As a mother of two living in Singapore I often overhear discussions about how fortunate we are to have the access to full-time help that we do. I’m the first person to fully agree! People say things like, “I have no idea how my friends at home do it” or “Imagine doing this without a helper”. Personally, I don’t think that the majority of our friends and family that live outside of Asia have superpowers (or maybe they do and they just ship us ordinary humans abroad?).
I think the main difference is that our friends abroad have no choice but to involve their kids in everyday chores. And is that really such a bad thing? Let’s face it, how often do we take our kids to the supermarket or let them help out with stuff around the house? Well, I don’t that often in any case. This sometimes makes me think about what my days would look like if I didn’t have such a choice.
So I decided to introduce the concept of Mama’s Little Helpers a few times a week. Basically what it means, is that I take the boys with me and do something super normal (as in boring) like shopping, recycling or have them help out with some cleaning around the house. Don’t get me wrong, I am not doing this in a lame attempt to make my kids more ‘down to earth’ or appreciate ‘how fortunate they are’. Those kinds of values take more than a few trips to Cold Storage to instill.
It’s purely for entertainment reasons. Because if you can take the stress and shouting out of shopping for instance, which isn’t an easy feat, then your kids will think it’s fun. The purpose of this idea is to get you away from the soft playrooms and be able to combine your errands with something the kids enjoy. They don’t know that going to the supermarket, checking out the dairy section and using the self-service checkout is less fun than the playground. They might suspect it but if you won’t tell, then I won’t either.
Here is an example of what Mama’s Littler Helpers have been up to recently… My actual (grown up and paid) helper likes baking, and there just happens to be a very good store in Holland Village selling things for baking which she needed a few things from. I decided this was a perfect mission for my Little Helpers. We took the bus there, choosing the long route. You can’t beat public transport when it comes to entertaining the kids! Once there we spent about half an hour in the store looking at different kinds of cake decorations, putting things in our basket (of which a lot had to be taken out before payment) and “re-arranging” the products on the shelves.
Satisfied with our baking goods we went to Starbucks for a coffee and Babyccinos. Because as we all know, the kids will think that the best part of any expedition, no matter if you’ve paid an $80 entry fee to an amusement park or hiked around MacRitchie sweating and swearing for hours, is the treat at the end. This can be annoying but in reality it means that whatever you choose to do with your kids, as long as you end it with a treat of some sort, you can mentally categorize it as an outing that your kids enjoyed.
So, there you go, being a “super mama” is not that hard after all.