I think I should start a new series that focuses on everything Umair. Maybe post it during the weekend and call it TGIU or Umaiyay (brain is obviously not feeling so creative tonight! Haha). I've received so many requests for me to churn out more content on my darling son. Initially, I really did not want to. I didn't want to turn into a mom-blogger and wanted LMN to still concentrate on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, and I wanted to attract that target audience. Let's be clear, LMN will always be about fashion, beauty and lifestyle, but I guess once in a while (maybe once in two weeks if I can?), I can share bits and bobs of this wonderful boy that changed my life.
Let's just ease into it shall we. I'll share with you his current developments, some of which you may have seen on my stories. U is a year and 9 months already. I look back at old photos and my heart saddens at the thought of him growing up so fast but at the same time I'm excited for what's ahead. At 21 months, he's done the following:
Count from 1 to 10;
Prefers to feed himself (albeit terribly as he still hasn't mastered the art of using a spoon);
Obsessed with dinosaurs and has started to sing and dance along to the dino songs on Pink Fong;
Knows colors (gets them wrong sometimes but that's okay... grown-ups sometimes argue whether something is blue or green);
Knows the difference between cars, trucks, trains and buses;
Knows a lot of the names of his great uncles (and Hazim has a lot of uncles btw);
Can point out numbers from 11 to 20 but can't say them yet;
Knows how to ask for hugs and kisses (guys... this melts my heart completely, I wish I could record it to have forever but he always does it out of the blue);
Started to say 'I love you';
Started to understand what it means when we go on business trips without him (cause he was terribly sad when we both had to leave for work on consecutive weeks);
Loves playing football with his left foot;
Loves sticking his dinosaurs stickers everywhere! (Hazim found one on his luggage when he landed in London hahaha);
Loves strumming the guitar;
More cheeky than ever i.e. gives side-eye glances, teases his little cousin, makes funny faces, sulks like a teenage girl when we get mad at him etc;
Knows the difference between biscuits, 'keropok' and cakes (he loves them all... thanks to the festive season);
Knows how to say 'brush teeth' and 'comb hair' (and he loves to show people that he can do both... 'kambang' like mommy it seems);
Tells us when he poops or wants to poop;
Knows all of the words from his flashcard deck;
Knows how to say 'Youtube' - not particularly proud of this I have to say;
Knows a lot of animals and the sounds they make; and
Joins us when we pray.
Watching him grow has been the absolute best. Kids really do fill your days with joy because seeing them learn and discover new things make you so proud as a parent (also applicable to proud aunts/uncles and proud pet owners). Seeing them curious and watching them pick up new words... it's such a thrill (a bit like Russian Roulette sometimes because you never know which word they're going to pick up next... it also makes me worry about what I say in front of him now!). However, it makes me realize that I'm getting older and my brain is no longer a sponge that can absorb a lot of information anymore. Isn't it fun being a kid? But anyway, that can be another topic for another day!
More TGIU posts coming up! Hmm... I'm not feeling that name.....
//Series is called The Umair Takeover now. I do realize that the abbreviation is TUT but... we'll just roll with it! Let me know what else you'd like to read about!
I know it's hard to not enter a Zara store when you're walking past one... just like how it's hard for me to resist stopping by a McDonald's drive thru when I'm in Jerudong. I fell into the trap of fast fashion being a University student who loved keeping up with the latest trends. Brands like Zara and H&M were relatively cheaper and less brutal on the pockets. But with fashion being one of the biggest polluting industries, there's more to just buying cheap clothes that go out of fashion (and won't last that long anyway).
Carcel is one of my favorite ethical brands made with sustainable material by women who are imprisoned for poverty-related crimes.
I dedicated my Masters Degree to research on the sustainability of fast fashion. The amount of resources used (like water), the high carbon emissions, the amount of waste not bought and thrown out when the seasons change, the unfair treatment towards garment makers in developing/underdeveloped countries... are so ugly that you gotta think twice before you make a purchase. I haven't walked into a Zara store for over a year... and I don't remember the last time I shopped at H&M. While having started to make a move into the ethical direction with more climate positive goals and by having their own 'conscious' lines that use recycled polyester and organic cotton, these two biggest fast fashion retailers are still not doing enough.
