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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Challenges of Being a Mom. For Me.

Today, I am going to share with you about the challenges that I have faced (and am still facing) ever since I stepped into motherhood. In all honesty, there are so many things that I did NOT see coming. I wish that someone had given me a heads up, so perhaps this post could help shed the light for expectant moms and basically women who plan have kids one day.

I would like to clarify before hand that what I am about to say is from my own experience. They are my  own views, thoughts and feelings. You might not agree with me and that's fine. I also predict that I will get a bit carried away and emotional on the last part because it affects me the most so just bear with my rantings okay ^.^

Alright then. Let's begin.




Bye bye sleep

The last time I slept for more than 4 hours in one stretch was on 22/12/2011, the night before I gave birth to Alayna. Unfortunately for me, Alayna is the kind who would wake up 3-4 times a night for milk, even until now. Babies do that in general but as they get older, most of them would start to sleep through the night. I kept waiting for that to happen but nope. Not happening. For someone who used to sleep 10-14 hours a day, this is definitely a big challenge for me.

Did you know that a research shows that parents of newborns miss out on SIX FREAKING MONTHS of sleep in the first two years of their child's life??? It also says that this is the cause for depression (yup), mood swings (touché) and relationship break-ups (not yet haha).

Luckily Alayna is fully breastfed and she sleeps next to me so when she wakes up, I don't even have to get up from bed. Sometimes I don't even remember waking up to feed her. I guess Alayna could find her own way if you get what I mean hahahaha. 

Still, I miss my sleep :(




Getting Ready

Before Alayna:

-Shower
-Put on make up
-Do my hair
-Let's go!

Now:

-Shower
-Put on foundation
-Sing a song to Alayna because she wants me to
-Put on concealer
-Alayna wants milk
-Put on powder
-Cheer on Alayna as she stacks some blocks and looks at me every once in a while to see if I am watching her cleverness (it's good to acknowledge your kids when they are doing something positive).
-Do my eye make up
-Pretend to put some on Alayna because she keeps staring at me with that puss in boots eyes.
-Do my hair
-Alayna hands me a book and wants me to read it for her
-Continue doing my hair
-Finally done

Sometimes I'm like, screw this, I am just not gonna bother about how I look. So there are days where I look like this:

Wearing Nadri's T-Shirt and watch

I look like I'm wearing my dad's pagoda T-Shirt.





Time

I constantly find myself wishing that there are more hours in a day. Almost 25 years of my life I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. Sometimes I would wake up and spend hours in bed thinking about what to do that day because I was so free. Some weekends I don't even shower because I just laze around at home reading or watching movies or just do nothing at all.

But now..

Whether I like it or not Alayna will wake me up by pulling my face and hair (hugs and kisses on good days) by 7am everyday. And then I will spend most of my day playing with her, cooking for her etc. My me time is definitely more limited compared to before. And with the limited time that I have, I have to be selective with what I want to do with it.

Honestly, sometimes I do miss the days where Nadri and I were so carefree and spontaneous. But that feelings melts away whenever I see Alayna and her cheeky antics or when she just lights up when she sees and and comes running to give me a hug. Pure unadulterated happiness.




Jealousy

Okay don't judge me. But most of the time, I am jealous of my own daughter. I mean, it was bad enough that I had to share Nadri with his 2nd wife (the PS3, obviously) before Alayna came along. Now my cut is getting even lesser.

When he comes home, he looks for Alayna first. Before he leaves for work, he kisses me once and Alayna twice!

And when he calls me from work:

Him: What did my girl have for lunch today?

Me: I had subway.

Him: I meant Alayna.

-___________-




Patience

Patience is really not one of my strong points. In fact, it is my least strong point. Nadri said I'm like a ticking time bomb. So imagine having to deal with a baby who is sometimes fussy/cranky. It's worse when I'm in the middle of something important and Alayna chooses that time to throw a tantrum or demand for my undivided attention.

