Monday, 15 August 2016

To the mom on the brink of breaking

Source article: Scary Mommy

Hi there, Mama. How are you doing? I mean, really doing? You say you’re fine, but I can see that you’re not. It’s OK. I’m not fine, either.

The truth is, I don’t know any moms who are “fine.” In fact, I think we should erase “fine” from our vocabularies. We are so much more and so much less than fine most days. Motherhood is a dichotomy of extremes. The highest highs and the lowest lows. Intense joy and insane frustration. Love that overwhelms you and exhaustion that overtakes you.

Those extremes can wear you down. Yes, even the good ones. The constant back and forth is taxing on the psyche and the soul. One of my favorite writers, Christine Organ, uses the term “soul-tired.” Motherhood can make you soul-tired, especially if you aren’t taking good care of yourself.

I know, I know. Taking care of yourself feels like one more thing to add to your mile-long to-do list. And how are you supposed to take care of yourself when you have little people relying on you to take care of them? You feel spent. There’s nothing left to give yourself.

Please listen to me carefully, Mama. I’ve been where you are. I’ve cried while my baby cried, sleepless and helpless. I’ve stared out the window of my toy-strewn living room, wondering how this mess and mayhem became my life. I’ve felt my nerves fraying at the ends—like, physically felt them fraying—and wondered if I might actually break. I’ve fought the urge to walk out the front door and keep going, far, far away.

What I’ve learned in 15 years of parenting is that this urge shouldn’t be fought. It should be indulged. Hear me out.

Motherhood is wonderful and magical and awful and hard. But when you’re feeling all of the awful and hard and none of the wonder and magic? It’s time to take a break. Actually, it’s past time. You are right in feeling spent because that’s exactly what you are.

But why do I need a break? I love my children! you think, probably with a hefty dose of guilt. Here’s the thing: Love is a limitless resource. Energy is not. Love is your engine, and energy is your fuel. Without fuel, all the love in the world is not going to get you anywhere. You sit there idle, knowing you should be moving, but utterly incapable of doing so. You have to refuel, and ideally you should do it before you get to empty.

You may not want to hear this, but refueling as a mother almost always requires leaving your children. Sorry, it’s true. You can’t put gas in your tank while driving the car. You think you’re doing your kids a service by being “on” 100% of the time, but you’re not—you’re not doing them a favor, and you’re not on 100% of the time. You’re there, but you’re not on.

Trust me when I tell you that your kids need you to do this. They need a mom who is not spent. They need a mom who has both love and energy to give them. They need a mom who has had enough time away that she actually enjoys being there and being “on.”

I know this whole idea might be stressing you out, but here’s the good news: It doesn’t actually require much. You know how it takes just a few minutes to put gas in the car, and then you can drive for miles and miles? You need more than a few minutes away from motherhood, but it doesn’t have to be a whole weekend or even a whole day. Just an hour or two of purposefully, consciously filling your tank can make a huge difference. Get your butt to a coffee shop or a bookstore or a spa or the gym or wherever you go to feel most like yourself. Take a book or your phone or your journal or your best friend—whatever you need to fill your empty tank. Maybe you just need a nap. Take one.

If you have no one who can watch your kids for an hour or two once in a while, join a moms group. If you don’t like the first one you try, keep looking. I promise, they are everywhere. Call your local churches. Call your local rec center. Call your city hall. Google “mom groups” and the name of your town. Finding just one like-minded mom who can kid-swap with you is a life-changer.

Whatever you do, don’t believe that what you’re feeling right now is what motherhood is supposed to be. Sometimes it sucks, yes. Sometimes it’s exhausting, yes. Those are universal truths. But if you feel like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff looking down, that’s a sign for you to step back and walk away for a while. I know it’s hard, but you will be amazed at how much a little refueling can change your whole outlook on motherhood.

The biggest hurdle is to let go of the idea that good moms don’t need breaks. Regular breaks will keep you from breaking. Good moms make sure their children’s mother is taken care of, period. So fuel up, Mama, for your kids’ sake as much as for your own. It’ll make you a better, happier, fuller mother, guaranteed.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

I have a heart to heart talk with Fawwaz.

