Eczema Tips

National Eczema Association – Preschool for Eczema Child

Finding the right preschool for your eczema child can be a challenge – you wonder about whether the teachers have the time to ‘monitor’ and help to control your child’s scratching, and you worry about possible triggers at the preschool.

National Eczema Association – Eczema Warriors

For the past two blog posts, I have shared the articles that I wrote for National Eczema Association (US) about survival tips when caring for your eczema baby and another on getting through the darkest moments of parenting an eczema baby. These articles are part of the stories that were shared by eczema warriors from all over the world at NEA website.

Another article that I have shared on NEA is about finding the right preschool for your eczema child.

Mei MarcieMom EczemaBlues sharing on NEA on finding the right preschool for your eczema child
  1. Inform the school of your child’s eczema
  2. Visit the school before making a decision
  3. Ask about the class sizes—the smaller, the better
  4. Watch the teachers and students interact
  5. Ask about their experience with eczema kids
  6. Make sure the preschool is a NO BULLYING zone
  7. Volunteer to raise awareness around eczema
  8. Sign up for a trial run with the preschool

If your child has eczema, it is possible that they may be teased or feel embarrassed by the appearance of their skin. Preschools that take bullying seriously will be mindful about creating a respectful environment not just between the students and the teachers, but also among the children themselves.

I know that it is not easy to find a preschool that you can trust with your child. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith, but you can always exercise judgment and due diligence. Once you have committed to it, work with the preschool on the right environment instead of working against them through fault-finding. We know that it is not easy to care for a child with eczema, and it would be even harder for the preschool teachers who have many more children to take care.

If you are a parent of eczema child, please read the comments on our support group page where hundreds of parents have shared their greatest challenges and best parenting moments in caring for their child.

Eczema Tips

National Eczema Association – 8 Survival Tips for Caring for Baby

It is difficult to care for an eczema baby, therefore when National Eczema Association asked me to share my journey, I gladly shared my 8 survival tips below.

National Eczema Association – Eczema Warriors

As I shared in the previous post on my first article with National Eczema Association, the NEA is doing a great job
giving eczema warriors all over the world a sense of solidarity – through the stories we hear each other share, of our struggles, how we figure out parts of the puzzle to improve our quality of life and inspire us to hold on to the hope of a better day tomorrow.

My eczema survival tips shared on NEA
My eczema survival tips shared on NEA, experience gained from caring for my daughter
  1. Feed smart
  2. Secure the baby’s hands
  3. Do less washing and cooking
  4. It’s partly in the mind
  5. Sleep cool, literally
  6. Don’t be afraid to start over
  7. Look at quality of life, not quality of skin
  8. Put the ‘care’ into skincare

If you are a parent of eczema child, please read the comments on our support group page where hundreds of parents have shared their greatest challenges and best parenting moments in caring for their child.

Support Group

National Eczema Association – Raising Awareness and Providing Support

Eczema Warriors on National Eczema Association

For many of us, reading a story shared by a fellow eczema sufferer or parent can be just the thing we need to carry us through the day. Eczema can be an isolating experience, when others around you will not be able to identify with the constant itch, the effect on appearance and the anxiety and stress it places on your relationships or lifestyle. I shared my journey on National Eczema Association where they have done a great job giving eczema warriors all over the world a sense of solidarity. The first of my sharing “Getting through the Darkest Moments..” is published on NEA’s website, with the following tips to help us get through the emotional battle.

  • Mental resolve to never give up
  • Stand with your spouse
  • Quality of life, not of skin
Eczema Journeys on National Eczema Association website

Sleep was of course trying. We did our best to keep Marcie cool, moisturized and calm before bedtime. However, after barely two hours of sleep, she would wake up scratching and crying for help. We could empathize, after all, we were crying for help in our hearts.

I was often asked, “So how did you get through it?”

If you are a parent of eczema child, please read the comments on our support group page where hundreds of parents have shared their greatest challenges and best parenting moments in caring for their child.

Skin ish Mom Column

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Kindergartener

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

It’s feels like our children have already grown so much! Marcie is starting grade school next year and these two years, she seems to be ‘shooting up’ – we went for a week holiday recently and everyday I marveled at her looking so big girl. When did my child grow so much? Sometimes I can be so focused on work, on this blog(!), on chores, on getting everything done that I missed looking at her. Have you looked at your child recently? These two years when her eczema has very much improved, I finally dared to kiss her more on her cheeks. One friend from Germany who visited did ask exactly that as he kissed his son so much all the time and noticed that we didn’t really kiss Marcie so much.

These two years have been so much better – evidence of which are the Nespresso machine I bought and the capsules that I’ve consumed, and the book that I co-authored and published. I’m quite scared about what Marcie starting grade school – will she get bullied? will she get laughed at as she has so many bad habits – scratching, biting fingers and peeling her skin. We never have to cut her fingernails for years and most times, I don’t even dare to look at her fingers (a task for my husband!). 

We got off co-sleeping but she still needed to be watched to remind her not to scratch at night. Given that her skin is a little tougher than baby years, we sometimes let her scratch a while to see if she would fall back asleep. It’s still frustrating to remind her not to scratch and the habitual scratching had led to some thickened skin on her feet. There’s less need to take leave to care for her as her eczema is so much more manageable and my parents are able to care for her even on our weekend marriage (church) camp.

How is your family life? Do you have a second baby? We made the decision to have an only child, partly as we didn’t feel that physically, emotionally and financially we could give a second child the same level of care – maybe we are wrong, we don’t know but I like being an ‘only mom’. I pray that if your second child won’t have eczema – some parents in the support group remarked that the second child’s eczema is worse while others say it’s less severe. We never know.. but consider taking probiotics prenatal and also in the early years, and fish oil too. 

