Wednesday 18 July 2012

On Being A Mom

It’s always nice to hear from my readers.  So I was really glad when a journalist found my blog engaging and emailed me some questions for her upcoming book “The Global Parenting”, which will be published soon.  I will definitely be on the look-out for it!  So sharing with you my thoughts...

1.  What do you think is most challenging being a mother in modern times?

I think the most challenging on being a modern mom is finding the elusive balance between work and quality family time.  Since women actively joined the workforce in the 1960’s, moms have been juggling pregnancies, raising kids, running a household, kindling a married life and pursuing a successful career. So much so that this generation has coined the term supermom - proving that the modern mom wants to have her cake and eat it too.
From an urban designer’s point of view, the physical divide between the public and private realms, between work and home, has long disappeared.   Technology definitely has allowed us that.  No longer confined to the office desks, tele-conferences and emails can be accessed via blackberrys and iPhones - from virtually anywhere.  Stay-at-home-moms are now work-at-home-moms and mom-preneurs are doing global business online.  
This is where the challenge I believe becomes more pronounced.  As a stay-at-home mom myself trying to set up my own business, working at home means no “office hours” and can easily get out of hand (and the frustration of accomplishing so little from multi-tasking).  That is why prioritizing my girls is a continuous and deliberate decision I have to make everyday.

2.  How would you define your parenting style?
Basically, my husband and I believe in positive parenting and we don’t spank our kids.  Attachment parenting comes naturally to me.  In fact, I have been practicing its principles long before I have read about it.  Although attachment parenting is known for advocating breastfeeding, baby-wearing and co-sleeping, these are just some of the many tools for fostering a closer bond between mom and baby.  More to it are the everyday little things that we do - communicating with positive language, nurturing love and trust, that makes all the difference.
One of the more challenging ways is using positive discipline to our strong-willed and defiant toddler (aren’t they all?).  It’s very tempting to resort to bribery or punishment to get her to follow but we believe it is not healthy in the long run.  Not to mention that you can only do it for a limited time.  The best way we avoid disciplining is by preventing situations that are catalysts for misbehavior in the first place.  
One example is giving her advance notice of the things to come and managing her expectations.  Like when she wakes up in the morning, I would excitedly tell her that after we eat our breakfast, we will have Little Gym class and we can go buy a book afterwards, eat lunch and come back home so she could play more.  It’s a lot manageable if the stage is set too by making sure she had a good night’s rest and giving her plenty of time to eat.  Rushing would mean pressuring her to chew faster and getting all frustrated when she wants to play at the same time.  This is a sure recipe for a meltdown!  
Distraction and substitution or giving choices are other creative ways of getting her to cooperate.  I genuinely believe children inherently would like to please mommy and daddy, but easily get sidetracked out of pure curiosity and the quest for independence on their part (as oppose to believing they are always up to mischief).  Getting their attention in playful manner is equally if not more effective than reprimanding.  
It’s a lot of work I know but scolding and threatening are also stressful, aside from creating a gloomy environment where everyone is up on their toes.  And because mommy gets angry only once in awhile, it definitely gets her attention and knows it is not to be trifled with.

3.  What do you think is a good mother?
This is a tough one.  For one thing, we know that there isn’t a parenting manual on how to raise our kids.  Yes, there are a lot of parenting styles and ways to guide us but for the most part, we learn and make up things as we go.  
After a lot of thinking and stripping things to bare essentials, personally, I think a good mother is someone who really listens.  The value of listening certainly goes beyond the premise of motherhood, but it becomes more imperative for children to be heard - since they are still trying to comprehend the world around them.  Not just listening and answering when they ask their 1001 questions everyday, but most especially when they are upset. 
I have actually been to a preschool where a child was crying and the teacher assured me not to mind him as he was just trying to get attention.  Yes, maybe he was but still that didn’t solve the root cause of why he was crying in the first place.  Crying is communication and I do not believe children have enough experience to use it for manipulation as others would paint it to be.  Even if he was (for discussion sake), the more I thought he needed to be heard.  
I think listening starts on day one when babies are in our wombs.  As an advocate of natural birth, letting labor start on its own means listening when the baby is ready to come out.  That’s why I am a skeptic when it comes to induced labor of any kind especially when the reason is highly debatable (e.g. past estimated date of delivery, low amniotic fluid, etc.).  When the baby is ready, the body is ready and everything works in harmony.  Having this mindset, breastfeeding and keeping baby close (vs leaving them in the hospital nursery) naturally happens.  I truly believe that if newborns could talk and we listen, these are the things they hold dear the most.
Now that my girls are growing and distinct personalities emerge, I try my best to listen (in fact I pray for it every night) and tailor my parenting styles individually.  What works for Ava might not work for Ally and it is a continuous learning everyday.  And really listening to them is actually closely linked to how I feel about myself.  Being aware when I am tired or stressed means I won't be taking out my frustration on them.  So taking good care of myself - proper nutrition and enough rest, equate to patience and listening more =)

I am reminded of a quote that my sister have posted on Facebook:


  1. This is wonderful, and what a great opportunity! I'd love for you to come visit me at Two In Diapers and link up this post to the Mommy-Brain Mixer! It's tons of fun! :)

    1. Hi Cassie! Thanks for dropping by! I would definitely visit you too and sign up! See you around! =)


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