It’s not just the supermoms

Social media is fun. You get to stalk people on their IG and facebook. Their pretty pictures, pretty outfits, pretty lives. Flatlays make everything so much more interesting and hide all the other clutter at the rest of the table. I guess it’s a form of escapism – for me lah. It’s as if looking at the pictures, just makes you feel better. Or not. Sometimes inda dinafikan ada perasaan hasad dengki atu. So with some IG, I prefer not to look at it because it just makes me unappreciate my life and I want THAT life. The grass is always greener on the other side, right?

Nah rambling pulang.

I was going to talk of being a supermom. Not that I’m perasan I am lah. I think I’m just doing what all mums are doing and banyak kelemahan ani jua (lose patience easily, snap at kids, nag too much). 

I think of how my husband and I do it. 

Our daily working day goes like this:

7 am – wake up time. 

Actually le husband is the one who is the alarm. Forcing, I mean, Waking all of us up. 

I usually put the kids for a shower. Quick 5 minutes one and then off to get changed. I’ll put Ayman’s clothes on whilst Zayan usually do it on his own as long as I put his clothes out (on non-school days, he may choose his own clothes). Meanwhile, M will shower, iron his clothes and get ready. 

Yes, M iron his baju every morning himself. I dont iron my clothes at all unless its so wrinkly – but I’ve opted for non-wrinkly, easy care clothes nowadays that I very rarely need to iron. Ditto with tudung. 

After all boys are ready, M will feed them breakfast. Then it will be my turn to get ready. By that time, it will be 7.45 am and Aita, our childminder, will arrive with her kid. 

8.15 am – leave house with kids clothed, fed and childminder ready to take over. There will be no cries usually because uhhh my kids dont cry when being left. Sometimes Zayan will give a sad bye and it will tug on my heart (for 5 seconds). But alas, work I must do.

5 pm – work officially finishes. 

5.30-6 pm – work really finishes. Leave for home!

M usually finishes earlier and will be home by 6 pm. Since I have 40 min (1 hr if bad traffic) commute, I’ll arrive around 6.40-7 pm. 

By that time, Ayman would be fed already by Aita or M. 

7-7.30 pm: Dinner – Zayan will join us for dinner.

8 pm: Put Ayman to sleep – I usually fall asleep. Or if I dont want to sleep (ie I have some work thing to do), M will do it. He also fall asleep quicker in 15-20 mins where it will take me 30-45 mins because he wants to hug la, kiss la, hug lagi, kiss lagi. Guling2. Nyanyi2. 

9 pm: Zayan will come into the room and I’ll put Zayan to sleep. He used to be tiring to put to sleep but he just rolls to one side and goes to sleep. Sometimes he’ll lie there awake and as long as I ignore him, he’ll fall asleep. In the day, he usually is so hyper and on the move. Bedtime is the time to have chats with him about our day. He’ll go “I hope I have a nice dream today! What your dream will be?” #fouryearoldthoughts

And I usually will fall asleep. Wake up at 10ish and crawl into our bed. Or I’ll just fall asleep till the next day starts again. 
Meals

M does the cooking usually and will cook a big batch for lunch and dinner every few days. Zayan will eat what we eat. M or myself will make pureed or mashed food for Ayman that will last him the week. 

I only cook if there is no more food and M is oncall. And atu pun usually it will be grilled or stir fried. M usually cooks curry-based meals or Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Housework

There are things that is ‘my’ job and ‘M’ job. So like taking rubbish out is M’s job. Putting the clothes away after laundry is usually my job. Aside from that, we do things on who is less busy. M will do laundry, put clothes out to dry, clean bathrooms if I dont do it first. He will say he does the cleaning but I do it too!! Tbh, he does the cleaning most of the time. He loves a clean house so I leave it to him to hoover and clean bathrooms if it makes him happy. Because he’s so meticulous on being tidy and clean, we have to tidy up each time after meals and playing. Come 9 pm, the play area will be tided up and no toys will be out of the place from their ‘area’. The kids are generally good at this. So if they want to watch ipad or move to a new game, they have to tidy up their old games (eg going from lego to cars). Haih, aku pun ngalih meliat tidying up each time (and nagging each time). Sometimes I’ll be the one going ‘Biar tia bah… let them play first and we’ll tidy up later’. But it makes the husband happy and it makes life easier at end of day to tidy up small mess instead of a large one. 