The incident at a garment factory in Bangladesh that happened 6 years ago today, took around 1,134 lives and injured around 2,500 people. That really affected me. I never understood the magnitude of the matter until photos started circulating around. Cheap clothes mean that the supply chain must be relatively cheap too. How could I ever feel good wearing something knowing that it was made by someone who was underpaid (in some cases NOT paid) and not taken care of? I haven't even gotten to the environmental impact of the entire industry. All the chemicals and microfibers that end up in the oceans and even the water we drink. But we only have ourselves to blame... these big companies are driven by the consumer culture.
My dear shopaholic friends, it's time we be wiser and start shopping consciously.
1. Buy classics. Buy pieces that can withstand the test of time. White, black and neutral colored basics are staples in my wardrobe. A good, durable and resilient pair of jeans. A black blazer. You could come up with multiple outfits just by having that alone.
2. Don't submit to trends. I'm getting better at this. I don't follow trends anymore. At least, not a lot of them. Plus I'm too old for them sometimes. Love the look of socks in heels and colored eyeshadows in editorial magazines and fashion week... but I'm not cool enough for that. I do still follow trends when a season comes out with a great color though... like Lilac in 2018. But purchase it in something you'd wear even after the trend dies down. This all goes back to #1. Sticking to the classics.
3. Sleep on it. Avoid impulse purchases. Give it a few days/weeks. If you still want it by then, then you can get it.
4. Increase the number of uses per wash. Our clothes shed a lot of plastic microfibers in the washing machine. Plus... save energy. Unless you just rolled around in mud and perspired buckets... I say... reuse those pair of jeans for tomorrow.
5. Do your research and support brands that care about being sustainable and ethical. You can always read more about your favorite brands to know where your money goes. (Unfortunately, Uniqlo isn't that transparent. You would think that a company who doesn't really follow the conventional fast fashion model could easily set up something more sustainable... but you still hear news about them not paying their workers. So I'm not sure about this one.) Caring about workers' welfare and the environment are not easy tasks. They're not cheap either. Wherever you can, let's try and support these wonderful brands that don't get enough love.
I hope to move LMN into that direction. Gradually but surely. We have no choice. We need to be better.
I've had many people ask about my current skincare routine and I've finally found time to blog about it! I've been using this brand since November when I went to Seoul and went a little crazy at the Sulwhasoo flagship store. I bought myself an entire new routine. I do still use some of my old loves such as Glossier's Milk Jelly Cleanser (can't stay away from that... no other cleanser will ever do) and my Pixi Glow Tonic (because I can't seem to find out whether my Sulwhasoo stuff has any AHA/acid in them).
Sulwhasoo is a k-beauty brand under AmorePacific Corporation alongside 32 other brands including Laneige, Innisfree, Annick Goutal and Etude House. The price range is a little on the high side so it was definitely a treat for myself when I bought it. I was trying to see whether it was cruelty-free. I read that the ones sold in China have to go through animal testing but the ones sold outside particularly in South Korea are cruelty-free. Going forward, I definitely see myself repurchasing because my skin feels softer and less sallow/dull (which was my ultimate goal anyway).
For cleanser, I still use the Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser. That's total holy grail status and everything else seem to pale in comparison. It's just perfect--simple, lightly-scented and non-greasy. I know it isn't the case for one of my best friends who much prefers the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (that one made my face super greasy and it was quite heavily scented for my liking). I don't know... if this didn't work for you, let me know why because I really love this stuff.
Then, the first thing I put on my face is the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum or the Pixi Glow Tonic (if i feel like my skin needs extra exfoliation). They both create the perfect canvas to layer on the subsequent products. It allows for better penetration and absorption.
