I was clearing one of my kitchen shelves one day and found a bag of chrysanthemum tea sachets that were going to expire in a week.
I asked the son and the husband if they were going to assist me in drinking them up and both of them said no.
So the next day, right after a terrible tantrum, the son was sitting in the kitchen to calm down. I secretly made a cup of chrysanthemum tea for him and left it on the counter.
Sitting next to him, I asked him if he enjoyed his tantrums and being scolded by the dad for all his nonsense. I also told him that he has the ability to manage himself and learn to do as he is told. I later handed him the drink and casually said, “maybe this might help you be good too”.
And it has stuck ever since. Whenever he had a meltdown, he’d ask for his “good boy tea”.
Now that there are no tea sachets left, he’s been bugging us to get more so he can continue to be a “good boy”!
I never quite believed in the ‘a mom’s work never ends’ saying until I became one myself. The reality probably hits you the hardest once you’re home 24/7 with your kids without any extra help. Just you and your spouse. But then again, the spouse most likely doesn’t function the same way as you do so no one really understands what weight you’re placing onto yourself for running a home well.
Having a mom-mind means going to bed prepping yourself for a list of things to be done the next day. It means waking up in shock because your baby has been screaming for milk and still you’re trying to sort the day’s tasks according to everyone’s plans effectively with a foggy mind.
Your 1-minute toilet trips are for you to calm down and convince yourself that you’re going to do fine for that day. You hurriedly gobble down that Instagram-worthy breakfast you made (on days you somehow managed to have a break) because the baby decides to poop at the wrong time of the day. Wait, can there even be a wrong time to poop?
Yes. There can be. See, the mom-mind plans things out perfectly. And a moment out of place means having to replan and reshuffle events/meals/tasks/chores just to accommodate the sudden change. That just creates chaos in the brain.
The Husband and I share the tasks at home. This can be both a heaven and a hell. The moments most appreciated are when he steps up and does the dishes or cooks lunch willingly. He made this a couple of days ago and it was good!
The strangle-him moment is also when he decides to feed the infant child on his own. So why is that bad? Because the mom-mind had probably planned to use the remaining formula from the latest feed (which he had emptied down the sink) to add to the baby cereal. Moments like this make me burst. My perfect plan (or what I choose to call perfect) that I had been crafting all morning was ruined in an instance.
I’m beginning to accept that having children means having your best of plans busted most of the time. The angelic child you thought you knew may suddenly throw the worst of tantrums in the middle of a carpark, leaving you looking like the most unloving parent ever. The baby may vomit all over your brand new dinner dress as you enter the restaurant. The scatterbrained mom may have forgotten to pack the containers of formula milk for their 6hr road trip with the 7month old baby. Yes, these have all happened to me!
So what can we do instead? Tell yourself you’ve done your best. Your kids are still alive. Your tantrumming child will eventually let up and kiss you goodnight later. The restaurant owners will still serve you your well-deserved dinner even though you reek of baby vomit. And even if there’s no formula on a road trip, the baby could be satisfied with baby vegetable puff crackers until you find a jar of pureed food in the supermarket 3hrs later.
They are more resilient than we think they are. I believe it’s time we are too. The perfect plan or day doesn’t exist. It will never happen. The perfection lies in how thankful we are for the present good moments and how we can laugh at the silliness of our mistakes. The perfection lies in showing your children that it’s okay to be wrong sometimes, so long we fix it up and learn along the way. That is the real perfection moms should be striving towards (:
On a sidenote, my soon-to-be 6 month old has FINALLY decided to roll over from back to tummy. She’s been about 4 days into this new skill and she’s already taken a tumble off the giant sofa and onto the foam mat below. Tsk.
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.