So really after much thinking, we do the ‘divide and conquer’. Take on child each and do whatever we’re supposed to do. Or divide the workload – he’ll cook and I’ll do the washing up.

So whilst I can strive to be a supermum, I need a superdad to help me out.

Love, me xx

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My hommies

In my last post, I felt quite down there in the dumps, thinking what is the point of doing what I do now. Can’t I just be like the blogger Jo? Eseh macam kawan baik saja. Jo Goddard bah, American blogger of cupofjo. A blog I like to frequent to from time to time and she’s a full time blogger and get freebies. yah yah cant I just blog for life?

A wise friend tried to make me feel better by saying I live a comfy life with my earnings, actually something that I have taken for granted. And I’m doing something good everyday, inshaAllah. 

Anyway the point is I feel better. But I think it’s due to seeing my bestie Nazimah the Amazin and my lesta clan. I love these guys so much and wish I can see them more regularly. I havent seen Zimah for 4 years!! And prob longer for most of them.

Not changed at all the lot of them. 

I love it. It is as if time has stood still and we had never been apart. Everyone is just the same, only now there are partners and sprouting kids. These people were my hommies, I was the adopted bruneian who they laugh at my quirky bruneian ways and sayings, like when I say ‘telur mata lembu’. 😡 They call it something else.. telur mata kerbau kah or something equally funny. Haha funny to think about (though I did cry when that happened. Homigash, I was such a crybaby then.

They were actually my sisters and brothers from another mother. My neighbours and housemates. The ones who actually taught me by their actions to be a better muslim. I could never ask for more generous, loyal friends. 

And my Zimah. I dont think I’ve laughed as much until I’m with her. Bimbos forever. Chatting about random things (like Kayla.. sapatu Kayla? And telling her about ridiculous Msian drama storyline nowadays. Why are they calling each other ‘mummy, daddy’ but hating each other and not even married. Weirrrdddd.) The best is chatting and watching random youtube videos on her kid’s bed. Our kids were milling around us, playing with random toys and occasionally calling us out with random statements (‘mama look! bla bla. Inda ku tedangar lagi apa Zayan cakap, luan sibuk becerita macam makci2). Ahhh brings back old memories of watching korean drama/greys anatomy series on her bed. 

Sigh.

Just what I needed. A healthy dose of love and laughter. 

Love you guys. InshaAllah we will meet again.

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Displaced

Back for 3 days already and of course ada sudah komen2 pasal ‘inda balik/kraja di brunei kah’. My first instinct is to be annoyed and roll my eyes (behind their back). And then I feel sad. Because I do wanna go back. Each time someone asks me berapa lama lagi… each time I answer… I feel sad. And then I smile and say ‘inda lama lagi … inda terasa tu. Lama sudah jua di UK kan, 3 tahun lagi macam nada tu.’ 

I wish I can go back now. But that means going back without being a specialist, because Brunei does not offer SMO/registrar training. Kalau balik pun, we have to go somewhere else (singapore etc) to finish training. My mum keeps saying ‘abis kan saja tia… inda lama lagi tu’.

I’m working full time (unlike many medic mums with 2 kids working part time) so I can finish my training as soon as I can. ‘It’s for the long term gain’ I say as I leave my kids (and husband) for oncalls. In my last rota, half of my month is working 12 hour shifts. 

Sometimes I think – baik pulang inda belajar tinggi2. Kalau belajar tinggi2, seksa jua. Banyak sacrifices. What’s the point? 

What.is.the.point?

