hear Him audibly? Do we miss to recognize God speaking through the beautiful surroundings, the surprise blessings, the gift of good health or the gift of marriage? Do we miss to get it when God points us to a new direction, or when he wants us to stop or to pause? Have we grown immune to believing God for more and depended on what our salaries can provide? Have we stopped listing our faith goal based on what God can do versus what we can afford with our family’s double-income?

So no matter what life may bring tomorrow or in the coming years ahead, working moms, stay at home moms and work from home moms have a lifeline we can take anytime…prayer. God’s Word is full of promises around blessings of a quiet heart, peace, rest and hearing from God. After all, keeping still is also having the patience to wait on God and on His perfect timing.

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Working Moms, There is a God who Answers Prayers!

Capped off the week at work with celebrating International Women’s Day. Thanking God to be part of a company that celebrates women and everything that is about women. It was a sea of pink when both men and women from my workplace came in clothed in pink. It is a blessing to have fun at work. This is what makes work not seem like work. Twelve years of marriage and four kids after, it was a journey of ups and downs, challenges and answered prayers, failures and successes. Over the years, God has remained faithful and always has a way of surprising us with good news, all at the right time. As a family, we keep jar of answered prayers we get to refill at the end of each year. My big kids get to write their answered prayers for each year, while my two small kids get to draw them or anything that represents their answered prayers. Come to think of it, I do not need to wait until end of year, listing down my blessings now. Mom friends, read up and thank God for the blessings that can always come your way.

#ThankYouLordforGodlyHusbands

One of the biggest blessings I continually thank God for is a husband who loves God more than He loves anything in this world. This has allowed me to have a husband who stands up in leadership especially at home. My husband works as a full time pastor (now training to be a church planter), a husband who is not defined by what he does but considers family as his first ministry. Someone who is able to do the things he has his hands on, because it is God who empowers him to do so. Part of the blessing I thank God for my husband is the fact that he supports me, encourages me, speaks to my life, and is on a lifelong project of outdoing each other’s love. More than anything, I appreciate having a husband who does not keep a scorecard of misses versus wins, but always acts out of love, patience and understanding.  Most of our best dates are spent dreaming and praying about what we will do as we grow old together.

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Working Mom Perks from Husband: weekly dates, bestfriend, adventure buddy, dream/prayer partner, surprise sweet calls on a busy workday, faith/encouragement advocate.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up…Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)

#ThankYouLordforFourKids

Countless times when I look at my kids and then I start wondering how God has equipped my kids to become who they are now. We did the same parenting to all four kids and surrounded them with the same angels (family and friends) but God continues to amaze us as they grow up uniquely different from each other. At their young age, they reflect to be confident kids and we continue to celebrate small and big milestones such as the first time Sofia has learned to order food for herself at a fast food chain (something I was unable to do until I got to high school!). The greatest blessing about kids is the gift of good health and them knowing that life is never about winning but always about doing your best at all times. More than celebrating the medals, we celebrate when the kids are able to give their best, be happy for the winners when they lose and believe God for more successes and opportunities in the future.

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Working Mom Perks from Kids: little hands and welcome kisses on face, countless school stories, movie buddies, cuddle and squeeze time, trying to fit in one bed on Saturday nights

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:3-5 ESV)

#ThankYouLordforMeTime

Friends are my accomplices for my Me-Time. It can be as simple as a white choco mocha from a coffee shop or a good read just before bedtime. Working moms may always have their switches ‘on’ but it helps to get refreshing and recharging. Do what works for your passion. Hobbies are also welcome such as baking, photography or sewing. I know of a mom who would paint her own nails (I do, too!) or take long hot baths right after a tough work day. There is nothing that a convo with hubby and kids over food or drinks cannot make better. Try a trip to the bookstore with kids. Whether or not you find it weird, staying with kids at home over weekends with nothing planned is just the best fix after a work week for me.

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Working Mom Perks from Friends: trying out new restaurants, spa trips, book and magazine exchange, driving to late night visits to friends’ homes and getting lovely late night visits at our home

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24, 25)

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