I am not a perfect Mum, but I hope my kid thinks I'm doing fine.

Monday, 6 August 2012

I never wanted to be a perfect Mum.

Perfect Mums are boring. They usually go by the book, and make sure that their kids come our made of a certain mould made in perfection. Actually I can't imagine anything more tedious than trying to be perfect, and looking like you have everything cut out for you.
  • Perfect coif, with not a strand of hair out of place.
  • Perfectly made up face.
  • Perfect answers and responses to all of the children's question.
  • Perfectly behaved children who do as they're told, and behave like perfect little adults.
  • Perfectly baked cookies and muffins and cakes and cookies all the time.
  • Perfectly cooked wholesome dishes for the family.
  • Perfect remedies to sniffles, coughs and ailments.
  • Perfect home who can be turned upside down during play, and a perfect environment for home learning. Perfect ideas for perfect crafts and lessons.
  • Perfect husband who remembers Anniversaries, birthdays, changes the diaper, entertains the kids, is a hopeless romantic, doesn't watch TV, isn't into football, and doesn't think a great night out is a boozy one with friends at a sports bar.
  • Perfect life. The End.

Pray tell... is that even possible?
(We can ALL hope, in the meantime, especially about the husband part)

***

I sometimes felt like I'm groping around in the dark. I didn't know what to do when he started crying inconsolably in his 2nd week after he came out of my tummy. I couldn't put him back in, and I didn't know how to pacify him! I didn't know what to do the first time he vomited when he wasn't well. He was so hungry, yet I was advised not to feed him milk as it causes even more phlegm. My heart broke with every piteous cry.

I didn't know what to do when he started showing his displeasure at anything leafy and green on his plate. Neither did I know what caused him discomfort when he wore certain clothes (it was those labels!).

Being unable to express himself much back then... he yelled, screamed, and basically created a ruckus until he was exhausted, or we managed to figure out what he wanted.

Try telling a hungry, impatient baby that Mummy needs 3 minutes to make his milk and cries always seem to be amplified in the wee hours, so can he please be patient and shut it till the milk is ready thank you very much.

I got frustrated. Baby got frustrated. I yelled at Daddy. Baby yells at Daddy.

All in a night's work, for about 2 months after I stopped breast feeding him - until I managed to figure out the precise time when he would start to yell after he starts stretching. And I got his milk ready before he can even open his mouth.

Happy Baby, Happy Mummy.

Well... that was just one example - but you get the gist of it.

Everything was all trial and error for us. We were hapless - but not entirely helpless though... because we were still able to try to figure out all kinds of things which will work in baby's favour. We have helpful elders who will try to explore all options with us. All babies are different, but they are also similar in a lot of ways - and experienced hands will know exactly what the kid wants just by sometimes looking at them or hearing their cries. I never knew that the tone of their cries differ according to their comfort levels. I've since taken it to task to listen more carefully to the different intonations, rather than get frazzled by the disturbing pitch.

Nobody started off this parenting business knowing exactly what to do. No matter how many parenting books you read, or how many well-meaning friends and relatives who give you 1,000 002 reasons and ways to ensure a model child. You can go to parenting conferences, read parenting magazines and trawl the motherhood forums, but nothing actually prepares you for the real deal.

I remember walking out of the hospital and panicking. I can't shove him back to the nursery down the hallway when he starts shrieking for dear life. He doesn't come with an instructions manual (yes, the majority of women depend on that) - little wonder then, that Dads actually keep a much cooler head and disposition during the first few months, apart from complaining to their buddies about the lack of sleep and tiredness like they are the only ones up at odd hours.

DaddyMoo got yelled at (I blame the post pregnancy hormones!) and even when he does right things or suggests things which eventually work out for the best - he didn't get his dues. I sometimes feel that it was so hard to breathe... especially when the time passes ever so slowly when I am alone with the baby at home, and it flies when he's finally asleep.

Thank goodness that part's over.

