Mind my manners

I know it’s going to be hard from the start but it turned out to be tougher than expected. The past few days since Hubby left have been hectic, crazy and non-stop. We have had our fair share of meltdowns and tantrums. We meaning me, E and Xan. My screams have become a regular noise in the neighbourhood. An ugly scene. I’m not proud of myself.

It’s 11.45pm, I’m mentally and physically exhausted, and my eyes are swollen from crying. I threw a huge tantrum just now. I miss the Husband. My 3-year old son comforted me. He’s handling the temporary separation so much better than me. I’m ashamed.

It’s tiring and challenging. Though we are blessed with a great Aunty helper who is ever so understanding and caring this time around, there’s only so much she can do. She can’t mother my kids. The kids want me. They prefer me. And they want me all to themselves. Now. Yes, they mean Now. This and that, that and this – it’s all about “I want, I want, I want!” But there’s only one me. And I only have a pair of hands.

It’s overwhelming. I’m stressed out. I get frustrated easily. I scream at every mistake or whine he made. It’s not me and I really dislike what stress has turned me into…a mommy monster.

To think about it, E has been behaving ever since Daddy flew off. I didn’t. He bonded with Aunty almost immediately, didn’t protest (like he usually does) in the shower, self-fed himself during mealtimes and politely asked me to feed him once I’m done eating. He even let the Aunty do things for him, which is very unlike him as he doesn’t warm up to new people easily, let alone allow them to be part of his routine. He was -all in all – very much cooperative. But I wanted more. It wasn’t good enough. I jumped at his flaws. When he was too slow, I started counting. When he made an accident (pee/poo), I interrogated him incessantly. When he started whining, I shouted at him. I threatened him with cockroaches, no this and no that. The worst was threatening to cancel his birthday party. How could I even give him the inkling that I may take away something he has been anticipating so much?! Nasty mom. Horrible, horrifying, horrendous.

After days of such drama at home, I finally kicked up a fuss and broke down. In front of both my kids in our room. E looked worried. Very puzzled. He said, “Don’t fry, don’t fry, no frying Mommy”

“I miss Daddy. And I’m sorry for shouting at you.”

He paused for a moment and replied, “It’s okay. When Daddy is ready, we go Dubai okay? Don’t fry. No frying in my house.”

“I’m sad. Why no crying in your house?”

“Because…because I want you to read this book for me.”

He was holding the ‘Monkey Manners’ book he just borrowed from the library this afternoon.

Still sobbing, I told him: “Mommy is sad. Give mommy a minute please.”

“Okay, I read to you okay?”

And he flipped the page one by one, pointing at the pictures and creating his own version of understanding.

After I have calmed down and read him several stories, I said to him: “Mommy is sorry for shouting at you. Please forgive Mommy. Always remember that no matter how much Mommy is angry at you, or how much you think you make Mommy sad, Mommy love you a lot – big big lot. Always always always love you very very VERY much. To the stars and back. All over the world!”

Then I asked, “Are you still angry at Mommy?”

He said “No.”

Just before he fell asleep on my tummy, he suddenly shoved his Tiny finger to me and quipped, “Pinky promise, Mommy?”

“What’s the promise?”

“No more shouting.”

I’m embarrased I needed a 3-year old to remind me of my manners.

Stuck on the mirror of my dressing table now is a colourful note in point form, serving as a reminder to me:

1. Keep calm
2. Be patient
3. No shouting
4. No threatening

Pinky promise!


17 thoughts on “Mind my manners

  1. Li-Kim

    Hang in there Joey! Two things – try to let go what’s can wait and just focus on what’s necessary and take 10 long breaths in such moments to gain sanity.

    Your son is so sweet! That is a testament of your good parenting. Keep it up!

    1. Thanks Li-Kim, for the encouraging words and tips. I’m more composed and calm now, and trying my best to view the situation from the little ones’ perspectives now. It’s easier this way. With support from friends and family, I’m slowly gaining the strength 🙂

  2. Christina

    Hang int here my dear.. thinking of u.. plz plz let me know how i can help..maybe i can come n paly cooking with E..

  3. Sherlynna Lee Wong

    Hang in there Joey. I can only imagine what you’re going through. Ewan sounds like such a good boy. You and Steve have done a great job! Keep up the good work. Just remember, before you know it, this will all be in the past. In the meantime, breathe!

    1. Hi Sherlynna, it’s such a pity we didn’t get to meet over CNY! Clash of timings 😦 Yes, I’m trying my best to keep calm, be more patient and breathe. Seeing this whole experience as a learning curve. I’m considered very blessed…imagine single moms!

  4. Joey, I can totally understand it’s not easy, due to my husband always need to go here and there. And, I am actually ‘forced’ to handle everything myself.
    I went through kinda situation, and always depressed especially during the first year Jie Sheng was born. Surprisingly, he was the person who comfort me, cheer me up.
    And, I’ve found out that Jie Sheng is much more easier to handle when I’m alone. He will goes wild when parents are around.
    Try to relax and I will see you soon…

    1. Thanks Bi Qiu, for the soothing encouragement. Nobody gets it easy. Guess it’s just a path I’ll have to go through to come out even stronger. It’s a great experience. Makes me treasure my husband even more, hehehe. Yes, see you soon!

  5. Sorry you are feeling this way. I don’t even have kids of my own yet when I take care of my nephews all by myself, I get impatient and do the same things like you. Hope it gets better!! I can’t imagine being away from the hubs for that long. Even when hubs is away for a week I am already so sad. 😦

    1. Hi Hui Ling, life without hubby sucks! Absence indeed makes the heart grow fonder. The little man is handling this entire journey a lot better than me. So is Xan. I got to keep strong and calm for them. Wish me luck! Hope we will get to be reunited soon.

  6. Nancy

    It’s tough having to look after two children, in your case a baby and a toddler without the help of a hubby. I was reading your blog and I had tear in my eyes, imagining the situation you are in right now, feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Hang in there Joey, I am not going to tell you that it’s going to get better because I don’t know your situation. All I can do is pray that you will get your strength and I know you are a strong woman and mother and I am sure that you will get through this situation, and if you survive this, you will definitely have it easy in Dubai. Living as an expat with two children under five won’t be easy. but the Joey I know is one tough cookie and you have your hubby, your pillar of strength to support you 🙂
    Huge hugs for you Joey…

    1. Dear Nancy, it’s nice to hear from you. With 2 kids in tow, I guess you’ll understand the situation a lot better. It’s not going to get better, indeed as kids will always be kids. It’s up to us adults on how we view and manage it. I’m blessed to have a helper with me; imagine the chaos without one – and I have initially toyed with the idea of managing everything on my own just to save the bucks, can you believe it! Thanks for having so much faith in me, Nancy.

  7. I have teary eyes reading your post. Your boy is so understanding at his age. I hope my girl one day will talk the same to me, not because im shouting at her, but sad and feeling helpless on her bad throw tantrum behaviour. Jia yu mommy!

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