Next, is either the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Water or Kiehl's Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence and then the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Emulsion. The Snowise range is a brightening range which targets unevenness and any discoloration. The kind lady at Sulwhasoo recommended I try them out. I can't say it has done wonders for my dark spots to be honest, but I think this is the main reason why I'm not looking as dull as I used to. On a side note, I recently purchased the Snowise Brightening Spot Serum that supposedly fades and prevents any dark spots. I have yet to use this religiously so I cannot say whether it works or not.
Ah... the expensive serum that I pray will make me look 25 at 35--Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Serum EX. This is a premium anti-aging serum using ingredients from deep inside red pine leaves. Absolutely no clue what that is or what it does. They have a lower range for anti-aging that I also love-- the Concentrated Ginseng smells like a luxurious tree.........idk that's the best I got but you really smell like a spa when putting that stuff on your face. On days where zits show up, I use The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1%. HG. Really works. I then continue with the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum. I bought it with the Golden Eye Care Massager which comes with steps on how to use it around your eyes. It's so luxe, I tell you.
I use the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream for my moisturiser. They have a gel version which is lighter but I used the cream because I have dehydrated skin and I usually powder after anyway. To finish off I use the Glossier Invisible Shield SPF35 as my daily sunscreen during the day. This formula is total genius. I love it and I wish it came in a higher SPF value because I don't think SPF35 will do for the amount of sun we get here in Brunei.
Anyway, that's all. I'm actually on Cult Beauty picking out a retinol. Most probably going to repurchase The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. Skincare junkie, signing out!
I just want to talk... about a lot of things on my mind lately.
This past week has been emotional. I'm completely shattered over the recent events in New Zealand. I'm also completely baffled and hurt by all the hatred popping up in the news to not just Muslims but other races, other religions, people with other beliefs. I cannot understand why people can't just coexist. It doesn't matter who or what you believe in or who you love. What matters is you're kind and respectful of others. Everyone's fighting their own battles. I mean... how true is that phrase? Every single one of us have battles of our own. Why would you want to add to anyone's misery? You're not perfect. You don't have a guaranteed ticket to heaven. Calm down.
I recently read an article and the writer being adopted describes her families as 'her family' and 'her real family'. I hear that a lot actually. People asking me about U's 'real' mom. I'm going to be honest here. I'm a bit triggered by the term 'real' mom. As innocent as it is, I mean I totally understand that people don't mean it that way... but what does that make me? A fake one? I am as real as it gets. I may be in tact (down there), and I don't have scars on my belly, but I try my best everyday to be the best mom I can be. I breastfed him, I did go through all the late nights, the tears, I did go through a period of feeling lost, I am constantly worrying about him, the late night visits to the outpatient clinic, we save for him monthly, we've registered him at a good school. The term 'real' mom really hurts but again I know people don't mean it that way. But maybe you could use the term 'mom' and 'birthmom'. That would be really nice and I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.
We also lost one of the kindest people over the weekend--Hazim's aunt who had been unwell for a few years already. She was sort of like the glue that kept everyone together. She was kind, and sweet and graceful. I'm so lucky to have had her in my life and to be able to call her Aunty. When she passed away, I read our text msgs and she never failed to greet me on my birthday with her long sweet doas. Someone also passed away yesterday (at the time of writing) was a relative of a colleague who apparently just collapsed. She was only a few years older than me. It's scary, isn't it? You never know when's your time to go. And you start thinking about the lack of good deeds you've done and all the times you chose dunya over the afterlife. I mean... that's gotta change.
Those are the main 'tabs' that have been active in my brain. It feels good to write it down every now and then. Anyway, hope my readers are doing well. Do I still have readers? Haha
“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
Before we had boyfriends or husbands, we had our gal pals. They stuck by us through all the storms that came our way, and we knew we would be okay because they were just a call away. I'm so lucky to have best friends like these. They finish off my sentences and they know what I'm thinking about by just giving them a look. When I need them, they show up with comfort food. When they need me, I drop everything to be there for them. Soulmates. I can't imagine living life without them.
