In my job (or rather, previous job) as an associate editor of the largest parenting website in Asia, it is mandatory for writers to go through a writing test before we decide if they are a good fit to be on the editorial team. And for the past year or so, my awesome EIC and I pretty much stuck to the same topic: How motherhood changed me.
It’s funny how many times I’ve assigned this to hopeful and would-be writers, yet I never got the chance to write an essay on this myself. But, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I figured that now’s a great time for me to tackle this topic head on!
If you’re someone who knows me well enough, you’ll know that I’m big on making plans for almost every aspect of life. At 18, I came up with a plan on what I hope to achieve in University. And upon graduation, I knew for sure that I’d spend a short few years working in Malaysia before moving to Singapore – which was where I hoped (at that point in time) to settle down for good, eventually.
Turns out, I did make Singapore my home after all, as I married the love of my life and gave up my original citizenship for a Pink IC. From then on, we both made plans to bring a little one into the world and fill our lives with joy.
Well, let’s just say that from the day our daughter was born, I began to realise and accept the fact that life as a parent may not always go as planned!
A series of plans
When Crystabel was born, I had this perfect plan in mind on how to nurture and raise her during the first year. I gave myself a bare minimum target of 6 months to breastfeed her, as I didn’t want to get disappointed if things do not turn out as planned. I took time to map out her daily routine for play, sleep and feeding time, and I told myself that I’ll won’t enrol her in school too early so that she get to enjoy her childhood like I did.
If you are a parent yourself, you’ll know that life never go “as planned” when kids come into the picture. So, imagine how frazzled and stressed I felt during the first few months when things went in the opposite direction to what I had in mind.
For starters, I never imagined that a newborn would need so many feeds in a day, and that hubby and I would be kept on our toes all the time, tending to the needs of the little missy. Nor did I expect this tiny being to have a mind of her own within the first few days of life! It seemed at that time that she was adamant to do the exact opposite of what we’ve planned out. She’ll be wide awake in the wee hours of the night, and shows us her sleepy face during the day – when we hoped to fit in some play/stimulation time with her.
As for the breastfeeding part, I did go beyond the 6-month mark, but not without the chaos of going through recurrent episodes of blocked ducts due to oversupply. I was actually amazed and delighted that I managed to pull through and breastfeed her for 2 years 3 months. I think it got easier to wean Crystabel from the boobies the moment she started attending Nursery 1.
Wait, does that mean that my plan to NOT send her to school “too early” went down the drain as well? *gasp*
Oh well, like it or not – I’ve accepted the fact that things will never be so simple and to the point when it comes to raising kids. We had initially planned to have her start N1 when she turned 2.5 years old this June, but a whole host of events just happened to unfold in our lives which made us realised that perhaps having her start school early was not such as bad idea after all. At least she gets to learn new things every day, and make friends with kids her age.
The biggest lesson learnt
So, coming back to the topic – how motherhood changed me: For me, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that life is always full of surprises when it comes to our little ones. Yes, you might have a grand plan on what you want them to do or achieve, but at the end of the day, they will surprise and amaze in ways that you’ll never expect. But instead of dreading changes like this, I’ve come to learn to see the beauty of it all.
In embracing the unexpected, I’d like to believe that this helps to make me a better mum and truly cherish every precious moment that I get to spend with my daughter. After all, our little ones are only going to stay little for so long – so let’s make the best of the time when we, as mums and dads, are seen as the most amazing person in their eyes!