Mummy Guilt

3:26:00 PM

Lemme take a break from all my superficial diary type and beauty related entries. 

I want to talk a little bit about parenting today (NOT an article to teach you how to parent okay, i'm still learning and figuring out myself) and what people call as "mummy guilt". If you are a parent yourself, i'm sure you know what i'm talking about at some degree... I mean, i'm sure even super moms and super dads do something to make them feel like they are not good parents sometimes, right?

I am NOT a perfect mother. I never said i was, i never say i will. I LOVE my child to death, i'd gladly given up my life for him without a second of hesitation. It sounds cheesy, but it's true. But nobody would say i'm a model mom for sure *LOL*. I yell at my son when he's misbehaving, i leave him on romantic trips with only my husband (yes, and get judged a lot for this, which is the main reason why i came up with this post in the first place), i sometimes get annoyed at how expensive his clothes/toys/shoes are (more expensive than mine and hubby's combined :p), i watch movies at least twice a week and let him play at the arcade with the nanny (and get judged some more for this), i get angry at him at trips where we don't take our nanny with us when he's being difficult, i let him sleep with his grandparents and at times feel grateful for not having the distraction. And that's just a touch on the surface.

Thing is, who are those people who dare to judge me when i'm pretty sure they are not perfect parents themselves (oh, trust me they are NOT. I'm not gonna go all cheesy on you again and say "Perfection only belongs to God" or all that crap, no-i just know personally that they are not. They have parenting flaws, visible ones, as well. Maybe not as much as i do, but they sure make up for it in other department, i.e : being assholes to other people) and i wouldn't even dream about commenting on their imperfections, let alone judge them for it.
Like i mentioned earlier, the main focus of this entry is the "I TRAVEL WITHOUT MY BABYYYY" part (i might talk about the other guilts in other blog posts to make sure nobody spent a week to finish reading this post) that lots of other parents (i'm not gonna go and point fingers, but *cough* CW *cough cough* CL. And lots of my old friends-NOT BFFs because they do not judge me-especially those who are parents as well) seem to frown upon.
Do i feel guilty leaving my son at home with my parents (who seem to love him even more than they love me, who scold me like crazy whenever i scold him, who sleep with him everyday since he was just a few months old) for a foreign country to enjoy being ME, a COUPLE with my husband, a young person again, for a few days (the longest was about two weeks when we went to Europe)? Yes, of course. Some of you might not believe me, but on that trip to Taiwan with #Undecided, i even avoided talking to him via video call because i got upset from missing him.

And why did i still go? Because as much as i LOVE my son, i also LOVE myself and and my husband (in which people with Super Parents syndrome, including my mum, seems to look down onto. Apparently you should stop having romantic feelings towards your husband once you have a baby and only have love for you baby. No wonder the rate of divorce is going up up UP).

Let me tell you about an article i read once, about what people who are dying regrets most : one of it was not to travel enough. You know how life is, and when you're young you have the energy but mostly don't have money or time to travel, and once you are old then you have all the time in the world (until your time is up, that is) and most probably the money as well, but no energy to do so. Maybe this does not apply to people who dislike traveling (#Undecided) but a true blue sufferer from a wanderlust like me? Of course it does. Number one on my bucket list is to travel all around the world and visit every continent. I am lucky enough to have the time, the money and the energy all at once. Why shouldn't i, then?

I know that i can always bring my son, but let me tell you my side of the story. First of all, a family trip with young children will never be the same as a trip with your spouse or your friends only. They are equally as satisfying and important, but for me-i have to have both. Call me selfish, and i will call you jealous. Second of all, i like to go very far or to a very non-child friendly countries and places (like Vietnam with their crazy Chu Chi Tunnel for example) when i travel with my husband, even if i go like to Europe last time, it was not suitable for a pampered 6 years old like my son (i stumbled upon another young parents who brought their around-the-same-age as my son with them only to watch him get sick and needed to go to the hospital during the trip). I do not like to bring him somewhere that he would not enjoy, what is the point of that? Isn't the point of a vacation is for you to enjoy yourself? I'm pretty sure you can't if you need to constantly soothe a sick child! (and the sick child most definitely won't be enjoying him/herself either!)

