Monday, June 27, 2011

Chivalry towards your spouse

I read with wry amusement this article in the Star "The knight in rusty armour". I was especially amused by this part......

"Instead of opening the car door for her upon arrival at their destination, the husband closes his own door and walks off. When once they used to walk hand in hand at the shopping mall, the man now strides two or three paces ahead while the woman has to play catch up. Although, to his credit, he does turn back once in a while to ask, “Can’t you walk faster?” Gone are the days when he would window-shop with her. His newspaper is his friend while he sits on the bench and gruffly tells his wife: “Go ahead, let me finish this article...”

How true, how very true. For me, the part about playing catch up is, well, it could have been me who wrote that part. Adding to this, I have been making something for my spouse which I knows he likes. Has he said "Thank you"? I don't recall. In fact, when I tried to show one of it to him excitedly, recently (I may have picked the wrong time), he said "Oh, please, puleez!" Yeah. Yeah. I know he was on the internet trying to do some important reading about his health and ways to improve it and my timing was bad to try to show him this something on the computer at that time but .......

Hmmm.... that article may be amusing but it is not very funny, really! Its not true what they show you in the movies and storybooks. You DON'T ride off into the sunset with your knight in shining armor. The armor's are prone to rust and it will get dusty once it is tossed aside and no longer used.

No one is expected to have doors open for them, not when you have a bunch of groceries and a group of noisy kids to watch over but guys, I do advise you to take out your old armor and give it a little polish before it totally disintegrates into dust. Oh and the advise works both ways. You too ladies. Remember what makes you a lady in the first place. No looking like the maid, loud burps, yelling voices etc. ;)

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaching Children to Respect Maids

One of the things I hate the most is seeing kids treating maids with disrespect. Since I have a maid in the house, I have to pay extra attention to this and make sure that my kids do not treat the maid with disrespect.

It is very easy for a child/maid situation to get out of hand. That is because sometimes, the maid is in the position and given the responsibility of minding the child but then she does not have the authority to disipline.

My maid tells me that she would often give in to whatever the children in her previous household wants just to pacify them because she is afraid they will complain to their mother about her and she will be reprimanded.

It is certainly not an ideal situation at all. So how do you teach children how to respect maids? I think ideally, if possible, one should...

  • separate the tasks. leave housework to the maid and child minding to someone else. If you are working, perhaps it would be better to get a relative to help or babysitters or childcare centres if there is no relative available
  • nip any sign of disrespect in the bud. As soon as you see  your child acting or talking to the maid with disrespect, stop them from doing so and tell them that they must respect the maid, an adult, just as they must respect their teacher and mummy and daddy
  • never ever allow a child to hit the maid whether by using hands, pushing or kicking. That is definitely a no-no!
  • not allow the child to give the maid any orders, even if it is for just a glass of water. Any instructions to the maid must come from you, the adult. If the child is thirsty or hungry or needs a toy or something, ask them to come to you, not to the maid, even though it will make your life easier. For older children, teach them to get it themselves
  • bathe, feed, toilet train etc yourself instead of asking the maid to do it
  • treat the maid with respect yourself
I try to follow all these myself. It is not hard for me to do because I am fortunate to be able to mind my children myself and have the maid help me with my household tasks so that I have more time with the kids. However, even then, I have seen the little one making rude faces to the maid and the elder one talking to her with disrespect (as she sometimes talk to me!) on a couple of occassions. All these I try to nip in the bud immediately! I inform the maid not to take any instructions from the kids, she will tell them that "mummy will scold" and I also inform her to let me know if the kids are being disrespectful.

The maid has been with us for 3 years now. So far, I am happy to say that the children are quite ok with her. They do not shout at the top of their voices "KAKAK, SAYA MAU.........!" as I have seen other children do. I don't do it as well. I always talk to her politely and with respect. They also do not expect her to do things for them.

Hopefully, in teaching them to respect others, they will learn to respect me as well. Honestly, at times, I do feel that they take me for granted and I think that needs to be nipped in the bud!!!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Living on one income

I've had some readers write to me about being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom). They were afraid to take the "plunge" because they were afraid of the loss of financial freedom. I really do not know what to advise them because these things are intensely personal and depends on each individual. You really have to know what YOU want. I can only share how it is like for me.

I never really thought about how it would be like to live on one income before taking the "plunge". I knew I wanted to stay at home to look after the kids and my husband said he would support whatever decision I made at the time. I am not really sure because we never really talked about it very deeply, but I had the impression that my husband wouldn't mind or maybe even preferred to have a working wife. However, I think he sees the benefit of one who is staying at home and likes having one now for the sake of the children.