Time seems to pass us by – and I wonder if I ought to have spent more time with Marcie, looked more at her, kissed her more and less at the rashes and the chores, and even this blog (takes lots of my free time to sustain this blog but it’s like a treasure that I store in heaven). I wonder how you feel about your parenting and how your marriage is holding up after years of caring for an eczema child. Has it got stronger or has it gotten so strained that you hardly can talk heart to heart as a couple? As I type this, Marcie is beside me and my husband in front of me, having just enjoyed a dinner at my parents’ home. We are all doing our own thing (evidently, since I’m typing this), have our own hopes and fears. Disappointment and discouragement. Today is Sunday (this post is scheduled to be published on Friday) and today’s sermon in church ended with an analogy of us building bricks and bricks of discouragement and disappointment and not seeing Jesus beyond the wall. It’s true on a certain level but I believe that the Jesus who is God and came down to live with us and die for us won’t be held back by a brick wall. I pray that the Holy Spirit in me (in all Christians) will dwell in me and show my how to lead my life – to be the mother I’m to be.

parenting eczema kindergartener

Isaiah 57:15

“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Skin ish Mom Column

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Preschooler

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

I hope your family life has got easier as your child turned 2-3 years old – I remembered this was the time when we went to Singapore Botanical Gardens for the second time to watch a free outdoor concert. At the end of the concert we were thinking ‘Wow, did we just finish watching a concert without much scratching, had some fun on the grass and a decent picnic?’. This was especially poignant as two years ago we went for a similar event at the Botanical Gardens and had to run off the event, in anger and frustration, with our baby’s hands tied with the swaddle cloth due to the scratching and the blood.

Bedtime still comes with scratching for me, as I believe for many parents too. Idle hands, too dry air, or too warm, rising body temperature and for reasons no one knows, bedtime seems to be punctuated with scratching throughout the night. Having deal with eczema for 2+ years, most parents may have figured out a bedtime routine that seemed to be correlated with the least scratching. For us, it’s shower close to bedtime, air-conditioning, a little of bedtime reading and co-sleeping. I got so used to co-sleeping that I fall asleep pretty easily with an increasing weight on me. 

Daytime is much better now with so many activities to do. Be careful with playdough with sparkles or playing with bubbles, either make it quick and wash hands quickly after or wear gloves (we used the first method but parents have told me gloves worked). iPad sometimes save the day, but we try to limit that. Activities that are carried out in non-air conditioned room continue to be a problem, like gym in non-airconditioned area. Marcie scratched a little but I saw an older child with eczema who really couldn’t carry on with the class and just sat on the mat and scratched and scratched. Gym or teachers of classes are not equipped to manage eczema so don’t expect them to. We ended up choosing ballet as that is always air-conditioned and wearing light clothing!

I wonder how your child’s eczema is or whether other allergic conditions start to affect your child. I wonder if your child is attending a preschool that he/she is nicely settled in and the teachers have already known how to care for your child. Marcie enrolled in Columbia Academy and the teachers are very kind and understanding – reminding Marcie not to scratch and getting her to moisturize. As children these days seem to be so much more alert and active, I recommend choosing a preschool that has many activities rather than idle time – the activities (be it reading, writing, drawing, dance or music) really help to distract an eczema child from scratching. Also, I’m thankful that the teachers are strict and very mindful of teasing, calling names or bullying – which can happen to an eczema child.

Finding alternative caregiver is still difficult – my parents took care of Marcie after full day preschool but every time school’s off or Marcie is sick, we will still take leave. Most of our leave were spent caring for Marcie and a short holiday. Packing for holidays is almost like moving the whole house as I always pack for 2-3 change of clothes within a day! We were very thankful that we had very enjoyable family time during this period and pray that your family gets many lovely moments together, despite the eczema.

Parenting Eczema Preschooler

Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him”

Skin ish Mom Column

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Toddler

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Congrats on your baby taking the first toddler step and it’s a joy, eczema or not! Being able to hold on to something and move about can be a great distraction from scratching. I remembered life got better for us when Marcie could explore her world more independently – there’re so many more activities she can do and many of them distracted her from scratching. By one year old, I seemed to have perfected parenting by distraction – it even distracted all the tantrums from the supposed ‘terrible two’ year! (Serious – there was no ‘terrible two’ for us at all, we really distracted every tantrum as that usually comes after the scratching, and we were so efficient at distracting Marcie from the first instance she scratched). Books, toys, teething rings, coloring, fresh change of clothes were things we lug around everywhere. We figured a little of backache would be much better than dealing with the damage from scratching (and ‘spoiling’ the day).

Marcie turning one year old was also the time when I rejoined the work force and enrolled her in an infant care. Many parents ask me if there is a preschool I would recommend and how receptive schools are to caring for eczema children. Well, I would say instead of the school brand, you really need to be comfortable with the caregivers and the teachers. Marcie was enrolled in PCF infant care and one of the caregiver was a Christian lady who really loved Marcie. I remembered her calling me almost breaking down into tears as she reported that Marcie had been ‘tensing up’ for close to two hours (Marcie had a habit then of tensing up in a plank position, something she came up with on her own which we guessed was to stop herself from scratching – she had solid stomach muscles, no kidding). They took very good care of her, moisturizing her diligently and feeding her with the food that we prepared and also gradually introducing her to new foods.