Shed a few tears. Talking about our hopes.
Thanks to my close friends who suggested the session.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Sabar itu indah, Aida

Haruslah berkata begitu. Berwarna warni melihat keputusan peperiksaan Fawwaz. Ada subjek ada peningkatan, ada subjek yang merosot.

Allahu allahu, walaupun sudah intensif mengajar dan membuat latih tubi bersama, dia masih agak lemah. Saya sedar Fawwaz ini memang agak 'rajin' orangnya. Itu pun harus dipaksa-dipaksa membuat latihan. Entah sudah berapa bulan sebenarnya dia berlatih tubi dengan saya. Semenjak awal tahun.

Mungkin bagi orang lain, mereka akan kata saya bukan ibu yang bagus. Ya, sudah beberapa kali ada orang yang berkata begitu kepada saya. Mereka sendiri tidak melihat betapa saya bersengkang mata melihat Fawwaz membuat latihan, kemudian membetulkan kesalahan yang dilakukan. Setiap hari. Apa yang orang lihat dan akan kata, "Oh keputusan anak tidak memberangsangkan. Mesti ibunya yang tidak kisah."

Sedih, tahu tak? Kemudian sibuk bandingkan dengan anak orang lain. Nanti bila disebut umpama ibunya ini tidak kisah langsung, padahal setiap pagi selepas solat saya doakan dia.

Entah berapa kali Fawwaz sudah dimarah kerana tidak bersungguh. Walaupun saya sendiri di depan dia dan ajar dia satu persatu. Kadang suami pujuk, anak lelaki begitulah. Saya sebenarnya sedih sekiranya dia tidak dapat keputusan yang bagus kerana tidak berusaha dengan bersungguh.

Semalam lagi, ayahnya sudah marah lagi. Fawwaz banyak lakukan kesalahan yang boleh dikategorikan sebagai silly mistakes atau kes terlepas pandang.

Contohnya: Matematik. Elok-elok sudah buat kiraan jawapan dapat 240, dia boleh salin 340 di bahagian jawapan.

Lagi sebulan hendak UPSR ini, lagilah saya risau.

Allahu.

Friday, 29 July 2016

IbuMa

Usually he calls me Ibu.
Sometimes he calls me Mama.

But always when he feels like it, he calls me IbuMa.

Faiq, Faiq...

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Once upon a time in Manchester...


These two sweet ladies were my ACCA classmates back when we were in Manchester. I was glad that I got to reconnect with them, because their thinking and maturity are beyond their age in many ways.

We were in the same class, and we clicked instantly. Maybe because we are from Malaysia, and my first time meeting them was in a P1 Class: Professional Accountants. Then, when I continued my second semester, Farah was able to join the classes with me, and Ifah repeated her papers.

It was really quite a few number of students in the advanced class (optional papers), so we struggled really hard to pass the papers.

Anyway, what I would say was the maturity by both of them. For their age, at that time, which was like 6 years ago.. I was really astounded and still is by the way they gather their thoughts and speak up. Ifah was the one who is actually, at that time make her time for her duha prayers (mind you, she was not wearing any head gears or tudung) and that really shifted my perspective.

I was in the main stream school being in a good boarding school, and later entered a private university with arrays of characters. Thus, there are not many that still pray consistently. Because of Ifah, I started to do my duha. It was not easy, but alhamdulillah, I have been consistently doing it for the past 6 years. I was glad that Ifah decided to dons tudung past few years back.

As for Farah, she is still matured beyond her age. I received many wisdom words from her that I cherished. She has really excellent viewpoints on many matters, and she is wise.

I am glad that our friendship has been more than 5 years.

Farah mentioned we were in our pinks and blues. Somehow, the picture tells a lot about how we might sychronised our sitting (in fact, we have not done this intentionally).

Both my girls are in audit (yes, forever their blood is written in the audit department), and I am the only one who is doing technical reports as of now ^_^