Thursday, June 7, 2012

The "Know-All" Mommies

Sometimes being a mother feels worse than an employee evaluation session! I mean honestly! 

Today I was out with my kids. I thought, ok... work has to wait, let's just have fun & take the kids to the indoor playground gym. (I'm not sure what you call it really)

Most kids came with their maids. Their parents are either shopping in the mall or at the playground cafe chatting with other mothers. Too many times, their kids misbehaved but the maids have no authority over these kids. It does make the experience less than pleasurable. Especially when my own kids are 2 & 1.

But that's not the topic of conversation today. As I was playing with my kids, a fellow mom who decided to join in her kids fun came & praised my children for being good kids. I saw her kids and the youngest is also around 1 I think. The older one is probably 3.

We started talking and eventually she decided that it was her preaching session. Till today, I have always tried to refrain myself from giving other mothers advise unless she wants my opinion on things. I always find it funny how people come to me, say my children are good and tell me what I can do better. And I have never met this woman before! Yup, a stranger!

This is quite common it seems. Mothers can't help it. They can't help feeling like other mothers need their wise advises over everything. There was once when a mother of one child was actually telling me what she does to get her kid talking. Mind you, her kid didn't talk any faster than any other children but she was pointing out to me the ways to get kids talking. Was my kids not talking? Or why did she think I needed that advise? :)  It's hilarious how they always think that them being a mother gives them the throne of know all. It doesn't matter that I have more children than them! Haha

One even came to me and said "Your kids are not using pacifier." I said no... I admitted that I did try to get them to use the pacifier but they seemed to hate them. She nodded knowingly and said " Mark my word. Your children are gonna suck their thumb instead and that’s gonna be even harder habit to kick."

I nodded thankfully as usual (when I come face to face to "know-all mothers") but till date, none of my children sucked their thumbs. So what does that tell ya? Maybe...just may not know EVERYTHING after all?!

Mothers-get-togethers are the worse. I have never been to a mothers group ever in my life. I have a feeling that they do secretly judge each other & sometimes openly put you down without realising it. And once while I was having my coffee next to a table full of mothers, I heard their conversation going the expected drift.

They are very predictable. They all want to have a say. They all want to feel like they are a good mother and therefore they need to speak up an advise or two. That's alright. Nothing wrong with that.

But when mothers became very judgemental. "Oh? You put your 18 months old in a playgroup already???!!! My goodness. I can't bear to have strangers  put their hands on little Johnny. And I wanna spend his every waking hours with him. And will they change him immediately if he is not clean?"

Ok, cool it.... first of all, maybe you do need to have your kid away from yourself for that 3 hours so you can regain your sanity. Maybe it will help you see things clearer? Be honest, they do drive you crazy sometimes! So I’m sure wanting to spend his every waking hour with him is a bit over rated!

And it will do you good to have a bit of rest? And seriously... do you think I do not care about my son enough that I wouldn't care if they would change him or not? OF COURSE I'VE CHECKED about all that. Now ladies ... no one wanna be among a smelly baby. You think they would go "let's pretend we don't smell anything and go on with the day." I think they wouldn't want the risk of everything poo-spill everywhere! Relax will you??

You probably would be more relaxed if you had gotten your rest!? So chill .. putting your kid into a playgroup doesn’t mean you are “throwing” your kid into a place so that you can rest or because you are lazy or you don’t care enough… That’s rubbish!

You are actually putting him in a place where he could have fun with his peers and be more productive at the same time, extending his learning curve to a whole new level … and meanwhile you get to rest & keep your sanity in check. Honestly, the perception should be as such!

And some of these ladies have very strong opinions. While the rest would absorb this frightening scenario and go "oh my... I'm not gonna put my kids in playgroup in that case."

Please do some research before believing these blatantly convincing strong will women. First of all, you may be convinced that having your child hang around you is more productive. But studies have shown that only 5% of mothers are REALLY being very productive towards their children. Let them spread their wings for goodness sake.

It doesn’t do the children any good if the children depends ONLY on their mothers for comfort. They need to play with kids their age and learn how to socialise with kids their age. Team work, communicating, etc.

Moreover, most mothers either spent their time shopping, sipping coffee at the cafe or having hen's lunch. None of which would be productive for their toddlers. While the mothers chat, they convinced themselves that the first point of hanging around with kids their age are fulfilled but ladies, they are not learning anything from each other.

Meanwhile, the 3 hours that you DO take your kids to a playgroup allows the kids to learn something new every single day! And mothers, you still can go shopping and have your coffee or lunch. Let them be with professionals who know how to deal with toddlers and how to make them learn the fun way.

I have to say, I have never regretted putting my first daughter to playgroup since she was 18 months and I will do the same for my son too. It provides a little tiny break. So no, I’m not a bad mother just because I want my kids to learn something productive every day. I’m not a bad mother for letting them be more independent. It’s not wrong to actually like that 3 hour break in a day. In fact it makes me an even better mother because I have more energy after her sessions for me to teach her more things in life.

To date, I have been impressed by the things my daughter told me she learned in school. I love the fact that she is 2 and she know 1- 30 and she could read all 26 alphabets.

Yes I’m very proud of her. I’m impressed that she is learning very fast and the things that she comes back with are usually not the things she would have learned by hanging around mothers & their children. And for goodness sake it’s just 3 hours!

Some the things that I was “taught” was that you point at the things you are teaching your kids. I kid you not. This mother who was telling me was so sure that I didn’t know that before she told me. I usually do not like to burst their bubble so I would go “Really? Aaahhh…” But honestly mothers, have you ever tried teaching your son what a moon is without pointing at the moon? :)

There are a lot of stuff that are not intentional. Like one of the new mother to be, who is in the midst of buying car seat and was literally reading forums after forums just to buy one car seat. She saw my car seat and said “Yeah I’ve read this one. It is bulky and it has this and that …bla bla bla…” I can’t really remember what she said but she unintentionally implying that I didn’t make a good choice for my daughter. She said she was gonna buy another brand which all mothers claimed are the safest. Ok… good on you. I had my son a year later and I bought the same car seat for him. I am not easily deterred by easily influenced ladies and their claims. I’m a mother and like all mothers I want the best for my kids. Would I buy something not safe for my children? No. So no….I did my own research too and there is nothing wrong with our car seats.

When I was buying pram, it was overwhelming. I think it was easier to buy a car than a pram because you love your children too much that you wanna make sure you make the right choice. I finally bought something which no one else I know would buy. Singapore has brought in only 5 units and they never did again because Singaporean are just too afraid of that posh looking pram. I bought it anyway and have since never found any other pram which are just as comfortable for both the child in it and the parents pushing it. I bought one pram which resides permanently at my mother in law’s place for whenever we are in Australia and we have one that we bought for traveling . And I have to say that I do miss our pram at home for its convenience and comfort.

My bestfriend had a baby the same time I have my second. They were contemplating on many different prams. Trust me they can afford any pram they want. But she decided that she was gonna get the same pram I have. And she loves it! During a recent travel, the pram got spoilt (thus the reason why I have a “traveling” pram) and guess what? She bought the exact same brand again – ordered all the way form U.S!

We both have never been happier! So while other parents were telling us not to get these prams, we have never been satisfied and would not opt for anything else. We could advise them to get these prams but honestly, it’s really up to the individual and we don’t feel like jumping into the “Advising” wagon.

So while I am refraining myself from telling other mothers (who actually may know more than I do but was being polite and not bursting my bubble), I can’t help other mothers who simply can’t resist. I would smile and nod thankfully. But ladies…I may not be the best but I’m not that bad of a mom you know. :)