Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Whatever makes me happy sets you free.

Listen up guys, we women are not that complicated. I mean, maybe some are (I just can’t brain people who claim they hate dramas but create dramas of their own, but that’s for another post maybe) Kau ingat your wife memang suka muram mencuka bila jumpa kau balik dari kerja? Kau ingat memang your girlfriend sejenis merajuk tak tentu hala? Most people, secara fitrahnya tidak sebegitu. Keletihan, kelaparan, kekurangan kasih sayang; are among the most popular factors yang menjadikan perempuan-perempuan dalam hidup kau tidak happy! So what do they need from you? Most normal / borderline-normal women are not that difficult to understand. We may not understand our own emotion / needs sometimes, but mostly what we want in a relationship are simple. And by WE, I mean normal / borderline-normal women; drama queens don’t count. 

SOME ATTENTION. We do not need our men to check on us 24/7 or spend time with us every waking hours of your day, and we especially don’t need our men to meddle in every aspects of our lives. But we do need some attention every day. Maybe a phone call checking whether we have safely arrived home / whether we have eaten / which of our three kids are annoying us the most. A quick brunch / tea break together. An hour of sambang-sembang before bedtime. Because we like (and need) to share about our days, and for SAHM / WFHM especially, we crave that adult conversation that doesn’t involve yelling or cartoons or homework. It is essential for our mental health. 

RESPECT. You don’t have to agree with everything we say, that’d make you boring. But it feels good when you value our opinions and decisions. A good relationship should be a safe place where we can always share our ideas and thoughts without being judged. One should first be respectful to be respected! 

ME TIME. This is especially for us mothers. Some find this selfish but I believe that we have to take care of ourselves for us to be able to take care of others. You cannot pour from an empty jar! Boleh gila tahu tak? For some lucky girls, this may mean tai tai life of coffee with friends followed by a day of pampering at our favourite spa, but for normal everyday women, me time could be as simple as some uninterrupted time for showering / morning coffee / reading / working out / nap; whatever that tickles our fancy. Special shout out to hands-on dads / dads providing helpers for your wives; you guys rock! 

GOOD FOOD. We need food. It differs what kind of food we need. But for most women and mothers especially, good, fancy caffeine will do. And maybe some cake. Lack of sleep and empty tummy is a very dangerous combination. Feed us well and we shall be happy. 

CONVERSATION AND LAUGHTER. Because how can you not stay in love with a man who treats you as his best friend and make you laugh every day? 

You can always add on more materialistic thingamijg like new handbags, winter holiday, head to toe massage, shopping spree etc etc to the list, LOL, but there you have it, our basic necessities in a relationship. The list could of course be more exhaustive for others, because we’re not made from the same mould, but you just can’t go wrong with the one above. We’re mostly not that crazy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

You do you.

Who are better moms: stay at home moms vs working moms. Which is more painful: natural birth vs c-section. Whose kids are happier: moms with messy homes vs moms with neat homes. Which is better: breastfeeding vs formula milk. THIS IS A NEVER ENDING DEBATE! 

Mothers who choose to work is not more superior than those who choose to be at home, just as stay at home mothers are certainly not more holier than those who choose to work. Our lives are different; some people want to, some people have to. YOU DO YOU. 

Any types of birth is painful, unless yeah, HELLO EPIDURAL! It does not make you a better mother just because you went through 36 hours of painful labour and give birth to your baby all natural, pankiller-free and what not. It just make you a woman who was in pain for 36 hours. C-section has its shares of pain as well, oh the recovery is longer! Trust me, I’ve been through both, and believe me when I say all kind of labour and child birth are painful. What matters is your baby shall be delivered healthily, that is all. Other than that, your choice. YOU DO YOU. 

Messy homes do not necessarily equal happy children. Yes you let your kids play and be messy but so do most mothers with clean, organized homes. Or maybe you have a designated play room, lucky you! In my case, my kids will scatter their toys starting from their room to the hall to the side porch. LOL. What’s important is both you and your kids are happy. If you are OK with messy homes, then so be it, let it go let it go. If you’re a neat freak, then it is ok too, good for you! Go clean your house every 15 minutes. YOU DO YOU. 

