When we became parents, our life changed, and it is like a one-way street without any recourse. My husband and I are busy parents, with two intense professional careers. Before having kids, we took 8-10 international trips, plus 3-5 ski vacations every year. Now with a 2.5 year-oldand a 6 month-old on board, we became more domestic, and so begun to bring the “fun” to the house. As a mother, if I can’t be 100% myself, I can’t give 100% of me for my kids. This notion may run against traditional parenting, especially in my Asian roots, where sacrificing is noble, putting yourself first is selfish…however, so far I have proven I am doing ok. Do I have a moment of guilt (or trade-off thought – what can I have done differently) when I squeeze an impossible 90 mins to get my nails done, have a nice blow dry or take a “floating” session to detoxify and calm my crazy mind? Yes, I do. However, I keep doing it, because the reset button is a necessity, and everyone needs to pause before restarting.
My younger one just turned 6 month old, every milestone worthy to celebrate, and to reflect on the past 6 months, we didn’t sacrifice the fun, but added more laughter to our family:
• Meet the Baby at home: friends and family love to meet the new baby, and we invite them to visit with us, instead of turning them down for concern of showing a messy house. I make it into a party — I wouldn’t attempt to cook, so I either get friends to bring potluck or I order take-out. Since my second one was born, I had around 15-20 such gatherings. Size them in small groups, so it is manageable, and friends and family love it, engage the bigger child for a play, and also help you to clean after the event.
• Celebrate big moments at home: I am a good earner and also a relative big spender in the household. My husband is frugal, but not so much when it comes to childcare & education, cultural event tickets and beverages for parties. We like to host big parties (50-70 guests) at our home, which is not easy, and requires detailed planning. Besides catering and free flow of beverages lasting till early morning, we have a team to support our endeavor: A sitter (primary to care for the 6 months old), a party helper (to stage & manage food & drink), a musical director (to bring singers & musicians), a photographer (in the age of social media, photo & video quality is crucial especially as these are life time memories) and a face painter or entertainer (for little guests to stay engaged, so parents could party with an ease of mind). Looking back at the past 6 months, we had a corporate Jazz night for my husband’s colleagues in town for the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conference, had a baptism party at our house with a piano & violin recital and Grandparents visiting from overseas, and a Halloween/my husband birthday party, when we brought in Opera singers and musicians to perform “Phantom of Opera” live. It was exhilarating, and everyone had a blast!
• Party hopping at “not” so wee hours: Birds of a feather flock together. We have a group of friends who love to party too, and although they do not necessarily have such little children at home, kiddos are always invited. I battle with the idea that the little ones may not eat or sometimes rest well in a strange environment, and so I am selective what party to take them or not…so we have a 2-3 weekend sitters line up, just in case.
We love to party, as a result of that, our 2.5 years old is very socially adept in her age group. She addresses our friends by their names and identifies each household in a clear relationship (some kids are good at sorting color and blocks, my kid is gifted in sorting out who is whose mother and wife :-)) Yes, at a party, there will be times when she has ice cream & chocolate fondue before proper dinner, and there are a few nights she doesn’t go to bed till midnight. But look, in the generation of modern medicine, our kiddos will live to be 100 years old, and for us, it is A OK to get out of the “rules” a few times a year. And to earn memories for a life time, we will do anything to share a good laugh together.