Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Relationship

Why Our Kids Are Not Our Priority

It wasn’t always that way, just so you know.

Before our eldest son was born, my husband and I were the best of friends. While we did almost everything together, we still had our own space so that strengthened our friendship, I guess. What I love the most about us then was how we could talk about literally anything. Every day, there was something we talked about – we shared our thoughts on it, we compared what we knew about it, we argued when we had different opinions, and at the end of the day, we would come to a conclusion on what we talked about.

Sure you might think that sounded serious, but when I said we could talk about literally anything, I really do mean anything. I remember once how we spent several hours arguing if a snail without its shell is naked or homeless.

When our son was born, things sort of took a turn.

It was fine for the first couple of weeks because I just got back from the hospital and I had help for the first few days I was home. Then slowly the truth of how we’re parents now started to dawn on us. I find myself constantly pushing myself to keep up with my son’s needs in between juggling housework. My husband felt the sudden importance of earning because now we got extra things to pay for for our son.

Along the way, our eyes were set only on our son.

Every single thing revolved around him. Me taking a shower? It had to be while he was asleep. My husband needed to go out and get some bread and eggs? It had to be after my son was fed and burped so I could take a minute of sleep while he slept. Our sex life? Had to be scheduled when our son was in his deep sleep.

It was okay, I guess, for us to go through all that because we thought that’s how our lives were going to be from that moment on. I mean, hey, after all, we have a son now. We can’t exactly go out whenever we want anymore, right?

Wrong.

Turned out making our son’s (and soon our other kids’) needs as our priority was one of the most damaging things that ever happened in our relationship.

From the best of friends, we tried so hard to be the best parents. To be the best parents, we believe in being attentive to our kids, attending to all their rational needs, we believe in being there for them.

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What we forgot to do was being attentive to each other. We forgot to attend to our rational needs. We forgot to be there for each other.

In the chaos and pressure of looking after our kids, we forgot to look at each other.

Our sights were dead set on our kids, we neglected each other. Our attention was so focused on our kids, we lost track of each other’s lives. Our thoughts, passion, and hope were directed to our kids, we lost our own way to each other’s mind and heart.

Being parents to two kids (then) was so crazy for us that at one point, I realized that we have not touched each other for almost a month. I’m not talking about sexual caresses or romantic cuddling; the actual human physical contact was gone between us and it was only after a month I realized it.

I was watching the TV while our kids were in bed and my husband fell asleep on the couch next to me. I turned to look at him and I realized how much I miss the man who was sleeping right next to me. I forgot how warm his hands were, I forgot how he looked when he smiled, I forgot how safe I felt when he hugged me. As much as I wanted to lie down on his chest while he slept, I was more taken aback by how I was afraid he might react. It literally felt as if I were to lie down on a stranger’s chest on the subway.

The next morning I told my husband how I felt when he was asleep on the couch last night and while I was ready to hear him say he was too tired from working, I didn’t expect him to look at me under hooded eyes and said he felt the same way too. To be honest, I would’ve preferred to hear him raise his voice complaining that I didn’t understand his workload than it was to hear his quiet voice telling me I felt like a stranger to him too.

That very weekend, we decided we needed a break from our kids.

I battled guilt and shame for wanting time alone with my husband. I came up with hundreds of scenarios to tell my mother she needed to watch over the kids while my husband and I had to attend “a function.” I packed and repacked our kids things before we dropped them at my mom’s place. I almost told my husband we should skip going out because I was feeling too guilty about leaving my kids behind for no apparent reason.

But that’s just the thing. We had a strong reason to go out.

We were falling apart.

We thought having kids would bring us closer, but all it ever did was sent us down different paths, further and further away from each other each day. We had to do something before we were too far away from each other and could not see a way back home.

Our first date night felt extremely awkward. We both rushed through dinner, quickly finished our drinks, and went for a quick stroll, each tried to discreetly check our watches. We talked, yes. But it wasn’t like any of our talks before. It felt scripted, it felt forced. When we finally picked up our kids from my mom’s, I swear to God I heard my husband sighed a tiny relief.

However, the next day, my husband came and hugged me around the waist while I was cleaning up after our breakfast.