But I know for many parents out there, the toddler years can continue to be difficult – some had to deal with terrible two and also the scratching that got even worse. If you haven’t found a doctor that you can trust or treatment hasn’t worked out, this may be a time of despair as you start wondering if the eczema will ever be outgrown and whether it can learn to other allergic conditions. Some of you would have to deal with preschools that don’t understand eczema or if your child has food allergies, preschools that don’t accept them. I remembered reading a research paper that said the best time to enroll in a preschool is from 9 to 15 months where the child is able to adapt to the increased bacteria and germs better than when younger or when older. Research is one thing though, finding a preschool that you are comfortable with may be another matter.

I pray that wherever you are, there will be caring teachers and caregivers who can take over part of the day/ full day care for your eczema toddler. I pray that you have understanding colleagues and bosses who accommodate if you have to take leave to care for your eczema child. I pray that your child will not fall sick too often and when he/she does, the scratching won’t be intensive (fever tends to trigger eczema flare-ups). I pray for joy and peace to be in your home. I would love to pray specifically for you, leave me a comment on your prayer requests.

Parenting Eczema Toddler

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

Skin ish Mom Column

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Baby (6-12 months)

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Hopefully the past half year hasn’t been so rough and you’ve ‘enjoyed’ baby milestones like the baby sitting up, crawling and soon, learning to swallow! Thinking back of parenting Marcie from 6-12 months old, I recalled that starting solids was a time that drove me paranoid. Some of you who have been following my blog know that I’m supportive of allergy test as I believe that it can really help to pinpoint what to avoid. More importantly, what we DON’T HAVE TO AVOID. Without allergy testing, I even thought at one point that Marcie was allergic to the high chair as that was made of latex! Especially at a time of starting solids, it can be very frustrating to write in a food journal and try to observe when the rashes appear when there is no discernible pattern. 

It was when Marcie was 7 months old that we brought her to the skin prick test – it’s not scary at all! For Marcie, likely the itch was normally so bad that the prick didn’t seem to bother her. She merely winced when her skin was pricked but otherwise, was not distressed by the test. It turned out that she was not allergic and it gave us a peace of mind as to what she can eat – finally, we can feed her without trying to link the foods she’s taking to the rashes. Moving to solids then became easier than feeding milk – something we struggled so much with in the first six months due to reflux. 

This period I felt was a tough time as the baby really starts to have strength to scratch and can be quite hard to put back to sleep at night. Half a year of sleepless nights can also ‘break’ someone and the thought that it’s never getting better but worse is terrifying and trying. It is also the time when the mom gets back to work from her maternity leave and not finding someone to take care of an eczema baby can make getting back to work difficult. 

I’m glad that I stayed at home for my baby’s first year. I could take care of her the way I like – feeding (she’s a good eater now, used to foods of many textures and fruits and vegetables, i.e. not the traditional asian porridge with fish diet), co-sleeping and caring for her skin. The baby’s skin has not yet matured and research has pointed to that a defective skin barrier can sensitize a baby to allergens where contact to allergens via skin lead to food allergy. Although it was difficult, I felt that being one on one with my baby helped with her skin and her development. There were fun moments when we learnt sign language to distract her from scratching and sing songs together. Even with eczema, I felt that I had a pleasant time with her especially when it’s leisure time when I don’t have to feed, cook or do chores.

At about 7+ months old when Marcie started on her one-time oral steroid course (prednisolone), I really cried anguish tears. Her eczema improved during the first few days of the reducing dosage course but came back after a week into the course when the dosage was reduced. I was so scared and wanted to stop the course but continued. I’m grateful that her eczema was under control after the two weeks’ course when towards the end of the course, the eczema improved again and was limited to certain areas. It was a scary time especially when you know the same medicine at higher dosage is for treating cancer and the wrong dosage can have serious side effects. To this day, I know that it is a blessing that Marcie recovered after the course as many other children whose eczema worsened – we don’t know how the body will react after the course and knowing that we’ve been blessed keeps my work for this blog going.

If you are seeing a doctor, make sure that you see one who you can trust. Eczema is a chronic condition and seeing a doctor who you don’t trust and don’t have time to answer your questions or dismiss your worries can be the catalyst for much negativity – blame between the parents, fear motivating you to try an alternative treatment and distrust of doctors. 

Parenting Eczema Baby

Psalm 9:9-10

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you

Skin ish Mom Column

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Newborn

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Big hugs to you for your newborn and I know if your baby has developed eczema in the first month, you’d have barely recovered and adjusted to your new mom role. Being a new mom is difficult – our own body recovering (I had some problems recovering as my baby was above 90% in birthweight), adjusting to feeding baby every few hours and heck, even figuring out how to breastfeed (not all things come natural to all moms!). Before we even figured out and settled into a routine, we realized that our baby Marcie is definitely not sleeping like a baby. For some of us, our baby is also not feeding well (reflux seems to occur more often in eczema babies). We also found out that the rashes on our baby is not baby acne, heat rash but rash that itches so much that our baby doesn’t sleep nor rest well.

I shared about a particular incident when Marcie (two months old) was sitting quietly in her netted chair (over metal frame) while I was cooking. I was thinking it was an amazing evening that she didn’t need attention every 2-3 minutes and I could at least get some cooking done without the stress. When I looked at her after the cooking, I saw that she had blood all over her neck and the reason for her ‘peace’ was that she had the metal frame to rub against her neck (to ease the itch). Another incident was when I dozed off for five minutes when Marcie was napping and I opened my eyes to the sound of scratching to see that her hands have escaped from the swaddling and scratching till blood dripped from behind her ears to her face. I did feel guilty but I also know it’s impossible to not cook, not feed my baby, not pee, not brush my teeth and I’ve really done what I could do.

