ESTABLISHING YOURSELF (a few details that help somemothers know what they have in common with you).
I am 34 years old.
I am currently married, but am possibly facing divorce after being together for eleven years.
I have a daughter. Here is her age: she will be 7 years old in 3 months time.
I have been a full-time housewife and then a stay-at-home mother since I got married and since my daughter was born.
I live in a busy metropolitan city, in a society where status and wealth for some reason matters more than personality.
I completed my undergraduate studies in Psychology and Economics.
Of note about my ethnicity and/or cultural background: ¾ Chinese and ¼ Dutch.
NOW, TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOU
- The most significant aspect of my upbringing. My parents were divorced when I was three years old, because my father was a womanizer and a gambler. I was raised by my mother, who placed an extremely high importance on education and being financially independent. My mother went on to marry twice more, but all ended in divorce. Because of that, I grew up believing that men can’t be trusted.
- My best advice to mothers about to enter the stage of child rearing that I just went through. Chill, try to take it easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself over a small mistake or oops moment. And never fear that your child won’t love you back if he or she happens to be difficult during the first few months. My daughter used to prefer her nanny when she was a baby; she always struggled out of my arms, and I was never able to rock her to sleep in my arms. I used to hate myself for that… thinking I must have been a bad mother. But a child knows when he or she’s loved and who loves him/her the most. I think it was at 5 months old, when suddenly she just decided to stick to me like a glue.
- Something that concerns me about my child. My impending divorce… it breaks my heart to know that she will not be able to have her mommy and daddy living under the same roof. I worry of how my divorce would affect her in the long run: in how she views relationships and the opposite sex, in how she carries herself being a child of divorce when her friends are not, and in how she envisions marriage and family life later on. I also wished I had given her a sibling… I am an only child. Growing up being an only child was tough for me because I felt so much expectations coming from my parents. As I get older, I often wished I had a sibling to share my concerns and feelings, especially when it comes to worrying about my parents’ health.
- My absolute worst mothering moment (so far). It is so easy to take for granted, that my daughter would always be the way she is, that at times when she clung to me or wanted to spend time with me, I too often brushed her aside, say, “Later, Mommy’s busy right now.” Those moments, once passed, can never be repeated. I regret the times when I failed to cherish moments that seemed inconsequential. Time flies when it comes to how quickly our children grow. It is very easy to miss it if you don’t pay attention.
- What annoys me most about other mothers. Mothers who are very competitive and think very highly of themselves. Their children always have to be the best: go to the best schools, get the best grades, do the most extracurricular activities, and achieve various developmental milestones much earlier than other kids. These mothers, proud of how they raise their children, often believe that their way is the only correct way of parenting. They look down on other mothers who do things differently than they do (for example, staying-at-home vs. working moms), not realizing that there are moms with different beliefs, and there are also moms bound by circumstances in their lives.
- I am happiest when I hear my daughter laughs.
- I am saddest when something or somebody hurts my child’s feelings. My mother instinct immediately kicks in and wants to protect her. To tell her that she is loved.
- My biggest fear is if my daughter is harmed in any way. And if somehow I passed on before I could fulfill my responsibility in preparing her to stand on her own two feet.
- I am ashamed of a lot more than I care to admit. Of letting problems between me and my husband pile higher and higher until it has become an insurmountable mountain. Of not being able to give a good example to her of how a marriage life should be.
- Something I need to forgive. I need to forgive my father for being the kind of husband to my mother and for the kind of father that he was to me.
- Something I wish I could say to someone. I wish I could tell my husband how much I regret not paying more attention to his needs earlier. I wish I could tell my mother not to worry so much over me.
- Something I have never told anyone.
- Something I am trying to change about myself. I’m trying to love myself more. To not expect myself to be perfect all the time and to not beat myself whenever I make mistakes. I’m learning to accept that there are things that I’m good at, and there are also things that I’m just not good at… and that’s ok.
- My biggest accomplishment. Having a daughter who is kind-hearted, full of empathy, always cheerful and excited to learn and try on new things. There are times when I am just in awe… and so thankful to God, that I, who am so negative and anxious-ridden, am blessed with a daughter that’s so different to me in every (good) way!
- I wish for good health for my family, for reconciliation of my marriage, for a closer relationship with God.
- Something my relationship with my mother has taught me about parenting. The importance of praise: never punish, always encourage. And that it is okay to make mistakes.
- Something my relationship with my father has taught me about parenting. That even your own father can treat you like nothing more than an atm machine. Action speaks louder than words.
- How I would describe my faith life. I am a Christian. I need to have more faith to “walk by faith and not by sight.” To spend more time with God, and to be more patient when it comes to His timing.
- Something I hope will be different for me by this time next year. I hope by next year I would already be accepted to the school of my choice (I would like to go back to school) and that I don’t cry as much anymore.
- Something important about my story that hasn’t been captured by the questions above. I am an introvert, socially awkward despite my outer appearance. When people see me, they tend to see only the outside. Of how I live comfortably and how money is not an issue. Of how could I be crying when my situation is still “much better” compared to other people. It’s so easy to judge people who looked like they have everything as having a life that’s equally perfect, and that there can’t possibly be anything that are worth their complaining about. Few people realize that problems and trials do not discriminate. I believe that each person has his or her own cross to bear.
- BONUS: A question you would like to see added to this list that readers can respond to in the comments. Do you believe that once lost, love could grow back?