Wednesday, January 26, 2022


Facebook Memories today reminded me of something I probably shouldn't be reminded of:

Grabe, I sound so positive here. This is January 2017 and 2018. So my kids were 6, 4, and 2, and then 7, 5, and 3 respectively. Cutest years! 

But I was really drowning and overwhelmed those years. 

I have tons of these Facebook updates and blog posts from 2014 to 2019 saying, "I'm not sleeping anymore. I don't know what to do. I can't juggle. I'm sick again. Help me help me I can't do this!" But all I got was, "You're such a great mom! Such a natural! You can do it!" And I did do it. By God's grace, my husband's tenacity to hold on to our marriage, and my own love for my boys, I did it. 

I wonder sometimes if my joke-y manner (my way of surviving) backfired on me. No one believes me when I say I was struggling. Or was it just everyone's refusal to see, to acknowledge, to believe that a woman so blessed can have such a hard time with her blessings? 

No one believes me when I say I'm so glad my kids are bigger now. "But your babies and toddlers were so cute! You don't mean that." Oh, but I do. I do prefer them now, older, independent, helping with the chores. While the baby years were incredibly happy years, I also nearly lost my damn mind and marriage*. 

I still can't understand how such duality can exist. How can I be so happy and miserable at the same time? How can I be so sure that loving my babies is the best thing I'll ever do in my life and also be so terrified and doubtful every day?  Even when I look back, I still don't understand how such conflicting emotions existed in me for years and years. 

I don't even have the benefit of hindsight to tell me that if I did so and so and if I tried this and that, then it would have turned out better. Yes, even now, I still haven't gained any wisdom that would help me be the experienced mama sagely giving advice to new and terrified mommies. All I can tell them is, "One day at a time. Breathe. Pray." The words are true, but I doubt if those words can help any mommy who is drowning. 

Back then: Overwhelmed mom of the cutest little boys

Well, those years are over now. I'm settled now, more peaceful. Maybe because I can sleep more than 4 hours a night now. And I can sit down and eat now. I can take a real bath now, stay longer than 5 minutes in the bathroom now. I'm relaxed now. I can breathe better now. The pandemic helped. A world that slowed down was kinder to a mother who could barely cope. 

But my kids will get their COVID-19 vaccine this year. Hooray! The pandemic will soon end. And I'll have to start running around again. As all parents do. And not one of us is allowed to admit it's so damn hard or to ask for help because that's blowing the lid off the fact that parents may be the most blessed people in the entire world, but we are not okay. The constant pressure to be on our best behavior, the relentless workload to provide the best life possible for our kids, the looming threat of failure every day... Argh. A perpetual Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.

When I was single, everyone told me, "Get married! Have kids! Best life ever!" The minute I got pregnant, everyone said, "Sleep now because you'll never sleep well again. Eat now, buy that now, go on that trip now because once the baby comes, you'll never eat/shop/travel the same way again." And pregnant me was like, "Great. Thanks a lot for telling me now when I can't do anything about that anymore."  

Well... It is the best life ever. For me, it is. I may be drowning sometimes but yeah, there's also that undeniable feeling of floating on joy. How does one drown and float at the same time? Will I forever wonder about this? Will motherhood be ever just one state - joy - with no worry, fear, anger, guilt, shame mixed in? 

I'll update you when I'm 60. Or 70. Till then, God bless us, mamas and papas!

*Whenever I say this, my husband always says, "We were never in trouble. You think we were, but I knew we were going to be okay." 

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