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, Relationship

Facebook me your twitter so I can WhatsApp you my Instagram

I had to take a minute to let that sink in.

I don’t know about you, but that didn’t sound weird to me at all. But then again, these words are part of everyone’s conversation nowadays that they’re hardly alien or weird at all.

It starts with that, doesn’t it?

Conversations.

One person decided to text a person and they started to talk for hours, ignoring everything and everyone else around them.

This is not a big deal if you‘re not seeing anyone. But it can get pretty darn annoying when it’s your spouse who’s doing it. He or she might spend the whole day texting back and forth with whoever it is, and you can’t even get a minute of their time. When you ask them about it, they say it’s just a friend.

Okay, hang on. Let me backtrack a little because even I feel as though I’m jumping the gun here.

I feel, ever since we’re more savvy with technology, many things have gone wrong with the way we live our lives.

Our kids are more glued to their tablets and smartphones than they’re with books or board games, many of us are hooked on online games that we spend hours and hours trying to win the next level, and one of the most common problems I hear from my friends is how their spouse spends hours on the phone talking to friends.

Isn’t this weird? I mean, you have your wife there, she’s watching TV with you and there you are on the couch, alternating between looking at the screen of your phone and the TV. Or your husband is watching the TV and you’re the one who’s playing Candy Crush.

Not a single word is spoken between the two of you.

Is it just me or I find there is something very wrong with this picture?

1 in 5 divorce cases in America was caused by Facebook and instant messaging. Arguments and fights between husbands and wives are most of the times caused by WhatsApp or some other instant messaging services. I’ve personally known 4 friends who were divorced because of affairs that started from instant messaging.

A friend, who recently went through a divorce not 6 months ago, bitterly said to me that nowadays relationships are just messed up – You can know everything about me there is to know but don’t ever touch my phone.

I don’t have to go far. I experienced it myself before. You just know that your partner is not talking to just “some” friends (read: guy friends) because

1. He’s on the phone from morning and checking it every 5-10 minutes and,

2. There’s that sometimes playful smile when he reads the text.

I can’t tell you how it drives me crazy while I pretended not to care. I don’t want to ask because I feel that it’s his space to talk to whoever he wants. But I feel like an idiot hanging around him trying to get his attention focused on me instead. Me. His wife.

Almost every other woman that I met has experienced this with their husbands. And when asked, they said he would almost always say, It’s a friend and we’re just talking.

I’m not just talking about guys. I know women do this thing too. I’ve done it as well. But just to see what it feels like to spite my husband by me doing the exact same thing he’s doing.

Of course, all hell breaks loose. I guess it’s all right if he does it, but not me.

But then again, thank God I hated it. It made me feel weird to be texting a guy at 2am in the morning and started flirting, because I know he knows that I’m married and I don’t want him to think that I’m being available that way.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe in changing the way I am once I’m married.

I might be too available, or too promiscuous or too easy before I was someone’s wife, but now that I’m married, I feel I can’t be that way anymore. Especially now I have 3 kids. I believe in women being liberal and open about who they are or their sexuality, but I draw my own line about how I need to behave now that I’m someone’s wife.

My mother taught me to take care of my actions and my words, especially around other men, because I’m now a married woman. I have an obligation to my husband and I can’t be embarrassing him by being flirty with other men. My mother said it’s okay if people think I’ve changed drastically or that I’ve become boring, as long as I don’t do anything to jeopardize my marriage.

To be honest, I personally feel all this secret texting and late night Facebook chats can jeopardize a marriage even though a lot of people that I talk to say that it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the intention to cheat.

I mean, I find it disturbing that your partner is sleeping alone in the bed and you’re talking away to someone until the wee hours of the morning. When asked, It’s just a friend. It’s not like it’s anything. Can you just trust me?

Ah, “Trust me”. That’s another phrase I feel it’s being overused in marriages and relationships.

With trust, I’m supposed to be okay if you’re talking to someone on FB chats at 4am. With trust, I’m supposed to be okay with all the comments you make on someone’s Instagram photos that are rather provoking. With trust, I’m supposed to ignore how I feel and agree with you that I’m overthinking.

You know what, maybe I am. Maybe because I’m a woman so I distrust my whole species for talking to my man. Maybe because I’m a woman, I feel that my man can easily fall for some other women that he spends hours talking to every day.

But before you think I’m on a men-bashing crusade because of my experience, I know for a fact women do it too.

My guy friend, also just went through another divorce, because his wife was always on the phone with a long lost schoolmate (who also happened to be an old flame) and ended up falling in love with her old friend all over again. My friend was devastated because they had a daughter and he thought he was being nice to her, letting her talk to her old friend. *Yes, I read his message with my husband next to me so there’s no secret messaging there, mind you.*

See where trust gets him?

