Self-Care & Its Tensions

Last night, being Friday and all, HJ and I had one of those long conversations that somehow jumped across numerous unrelated topics such as my pending return to work, his work, his volunteering , Nat (of course), finances… but more importantly, he was able to help me realize a struggle that I’m experiencing, which I may not be very conscious of – that of the tension between wanting things to be somewhat like before Nat was born and also not being able to really let go of things related to Nat.

So to just name a few adjustments that come to mind after Nat came along…

  • Did we expect our travel plans to come to a temporary halt so soon? Nope. We still talk about the dream of going back to London in 2019 to visit my Great Grandaunt. It is also HJ’s wish to go back every 5 years but I’m honestly not sure how a toddler would handle a 13hr flight. For now, we can start to plan shorter trips to get Nat used to taking the plane in the first place.
  • Am I able to accept all the physical changes that pregnancy brought on? Guess I don’t have much of a choice right. Thankfully I didn’t have any major physical ailment during all three trimesters and even the delivery was a very smooth one (shall elaborate on this in another post) but… the post-birth leftover weight and stretch marks won’t 100% disappear.
  • How do I feel about developments at work in my absence? Somedays I am eager to go back and be busy with work just like how it was before but returning to work after a 6 month hiatus means I’ll have to catch up on new things and also accept and deal the fact that some timelines/deliverables have changed because I was away for half a year. It’s not as simple as handing it over and then getting back into the groove of things just the way things were. Guess it also does not help much that my office location has changed to somewhere that is nearer to home but more inconvenient to get to.

Nonetheless, now with Nat in our lives, I wouldn’t change a thing but I also have trouble taking some things easy – in particular, his routines. I mean some minor disruptions and adjustments are to be expected but in terms of his eat/play/sleep habits, I find myself ensuring that our moms and helper are fully aware of what needs to be done.

Do I think about the possibility of taking a longer stretch of leave? Of course the thought crossed my mind but the reality is, I don’t think a single income is sufficient with our current lifestyles. Sure, one can say give up the car or downgrade to a cheaper car and make some lifestyle changes but that’s just it – I am making  the choice to not change my car or have such drastic lifestyle changes. This is why HJ says I am too greedy and demanding, because I want a semblance of the past in my new current reality as a mom when clearly things have changed and can never go back to the way they were , hence the tension… I’m afraid he’s spot on. 

Some days (thankfully they’re rare), when I have to take care of Nat at home for 14 hours, I feel close to losing my mind. So now I’ve put a coping mechanism in place, such that whenever HJ has a late night (usually 2 nights a week when he comes back at 10pm after volunteering or tuition), I either bring the baby and helper to my mum’s place or we go out for dinner. The main thing is that I can’t be cooped up in my house for 14hours :/

Then towards the end of our conversation, HJ brought up the importance of self-care, ensuring I have adequate “me-time”, time with each other without Nat etc and today I came across this article on my Facebook newsfeed that is SO APT!

So in line with the above, though it is somewhat an errand, I finally had some time to see my skin doctor to stock up on my face wash/creams and since we were around the area, we went to my fave Hokkaido Japanese ramen restaurant – Kaiko who moved out of ION to Marina Bay Financial Tower!

Thanks for snoozing at the right time so we could eat in peace 🙂

– CK


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