What people don’t know is how sad it is to feel so displaced. In a constant ‘hanging’ place. For a moment, I would feel at home in my home. Surrounded by my husband and kids. But the house is not my house. We’ve been renting all this time because as my husband keeps saying, we’re gonna go to Brunei anyway. Why bother buying a house?

UK is not my country though. And English is not my mother language. Come midnight, inda tantu arah lagi english ku. Even my husband notices it. Sometimes sanak jua cakap english saja tapi cana jua … all my bruneian/msian friends have gone back and those that are there are too far away from me.

And even though I’ve lived there for 14 years, I have not fully felt at home. I have no community there. My inlaws are too far away to visit all the time. I miss having impromptu house visits and lepak time. I miss just hanging out in a family’s house. I want my kids to have that memory too – of hanging out with their cousins and having sleepovers. 

And yet when I come back, I dont fully feel settled because we live from a suitcase and this room is not ‘our’ room. And we’re like tourists when we go back. Not really having that routine family life.

Floating like a cloud. 

Displaced.

Never really feeling at home.

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Bruwomendo

I know it seems as if I’ve abandoned this blog. Ok I pretty much have abandoned this blog. Not on purpose though! I’ve been hopping from one ‘project’ to another in last few weeks. 

First things first … I have started an instagram account called Bruwomendo – yes, it stands for Bru(neian) Women Do. m

It aims to be a platform to show the different passion, talents and ambition of Bruneian women. We’re much more than our bags and clothes. There’s a lot of inspiring women out there and I want girls and young women to feel inspired and motivated. That they can do good for society if they put their mind to it. No, they can do beyond good. They can be awesome. 

I also wanted it to be a place to share ideas and for discussion. I want women to share their stories even if they think their story isnt worth sharing, so mundane that nobody would care. But as Gretchen Rubin from the book Happiness Project wrote “we expect heroic virtue to look flashy – moving to Uganda to work with AID victim perhaps or documentihg plight of homelessnes … Ordinary life too is full of opportunities for worthy, if inconspicuous virtues.” 

The mother who gave up her studies for her three kids and has finally completed her degree at 30 years old.

The woman who moved to another country for career progression, just her and her young child. 

The teacher who was quaking in her heels on the first day of teaching and encountered a student brandishing out a knife, thankfully not at her.

The woman who uprooted her family for a few years in another country for her career (husband in tow).

The one who is scared about the next stage after pregnancy because she loved her life and is scared of the change.

The helicopter pilot who applied for an ad for ‘male applicants only’. Guess who got the job?

The wife who stood by her husband suffering with mental illness. 

So many stories and I’m not making it up. And I’m pretty sure there’s many more out there.

If you would like to share your stories or suggest someone who has been inspirational, comment here or email at bruwomendo@gmail.com.

Do check out the instagram @bruwomendo! 

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Serious life conversation with 4 year old

Everyday, Zayan is coming up with lines and thoughts that I wonder where they’re coming from. Just the other day, he told his childminder that ‘my problem is your problem,ok?’.

Today, we were in the car, driving home (after the two kids were playing havoc in the shop. And I was post nights sleep hungry, going solo with the kids). And he told me that he wants a pet. 

What pet? 

Dog or cat or fishy

Well, you’re not getting dog or cat. But maybe you can get fish. Tanya Ayah.

But Ayah said fish will die!!

Yeah but all animals die.

……..

From the mirror, I could see his lips curled, tears suddenly on his eyes. Oh dear.

Are you sad that animals die?

Yeah!! Why do they die?

They just do. All animals die, some live longer than others.

Tears now streaming down.

In a bid to make him happier, I told him that animals go to a special place after, Heaven. 

Where’s Heaven?

It’s a special place where its BEST PLACE EVER. For Zayan, it will have lots of parks and playground and it will be sunny everyday. 

