By Esther Chieng, Christian Parent

The days are long but the years are short. Indeed the days have been long and routine with early morning wake-ups, quick prayers to God for strength for the day ahead, taking care of the toddler, chores, work, family and back to the early morning cycle. What a respite it was when Patrick, my husband, signed us up for the YAM retreat. With a bit of hesitation on whether I can manage the baby in an unfamiliar surrounding but also a sense of excitement for a break from our daily routine, we packed our 2 big luggage and off to Malaysia Bible Seminary we went.

What a blessing it was to have babysitters and other toddlers at YAM retreat to help keep our baby Owen busy. Hallelujah! We passed our little Owen to the babysitters along with his baby bag of emergency supplies and said our bye byes, and shot off to the parenting workshop with 5 other couples.

We were greatly blessed to attend the special parenting workshop on Finding Balance at the retreat. With 3 grown adult boys and a handful of grandchildren, Uncle Lee Soon, with his honesty and humour, was the perfect facilitator to run the show.

Hui Jun, Uncle Lee Soon’s assistant for the day, started off by giving all the parenting couples a series of balancing poses to follow. The room was hysterical as each couple struggled to keep their balance. Doing the yoga poses, Patrick and I even held hands and sometimes held each other and looked into each other’s eyes. So romantic. This is becoming a date too.

Next, Uncle Lee Soon took the floor and asked parents to write down what took up our time in the week. Across the room, this generally consisted of work, God, family time, me time, chores.

Juggling vs balancing. At last, Uncle Lee Soon gave us the keys to balancing life. This is by anchoring ourselves in God daily, reflecting on our priorities frequently, simplifying our lives ala Marie Kondo style immediately and continually, finding joy in everyday tasks and looking for support from our family, church and the Holy Spirit.

It’s important to schedule “couple time” as we sometimes get caught up in the daily grind that we neglect our spouse and their personal needs. It takes both parents to be flexible to support each other. Just like when we were “balancing” during the yoga session, we need to support each other to stay balanced and communication is the key to ensuring both parties understand each other’s situation well.

After the workshop, our happy toddler came back with reports of much fun splashing water and spending time outdoors. The babysitters made sure the kids drank water and ate their snacks. Bless their souls.

We left the retreat greatly rejuvenated and empowered to be better parents.

Get Involved

🧒 Looking for a community for your children to make friends and build relationships? Consider Grow Kids. Reach out to Pastor Priscilla Lim to find out more.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Are you a young parent looking for a community beyond work? Consider a Cell Group (CG). Reach out to Pastor Yu Yong to find out more.