School reopens today and it didn’t help that Daniel was absent for a week prior to the Chinese New Year holidays – there was a lot of drama and tears this morning before we left the house. We arrived at school an hour late (its only 6 mins away from my new place, mind you) and another session of waterworks ensued as soon as we parked in front of the building.
Only very few moms understand how much I was looking forward to this day. The feeling of having a few undisturbed toddler hours before I get back to wiping snot, pulling up underpants and having saliva on my sleeves. This precious couple of hours just to keep me sane for a few more days.
Don’t get me wrong. While I love my child to absolute bits and the thought of ever losing him brings me to tears, some precious me-time moments each day is needed. So much so now, every moment I need to have to compose myself or avoid a breakdown or simply just to breathe, is so important. I need to be a sane single mom if I want to be able to raise my son.
Being a business-mom-preneur, those hours Daniel spend at school is when I get to do things whether it is work related, home related or just self related. Being a Young Living Business Builder I often have to travel to HQ, meet people, drop of orders or make deliveries at the post office. It’s all fun and rewarding, trust me, but without me-time, I wouldn’t be able to do this. With the added stress of needing to lose weight so I can find
a husband more commercial or modelling jobs; it really just blows my head off!
To me, me-time includes all the times I’m away from my son. Me-time isn’t just about me having some jolly time getting my hair washed at the salon or a manicure or a massage. Me-time is every opportunity for me to do something non-mother-child related without disturbance or distractions.
Couples often complain that they don’t get to have a lot of me-time. Little do you realise, being away at work is some free-ing moments from being a parent too. This was something I faced in my previous relationship. While me-time, based on my understanding, was my ex husband off at work (away from family on nighstops), apparently his version of me-time was him with his hobbies etc AFTER work. So when was family time? And where did MY me-time fit in all that schedule?
Am I suppose to feel bad that I’m sending my son to school at 4? No, I don’t. In fact, I totally anticipated 2019 coming because of this reason. I could finally put him in school! Not just because he could start learning, but because I need to be able to have some time to find, compose and make myself happy. Even if it’s just folding the laundry in front of Netflix with a cup of Arissto’s.
Why do people make moms or couples feel bad for wanting me-time? Why do people make moms feel bad for taking time off from parenting? Doesn’t it occur to you that some people have no choice but to send their children to daycare/preschool because they work? Oh. Or suddenly that’s allowed because some people don’t have a choice? And just because I ‘work from home’ or was a homemaker, I should in fact be dedicating my every breathe to child caring?
Let’s look at this:
Mom was having a facial. Dad calls because son’s decided to poop and he couldn’t find the nappy. Unfortunately as mom was occupied, she didn’t pick up her phone.
Mom was at the gym. The school called due to an emergency and the mom was unable to pick up the call. Immediately she is ‘branded’ as irresponsible because she was taking some time off to keep sane.
This is reality. Moms are often made to feel inadequate or irresponsible just because. BUY WHY? How did that become a conclusion just because she was caught up at the wrong time – when she was having some time off?
While many people around me conclude that me-time is important, others are not so accepting of it. It doesn’t help that people like dishing out judgement and prejudice when it comes to the parenting choices of others. Don’t pinch. Don’t spank. Don’t shout. Don’t punish. Don’t rotan. Don’t say No. Don’t tell them they can’t. Give options blablabla. How many times was I made to feel like sending my son to school at 4 was crazy?
“It’s too early! He’ll get bored at school!”
“I send my children to school at 6 and they turned out fine.”
“Four years old in school already, not in daycare??”
“Let him enjoy la! So young already have to wake up early and do homework.”
I was comparing and searching for preschools the entire 2018, finding locations and good brands nearby to where I was living before I got divorced, asking other moms for opinions and listening to advice base on experience.
Sometime around August last year, Gymboree came up with a preschool program. Since Daniel was already used to and love the teachers, I wanted to sign him up for the semester. It was bloody expensive. While I wanted so much to have some time off in a day (even if it was just three hours!) to do me-things, the ex husband wasn’t so keen about the idea. In fact, he made me feel entirely irresponsible and selfish for even thinking about wanting to have three hours to myself that I would send my son to school.
I send Daniel to preschool full-day. His classes and activities start at eight and end at three pm. Even this choice of mine was made to feel inadequate or wrong. Just because you send your child to school for 4 hours in a day, it doesn’t mean mine is the right or wrong choice. Some of us have different priorities or work or get to enjoy such luxuries in life. Some moms get to stay home with a helper and take videos of their cats all day. Some parents send their kids to school as early as 7am (or earlier!) and only pick them up from daycare at 6pm. Do you have to judge them if that’s the only thing that could work because they have to put food on the table?
Honestly, I can’t even think of the future or a career because of the amount of responsibility that comes with being a single mom. Because I always try to put my son first. Do I want to be working 9-5 and unable to attend relevant events in school with him? Do I want to miss important days such as graduation, sports or parent-teacher meetings? Truly, I don’t want to. Not only that he only has me to rely on these days, I don’t want to give false hopes and I constantly try to put him first above all else, like a parent should.
Because that is what its all about. We put our children first. Parenting isn’t just about raising decent human beings. Parenting is setting an example. It’s not about just making a big fuss about birthdays and making it all about ‘family’ that one time a year and not giving a fuck for the rest. Parenting is about raising your child by first setting the example. If taking some me-time off by sending your kid to school is going to keep you sane and less confuse, then do it. If you are going crazy or feeling too overwhelmed, stop and leave. If your marriage is failing and you’re arguing every single day, leave. Neither way you are helping raise a human being because you are only setting a shitty example. Mental illness is real and is so common these days, especially among women because of the amount of expectations and responsibilities dump on our shoulders when we become wife and moms.
You can keep trying to make me feel like shit over agreeing to a divorce, becoming a single mom and living alone with my son. For me, that was the best choice I could make. I am a better person now than I was; consumed in anger, resentment and disappointment in an unhappiness. I was not going to raise a child feeling like that.
For now, I’m going to keep having my breakfast after dropping Daniel off. I would probably need to make a trip to the post office and handle some clients in the process, but all I needed was just a few hours away from continuously wiping toddler pee off the toilet and “Mummy I want Youtube!” to get back to being Me.
Gosh the male species is so difficult!