Sunday, March 01, 2009

Adventures with my two kids, sans grandma.

So there I was, telling my girlfriend, that coffee has absolutely no effect on me. I still sleep like an angel after drinking coffee. Boy, have I spoken too fast! The Iced-vanilia latte at starbucks is very toxic to my system. I was on a roll throughout the night shift and am still wide awake right now. Otherwise usually at this time of the night, I'm in la-la-land.

Or maybe because my mom is back from her lovely holiday, and it feels so good to be able to leave both kids with her. The kids are a big handful, she says. She's definitely not like some friends/colleagues mothers who are so keen to have grandchildren to take care and play with. Sheesh.

So anyway, the past one week was just me and two kids. On Monday, I did an incredible unprecedented brave thing. I brought both kids with me to Wen's convocation. Just me, and my two lovely kids. I forgot that my mom was going off for holiday and when my friend asked me to go to her convo, I was so honoured. Heh. Yep I immediately agreed. It was also a good thing that by Monday, both were already recovering from their flu. So after my son's school that day, we mrted down to Chijmes, baby in carrier, and son hogging the pram. Fortunately, both were very cooperative that day, with baby sleeping all the way there, and son was rather excited to find out more about this convo-thingy.

It was raining cats and dogs when we got out of the mrt. I remember cursing the skies, especially when it had been so hot a week ago. Couldn't cross the road, and finally took a cab to get across the road. Nowadays cab drivers are the pits. Guy couldn't even get out of his cab to help me keep the pram in his trunk. I dumped the pram in the seat with me, and refused to help him close his trunk. I think he drove off with his trunk hanging open. And when we reached the destination, he also wouldn't help me get my pram out. Maybe I should do what hubby does, and refused to pay until everything is out of the cab. It took two guys waiting for a cab to help me unload kids and stuffs. Sheesh. Why should we be paying for such lousy service? I think next time when I'm in a taxi-queue, I shall just go to the next taxi in the queue if the taxi-driver is so unhelpful. Hey, we're free to choose the taxi in a queue right?

So the convo went quite smoothly. Fortunately, C was there to play with the kids. He was as bored as any other sane person can be in a convo. Haha. It was a good thing it wasn't too long a convo. The local chaps gave quite a long-winded speech, which we basically tuned out, and the son was full of questions. I think his voice was a bit loud in the otherwise hushed hall. Towards the end, my son was asking me about the food. Food was being laid out for the reception, and he was like eyeing the food and telling me clearly that 'Mummy, I'm hungry.' When I told him that the food is not ready yet, he observed astutely, that 'Mummy, there are already people at the table, can we go and get the food too?' Unfortunately, those were the waiters so he still had to wait. All in all, my kids behaved beautifully, and I am so proud of them!

C carried the daughter quite a bit during the long speeches, when she woke up and son insisted that it was his turn to be carried by me. I think my daughter was quite taken by C making faces at her. She must be thinking whether it would be a good idea to pull his big nose or his mouth. I think if he held her any longer, she would have done so. Warning: her nails are really sharp! Even after cutting. First, she will pat pat the said place. That is actually to guage the striking distance. Then without warning, she will shoot out her little fingers and grab said place on face with all her might and sharp claws. I think I managed to save C from having such a pleasant experience. Boy, he should thank me!

The son was mighty happy with all the gassy orange juice. I think he fell sick again after that beacuse of all the cold drinks. Arrgh.

On Tuesday, I called my father to bring us out for lunch. The two of them weren't behaving very well at all. It was quite bad. Both were whiny and weepy. I bribed my son with sweets (and that added to him being sick again too). My girl just wanted me to carry her. Nowadays when she sees me carrying her brother, she'll look at me with this super hurt look in her face and she'll cry and cry. Sheesh. And the son is sometimes so totally stuborn and refused to let his sister be carried. Sheesh.

That was bad.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I hid at home and asked my father to send the son back from school. Heh. Excuse being the daughter is sick from all the 'outings'. :P

On Friday, I peeked at my son in his school and brought them both back in a cab. Am still not confident in driving, let alone driving with two naughty kids.

So one week passes by in a flash. Without Grandma. I survived. We survived. Yay.

It's not easy to be a stay-at-home mother. I think it takes a lot of self-sacrifice to be able to do so. To give up one's career and to dedicate one's time to the kids. It's really difficult. And I think the whole reason for it is that there is very little appreciation going on.

What I mean to say is this. When one is working, one reaps the 'rewards' of the hard work. In terms of monetery returns, in terms of performance bonus, in terms of bonus etc. There is a freedom, and a certain detachment, as in if you don't like your job, you're free to find another job. At the end of the day, it's just a job. If you work hard and enjoy your work, you get rewarded, your boss appreciate your work, your clients need you to do your work, and there's always a bonus to look forward to, or a nice paycheck.

But a stay-at-home mother has no value. To the kids, they will not appreciate your pressence, because they do not have a basis for comparision. Ask any people out there who survived a working mother environment, would they have preferred if their mother did not work and is there for them all day? I doubt these people will turn out any worse off than they are now, well, at least for those who have their heads screwed on correctly. Or if they have good grandparents taking care of them, they won't feel the difference.

To the kids, they wouldn't understand the importance of having home-cooked meals. Of coming home to a home where your mother is always there. I never understood it either until I was so much older. When I thought about it, I realised how frightening it was if I were to go home and there was no one at home. But to the kids who have always been going home to an empty house, they wouldn't understand the difference of coming home and the mother is there. It's all about perspective.

I know of kids who couldn't take that kind of adjustment when their mother went back to work. It is kind of depressing.

But what I'm trying to say is that, the kids do not know and understand and appreciate this, so being a stay-at-home-mother, one do not get that kind of 'instant-appreciation of your self-worth' from the people you hang out with (in the case of working - your clients, your boss etc, in the case of being a SAHM, your kids, your spouse etc).

Hmm, am I making any sense?

So besides the kids, the spouse has also the responsibility of assigning value to a SAHM. If the spouse thinks that, hey, staying at home all day and not working is so cool and so relaxing, then that's where the pitfall is. There's no break for a mother. And it's not easy having that kind of freedom when you are working to being changed to a SAHM. You don't get paid, you don't get appreciated, you don't get cpf, you don't get appreciated. In society's eyes (i.e, the govt), you are not contributing to the economy, so you're just a parasite. If society looks at you that way, how can you have any self-worth after that?

What the mother needs to hear is this: Darling, stop working and take care of the kids and the family. Give them a good headstart, good nutritious meals. I will give you an allowance, and we'll try to work out some time off for yourself to have some personal time.

A break to keep anyone sane.

Nobody says that anymore.

Because, working life is so stressful. Standard of living has gone up. Working is stressful. Working is not fun anymore. Worklife has its share of politics and evilness. People are not friendly and people are getting retrenched. Money is the new happiness in life. What is success in life all about? Will you be happy if you have no money? I'm also afriad to find that out.

But I realised that I don't need a lot of money to survive.

Although I have fallen into the trap of wanting the best for my kids. And the best is not always a good thing.

For me, sometimes I'm not so sure if I can continue being a SAHM for my kids. And that is the only reason which is stopping me from handing in my resignation.

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