Archive for the ‘Bonding : Family building’ Category

The Role of A Father, A Mother Cannot Replace

What is it like to parent your child(ren) alone while your spouse has overseas work commitment?

Overseas travel or secondment as part of work, has become common these days. Occasional travelling for work, perhaps, could make the heart grow fonder.  However, if a parent has to be living in a separate land, away from the family most of the time and regular communications are not maintained, do family issues like straining relationship and adverse impact on the well-development of the children surface?

For the spouse

For almost 5 years, I soldiered on parenting two young kids alone while their father was mostly overseas.  Frankly, it was not impossible to manage alone.

I overcome those days when I had to shoulder added responsibilities, having mixed feelings (insecurity, helplessness, loneliness amongst others), accepting the reality that my partner in life was many hours of flight away especially when I needed to turn to him during emergency, and striving to do well at work and contribute double efforts at home.

So, I was the manly figure to replace the faulty lamps, repair the leaking taps, and many other errands which I would have appreciated the presence of the husband. Then, at other times, I had to put on my hero suit to battle the bee/any other unknown invaders while our boys would have run far away and hiding behind closed closets and finally, zooming to their rescue in all cases of emergency.

I admit. It was tough “multi-tasking” without a soul-mate by my side but I managed.

Fearful, lost, stressed I had been in the the process but I survived!

For the children

Surviving is one thing but how well did we survive?

We were incomplete, at least I felt it for the children.  I realised I could never be a perfect fit for a fatherly role and neither will I be able to show them how a boy should behave or explain aspects like boys’ physical developments. Weekends were never as enjoyable without their fatherly figure.  Somehow, it also brings about a feeling of insecurity for the children. Then, the children started asking why their father was not there on important occasions or even festive seasons or even to bring them on overseas vacation during school holidays.

Knowing children, as much as we wish to convey to them that we are working hard for their future, what they value more is still our presence (being there).

In fact, now, we have much regrets for those growing up years of our boys, when Papa was not able to be involved actively and how it might be too late now to reinforce that influence.


In our case, social media platform has facilitated our long distance communications.  We cut birthday cakes as a family behind webcam, chatted behind the PC, shared precious kids’ moments through video.  However, somehow, the absence of physical presence has affected the family completeness.   So, it was not difficult to guess that I felt a heavy stone taken off my chest when Papa Ed made the decision to be stationed in Singapore and spend less time travelling.  Looking back, that decision was made 3 years ago.

Perhaps, Papa Ed’s absence for that number of years, has enabled me to truly cherish his presence today and appreciate how the fatherly figure makes a difference in our boys’ lives.

Now, no matter how busy Papa is in his schedule or even if he is required to travel occasionally, at least being here, our boys are confident of the strong arms they could rely on whenever they fall.

Besides, he is….

…..a close friend whom they can really let their hair down with - in the manly way.

pic6I always enjoy seeing the trio play together

pic8We love all these crazy photos of the family and the regular entertaining activities done as a family.

These were rare opportunities in the past when Papa was based overseas.

(Chosen this “least comical photo” to avoid being bombed by our trio..haha.)

……a soul mate whom they can consult on their physical developments.

……a role model who teaches them how to behave like a man.

……a reliable and loving family member who is present to give the spiritual support.

—–someone whom they joke with, play with, and even argue with but at the end of the day, there is always forgiveness and forbearance.

pic7Used to ride with our boys but still I think Papa is doing a better job in entertaining our boys in this aspect.

By going through, we have discovered the invaluable benefits of both our presence in our children’s lives, as well as, family togetherness.

For families, with a spouse who has frequent overseas work commitment, do share your family challenges too when your counterpart is somewhere out there, in a faraway land)

* This post is dedicated to our boy’s Papa and our way of telling him how much we have always cherished his presence and contribution to the family.”

Bren : Before He Turns 13

Bren officially turns 13 next month. So, I thought I should capture more of his snapshots and share a little update about him before he is termed a “teenager” by several sources of definitions.

According to the urban dictionary : Teenagers are “People who are treated like children but expected to act like adults”.

Very true.  I need a wake-up call for myself  to embrace what I called as 3 As to parenting a teenager : Accept the changes, Adjust and Adapt.


As a start, I will have to be sensitive to our boy’s feelings and share less of Bren’s daily lives on this little blog space. Instead, I could share more general insights on parenting of teens, challenges and motivational topics for parents/teens as I sail along a new parenting chapter. Hopefully, it would benefit parents who are embarking on a new journey as Papa Ed and me.



As first time parent of teenager, even now, I am encountering a different twist of parenting experience and challenges.   However, I still believe that only with challenges, then can we better ourselves.

