Friday, 3 April 2015

Embracing Motherhood

This blog entry on Embracing Motherhood is part of a blog train started by mom blogger, Dominique. Along with other mom bloggers, we will be sharing how we embrace motherhood and what it means to us.

All moms are different. Our family structure, our situation, our parenting views and techniques and so many other factors vary. Having read how other moms embrace motherhood, I am glad to know that I'm not the only mom that's feeling a certain way, but there are other moms too who go through the same emotions and the ups as well as the difficulties that I face day-to-day. In a way, I feel like I'm not alone in this motherhood journey, and that we are all but human. Yet, there are times where I would go through certain things that not all other moms would go through. Afterall, it has almost become the norm for people to paint perfect pictures of their lives. To share, through social media or even through conversations of how wonderful things are. But what about the flip side? We always tend to avoid talking about it, whether it be a conscious thought or not to do so..it happens. I guess in a way, we don't want people to judge us, to gossip about us just because they cannot relate or don't understand us. 

So well..here's my version of how I embrace motherhood..as a woman in her early-twenties. A situation not quite common in our society today, and which typically invites lots of negative opinions. The fact is though, that I know I'm not the only mom in our society that became a young mom. There are other young mommies too. As young mommies, sometimes we do encounter problems that not many can relate to.

Here's also how I embrace motherhood, as a first-time mom without a mom figure that was present in my life. You can imagine. It was and still is not an easy ride, with no one to look up to/seek for advice, no mother-child relationship that I could refer to or help me through my current motherhood journey. I'll say it straight that it has not been easy nor has motherhood always been a joyous journey. I'm pretty sure the motherhood journey for me in the next 5, 10, 20 years will see me dealing with a different set of issues/problems at each stage that will probably see me losing my cool, and perhaps at times leaving me in tears. But one thing's for sure and one thing that will never change is that Motherhood has shown me that I am able to love my child unconditionally.

If you're in a similar situation as I am, I hope you'll be able to relate to this post on how I embrace motherhood, when the 'mothering' gets tough.

1. You are not alone
There will definitely be times where your child/children might be giving you a hard time being it throwing a tantrum, not co-operating or listening to instructions. Or moments where you question yourself if you are doing the "right" thing, or if you are being a "good" parent. Till today, even having been a mom for more than three years, I still question myself a lot and ask my self what is it that I'm not doing right, why the methods suggested in books/internet do not work. And though I know I shouldn't compare myself to other parents, or my child to another child..it does happen. Then you just question yourself even more and sometimes it spirals out of control. The thing is..I always try to remind myself that I'm not the only one having to deal with a tantrum before bedtime or a public meltdown. And the fact is. I'm really not the only parent who has to go through that. It's just that I've not seen in happening/do not hear about it. Just because of that, it doesn't always necessarily mean that we are doing something wrong as parents. We may be, but not always. Afterall, don't forget we all have different parenting styles. What has really helped me through these moments are through conversations with moms, through reading blogs online where fellow parents share their experiences. I find through these moments that such situations are normal and that we can never be a perfect parent. Knowing that other moms are going through the same thing as I am, makes me feel like I'm not alone in this motherhood journey as well. Cos well, let's be frank..our friends who don't have kids or aren't married won't really be able to understand, and neither would our husbands.



2. Keep calm, breathe in and know this will be over
Speaking of tantrums..well these will happen. Not once, not twice..but more than the number of your fingers and toes. Unless of course if you give in at every tantrum, then perhaps you wouldn't encounter that many. And whether they be tantrums or not..the 'not' being for example during the newborn stage where your infant cries non-stop and you don't know what to do or why your child is crying especially if you are a first-time mom..it can get very nerve-wrecking. You feel a mix of being anxious and afraid and if it happens too many times you may even feel like your world is turning upside down. From having been living a life without any cries, to hearing cries a few times a day..it may be quite a big change. Don't forget, infants can only cry..so that's like their way of communicating so you can't really fault them for doing that either. At the same time, you're bound to feel vexed. Well..keep calm. Breathe in and out three times. I always try to do that when I consciously know I'm about to explode. With Kaitlin, now that she's a toddler and able to take care of herself, I will sometimes step out of the room for awhile to try and take myself away from the situation and calm down lest I lose my cool. Even then, there have been times where it doesn't work but hey it's worth a try. Better than losing your cool every other time. Lastly, remember that whatever is happening will be over..so if you can remind yourself that all this will eventually stop you won't keep losing your cool cos sometimes the more you shout the more the child cries and it may last even longer.



3. Be Firm
Be firm in your instructions and make sure everyone else present/looks after your child goes along with it. Don't waiver, and let the other caregivers know how you would like an unfavourable situation to be dealt with. Often, we would come across instances where we feel it's not right to give in to our child and would rather them learn their mistakes..it could be giving them a time-out or no desserts after a meal. Being kids, they may respond to these by crying and often the other caregivers or people present would have their own views on how the situation should be dealt with or will go soft when the child cries and try to step in to the situation and help the child. Just try and politely explain to the them that this your parenting style and why you are doing so and tell them that you hope they can respect you as the parent of the child. Even if they were to keep nagging or saying not so nice things, just be firm and do what you have to do as a parent. Another part about being firm is towards your child. Make sure you mean what you say. If you've said "no desserts after this meal" because they have misbehaved, make sure you do not give any desserts. No matter what.



