The aim of “mum of the week” is to get acquainted with other mums’ thoughts and feelings about the different aspects of motherhood, and to hopefully help each other along the way.
This week’s interview is with Kenzie, mother of two children.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind about motherhood?
Unconditional love. I did not know that I, or all the other parents, could live on a 4-hour sleep cycle. Or 8 hours but wake up multiple times for surprises (feeding, diaper change, wet beddings, or just simple boredom) for four years and still be able to function and to stay in a tame mood (most of the time) when I see my children.
What do you think is the most beautiful thing about motherhood?
Hugs, kisses and saying I love you. It sounds silly, but I want to plant as many kisses on them as there are stars in the sky. I hug them like a hobby that I never get tired of, and I tell them I love them whenever I have a moment to snug those three sweet words in their little ears. I found that hugs and kisses speak louder than words to show my affection and admiration, while telling them I love them just reinforces my message. With time, they reciprocate and it’s a great feeling to get voluntary hugs and kisses out of the blue from my kids.
What is the most difficult thing about motherhood?
I would say acceptance, especially on things that we have no control over. As parents, we worry a lot. The doctor came to tell me on Day 2 that my son has a rare genetic disease that is life long, has no cure, and no antidote. He is normal, but fragile. After learning this news, my world shut down for a long while, I blamed myself for not knowing my own genetic trait (even though there is nothing I could have known to avoid this at all) before I was able to accept this reality. People said ‘Oh, but the disease is very common’, but believe me, when it’s your own child, you don’t feel ‘common’ as a consolation. I still worry about the small things nowadays, but (and this is for the tiger moms) having a healthy, happy kid is worth much more than any trophies or Ivy League schools acceptance they received. I accepted him with the genetic condition because he is much more than his disease, and I accepted myself as his mother. This acceptance has made me a very happy mom.
Would you mind telling us more about this process of accepting things the way they are?
As emotional as this journey is, and it’s never going to end (there is always a chance of a crisis), my strategies were rational and tangible. First, my family and I did a lot of research on the disease. When we first heard about the disease, we had no idea what it was and when we don’t know, we are scared. We imagine a lot of negative things. So research really helps. We are lucky that there are a lot of existing resources about it, what to do, what not to do. My husband, my mom, my brother, everyone close to us contributed. Internet search, dietary guidelines, disease travel card for the doctor to read in different languages, finding people with the same disease. Which leads me to the second strategy, family and friends’ support. We are lucky, his god mother’s cousin is an adult survivor who gave us valuable advice, etc.. Talking to people you trust really helps. Of course, along the way I also meet people who were not so sympathetic because they are ignorant, but I just need to learn to let them go, because there is no point to be sad over people who are not important and make me feel bad about things I cannot control. From this experience, I found that the support and love of family and friends can be very profound.
Your children are 3.5 and 1.5 years old. What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Sharing has been the toughest thing, both on sharing things, and sharing their mom. I am a stay-at-home mom, and I spend a lot of time with the kids, so I see a lot of fighting and injustice in the house. My daughter likes to think she is boss, and my son is more like a gangster who takes out his gun (in this instance, his teeth) every time he feels threatened. I am still working my way around how to mediate every case that comes to me. Any suggestions are welcome!
Did you do anything differently the second time?
More or less the same. I have to say that girls are better at focused tasks, and boys are more active.
What advice would you give to new mums?
During pregnancy, read books and watch videos about parenting and children. I find that I only pick up a parenting book when I have a problem, because I don’t have time to read or watch anything since Liv was born. My favourite book is Brain Rules for Babies by John Medina, and as a reference book, Dr. Spocks Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock, M.D. And the other thing is sleep – impossible get much of that after the child is born… for a long while.
After becoming a mom, maintain a high level of self-love. Give yourself some alone-time, even to just sit and relax, because the more sane you stay, the better kids they will be. You may say “isn’t that a selfish thing to do?” If you search and read this blog to learn about motherhood, you are already a good mom. Selfish moms would be spending all that time checking and updating their facebook status every 10 minutes. And the other important thing is to spend time with your other half, set date night/day schedule. I found that when I don’t spend time with my husband because I have too many children chores, our number of arguments increase. When that happens, the kids can sense, feel and see the negative tension in the house. Spending time with just the two of you will help you catch up with each other’s life, make you more aware of the things surrounding you besides the kids, and above all, creates positive synergy in the family. After all, the family was created based on the love you have for each other, and that love should also be nurtured in order to grow and prosper.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us.