A Mother's Heart

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

This could very well be the hardest post I have had to write.

Now that the boy is able to articulate his feelings to words, I have found myself in situations whereby I question if what I have chosen to do is purely for selfish reasons. Have I done enough as a mother thus far, or do I have to change my parenting ways as time goes by?

"Caden, Mummy has to work today, and Daddy needs to go to the office for awhile, but later on, he will pick you up to go out, okay?"

"Okay, Mummy." (crestfallen face)

After a short pause: "Then I go where? Who take care me?"

That sentence very nearly killed me. It made my throat constrict, and I felt my mind searching the right words to soothe his soul. I explained that we will drop him off at his grandparents' house for just a couple of hours, and Daddy will be with him as soon as he can. It's not just what he said. It was the way he said it.

He sounded resigned to the fact, like a little old man who accepts things because there isn't any fight left in him.

He nods his head, looked out of the car window, and muttered, almost to no one in particular.

"It's Saturday, Marmee. I want be with Marmee and Daddy. But I okay"

My heart.

It's on days like these parenting is the hardest for the working Mum. It's on days like these, when we see other parents with their children enjoying the day together - that the yearning is most acute. It's when he looks in my eyes and I see a depth of longing that I ask myself: Am I doing all that I can as a mother, or am I exposing him to life a little too early?

Caden has always been a sensitive soul. From very early on, we realised that he needs constant assurances, needs to be held, and told how much he's loved. He's an affectionate little person who gives hugs freely, kisses me on a whim, and understands more than we usually give him credit for. This is a boy who is also protective of the things he loves, but will not hesitate to share whenever the occasion calls for it. He has passed that stage when he gets upset when some kids don't respond positively to 'playing together' at public playgrounds, taking it as a bonus when there are friendly ones around.

The husband and I are very particular about teaching him to mind his manners, and always greeting elders whenever he sees them. We make sure that he says 'Please', and 'Thank you', whenever is needed, and to never ever take other people's kindness for granted. We explain things to him, preferring to make him understand why we disallow him to do things instead of just simply telling him no. He understands a lot of things now that he's all of three and a half, but there are times that I wonder if we're making him 'grow up' too fast, too soon. Sure he gets upset when his wants are not met, but he doesn't go into screaming fits, or have meltdowns. He cries, but more out of acceptance than to get what he wants.

Are we forgetting that he's a child, with unreasonable demands, and an unbridled temper? Are we not letting him be a child? Are we pushing him to a point that he becomes a little adult, and expecting him to understand life's limitations, even before he finds himself?

I write these sentences with a heavy heart. With every word I type here, my soul resonates with a sadness so indescribable it wreaks the very core of my being. Why does he make it so easy for his parents? Why are we blessed with a little boy who not only tries to understand us, but has also the propensity to forego his emotional needs so that we need not make drastic lifestyle changes to accommodate him? What have we done to deserve him?

He makes me feel small. He makes me feel selfish because I did not have to give up much when he came along. People have told me that there will always be a special bond between mothers and sons, and I totally relate to it, but I did not expect to have given birth to the most loving and kind hearted boy I've ever known. Perhaps I'm biased, but I'm his Mum, and I have a right to be.

I don't know what I've done to deserve him. Of course he has his moments, too. When he annoys me just because I allow him to. When he tries to push his limits and boundaries, and when he does not take no for an answer. He asks me questions which I sometimes have no answer to. He expects me to know where all his toys are. There are days when I am tired, not in a very good mood and I get short with him. I get angry with him and scream my head off.

But he never, ever gets mad with me. He turns his back and pouts when Daddy gives him a talking to, or when Daddy says he's not allowed to do something. But he has never done so with me.

He says "S'ry Marmee" more than I ever apologise to him for losing my temper. He hugs me close even when he's crying hard, more so when he knows I'm upset. What have I done for him, that made me the centre of his universe? Do I deserve such unconditional love?

I don't spend as much time as I want to with him. I expect him to always understand, understand, and understand more. I expect him to not whine, or get angry, or throw tantrums. I forget that he's a child, because he always seems to understand. On hindsight, it just doesn't seem fair that he has to carry the burden which comes with understanding and accepting why certain things in life has to go a certain way. He worries ("Then who take care me?"), but he accepts whatever needs to be done.