And before you start (again) on how selfish i am, let me tell you that i bring my son on vacations as well. I just separate them with our couple trips, and make those family vacations ALL ABOUT MY SON. We take him to theme parks, museums, places that are child friendly and will make him super happy. As much couple trips i have planned, i have equally as much plan for family vacations (in fact i have one planned, we're off to Hong Kong in less than a month).

Why do i feel the need to go on a couple trips without bringing my son with me? Like i stated above, i love myself (which is NOT a bad thing, contrary to popular believe, especially among my family) and i want to be happy too. Of course, i am happy spending everyday with my son, what do you know-my mum asked me to give up my job (i was an independent and proud boutique owner once) so i can keep an eye on my son all the time (yes, i know, i'm not qualified to be a stay-at-home mum because i have a nanny and a battalion of maids who do the hard things like cooking, cleaning, bathing him). I just need some adult time from time to time, and also to connect with my husband on another level.
A like-minded mum like me, my own cousin L, suffer from the same judgement people throw my way, she travels even more than me without her kids (some for work stuffs, some for pleasure) and she told me "I also want to chase my own happiness." To which i agree wholeheartedly. Don't get us wrong, of course our children are our happiness itself, but let's not be hypocritical here, even the best of parents need a time out from their kids and enjoy being themselves too. I am a mother, but i am a person first. 

I made a wrong move of telling CL once about L's second pregnancy and how i amazed i was. Why? Because L is a free spirit like me, and yeah... I guess free spirited people doesn't make the best parents *shrug*. She's very open with her frustration (doesn't mean she loves her son any less, mind you!) so i think she won't mind me sharing this story here. I was just making a casual remark on how on earth she'd juggle two kids when she seemed to be as flustered as me with one and "runaway" without her kid all the time, to which CL made a snide remark "As if you don't (leave your child on trips)". I don't know if she was joking (i don't think so), i never get her jokes anyway. But that is a lame thing to say to someone (i can think of a lot of mean things to say about her parenting style but i won't). I only say those things because I UNDERSTAND L. I was just putting myself in her position. I was happy for her for the second child, but i understand her needs to runaway from it all at times. 

Which brings me back the topic : why is it people thinks you are bad parents when you go on trips without your kids? I was just voicing my concern about her being even more frustrated than she already are (she's an even bigger adventurer than i am, you know, the daredevil type. She'd climb mountains and hike and go to scary jungles). But of course, it was a mistake to say stuffs that sounds judgemental (which was never my intention) because people might mistaken your tone and then turn and judge YOU instead.

And i also go on a couple trips because i get to know my husband even more when we do. We manage to fall in love over and over again with each other with each trip. We discover new things together, we go to places we never went together and make them "our place". We create memories as a couple. For a second there, we forgot (not in a bad way, please) that we're parents and let go of responsibilities. We're young and carefree again. Is it so bad to enjoy that for a few days within a year? After all, our son's never far from our minds. In another second we'd scramble to shop for things for him, i'd start making plans about bringing him here and there on the next trip, and we see stuffs that remind us of him in every corner of the earth. Of course we LOVE him and always want to be with him, he is OUR son. That's why i think it's super stupid to judge people who go on trips without their kids! (POINT : Nobody love their kids any less just because they love themselves too)
I often question myself, if i am really such a bad mother for wanting to travel around freely every once in a while after being stuck at home most of the time with my son (yeah right, going to malls counts. NOT!) , then i'd notice my other friends would take such travels as well and then i'd feel a little better. I believe you need to always assess the situation before you judge people, if the kid (s) being taken care of relatives that are close to them (i.e, the grandparents, or the aunt and uncle), there's no harm in going on a kid-less trips once in a while (or in my case, once or twice in a year). 

If you choose not to do it because you cannot imagine a single second of being separated from your kids (or there's no one to take care of them but that's another case altogether), then it's your call. That's your choice. We, who chose otherwise, can call you paranoid parents, suffering from separation anxiety, etc. But of course, you're the saints, so we can't-otherwise we'd be called assholes. But you can call us names, and we're supposed to be okay with that. 

