Archive | January, 2011

We Can’t Go Back to That Life

18 Jan

There was about a year when Nicole was a baby that I worked full time in Manila during the day, and Jay worked full time (also in Manila) at night.  We didn’t have meals together as a family because by the time Nicole would wake up, I had to be on my way to Manila. When I would get home, Jay has either left for work or only had 15 minutes to spare. Weekday romps (if we could manage any) were always quickies. We communicated through text messages. Nicole spent most of her time with my parents. We weren’t living life as a “family” (at least not in the way I think families should live).

Then in 2006, I left my last corporate job. I have spent most of my time home since then.

Last December, I considered going back to corporate work because we’re about to face financial changes in March this year.

But I realized last night how we can’t go back to that kind of life.

Yesterday, I spent 8 hours in Manila (some 42 km away from my home) for some training. I spent 4 hours total in a bus. I had to leave for Manila soon after Nicole left for school. I communicated with Jay through text the whole day. When I got home, I picked up Nic from my mom’s place. Jay was already in Manila.

Me (to Nicole): I missed you so much today.

Nicole: What about papa, he missed two of us.


Serious Business

10 Jan

Last week, when I told Nicole she’s starting ballet again this week, she told me- “But I thought ballet is finished! I don’t want to do ballet! I want to rest!”

I immediately sent Jay an IM- “she says she doesn’t want to go back… she says she wants to rest, which is why I think we shouldn’t let her quit.”

I know that sounds kind of twisted.

Several months ago, when I was telling one of the mommies at Nicole’s ballet class how Nicole wanted to quit ballet after her summer dance classes, and she continues to attend only because we refuse to let her quit, the mommy laughed and kind of  hinted we were mean, or maybe crazy. But I explained our side and I think she understood.

I mean, really, who wants to flex, stretch, and sweat it out for an hour each week, just because? If I let Nicole quit now, what will happen to the other activities she wants to do in the future but she may not be very good at? If she decides she doesn’t want to do all those other things anymore because she sucks at them? Do I also just let her quit then?

On some level, I totally get what this mother is saying (read Why Chinese Mothers are Superior). I do not demand excellence in academics from Nicole, but in some areas of her life, I can be very strict. I also don’t mind being hated by my own daughter. There are days she tells me I’m mean, and that she doesn’t like me because according to her, I ALWAYS tell her to clean up. The thing is, she tells me she hates me, but I know she doesn’t. She will probably hate me later on, but hopefully by then, she’ll be an adult and if I raise her well, then she can fly on her own and be the awesome person she’s really meant to be.

I don’t care about being a fun mom. I’m an efficient mom, for sure. I don’t want to be her friend. I have enough friends. She will have her own friends. As far as I know, I didn’t suffer through 12 hours of labor so I could have a friend. I’m her mom, I’ll do my job of raising her, and I WILL raise her well.

I don’t regularly watch Modern Family but one time, I was able to catch an episode wherein Claire Dunphy said there can’t be 2 fun parents in the family. That’s totally how I feel about raising my own family.  As far as I’m concerned, I do what needs to get done in this home. I have assumed the role of the neurotic mother who gets the job done, Jay is the fun dad. I’m fine with that. Jay faces enough stress at work to play the strict dad at home. Jay and Nicole can have their fun at home. I now call them M1& M2,  which stand for messy 1 and messy 2. There can’t be 3/3 messy people in this house. Of course, I’m not always serious. And Jay isn’t always a goof ball. We switch ‘roles’ sometimes. Plus Jay totally supports me when I’m right and is quick to reprimand me when he thinks I’m wrong.

I guess what I’m saying is- yeah, I’m a bit of a “Chinese mother”. I don’t think I will ever call Nicole garbage, or insist she learn only piano and violin. But I will die before I raise a daughter who quits before she even tries; or quits just because things get tough. She has to try, she has to try hard. She has to stick to something until she becomes good at it. Or even if she doesn’t get really good at something, she just has to keep trying.

Now, does that still sound twisted to you?