Thursday, November 13, 2008

Normal?

My mornings this week have been totally taken up with errands to get things going for our new home. At first, we hoped to move in by November but it's definitely not happening now. The defects have yet to be fully fixed by the developer. We have hit a snag for the slightly uneven flooring upstairs as the developer's sub-contractor appears to be dragging their feet.

These days, my life revolves around making phone calls, dropping in to the site office, tile shops, kitchen fittings and other suppliers' premises. I sometimes wish I have a camper van as with all the driving around, I'd might as well live in my car. In between, I've to make sure lunch and dinner are ready, the laundry is done, and I'm keeping in time with Caitlin's schedule. Forget about tidying up or cleaning the floor. Our place is a real dump right now.

The phone calls and visits to the site office to enquire and get some commitment to an estimated date of completion for rectification of defects has been in vain so far. That's the problem when the developer is not one of the big players in the industry who has an image to maintain. But then again, if it were, we'd probably have paid double the price for that house in a prime location. As they say, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys but what to do, peanuts are all we can afford.

Multitasking is tiring when you have to do it everyday, non-stop for years. Sometimes I wish I am employed or running a full-time business. There's a salary or profit to earn, with sick leave, medical and other fringe benefits and paid holidays. As a stay-home mum, there's no income, you're on call 24/7 and you work come rain, shine, hail, sickness, for better or worse. It's a choice I had made, however, over three years ago. Family comes first and yes, there are rewards, the kisses and hugs from the kid, a healthier and happier child in all aspects, the jokes, teasing and tickles we share, the assurance that your child is safer to some extent instead of being transported to and from school and extra-curricular activities by strangers....so I guess, it's not right to compare apples with oranges.

There must be a balance however in the work that a stay-home mum does. She should have some personal time for herself, her own interests and pursuits. Easier said than done. I'm no supermum. There's no such thing as supermums in fact, in my humble opinion. You can't have it all, something's gotta give whether you choose to believe or live in denial of that fact.

I think working mums and dads have it easier to achieve the balance due to the nature of their lifestyle. They leave the house in the morning, focus on the job they've been employed to do, leave the workplace and 'switch modes' to become mum or dad when they get home and over weekends. Stay-home mums are always in mum-plumber-chauffeur-cook-cleaner-administrator-contractor-designer-disciplinarian-teacher-nurse-doctor-blogger-feelancer-grocery shopper-etc mode all at the same, same time all the time....

You know you are burnt out when all you crave for every other day is a long, long holiday in a far, faraway place with nothing but a book in bed or by the poolside all day, or spend the entire holiday luxuriating in a spa, not even shopping, sightseeing or other touristy stuff. You know you really need a break when all you crave for is good, tasty food cooked by someone other than yourself. A family holiday with spouse or kids or extended family is the last thing you'd dream of, as much as you love them and enjoy their company at 'normal' times.

That's why I always take my hat off to stay-home mums who have many kids and yet can manage to keep everything in place without the help of one or more maids and still have a somewhat perfectly balanced life...no hang-ups, character defects, grows old gracefully... Anyone like that out there who's willing to share her secret? I truly doubt. So I guess I'm normal...lah!

('lah' is a frequently-used adjunct-type word in Manglish aka Malaysian English).

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