Thursday, May 30, 2013

Motherhood Is Serious Business

I was just having a conversation with a mummy friend who has two girls as well, and we both feel like we are already mummies of teenagers. Our elder daughters are both in Primary One this year, and even though they are only seven years old, they seem mature beyond their age.

To me, motherhood only gets harder and harder as the years go by. It used to be when my kids were still babies, it felt challenging and draining, having to deal with endless diaper-changes, milk-feeding and burping. The kids fell sick frequently, and I was always worried if they were drinking enough, sleeping enough and poo-ing enough. As the kids moved past that stage, I thought life would get easier, but that didn't happen. In fact, the sense of responsibility only became heavier because now that they understood more about life, I have to instil the right values into them, and hopefully mould their attitude and character in the right direction. That is the hardest part about motherhood, in my opinion.

When the kids were little, they would listen to me and it was easy to motivate them to obey my instructions. But as they grew older, the defiance streaks started to show and I now have to explain all my decisions in order to get them to follow what I want them to do. Motherhood now requires a higher level of wisdom, skills and technique. It's a whole new ball game altogether.

Joey started Primary One, and as all girls do, she has started to experience her fair share of 'I-friend-you-I-don't-friend-you'. She hangs around with a group of girlfriends every recess time, and within this group is the class monitor, who is also her BFF (For the misinformed, that means 'Best Friends Forever'). On a regular basis, and by that, I mean every few hours, the girls turn from BFF at school assembly to mortal enemies at recess time and back to BFF again by the time school ends for the day. When she gets home, she would tell me all the good and bad things her friends had done that day. Most of the time, it's complaining about this friend or that friend, or how upset she was because of a certain classmate. Frankly, it got me a little worried at the beginning and I even asked the teacher about it. I was wondering if she was struggling with social life in school! Eventually though, I realised that it's all part and parcel of a girly school life. I went through that myself as a kid, didn't I? Some counselling sessions had to be conducted on some nights, just so that she could understand why certain friends would behave or talk to her in a certain way, and helping her to get over some negative feelings. Now, milk-feeding and diaper-changing feel like child's play, literally.

To reinforce on the more stubborn stuffs like attitude and speech issues, I now have to engage in serious talks with Joey. Whenever an inappropriate behaviour is shown, I would point it out to Joey. At some points, I even became a nagging machine because she never listened after I said it for the first time. When I couldn't take it anymore, I would sit her down and try to tell her in all seriousness, hoping that the message gets across to her. This is of course a lot more effective than plain nagging, but definitely requires a lot more energy and careful choice of words. You see, motherhood is no longer so straightforward.

But this has also reminded me that motherhood is a high calling - One that comes with great responsibility and purpose. While I want to be a mother who can feed my kids and help them grow up healthier, I have a greater responsibility to nurture and groom them into outstanding individuals who can contribute to the society and become people who make a difference in the lives of others. Of course, underlying all those good values I hope to inculcate in them, I pray with all of my heart that they will grow in their love for God, for the church and for their family and friends.

I know while I think it's probably the hardest stage of motherhood now, I would look back a few years down the road and think that this is child's play. As the kids grow older and older, more and more challenges would come my way. I want to grow wiser, smarter and definitely more patient as a mum to tackle whatever comes my way, while concurrently enjoy myself in this role.

Told ya motherhood is serious business! No doubt about it.

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