I admit I felt helpless in the process, sometimes losing my composure and at other times turning to reading other people’s experiences to seek self-comfort or improvement.


Bren 10 vs Ben 10

When the sailing gets tough, I begin to appreciate  the many kind and innocent sides of our boy and the strong bond that he has never let go with his parents even after gaining much independence now as a Secondary 1 boy.

I value the lunch dates that he insists to have with me alone once a week….. the fact that I am still the main person he pours his woes and good news to….the kind words that he is never stingy to offer to me ….the school episodes that he is more than eager to share with me…the efforts he has put into celebrating each family member’s birthday…..the appreciation for every dish I cooked……the initiatives he still maintains in doing his best in all school or non-school related tasks entrusted upon him.

Looking back, I am truly full of gratitude for having this precious first-born who has made parenting a joy for us. It has never been a piece of cake but he has been sensible and done us proud in many things he does.

Whatever challenges await as a TEEN, we will be there for him.

Where Has Time Gone?


I believe I have broken personal record of not blogging for almost a month. Where has time gone?  Busy or simply weighing new priorities in life?

Stranded between going back to work or not dilemma, I am still on the “wait and see” mode.  


So, I asked myself why I need to get back to workforce?

When both boys were at home in the past, I used to complain that they were noisy and squabbling. Now, that our elder secondary school boy spends almost 10 hours a day in school, that terrible lonely feelings of an empty house overwhelms me after our younger one goes to school at noon.  I agree. Our kids grow and once they become independant and packed with their activities, it becomes impossible to hold them by our side. Treasure their company while we can.

Then friends were cautioning me “Hey! Your employment value will depreciate if you stay home for too long”, “Aren’t you putting your degree to waste?  You have younger and foreign competitors now and it’ll be too late if you delay further”, “Don’t you miss those days when you could self support financially or help relieve your hubby’s burden? It’s always safer in case your spouse lose his career too”, “Come back again. You have been a good boss”, “Oh! if you are still working, you would have been getting bonuses like us.”

Seriously, I do not meet the mark of housewives who gather together and gossip about family members, neighbours or “tai tai” who spend hours at beauty saloons, shopping or having afternoon teas. HAHA! Friends joke that I am not exploiting my freedom now to pamper myself when I could have. 

So, when those lonesome hours sweep over me, these persuasive words and temptations have its powers to push me from my comfort zone now and chase after that career ladder again.



Photo taken during the Sentosa Flower Festival in Jan 2012 and am so thankful for the strong relationships I continue to maintain with our boys. These precious moments to hold them close by our side will soon sweep pass and I don’t want to miss it.


Then, I have my doubts.

In contrary, my daily life now is packed with even more activities and things I wish to accomplish.

I am committed to living a healthier lifestyle now with regular exercising, and learning skills that I have not been able to pick up before in school or work life, and being able to move around and discover a whole new world.  These days, I value my freedom in the afternoons, abandoning my car and hopping onto a MRT - moving around, window shopping, reading, exercising, joining friends for lunch, attending courses, AND staying in the comfort of home - working on e-business and  experimenting the making of new dishes, desserts and yogurt.

I am thankful for those rewarding efforts of getting to know our boys better, growing with them, and witnessing the light up on their faces when they come home in the evenings to enjoy home prepared yogurts and desserts.

Despite our other sacrifices, I am happy to be able to give hubby an ease of mind to concentrate on his career knowing that the domestic affair is well-taken care of.

I am enjoying the flexibility to drop by the pools at my own time to watch our boys progress in their swimming lessons, join them in regular exercises, be available for them anytime when they need my support and catch up with friends or activities that I have shelved for so long.

Though I miss those days when I have no lack of people to mingle with at work every single hour and at home when our boys were in two different school sessions, I have also discovered the beauty of quiet afternoons for myself now — with no disturbances and having full concentration to indulge in my own activities. I really appreciate these ME and My fulfilling and self-enriching MOMENTS that I could only afford now finally after putting my career to a halt. As a result, a refreshing mind, a keen attitude to stay healthy, and a stronger relationship with the family.


Back to the question : Should I get back to work? Papa Ed replied :”If you go back to work, what’s happening to our kids? But then its’ really up to you because going back to work could mean saving for kids’ future too.” (I guess he has silently appreciate the greater opportunity for me to work on the character building or curriculum progress of our boys when I am home . BTW, I would really like to thank the supportive hubby for working extremely harder without a word of complaint so far and making it possible for me to stay home and be with our boys.)

I wish it’s as easy as throwing a coin to decide -  family vs career - again.

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