Growing up, we all have aspirations about who our future self would be. I love kids, and I have always wanted to have my own. I would dote on them. I’d be the best —the cool mum, the fun mum, their BFF!
But reality is often a different story. And as I look back, 12 years and four children later, I see how far I’ve fallen from some of the ideals I had of motherhood and the kind of mother I had set out to be.
WHEN I AM A MUM, I WILL ALWAYS BE GENTLE, SWEET AND PATIENT.
Hah! Who was I kidding! My patience has a shorter reserve than an iPhone battery.
Usually, the full battery pack lasts for ONE trying episode with whoever that lucky child is. I am Super Nanny, with my calm, soothing voice, my poise, and my reassuring smile. And when that episode is resolved, I silently clap myself on the back and congratulate me on my fine child management techniques.
But when the second misdemeanor of the day comes along, I go from zero to 100 in five seconds flat. A little like the Hulk. Although I’d probably look more like Cruella de Vil.
WHEN I AM A MUM, I WON'T EVER CUSS IN FRONT OF THE KIDS.
We were watching this hilarious Jimmy Kimmel video, where kids were interviewed about the cuss words their mothers say. Hubby turned to my kids and asked, “So what’s the worst thing Mum has ever said?”
Boy immediately answered, “Bl**dy H*ll!”
I have always prided myself in watching my speech, especially in front of the kids. I mean, I hardly ever cuss, and that’s not even something I would even normally say. But I guess that’s the problem. That word was not on my cuss-word filter list, hence it must have slipped through when I wasn’t paying attention.
WHEN I AM A MUM, I WON'T BE LIKE MY MUM.
I grew up thinking I’d do a better job at parenting than my mum did. Move over Amy Chua. She was the real Tiger Mother. I would be different, I promised myself.
But as years went by, I found myself saying things she’d say (“Because I said so!”), and doing things she’d do (like forcing them to practice their piano or being times table drill sergeant). Sometimes I’d react the exact same way she did … the way I disliked when I was a child. Sometimes I wonder if my kids also whisper under their breath, “I hate my Mum,” before they slept.
And often times, I wish I were a little more like my mother. She would bake and sew and shop for us. I remember how she would make the best pastries for all our class parties — I never had to bring any leftovers home.
My kids have to make do with store-bought puddings for every class party they ever had. And everything time they need something — a new pair of pants for a school concert, a haircut, or some iPad time — Grandma is their go-to person.
No, my mother wasn’t an ‘ideal’ mum. She had her tempers. She didn’t really have time for fun games or creative activities. But she’s my mum. And she did the best she could for me. She still does, even till today. And I can say I wouldn’t trade my mum for any other in the world.
And despite the drama and the tears, I thank God that my children feel the same. They’d assure me, often, that I am the best mother they could ever have. Sometimes without me asking them to.
And even after the most incredible meltdown (from me), they would still wrap their arms around me, shower me with kisses, and say, “It’s okay, Mummy. We still love you.”
And that’s good enough for me.