4. Ignore the noise
This noise, is not the one from your child, but the noise you hear from other people. Often, people will question what you are doing as a parent, how your child is behaving and comment about it. More often than not they will come across as negative comments or putting you down. Some will even try to tell you that you should do things a certain way. For example, "Is your breastmilk enough for your child", "Why is your child so small/huge?", "You should/should not being sending your child to preschool at X age". Trust me, I've been through alot of this kind of stuff and it pisses me off to no end. I do not care who you are, if you are a stranger who has 4 kids or a close relative/friend. I will feel the exact same way. Annoyed. All the more actually, if you are a parent, you should very well know how all this noise can be irritating and that you should respect another parent's choices on how they want to bring their child up. Plus, this noise may make us very annoyed with ourselves cos we may end up questioning our decisions. It gets even more so frustrating when you are dealing with a crying child while these words are coming in. For example, your child having a public meltdown and you have decided not to give in, and of course that would mean many stares from onlookers who some of which may shake their heads, and some may come up to try to help your child or tell you not let the child cry in public. Just ignore. This has happened to me before and I didn't want to be rude but I was rolling my eyes backwards and forwards a couple of times in my mind whilst trying to be civilised and not ask them to mind their own business! Just thank them for their concern and convey that you are their parent and this is what you feel is best for your child.


4. Be well prepared
Motherhood has taught me alot of things, and thankfully I've always been the "kiasu" kind of person so I always try to think ahead and be prepared cos I simply do not like to be caught in situations where I've to deal with wet pants and not have extra clothes and cause myself a headache thinking of how to get another pair of pants pronto and have my child's skin be in contact with her pee. This explains why even though babygirl is 3, I still carry a backpack with my essentials which Daddy Li always questions why the bag is so heavy and if all the things are necessary. Well, for me. It's always a 'you never know kind of situation' and I don't like having to fret over stuff when we could be enjoying a good time outside. So if you know you are going to be out for a long day, pack enough diapers, don't forget the water bottle and snacks and the wet wipes. It's not just the diaper bag you have to prepare..it's other things as well like anticipating if your child will be adjusting well during their first few days of preschool. If probably not, then be prepared that they may be a little more clingy and try to keep that in mind so you can be patient and be present for your child. Try to borrow books to prep them before their first day of school, try to show them going to school is fun.

5. Flexible

Based on that previous point..sometimes no matter how prepared you are, accidents happen or there may be a change of events. I don't really like plans to be made last minute. I prefer it to be planned out so I know what to expect. If not I feel like time is being wasted away. Plus with a child there is so much to prepare and by the time you get out of the house it's an hour later or an hour and a half if you count in the sudden "I need to use the potty", injury accidents or when the skies turn grey just when you are about to leave and have to keep all the laundry. However since becoming a mom, I've come to learn that that's not very possible. Not only do you have to find a solution to your now new "problem", you have to learn to deal with how things may not go as planned and not forgetting caring for your child all at the same time! Dealing with a change of plans is not something I'm not very good at and pisses me off alot. But what's a mom to do other than to learn to be flexible. That means having to let go of the anger asap or put it aside for the time being and deal with the current situation and then re-plan whatever else you have already spent time planning and finding/thinking of the best solutions. Not just one solution but a few, so if Plan A does not work out there is still Plan B, C and D. With a kid that you've to keep a watchful eye over, we moms have got to think quick and adjust.


6. Be thankful and think of the little things
Motherhood is not a journey that will yield you measurable benefits or results..but rather the intangibles. We tend to forget all this while being so caught up with looking after our children and comparing our lives to that of others, and sometimes even question our value. It doesn't help that society questions the values of moms, especially stay-at-home-moms just like how in recent news the worth of a stay-at-home-mom has been discussed.  The thing is there will never be a right or wrong answer, and there will always be moments where we question ourselves, our choices, our value and we forget that all that does not matter. What's important is that we had a somewhat smooth pregnancy, were able to give birth to children, that are healthy and happy and can live reasonably comfortable lives. For that, we should be thankful for. Not forgetting, be grateful for the forms of help that others offer to us. Be it looking after the kids for the day or even just a short while so you can take a shower in peace for five minutes, or helping you to run an errand. When motherhood gets tough and you scream to yourself "why did I decide to have kid(s)?", don't forget the little things. For me, these little things include Kaitlin showing her love for me in her own ways like wanting to share her food with me or understanding that I'm not feeling too well so I can't entertain her at the moment. Think also of the happy moments and memories that you have created and shared with your children. Sometimes when I'm feeling down be it because of motherhood matters or not, I look through the thousands of photos I have in my phone and re-watch some of the videos of Kaitlin when she was at different stages..from a baby cooing, to her first few steps to singing songs and dancing away and sliding down a big slide that she was previously afraid of. That keeps me going and makes me feel that everything has been worth it and that I want to keep doing this. Being a mother, and caring for my child. 



This entry may have shown the not-so-pretty side of Motherhood, but as mothers we all try to embrace the good and bad. Next up on the blog train is Dawn.



Dawn blogs at Daprayerblog, a place where she documents the precious moments of her life from her random thoughts and thanksgiving to food, travels and her numerous hobbies. With the arrival of Baby Laurent in the family, her blog now offers a peek into the life of a mummy who is try to juggle work, balance different roles, stay sassy, look good, pick up new hobbies and take time to smell the roses while enjoying the process of Bringing Up BebĂ©.

If you are interested to read the blogs of other moms who have shared how they embrace motherhood, you can click on the badge below.


3 comments:

  1. One certainly learns a lot of things as a mother. Great to see you embracing your journey as a mother . Thanks for being on the blog train.

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    1. Hi Dominique, glad to be part of the blog train along with the other mommies :)

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