8th March marks International Womens' Day and today I would like to not only celebrate our fight for gender equality... but I would like to celebrate these women in my life. They were there for me through love and heartbreaks, tears, babies, secrets, uncontrollable laughter, bad days, great days, highs and lows and internet trolls. They helped build me to be the person I am today. They made me stronger, wiser and more courageous than I could have ever been.
I wanted to share my favourite hilarious stories with my girlfriends with you but after thinking about all the things we've done (and we're ridiculous silly idiots btw), I don't think I could ever disclose them! I just spent the past two hours laughing at all these un-share-able stories that I have with them. OMG. WHAT IN THE WORLD? HAHAHA. Believe me when I say we had so much fun pre-wife days. After some filtering, these are the bearable ones (btw I've used their fake names to conceal their identities):
1. The One Where Lily Peed In The Kitchen
Lily had been holding her pee while cooking/cleaning in the kitchen. Out of no where (that's how I remember it), her leg had pins and needles. One of us (we're pretty mean), started kicking her poor leg and soon after, we almost had a puddle in the kitchen. Love you, Lily. But we did not want to clean that mess up. HAHAHAHA.
2. The One Where We Followed Our Cute Landlord And He Made Us Walk Home
Our landlord arrived pretty early one day to sign some papers for the house. I don't know why we were in a rush or why we had to go to his office, but we left in our PJs and slippers, in our cute landlord's car. When we arrived at his house and signed off our agreements, he said bye and we were like um hello, how do we get home? It was a hilarious walk back. In our PJs. In our slippers. In the SNOW. On my birthday.... I swear when we got home, my feet were blue.
3. The One Where My Wedding Dress Ripped On Stage
During my sanding, as I was sitting down on my pelamin, my back zipper tore from the top to my bum. Thank god the top was secured with a hook because the front part of the dress was super heavy from all the beading. My girls rushed to the reception to get a sewing kit and before the night ended and I had to stand in front of cameras for photos, they've had resurrected my dress. (POORLY BTW BUT I LOVE THEM STILL.... HAHAHA I SAY POORLY BECAUSE THAT NIGHT IT TOOK US 2 HOURS TO GET ME OUT OF THAT THING! They stitched that thing back together permanently!)
4. The One Where We Were Third-Wheeling On Many Awkward Dates (I'm not going to give details but my besties know this)
a. The guy who wore a raincoat.
b. The guy who was either really nervous or really cold in the cinema that he was vibrating like a phone on his seat.
c. The guy who wore flip flops on the first date.
d. This list is endless.
5. The One Where Fiona Wore Heels To The Park And Fell On Her Knees. Twice.
She doesn't usually where heels but Kurt Geiger was on sale and we bought a million shoes. We decided to walk around in the park with our new shoes and as we were walking on the sidewalk, Fiona fell on her knees. It was so funny. It was like a cartoon moment. We all just stared at her until we broke into fits of laughter. She was literally praying (sujud) on the ground in front of cars. You had to be there. HAHA. Fiona broke up with those shoes that day.
Ahh. Where would I be without you girls?
Happy International Womens' Day, Queens. May we all lift each other and celebrate each others' successes, always.
I always thought introversion was a disease until I stumbled upon a Ted Talk by Susan Cain about The Power of Introverts. That changed the way I saw myself and all the other introverts I’ve met and known. I’m currently reading her book called Quiet Power and it’s interesting how much it resonates with me. I’m an introvert despite what everyone thinks.
I know what you’re thinking. She’s a social media influencer (use word with caution) and of course she’s an extrovert. Wrong. Social Media is the platform where I am able to express myself through pictures. It’s where I am able to wander into the creative abyss and get inspired. I am able to express myself through the captions, through the garments… through comments and direct messages. I am able to be me… by hitting ‘post’.
I know you’re also thinking that I’m not so bad with communicating with people on a daily basis. I admit. I’m not awful at striking conversations and keeping the conversations going. But in that book, it talks about how while introverts can also have normal conversations, it drains them out faster than extroverts. Which basically means, after a lot of conversations, meeting new people, being in new environments and attending social events… I need to take a step back and be in my own world before I lose it. (Which is why I love being in my room in complete silence with my book or… just some alone time with Youtube and Netflix).