I even Googled this topic before i wrote this piece and found so many articles dedicated to this particular guilt (or even just mentioning it), that makes me feel better. Less alone, less confused, and less condemned. I am not alone in this world, and i am normal for wanting to have these kid-less trips. If you suffer the same feeling as i do, you might want to check out those articles, just type "mummy guilt" on you search engine and you'll find plenty. Here's one that touch on the subject briefly (and other type of mummy guilts) :

And another one that gives you tips to handle kid-less vacations :

Bottom line, i'd like to say : without you judging, the guilty feeling would already be there. There is no need to make other people feel like they are crap parents (even if that gives you a superior feeling upon them). And guess what? It's NOT a sin. Even if you think so.
#Pink

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12 comments

  1. Semangat ce :) Memang ngga mudah membagi waktu dengan anak.. jangan merasa terintimidasi.. jd orang tua emg gak mudah.. harus terus belajar ^^
    Btw ce kmrn ni aku baca artikel bagus ttg ortu & anak, not-so-relevant sih :P tp bagus buat refleksi diri *dan persiapan ku di masa mendatang haha*

    http://tjokroaminoto360.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/37-kebiasaan-orang-tua-yang-menghasilkan-perilaku-buruk-pada-anak/

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    1. Hehe thank you Shel, i happen to believe the best parents are the ones who are not ashamed to admit that they are not perfect and learn to get to know their kids better every day.
      And thank you juga article nya, meskipun kalo menurut aq pribadi kayaknya tidak ada ortu di dunia ini yg ga melanggar at least beberapa dr poin2 yg ada di artikel itu hahahaa we all can only try the best (menurutku semua ortu-or hampir semua at least, tau kalo itu hal2 yg ga seharusnya di lakukan, but when u're doing it instead of writing or reading it-it's an entirely different situation altogether :D!

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  2. As a child, I sometimes GET UPSET too of my mom because she's like spending all her days in her life, doing the best for me and my brother. I'm hurt to see her not enjoying herself more too. As what you've stated above, you'd like to enjoy self and travel a lot while still having all the mood, energy, money, and (the most important of all) time. Parents need to get a life too. Life that is NOT just about kids, doing household chores, working til late, cooking etc. C'mon, we only live once. Kids are growing up faster in this generation. We learn so many thing quickly, yet we get mature faster than how kids used to be in like, let's say 10 years ago. On the other hand - it's not really nice to point this out but whatever, it's a truth - so many people's got their time up before they can finally get some happiness for their own self. Too busy taking care of others' and never really realize that they need it too! C'mon, how would you not regret that? Death is around us, quoting Marshall, and yes it is true. Enjoy your life while it's possible, and for parents I do believe enjoying life would also mean having some hours or days away from their kids.

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    1. Words of wisdom from a 17 year old! I wish more kids these days can be more like you, Oline hihihi :). Like i said, talking to you doesn't feel like talking to someone 13 years my junior, more like... 3 years maybe? Hahaha.

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  3. I totally understand what u meant.. i just gave birth to a baby boy 5 months ago. No maid, no nanny. Taking care of him all by myself. The hubby cares a lot but i still am the one taking care of the baby 24/7 although my mum does help me a little during the day. I am free spirited as well. I got married a little too early than expected, ain't sayin i regret it. But it can get a little too much some time. We, mommies, are still human. We need our 'me' time to unwind once in a while. It isn't a sin to let ur kid sleep over at his grandparents' once in a blue moon. We aren't super human anyway. I do that too lol i am sure we all have our flaws but what we did doesn't mean we don't love our kids. The judgmental ones are probably just jealous we still can enjoy life while having kids around lol

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment and sharing your story. I love how this post gets positive feedbacks, especially from another mommy!
      And i totally get you, i got married at 23, but i was always quite child-like so maybe my mind frame back then was like 18, i needed a lot of help because i actually got pregnant unexpectedly (if you know what i mean *wink*), but just because i needed a lot more time to learn to be a mummy doesn't mean i am a bad mummy, and that's what some people needs to realize before pointing any fingers.
      I actually live in a huge mansion-like house with my parents, and my mum pretty much "snatched" the baby since he was a few months old and been sleeping with him ever since. I think she needs him more than he needs her really *you know how parents can feel a little lost once their own babies all grown up and have their own babies*. I am a super light sleeper and actually am thankful for the extra help or else i won't get any sleep at all (severely insomniac as well), but again that is just another excuse for self-righteous people to judge *LOL*