And then it ensued into whole long conversation about how we get there (do we go there by aeroplane?), when can we go (I wanna go now!) and who’s eligible for entry. Then he started crying again because he wish he can fly, so he can fly to heaven. Oh. 

It made me realise how ill-prepared I am for these conversations!! When I started talking about our accountability (why do people go to heaven? — as in why does it exist), he went “LOOK FOOTBALL!” as I drove past a group of people playing cricket. 

The convo changed to ‘bukan football, tu cricket’. FOOTBALLLL!!! 

Kids!!

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Ramadan Kareem

It’s Ramadan again Alhamdulillah. I am alive and kicking and live for another day in Ramadan.

I thought I’ll post my #ramadanresolutions here so it will be a reminder for myself. 

I’ve compoled a list of my very own Happiness Project goals (see previous post). I’ve divided them into: marriage, children, work, leisure and spiritual. I’ll post them all in another post inshaAllah, if I remember to heheh.

So I thought my Ramadan resolutionsns should also include my Happiness project goals. After all, I dont want it to stop just because Ramadan is no longer here.

1. No last minute praying

2. Bangun for subuh

3. Pause after pray – dont be too quick after prayers to reach for the phone or think about other worldly things. Time for muhasabah and just a pause. Pause to say Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah and Allahu Akbar.

I came across this article on what 30 good deeds to do during Ramadan. Some of them are pretty standard – pray terawih/all night in last 10 days, give sadaqah.

Here’s what I would like to do this Ramadan:

1. Give food to neighbours

2. Donate old clothes 

3. Go one day without complaining or backbiting

4. Write a letter (see below) 

5. Listen to quran/podcasts in car

Brilliant suggestion from website: Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life, regardless of how big or small.

“The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger.” — Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

InshaAllah may this be the best Ramadan we go through, Aamiin.

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What is fun?

 Currently reading a book called The Happiness Project. Wow, what revelations lie inside it!! All simple ideas and principles but it makes sense. 

One of the topics is to ‘have more fun’. It resonates with my desire to be in touch with my creative side but feeling like I dont have time for it. Or more like I dont make time for it.

The question the writer brings is not how to make time (thats another chapter) but to find what is fun for you. She finds that things considered fun for some people are horrendously boring or irritating for her.

It makes me think… what do I find fun? Of course there’s a lot of fun things to do when there’s someone else there with you. Yknow, like jetting off to a another country, getting dolled up with your girlfriends. But sadly I dont have time off easily or have a set of girlfriends here to do things with. 

So what do i enjoy doing?

Lying down on the grass on a sunny day

Eating (good) cake with fellow cake lover

Reading a really good book in a cafe by myself

Walking aimlessly in a bookshop

Pretending to buy stuff in a stationery shop, when in fact I’m just admiring the prettiness of a notebook and playing with the different colour pens.

Sweating out in a circuits class (painful but gratifying)

Taking pics with my DSLR (which ive sold away now, sobs)

Writing is also fun. But it’s only fun when ada ilham or when I’m in the mood for it. 

I love discovering new places. I remember jogging to the very end of Pantai Muara, till you can see the Navy base. Kiki and I was so awestruck at our discovery, we felt we were Some Discoverers of the Land, amazed that we can go to the very end and that you can see the Navy base (though you dont actually see anything, was heavily blocked with boulders or something). And even if its like a new restaurant, it feels so nice

 I love hiking and enjoying the scenery. 
The thing is I like the idea of scrapbooking. I actually have procrastinated putting pictures in albums because its such a task! (pics from Zayan was born till now) 

And I think because I just want to tick the box, I’m no longer enjoying it. I just want to get it over and done with. And when its not finished, I get more stressed about it and deemed it as a failure of a task.

So what have I learnt from all this introspection?

1. I have to take my time when doing something I like. Or else I just suck out the fun in it.

2. Maybe I should regain my photog hobby again. That was fun. Husband, if you read this, you know what to get for my birthday >_<

3. Go to a circuits class at least once a month! (Just going to one is a miracle)

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