‘Baby is not ready to come out’, I was told. My first time experiencing Braxton Hicks. What? False contractions? You mean I cannot deliver now?? *Faint*
Come to think of it, I did not share how my 3 babies were born and how I struggled and laboured through all of them.
As I read Michelle Hon’s newly minted book THE CHILL MOM, it brought back all the newborn bittersweet phases of maternal memories. I was impressed by her chill and confident approach and wished that I could have this practical guide to prepare me for my firstborn. Reading her book was a breeze and pleasure with her personal experiences and practical approach.
Here are her CHILL proof approach.
Michelle wisely dealt with the root of all evil in motherhood – How to overcome common fears in motherhood. From fears of losing one’s identity, repeating our parents’ mistakes to practical advice on how to pay off debts to become financially stable, she walks you through each one with care.
‘ There is no one correct way of parenting. Each child is different…. The ‘how’ is what makes parenting interesting.
Here’s the truth: You are going to mess up sometimes. But that will not make you a bad parent.‘
My hubby often chimes to me,’ A happy mum makes a happy family.’ Michelle set the tone firmly with self-care as a priority in a mother’s life. She sees ‘self-care as a habit and an attiude to develop more than something to ‘do’. ‘
After 3 newborns, with my eldest at 10years, I agree that this is an essential aspect to weigh into a mother’s life. More often than not, many mums live in guilt with a mistaken notion that self-care is selfish. Put it simply, if mum-me is sick and depressed, guess what becomes of the family’s state? Do what it takes to maintain your sanity and health so that your family can enjoy your presence. Having such ‘me-time’ can be a simple 15mins walk outside or breakfast alone. Michelle realised taking time out for herself required some ‘practice’ and recommended nooks of time. Such moments also depend on the phase of your baby and dynamics of your family support. During my first few years of each child’s life, it was tough to go out for long. Now they are older (7,9,10yo), I am able to pursue more consistently my half marathon goal with more regular runs and this year my hubby and I went on our couple’s trip after 10years! As you get into the groove of motherhood, you can discern better the frequency and time for your self-care. For me, I recall having to take wee morning to have 20mins of Quiet time to read the bible and pray before mummy duties take over.
During my first pregnancy, I was very careful about my caffeine intake. However, the second and third I had different cravings and allowed myself to succumb moderately to them. Here, Michelle explains why we have certain craving and what to look out for in your diet. As an ex-model, she gives sensible advice on how to look good with your bump and postpartum body from what stretch mark cream or oil to use and natural foods to consume. Her list of To-Eat food is informative and backed by research. I didn’t know that spinach is an alkaline food which prevents muscle and bone loss, plus a good source of iron for breast milk too!
Let me be honest here. As much as I believe that our mother instincts are innate and wise, it also could lead us to dangerous paths like what Michelle has penned. Therefore I often rely on God’s words of encouragement and wisdom to care for my children instead of relying on my own self.
Another area that I may not agree entirely is that I did let my babies cry it out. As tough as it was, we were glad to train our babies to self soothe. It really depends on your husband and wife’s values. For us, we do care for our babies tenderly and shower them with much hugs and carrying. However, we do it while they were alert and happy, not picking them up only when they cry. Then I will pat baby to a drift off mode and let him self soothe for nap or bed time. If he cries, I will sing or pray with him till he slowly settles to sleep. For no. 1 we only managed to train him at 1 yo. It was excruciating to hear him scream for so long. However, we pressed on and in a week’s time, he knew he had to self soothe and not depend on us. We learnt to train the rest earlier from 2 months to 6 months old. However, it is not a hard and fast rule. We exercise flexibility and do comfort our babies when in distress. Up till now, my kids automatically turn in at 8pm without any fuss as the routine has been firmly established from young. I believe strongly in adequate sleep for healthy minds and bodies for the whole family.
Other than the above differing views, Chillmom offers clear step by step processes to sleep, breast/formula feed, poop, nappy changing and bath time. She also offers practical solutions on how to calm your baby during distress due to colic or sickness.
Less is More
This is something that resonates with the DIY and Free-Play parent in me. She covers what are the baby essentials (real basics) and debunks the commercialised must-haves for our modern-day mum.
‘Don’t waste money on toys’
If you need examples and ideas on what that means, here’s a series of posts on how my kids play with odds and ends with endless fun and creativity.
I recall devouring all kinds of books on pregnancy and parenting. Many were western writers and their style of parenting did not sit comfortably with me due to our different culture. I had to do a lot of processing on what it meant in our Singaporean context. Here, in her ‘Ditch the Birth Plan’ chapter, she detailed how to choose a hospital and hospital checking lists down to the T. For instance, bringing a hairband to secure your flowing hair in case you throw up! She also documented the uses of drugs during labour and their advantages.
Basically, it means get whatever help you can as much as you need to! We are not talking about helplessness of everything just because of your transition in life. We are talking about having appropriate and timely help to ease your transition so that you can recover well and slowly build up your resilience in the daily chores and parenting journey. She covers engaging of baby planner, confinement nanny to a DIY confinement. Lastly, she lays out the pros and cons of childcare alternatives of a childcare centre, babysitter/nanny and a live-in helper. These are perceptive recommendations and questions that will aid the young mother in her decision-making process! You can read here on how I made my decision in getting a domestic helper despite my initial resistance.
In conclusion, it is a privilege to review her book and gain insights into her wonderful years of parenting through this book! I am confident you will benefit richly from her local sharing. Do join our giveaway if you are expecting or have friends who are first time mums to be!
The Chill Mom has kindly sponsored this Giveaway to TWO Readers of GrowingHearts123!
Steps to join giveaway :
(This is only for Singapore residents)
- Follow GrowingHearts123 Instagram
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- Tag 2 or more friends (who are expecting) and comment on why you want this book on this instagram post.
- Giveaway ENDS 2359 on 20thJuly 2018
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