It was especially tough starting from about four months old, where Marcie was too big to be swaddled and it was getting so difficult to stop her from scratching. Sometimes her swaddle had to be modified to around her hands and it did look like we’re tying her up. Usually it’s only for no more than five minutes so that I can rush off to prepare milk or go to the loo. I remembered the part-time cleaner for our home seeing that Marcie was being restrained and looked horrified. No mom would want to do that but it’s impossible to be holding her hands every minute – most times, she’s already being carried or in a sling or within close reach to keep her from scratching. 

Night time was tough – we co-slept so that we can hold her hands when she’s scratching. When even that become impossible, we’d all wake up, moisturize and freshen up, re-start the bedtime routine for another 2-3 hours of sleep. Life sometimes seem to be on hold when caring for an eczema baby, yet it doesn’t – there are still chores to be done, day job to go to and the stress can really get to first-time parents who already struggle with coping with parenthood. 

Be united with your spouse, seek help and don’t blame each other. Many family members or friends won’t understand what you’re going through and some would have more than a few words of ‘wisdom’ (even when they are not familiar with what eczema is). Shut off those noise, concentrate on your family – that’s what got me through and faith. Having a bible study group to provide support and having a God I can turn to (even if it is just to vent and to cry out) helps. The first few months of caring for a newborn is never easy and if you’re a first-time parent, you’d be learning loads and figuring how to care for your newborn (differently!) from month to month. Caring for a newborn with eczema is so much more difficult, don’t give up hope and let negativity takes over your heart and your family. 

Parenting Eczema Newborn
Encourage the faint hearted

1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all

MarcieMom’s note:

I’ve been working on this blog for five years, and what keeps me going is that Marcie’s eczema has a purpose and her recovering (now localized eczema with occasional flare-ups) is a blessing and that I can help share this blessing by keeping this blog going – encouraging parents all over the world who are at lost and feel alone in caring for their eczema baby.

Skin ish Mom Column

Why do Chores Divide? #SkinishMom Stumped

Last week, I’ve answered the question on Working Mom – Helping or Harming my Child by Working and while research seemed to give the thumbs up for working mom in terms of parenting, there’s still a lot of Ds over Chores.

Divide – How do you divide chores equitably between both parents?

Divided – Why is chores always a matter of stress and contention in dual-income families? (and a topic that keeps on coming up when mothers get together)

Dread – Ever heard of someone getting excited over chores?

Delegate – How do you delegate chores to kids?

Damn it, just get it over with! (week after week after week… is there chores in heaven?)

Chores is also something most commonly nagged about and I’ve got comments in my Am I Really Nagging? post whether I’m helping men to find excuse not to do chores,  because I’ve said

#1 First ask yourself – Do you really want him to do it or is it easier if you just do it? Put aside equality of sexes and fairness, and consider seriously. If you can answer no and yes, just do it yourself. And read on.

I admit that I’m stumped when it comes to chores. I used to do chores grudgingly, resentfully because I think my spouse has to do the same thing that I do. But it gradually evolved to an appreciation that he does chores that I don’t do and there’s no need to calculate chores. Now, I’m at the stage of ‘Leave me alone to do my chores’ and ‘Can you do this other chore, please?’. It has been working peacefully for the past 2 years.

YET sometimes chores is a real chore. AND many working moms continue to do more chores. Let’s look at some of the studies:

OECD study showed that women spend more time on chores, read this Time article ‘ Closing the Chore Gap

Report that showed women spending 17.8 hours per week on chores and men spending 9.8 hours (for couples with kids below 18)

Interesting infographics on Cozi that showed women tended to perceive doing more chores

In Chore Wars: Working Mother Report – working moms still do more chores but millennial dads are doing more housework than their babyboomer dads

So chores are indeed tricky:

1st, it’s a dread

2nd, what chores need to be done is often perceived very differently by every family member

3rd, how much chores had actually been done by who is also perceived very differently

4th, is it right to ask another family member to do what you want done but not agreed by all needs to be done?

I’m stumped when it comes to chores. Every working mom would have found a way of dealing with it. I think that whatever don’t get you cursing under your breath, shouting at the top of your lungs, bottled with negativity is the right way – you don’t need to hear how other working moms manage chores (or their men!). One solution is being creative to keep chores to a minimal – a smaller house, outsourcing, rotating the chore duties and not being hung up on dirt. Some cartoons for you!

Removing House Dust Mite even when there's no sensitization improves eczema
This is a sure sign you’re doing too much cleaning!

Mom NeedyZz cartoon on Fair Parental Baby Care EczemaBlues
Dividing chores start from birth!

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Am I Helping or Harming my Child by Working?

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

Sometimes I feel that I spend too little time at home – I reach home at 9pm, my kid goes to bed at 11pm (sic, I know it’s late but I reach home at 9pm). That’s only 2 hours, of which I spend 30 mins to cook, 30 mins for must-do chores and 45 mins for dinner. (Anyone doing the math?). 

So uhmm.. very strictly, quality time speaking, I only have bedtime routine from 11 pm to the time my kid falls asleep (which is 11.45pm to midnight, I know (double) sic). Bottomline – I’m a working mom who is not so much feeling guilty but worried if earning that 2nd income harm my kid.

Worried Working Mom

Totally understand! Your question applies so much to me, it’s spooky! Ok, we all love to be validated by hard evidence and there are quite a few studies that suggest, point toward, conclude that working moms are not harming, but helping our children. Studies have reported:

  • Review article found that children whose mothers worked before age 3 didn’t have worse academic or behavior problems later in life than those with stay-at-home moms.
  • Based on meta-analysis study, toddlers with working moms grew up to have fewer depression and anxiety issues and got better grades.
  • Open-ended questionnaires study did not find that children wanted more time with their parents or thought that their parents were inadequate in their parenting.
  • On the other hand, having resources (including money) and offering stability seem to correlate positively with a child’s academics. Childcare quality is critical to a child’s development, especially since working mom’s kid will spend longer hours at childcare. Quality childcare is associated with better academics and higher likelihood of college graduation.
  • Based on review of surveys, there were observations that daughters of working moms had higher incomes (supervisory roles) while sons were more likely to spend more time at housework and childcare.

