If I don’t have kids, what will I be doing today

Ever since I became a mum 9 years ago, everything that I used to indulge in, hobbies, TV, even books took a back seat. My priorities change. My own life is less important than my children’s lives. I seem to have many things that I want to do that are not fulfilled at the moment. I wonder how life will be if I am able to pursue these unfulfilled wishes under a wholly different situation. A situation of delayed parenthood. A situation of pursuing my wish lists at the expense of lesser time with the kids. Will I then be happier than I am right now?

Everything for myself seems to be able to wait. Ever since I failed my piano ABRSM Grade 8 during my Uni days, I have been wanting to retake it to make it a complete learning or more towards fulfilling a childhood dream. I never got to retake my lessons and the exams as the years after I graduated were the busy years of starting work, courtship, marriage and babies till present. I thought to myself: My piano Grade 8 retake exams can wait.

I had always wanted to do volunteering as helping the less fortunate ones seem to be a society’s calling to me. I know I will derive lots of satisfaction from helping others and there are so many people who need help. But my time now is barely sufficient to be equally distributed to my 3 young ones + my hubby + myself, where can I find time to give to others? Volunteering can wait.

On normal “indulgence” like watching movies and TV shows, I can hardly bear to spend 1-2 hours on them which I otherwise could have spent on playing with the kids. Or if the kids are watching TV, I will work on my kids’ study plan, mark their assessment books, steal a 15 minutes to read newspaper, clear my letterbox mails, make some snacks, pack the kids’ organizer drawers or take a short nap, anything but the time waster TV. Anyway, with many internet sources for old TV dramas and movies, I can watch them anytime in the far future. TV dramas and movies can wait.

When I see yummy mummies with well done up nails and nice hairdo, I envy the time they have on their hands to maintain their looks and look pretty. When the day my kids are grown up, I will have plenty of time to do the same. That is, if wrinkles and all do not catch up as quickly. Pretty me can wait.

So, the list goes on,…. Travelling the world with hubby can wait. Reading on that dusty old shelved away book can wait. Even toilet breaks can wait.

And the wait goes on too… come 2nd child and 3rd child, and it seems that the wait is going to be prolonged for a few more years. I thought about the priorities of life and decided that it is children for now. The kids need me and I should be spending every second of my waking moments with them or maybe… not every second? But I enjoy being with them so much that I do not know what to do if they are not by my side. Call it over-obsession. And I do know that very soon, my kids will grow up and soon they will leave the nest and I will have more than enough time on my hands to know what to do with it. Then, will that be 12 years from now or 20 years? Will I still be needing pretty nails? Will my fingers be too stiff and old to play allegro pieces? Will I still be fit enough to travel? One thing I know I will surely be able to do: watch the K-pop stars on the old dramas played 20 years back. Now, think of black and white TV dramas.

If a new mum-to-be reads this, she will probably stop at one. Many of my friends around me are like this (not the stop at one part). But, they stop going out with friends the moment the baby is out. Before you think that I am such an anti-social mum, I am NOT. Most of the girls shopping dates and girls night out dates are initiated by me. I used to date my best friend quarterly, then it became half-yearly and recently down to annually. My best friend is busy with work and children. I am the one with lots of time on my hands.

I am usually the one to date my hubby too. Not that he can’t be bothered to date me, but his schedule is more flexible and he always have time for me. I will take leave from work occasionally and pamper myself for a day with massage, facial, shopping, indulge myself over an expensive Malibu Dream from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and have a good lunch or dinner with my hubby.

I take leave to catch up with my mum and have a really sweet mum and daughter date. We chat about everything under the sun and ever since I left my parents’ nest, my mum has been my trusted and best person for advice in marriage and motherhood. She seems to have endless advice for me.

I take leave to go out with my best friend too for shopping and woes-pouring sessions. I make arrangement with kel to look after the kids while I catch up over dinner with other girl friends. These dates, to me, recharge me and make me feel that life is not all work and children. I need to connect with my hubby away from the kids, enjoy my mum’s company over high tea, exchange tips and ideas on parenting while catching up each other’s life with my girlfriends. I seriously think I do have a healthy social life.

