Other than the obvious changes about motherhood, here are some of the other changes I am surprised to have undergone:
1. I am already quite an empathetic person, but I became even more empathetic. I seem to be able to empathise with anything, and anyone. For example, I had a longstanding quarrel with a friend and I was pretty certain it was not getting resolved because what she did seemed unforgivable. Once I became a mother, I reached out to her and tried to make amends. I spent a lot of time thinking why she would do what she did to me, and tried to find it within myself to forgive her. And we are pretty good friends now.
2. I became outdoorsy. Everyone who knows me, know I am a homebody. That is until I had four children and staying at home was pretty much driving me crazy. So I really enjoy bringing the girls out now and creating moments with them outside the confines of the house. I wished we had more opportunities to do so but logistically its hard to go out alone with the girls without my husband. We have been thinking about rotational outings where I bring one or two girls out at a time.
3. I started becoming more political because all of a sudden I have a stake in making a better system for my girls, whether its in casting my vote for the appropriate government or backing political ideas and institutions that I felt would make for a better future for my girls. Lately, I’ve been very vocal about supporting an education system that do not rely heavily on high stakes standardised testing for primary school kids, like the PSLE and also opening doors to elite specialised programmes to a broader group of students. I feel like with a lot of things that are not acceptable with the school curriculum, I can control it by teaching them to my girls at home (like our sex education is just terrible, really terrible), but I cannot opt out of standardized testing, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on it to see how I can raise girls who continue to love learning despite all the testing they are going to endure as early as 7 years old.
4. I returned to arts and crafts. I have always loved making things with my hands, and even more so now because children love arts and crafts. They are still small so we do very simple things but I have big plans to teach them how be professional DIY-ers.
5. I started disliking competition and prefer cooperation. Being in Singapore, we are somehow engineered to compete in everything. But after becoming a parent, I hated competing. What was it all for? (A stupid bureaucratic job?) Where were we going with this imagined rat race? How does it help children to put them into school earlier and earlier instead of letting them run around and play (where they learn more useful lessons about life). Why aren’t we emphasising on more important pursuits like raising independent, creative, responsible, ethical, empathetic, emotionally healthy children, instead of focusing all the time on pursuing top grades at school?
6. I started treasuring sleep a lot more! This is a silly one but I used to not sleep prior to motherhood, and it was for fun. Now I totally regret it because I would like to sleep for 12 hours straight without any interruption. Which I hope I will get on Mother’s Day.
I hope you, too, will get rest, hugs and kisses on Mother’s Day as well.