One of the benefits is we never have to worry about who has to take leave to look after the kids if they are sick and have to stay home and we don't have to worry about making after school arrangements for them. I think that removes that kind of stress away from us.

So how does it feel like to be living on one income? Not very different I guess. We are slightly better now compared to our "heydays" of living frugally. In those days, we didn't eat out (now we do but we are still careful about what we order and we usually just drink water) and we drove a 16-17 year old car. I had only one handbag (I still do) and I used to have just one pair of shoes (now I have a few but it does take some shelf space, one is better). My handphone is really old with no camera or other function (It is still really old with no camera or whatever function accept to make and receive calls).

We don't subscribe to pay TV (we still don't because we don't have the time to watch TV, not only does it save us money but it also helps prevents the kids from turning into TV addicts, they are bookworms instead), we don't take overseas  holidays (we still don't but we can still have lots of fun wherever we go or don't go). I don't frequent hair salons. (Last year, I cut my hair just once, this year twice so far. I can trim my own fringe if necessary. Actually, I hate the salon not because of the money involved but because of the time but it helps to save so might as well add it here.) And I don't have any spas or facials or manicure or pedicure or whatever cure. (My mind would probably be drifting to how my time is being wasted and all the things I could better do with my time then sit there having someone paint my fingernails and stick stickers or gems on it that would come off in the next instance when I do something with my hands. What a terrible waste of money).

Oh and I get to act like a little girl and put out my hand for cash whenever I need it. Hubby does not give me any money every month. He just passes me money to buy food when we are out. The rest of the time, he pays everything, the groceries, the bills, all sorts of children's school and activity fees, everything. So I don't really need money. We go shopping for clothes, once a year during Chinese New Year (that way the kids also feel the excitement and tradition of Chinese New Year).

Thanks to my blog, now I have a little pocket money in my Paypal to buy some things for the man as a surprise. I can buy online and have it delivered to the house. Otherwise, how do you buy something for someone who takes you out and pays for everything?

Have I scared anyone yet? ;) Anyway, these are small issues. The benefits are huge. The other day, someone I didn't know commented. "Your kids are really close to you. That is hard to find these days." That made me really happy. Please do not get me wrong. I am not saying that you cannot be close to your kids if you are a working mom. I know a lot of blogger mommies who are working moms but whom are really close with their kids because they make the effort. Why, my kids father is a working dad but he is close to his kids as well. He makes the effort to teach them and take them out etc. However, he does not have the benefit of time. There certainly isn't very much time in the morning and by the time he gets home, it is dinner, then bedtime for the kids.

Whether you are working or not is besides the point. However, for me, it just takes less effort that is all. I don' t have to worry about the next day's presentation or meeting when I am reading a bedtime story to them each night, for example. I believe that I will be a lot more stressed up trying to be there for them and still having to worry about bosses, colleagues, office politics or whatever. My focus would be split. Now, it isn't. I also have the advantage of time which my spouse does not have. I do feel fortunate indeed to be able to spend time with my kids.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Starting a small home based business

Being a blogger and a stay at home mom, it is natural that I sometimes dream of starting a small home based business. There is another reason too. My husband and I are both not very young. We are living on one income and our kids are very young. That is good enough reason to think of starting a small home based business but what could I do?

I am not very good at baking nor am I very good at sewing or handicraft. Perhaps I could sell used items. I have a lot of children's books but what to do when the books run out? Hmm.... I haven't much experience in any type of small home based business. I only have experience running conferences and selling shares!

Anyway, it is somewhere at the back of our minds. Perhaps we could get round to it one day. After all it is so easy now to build your own website. You do not need to have any technical knowledge or expertise to start a website for your home based business.

A business website is a must these days. Whatever business you are in, online is the way to go! Fortunately, as I mentioned, it isn't really hard at all to build a small business website. The hard part is coming up with the business idea and having the courage and business acumen to carry it off.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Which clothing size?

My girl is growing up very fast. She is only 9 but she reaches up to my shoulder in height now. She is going to be as tall as her daddy, I can see. All her clothing are getting smaller and shorter, shrinking by the day.

Just last week we took her to the store to get some new undergarments. The sales person told us to go upstairs to the ladies department because the largest ones at the children's clothing department was too small for her.

Similarly, I see it going the same way for her leggings, jeans, t-shirts and blouses too. In no time at all, she will be at the in-between sizes. Should we go to the adults section and get the XXXS size or the children's department to buy XXXL size? Fortunately, we can find clothing in almost any size now.

Still, I do miss seeing her in those cute little party frocks and pretty little dresses for little girls. Now, her clothes look like those for a teenagers. She can't wear those cute little dresses anymore. Everytime, I see a little girl in one or whenever I see the sweet little dresses hanging at the store, I do feel a slight twinge of nostalgia.

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