Thursday, February 21

Being The Solo Mum

"Knock.. knock.. knock.." I was deported back from my dreamland by the sound from my bedroom door.

"M'am.. M'am.. I am going out now.." My helper announced.

"Ehhh...O...K..." I groaned, dragging myself out of my bed to open the door. My two kids shoved me aside and dashed into my chilly room, screaming, "Yeah!!! We are in ice land!" While my helper happily waved goodbye and left us to enjoy her day off.

I glanced at the clock beside my bed. It was barely 9am on a Sunday morning. Mr Hubby was already nowhere to be seen, he had left early that morning for his full-day class. I was alone to care for my two boisterous kids; getting them lunch and bathe, doing marketing and bringing my eldest to art lesson, with absolutely no help whatsoever. I find myself groaning again, as I ran the mental checklist in my head.

I crawled back onto my bed, while my children hijacked my pillows and blankets to build an imaginary castle on their mattress and then tried to take over my bed as their trampoline. I had to bring them out of the house to defuse their energies or risk going insane stuck at home with them attempting to turn my room up side down. So I declared, "Keep all the toys now, we are going out!"

It took quite a while, and thrown in a little bit of persuading, yelling and warning, the toys finally went back to where they belong and my children changed and got themselves ready, on their own. I drove us to Junction 10 to pick up some groceries and promised them a good lunch if they behave themselves. Laetitia (my 5YO) stepped up and helped ran errands like bringing the vegetables to the counter to get them weighed and priced, while Leonitus (my 3YO) helped to select some string beans. I applauded my decision to get them out of the house.

While I was lining up my stuff at the check-out counter, my first challenge of the day came. Leonitus exclaimed that he had to pee and he needed to go immediately. What a perfect timing! Do I jam up the Q and drop everything to bring him to the loo or do I let him wet himself there and then? Loo or not? Loo or not?

After 2 seconds of debate in my head, I turned to my daughter and asked, "Laetitia, could you help Mommy bring your brother to the toilet? Toilet is just over there." I pointed to the entrance of the public toilets which was about 5 or more meters away and for the first time, I let her take charge his brother's bladder. I turned to my son, loosen his strings of his Bermuda shorts, and instructed "Leonitus, follow your sister and pee on your own."  I was half hoping that there will be 'no accidents', half preparing myself to go to the car for a fresh set of clothes and all the time praying they will be safe on their own.

Minutes later, both of them returned. Dry and safe. "We are done!" Laetitia proudly pronounced. "We, both pee and washed our hands." I beamed with pride, "Great! Let's get some lunch now."

We had Indonesian food for lunch. No table manners were enforced, I couldn't be bothered because seeing them eating well on their own and enjoying their Lontong Rice, Ayam Penyet and Gado Gado was simply good enough. I joined them, putting away my spoon and fork and letting my fingers do the work. Our messy and barbaric lunch, I think we enjoyed every minute of it.

When we reached home, it was almost their nap time and I have to unpack and store the groceries away, so I told them that they will have to shower on their own. Leonitus sped to the bathroom, chanting, "I can shower on my own. On my own." He enjoys showering on his own and surprisingly, he is very good at it for his age. Laetitia wasn't as enthusiastic, but she followed anyway.

After I dried them up, they changed and sat on the floor to read nap-time stories on their own, while I blew their hair dry to save time. When they are done, I packed them both to bed, while I took the time to rest, shower and dressed up.

After an hour of napping, one by one, they woke up on their own, as if by clockwork; then we were off to send Laetitia to her weekly art lesson and more shopping to stock up the kids' special gluten-free diets.

Finally, as evening drew near, my solo duty ended when I drove the kids to meet Mr Hubby in town for dinner. The children were excited to have their daddy joined us, they ran and dived their bodies onto him. I sighed with relief; I had made it through on my own.

"Woah, you look shag. How was things?" Mr Hubby asked cheekily.

I smiled and praised our kids, "They have been really good today."

"So, they behave better without maid around." Mr Hubby concluded.

I must admit, it had been daunting at first, but I had a fulfilling day running the show alone. And my children had the chance to experience independence and it empowers them to believe they can accomplish tasks on their own.

That night, I laid on my bed reflecting my day as the solo Mum, I gained precious insight on parenting. We shouldn't be seeking for perfection, instead we should provide our children with opportunities to let them experience, to have a chance to fail, and to learn from a mistake or a failure. In another words, as parents, we must let go of our inhibitions and have faith in our little ones.

I went to sleep, filled with gratitude for having spent a special day, alone with my children.

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