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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

D.I.Y. Mama

I'm a Do-It-Yourself Mama. Everything that I learned about motherhood and parenting is from books, the internet or through trial and error and personal experience. I have no mother or mother-in-law to seek advice from. I strongly believe that if you are to bring children into this world than you must look after them yourself. No maids, nannies or baby sitters for my children. Nosiree. They didn't even have a confinement lady. Husband and I did everything ourselves. Friends laugh at/with us when we tell them we had to check the internet to find out what the colour of baby's poo means.

Looking after a toddler and a baby is tough. It can be very stressful at times. I usually try not to blog about negatives but the fact is, it is tough. The little ones require so much attention. Baby cannot look after himself and can only communicate through crying (although he is learning to coo, babble, smile and laugh now too :-)) So all his basic needs have to be taken care of, changes of diapers, his breastfeeds, solid foods (No jar food for my honey. I enjoy cooking and making his food myself) and his sleep. Toddler needs to be toilet trained, has unpredictable tantrums is sometimes independant but sometimes clingy and whiny. Feeding the picky toddler can be stressful too.

Sometimes it would seem as if all I do is one pamper change after another and my ears need a break from all that whining and crying (its especially hard when the two of them cries and decides to have a poo at the same time) and oh yes, getting them to sleep at the same time is a very great challenge indeed. Most days, I hardly have any time for myself. I don't even have any privacy in the bathroom as one must keep an eye on the kids ALL the time. My meals are always hurried. Sometimes I eat on the go, meaning I eat standing up while doing other stuff or I eat with one little fella balanced on my lap.

And I have it easy, really. I don't do any cooking accept for the kids. We cater our food or buy from outside. I don't do any ironing, only washing of laundry. I send husband's clothes for ironing and I wear simple materials that don't require ironing, the kids clothes are so tiny all I need to do is pull to straighten after washing. I only do housework when its absolutely necessary. (My house is covered with dust but full of love).

I live in a very small place so keeping things neat and tidy is not so difficult. I have a place for everything and everything in its place. I have rid my house of clutter so my mind won't feel cluttered and my motto is "do as little as often as possible" , that means I don't let anything snowball or accumulate. I pick up or wipe a little bit here and there ie I do my housework in short spans of 10-15 minutes.

Even with such luxury, I still feel stressed sometimes so I am not at all surprised why maids abuse little children, especially those maids who have to wash cars early in the morning, mop the floor everyday, prepare meals for everyone, wash, iron and fold the laundry, wash the toilet etc in addition to looking after young children. I'm not at all surprised when I read about the maid who starved the kid who refused to eat. If you have ever tried to feed a picky toddler you will know what I mean. I am surprised instead at the mum who wonders why her maid cannot prepare and feed her child nutritious foods.

If the maids are very young, they will not be equipped emotionally to handle young charges. The older ones who have families at home will be missing their own children while having to deal with other people's difficult children. What a stressful situation, a time-bomb waiting to explode.

Nosiree. No maids for my kids. If I ever have maids, it will strictly be for housework only but being human, when one has a maid its so easy to push the harder tasks like diaper changes, feeding etc to the maid but being a parent means the good and the bad. No such thing as letting someone else do all the dirty work so that you can enjoy your kids, all nicely napped, cleaned and changed.

I feel very sad when I see maids accompanying children during kiddy rides with the parents totally missing, I feel sad when I see maids chasing their young charges and trying to persuade the little ones to eat their meals (the kids are smart, they can tell the difference and will learn to "bully" the maid). Once I even saw a maid with a baby in a sling while looking after another toddler in a play area while the mum browsed around shopping by herself. I feel that is so wrong. My friends who have maids sometimes tell me they have to ask their children to "spy" on their maids when they are not around. What are the children learning from this?!

I am lucky I have the choice to choose to stay at home to look after the kids myself. If I didn't, I would still want to look after them myself as much as I practically and possibly can. Thats why I read in a research somewhere that the most stressed up individuals tend to be working mothers who have very young children. Its not easy to be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daugher, a daughter-in-law, an employee/boss and balance all these roles to perfection.

Enough negativity for the day. Must go and look at why the toddler is whining right now.......


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