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Tried-and-tested Mom Hacks!

Tried-and-tested Mom Hacks!

Mom Hacks — Tried-and-tested for tired-and-testy lives!

To care for another can be a whole life’s work.

Mothers are tasked with this mammoth responsibility, to bring up another while making sure that they too remain well-taken care of to provide the care their family needs. They, oftentimes alongside their partners, attend to the minutiae of everyday life. In the frenetic haze of everything that needs to be done in a day with only twenty-four hours, sometimes the “right” way to mother is the way that ensures everyone in their care (including themselves!) gets the wholesome sleep they need every night.

This Mother’s Day, and as a tribute to the multi-faceted and multi-gendered mothers in our lives, we catch up with some of our authors, Liyana Dhamirah, Vivian Teo, and Ning Cai, to share some wisdom they’ve garnered from their experiences of being mothers.

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In Liyana Dhamirah’s memoir, Homeless: The Untold Story of a Mother’s Struggle in Crazy Rich Singapore, which recounts a period of homelessness that she experienced after being left without a home while young and heavily pregnant, the roadblocks that she faced with our local social systems are a disappointing recurrence but what also becomes important are the formative friendships she makes with those she met in a beach in Sembawang—people aboard the same boat as her. Although not related by blood, these people unflinchingly offered her food in her time of need and supported her. In many ways, when we think about mothers or mother figures, there can be many of them in our lives beyond the circles of our immediate family.

As a mother in a family of 6, Liyana shares that it is crucial to be “clever with the meals they eat.”


Some days, I cook more portions of dinner so that leftovers can be kept in the fridge for next day's consumption. Especially when I'm packed in my work schedule with back-to-back meetings, I naturally don't feel like cooking and that is when we'll pull out the instant oats yums and here’s what you need to make them.
 


Sweet Oat Porridge
6 table spoons of instant oats
350ml hot water
2 table spoons of condensed milk
1 or 2 bananas
A handful of almonds

Savoury Oat Porridge
6 table spoons of instant oats
350ml hot water
Yesterday's Spicy Minced Chicken Stir-Fry 
A cup of Fresh Baby Spinach or Mixed Green Salad

Of course, solid time management is a skill that is perfected over time and gradually becomes ingrained in the daily routine of every mother, who moves from task to task, and keep multiple people and things running in their minds. In this running to-do list, how does a busy mother accommodate space for writing? Vivian Teo, the author of the well-loved My BFF Is an Alien series, shares that the writing happens in these “in-between” moments in her day. This fun series charts the adventures of Abriana and Octavia as they brave through the terrors and joys of girlhood alongside other otherworldly adversities. These unexpected troubles are a pain to deal with for sure, but Abriana and Octavia always emerge stronger—both in their friendship and their sense of selves.

Writing Abriana and Octavia’s adventures happens in the pockets of time that Vivian has alone. While her daughters are off at school, and in the few hours that they are away, she turns her attention to her two fictional daughters.

The only time I get to write is on weekday mornings after my two daughters have gone to school. When they’re back, it’s almost impossible to write as they’d be telling me about their day and asking me questions about their schoolwork, and I’d be busy with other mum duties like dinner prep. So, I really try to be productive with those few hours I have in the morning!


Vivian Teo's writing desk, with everything a writer needs (sans coffee) to conquer a deadline!

There are many similarities between writing a book and caring for another. The characters written to life are a composite of many decisions that the author makes or that the author allows the character to consider over the course of the story. Ning Cai, author of the best-selling Savant trilogy, finds decision-making a powerful and necessary engagement for parents to practice with their children. In the first book, Maxine Schooling awakes from a coma and discovers that her living kin has all been murdered. Alone in the world, reeling from loss and trauma, she must rely on her wit, courage, and found family to survive and gain some form of closure. Faced with such fraught circumstances, Maxine is resourceful and savvy, she does more than survive—she makes her own living. To do that, she has to learn how to best make and trust her own decisions. Ning’s parenting philosophy follows similarly, especially in acknowledging that agency is an important aspect to nurture in children.

Empowered Kids = Happy Parents

Children have two "buckets" you must constantly fill: attention and agency.
They need lots of love and your attention, as well as the feeling that they're empowered to accomplish tasks. So allow them to make their own decisions ("Do you prefer kailan or kale?") and there will be less tantrums!


Ning Cai's child, Skye, busy doing what we love best—reading!

We hope you celebrate the brilliant mothers in both books and real life. We are also very proud to have on our bookshelves and bookstore a diverse palette of reads authored by parents, mothers, women, people, and everyone affecting and strong that might find themselves in-between or outside of these categories.

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Have a read of Homeless, and the latest installation of My BFF Is an Alien: Invasion (Book 4), as well as Metamorphosis (Book Three of Savant Trilogy). Enter code "MOMS" for 20% off all Epigram titles from 1–3 May, online only. All Mother's Day orders should be picked up directly from our showroom so that they would reach you (and your mom) on time! For more information, visit our Instagram page.

Homeless: The Untold Story of a Mother’s Struggle in Crazy Rich Singapore My BFF Is an Alien: Invasion (Book 4) Metamorphosis (Book Three of The Savant Trilogy)

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