Sounds good right? I’m a working mom and when I first read the headlines, I was saying ‘Yes!’. But (there’s always a BUT) deep down, I know I don’t need studies on other families to tell me if I’m doing the right thing. You also don’t need me to tell you if you’re doing the right thing. Well, since you wrote in, you’d probably like some advice.. so here’s my Working Mom – Work or Stay at Home? thought process!

#SkinishMom thinks Work or Stay at Home? for Working Mom
#SkinishMom thinks Work or Stay at Home?

That’s what I believe – I don’t think it’s so much of an issue whether you’re a working mom or stay at home mom. I think (I can be wrong though!) that it’s THE ISSUE that got to be sorted out. So what’s the issue? Hmmm.. maybe

  1. You are impatient or get upset easily with your kids from work stress?
  2. You are not happy at work?
  3. You want to pursue an interest, a cause but that can’t be achieved while you’re holding a 9 to 5 job?
  4. You don’t parent when you should be parenting? (I’m all for chilling at parenting, but sometimes it needs warming up.)
  5. You find cracks in your marriage from how little time you spent with your spouse (and not with your kid)?
  6. You find yourselves hiding behind the excuse of ‘busy work’ to not do what you know it’s right?

If you often think about whether you ought to be a working mom, you ought to think why you’re thinking about it. And of all the studies in the world on what’s good for our child, no study can tell you what’s right for you. Only you know what’s right and being happy is a clue if something’s right.

Signing off with xoxo, #SkinishMom

Support Group

Ask #SkinishMom – Day in life of MarcieMom

Daily Skincare for Eczema Children

MarcieMom was interviewed on her daily life with Marcie here (for a fellow mom’s business whose daughter Patricia also had eczema). Thought it’d be good to share with everyone her routine and the ‘quirks’ of taking care of an eczema child.


I wake up around 7am and get Marcie ready for the school bus. Our mornings in the week always involve applying lots of moisturiser and sometimes it can be a struggle but the afternoon on weekdays are my breather because I work while Marcie is in preschool.

A good moisturizer is one the eczema child uses!
A good moisturizer is one the child uses!


At the weekend, our afternoons are for finishing up homework and then going for a quick shower to freshen up and clean off sweat residue to help Marcie cool down in the hot Singapore weather, followed by moisturising with an intensive cream. We always use a thicker cream in the afternoon as the next time we moisturise Marcie will be bedtime, which can be quite a few hours away!


When it comes to the weekend evening, we take her swimming to kill the staph bacteria. When her eczema is itchy we use lots of different techniques to distract and keep her happy which I wrote about in this post. My favourite is always letting her play with ice. This is because it’s free of charge – and easy to wipe up! Now that Marcie is older, she doesn’t play with ice as much but we always order ice water for her still.

I hope that's not why my eczema toddler is happy in the pool!
I hope that’s not why my eczema toddler is happy in the pool!

One advice

My advice to other parents who have a child who suffers with Eczema, is to stick with your spouse as both of you will be pillars of support for each other and to have faith. Also, take time to relax and never blame yourself.

What is your day like? Share in the comments!

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Is Eczema Driving My Child Nuts?

Psychological Impact of Childhood Eczema

Yes, some studies indicate evidence of behavioural disturbances for children with severe eczema from a young age (childhood anxiety, withdrawal, depression). Parents of eczema kids would know there’s likely psychological impact without reading research. Why?

  1. No Sleep, Brain can’t function – cranky.
  2. So much stress as an infant, something may just go wrong as the brain is wiring itself loads at that time. (If you’re a parent of a very young baby with eczema, you can visibly see the discomfort and agony caused by the itchy rash. Plain torture.)
  3. Being looked at with curious eyes. Being avoided. Being bullied.
  4. Whole family is stressed and short-fused. No one dare say living in such environment is conducive for health.

School bullies Eczema

So how to reduce the chance of your kid going nuts?

The model answer is:

  1. Control the eczema, seek treatment.
  2. Recognize signs of depression.
  3. Seek a support group.
  4. Try relaxation techniques.
  5. Educate and raise awareness in your child’s school.

#SkinishMom answer is:

  1. Sleep whenever you can.
  2. Love yourself, love your spouse, love your child. The whole family united can take on challenges.
  3. Chill
  4. Indulge
  5. Positive mindset.

What’s your survival techniques?


Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Are Color Pencils ever Enough?

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

To #SkinishMom

Hey, this may seem like a minor, petty issue but color pencils, markers, crayons, poster colors are overflowing my kid’s play boxes and spilling to dining table tops. But I can’t stop buying them

  1. 1.    They look so darn nice.
  2. 2.    They are sometimes on sale.
  3. 3.    Every new box of coloring keeps my kid occupied longer than an old box, which is VERY GOOD as it keeps the eczema scratching off!

But it’s increasingly becoming a point of contention – are we being materialistic? Is this encouraging hoarding? Is it wasteful? Is this not teaching my kid a sense of responsibility and inculcating frivolous-ism?

What do you think? Give me an honest answer.

Anonymous Mom

Parenting Coloring Kids

Wow, it’s like you read my mind. Have you been spying my daughter’s play boxes? I’ve 3 full boxes of coloring + stamping stuff. Honestly, yes, it’s wrong. No question.

Even more honestly, if you HAVE TO BUY them, buy them. In my usual investigative style, here’s the pros and cons to buying (and keep buying) that color pencil.

