U is for Unique :)
I have been receiving PMs asking me where I find time to do activities with Umar. Like any other working mommy with no helper and living on their own, I have household chores to keep up with, mess to clear and dust and dirt to wipe everyday. The difference is that I choose my “battle” to keep my sanity in check. One household chore that I put aside for days, sometimes weeks, is folding laundry. I use Umar’s cot as an estimate as to how urgent the clothes needs to be folded.
Fortunately, not only my husband does the laundry, vacuuming and mopping, I do not have to cook on weekdays because my mom would diligently cook for us daily. So that means, I don’t need to scrub the stove or the kitchen sink everyday. Having said all that, I am no better than any other mommies. I know that my mom does not tolerate mess. When I am doing a glue-painting activity with Umar, she will endlessly remind me to layer the playmat with newspapers and also to clean up immediately after. I know for sure, she will not do such activities with Umar. I remember when we were younger, she could not tolerate us in the kitchen or anyway near her sewing machines because of the mess that we will make and the clean up she will have to do after.
So does that make her any less of a mother? Less than fantastic? A mother that should be less celebrated? Definitely NOT because she takes pride not in the activities she does with us. She takes pride in the food she cooks for us daily and the clean home we wake up and come home to everyday.
On days when I have eaten outside with my friends, I would still have dinner at home because I know my mom will feel upset if I did not. For me, I take pride in doing these activities for Umar because I enjoy doing them. I always hold dear the advice my husband keeps telling me – find something that I will enjoy doing because it will keep me sane on tough, tiring days.
For me, quality bonding with your children does not need to be a theme-activity, sensory play or elaborated messy play. It can be as simple as talking about an ipad app or watching a television show that everyone enjoys (or like my mom – cooking home-cooked food and eating it with the family).
Just like how no two children are the same, no two mothers are also the same. It does not mean one is better than the other, either. My parenting styles are definitely shaped by the books I read and the mutual agreement between my husband and I. It does not make us better parents than any of you. However, we want to be the BEST parents for our children just like anybody else and I am sure that you are the best for your children. 🙂