He told me he actually had a nice night and he felt bad for feeling rushed and wanting to be home quick. I told him I felt the same way and he told me we should go out again that weekend.

Our second date was definitely more relaxed. We took our time finishing our meals, we enjoyed our drinks, and after our stroll, we even stopped for some coffee. And we held hands while we were drinking coffee.

I can’t tell you how much I felt like myself again. That night on the way home, I cried and told him how I miss him and how I wish we could be like how we were before. I hated leaving our kids at my mom’s, but I hated it more that I feel like I don’t have my husband with me anymore. My husband called my mom and said we were not picking our kids up that night and we would be there first thing the next day. To my surprise, my mother didn’t make any fuss and said it was getting rather late and she hated to wake the kids up.

With tears and snot running down my face, I realized that it was late. I forgot to look at my watch during our date and I didn’t feel the hours passed at all. Just the way it was when it was just the two of us before kids.

Ever since that night, we realized how making our kids’ needs our only priority was damaging to the both of us.

Choosing to spend time with each other doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to our kids. Having some alone time doesn’t mean we don’t need to take care of our kids. Putting ourselves before our kids doesn’t mean we’re selfish.

And being able to have regular date nights ever since then actually made us better parents. We’re not stressful when we’re facing challenges with our kids, we’re not losing our temper as often as we did before, we could laugh more, we talk better to our kids, and our kids somehow behave better too.

We can really see how they are happy when my husband and I are truly happy.

I used to feel guilty and embarrassed for wanting time for my husband and I. I used to feel that I shouldn’t feel too free anymore now that I’m a mother. I used to think people would think I’m a bad mother if I want to go out for a movie with my husband.

Not anymore.

I feel free to be who I am not because I’m in denial I’m a mother and I want none of the motherly restraints.

I am free to be who I am because I know by taking care of our happiness and priorities first, I can definitely be a better mother to our kids.

 

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Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Relationship

32

My birthday is coming up soon and I don’t think I have felt so jaded before.

Granted, I have never truly been big on birthdays (except perhaps my husband’s), but I did somehow look forward to it. This time around, I don’t even feel like I want to know it’s my birthday.

For one, I have not been feeling myself because it’s been ages since I last wrote for myself. As a matter of fact, I just realized that my last post on this blog was a year ago; just a few days before my birthday – just as how I’m writing this right now. There is nothing more I love in this world than writing and reading, but as I said, I have not been writing for myself for ages. It’s always been about work, it’s always been for other people.

Never have I realized how important it is to write for myself. I thought that as long as I’m writing something, I would be happy because I’m still writing.

You’ve heard how people say that if you love someone, you would always try to find the time for them no matter how busy you are. I guess that’s no different than when it comes to doing the things you love. If you really love it, you would find the time to do it.

Thing is, it seems almost impossible for me to find the right time for me to write. A friend who is also a mentor told me that I should just write each day, even if it’s just one paragraph each day. I tried, but it didn’t feel like writing. I couldn’t just write one paragraph. When I write, I want to be writing for a long time. But I know that to be writing for a long time, I need time.

And I just can’t seem to find that.

My kids are definitely more independent now than they were a year ago. But somehow, things seems more hectic and chaotic. There’s so much I want to do, but there’s just not enough time to do it. When I finally did find the time, all I want to do is rest, and during the times I did get my rest from my chores and work, I felt guilty for resting.

I feel like I’m burning out sometimes. I feel like I’ve been stretched to my limits even though I know in my heart I’m nowhere near my limits. I feel like my soul is tired and it’s starting to take a toll on how I see everything.

I understand now what Bilbo means when he feels like “butter scraped over too much bread.”

I don’t know.

Maybe I just need a really long vacation.

Posted in General

I Just Don’t

I’ve been going through a lot lately. These things have made me edgy, stressed, and quick to temper. I realized these so most of the times, I tried to tone them down, but there were once or twice several times that I lost it.

However, one of the things that was very obvious was how I didn’t want to be touched.