Like yesterday, I was late for my work appointment. I put Alayna down for her morning nap, and started to get ready. 10 minutes after that, she woke up. I picked her up and rocked her back to sleep. Then I put her down and she immediately opened her eyes. I picked her up again, rocked her back to sleep, put her down and she opened her eyes again! It's one of those moments where she just wants to sleep in my arms. It was so frustrating!

I love Alayna with all my life. But there are times when I just want to lock myself up in the pantry and scream or cry like Charlotte in "Sex and The City the Movie".

And to think that it will only get worse.. Because later on she will learn how to talk back to me and when she's a teenager she will start to rebel and slam the door and tell her friends how she hates me..

Ok now I feel bad for my mom for having to put up with me T_T




Breastfeeding

I get this question a lot from fellow moms. But the truth is, I don't find breastfeeding troublesome at all. Alayna knew how to latch on perfectly right from the start, she never bites (thank god) and so far I don't have any problems with milk production. I do take Fenugreek once in a while. You can get it at any GNC outlets. If you have any questions, email me. Please don't send me messages on Facebook. I get a lot of spams so I hardly ever check my inbox there.




Friends Who Don't Understand

Most of my friends are very supportive and understanding but unfortunately, some are not. Sometimes they get offended by petty things like why I don't reply their texts/say hi and ask how they are even if my whatsapp status shows that I was just online.

Seriously?

I really envy you for having so much time that you can even check when I was online and make your own assumptions, while I on the other hand, wish that I have 4 pairs of hands and legs because I have a million things to do. Sometimes I don't even realise if someone has replied me or not. Because that is the last thing on my mind.

I am just going to say this: You will never get how hectic/overwhelming it can be when handling a baby until you experience it yourself.

So to whom it may concern, please don't be so selfish la ok? The world does not revolve around you.




People who disrespect your way of raising your child 

I saved the biggest challenge for last. Everything else that I have said earlier is bearable, but this is the only one that would get me so riled up and make me breathe out fire.

I'm staying with my parents, my aunt lives next door, my other aunt is 5 minutes away, my in-laws are 15 minutes away, my cousins sometimes come hang out during the weekends. So you can imagine the number of opinions and suggestions that I have gotten, which I don't mind.

What I do mind is when they try to IMPOSE all these 'suggestions' on me, despite me explaining why I want to do things a certain way, and then they talk to me like I don't have a clue on what I'm saying, just because they're older and they have more kids than me.

What makes it even more annoying is the fact that their way is always based on what "orang dulu-dulu cakap (old wives tales)" while mine is based on hours or reading and researching legit books and articles.

For example, when Alayna was really small, some people would actually wake her up from her day nap! I hated that. I mean, who would want to disturb a sleeping baby??? They are supposed to take long naps during the day. That's when they develop and grow.

But no, they said we must not let the baby sleep so much during the day, so that they will sleep more at night. Well it's actually the contrary. In general, babies who don't rest well during the day will find it harder to fall asleep at night and they will be more restless too.  While it may not apply to some babies, this is true for Alayna, so I am very very particular about her nap time during the day. If Nadri and I plan on going somewhere and Alayna is napping, we would wait until she wakes up.  Which is why I get so irritated when people simply wake her up from her nap or sleep.

The books that I have read also told me to look out for signs that the baby is tired and is ready for her nap. The signs include rubbing the eyes, loss of interest/alertness and hiccups, among others. So when I see these signs, I will quickly put Alayna down for her nap with no problems at all. And then later she'll wake up very happy and cheerful. But when we're with relatives and they see Alayna disinterested in her toys after playing for a while, some of them try every possible way to get her attention and make her play until she reaches a point where she is overtired and she starts to get cranky and cries. Which means I would have a harder time putting her down for her nap.

Apart from that, there are so many other things that we disagree on. Like they'd insist that breastfed babies need water too, saying that the water will quench their thirst. Err.. So breast milk can't quench thirst is it? What do you think breast milk is made of? Cheese? No, it's 88% water. In fact, giving water to babies under two months can actually increase birilubin levels in jaundiced newborns. There's actually no need to give additional water before the baby starts taking solids.

When I tell them all these facts that I have found, sometimes they'd say:

"Oh please. We raised you/my kids our way and you/they turn out fine"

That is just so unfair.