I know it’s probably the wife’s fault that she abused his trust, but he did wonder if things would’ve been different if he told her not to text her friend too much.

This kind of things takes two to tango. If one person keeps on sending messages, but the other person never replied or replied curtly with one word replies, I don’t think it would’ve gone too far. People that I spoke to tend to say that, Oh, I can control myself. I know what’s the limit and I don’t flirt. It’s nothing.

But can the other person have as much control?

Say if I were to flirt with another man on the phone, then he would probably see it as an open invitation. Suppose he doesn’t flirt back (because he knows I’m married with kids), but never fail to reply me anyway, I would feel encouraged to continue texting him. And it goes from there.

People probably get thrills or something from this kind of thing. It’s exciting to know we’re texting someone that our spouse doesn’t know. Or that person says something your husband or your wife doesn’t say to you. We start to see other people as more interesting than the one we married.

My friend (the one who said modern relationships are messed up) told me that when she asked her husband what was wrong with her that he had to find someone else to talk to, she said he told her that she has started to bore him. That she’s no longer interesting.

In my heart, I felt this unreasonable anger toward her husband. Was it so hard for him to tell his wife this? Was it so hard to tell his wife that he wanted her to try something new? Or that she’s become so tied up with work and their kids that she’s no longer the woman he remembered her?

When a married couple starts to feel that other people is more interesting, more exciting than his or her own spouse, this is when the cracks start to happen.

One of the things that I’m really terrified of is how I might be boring to my husband.

How I wontbe able to excite him the way I did when we first went out. How he won’t get the butterflies anymore while thinking about me at work. This paranoia is worse when I’m running around the house with 3 kids while trying to squeeze in my writing projects, because I know when I’m this hectic person, I become snappy, sarcastic and spiteful toward anyone. I’m afraid this behavior might drive my husband away because he sees me as this annoying housewife that blabbers and bickers all the time.

My mom always says, When we start to feel our spouse is boring and no longer attractive, even the slightest temptation is enough to drive us away from them.

I can’t stop technology any more than I can stop the Sun from rising. But I honestly feel a lot of couples are affected by this and it’s completely unhealthy. I bet things were greater when technology wasn’t that advanced for married coupled now who were going out then. Couples actually talk and spend time together. They actually look into each other’s eyes and laugh while they share stories.

Call me old fashioned, but that’s the kind of relationship that I want for me and for almost anybody who’s going through hell fighting over text messaging.

But then, maybe I’m just overthinking and being absurdly jealous.

I guess I’ll just text a guy friend to pour my heart out to, eh?

 

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Posted in Marriage, Relationship

Dear Some Men,

Dear some men,

 

I know you work hard to provide for the family. I know you have millions of things on your mind about where the money goes and you worry about how much you have left at the end of the month.

 

But take some time to look at your wife.

 

Look at her as a person that’s busting her chops to keep the house clean, look at her as a person that’s running around sending kids to school and going to the market to get groceries and hope she will be back home on time to cook lunch. Look at your wife as the person that wakes up before everyone else and sleeps only after everyone has gone to bed.

 

She looks to you as her support, but do you feel that you’re there for her as much as you expected her to be there for you? She looks to you as her rock, but do you anchor her to her feet so she doesn’t lose her mind or are you only weighing her down?

 

There are so many wives who are depressed because her husband don’t lift a finger around the house. There are so many wives that filed for divorce because she can’t take doing everything on her own when that one person she counts on doesn’t even say thank you for what she does.

 

If you ask her, she doesn’t really care if you make RM1000 per month or RM10,000 at that.

 

She works at the office just as you do too. She gets stressed out over a dumb colleague as well. She gets pissed off at her boss too. She gets caught up in the traffic jam just as you’re making your way home from the office as well.

 

She wants you to see her as a person, as a woman who dedicated her life to serve you and make you happy. She doesn’t want to be made to feel like a maid in her own house. She does the cleaning and the cooking out of love. She understands that’s her job and she understands that you expected her to do all that.

 

She understands what you have to go through and she expects you to understand her as well. She never complains she has to cook, she never complains she has to fold a mountain of laundry, although if you ask her, she would rather sit and do nothing. Of course she would not tell you this because she knows your expectations of her.

 

Just as she expected you to appreciate her. Just as she expected you to hug her and say thank you. Just as she expected you to give her 10 minute break once in a while.

 

Wives know that their husbands can change a diaper, wives know their husbands know where the broom and mop are kept, wives know their husbands can take care of the children and the house without them despite people always degrading men as caretakers.

