“*Scream* He’s giving trouble going to Chinese again… Even if he’s sick, we’re already here at the school and he better be going to class… going to throw a fit – maybe I will!!!” [SEND]
My husband’s WhatsApp reply acknowledging my ranting and raving came almost 2 hours later. (Okay, so he was overseas and it took him a while to get wifi access.)
I was asked to write about the wonderful “21st Century Woman”, perhaps even take the opportunity to present a glowing report about myself :). But with all that’s happened on the mothering front over the past two weeks or so, I feel like the crabbiest – and crappiest – mom alive!
Just before the school holidays, my son went into hysterics going to the kindergarten he’s grown to love so much over the past 1.5 years. On one of the mornings, I spent an hour in the kindergarten carpark playing the waiting game (you know, the one where you see whose will breaks first?) before I finally managed to half-threaten, half-coax him to enter the school. Even then, I had to get his teacher’s help to pluck him from me and talk him into going to class.
“Did something happen to him at school?” asked concerned relatives and friends.
“Did something happen to him at home?” asked concerned teachers.
“Maybe it didn’t happen to him but to his classmate. Some children get affected when the teacher reprimands another child because they treat it as if personally directed at them.”
That made a lot of sense, as I could well imagine my son being overly emotional in his creative-sensitive way. On the way home after dropping my husband off at the airport, he had commented on the CD playing in the car, “That’s a very touching song, Mom. It makes me want Daddy. Waaaaaahhh… waaaahhh!!!” And all I could think of was, “Get a grip! Oh no, let’s not start… here we go again.”
“Maybe it’s just a phase?”
I LOVE that last idea. It always helps to know that bad things come but they also go. Especially when it’s something I can’t explain and thus, can’t control.
How do women – especially mothers – do it? Probably in response to my tiresome bemoaning of my situation, a colleague recommended I watch I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker. The movie raises the question, “How do you keep life together without losing it?”
Over the past week alone, I’ve lost it – my composure, my patience, my temper, my sanity even! I can definitely resonate with some of the lines from the movie:
- I love my work, although sometimes I wish I didn’t love it so much.
The problem is managing work together with the other aspects of life – all with a constant smile and calm, without working up a sweat from racing from one meeting to your next mummy-errand, and with your makeup and hair intact.
- You’re allowed to miss your children.
I just wish mine was in a nice-to-behold state when I feel mushy about him; not grating against my nerves and begging for some much-needed discipline!
- You can’t go on like that.
Tell me about it.
- Don’t you think about not having to worry about priorities all the time?
Everyday. That’s why I don’t plan holidays; my husband does that.
According to the show, mothers of young children don’t sleep through the night; they make lists – of what they need to do the following day! I don’t have a list of what makes a successful 21st Century woman or mother; I have just one word – REAL. I admire the woman who admits her imperfections, who understands her limitations, who’s not afraid to show up dishevelled in public when it can’t be helped, and who celebrates what she’s done right instead of beating herself up constantly for the could-have’s and should-have’s.
Enough of the perfectly manicured and composed housewife – anyone who spends the day with kids would know that’s bogus! Enough of the woman celebrated for having it all – well-paying career, well-managed family plus personal time for regular fitness routines and spas. Let’s be real – life will throw you curve balls and will require tough decisions. I’m personally just thankful that when I’m not at my best or I’ve made a boo-boo, I’ve a husband who reminds me that I’ve got at least some things right!