Your time and ours are very different. You had limited access to information which is why you had to rely on what your parents/older relatives said. But nowadays everything is at the tip of our fingers. There are thousands of books and research that are readily available. Is it so wrong to find out other (better) methods and try to practice them?

I vented out to one of my mommy friends about this, and she said "I feel you babe. But let me just warn you that it will get much worse when Alayna starts to eat."


She was right.


I am VERY particular about what Alayna eats. I cook her food from scratch (no salt or sugar added) so that I know exactly what goes into it and that she gets all the nutrition that she needs.

But the problem is, they want to feed her Kit Kats and McDonalds.

I have said no nicely and explained why I don't want her to eat all that. And yet they still try to give them to her. Sometimes when I'm feeding Alayna her food, they'd come and sit right in front of her while eating something that Alayna is not allowed to eat.

And when Alayna shows interest in what they're having, they'd say:

"Poor Alayna, your mommy won't let you eat nice food."

Or

"This tastes better than your food. Yummmmm."

Or

"See? She would rather have this than whatever you're feeding her."


Well you could be eating a bowl of maggots and any baby would still be curious and want to have some. 


So don't try to make it like I'm the bad person when I am just doing my best to teach Alayna healthy eating habits. Yes her food is bland compared to what we adults eat, but babies are not born knowing salted/sugared food tastes better. So why create their dependency on salt/sugar?

Some of them would say, "But YOU eat McDonalds (and other things that I don't allow Alayna to eat)."

Yes, I do. Because my parents let me have them when I was small and I have grown to love be addicted to them.

But how I WISH that I don't love all these junk foods. I am so used to having them on a regular basis that I suffered when I was trying to lose all the baby weight because I had to restrain myself from having them. It was literally a torture to suddenly eat only healthy and clean food.

Some said, "Well there's no point of you doing all this. When Alayna gets bigger she would still go and eat whatever that she wants."

That is true.

But the thing is, I do have friends who simply don't go to McDonalds (unless their friends want to go, but they still don't enjoy the food) because they were brought up eating home cooked meals and taught that fast food is bad. They were not given soft drinks too. Until today they hardly ever drink them. And surprise surprise, none of them has weight problems.

When I tried to explain this, some of them would say; "Why are you so worried now? Just let her be. Fat kids are cute. When they're older they'll learn how to control their diet and slim down."

The ironic thing is:

The people who said that have obese kids and/or are obese themselves.


So tell me, when exactly are you/your kids planning to lose all that weight? Never?

Let's face it. People are obese because they just can't control what they eat. How to let go of fast food/sweets/sodas etc when you have been consuming them ever since you were small? It takes a lot of willpower and determination. Which is why many give up and just tell themselves things like "It's in their genes" or "YOLO" or whatever it is that would make them feel better about themselves.

Or worse, they decide to pick on skinny girls *rolls eyes*


Qaireen & Alayna


Look at Alayna. Does she look like she is malnourished? Does she look like she's not getting enough food?

It's actually the opposite. Alayna eats E V E R Y T H I N G. Salmon, cod, chicken, beef, lamb. Vegetables? No problem. Broccoli, celery, peas, mushrooms, spinach, tomato you name it she eats them all. She is definitely not a picky eater. And she is healthy too. In this 16 months, she only had fever once.  Yes yes it's all God's will and from our prayers for her health, but I also like to think that it is because of what she's consuming: clean, healthy food.

Having said that, of course I am not going to deprive her from sugar and salt forever. Right now she's getting them from natural sources like fruits and vegetables. I want it to stay that way for as long as possible. Hopefully when she gets older and is big enough to make tell me what she wants, her tastebuds would be accustomed to healthier food choices. And of course I will give her chocolates and ice creams, when the time comes. Please, I'm not a complete psycho okay. I just don't want her to develop preference to them at such an early age and become one of those toddlers who refuse to eat anything else and only wants to eat sweets.

The thing is, I'm not here to tell you about the right way of raising a baby. Which is why I said earlier that these are strictly my views and you don't have to agree with me.