1.    It makes you, as a mom who likes colors and doodling, happy.

2.    It makes your kid happy.

3.    It makes you feel like a good mom.

4.    It keeps the eczema scratching off double the time with a new set of coloring.

5.    It makes you be able to enjoy a restaurant meal with your spouse.

6.    It is useful and spikes creativity.

The cons:

1.    It is technically not a good use of money (to spend on stuff you already have loads of).

2.    It makes your kid think he/she only uses new stuff.

3.    It may make your spouse upset if both don’t see the pros.

4.    It clutters your home and creates work when you clean up.

5.    The coloring markers may dry up if not used, rendering something useful, useless.

So – 6 pros, 5 cons, go for it.

Checking out the latest cool stationery this weekend,


Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Where is God in a Parent’s Darkest Hour?

God in Parents Darkest HourThat’s difficult. Hypocritical to answer if I have not been through the darkest hour. So, I asked MarcieMom:

MarcieMom: There was one night I remembered – one night after many months of waking up in the middle of the night for 2-4 hours to wipe my baby’s skin with chlorhexidine, moisturize again, change new PJs, feed a snack and prep for bedtime all over again. On this one night, the day had been very bad. I had to hold my baby’s hands almost throughout the day, the stress of not taking a second off and feeling alone.

Feeling that God had turned his back on my baby.

Wondering why God had intended for my baby to suffer.

There was no answer.

Yet, in some way, God answered. Within about 2 months, Marcie was tested not allergic to anything and responded well to treatment.

Within 6 months, I started EczemaBlues to help other parents.

Where is God in my darkest hour? He was with me – I did not feel it then but my spouse stood by me and we pulled through.

Bible verses for you to hang onto during dark times:

John 14:1 – Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #Skinish Mom – Cut Some Slack in Parenting

Have a skin, eczema or parenting question? Ask #SkinishMom
Have a parenting question? Write in via comments and your question will get a reply (on or off the column).

To the #Skinish Mom:

I read last week that we’re right to think that raising eczema kids is tough. But what about parenting them? Seriously, the amount of advice on ‘naughty corner’, helicopter parenting, attachment parenting, spanking, tiger mom is driving me nuts. Can I just forget the whole parenting thing since the skin thing is already such a headache?

Mom Easy

The short answer – Yes. You have a right to choose whatever you think best for your child, family and home.

I believe in not parenting too (Shh…) but it’s a taboo to say that out loud.

Parenting Eczema Child

I imagine if you outright say ‘I Won’t Parent’, responses will be

‘What! You don’t parent! You have a responsibility, you know!’

‘How could you not be bothered with disciplining your kid? They need it to thrive, flourish, grow to their best potential.’

I bet you won’t find one that says ‘You bet. They grow up anyhow. Who picks nose and eat it as an adult?’

Here are my Top 5 reasons to justify not parenting:

#1 – You will turn into a screaming monster if you try to parent.

#2 – You will allow blame, resentment to fester and overwork your in-built calculator on how to divide parenting work between your spouse and you.

#3 – You will spend endless hours deciding on your parenting style and boundaries with your spouse at the risk of a marriage break-up.

#4 – You believe your kid will grow up good and mother’s intuition is never wrong.

#5 – You can’t bring yourself to do it.

The long answer? You can find it under Parenting with advice from Dr Peter Sears, Dr Bill Sears, OzSuperNanny, Heidi Murkoff, Dr Thomas Armstrong, Bruce Sallan, Dr Rosina McAlpine and Sue Atkins.

If it’s all too much to read up on parenting, here’s an interesting article on Professor’s Scott Napper’s view on how being a booger eater will boost your immunity, so you’re covered even if you can’t parent your kid out of eating boogers.

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #Skinish Mom – Is it Wrong to Think I have it Tough?

Have a skin, eczema or parenting question? Ask #SkinishMom
Want to vent on raising an eczema child? Reply to this post a comment to ask your question! Chat with #SkinishMom on twitter or G+!

To the #Skinish Mom:

I feel that it is so tough raising a baby with eczema – the scratching, the sleepless nights… Some days I added comments like ‘I’m not having another child cos raising one with skin problem is so tough’ or ‘Do you know how difficult it is?’ but most of the time, I feel that I get back response like ‘They all grow up’ (from my in-laws) or ‘Yeah, I’m tired too’ (from my husband). I’m starting to wonder if I’m wrong to think I have it tough? Why doesn’t ANYBODY think so?

Exasperated Mom

First off, hugs and I know it is tough. Period.

Parent of eczema child stressed

How can it not be? There’s a post on this blog way back in 2011 ‘10 Reasons why Parents with Eczema Child have a Tougher Time‘. Moreover, it’s been CONCLUDED in studies that the stress levels in mothers caring for young children with eczema are equivalent to those mothers of children with severe disabilities. So there you have it, it’s scientifically proven.

Now, back to your question on Why Doesn’t Anybody Think So?

My guess is:

1. Your other half knows but it’s not humanly possible for him to respond lovingly for 15 minutes every time you bring this up, especially if you’re bringing it up 3-5 times a day.

2. Your in-laws know nothing if they are not staying with you and part of the ‘village’ that’s raising your kid. So, best advice, ignore.

3. Nobody is thinking about anything. Therefore, they can’t respond thoughtfully.

4. Nobody is able to wrap their brains around what you’re telling them. Therefore, they can’t respond in the manner you hope they would respond. Particularly true if you’ve gone into so much detail about parenting eczema kids that are confounding and a mystery except to those of us with eczema kids AND you’re telling them so many things but hoping all the time they answer with a simple ‘You have it tough, poor thing’.

