Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feeling Like A-Not-Good-Enough Mother

Have you ever felt like you are not a good enough mother? Or is it just me?

Sometimes I feel like that. I have a 31 months old daughter & a 16 months old son. Both very hyperactive.The small gap between them provides a love hate relationship.

Most times, they love each other. But there are times when they would literally hurt each other.

Sometimes I would have to cancel a conference call to attend to my children. Although we have a maid, her main job scope is cooking & cleaning. It's pretty normal in Singapore that having a maid means you have a babysitter 24-7!

Maybe I'm just stubborn or just too anal, but I have never left my children with my maid. There is nothing wrong with leaving the kids with her. I can trust her. But I just have this snobbish feeling that they are mine & only me, me, me shall take care of them.

Running an advertising company in Singapore & Australia means I have to REALLY juggle my time between kids, employees & work. I did it so well for a while but I think the system is beginning to fall through now. The kids are getting older & being in my office, doodling, playing with their toys  just won't do it anymore.

My daughter is in playschool now. She goes to school every day from 9:30 am till 12:30 pm. During that time, I work since my son would have his nap anyway. I would fetch her & I would play with the kids till it's their nap time. While they are sleeping, I would rush my job to cover as many as I can within the short period of time. Yup, I am amazed to what I could do in a short period of time when I am so pressured! ;)

They would wake up at 4pm. I would take them to the playground, to the beach or to the pool. Wear them out. And take them home, shower them, have dinner (with my husband too) & put them to bed.

That would be around 8pm. I would work a bit more, till maybe 9:30 or 10 pm before I joined my husband in the living room for our quality time.

We usually do not go to bed earlier than midnight. We have so much to catch up on about the day.  I am working & taking care of the kids during the day which means my husband does the night shift! :)

I do not wake up to attend to them. I might be woken up by them from their crying but my husband attends to them. Have no idea how or when we ended up having such a routine. We definitely didn't talk about it. My husband is glad to do it though. He said otherwise he feels like he is missing the bonding part with his children.... …alright,dear....if you insist! ;)

Anyway, lately, my daughter has been acting different. Maybe it's just being a terrible two. Or maybe there is something more.

I have always not in favour of smacking or screaming at my children. I use the NAUGHTY CHAIR technique. And it was working on my daughter for the longest time till recently.

She became somewhat angry ... ALL THE TIME. And she would say she hates me. And everything that is normal... like having lunch or dinner... she would oppose to it. I was certain that she was just refusing lunch & dinner just to piss  us off. Or to get a reaction from us.

For the longest time, I have been very patient. When she starts her tantrum, I would validate if she needs a hug (against her wish of course) or should I ignore her.

Once in Target in Australia, she decided to wail & lay down in the middle of the aisle. I let her. I sat somewhere nearby & told her that once her performance is over, I would be just there waiting for her. After 5 minutes of shouting & screaming (of course it came with a lot of staring, head shaking & nasty remarks from other people about how I should control my child), she finally came to me & apologised (where were the nasty remark people now?? They should have seen that!)

Right.... my daughter is not all bad. Somehow or rather, she does come to her senses eventually & would come and apologise.... but before that, the whole public humiliation has grown me 6 inch of skin. Yup, I'm a thick skin mama now.

On the other hand, sometimes all she needed was a hug but she refused to admit it. She would be throwing herself on the floor, screaming & crying, kicking & punching anyone who gets in her way.

No one else seems to be able to handle her except me. I would grab her making sure that I lock her arms & legs in my embrace so that I don't get hurt, and hold her very tight, whispering "I love you so much sweetheart. I really do... It's ok.... I'm here with you"

That seems to calm her down. Eventually I could feel her body softens & she would apologise & kiss me.

I would then take the chance to explain what she did wrong. I kept it at only 2 sentences before I hug her again.

Having said that, I do not handle it well all the time. There were times when she would do anything just to stir up her little brother. Or vice versa. And it's always happening when I have a dateline or I have to answer a call. Or reply to an urgent email. All the crucial time in the world!

How I do what I do, I don't know. I am taking one day at a time but yesterday I lost it.

They were arguing & my daughter suddenly whipped her hand up & hit her brother. After getting into a string of trouble before that & too many scolding which didn't seem to sink in, I got so mad that I shouted at her... I was shocked myself. Both my children stopped & starred at me.

Then I had a sense of panic ... Oh no what have I done?! I lost control! I really did. For the very first time, I asked the maid to watch the kids while I went to the bathroom to regain my composure. I was disappointed at myself. I was broken - by a 2 year old She won! I lost! I mean seriously!! How can that even be possible?!

After a few minutes, I came out again & what a surprise ... they were arguing. The shout didn't change anything. Which confirms the fact that screaming at my children is a waste of time. What I was afraid to admit was that, 20 minutes later, my daughter got really upset that she shouted at me. What have I done? She seems to learn the wrong thing?! She seems to think that if you are super angry, just shout!!!

I felt like a total loser. Tried to call my husband but he was in a meeting. I was somehow disappointed in myself & felt like I'm the worse mother ever.

Then the conversations I had prior to these about how other mothers do this & that & how they control their was playing at the back of my head.... like a spoilt cassette recorder (If that even exists anymore!) Somehow I was spiralling down.... feeling sorry for myself & was even blaming me trying to juggle work & family as a reason.....

But wait, I work only when they are not available.... oh just let me feel sorry for myself!

It’s fair to say that I wasn’t proud of myself yesterday. Does that ever happened to you too? Or is it just me?