 

She just wants to know that she’s not alone in this thing because marriage is about working together as a team. Not a one (wo)man show.

 

Just a thank you and a hug will do. And yes, please take out the garbage too, while you’re at it.

 

Posted in Relationship

Of Love or Lust

I recently spoke to an old friend whom I have not seen for several years.

Our conversations fell into place easily enough, assuring me that we’re closer than we think because despite not seeing each other for a long time and for the occasional random comments on each other’s Facebook status, we’re still able to chat as though we’ve just seen each other last week.

We talked about my kids (for she is not married), her new job, my writing career (read: attempts) and many other usual desultory things people who have not seen each other for a while talk about. She seems to be doing well and she looks happy from what I can see. I know her enough before this to know she had had series of unpleasant life episodes. But I guess from the way she was talking and laughing, I guess she’s doing fine.

Then she dropped the bomb by asking me how should she come clean to her family about being a lesbian.

Now, if you have read my posts before, you know that I have absolutely nothing against homosexuality. If at all, I support gay rights just as I ardently support other causes I believe in.

What surprised me was that because I knew she was a straight.

But to be safe, I confirmed this with her because maybe, like many closet homosexuals, she pretended to be heterosexual just so she could fit into those around her.

She said that she was straight before, just as I knew her. But she decided to be a lesbian because she has had enough with men who always ended up cheating on her or treated her badly. I knew one of her ex boyfriends who used to hit her and I was the one who told her to walk away, which to my relief she did. But I also know that she had few other relationships after that boyfriend so it couldn’t be because of that guy she decided to be a lesbian.

I asked her why did she decide to be lesbian?

She said again she had enough of men who did nothing but treated her badly.

I told her that maybe she hasn’t found the right one yet. I mean, there are after all still a lot of men out there so it’s a bit early to rule out all of them.

She nodded, agreeing to what I say. But she said she couldn’t bear to take risk anymore by going out with men again.

Then I told her that women could easily cheat on her too. Because for me, who a person is, is genderless. They cheat because they want to. Not because they’re men or women. Switching to women just because most men she was with ended up cheating on her doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse for me to turn homosexual.

I explained to her that homosexuality is not about what happens or what has happened in a relationship.

A person is a homosexual because they know it in their hearts that they are not meant to love a person of a different sex. They know they don’t get attracted to someone of the opposite sex and they feel secure and comfortable with someone from their own sex just the same way heterosexuals find comfort and love.

I told her that you don’t turn lesbian because you’re tired of c***s. If she’s afraid that her men might stick it in someone else instead of her, get a dildo. It wouldn’t cheat on her.

You would probably expected her to slap me but thank goodness she knows me enough to know that I always tell the truth this way. So she laughed real hard but I could see the hint of tears in her eyes so I know this is also hard on her.

For me, she was nursing a broken heart. She thought she could take a break from men by being with women. I made no judgement on that because everyone heals differently. If she feels she could heal by being with a woman, by all means, she should do it.

But I don’t agree for her to say that she has turned into a lesbian.

It doesn’t take 5 bad relationships with men to turn a woman into a lesbian.

Okay, maybe it does. Heck, maybe it takes just even 1 bad relationship to convince a woman enough to never trust or love men again.

But somehow, I can’t get my head around the idea of “turning into a homosexual”.

I always believed it’s something you’re born into. Some of my homosexual friends said they know they’re different the moment they can think and/or remember. So when someone told me they have suddenly decided to be a homosexual, I get a little reserved. Of course I can’t make any judgement on that because maybe I have never had any bad relationships to convince me enough that men are just useless and decide to turn into a lesbian.

Most of my friends who “turned into a homosexual” are rather promiscuous. Please note that this is strictly from my observation. It may or may not have anything to do with it but it seems to me that they might be basing their relationship on lust. Because the ones whom I know are originally homosexual, for lack of a better word, are most of the times rather conventional. They may have one or two past relationships, but each relationship tend to last for several years. And the ones who just turned homosexuals, tend to have many brief relationships.

I’m not saying this as a general rule but I do believe in the balance of probabilities. But if I’m absolutely proven wrong, then I’m truly sorry.

I told my friend to do what she feels is right. I said that her instinct on who to love, a man or a woman, can and will not be suppressed. So I said that maybe, even if she is in a relationship with a woman, she will feel that something is amiss (and I’m not talking about something anatomical here) in the long run. But if ever she didn’t feel that way, then perhaps, her homosexuality is genuine.

She seemed conflicted after that. I wouldn’t want to be the one changing her mind because she is after all in a relationship with another woman. And that woman is treating her kindly. So if she found out that I told my friend to rethink her decision as a lesbian, I would probably be seen as a home wrecker. I told her to just trust her instincts.

