Monday, 24 March 2014

Lost in transition

(Updated from my previous post)

Have you ever experienced a sudden power surge in your exhausted and about-to-crash body when you see your child is in harms way? Suddenly, you are able to do the lunges, somersaults and even run at lightning speed.

I have, and on many occasions too.

Just when I thought the need to bend down and pick up another toy off the floor would permanently disable my already aching back, I catch myself diving down and sliding across my hallway to catch my toddler who decided to dive down from my sofa.

Despite being exhausted to the bones, the catch was so perfect that it was worthy of being a golden catch like that in a baseball game.

It's just amazing what motherhood brings out in you.

I remember a time in my past when silence was uncomfortable and unbearable but today, I crave for it (because I've got three who like to jibber jabber, a lot!)

Eating out alone was unacceptable but today I want to be alone when I am having my cup of coffee.

Going out every night and returning at the crack of dawn was a fun but today I hit the sack before midnight and am up before the sun is out.

Watching TV was a daily routine but today, days go by without even glancing at the TV.

A shower meant a lengthy affair in the bathroom. That is time spent looking in the mirror applying my 3 step facial cleansing pack but today I hardly have time to brush my hair and scrunchie has became my favourite hair accessory. 

Lost in transition

My pre-motherhood days used to be filled with a lot of ME time, compared to my days now. When at a shopping mall, it was me head straight to the ladies department and making sure I owned the latest and most fashionable piece of clothing they had. But now my shopping experience has changed and you would find me in children’s department, buying all the little gadgets that are suppose to make motherhood a little easier (only a handful of these gadgets have truly helped).

I used to be part of a dance group and travel around town performing. I even had time (so much time on my hands) to catch premiere shows but now I watch movies months after it has been shown (that’s if I am lucky) or not at all.

Not that being a mother is a bad thing. It has its ups and downs. You may get days where it feels like a walk in the park and moments when you feel like you want to pull out your hair, scream until your vocal chords give way or just run and hide in a cupboard.

Life with kids does change, I shall not say otherwise. From the birth of my first child, my life became all about feeding, changing diapers, potty training, fevers and boo-boos, birthday parties, play dates, school work, sport activities, dance training, Disney cartoons, dealing with crushes, jealousy and anxiety, battling tantrums, power struggles and autonomy.

I become so obsessed with making sure everything was in order and always doubted myself. Wondering whether am I feeding my children the proper nutritional choices? Did I buy the right sized water tumbler so she can easily hold it in her tiny hands? Will she like what I packed in her lunch box? Should I cut down time spent with electronic gadgets - TV/tablet/computer games?

I made my every waking moment about my children. I channelled my raw energy into making sure they had daily home cooked meals, clean clothing, a personal driver and a tutor to guide them with their school work. Despite doing all that I believed a mother should, they were still unhappy with me (frustrating isn't it?)

Stay-at-home-mother, see the word home comes before mother, and that is what I had become. I never knew about it until I had a heart to heart chat with my girls while driving back from school.

My eldest had tears in her eyes while telling me that I am not present. I am around but not available she said. The only time I was truly present and available, was when they had done something wrong and I was nagging or reprimanding them.

I was shell shocked listening to what she had to say but remained solemn because there was so much truth and wisdom in what she said.

I had been dedicating every ounce of my energy into building a "house" instead of a happy home. I had forgotten the reasons for my brave plunge from being a steady and safe income earning working mom to a stay at home, mother. I had all my KPIs (Key performance index) wrong and was behaving more like a domestic helper than a mother.

I am not saying I regret my new job but I had mismanaged it. By giving my all, I had somehow lost myself in the process. I became so rigid and time bound, like clock works or an assembly line worker. There was no more surprises or unscheduled stops. I had become a very mundane person to my kids and friends.

The whole definition of motherhood changed when I was at a friend’s funeral. I had expected her daughter to thank her mom for the endless lunches, stacks of laundry she washed and folded, ferrying them around to school and back and for every other activity, in her eulogy. Instead, she spoke about her mom’s warm smiles and comforting hugs and how her mother had spent her time with her friends travelling and bringing back souvenirs and stories to share with her children. She spoke about the parties her mom threw and how she was always the life of the party wherever she went. The eulogy was about the lessons their mother had taught them, the emotional support, strength and compassion she displayed, the fun filled life she celebrated and the person she was, not just their as mother, but as a woman.

I want my children to grow up in a happy, healthy and holy home but I was doing just the opposite. Had this new job scope as a stay-at-home-mother been an employment, I am pretty sure my children would have fired me.

I learnt a big lesson in life from my friend and her children. One should never lose sight of the woman you are - the ‘me’. Kids won’t remember the times I am forget to pack their lunch, iron their clothes, made them wear unwashed school jerseys (blushing as I confess to this), napped while they had to do their homework or used a tub of ice cream as a substitute for a birthday cake.

But they will remember the way I smiled, played and laughed with them in the park. Allowed them to play with their food and make cake pops out of a crumbly cake and the night we spent lying in the living room with a basket full of laundry that needed to be folded and kept away. The day we performed together on stage, dived in the deep clear waters for snorkelling or our first sunrise by the beach.

Motherhood changes you in ways you would have least expected, I kid you not. These changes can happen willingly and slowly take over your pre-child lifestyle. I have embraced these changes and some changes have helped me become a better person because it has taught me to love unconditionally. With a little self discipline, I am certain I would be able to find the equilibrium and not be lost in transition anymore.

And after trawling across blogspheres out there, I slowly begin to realise I’m not entirely alone and unique in thinking like this. I’ve come across quite a few testimonial write-ups about mothers from different cultures and backgrounds going through the same guilt-process as I have. So I hope my sharing my fears here and the ideas that would work to overcome them, would add on collectively for the greater good for all mothers out there.

Be the best mother you can, while being your best yourself.


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  1. Hello, just discovered your blog. I love it!!! You write well and I can so relate to some of your postings. Take care and have a nice day :-)

    1. Thank you. Appreciate you taking time to read my thoughts.