I don't know how it will be like a month from now, a year later, or when he's all grown up. But Caden, when you're old enough to read this, please remember that for all the times Mummy has asked you to 'be good', to 'understand' and to be a 'big boy', you have never, ever let me down. And for all the times you cried in my arms because you are disappointed, I'm sorry.

You have a big heart, my dear son, and if I could, I would bear the weight of the world for you. As much as you have given me your love and your heart, you will always have mine.



  1. Awww. Your post made me tear a little. It's so true when you have sensitive souls for kids, and sometimes we don't mind our tempers and attitudes to the point we might hurt them more than we imagined. My eldest too is like that, and I often wonder if I'm the big bully in his life.

    1. We get complacent, is that it? I feel so bad whenever I lose my temper at him :(

  2. It almost made it tear too... but like all mothers, I try to be strong in front of my children as much as I can. But please, do not ever find fault with yourself. You have been a great mum as far as I can tell. And you are definitely raising a fabulous kid too.

    1. Awww! Thanks, Ah Che, that means a lot to me. I feel so worthless when it comes to him, sometimes. And you know I'm not like that!

  3. "But I okay" Aiyoh! My heart could hear your heart shattering!!!! This boy is amazing la.

    Don't feel guilty Regina. Grandparent time is wonderful too. Caden will have lovely memories of spending most weekends with his parents and some beautiful ones with his grandparents too!

    1. The worst thing about this is perhaps the fact that he tries to understand. I don't know if I would find it easier if he doesn't? Throw tantrums, be difficult, or just generally show displeasure?

  4. From one working mom of a sensitive boy to another .... hugs! I know it's not easy, but I think you're fantastic in allowing family (grandparents) to be a part of his life too, and teaching him how to be both resilient AND sensitive as he grows.

    1. Mei Chee,

      There are days when it's sooo hard, despite us trying our best, and as they grow up and begin to understand more, I worry that they will feel neglected. He gets (more than sufficient!) care and love over at his grandparents, but I want and need to spend whatever time I can with him.

      What hurts me most is how disappointed he must feel everytime I have to work on weekends. I hate how he must feel - looking forward to spending time with us, only to be told that he can't.

  5. C is so sensible for his age, you are blessed to be his mom and he is so blessed to have u too! Mummy guilt is tough to manage, esp when the choice is to still maintain your current status as a FTWM, but it will surely be more manageable with time. Quality of time matters just as much as quantity of time spent together, so enjoy existing time you are able to spend together and just look pass 'what if-s'.

    1. Yes I agree. I'm trying the best I can, and I'm so thankful that he is, too. He doesn't hold anything against me, and it's amazing how he has shown me how great love can be. It's not only giving, it's forgiving.

  6. Regina, you really have a wonderful kid. I read your post with some heaviness in my heart and turned a tad emo. It must have been really difficult. I felt that when I left Faith at my dad's to do some teaching and it was just a few hours. Faith looked at me with those expression, those sadness too. Your working hours are much longer, I reckon.

    I'm glad you write this post. Nicely worded.

    1. Hi Lynn!

      Yes, indeed I do, and I'm so blessed to have him. It's the looks they give us. Really... almost accusing, yet resigned. It tears me apart.

      I work crazy hours. F & B - weekends, late days, etc. and I'm so embarrassed that the boy accommodates himself according to *my* schedule. He will stay up (and make up for it during long afternoon naps) just so he can get to be with me, even if it means just seeing me through our journey home.

      For the time being, I try. Not easy at all, but I hope it will get better in time.

  7. Hi Mummy Moo,

    Nice to know you via blogging... I actually stumble into your blog thru Diana's :p

    Like you, I'm a also working mum and totally understand the pain of leaving our kids before to do something unrelated to parenting. I guess we have to do what we have to do... Mums are humans too and we all have our limitations :p Good that your boy has been very understanding to your situation.

    I'm glad that blogging and cooking has been giving me lots of sanity these days and hope that you will feel better after sharing your experiences with us :D

    I'm now your latest follower and hope that you can follow my blog too and be friends for more parenting chat :D


    1. Hi Zoe!

      Thanks for dropping by :) Diana is not only my friend, but my cooking and baking inspiration!

      I've been to your blog too. Following!



Powered by Motherhood