However, for those that need my commitment and precious time after I get home from work, like watching TV or reading, I feel guilty. I do not even know how to read a book in front of my kids! And how does one read in peace when the kids are coming to you to ask for permission to open the cookie jar, coming to you to complain about big sis refusing to share, and coming to you again that the baby is pooing? I simply cannot read without being interrupted a dozen times in 5 minutes. Please teach me how if you know.

Volunteering and retaking my piano exams are big commitment that take away precious time from the kiddos. Perhaps when they are older, they can be involved in volunteering work together with me. The piano, for now, shall solely serve the kids’ practice sessions. I wonder if the interest of music will be hyped up in my kids if they were to see me practise hard for the Grade 8 exams 2 hours every night? I certainly have no free slot in the evening to practise uninterrupted for 2 hours. There are so many things to do for that precious 2 hours after dinner!

If you are a mum, I urge you to go out with friends, pamper yourself and make arrangement to do what you want to do. For the long term commitment, I know I will have to let them wait. But for the short term ones like reading a book and those that cannot wait like exercising to maintain good health, I incorporate them into my daily routine. I read a book during my commuting to and from my workplace. I jog thrice weekly after waving my girl off on the school bus every morning at 630am. I now watch TV together with the kids when I force myself to stop the house chores and the 101 unimportant things competing for my attention. I manage to squeeze time for my only hobby right now: BLOGGING after the kids go to bed. I sacrifice some sleep on half the week nights penning down my thoughts and sharing on my blog. These are the moments that I find my balance and unwind on a work day.

Come the day when the kids no longer need so much of my attention, I want to look back at my young motherhood days with no regrets of not doing this or that. I have read somewhere that sacrificing too much for the kids may end up resenting the kids in denying you of things you should have done. I do not think I will ever blame my kids if I never retake my exams in the end. After all, it’s the everyday balance of motherhood and being me that give me the sanity, balance and a happy life.

Balance quote

What are the things that you sacrifice after parenthood takes over? Are you striking a balance between parenthood and your own life?

22 thoughts on “If I don’t have kids, what will I be doing today

  1. Of course there are things that “are on pause”, eg improving my language skills. I also exercise a lot less. I go out less. But I don’t really feel like I am sacrificing anything, and there is already a lot more time for things I didn’t have almost any time for when my 2nd was born such as handicrafts. And there are new “hobbies”, things we all enjoy together, swimming and nursery rhymes.
    But there is one thing I’d never be able to stop doing: reading!:) sure, I read less but I still read. And as interrupted as it is, I try to read even in front of the kids because I imagine that makes me a good role model and encourages them to read too (which would be good for their language learning). Not sure if that works but I like the excuse 😉
    but I’m with you with tv and movies, can’t be bothered to waiste time on those (unless I do some crafts and it’s on in the background after kids bedtime).

    • Thanks for sharing! You are so right in many aspects especially on the reading in front of the kids part. I thought the same way about being a good role model reading in front of them. But I am those who need silence when reading so it is a bit hard for me. However, I am working on this one and hope I can read with all the disruption.
      It’s true that with kids, we now have much more time doing things which I would never have done or even appreciate. I appreciate and take in nature much more than I did. I learnt about dinosaurs and animals and flowers much more than I ever did before the kids. And crafts. I had the chance to continue doing crafts which I stop after school days. These are the things that we shift our attention on for now. I wouldn’t trade what I am doing now for anything 🙂

      • True, so true the thing about the nature – or I’ve always enjoyed outdoors but there is more of it and in different ways. And yes, even I have learned some about birds and flowers just to be able to answer something (even though my 3 yo rather calls my mum to get a *real* answer 😉 )
        Btw, I don’t know if the reading as a role model works, and my reading is more like checking an article/ a few pages while having a cup of tea, but I still like the excuse to do so 😉

  2. I spent many of the first years of T’s life without a life of my own – I want to say he was in school, probably around his age 8 that I realized it wasn’t healthy for either of us that I didn’t have my own life, my own interests.
    Of course, I still spend too much time with him and I’m very over-protective, but, at least Mr. T has see that I have a life, and that I can still be a mom, and it shows him that balance in life is possible (for the most part!) 😉
    Kudos to you for your blogging! I’m very proud of you and the balance you are working for and achieving!