Some people don’t really understand this trait. They take it as being anti-social or sombong. But it really does wear me out sometimes. Don’t get me wrong… I do enjoy meeting new people and attending cool launches and fashion shows. I just need some quiet time after that to keep myself balanced.
I feel like introverts are especially misunderstood… at work… in school… basically anywhere you go they seem to only be rewarding the extroverts who are loud and brave and confident and outspoken. That leaves the introverts being scrutinized as being somewhat empty. People sometimes mistake quietness for having no ideas or questions or opinions. In fact… it’s the opposite. We have too many ideas, too many questions and too many opinions. We overthink everything. I don’t know about you, but I’m very calculative when it comes to formal discussions. I overthink every word that comes out of my mouth. Is my question stupid? Will my opinion offend others? Will my idea be good enough? Sometimes I admire the extroverts and how confident they can be. (Sometimes they can say the darnest things and still look smart).
I’m not against these extroverts. I often try to mingle with them just so I can learn how to be one. The book also mentions how when extroverts and introverts work together, magic can happen because they complement one another. Like Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak. Wozniak invented the first Apple computer and Steve Jobs’s charismatic behavior was able to drive it (yet when you think of Apple… you think of Jobs). My point exactly.
I get anxiety attacks every now and then. Not super hyperventilating attacks… but milder dull anxieties in the chest that just would not subside. Probably because I overthink some things but mainly because sometimes circumstances force you to be an extrovert. Like at work… my superior commented how I was being overshadowed by a colleague and I think as my performance bonus depends on it… the only way to stop that from happening is to be more visible. I am definitely up for the challenge… but again I don’t think people understand how much it exhausts me. My colleague is a natural when it comes to voicing out his opinions or being the first to talk. I have to have arguments with myself in my head first. But now I have to not be myself and flip a switch to be this other person. So to him, it would probably just require a glass of water to get his energy back. But to me… I kind of need breakfast, lunch and a nap.
Now you’re thinking, maybe I should just land a job where I’m in the backseat. You’re wrong again. Introverts don’t necessarily want to be at the back all the time. Some also dream of leading. But it’s okay fellow introverts, I got one tip for you. Push yourself to do that damn thing that's giving you anxiety. I sang in front of hundreds of people at the DST Carnival back in 2015 because of this reason. I thought I was going to collapse. Sometimes you have to push yourself to see what you’re capable of. Till this day, when I get the jitters, I tell myself… if I can sing in front of hundreds of people, I can definitely give one presentation in front of the Board. The more you push your boundaries, the more practice you get… and the anxiety will slowly lessen. That doesn't mean you should stop being you. Retreat whenever you need to. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I finally have time to blog! Here's one about traveling with the little one that I get asked frequently about. I'm no pro at traveling with babies so feel free to share more tips in the comment section or drop me a DM... because I really want to know! From traveling to UK (Umair's first trip was a long haul flight and thankfully it was a breeze), to KL and Singapore and recently to Seoul (I love Seoul btw!), and taking into account my frequently asked questions on Instagram, this is what I've gathered:
ON THE FLIGHT
1. Pack their toys, snacks and books or have videos ready.
We had to download Pinkfong videos on Youtube for Umair. I'm trying to reduce his screen time so whenever we pull this card out, I feel like such a failure. Sigh. But anyway, when we flew to UK, all he did was drink, sleep, poop, sleep and repeat. Now, he loves running around, plays hide and seek with our seat neighbors and basically wants our unwavering attention. We take out our ammo one by one so it buys us time. So far it seems to work. We've also managed to distract him when we're busy eating, so that's good.
2. Prepare a bottle of milk or a pacifier for take-off and landing.
I know the pacifier is so controversial, but it really calms Umair down in ways I cannot explain. I do get worried about his teeth or his over-reliance but... sometimes I just let it go because he falls asleep as soon as we give it to him. So far, he hasn't been bothered by the air pressure... so I guess feeding him works.
