Archive for the ‘Motivation & values’ Category

Being Prepared

When it comes to state of preparedness, our boys’ father and I are totally on two different extremes.

Whenever possible, I am used to being prepared way ahead.

—I buy and keep spare items at home so that they are available when things became faulty or run out.

—I make sure our boys start planning for their study schedule way ahead of their exams.

—I discuss ahead with our boys how we would like to spend our weekends or school holidays so that we could maximise that precious little time that family spends together.

—I try to plan ahead most of the time if circumstances allow.


In this way, I make sure that the family never runs into frustrations facing last minute demands or doing last minute preparations.

The “being prepared” motto prevails in my life even when I am multi-tasking between managing work and home.

(I believe that being busy is never a reasonable excuse not to be prepared and bringing inconvenience to others).

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
-  Benjamin Franklin

Frankly, I get highly irritable when I am imposed with last minute requests or forced to run last minute errands.

—I recalled how we were frantically looking for petrol kiosk when we could have refueled our vehicle earlier.

—I recalled how our boy would only request us to get them a certain stationery items for use the next day when the shops have closed for business.

—I screamed my heads off when our boy informed us that he did not understand a certain subject only at the eleventh hour.

—I panicked when I did not standby any medication when our boy started vomitting all the way from Malacca to Singapore.

—I got fully annoyed when our boys are still searching for items to pack in their school bags when the school bus is already driving off.

— I am never comfortable if I had to go for presentations or meetings unprepared.

Yes. THIS IS ME.  It makes me feel at ease and ready.


Our younger boy somehow takes after me to a certain extent:)

Naturally, when there is a family member who is well-prepared, the others might take a more relaxed mode.

However…NOPE! I want our boys to be prepared and practise some planning habits BUT not live life as it comes or depends on me!


I am glad that they must have been influenced by me to a certain extent.

-–While our elder boy started drawing out his study plan at the age of 8, our younger one has volunteered to do stock taking of our groceries and prepares grocery shopping lists at age of 8.

—While our elder boy suggests family activities or outing venues sometimes weeks ahead, our younger boy always prepares his school uniforms and items the night before.

—Perhaps, FUN always appeals and both our boys are always way ahead in suggesting their ideal travel destinations and take initiatives to get ready lots of information on the country we are visiting so that we are well-prepared for the trip.

— Our younger boy always prepares early to look good when he goes out and never fails to make sure that his favourite food in the fridge is replenished.

I won’t deny that there are still many instances when I face with situations when our boys will conveniently come to me and make last minute and impossible requests when they in fact have much time before hand to get things ready.

I believe all of us frequently encounter such situations when we feel like we must be superhuman to create a miracle for last minute and unreasonable requests.

Of course, one solution is to let our boys solve the last minute “problem” themselves.

When faced with constraints, they tend to appreciate that they could have set aside more time ahead instead of a last minute rush. This in a way enable them to learn the self-responsibility of being prepared.


A strong feeling swept over me as I came across a scene at the River Safari Singapore.

At that moment, I was overwhelmed with SERENITY…a feeling that I have been deprived of for months.

Serenity is not freedom from the storm.

It is Peace amid the storm.

~ Unknown

As life plunges into a state of turbulence, is it possible to master the art of serenity - to find inner peace amid the storm?

I wish I could.

serenityPhoto taken at River Safari Singapore.

Keep Up With The Joneses


Do these sound familiar to you?

“Mommy, my friend has her own computer and why must I share a set with sis?”


“Daddy, can you buy me a dog because our neighbour has bought his son a puppy and it is so cute!”

Who say only adults are tempted to keep up with the joneses?  Kids , these days, benchmark and are tempted to own material possessions that their peers, siblings and others have too.

Even my little one has been raising requests….

Darren: “Mommy, most of my classmates are carrying iphones and when can you buy one for me? Can you buy me one as birthday gift?

<Frankly, I am wondering why are parents getting their young children smartphones when they are officially banned from being brought to school in the first place. Why do these primary school-going kids need smartphones anyway? Then I recalled how my friends would take over the older model handphones from their children while they bought the latest smartphones for their children.>


Darren:”Gor gor has an ipad and I wish I could have one for my birthday gift. You are so unfair.”

<For my 9-year old, not owning the items that his brother has is deemed as unfair and not necessarily that our boy justifiably need the item.>


Darren:”Do you know several of my classmates are living in private properties and have domestic helpers? Why we cannot be like them?”

Then I would ask him whether he would prefer to stay in a large landed property and perhaps spending most time with domestic helper and with little presence of the family members, or a simple roof over the head but a place where he finds much family warmth.  You see. I was trying to explain to him the true meaning of HOME, regardless of its size or status.


When my little one gets extremely ambitious….

Darren:”I want to own a lamborghini when I start work.”

Me: “Why do you need such a speedy car when you can hardly race in Singapore?”

Darren: “It makes me look cool!”

<Well, to look cool, it is how we carry ourselves and not necessarily how we “accessorize” our lifestyle. least this is how I feel.>



* As parents, when we don’t handle our children’s demand to keep up with the joneses carefully, we can in fact be encouraging them. We might send wrong messages that it is a correct mindset to blindly follow trend or own things to upkeep social status.  In worse case, we do not wish to let them have wrong impressions that money comes easy.

* Most importantly, as adults and role models, we have to ensure that we are NOT showing our young ones that we are keeping up with the joneses ourselves.  We have our weaknesses and tend to envy what others have and sometimes model after others’ lifestyles without further thoughts.  As parents, if we show our children that we work hard to go after material needs, then it makes it hard for us to educate them with the correct values.

In my own instances, after becoming a SAHM, I tend to assess more carefully before acceding to our boys’ requests to make unnecessary purchases. I tend to ponder more too before I set my mind to buy any “good to have” item for myself or family. Certain questions, we ask our boys to ponder over before we make the purchases are :

Is there an alternative to purchase or is there a cheaper substitute?

Do they have time to make use of the items or how are they making use of the items?

Do they know the reasons why their peers own the items?

Why are certain elite brands being preferred?

Where is the storage space?

Are they willing to sacrifice the opportunity to purchase other necessary items?

Why is it deemed as unfair just because their friends own something they don’t have?

What are the purposes or benefits of owning the new items?

Thankfully for us, these guidelines somehow are quite effective on our children and I guess our explanations help too when we are faced with unreasonable demands.

As for you, what are your usual reactions when your children try to keep up with the joneses?

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