I never had any experience the way my friend has. Although I can easily get attracted to beautiful girls, I know that is just my lust talking and not my heart. I know it in my heart that I love male and I don’t think I could love a woman the same way that I love men.

But then again, who am I to know that?

Posted in Parenting, Relationship

My Online Published Article

Okay, I know this is probably nothing but I got my first online published article last night!

I follow this blog on writing – Writing Hood; and one of the posts by the blogger was about blogging sites that pay and (most importantly) are not scams. He has a lot of sites recommended but there are only a few that I can sign up for being a non-US citizen.

One of the sites that I registered for is Helium. I like the site because it allows you to write on what you want to and gives you the platform to write about what you know.

Most of the articles are factual and categorized accordingly. You can choose to write in whichever category you know best. If your article is accepted by the publisher you will get paid but if it doesn’t, your article is still published online, therefore making it available for search results in the category you are writing.

For me, what I love about it is that, the more I write the more my articles get posted online, it increases the traffic to my profile as a Helium author and sooner or later I’ll get recognized in my own way. Whether I get paid or not is another point in terms of how ambitious I am in getting paid for writing but as for me and as for now, I love just seeing my name on a link on an online site.

Here’s what I wrote and do tell me what you think!

Helium – What Husbands Need To Know About Pregnancy

Posted in Motherhood, Parenting, Relationship

They Say You Lose 90%

Mohen got this book call The Power of Giving.

This post is not about the book though. I did however, read 2 chapters of it and recommend you to get it if you like self-help / motivational book because the style of writing is easy and natural. I literally felt light when I was reading it.

The chapter that I chose to read was about love (naturally).

It talks about how to give more in order to receive more love. I’m pretty sure if you’ve heard this one before you’d be rolling your eyes by now but the book talked about it from quite a different angle that I find myself reading the whole chapter on giving love. Anyway, I’m not much of a self-help / motivational book so I only read that one topic.

One sentence brought tears to my eyes the moment I finished the last word.
” – But after children arrive, a couple’s ability to spend quality one-on-one time is reduced by 90%.”

Because to be honest, that was exactly how I felt ever since Eros was born. In fact, I feel that we might be losing more than 90% because Mohen and I were that close. See, even now I used past tense to describe how close we were. And that is just really painful.

I know that we really love each other.

We both know that we sort of drifted apart despite of ourselves. It wasn’t as if we wanted to but domestic things come between us more than anything else. Sure we try to connect after the children are in bed. We still have our late night talks over coffee and cigarette but somehow it doesn’t feel the same.

The heat of the moment is no longer as fierce. Mainly because we have sleep on both our minds. As mundane as that sounds, sleep has been deprived from us since our first baby. What more now with Mohen’s crazy work hours and me with my midnight (read all night through to morning) feed with our daughter.

I miss Mohen with every vein in my body.

He sleeps next to me every night. He kisses me before he goes to work everyday. He calls me during his break time each time. Just as he has since we were first together but it doesn’t feel the same and it hurts me not to know why.

I know that children are supposed to bring the parents together but I can’t help but feel somehow for us, it drives us apart. Not in a bad way because we both love our children with all our hearts but perhaps we love them both with all our hearts, we left little room for each other now.

We're both crazy about our son, Eros.

So when we’ve drifted apart this way, the arguments become more often. Sometimes over stupid little things, sometimes over something that both of us have kept buried for so long. Either way, no matter how big or small the argument was, it hurts each time because it makes me feel as though we do nothing now but argue.

Mohen is your typical Mars male where he goes to his cave to brood when he has a problem. And I’m your typical Venus female where I want to talk if there’s anything that’s bothering either of us. I tried to understand him this way but sometimes it’s really hard. I told him many times that if he talks to me or when I want to talk, it doesn’t mean that I need a solution. I just want to talk so someone would listen or that he knows I’m here for him to listen to him.

When things were simpler.

I would like to think when our kids are a little older and a little more independent than they are now, we would have time for each other again. We would be back to how we were before. But to wait for that day and go through this feeling each day until that day comes, is just too torturing for me.

Relationships have its up and down, I know. Relationships can last a long time despite all the problems it went through, I know.

But I want mine to always have the same fire we had few years back. I tried to bring it back most of the times but Mohen seems so far away that it makes me feel rejected to even try. I want him to remember what we had, I want him to remember how we were with each other.

Maybe he does remember but patriarchal responsibility has probably made him the way he is today. I can never blame him for wanting to be a good dad and a good partner. And I can never blame him if he can’t be both because I don’t think I can be both either.

Do we lose 90%? It feels a whole lot more than that…