A lot of people ask how we bring our milk formula and bottles onto the plane. I was worried about this too on our first flight but you can actually bring your hot water on-board so not to worry. They understand. We have each bottles pre-filled with room temp water too!
3. Pack socks and extra clothes.
For the baby AND YOURSELF. I remember arriving in London and realizing that it was me smelling like poop. Umair's poop had leaked onto my pants!! And when we were in Seoul, Umair had gotten carsick in the taxi and puked all over himself AND Hazim. I bring socks in case he gets cold on the plane. Probably not necessary for short-haul flights but I still have it packed anyway because even on 1 hour plane rides, my feet gets cold and that would increase trips to the bathroom........
4. Food Preparation
6-12 months: Bring your food processor. We brought our trusty Beaba in its travel case. I know some prefer the rice cooker so whichever works. Once you land, you can quickly just drop by a supermarket to get your rice, fruits and vegetables for the whole trip. But if you have no time to do that, you could pack all that too for the x number of days you'll be away (I've done that once).
Above 12 months: Save some porridge/food from the hotel's breakfast in an insulated jar that will last you through lunch hahaha. I love hotel breakfast. Unfortunately, in Seoul we didn't want to pay BND70 per person for breakfast, so that was a bit tricky. We just ordered rice and something simple for Umair wherever we ended up eating. Hazim's the stricter one... no salt, no oil and fried food etc, so we made sure to avoid all that.
But I suppose at the end of the day, what's important is that your child is fed. Umair has had yoghurt, dimsum, pancakes, omelettes (try eggs at home first please), etc when we're abroad. He LOVES going on holiday, I swear, because when we come back, it's back to eating bland food!
5. Pack your oils
Or whatever works for your baby. I brought these ones from Bellary Nature, a mini tube of Sudocream and a pot of Vicks BabyRub (some may contest but it works on Umair and especially after our trip to UK when he fell sick... I will do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening again!). I use it before we go out in the cold, when he's having a restless night, when he's motion-sick or coughing, etc.
6. Wash your baby bottles
We usually just have his washing liquid in a small travel-sized dispenser and bring a long a laptop-size container that's deep enough to soak his bottles in. I'm really not sure what's the most efficient way. If you have a better idea, let me know!
7. Get an easy stroller
This was the first thing I looked for when we were first looking for strollers. Obviously I wanted the super chic looking Stokke ones but let's be real here... I'm not going to be strolling Umair around in this heat--this isn't Hyde Park in September. My first condition was that it would fold into something I could carry easily and the Baby Zen Yoyo did just that. You fold it and throw it on your shoulders and get on with your day. You can also fit it in the overhead compartments on the plane but we chuck it in cargo now because that's one less thing to carry!
Some people prefer those toddler leashes/harnesses or a carrier because their babies don't like being strapped to a stroller (I don't get why they don't... you just have to sit down and someone pushes you to the next destination while you drink haha). Umair now prefers to walk about btw so we had to get a harness. I'm a paranoid mom and he cannot be more than a metre away from me!
Other than wrinkles, dark pigmentation and back aches, there are two other signs of aging that you'll experience.
1. Diminishing Returns of Materialism, and
2. Increased Propensity to Save.
My first Balenciaga
My recent big purchase was the Dior Saddle Bag and the strap that's paired with it in the Dior influencer campaigns. Now... don't get me wrong... I don't regret purchasing it but I did feel a tiny-sized bullet go through my chest as I was paying for them. There was something else I realized... I didn't feel as ecstatic as I did before.
I remember my first few designer bags. I was into Balenciaga City Bags and I really wanted them... I may have even cried because I wanted them that much. I think they were one month's worth of student allowance back when I was an undergraduate in Nottingham. When I graduated from my Masters, I ended up with a Gucci, a Prada, 2 Balenciagas, 6 Bond No. 9 perfumes, loads of shoes... and a whole lot of other luxury items that I was afraid to bring home to my mother. I mean, my parents would have to send me food from home and they'd lecture me every time they see something new. Pretty embarrassing--not proud of it.