    • Having a good balancing of motherhood and own life is in itself a good role model for the kids. I was over-protective of my first child too. It quickly became overbearing for me and know I need to strike a balance before my health deteriorated physically and mentally. I am sure you have much more time on your hands now that Mr T is so grown up. Sometimes I wonder if I will have too much time in future that I will wish my kids spend more time with me. I am sure that day will come.

      • It was really hard for me to not spend every moment of every day with him, but it is better now, since he is so busy it helps that I already have my own stuff to do. 🙂
        But it does come down to balance, and what is right for you and the kids now will change as the years go by. And what is right for some parents, isn’t for others. That’s what I have to remember – we all have different lives and I can’t compare mine to anyone elses!

  3. You are so right with this. My sons are all grown and I do miss when they were little. You are smart to get some girl time, it refreshers us.

  4. On bad days I would be consumed with the notion that I have given up my life for my three kids. But on good days I could give up my whole life for them. Such a paradox, isn’t it? Totally feel you on this post!

  5. After 8 years, i got to go for a girls-trip finally! Haha!

    But, on normal day, everything of ‘what-i-want’ is diminishing. Sometime, sleep is more important after a day of in and out! As a mother of three, you have done a lot of thing already! Very balanced, imo. Much more to learn from you;).

    • Are you referring to all girls overseas trip?? I did that after 3 years into motherhood, that was an overdue graduation trip and it was awesome! You and I are lucky to be “allowed” for such trips haha! I know most mums never did it. You are right that sleep is more important and we rather sleep than do I-want things. After all, if we are sleep deprived, we are the ones who suffer and kids suffer our bad temper.

  6. Same here. Personal life has taken a back seat since my boy was born. Life is a little balance now with my Domestic Help. I can steal in a game or two while the kids are watching their TV show for the “nth” time. 😛 I watch my K drama while travelling on the road. And reading, I’m still trying to find the time.

    My husband always tell me to find time for myself and not just revolve around the kids. Cause its not healthy for them as well as us. I somewhat understand but its hard. 😛

    • It’s really hard not to breathe kids and be away from them without guilt. I was guilty even till now if I spend too much time away other than work. But I have learnt that if I get recharged, I feel better and am in a happy mood that gives me patience to handle the bad days with the kids. So, in that sense, it’s worth giving myself me-time for the benefit of the family. Also, I want the kids to know that mummy has her own friends too and need to be on her own at times to do her own things. That’s an important message I want my kids to know and learn.

  7. It definitely takes some prioritisation. There’s a balance, and it’s tricky.

    As you’ve pointed out, there is value to modelling worthwhile pursuits (reading, piano practice, etc). I’ve noticed a good trick to get my kids doing something is just to take it up myself – all of a sudden they’re clamouring around asking questions. Of course this isn’t a good method to get War And Peace read before I have to take it back to the library, but maybe I can get through something a bit shorter and lighter, like a good Jules Verne novel. Not sure how it works with piano practice. Probably, yes, easier as they get older!

    There are some things you have to keep up with or you’ll just lose the skill forever. If it’s a hobby maybe that’s not important – probably relates most to career.

    I definitely agree about the TV, though – I’m sure the same opportunity will still be waiting later on.

    • I remember one of your comments on my post was that the busyness and sleep deprived years are when the kids are still young and it should get better as the years go by and the kids grow up. I know this well but somehow your comment sticks! So, knowing that it will get better somehow soothes me but I know things like reading a book and taking up a hobby need not wait and sacrificed totally. Not healthy to be all kids and no life. I will work on reading a short novel too, in front of the kids. Maybe I should set that as a mid term goal or something to make sure I do it. Oh, can’t believe that reading can be a goal.

  8. this is such a heartfelt and thought/emo provoking post.. argh, i don’t dare to think about what i would do if i have more time now.. Ultimately it’s always a win some lose some.More time on career, less time for kids. More time for kids, less time for self… it goes on n on.. It’s impossible to get it perfect.. but we try, dont we? : )

    • Thanks Zhenzhu! I think as motherhood comes, we sacrifice many things and tell ourselves, this can come later and that can be done when the kids are older. I think in the old days of our parents era, they probably had it simpler than us. And you are right, we can’t have the best of both worlds, just like the quote here: You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once. Love this quote!

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