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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19,

 

You sure have taken us by surprise and thrown us out of our comfort zone in a short period of time. But this displacement has indeed called for us to reflect on many things, such as what’s truly important, the strengths/weakness we probably weren’t aware of, and how we have to move ahead and re-look at the way we do things, changing the business game and adapting to whatever life throws at us. 

 

They say “careful what you wish for, cos you just might get it”. Weeks prior to the circuit breaker, we had to let 2 helpers go due to personal reasons, leaving me to quickly take on the role of a stay-home working mom to take care of my 2 kids, both under 2. Ever since I’ve had kids, they’ve brought me so much joy, but reality kicked in – I had to quickly head back to work shortly after a month-long confinement and didn’t have as much time to be with them as I had wished. I wanted to be more involved and experience parenthood a little more. We’ve always been blessed with a village of family members willing to help and quick to rush to the kids at a snap, and domestic helpers to take care of their daily needs, while we as parents were left with the fun parts mostly. So I’d always wondered what it’d be like. It must have been God answering my prayers – our short-handed situation at home plus COVID-19/circuit breaker coming all at once made “my wish come true”. 

Almost every day I’m pushed to the brink of exhaustion, to settle the kids, get work done with whatever pockets of time I get, helping out with the household nitty-gritty, let alone try and find time to get that bit of exercise or personal space.

The past 2 months, I have a new-found respect for stay-home moms; I have bonded with my kids like never before, watched them grow at rapid speed, grown extra hands and legs and eyes at the back of my head when I’ve had to watch them and work at the same time, and above all, come to realise what it is that I truly want. As much as I love my kids, and how I am grateful for this time here that we are creating beautiful memories with them, I find that the drive and motivation I get from work, too, is an important part of me. It acts as a healthy buffer to our parent-child relationship, giving each some space for growth and sanity. 

 

Almost every day I’m pushed to the brink of exhaustion, to settle the kids, get work done with whatever pockets of time I get, helping out with the household nitty-gritty, let alone try and find time to get that bit of exercise or personal space. But knowing it’s temporal, and so in spite of the ups and downs, at the end of the day, I find comfort in Roy and my 2 kids. A smile, a hug, and Marc saying “mummy daddy” is my joy that makes it all better.

 

To sum it up, my reflection on this aspect is knowing that our little family of 4 is my priority, and because work holds importance to me as well, I will have 

to make extras effort to make both work. I’d have to rethink and reconfigure a new working/business model that’ll allow me to work more from home and to diversify so that we will not just survive but hopefully thrive once we get through these challenging times. 

 

In times like these, many of us are forced to step out of our comfort zones, which brings out the best or worst in us. One such person I’d like to extend my gratitude to is my husband. I really appreciate the time management skills Roy has and his willingness to help. This period of time, he has really stepped up as a husband, a father, a son-in-law, and as a business partner. It’s not easy trying to hold it altogether, but he’s not only managed to do so; he also kept his cool doing it and has been extremely tolerant towards flare-ups or stressors. He’s quick to swoop in and help out with the kids, be it feeding them, putting them to sleep, or disciplining our 2-year-old boy with love and assertiveness. Roy has not only helped me quickly diversify the business online, he also doubled up as camera crew whenever we did live streams or shoots for content creation. He’s shown me that tolerance goes a long way, and these are his strengths that surface even more so during this time when we are all confined together 24/7.

 

I also see my parents and friends opening their hearts to those who are less privileged and don’t get much help from the government or subsidiaries by cooking for them, sending a warm note, and doing what they can to go the extra mile, hopefully making this time an easier one. COVID-19 and this circuit breaker has touched me to have even more gratitude towards the wonderful people I have around me, and even our friends who may be distant, but close in spirit with their notes and food to let us know we’re in their thoughts and heart. It is indeed heart-warming.

 

Recently, I came across an article by a Grab delivery guy who used to be the co-owner of a media house, and his observations on the 2 sides he’s seen of Singapore in this circuit breaker period. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and this circuit breaker has also shed light on some of the uglier sides of a handful. Which teaches us that tolerance is a virtue, and being understanding can build bridges. Everyone has their own challenges and battles, and you wouldn’t know what another is going through, but it goes a long way to try think from another’s perspective and increase our level of tolerance as everyone is in this together. 

 

All in all, COVID-19 and circuit breaker, you have been a rocky road and it’ll be an uncertain one ahead. It’s a time for valuable lessons about life to be learnt, or get ready to be taught a lesson. I do hope and pray that we will soon overcome you, as there are also many who are suffering, be it from the illness or the economic/social repercussions we are facing. And hopefully we come together as mankind, and get through this together, and become a stronger and more compassionate human race.

Cheryl Wee

22 May 2020