My issue is people who don't respect Nadri and I as Alayna's parents. 

The same way that I respect them as their child's parents.

Alayna is fully breastfed until now. But I don't go around telling my friends/relatives that they should breastfeed their kids and how it is better than formula. In fact, I really cannot stand moms who breastfeed and feels the need to let the whole world knows. Like, what's you intention? Make moms who feed their babies with formula feel bad? Please la, breastfeeding your kids don't automatically make you a better mom okay. There is no need to feel so smug about it. Some people can't breastfeed because they don't produce milk, some stop producing milk after a while, some people are too busy with work, some don't because it is not convenient or they simply don't want to. Who cares? It's really none of our business!

I also don't go around telling people to feed their kids healthy food or give them patronising comments about the dangers of processed/junk foods. So why is it that some people feel that it is totally okay to condemn MY way?

I have a friend who only uses reusable cloth diapers. Obviously they're better than the normal disposable ones. It's good for the baby's skin, it's cost effective and it's environmental-friendly to boot (disposable diapers take 200-500 years to decompose! Which means our diapers when we were a baby are still around :O). And yet she never judged me for using disposables. I even told her that I don't think I can commit to using reusable diapers (you need to use a certain detergent for them etc) since I already have so many things on my plate. But that doesn't make me less of a mom to Alayna.

My point is, every parent is trying to do their level best with what they have. Some parents don't have as much time, some parents don't have as much money, some parents have different priorities. But one thing for sure is that every parent want whats best for their children, and they will decide based on the circumstances that they're in and the resources that they have. Everybody else just need to respect that.



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And there you have it, MY challenges as a mother. It's definitely not easy, but totally worth it.




5 comments:

  1. hi tia, just read ur latest post.. as usual cant resist them LOL
    anyway, i think u are on the right track esp on alayna's diet issues..
    i'm overweight myself, i just couldnt stop blaming my parents who had brought me up with nasi lemak in the morning, nasi kandar for dinner.. seriously.. but this the kind no-no lesson of old parents never taught their children (in my case). we grew up looking for informations/knowledge on our own and realize the wrong things they taught us..
    as for me now, i'm struggling with weight issues since it really needs a really strong willpower, which i'm not talking about losing 5 or 10 kgs seriously..
    ive seen many overweight ppl think however/whatever makes them feel good about themselves, which is WRONG! now, i would rather encourage my friends to be stick thin/obssesed with healthy lifestyle than going fancy restaurants, knowing how hard it is being fat.. however, i'm looking forward to a healthy lifestyle myself now..

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    Replies
    1. Hello there,

      The fact that our food is soo good doesn't help either kan! I admire you for having a positive attitude about this. The goal is to have a healthy lifestyle (not starve ourselves), and the weight will go away accordingly. You can do it babe! One step at a time ok :)

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  2. Ahh, Tia.
    I fed my baby formula milk since she was born. Not that I don't try to breastfeed but the milk didnt produce enough. I cant let my baby starve just because I wanted to try to breastfeed her. But you see, so many people condemned my decision.
    Oh dont get me started with my choice of having epidural in the labour room! I was told that I have not tried enough to be a good mom.
    Whats a good mom then?
    As long as I keep the baby, feed the baby, cheer for her, teach her to say Allahuakbar, Alhamdulillah, recite Al fatihah with her..i think I am trying hard to be a good mom.
    I made her own food, just like you but there will always be a person or two who will sabotage your plan. I'll just voice out because this is my baby, not theirs!

    Good job Tia! We are all good moms, I believe!

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    Replies
    1. Haha I feel you! When I said I wanted to have an elective c-section, I lost count of how many 'holier-than-thou' responses I got.

      Don't worry too much about what people say, you're an awesome mom! :)

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  3. Hi Tia!

    I don't know you too, and neither do you know me lol! But honestly from what I have read while binge reading on your amazing blog so far is that you Are a wonderful mother! Alayna is really lucky and blessed. You're level headed, caring, kind and generous. Also you're a huge inspiration to me(and her as she grows up) on becoming a strong, independent woman.

    I hope you realize this :)

    ReplyDelete