Thursday, September 6, 2012

Motherhood is a journey

In July, blogging mothers from Singapore shared their stories on how being a mother has changed them (read their stories here).  This month, we will be hearing more from them about their journeys through motherhood.

Today, we welcome Ling Siew, a mother to two boys – Nathan (almost 3 years old) and Noah (1 year old).  She recently quit her full time job, so that she could have more time for her boys. It took her a long time before she decided to stay home full time, and boy is she glad she did.  She’s started "Mama Shoppe", which she operates out of home.  She blogs at "A View from Mama’s Desk", where she writes about her boys’ adventures at school, at ‘work’ and at play. 


Becoming a mother has changed me in more ways than one.  Nathan turns 3 in a few days… which means that I’ve been a mother for almost 3 years!  What has motherhood taught me?  How has it changed me?

I still remember Nathan’s very first month.  It was difficult.  The night feeds and breastfeeding woes really got to me…  I didn’t quite understand why he was crying at times, and I was careful not to form ‘bad habits’ that will be hard to kick.  So I stuck with rules like ‘no pacifier in the first month’ to prevent nipple confusion, ‘no rocking / nursing to sleep’ if you don’t want him to be reliant on that to fall asleep.  I had to draw on God’s strength daily to get through each day.  Unlike ‘going to work’, where I could look forward to going home, being a mother means that I am at work 24 hours a day.  I also decided not to hire a confinement nanny, so the main caregiver was yours truly.  We eventually got the hang of things…  I knew why he was crying, how he liked to be nursed, how to put him to sleep etc…  And like what most mums tell me, the first month is the difficult, but it does get better.  So if you are a new mum struggling in your first month, know that it does get less difficult.  So how did that change me?  I learnt to appreciate my mom more.  Thru the years, I think I never really saw the sacrifices she made for me and often took for granted all the things she does for me.  Becoming a mother myself opened my eyes to how selfless my mom has been all these years, putting up with me during my rebellious teenage years, worrying about me when I was out late or far away in the US pursuing my degree, giving in to my whims and fancies.  Being a mother myself has made me appreciate my own mother more than before.

As a child, I remember how my mom or dad will always save the best parts of the chicken for me… or let me half the last piece of meat on the plate, if I so desired.  你吃,你吃。我不要。Being little then, I’d just happily gobble down whatever is left, without thinking much…  But now, I see that this is just one example of their selfless love for me.  With Nathan and Noah, I’d always let them have the first sip of milk shake, and the last cookie (unless I feel that they’ve had too much).  My needs and wants are no longer as important as theirs.  I dare not call myself selfless, but I suppose it is just what every mom would do.  My days are planned with their routines in mind, our outings are planned with their interests in mind.  Dean and I haven’t gone (and will probably not be going) for a holiday on our own, and we haven’t had a spa treat every since Nathan was born.  But all these don’t really matter…  I enjoy bringing them to feed the fishes, going to the playgrounds, attending birthday parties, seeing their smiles and hearing them chuckle in delight makes my day.

I’ve learnt to be more organized and efficient.  My calendar is now filled with not just my appointments, but also Nathan’s and Noah’s.  I’ve learnt to prioritize better, and work within the short pockets of time I have while they nap, are in school, or are playing at the playground.

I’ve learnt to slow down and appreciate nature.  Noah has recently started talking (for now, just single words).  Seeing his enthusiasm when he spots or hears a bird and screams “bird, bird” reminds me of the need to slow down, to look, to listen.  Nathan likes picking twigs and stones, and watching snails creep by.  I must admit that there were times when I’ve gotten impatient and asked him to hurry up and follow me, instead of trailing behind.  I think it is good to make time to stop and smell the flowers in the midst of our busy lives.

Motherhood is a journey.  I’ve learnt much, changed much… but there’s more to be learnt, and I pray daily that God will continue to mould me into the mother he wants me to be.

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