Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. In London, Mothering Sunday was in March. For me, I get to celebrate both. This year, my siblings and I did a short video to thank my mother on Mother’s Day. The video was nothing fancy, we did not manage to have a family dinner on the actual day but my mother was happy. I could tell from her voice and facial expression as we chatted on Tango. As her children, we love her so much and we have so many stories to share about our childhood as she accompanied us through various stages.
We love her cooking. Food is definitely one huge aspect of our home life. My mother made it a point to fill our stomachs with love. I suppose this is why all my siblings and I were in TAF(Trim and Fit) or otherwise lovingly known as the FAT club at one stage of our lives or another. She made home feel like a safe zone, away from the stress and worries of growing up. She is a great mother. But now, I wonder if I would be able to be one like her.
Yesterday, while we were chatting on Tango(erhm…, yes, we talk on everyday. Everyday. I honestly have no idea what we usually talk about.), I asked her if she could rewind time, would she still choose to be a stay-at-home-mother. Then, she told me that this question was asked to her during her Alpha course and she said, without her doubt that being a home-maker is her vocation in life.
Ohwells, she was dedicated to calling and we grew up loving her so much.
Lately, I have been feeling really tired from being a SAHM, to 3 young children, all 5 and below. I wake up and almost like clockwork, I set off to finish chore after chore. Housework like laundry, folding clothes, meals preparation, wiping spills, cleaning toilet are thankless but necessary things to do. There are more meaningful parts of the job like reading to them, ensuring some sort of written work is done, sharing values with them during teachable moments, trying to teach them Mandarin(!!! this is really hard when the little ones are not keen at all. But still necessary.) and lots of cuddles time. My SAHM life is 80% of thankless but necessary tasks and 20% of the meaningful part. How ironic… Put all the work together on a daily basis and also accidental spills and school runs and whatnots, it is no good. All I want to for 8.30pm to come and I sit down in bed, numbing my brain with Bones, a new TV series that I have taken to while eating brioche bread generously filled with strawberry jam.
I am not sure if any SAHMs feel like me. I mean so many of them look happy and calm. At least on Pinterest and Instagram. Even when I read some Mummy blogs, I cannot help but feel worried that I have no 5-steps to anything or 8-ways to teach your child something. Maybe, in some way or another, I am starting to fear my role as a mother, even. I hate how I am spending way too much time and energy doing the thankless and meaningless chores.
What if I fail as a mother and I can never be one like my mother?
Like most situations, there is an action and a reaction. I became a mother 5 years ago but it is only now(Yes, I admit I have a delayed reaction.) that I realised how encompassing the role as a mother is. It is not about the adorable-looking toddlers, the ‘smart yet cuteeee’ things they say or the heart-melting cuddles. Mothering is the responsibility of bringing that child up to be a contributing member of the society, to allow them to have the opportunity to pursue their passions, to be kind and loving to others, to remember me(lovingly?) when they are older? In my case, I would want Ryan, Gillian and Megan to be followers of Christ. So, it just dawned upon me slowly but gradually that maybe I am not very prepared to take up this responsibility. My exact feelings would be, ‘OMG…What have I done?’ Honestly, at this point in time(as in now, at 10.28 am), I really want to be selfishly having a nice cup of tea, a slice of double chocolate gateau while reading some stupid and trashy magazine.
Erhm… but it is not like I can run away from this role, whether I am a SAHM or FTWM. Essentially, it is still a mothering role and and I have responsibilities to them. For now, it will be ensuring that they know how to eat properly without dropping on the floor. In a couple of years time, it would be telling them to on how not to give in to peer pressures when they are making decisions. (Hopefully, the children will help me more with the chores when they are older. *finger crossed*) I foresee that being a mother is going to be hard, especially when the new external variables such as friends, school and examinations are added in. I need to remind that I am not alone in this parenting role. There is E, to count on as we embark on the journey together. Many a times, I suspect I feel bitter because I keep count of my sacrifices. According to E, if I need any help, I should explicitly ask for it in clear instructions instead doing it myself and then bottling my negative feelings within.
Ever since I told E that he needed to help Ryan with his reading, he has done so every evenings. I would have done through the reading in an entirely different way but maybe it would be better if E has some sort of ownership over the reading session with Ryan.
As you can see, this is just a blog post, showing some clarity and reflection of my SAHM journey and my 5th year as a mother. At this point, there is no absolutes or even solutions to my issues and feelings. But, I recognise the multiple failings that I have and the only way I have is to pray, to ask for more patience, more dedication to being a mother, to hopefully grow into the role and start enjoying it more.
Happy Mother’s Day… to Mummy, and… to me.