Best bet? Tell yourself you have it tough and you deserve to chill. Right now.

Doctor Q&A

Rise and Shine Expo – Dr Peter Sears on Raising Smart, Well-Behaved Child – Parenting Balance

Parenting Rise and Shine Dr Sears
Raising well behaved and smart kids with Dr Peter Sears

This is a 2-part series on a workshop that I’ve attended at Singapore Rise and Shine Expo, by Dr Peter Sears, ‘Raising smart and ALSO well-behaved child – Is it true that we shouldn’t spare the rod and spoil the child?’ Last week was on parenting styles, and Dr. Peter Sears is board-certified by The American Academy of Family Practitioners.

Balance in Parenting

Dr Peter Sears shared that balance is a key aspect in parenting and a few areas which tend to be off-balance are:

Father/Child relationship – For some families, the father may not be as involved as the mother, particularly in the early years. Dr Sears encouraged dad’s early involvement, instead of waiting till the child is preschooler age. This is especially so as trust between parent and child is built from young.

Mom Helicopter Parenting – This refers to the mother monitoring the relationship and ‘hovering’ the interaction between the father and child. Doing so risk the child growing up thinking that dad is ‘secondary’ to mom and mom is the real authority figure in the family.

Mother Burnout – Many scenarios exist that increase the likelihood of mother burnout and the two common ones are dads’ inadequate involvement and moms controlling every situation (even when the dad wants to be involved!). If there is conflict in parenting styles between mom and dad, Dr Peter Sears cautioned that disagreement should not be in front of the child as that would confuse the child.

Couple disagreement should not be in front of the child as that would confuse the child

Emotional Balance – As a baby can pick up facial cues and mirror feelings, parents should adopt a calm and firm presence/face when disciplining. The baby’s brain has ‘mirror neurons’ and thus anxiety can be picked up.

Conveying Limits – Parents often say ‘No’ or ‘Stop’ to the child, but negative language does not help the child to focus on what should be done (instead, what should not be done). Dr Peter Sears shared a parenting moment from his dad (Dr Bill Sears) who instead of saying ‘No’ to his daughter for speaking rudely to his wife, told her that ‘I will not tolerate such behavior to the woman who I love’. This enables the child to connect the impact of her action. In general, instead of saying no, direct the child on what should be done.

I will not tolerate such behavior to the woman who I love

Dr Bill Sears

The Science of Attachment Parenting

Dr Sears believed in attachment parenting, where its 7Bs also include balance. The science behind attachment parenting is that being close and responsive to the baby benefits both mother and child.

(i)            Mother’s Brain

The mother’s brain changes to cater to nurturing babies, and attachment parenting and breastfeeding help boost hormones that facilitate caregiving – amygdala, cingulate, prolactin and oxytocin. Mothers who practice attachment parenting are better to trusting themselves on the needs of the child.

(ii)           Child’s Brain

Attachment parented infants have higher growth hormones and brain enzymes, and more likely for the neurons to make the right brain connections. The child grows up with an inner control mechanism, knowing what should be done and able to think through consequences. Conversely, for a baby who is left to cry it out, their cortisol is off balance (too high and too low) with prolonged high stress hormones that slow growth and depress immunity.

On the other hand, detached parenting set up ‘undiscipline’, leading to a fearful, fussy and clingy baby who may be shy or exhibit stranger anxiety. Other characteristics of a child with detached parents are not able to share or play with peers, blank unhappy stares and possibly become a bully due to lacking an inner control mechanism.

Dr Sears also shared briefly on the importance of nutrition, more from last year Dr Bill Sears’ talk here.

MarcieMom’s questions to Dr Sears

On Diet – What foods would you recommend for a baby with eczema, and would it be different for a toddler or a preteen?

Dr Peter Sears: Eczema often has an association with underlying food or environmental allergies. For children with moderate to severe eczema, we usually recommend having allergy testing done by a licensed allergist (if this is financially feasible). Identifying underlying allergies can help control eczema.

In addition, I often recommend that my patients with eczema take a daily Omega-3 DHA/EPA fish oil supplement as well as daily Probiotic supplement. Omega-3 fish oil has been shown to be beneficial for skin health and various types of eczema/ dermatitis due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Probiotics have been suggested to be beneficial as well.

On Colic – Is reflux something more commonly seen in children with eczema? If so, why? What formula would you recommend for eczema babies?

Dr Peter Sears: There has been an association between eczema and acid reflux. Theories on this suggest that this may be related to milk or dairy sensitivity or dairy allergy. Children with milk sensitivity/allergy may be more likely to exhibit symptoms of acid reflux and skin manifestations of eczema.

Parents should always consult with their doctor before switching formulas. Of course, we always recommend breastfeeding whenever possible. Hypoallergenic formulas may be beneficial for infants with dairy sensitivity and/or eczema.

On Parenting – Eczema families are more stressed, more chores to do (if there’s house dust mite allergy) and may even be more stretched financially as emollients, doctor consultations or having to have one parent stay home results in a loss of income. What do parents have to watch out for in their parenting to ensure that eczema doesn’t come in the way of them raising a happy and successful child?

Dr Peter Sears: This is a difficult question because every household and family dynamic will be different. To generalize, we would say that it is very important that there is a strong family support system and that both mother and father (as well as other capable family members) be as involved as possible in day to day care of this condition. This goes back to my talk about balance in the home with childcare.

Thank you to Dr Peter Sears for going through what he had shared in the Rise and Shine Expo workshop and also giving useful tips for eczema families. For those unsure about parenting styles, check out last week Dr Sears’ talk here.