Breastfeeding has its benefit but it has so many cons as well. Like, well, a baby attached to your boobies isn’t exactly fun, you know? And not everyone has abundance of milk. Not every boobies are the same just as not all babies are the same. If you prefer to breastfeed and you can, do it! It’s good. But if you don’t want to or you can’t, it is OK too! Just make sure your baby is fed. That is the most important bit of raising a child. FED IS BEST. YOU DO YOU. 

Stop this vicious mommy-shaming cycle. Stop this never ending debate. Just do whatever works for you and your family. As long as your kids are happy, well fed, well behave, are not neglected and go to school, I think you’re on the right track, mommies. YOU DO YOU!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

We were just kids when we fell in love.

(Taken from my phone notes, I wrote this after two hours of relaxing prenatal massage courtesy of the husband. I may or may not have been under the influence of euphoria when this was written. LOL)

After almost 10 years of marriage, you can be rest assured that it will never be the same kind of romance when you first started as young kids in love.

It's no longer the kind of romance Ronan Keating sings about in If Tomorrow Never Comes. No longer the butterfly you feel in your tummy on the night of your aqad. You will no longer feel the same excitement and giddiness of your first halal outing together. It’s definitely not the kind rom-coms tell you about. That’s for newbies, dating couples, the newlyweds.

It is different, and much more than that. When you’ve been married for that long, a different kind of romance takes over. It’s accepting each other’s flaws and quirkiness; the freedom to be yourself without fear that your partner will abandon you for your annoying habits. It's letting your spouse has his/her own special time for him/herself. It's the occasional splurge because he/she deserves it after all his/her hard work at work/home. It's choosing to spend your free time with your spouse because you actually enjoy his/her company. It’s being with each other in sickness, unconditionally. The simple everyday surprises; coming home from work earlier than usual, simple text asking about your day, bringing home your favourite food. It's in the everydayness of life; sharing of chores, raising healthy and happy kids together, listening to each others' woes and petty tales, watching your favourite shows together for 10 minutes before you both start snoring because let’s face it, everyday life is tiresome.

It’s surviving and enjoying life together, one day at a time, hand in hand -- some days stumbling and quarrelling and pissing each other off -- but mostly hand in hand; savoring the repetitiveness of everyday life, being there for each other and finding delight in occasional surprises. That too, is romance.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dear Baby in Mommy’s Tummy

Dear Baby in Mommy’s Tummy,

Reading Elif Shafak’s letter to her unborn daughter inspired me to write one too (you will soon learn that I read a lot, not because I have too, but I actually enjoy it LOL). You are in Week 27 as I am typing this. Elif wrote about some traditional tribes’ belief that babies got to pick their mommies, and she wrote to her daughter, “I don’t know why you ended up picking me out of all the potential mothers in the universe, maybe you are a crazy kind of girl. You find the idea of a perfect mother boring. Or you already know me better than I know myself. Maybe you see the potential in me. Maybe you want to help me overcome my shortcomings. You can be my guide, my best teacher.”

Did you baby? Did you too choose me because you see the potential in me? Did you not know about my shortcomings, my quick temper, my lack of success? Were you not shown footages of me going crazy at your older brothers? Now that you are in my tummy and can hear all sorts of shenanigans I talk about with / shout at your older brothers, are you scared? Do you have a change of mind? I bet you did.

I am not a perfect mommy, kiddo. I am nowhere there. I ain’t that successful or rich or pretty too. At least not yet. But I guess you could say I have an OK heart. And that’s important. More than anything, I want you and your older brothers to have a good heart and strong, unshakable personality. You can learn most of the latter bit, together with wisdom and street smart from your father. He’s awesome. He doesn’t like whiny kids and never change your brothers’ diapers LOL but I don’t mind it at all. He’s a great dad and you’re gonna love him.

Oh are you scared of your big brother Hadi? Yea he likes to shout a lot at home but he’s actually a great kid. He dotes on Noah and Saif in his own special way. I am counting on your big brother here to protect all of you younger cubs, and I know he will, because your parents will not be here forever. I hope you will grow up learning to love and care for Noah the way I do. He will need you, he will need all of us to be his anchor. He is one of our paths to Jannah, always remember that. I know you will be such best friends with Saif because he’s just so much fun to be around. Are you excited to meet your big brothers? I bet you do.

