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Motherhood: Prioritizing Yourself is Necessary

The Ho-Ho-Holiday Has Begun

The holidays are upon us and with the exam-taking kids out in full force and hell-bent on freeing themselves from their parents' iron grip of power, this parent knows a whirlwind awaited. Thankfully, my kids are not the unruly pedigree of next-generation most parents fear (yet? - please pray for me), so, they are more likely to hang out in an internet cafe than in a bar. Please pray for me again? I have 2 boys and we all know what parenting boys can be like. Here's a general guide to parenting boys.

Mostly, my role during these outings was to finance everything they wanted to enjoy, ferry them around (friends included), and worry about obscure details of their trips ranging from the possibility of rain to potential volcanic eruptions.

It's the first time one of the friends made the suggestion of switching things up with a visit to a pet cafe so, I thought, well....why not? But since it was a weekday, not many four-legged friends of elfin stature were there for a sojourn. So, it was a quick side trip.

Then we went to a Boardgame Center, ate dinner and visited a mall where the bunch of them play arcade games and pool. You will reach a stage in your life as a parent where you'll know better than to butt your wise ass into the faces of a group of teenager's decision-making process. Unless it involved murder, rioting, drugs, alcohol or making friends with the neighborhood thugs, you stay as silent as possible.

Instead of launching into forced, wordy conversations, I loved watching them enjoy themselves without restraint, even with me hovering in the background. The energy, the enthusiasm, the love for excitement and challenges, and the quick invitations of newfound freedom away from their parent's caring clutches. Sometimes, it's OK to appreciate being there and to just watch.

Bending Spending

These outings were always innocent and affordable, so, I am thankful and ever-so-grateful to the powers that be. I didn't even mind self-serving myself free ice water from a restaurant while buying big-budget mocha and latte for the guys.

Spending money on these things is, needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) expensive. I am never surprised by the ease of which I parted ways with my hard-earned money. Buying anything for the kids carries far less weight than spending on a measly hair clip for myself.
You see I used to think of those as chores that I had to fulfill. And if I failed to do them, I would feel horrible - Alissa Marquess –
Parting ways with cash for the kids was never the problem. Spending money on myself became a habit that resulted from a long-term cultivation of self-restraint. I rarely spend on anything...unless I was in a tech mall. Since my boys were young, they were instructed to drag me away from point-and-shoot cameras, especially if they were all prettily lined up along signs that read 'SALE' and 'PROMOTION'. It got pretty hilarious. The scene sometimes looked a little like two young men dragging an old lady out of the mall in a kidnap bid.

Anyway, on that day, while the kids were traipsing around in the arcade, I found myself wandering into the supermarket. An elderly lady made no bones about trying to make a commission from the air humidifier she was trying to sell me. "It will change your life", she seemed to be telling me.

I pondered and wondered, wandered around and made sales job really hard for her.

Many years ago, when the yearly haze was really bad, I burst into countless maelstrom trips to electrical outlets based on my conviction that the haze was choking my kids to death. After the crazed spree, I proudly lugged home 2 expensive-as-hell air purifiers – one for each boy and none for me.

It goes without saying that when I started popping the boys out of my womb, every paycheck went towards keeping them alive and entertained. No toy was too expensive. I remember purchasing a toy from Toys 'R Us for ~ RM600 and then drove myself crazy about buying a blouse (I bloody needed some by then because I was fed up of wearing clothes that either no longer fit, were maternity clothing, or belonged to my then-husband) from the store. The price tag that flashed back at me was a measly RM45, for the sake of delicious pancakes.

So, why did I stand there in the aisle of Parkson (the store), surrounded by screaming kids, sleepy husbands waiting for their wives outside of waiting rooms, and gossiping salespeople, for 25 minutes wondering if I should get myself a rather affordable air humidifier?

By nature, I am pretty low maintenance. A thrifty person; a young, cheap drinker. I am a salesperson's nightmare except when he/she yanks me hair-first onto a guilt trip.  I flail around miserably when they try to convince me that if my kids did not get that organic-whatever they're selling, I am a FAILURE. It's MY FAULT those cute little humans under my watch didn't get that soy-based, organic, DHA, FDA-approved, Fair Trade-abiding, nut-free, vegan, ketogenic, environmentally-friendly, made-in-USA/France/Italy/Switzerland health supplement that came in that certified 100% recycled packaging.

It didn't help that I had a 'partner in crime' who was never there and would shove me out of his daily trips to the pubs with his friends. Any break I wanted was a selfish indulgence.

But I am here to tell you that it is NOT true. Any break you can get is crucial to your physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health. It's not selfish, it's a necessity.                                             
As a parent, there is no better way to instill confidence and self-esteem into your kids than to be a happy and healthy role model - Alison Canavan,
In the end, I bought the bloody air humidifier. I damn well deserve it. #lol


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