Meeting Evelyn Tan-Rogers, 39, one gets the sense she isn’t your conventional work-at-home-parent – and she says so herself: “I suspect I was born with a rebellious streak, and having to play the straight-and-narrow mom isn't easy.” Nevertheless, she’s managed to successfully juggle motherhood with work so far: Besides being maverick mom to Layla, 10 and Zion, 5 she’s a freelance wordsmith and blogger to boot. Writing isn’t just a passion for Evelyn; it’s also been her profession for over a decade. Her blog, thebottomsupblog, was Best Family Blog finalist at the Singapore Blog Awards 2013, and she’s also a member of the Singapore Mom Bloggers network.
“I've always been able to plot my own path… and it's a gift I'd like to pass along to my kids.”
About me: Evelyn Tan-Rogers, 39, freelance writer and blogger at thebottomsupblog.com.
Married to: Alf, 42, teacher
Children: Layla (10), Zion (5)
Evelyn: "Do better tomorrow!"
Evelyn: My husband cooks almost every night and we sit down to have dinner together, so that's our daily family time. We make sure to thank him, and we use the hour to listen to one another's stories before the bedtime frenzy kicks in. We don't have a togetherness tradition apart from that, and we don't necessarily have the best time when we head out as a foursome. (We're often frazzled or impatient, and we have different interests.)
Instead, my husband and I tag-team to give each other time off. He takes the kids to church on Sundays, and I whisk them off to my parents' home after that—the kids look forward to the visit, I get to relax, and my husband has an afternoon to recharge, so everybody wins.
Evelyn: Striking a balance between my personal desires and my kids' needs; making sure I'm not swallowed whole in the process of parenting, or that my kids aren't emotionally short-changed as I search for greater meaning in midlife. I suspect I was born with a rebellious streak, and having to play the straight-and-narrow mom isn't easy.
Resisting the urge to yell, setting fewer limits, and letting my kids assume age-appropriate responsibilities without breathing down their necks—these are some of my other challenges, especially now that my daughter's on the verge of teenhood. And, as a work-at-home mom, I'm not as efficient, focused, or rested as I'd like to be. (I've blogged about this here: http://thebottomsupblog.com/work/)
Evelyn: On good days, both my kids are asleep by 9pm; getting them to sleep early helps me reclaim my time and personal space in our home. This year, I've had a steady flow of writing work, which means I haven't had the chance to bond with Netflix, but that's something I look forward to.
I'm also nursing a Spotify obsession! My late-night chats with my husband and Facebook conversations are meaningful to me, as are rare nights out with friends, mostly spent walking and talking. And there's blogging, although that's taken a backseat because work comes first.
Evelyn: I'm a long-time follower of the parenting blog MyCakies, starring the impossibly cute/cool Bratcher family, because they showed me years ago that a simple existence could be rich and fulfilling. After following their blog, I started to find reasons to celebrate ordinary life and infuse creativity into every occasion. I've met the Bratcher parents in person and they were delightful! The best bloggers change lives.
Evelyn: This is a Jeanette Winterson quote which, once upon a time, I coveted, for a tattoo: "It is not easy, this love, but only the impossible is worth the effort."
It was written in the context of romance, but I think it applies to children too.
Evelyn: We need to expand our horizons and travel is on the cards, beginning with a trip to New Zealand at year end to visit family. It's our first vacation as a family of four and budget permitting, we hope to travel yearly, together as well as individually.
Community work is something else we've been putting off; we'd like to go beyond donations and we're looking out for places where we can make a difference as a family.
Evelyn: I moved out of my parents' home at 21, married someone from a different race, and I'm a freelance writer. I'm not opposed to my kids doing any of these things! I've always been able to plot my own path—my parents gave me more freedom than most, and it's a gift I'd like to pass along to my kids. I would tell them as much.
Evelyn: I could have been more prudent about my finances. I wasn't a careful spender or saver in my 20s and early 30s, and although I've been a work-at-home mum for a decade, it was only last year that I laid down some financial goals, which I met.
Also, I could have talked with those ahead of me on the parenting journey to get a clearer picture of financial commitments down the road. That said, we lead a comfortable, if modest, life, and we have all that we need.
Evelyn: Trust your instincts. Remember who you were before you became a parent, and guard that self jealously. Don't burden yourself with guilt.
Reach out to other parents and be open to unlikely friendships. Simplify. Hug your spouse often.
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