Doctor Q&A

Rise and Shine Expo – Dr Peter Sears on Raising Smart, Well-Behaved Child – Parenting Style

Rise and Shine Dr Sears Raising Smart and Well Behaved Child - parenting style
Raising well behaved and smart kids with Dr Peter Sears

This is a 2-part series on a workshop that I’ve attended at Singapore Rise and Shine Expo, by Dr Peter Sears, ‘Raising smart and ALSO well-behaved child – Is it true that we shouldn’t spare the rod and spoil the child?’ Last year, I attended his father, Dr Bill Sears, at the same expo on raising healthy child and attachment parenting.

Dr. Peter Sears is board-certified by The American Academy of Family Practitioners. His primary passion in medicine is to promote well-being and health through the practice of preventive medicine at all ages along with using traditional and complementary treatments for curing of disease. More on Dr Peter Sears

Which Parenting Style Works Best?

Dr Peter Sears started the talk reminding parents that no one technique will work for every child, but instead he believes that forming a trusting bond with the child is the foundation for parenting. Dr Sears (family) believe in attachment parenting, which is being responsive and close to the baby especially in the first six months of birth. It is the natural way to parent because it is nurturing the baby according to the mother’s instinct.

More on attachment parenting, the 7 Bs in Dr Bill Sears’ talk
  • Birth bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby wearing
  • Bed Sharing
  • Believe Baby’s Cries
  • Beware of Baby Trainers
  • Balance

With attachment parenting as the foundation to build trust between parent and child, Dr Sears observed in their family practice that it will lead to the following desirable C Outcomes in kids:

  • Caring kids
  • Compassionate
  • Communicative
  • Connected
  • Comfortable with intimacy
  • Confident kids
  • Confident parents

Dr Sears’ Pros and Cons in Parenting Styles

Authoritarian Style – This parenting style tends towards a command and control approach with a focus on wrong-doing and punishment. Spanking is often part of this parenting style. The positives of this style is that it is very clear to the child that the parent is in-charge and the child needs to obey. The parent being in-charge is important as a growing child needs guidance, direction and security.

The negative of this style is the potential pitfall of taking love from the parent-child relationship and inadequate positive reinforcements for the child. There is also a danger of the child engaging in the desired behavior out of fear, instead of out of respect. Moreover, the desired behavior does not come from self (child) who is able to think through the consequences and exercise inner control.

Permissive Style – This parenting style is characterized with warmth and affection, but with few or unclear limits. While it is good that there is much positive reinforcement given to the child, the negative is that the child takes control.

Authoritative Style – A more balanced parenting approach is to combine the positives of the above two styles, which gives the child love and warmth with structure. While this parenting style allows the child to thrive the best, it also requires more dedication, responsibility and creativity from parents. (It takes MORE work!) An authoritative parenting style fosters competence and mature moral judgment in the child, lowering the risk for problem behavior.

Is Spanking OK?

Dr Peter Sears explained that cultural and society settings affect whether spanking is involved in parenting. For instance, many European countries, Canada and New Zealand have legislation prohibiting spanking. This comes from studies that spanking has adverse effects that are associated with anti-social behavior, decreased rate of school performance and more behavioral and mental issues (for instance, depression and bi-polar).

Spanking may also send the wrong message that physical force is the way to resolve conflicts or issues.

It is also very easy for parents to cross the line as physical force may be used when parents are stressed or a stronger force may hurt the child.

Dr Peter Sears provided alternatives to spanking, such as time-outs and explaining the consequences of misbehavior. Parents can engage in re-wind/ replay scenarios with the child to guide the child towards right behavior.

There is much balance required in parenting and next week, we will be sharing various aspects from Dr Peter Sears. Gratitude to Dr Peter Sears for taking time to review this blog post.

Eczema Devotional

Mom-E-votional : Double Standard for Eczema Kids Discipline

Eczema Kids Parenting Discipline
Do you apply double standard for your kids (with and without eczema)?

Eczema brings another dimension to parenting – above all the evolving best methods to parent, this can be overwhelming. As a mom of eczema child, I’d be the first to admit that I’m inadequate in many areas, from the top of my (already over-packed with to-do list!) head:

  1. More than half the time, I’m more concerned with whether my child scratches than whether she misbehaves.
  2. Having already exhausted much energy to take care of the skin, nagging, shouting and pleading ‘Not to Scratch’, on top of the usual on Mom-To-Do list like chores, meals (and the list goes on), I don’t really have much fuel left to discipline my child.
  3. It is ‘painful’ to disciple kids – you have to do it right, follow-through, not execute ‘punishment’ randomly, and make sure discipling kids does not become an avenue for anger venting.

And what happens for families with more than one child? Will parents inadvertently apply double standards for a child with eczema and one without? This reminds me of the many dilemmas that parents face daily but yet we try our best (within our limits!) to parent our children right. It is indeed a fine balance and I do pray that for all parents caring for more than one child, you will have the wisdom, energy and love to care for them.

Bible verse:

Proverbs 22:6 Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their lives.

Dear God, please help me to parent my child and to deposit the right values for her to be the child You desire her to be. I’m inadequate in so many areas, but I keep trying and have faith that where I fall short, You will take care of it.

Guard your mind and heart in parenting and disciplining your child.

Support Group

Loving my Eczema baby

Loving Eczema Hubby and Baby at
Valentine’s Day – A love Poem by Eczema Mom

I love you, no matter what

No sleep so deep

A minute rest at best

Tempers, tantrums

Flare and Flare-ups


Learning to love

Watching us grow

Living today

Loving tomorrow

A poem to celebrate Valentine’s Day. My daughter said she’s making a valentine’s day card for me, if it’s decent, I’ll post it! Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you, and I do hope that my devotional on every friday this year is filling your family life with love. Hugs!