Ah, the joys and pains of bearing children starting from the tiny bit of life inside the womb up to the time they are old and wise enough to have a life of their own. They call it ” motherhood “. I used to call it ” Anti- ME Time stage “. It is a path that every woman must eventually take despite the twists and turns, the rocky roads up ahead and the hills and the valleys along the way. Sometimes, there are moments that we need to stop when you reach the crossroads of life and make a hard decision on which way to go. Raising up children is like living in the eye of a hurricane. And anyone can imagine what it is like to be in a hurricane. And no matter what age, education or status in life we have, nobody is really prepared for it.
SO JADED. Luckily, I was blessed with two daughters. I said that because I believe it is much harder for me to raise up boys. It definitely lessened my anxiety about gangsters, killing, drugs, alcohol and bad driving. Though raising up my daughters does not necessarily mean life was easy because I also have my fair share of difficult times with them. From the moment they became defiant by age two and learned how to say ” NO’ to everything I say , up to the point of challenging your authority, patience and wits when they began their so-called ” teen years”. It is a known fact that the burdens of motherhood can catapult sometimes into mild to deep depression. This is when the ” anti- ME Time ” stage syndrome attacks. However, the pains of growing up are made even worse when kids are living with a single parent.
Having been separated for 13 years, my role as a single mom automatically doubled up. I was acting both as a mom and dad who have to act, feel and think as a man and a woman. So, when all else fails I will shout , ” This is a job for superMOM ! ” Seriously, I just need to juggle between parenthood and my career. To do the dishes, laundry and groceries during weekdays and fix the broken chair, do a paint job, cut down a tree branches on weekends. And in between those activities I need to attend to a dozen of things too such as, bring my kids to a doctor, attend a PTA meeting or help them out with their school projects . For us single moms, the art of multi-tasking is an understatement.
GROWING UP, GETTING DOWN Life with my kids is not exactly a bed of roses. There are indeed a lot of thorns alone the way. One daughter stopped high school, ran away several times, had a boyfriend , got pregnant and recently had a miscarriage . These misfortunes happened even before she turned 18 and in all occasions I cried. And then, society passes biased judgement to parents like me and paints me with a big red scarlet letter . I was like an alleged criminal being cross-examined and forced to confess to a sin that I didn’t commit. I admit there were a lot of times when my kids were growing up without me because I was forced by circumstances to work and take care of my family’s needs singlehandedly. But do I have a choice?
MILES AWAY I need to leave the country and find a better job abroad and bear the hardship of being away a million miles from my kids. The most difficult times for me are when they are getting sick or having personal problems. Those would have been precious moments when they are needing the most my warm hugs and kisses or telling them that I am by their side no matter what. However I do not want to waste my time wallowing in self-pity when I can do something to make my children’s future a better one. It may not be the best decision for others, but it was the decision I already made and stood by it. All I want is the best for my kids. But no two children are alike, not even identical twins. So we need to love them according to their own individuality. When the younger kid erred on the wrong side, the elder one was a consistent honor student, got a college scholarship and leadership awards and in six months time will graduate from college and if lucky , again with honors. So, where did I go wrong and what made some things right??? .
Actually, I do not have to explain to people why things happened and why I made certain decisions. I am not here in this world to live up to their expectations nor to please them. Kids may fall down a lot of times and all we parents can do is to help them get up on their own two feet deeply hoping they have more strength after each fall.
” Being A Mother Is An Attitude, Not A Biological Relation” – Robert Heinlein
I am not a perfect mother, I am far from it. My hair gets messy, I knock down my coffee a lot of times, my purse runs out of money, I argue with my kids, family and friends. I burn the toasts, lose my job, I forget things and I suffer from migraine a lot. But no matter how imperfect life may be, for me, I am a stronger and a better parent now. The Anti-ME time became the WE time.
By far, I do not even have regrets. Honestly , I still feel being on the edge at times and still give myself the privilege to wallow in despair. The difference is, I know when it is time to stop crying , get out of my comfort zone and challenge the status quo. Our role as a parent is to give them guidance and be there for our kids when they need help and to love them unconditionally. Mothers are born nurturer and caregivers since the time of Stone Age. We are hardwired for that. We may have the tendency to control and dominate our loved ones lives . But no matter how sad and difficult it can be , we need to give them wings to fly on their own. I believe being free is the only true essence of life. But freedom comes knowing one’s limit as well. Things may seem a bit gloomy on the horizon but I need to let them go and to find out for themselves what lurks over the hedge. That is the only way we can help them, to live life to the fullest, for them to make mistakes and come back and say, that despite the dark side , hope floats and life is still worth living.
As Jodi Picoult says, ” After all motherhood is not just about bearing a child, it’s about being witness to its life” .
Things are looking up for the three of us, and hopefully it will continue to get better. It’s just a matter of seeing the glass half-full.
As a mom, do you also have a fair share of your rugged edge path?