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    2. Lol i'd say we are from the same club. Pregnancy came first before the marriage at the tender age of 23, when i still had dreams to chase. I am grateful for all the help i could get, but lack of sleep can get into your nerves. My mum was supportive, but the MIL was a headache (and still is). She joined the i-am-so-almighty-i-get-to-judge-you-however-i-want club. She sneered when i went out on a dinner with hubby leaving the kiddo at my mum's. She threw sarcastic comments when i couldn't breastfeed my son exclusively (only breastfed him for 2 months and the tank dried up. Kids nowadays are born to give us hell with breastfeeding lol), kept on saying kids who don't breastfeed will not love their mommies (which i think was hilarious considering how idiotic that sounds). I am doing my best and i have my kiddo's best interest at heart, so who are you to judge whether he will love me or not. Oops sorry i ended up sharing my story here haha. Your post just hit all the right notes and i felt like reading my own experience.
      IMO you are doing what a mother should do and you have the right to just ignore their snarky comments. We are the only one who know that we're trying our best to be a mother. :D

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    3. Oh Shuang, it's like we're riding the same boat here, i feel like looking at myself five years ago reading your story T.T, it pretty much happened exactly like that. I breastfed my son even shorter, it was less than a month. From the beginning i didn't produce a lot of breast milk, my son wouldn't latch and i pumped and pumped and pumped and got like, super pitiful 10 to 20ml of breast milk when i was lucky. I also did not (and still not) get along with my MIL, she thinks i'm a spoilt little brat (i probably am) and she annoys the hell out of me with her snide and heartless comments. I try to avoid her as much as i can (like, twice a year during Chinese New Year and my son's birthday are way too much already).
      I love reading your comments and i can totally relate! Sounds like you're going through so much, if you ever feel the need to talk (sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger right!) about anything at all, feel free to drop a comment or even e-mail me (our e-mail's on the right side bar)! I did bitched to my BFFs a lot back then but being a young mother with no other married friends back then, it was pretty hard to find someone who actually UNDERSTANDS.
      And you're right, i am trying really hard to ignore those stupid comments, it's just that i am naturally sensitive and i unconsciously let them get to me. Gotta work on improving that!

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  4. Agree on this post!

    When I was a child, my parents go to trips without bringing me and my brothers from time to time (mainly overseas ones), be it for work or leisure, because they know I would not enjoy myself there anyway since as a kid there was not much to do in the destination they are going to or maybe they just want to have fun on a trip with friends.

    But that does not make them a bad parent, in fact they are the best parent I could have asked for. I'm sure my parent did a great job in parenting (I'm sure there are some flaws still, but they are perfect to me), because they made me who I am today and I feel so close to them, I can joke and have conversation with them (like friends), not everyone have that kind of relationship.

    From my point of view (I don't have kids yet, so this is pov from a daughter), being a good parent is not just about taking your kids with you all the time, but also how you discipline them, teach them, caring for them, connect with them, etc. There is no point in taking your kids with you all the time if you let them to be a brat. So I 100% agree that parent should not be judged just because they don't bring their kids to go on a trip from time to time. Jia you! :D

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    1. Thank you for feedback dear!

      And yes, my own parents also left me for vacations, etc when i was little (sometimes even up to a month), but never for a second i'd ever think that they are bad parents (in fact, they are one of those over-protective ones that can be a little suffocating at times!)! Me and my siblings all grew up like this, it's just weird that some of my own sibling is quite judgemental about this right? Kinda ironic really.

      Thing is, i left my son mostly when he was too young to understand (it's harder now because he's bigger, but i talk to him and he understands) so HE didn't feel abandoned or whatever, and my parents (with whom i left him with) also supported us to go on vacations, i just don't understand why OTHERS (even strangers) would point fingers and judge us for it.

      You're very insightful and wise, i'm sure you're gonna be a great mother in the future :D!

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  5. Actually, taking trips alone as a couple after having children is very healthy and recommended. In fact, the most precious gift you can give to your child is parents who maintain their relationship and show love to each other. Many times relationships become strained after children because children take up so much time and either the wife or husband ends up feeling neglected! Even after you have kid you are still married, and that needs care too! I wouldn't feel guilty at all. :)

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    1. I totally agree with you! It's just that especially in Asia, people thinks it's okay to meddle and point fingers at other people. I think i developed the guilty feeling after being told over and over again that i am a bad mother because i still enjoy being myself. It's stupid, but i can't help it T.T. I wish people around me can share your point of view more!

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