Right now things aren't easier, but they are slightly more comfortable because BabyMoo understands us and is able to make himself understood in many other ways apart from creating sentences and telling us directly. We're still getting used to each other, each passing day. He's figuring out how to best make Mummy understand that he needs to have that cake, while I'm still trying to understand that it's chocolate cake that he wants, and not vegetables.

We have good days, when we understand each other perfectly. We have the not so good days, when we are still trying to adapt to each other. All in all, I think it's working out.

I think making mistakes is a part of life. Learning from them, however, can pose a challenge in some cases, especially when we don't understand why certain things cannot be approached in a way which feels right to us. After the boy came along, I don't think I made more mistakes than I ever did previously, but I was more willing to learn from them. It was a natural progression, and something which I didn't even realise I was doing until a good friend of mine mentioned that I have 'mellowed' down a great deal since motherhood came to visit.

"In what sense?" I asked, ready to defend myself.

"You aren't so feisty. You will not defend your views or justify what you did for the sake of pride and to prove a point." he said.

I managed a weak: "Ya lah... I'm a doormat now?"

He: "Come off it. You know what I mean. Not that you will let people take advantage of you, but you're more receptive to other perspectives, and even if you disagree - you will always find common ground to agree on some things".

I suppose I'm trying, even without realising it much.

I'm trying to be the best Mum which I possibly can, in ways I know how. I'm trying to give BabyMoo the best, short of letting him wrap me around his little finger (and failing miserably more and more). I'm motivated to know more about parenting, and to share what I know, because as much as I have benefited from advice, I'm sure there are times when I can give a new Mum some solace by letting her know that none of us know how to be parents right from the get-go.

Motherhood hones your motherly instincts, but it does not instantly give you the practical know how. A superpower hasn't been invented yet to address that issue.

***

Right now, we have come to the stage where we have long 'conversations', the boy and I. It's mostly one-sided, but it's so heart warming to know that he understands things which I talk to him about. He shows me he cares, too... in ways which are uniquely his. He's not known to give me a kiss or a hug at my bidding... but he chooses to do so when I least expect it. When I need an assurance that I mean more to him than anything else.

When he does that, he makes me feel like I'm the best Mum in the world.

Mummeh!! You ish da Bestest!


www.ajugglingmom.com
  

6 comments :

  1. awww... I love the pic of 'you ish the best'! :) And no, I also don't think there are perfect moms. There are always the good sides of us and the bad sides are the ones the public don't see! There is always a hurdle to cross every stage of our children's lives. It will be challenging but it makes our role as mom worth the while.

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    1. That's true... I think perfect looking Mums, maybe - but then again, perfect looking according to whom? :)

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  2. Yes that picture of the both of you is too sweet. I enjoy my bedtime conversations with mama. These days I'll insist that we finish 2 bedtime stories and I'll ask her what she does. It's great fun bonding over girly mummy and daughter talk.
    As for being a perfect mum, I've long given up hope on that and settled for being happy and fulfilled. It's so stressful to be always perfect. These days we live well with dust around the house (no judging please) and though the laundry do pile up now and then, at least we have happy people in the house :)

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    1. Susan... I'll be the last person to judge, because not only the boy makes a mess, but Daddy-O contributes his share as well! Haha!

      I've long since stopped being such a pedant over neatness and mess, because I realise that complaining and cleaning up goes hand in hand with me. Then I get branded a nag by the hubba, and the boy looks at me like I'm the evil stepmother.

      I've since come to a conclusion that having a kid around is probably the only valid excuse we have to *not* keep everything in pristine order. And I then learnt to enjoy our time together more.

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  3. We are learning everyday to be the mum who can understand our kids better. Its always the trial & error stage that enable us to become wiser & understanding to our children's needs & wants.

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    1. It's amazing how we start of claiming not to care about how others think, or how we affect others via our actions and words - and then the kids come by, and we suddenly start watching ourselves, ya?

      All for the better good for everyone!

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