August 18, 2013

My mother

My mom left yesterday. She was here for about 3 months. She's known and been with Mason as long as I have.

In my culture, we have always grown up with the idea that "it takes a village". A huge part of our early childhood always involved the many helping hands of the extended family. That's why it shocked my mom to know that so many of my Caucasian friends who have babies "do it themselves". To her, there's no other way than having everyone together, pitching in to help the new mom. This has a lot to do with the "Confinement" that takes place for 40 days post birth. The new mom has one job and one job only - to feed the baby. Everything else is undertaken by the family (mostly the women). And when I say everything, I really mean everything..

So having mom come over from Singapore when I had Mason is only normal for our culture. For her to cook every meal, pretty much tick everything off the "chores" list from laundry to vacuuming, while also occasionally waking up to help with night time diaper changes is just part of what is the expectation of our traditions.

Her selfless nature makes my life so much easier. Every morning she'd wake up and come over to greet Mason a good morning, he adores her high pitched tones when she talks to him and responds with coos and smiles.

It was a painful experience at the airport. I am so proud of my parents for being able to stand back and let me live my life, even if that life led me miles away from them. It is never easy being distanced from family.. Time doesn't make it easier. This will be my 5th year in Australia and every time I leave my family, it takes me days to come off feeling like a part of my heart jumped on a plane and left. 

I miss my mother so much already.


  1. Goosebumps.

    I love your culture. You guys get it so right. And we get it so completely wrong (in that regard) ;)

    It really DOES take a village, & my Singaporean neighbour had the same experience with her Mum, & I was GOBSMACKED at how beautiful & selfless your culture really is in regards to caring for the new Mama.

    I don't have a Mother myself, but I want to take an Eastern approach to my children's early parenting days when they have children themselves - because it's fantastic!

    Cherie x

    1. It has it's ups and downs - like everything in life. My side of the family, even extended family, will berate you to "eat! eat! eat!" then ask why you're fat! Poor Luke didn't know what to do with himself one Chinese New Year when my grandaunty thought she should share with him that he'd packed on a few kilos since they last saw him!

      But with regards to postpartum mamas.. We are the lucky ones. I didn't touch the dishes for about 3 months. Or do any laundry. Every time baby poo got onto something, it was washed, dried and back in the drawer without me ever missing them. The way my mother nurtures me is the way I want to nurture my children. Selfless and ever-giving.

      You are a fantastic mother, Cherie. I hope you know that. xx

  2. This brought tears to my eyes! I am not sure how I would have handled having my Mum around for the first 3 months of my son's life, I do like to have my own space...however when I was having a rough time both my Mum and sister came and stayed with me while my husband was away working and it was so nice to know that your family would drop whatever they have going on in their own lives to come and help me. When/if my children (only one so far) have children I would love to offer as much support I can to them especially in those first few months when everything is so different from anything you have experienced before. Your son is gorgeous. xx Shell (visiting via che & fidel)

    1. Hi Shell, thank you for visiting! :) Ah yes, I think Luke struggled a bit with having someone in our home the entire 3 months but the fact that he didn't have to do any dishes for months kinda made up for it! Ha! Mum was pretty good at not getting in our way, I have to admit! She never overwhelmed us with what she thought was better for Mason and that made her presence very easy. I'm sure when your littles have their own kids, we will all do the best we can (while probably still finding some way to annoy them!)