2011 in review

Instead of doing a new year’s resolution I thought of noting down my top five important discoveries in 2011 that I plan to bring forward in 2012:

  1. Junior Master Chefs. I’m simply blown away by the talent and skill of these “cheflings”. In December, I bought a copy of the first season of Junior MC Australia.  My kids and I immediately got down to have a see.  They got hooked too. Now they want me to teach them to become chefs hearing the children in the show say their mothers were their first teachers in cooking 101. Goodness, at least this year I learned to perfect cooking eggs.  I suppose I could start with egg dishes in 2012.
  2. Domestic chores, day in and day out, sun up to sun down, are quite bearable I found out. I haven’t gotten to pressing that Like button on domestic chores though but another year filled with these is fine with me. The trick for me is to treat chores as work as in office work that I’m to be evaluated at the end of.  I’ve begun to be quite efficient at chores actually. Previously, I’ve tried rationalizing chores as what one does out of love (for my kids?), but love as feeling is bound to get inconsistent.  It wouldn’t do if I don’t do the dishes just because I’m feeling low on love one day, would it?  So I thought for love to be consistent, I need to make it my choice every day and reporting to office work is a consistent choice which kind of translates to consistent love. Weird logic but it works for me.
  3. Urban management is the work of the future, which goes to say I made the right decision to take it as my masters programme enrolling for the course in June this year.  So if the world doesn’t end this year, which it’s always being predicted it would, I plan to be back for my second and last year in the programme.  It helps that my classmates are all passionate about caring for this City and the region and that we share a common understanding of issues in the region.
  4. Technology, particularly the iPod Touch serving as babysitter. When I need to finish up work for clients and my kids are fidgety or already bored with their toys and games and they can’t anymore stand stories I’ve told a gazillionth time, I guiltily offer them the gadget as last recourse. If technology must be used then it’s for a good purpose, right?  I load it up with fun stuff they like. They could go hours on those. I keep them nearby though where I can see them as they’d be so still and quiet playing I’ll worry they’re not around.
  5. A local community of single parents. Having spent most of 2011 facing the challenges of single parenthood alone, I thought why not organize a local support group? I remembered what my mentors said about learning to discern the meaning of events and messages happening my way. Well, I’ve a few down my way. First married women and single women in general don’t look kindly toward single or separated parents particularly single mothers (fathers/men on the other hand are let off the hook rather easily). The closest they’d feel to kindness is pity but to me pity is worse than being frankly unkind. Second, friends, some of them, agonize over whether they ought to side with you or your ex. Returning to the City, I’ve had to put up with friends and acquaintances innocently asking me about life.  I tell them the truth – my separation – if only so I can see their faces work itself into feigned surprise and concern.  Not telling the whole truth is the best thing sometimes because then it saves others from making up false reactions.  I could perhaps bear talks behind my back more.  So I reflected on these events and thought, it’s either I wallow in self pity and anger at friends who’ve abandoned me, or do the intelligent thing which is to say to hell with them. Third, I’ve been meeting of late long-lost friends and new acquaintances who are also single parents. We didn’t exchange much beyond hello, how are you? on first meetings but there’s genuine acceptance and gut level understanding of one another’s situation.  It’s a huge release to be in the company of such people.

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