Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One big paranoid scaredy cat

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's post is by Pamela, who is a mother of three young children aged between two to five years.  She is currently working full-time, and sells board games online as a side-line.  Pamela has varied interests, including playing strategy board games, engaging in various outdoor sports, collecting Spiderman action figures and creating photo collections of her family.  She maintains a personal blog at "Tan Family Chronicles" the as well as an online board game store, "My First Games".


Ever since I started blogging - which, incidentally, is when I became a mother - I have always wanted to write a blog post on how motherhood has changed me. Somehow, the post never got done. And through the years (more than 5 years now, wow!), the mental list of ways in which motherhood changed me just kept getting longer.

I shall not talk about how my girth has enlarged and fitness level dropped. Nor what a waste it is that I am not into tattooing since I now have so much real estate for tattooing on my thighs and butt. Neither shall I talk about how my shoe-size has increased by one size, or that I now wear my wedding and engagement rings on a chain around my neck as they can no longer get pass the knuckle on my fingers...

Instead, I shall tell you about how motherhood has made me into one big paranoid scaredy-cat.

Before motherhood, I was this garang, dare-devil tomboy who enjoyed thrilling activities like canyoning and sky-diving; relished watching macabre movies (Saw!!! zombie movies!) and tv shows on gruesome crime (CSI); reading and collecting books on famous serial killers...

Today, while I am still game to go on crazy roller coaster rides like the Battlestar Galactica at the Universal Studios Singapore which I very much enjoyed - I now, tend to vere towards "safer" thrilling activities like say the luge or a long water slide - something which will not potentially be fatal. I confess, that, as I sat in the suspended Cylon ride carriage, I actually said a silent prayer as the ride started. Suddenly, all the newspaper reports of how the Battlestar Galactica ride was delayed before the theme park opened due to a ride carriage falling off during one of its test runs flashed past my eyes. "This could be the day I die." I thought to myself, thanking God that hubbs wasn't on the ride with me, so that, *touch*wood* if anything happened to me on this ride, he'd still be around to take care of the kids.

The Gloucester Tree in Pemberton, Australia.

The first time I consciously realised that I was now afraid of taking part in activities which were potentially fatal, was when Isaac was about 22 months old on our holiday to Perth, Australia with him for the first time. We were in Pemberton to see its climbing trees - trees you could climb coz they inserted metal rods into the tree for you to climb up. The Gloucester Tree was 61 metres high, and you could climb all the way to the treehouse built at the top of it, just like climbing a ladder. The rungs were about a feet apart, plenty of space for someone to slip through. But I'm sure no one has died there yet, but still.  My cousins and hubbs - all climbed the tree all the way to the top of the 61m high tree. Me, I just climbed a few rungs to have the picture taken. I didn't even consider climbing it, it was out of the question.

There and then, looking after the kids while waiting for hubbs and my cousins to climb up and come back down, I realised that I refused to climb because I felt that I was unnecessarily endangering my life. What if I died? Isaac would have no milk to drink (I was still breastfeeding then). I have responsibilities now. I am a mother. What would my child do without me? I realised that the pre-mummy me, would have been one of the first to have climbed up that tree. Suddenly, I was glad that we had an exciting honeymoon in New Zealand where we did canyoning, white water rafting, sky-diving etc... activities which I am not sure I will partake in now.

While I still have a macabre interest in serial killers, I don't read about it much now.  Because when I do, my heart aches for the victims and their families.  I'd imagine how heartbroken I'd be if those children killed were my own.  The same goes for true crime reports or tv shows like Crime Watch and CSI (Crime Scene Investigation).  I never used to feel this deeply for the victims before I became a mother.

Also, perhaps because I have read so much about so many serial killers. I know all the tricks they employed to help them successfully capture the children and women they have killed... and I start to formulate lesson plans in which I would warn my children to watch out for suspicious characters, and how to fight back and protect themselves should anything untoward happen. 

Is that a nice old man? No! It may be another Albert Fish! What about that funny clown? Urrgh, that could be John Wayne Gacy's protege! What about that nice couple there? That auntie and uncle is asking for help... wait! They could be another Brady & Hindley or even closer home Adrian Lim and wife! Oh the horrors! Not all dangerous people look as hedious, scary or as awful as all these mugshots too. Ted Bundy was a handsome fella - and he used his smiles to trick many a girl! The world is such a dangerous place!

I remind my eldest, Isaac, that he's only a little boy, so adults should not be asking him for help - a la Ted Bundy's little trick of asking people for help. I also role play with Isaac to teach him and warn him against anybody who might ask him for permission to view or touch his private parts.

My overactive imagination went into overdrive when, a few months back, reports were sprouting up everywhere about attempted kidnapping of children in Singapore. Eventually, police stated in reports that no kidnappings actually took place and that it was all a hoax. But frankly, I believe there is no smoke without a fire. Perhaps no actual kidnappings took place - because none were successful. But attempted kidnappings very likely took place, and the government is just trying to prevent a public panic when they issue statements that there were no kidnappings... Can you see Paranoid Pam at work?! In any case, at least the whole episode made parents more careful and wary about the safety of their children. And hubbs stopped saying that I was being silly when I insisted that the kids should not be allowed to play outside the restaurant, out of our sight...

I guess all this stems from me being the protective mother and all. Being a mother makes me appreciate all the sacrifices parents make for their children. It also makes me more likely to tear now, than before, when watching movies with touching scenes. There is one movie scene which only made me tear after I became a mother. It was in The Incredibles, the animated film about a family with superhero powers. Remember the scene where the mother Elastigirl was with her two children, in a plane that was going to crash? She actually wrapped her entire body around her children to protect them from the blast of the aeroplane blowing up. Before I became a mother, I thought this was so cool, and cheered that the three of them were not hurt. After I became a mother, I teared, thinking that if I were to choose a superpower to have, this would be the super power I will choose, just so I can protect my children if and when such a need arises. I was moved to tears as I was so relieved that Elastigirl was able to save her children. I never thought I'd be so soppy!

So, 5 years on, these are some of the ways in which I had observed how motherhood changed me. It amuses me that motherhood would change me this way. I suspect there would be more to come. But one thing's for sure, I'm becoming more and more like my mother! arrrghh!!! :p


  1. Hi Pamela,

    I totally relate to the crazy paranoia too and wanting to protect them. You totally made me laugh with your last line about becoming more and more like your mum.

    Oh and some people I know would go as far as to take different flights when travelling to a country so that if the plane were to crash, at least one parent would survive. Would you?

  2. Hi Jasmine,

    Sorry, I just saw this comment of yours. Yes I heard of this airplane thing as well. And I was actually very taken with the logic of it! For this reason, I am quite reluctant to take any overseas holiday with my hubbs alone (without the kids).

    hahaha yeah, as the years go by, I find that I am becoming more and more like my mum! :p




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