As a mother of 3 very young kids, this is almost impossible. My kids are very affectionate and they like to cuddle, lean, and/or touch me. On good days, I’m proud of this because I would like to believe it’s a reflection of how they’re brought up in a home full of love and affection. But on days that I’m stressed, I find this to be too much. I would recoil when one of them leaned against me or I give them a quick hug when they tried to cuddle. I know they might feel weird or even hurt when I do that, but I just feel like there’s just too much of this cuddly lovey dovey stuff.

I don’t have to tell you how this made me feel guilty as hell, but by God, I just don’t want to be touched.

I know people say when I’m older I would miss the times my kids would sit on my lap as we watch Monsters, Inc. for the 100th time. I know they say that I would cherish the moment when my kids still want to hug and kiss me because before I know it, they would be the ones who didn’t want to be touched.

Am I crazy? Am I selfish? I don’t know. But I know what I feel about being touched while I’m stressed and I know it’s unfair to my kids, but I also know there’s nothing I want more than to be left alone.

Posted in General

Cooking’s A Peach!: My First Cooking Blog

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a separate blog just for cooking for quite some time now.

It’s nothing fancy or extraordinary because I don’t want to pretend that I could cook haute cuisines (though, I suppose, I would be making several attempts, hahahah) or daydream about my life being like Hassan Khadam from The Hundred-Foot Journey.

I have the idea of having a blog where it serves more as a quick reference that makes sense to everyone, especially those who are short on time or to those who are just learning to cook.

After much considering and slowly compiling my recipes, I have decided to have one!

Simple cooking blog

 

I still have many recipes to upload, but there it is!

I can’t promise that I will write or upload a recipe each day, but I will try to have at least 2 new recipes every week. I will share whenever there’s a new post. Alternatively, you can also follow (and like, of course!) my FB page of the same name so you will automatically see new posts on your news feed.

If you choose to follow my blog and my page, I thank you in advance and I hope you will be able to take something from it!

Posted in Home Made, Motherhood

Chocolate Chip Cookies Craze

I don’t know about you, but I just love chocolate chip cookies. I could really eat them every single day.

When I was younger, while I didn’t have any romantic idea about having the dream wedding or a happy family, I’ve always known that if I ever have either of them, I want to be able to bake the best chocolate chip cookies.

Butterless chocolate chip cookies

 

Because of this I have been trying many recipes; some traditional ones that are passed down in my family from mother to daughter and some I improvised from the ones I found on Google.

Today, I tried (yet again) to make these butterless chocolate chip cookies.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against butter. In fact, I love them so much I usually use in a lot of my cooking. It’s just that I ran out of butter and I still want to bake.

These cookies may take a little longer to make because there are several extra steps than the usual simple recipes, but it’s worth it because I made about 75 pieces of cookies (1.5″x1.5″) around 2pm and now it’s 10pm and not a single piece left!

Here’s how.

Posted in General

Busy Bee Little Me

It’s been ages since I last wrote and I feel awkward doing this now.

But I’ve been doing so many things, I can’t find the time to sit down and write.

One of the many things I’ve been doing is taking beading orders for dresses. Aidilfitri is coming, so many people are either getting married or looking to jazz up their outfit for the occasion.

I’ve done beading before, but it’s only for my own or close relatives, but lately I get a few people asking me to do beading for them. It’s turning out okay and quite productive, because while I don’t expect to do this on a full-time basis, I’m getting order quite regularly. What I love most about this is how I see my work getting better and how much I’ve improved when I first started doing beading when I was 15.

Here are some samples of my work and I’m really proud of them. Now off to more beading because more orders are coming so I need to get the ones I have done as soon as possible.

So, talk soon!

 

*If you’re interested (and in Malaysia/Singapore only for now, soon I think I might expand, who knows!), drop me a line in the comment or to my email jajashahmohen@gmail.com

 

Manik dahlia
I love this Lazy Daisy design with two-layer hem beading.

 

 

 

 

Manik bunga
Simple floral beading for a blouse.

 

Manik baju kahwin
Embellished dress: Complete work for a wedding demi-couture.

 

Manik baju crumble
Did a floral beading ala embroidery for my mom’s dress she wore to a cousin’s wedding.

 

Manik baju kahwin
Work in progress for a wedding demi-couture