Stops and Starts

Tuesday, 26 January 2010



I handled yesterday very poorly--literally crying over spilt milk, ruining dinner by messing up the pastry crust for the leek and bacon pie I planned to make, and flying into a rage the moment one of the kids made a peep of a whine.

To give you an idea of what my day was like, I spent the better part of my morning waiting at the printer's to get my labels done, then rushed through the grocery shopping so I'd just barely make it to playschool in time to fetch the kids home for lunch.

After I put the kids to bed I decided to label nearly all my soap (about 70+ bars in all) and then started preparing the shortcrust pastry for dinner. Now, maybe I'm just not practiced enough to do it quickly, but it was a time-consuming effort despite having an electric mixer to help me. In the end all my painstaking work went to waste, because I didn't weigh down my pastry while baking it in the oven. Reason? I'd run out of baking paper. How stupid is that? Even more perplexing is why I hadn't thought of using tin foil instead. Gah.

Meanwhile the kids had woken up while I was trying to salvage the kitchen situation. Having them awake always makes me jittery if I'm cooking, though I'm not quite sure why. In the end I gave up on the pie, and sheepishly told Wu Han that we'd have to eat out.

I felt like such a failure of a mom. Couldn't even cook a simple meal for my own family. My mom wouldn't have given up like that. She'd have stuck it out and still come up with a decent meal.

Leave it to my husband to very wisely suggest that I be more attuned to my energy levels and give myself a break from Kinder Soaps work for the time being. The kids need me more than anyone (or anything else) does, and it would be very unfair for me to lose my cool with them on account of me not getting enough rest.

So today I took it really easy. I called up Min Yen to have lunch together before she heads back to Melbourne tomorrow. We had a leisurely afternoon, chatting and catching up while the kids happily played in the children's corner at Marmalade. When the kids didn't nap as planned, I took a deep breath and decided not to get upset, opting instead to take them down to the playground and blow bubbles. They REALLY had fun, being completely fascinated in what they were doing, making fragile, multicoloured little things that flew away in the evening's breeze.

For dinner I fried vermicelli with strips of bacon, ham, chopped choy sum, seasoning it with soya sauce, oyster sauce, white vinegar and brown sugar. To keep the kids entertained while I cooked, I ran an episode of Sesame Street on my netbook and plonked my two monkeys in their high chairs to watch it while snacking at the dinner table--it worked like a charm. I even allowed them to continue watching Yo Gabba Gabba when I served up dinner, which they seemed to enjoy eating.

What a difference it was compared to yesterday, where everything seemed like a struggle.

And I just recalled that my (paid) work mantra is, "Be Kind". It suddenly dawned on me right before I started writing this post that I had completely ignored applying this principle to myself. It's always the self-bashing that does me in, when I am my harshest judge.

Time to stop berating myself for not living up to my vision of 'perfect', and start embracing life as it is, right this moment.


#1Gravatar imageMillie says:

No mom can ever escape from these trying situations..losing your cool or messing up with something (homemade pastry/pie crust is not easy! I have never made one my entire life he hee) just shows that we’re human.
I feel very guilty if I don’t cook for 2-3 days in a row. When I’m really really busy, it’s almost impossible to cook! When my kids have their cranky days, I get mad at them, too. But when I’m less busy, that’s when I catch up on these and try to make the most of it 🙂
Take care..remember to be kind to yourself 🙂

#2Gravatar imageMadi says:

Loved the memories of long ago, being a Mother of small children but that was but one label a Mom has to put on herself. Cook, soapmaker, wife and on and on it goes. Being able to juggle these with a bit of aplomb is magical. Remembering to keep a piece of this label pie for ourselves is so important. The fact that you could go out to dinner because cooking didn’t turn out as well as expected is such a great thing. My 45 year old daughter sent me a note today saying, “thanks for all you do”. Made my day – Moms are forever. Love your blog! Madi

#3Gravatar imageMichelle says:

Hey Madi, thanks for stopping by. 🙂 You make an interesting point about keeping a piece of the label pie for ourselves. It’s so easy to lose our own identity when we ‘give up’ so much of ourselves for our families, isn’t it? And oh my goodness, your daughter is already 45? I look forward to getting to where you are too. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the ride. 🙂

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