Parenthood has a strange effect on you. It’s like you think you know the kinda mom or dad you would be, and then… *cue Twilight Zone music*… you become someone YOU won’t recognize.
Before I became a parent, I was not very sure what kind of a parent I would be. But I imagined myself to be this uber-cool Mummy, in both outward appearance as well as parenting style.
Discipline? Pffft! My kid would be an absolute angel. Just that one of my glares would Be enough to bring tears to his eyes and stop him in his very tracks.
Being a kiasu Mummy? Double pffft!!! I wouldn’t enroll him into some atas, high-end, expensive kind of preschool. Hey, I survived with just the PAP centre near my house ya know. Early childhood education? Nah...
Family fun? Oh sure! It would be so fun to create family traditions like Saturday morning breakfasts and weekend outings to farms and what-nots.
Oh but then real parenthood happens.
And a lot of things that seemed to matter suddenly don't that much anymore. Routines are turned on their heads. Budgets oft-times blown. Rationality sometimes takes a back-seat. Sleeping in on that Saturday morning seems paramount. Last weekend, we were at Expo, and saw a stall selling those foil balloons at a pretty cheap rate. And so we decided to get them for both kids – a large aeroplane for Jay and an Elmo one for Xav. A recently married male friend saw and commented, “I would never do this!” (i.e. waste frivolous money). Well… I don’t have much money to “waste” but sometimes it is about doing something that the kids love. And the kids adored the balloons, and played with it for two days. Parenthood might make you do things you probably shouldn’t, eh?
I used to keep CRAZY hours at work and at play. Now, my appointments and schedules have to fit around my kids. Friends want to catch up over coffee? Sure… Either during my lunch time or if after work hours, near my place so I can still fetch kids and spend time with them. Playdates? Sure… So long as it doesn't clash with their nap times. Meet-ups with old school mates? Sure… So long as I have good alternative care for the kids.
Instead of a neighborhood pre-school… Jay is now in a good childcare, which offers him a well-rounded education and he is enjoying himself.
Instead of saving up for that Prada/Loewe/Fendi bag… My kids get to enjoy new toys once a month (sometimes more often).
Instead of sending my kids to enrichment classes like gym or art… It is a Chinese enrichment class! To me, that would be my worst nightmare. Thankfully the boy enjoys it, and it does help to ease the guilt a little. But practically and economically speaking, there are so many "good" classes I would love to send Jay to, to give him greater exposure and see what he enjoys and is good at. But the pie that is our expendable income is limited, bearing in mind, I do also need to budget for Xav to go for the same class as his older brother!
Instead of having once a week family outings… we now try to spend time with the kids every available weeknight as well! And with church meetings once or twice a weekday, it really doesn’t leave a lot of free time for hubby and I – so we gotta make it count! If the hubs is tied up with work, I pop X into my pram, and very garang-ly stroll the two kids to either Parkway Parade or 112 Katong (that’s three bus-stops away… two ways!)
And instead of just living my life… I get to be a part of theirs.
And this makes it all worth it.
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