Aftermath of Kurt Geiger going on sale - mine and my housemates
I remember being so ecstatic about those purchases I would have hugged them to sleep if I could. But now... I'm not as happy considering the amount I just swiped. I realize that every other new luxury item I purchase, it makes me more happy but the amount of marginal happiness is depreciating.
What's increasing is my addiction to park money for the future. I get excited about saving now and watching your savings grow makes you even more motivated to save. I can give you savings tips--maybe next time. Wow, I feel so adult. I never thought I would get here, but here I am. I think twice before swiping my credit card. I got my insurances and retirement plans set (scarily, it still isn't enough for me to maintain my current lifestyle when I retire). I've parked a little in investments and my car loan is paid off.
I do wonder if I'll ever feel that level of euphoria again. I think the last time I really loved a luxury purchase was in 2014 and it was a pair of Louboutins. But this is good! I will remind myself every time I want a new bag whether it'll make me crazy happy or just mediocre happy. If it's the latter, it's definitely not worth it.
I do still splurge on myself from time to time. I am a girl after all and a professional shopaholic. Once in a while, I get myself an expensive dress or spend a bit too much on skincare (another sign of aging btw is when you choose skincare over makeup) but now I can feel that I have more control over my impulses. If I don't need it or if there's a cheaper option, out my cart it goes.
I'm in the middle of Season 10 of Grey's Anatomy now. I know... I'm kind of late to the game and never really understood the craze but I'm definitely on board now. Anyway, I just passed the episodes where Meredith was feeling like she had to prove that she was a good surgeon despite being a mom. Sometimes it's really odd when things around you mirror your exact feelings be it a song or a movie or in this case... a popular medical series.
Ever since I had my son, I've felt the need to prove to people at work that I can do my job well despite having to go to doctor's appointments during office hours and what not. This on top of feeling like I have to prove that I'm not a bimbo airhead who's into fashion and beauty only. I've cried myself to sleep, had anxiety attacks and felt a little down... all because I feel like I'm not up to a certain standard or on par with people who can work after hours and read emails at 9PM (in a work environment that I feel penalizes those who don't btw). I've dialed down my social media presence enough so I can give in extra hours to do work but not enough for brands to stop working with me.
You want to know what's more ridiculous? My work guilt is sometimes bigger than my mom guilt... which in turn makes me feel more guilty because I feel like such a horrible mom! When my team stays late til 7PM... I feel more guilty leaving them than I do not spending time with my baby... MY BABY?! My baby who's growing up too fast and sooner or later will not want to spend time with me. What is the matter with me?
The feminist in me also refuses to back down at the office because for years people fought for our rights and we're now able to go to work and earn money for ourselves. I loathe every time I hear someone make 'maternity leave' as an excuse. Like... oh we need more men in the workforce because women go on maternity leave for three months. I'm going to leave it at that now because that's a topic all on it's own. But anyway working moms, I want you to know that you are not alone. The point of this post is to let you know that we're all in this together.
I still go through these phases... but I haven't given up at work. I do everything I can and as much as I can when I'm on my desk. But I try really hard to allocate my time after hours (6.30PM max at the office) and during weekends for my family. I don't do work when I'm at home or when I'm on leave. I don't beat myself up every time I feel I'm a bit behind because of it. I get up... and catch up and move on. I just needed to stop doing that to myself.
There's that quote... I forget. But it was about... setting your priorities straight. It was about... giving people the time they deserved. It was about... putting time and effort with your family. The quote was about choosing between your career and the people you love. It reminded me that while your job can replace you in a second, your son looks at you like you're the best thing on the planet and you're irreplaceable.
As much as we want to give 100% to both motherhood and our careers... we only have 100% to give. I still have my daily battles but I think I'm winning. I just need to make sure I still perform at work, I'm on top of things, I'm able to solve problems... and if it seems like my colleagues are better than me because they can give their full 100% at their job and do work til 11PM... I'm not going to feel like I'm inadequate. I'm not going to blame motherhood or myself. I may cry... But I'll still kick ass the next day.