Christmas chaos and beyond

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Christmas has come and gone over here, and we’re into the last few hours of Boxing Day (which is NOT a holiday over here), but hopefully it’s not too late to wish all you readers out there 🙂

It’s been a rather busy few days and the home has yet to be back to its usual order yet (not that it has much order these days actually). 

Christmas this year has been fun and enjoyable, mostly, but with several hiccups involved. Mainly the the gift preparation department. Pfft. 

As usual, I had lotsa ambitious ideas, and wanted to be able to offer gifts to most, if not all, my church members. What did not cross my mind though was the fact that the church I now attend isn’t as small as the one I grew up in. 

So, in other words, we set ourselves up to do impossible things. And that made us lose sleep as well as miss most of the Christmas service at our church. Not a good thing. Sigh. 

Things we made as gifts this year: 

  1. Herb salt (used already dry herbs and mixed it with Himalayan rock salt and garlic powder)
  2. Pandan kaya (if you don’t know what this is or have yet to try it yiu absolutely must!) 
  3. Shortbread cookies 

Here’s a pic of the jars of herb salt we gave away.

Forgot to take photos of the pandan kaya and shortbread, but the gift packaging had a similar look and feel anyway. 
This year, our Christmas tree looked the best of all the years we’ve been married. And with the most presents under it since we kept the discipline of opening gifts only on Christmas morning itself (which we didn’t use to observe when it was just me and Deric in the past haha). 

All this is probably because our youngest family member is extremely excited about the colours and lights on these trees. We got him to help us set the tree up with its decorations this time. No glass ornaments, so it wasn’t a problem. 

As for his Christmas present, we got him a drawing board that has both a blackboard and a whiteboard surface. It was from Ikea. He loved it. 

Gifts for Deric and myself were bought as a symbolic thing only, just to teach Jamie the idea that each family member deserves a present and that we all need to be part of the gift giving ritual.

We could have done more on the spiritual front though. We read him the Christmas story of baby Jesus and all that. But perhaps we should emphasise it more in the future. 

Or perhaps, I shouldn’t sweat it, and just let him grow up a little more before we share spiritual truths with him. 

I also regret not having been able to have some personal reflection time to contemplate the significance of Christmas and my relationship with God. Hmm. 

Anyway, I gotta run now. But here’s one last Christmas pic from me of our tree at home and the presents around it. 

Awkward alien

Image source: Flexo

Becoming a Work At Home Mum (WAHM) is a double whammy. Not only are both those roles tough to navigate, there is this additional problem of becoming an awkward alien. 

What do I mean by that? 

Well, basically everyone else in your life who isn’t a mother and/or isn’t living a homebound lifestyle (which is probably like 90% of your social circle, if you’re in your 30’s like me) will be unable to understand you and the things you go through on a daily basis. This transforms you, essentially into an alien. And this then leads to some pretty awkward situations and conversations. 

To give you an example, here are some questions and/or comments I had to field lately: 

“So you guys don’t eat out much anymore nowadays, right?” 

– Hmm, while that is the truth, what this question reeks off is the underlying assumption that because I am now at home, therefore I must be cooking all the time. And also, since we have less household income, that we would probably want to be frugal and eat in seclusion, thus morphing into kataks di bawah tempurung.

“So when are you going to go back to work?”

– Thing is, I am working. Just not in a way that most people would comprehend since I don’t have fixed hours or fixed clients (except for one that I have been doing work for since last year). Read: I freelance. It’s not much compared to what I used to do in my old full time position, but I like to keep my career alive and options open. AND I’d like the freedom to be around to raise my son rather than let someone else do it for me. 

“Ah, so it helps you keep your mind active lah, gives you something to do.” (In response to finding out that I am taking on freelance work wherever I can.)

– I guess you can’t blame a person who hasn’t really spent day after day at home at all hours, because they would not have realised just how much there is to do at home. Even if I don’t come up with a list of things to do, or my son doesn’t throw a tantrum or mess up something and give me things to clean up after, there will ALWAYS be things to do at home. My home is my office, and whenever you are in the office, your working mode will be on. Which pretty much means I am almost always working on something and the chores never end. This isn’t even taking into consideration my actual freelance work. And, the fact is that just managing the household requires plenty of brainwork, because instead of doing it mindlessly, if you are a mature, educated adult, you will always want to find ways to improve things at home, be it the efficiency and speed of accomplishing chores, the organisation of furniture, storage solutions or other things. 

There was also this incident where I was having a conversation with two other ladies around my age. The two of them were going on and on about how kids are like this or that, citing examples of nieces and nephews and children of other friends. Perhaps it was them trying too hard to identify with me, the only one in the conversation who was a mother. Mmm. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about young children since I have one myself, but there is an invisible boundary somewhere, which once crossed, makes it uncomfortable and unnatural to carry on discussing this topic. It is especially so when the people keeping the topic going are those who don’t have kids in the first place. 

Just to clarify, being a WAHM doesn’t make me hate all these other more normal and sane people in my life (yes, I’m probably getting more and more queer with each passing day, if I have not yet morphed into an oddball) . But it does make it feel like a large chasm just opened up between us. And that makes it a bit harder, though not impossible, to connect. 

Well, I guess I should apply the same rules of conversation as a WAHM that I had used in the past: Always seek to understand more than to be understood; to ask about the other person and to care for them, rather than to expect them to be concerned for you. 

And then, all will be fine, and no one will suspect what an awkward alien I really am. 

It’s just that… it would be nice if everyone in general understood the WAHM situation better so less misunderstandings and explanations would need to be provided.