We are excited to meet you too, Baby in my Tummy. Thank you for looking past all my issues and far from perfect self and choosing me to be your mommy. Looking forward to it. But for now, stay put, grow healthily and have fun kicking me from the inside.

Lots of love; Your Imperfect Momma.

Elif Shafak, Black Milk.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Little big things.

It is nearing the end of school year for 2017 and it seems like almost everyone's kids are getting academic awards for their achievements.

Mine did not. Not this time. But today I am OK with it. I am OK that he is not on the top of his class because he now reads well enough for me to stop worrying. I am OK that he can mengaji & also read some musical notes. I am OK that he did well for English and Science but rather poorly for Maths. I am OK because he invents funny words like "oldbinton" to describe playing badminton with old people like Mama, and that he knows what a banjo and lasso are, and that he uses proper sentence like "I would say they are teenagers." Of course I do not wish for my kids to be mediocre but there is always room for academic improvements. And although getting straight As is very commendable, there are also many other little achievements to be celebrated if we choose to do so. 

Today, I choose to be OK with the kid I am raising and pray that he will continue to surprise me with many little big things.

Gotta love Beverly Goldbergs!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Photographs and memories.

There are some things in life that are able to evoke all sort of melancholic in me; like a favourite song from the past, the smell of my mother’s cooking, Michael Jackson’s One Day in Your Life, the sound of rain, and strangely, watching my kids play at the park.

We have this Friday morning routine of strolling around the neighborhood and stopping by the nearest playground for a quick morning play. And every single time I sit on the bench with Noah beside me, watching Hadi and Saif messing around playing together, my heart will make a little leap. Every single time. I will be reminded that one day, all that will be left for me are the memories of these days. It may not mean much to them, Saif may not even remember this routine of ours, but I will. One day when the nest is empty and I pass by the playground, I will surely long for all the childish fun and laughter we once had together.

“The days are long but the years are short” perfectly sums up our life as a mommy. It is tiring, being a parent. You constantly have to remind yourself that time is precious, that they will not stay this small forever, but it’s hard to do that sometimes after countless interrupted sleeps and long day of tending to their every needs. But these years of raising little children fly by so quickly. One minute Hadi was this cheeky bubbly toddler and suddenly he is turning 8 just next year. Before I know it, these boys will not need my daily hugs, me helping with homework, cooking them breakfast, fixing their hair, lying down with them until they fell asleep. One day, I will surely miss their sweet innocence and clinginess.

But as at now, they’re stuck with me for at least another 10 to 20 years. Let’s just enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Crappy mommy.

We all have days when we feel really crappy as a mommy. Maybe Marion and Dr. Jezemine Lim don’t, because they’re perfect. But yeah, I am talking about us normal, sometimes-awesome-but-sometimes-crappy mommies. 

My firstborn can’t seem to get straight As, the other isn’t improving too much in his mobility even after years of therapies and the other doesn’t seem to be able to talk as many words as a 2 year old should. It makes me think that I did not spend enough time to help the first one with his studies, that I haven’t done enough for the second one’s improvement, that it’s my fault that the third one has yet to construct a sentence. And that maybe I didn’t make enough doa. That maybe I sin a lot that my doa is not makbul. That maybe, I am just a lousy mommy, as simple as that. But believe me I tried. Oh God, I HAVE TRIED. I hope my kids know I have tried and gave all my best on most days. I hope God knows. 

And entering the second trimester of this pregnancy at this much older age has made me really exhausted sometimes and most days at the end of the day I just want to put everyone to sleep so that I may be able to rest a bit, only to be waken up at random hours at night to kids having nightmares, coughing streaks, mosquitoes festivals and baby #4 squishing my bladder. 

There are good days, when I feel energized, when I’m positive about raising my children, when I start the day all chirpy and cook good stuff, spent the whole day not being grumpy at all, basking in the moment, listening and engaging well with my kids, days when I enjoy every speck of motherhood, the whole nine yard. 

But there are days like today, when I feel sick and crappy and like I am going to split into two, even after a cone of chocolate sundae. Perhaps this is my bad right knee talking, I don’t know, maybe I just need a good hug and a new pretty purse. Crappy washed out purse makes you feel crappy.

Oh and send me the Joy Blend pronto, Ayin. Let’s see if it will do wonders.