Friday, May 20, 2011
My name is Norbyah. I teach high school in Hong Kong and am a mother of three. I keep my own blog, which is a mix of all the things I am, called I’m a Norbyah. I love the blogging world and it is here that I came across Mikka’s blog while I was surfing the net for a maxi skirt. I soon discovered that besides being mothers, she and I share other interests, too, like our love of fashion. (No mum-jeans here!) I was thrilled that she invited me to be a guest blogger this month.
What I learned eight years ago is that there is a subtle guilt that comes along with being a mother. The guilt that you’ve let your child down by working, that you can’t be patient all the time, and especially the guilt that you can’t be in all places all the time to make sure that every moment of childhood is just as you hope it will be for your children. It used to bother me, but I’ve learned not to let it. It is what it is.
What makes motherhood work for me is balance and finding it has taken time. I don’t dare say that I have it figured out yet, but here is what is working for me at this moment in my life.
He’s always involved and present. He’s hands on with the kids and they see us as a team. He recognizes when I need a break (sometimes better than I do) and often encourages me to get out on my own. That said, we also make sure to spend time together as a couple. The foundation of healthy parenthood is a happy marriage. We try to role model a mutually respectful relationship for our kids and let them know that we need time to be ourselves, too. (After all, before they came, it was just us).
I’m lucky to have my mother living in Hong Kong. We work together and she is a key part of our lives. The kids have a solid relationship with her and look forward to time spent with her. She comes along to art lessons, soccer and ballet and she encourages my kids to be themselves.
I am a high school English teacher. Outside of the classroom, I get to work with kids in a variety of ways through being an advisor for the dance group and our environmental club. Though my job is not without it’s challenges, I can honestly say I love it. And I couldn’t be a working mother if the job that takes me away from my kids was not a fun one.
In Hong Kong, I feel fortunate to have a group of friends who enjoy the same things I do or are mothers themselves (and can commiserate and celebrate) or both! It’s important to take time to do things with my girlfriends and to preserve ‘me’ separate from being a mum.
My indulgence each morning is my homebrewed Lavazza latte. Having grown up in Malaysia, I am admittedly a sweet tooth when it comes to coffee, so I add two huge spoonfuls of sugar. The day just doesn’t start until I’ve had my latte.
I got this idea from Soule Mama’s blog a few years ago. Like me, she is familiar with the juggling act that is motherhood so she goes on solo dates with each of her children. When we have time off from school, I set aside a time for each child, let them choose what we do and give them my undivided attention for that time. It’s fun for them, but even more fulfilling for me. I love getting to hear only one voice, uninterrupted by siblings. I highly recommend this to all you mummies out there.
Admittedly, some of my hobbies have fallen by the wayside since having three children, but I try to make a little time for them. I love to knit (my mother taught me). I’ve got a cardigan for my nephew on the sticks right now. I also love to read (I’m part of a book club). Finishing books just takes longer these days. (I’ve just picked up Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – it intrigued me). I love fashion and fashion/style blogs. Getting dressed is just fun. I got my maxi skirt fix, but now I’m on the hunt for palazzo pants. And finally, I love to take pictures (mostly of my children). I have a Canon SLR camera and I enjoy learning new things to do with it.
So, now you have it. My up-to-the-minute recipe for “what keeps me sane.” Most days, anyhow.
**All images by Norbyah. Artwork by Mikka.