Ok.. That title sounds a little pessimistic, as though. I'm failing as a parent and not doing enough for the kids.
Nah, this is not the issue I'm discussing today. In fact, I'm going to be touching on two issues: time and embrace.
As a FTWM, everyday goes past like clockwork. From the moment I wake up at 6am, it's one task after another, non-stop, at work and at home, before I crash on the bed at night exhausted. Before I can say that my energy level is back to its optimum, another clockwork day starts, with yet another work shift, and then a second shift at home. 'Sigh' is an understatement. (Read more about my life as a FTWM here.)
I always try to head home from work by late afternoon, but that doesn't always work. I usually end up getting home around 6 or 7pm, and at around 830 or 9, it's time to put the kids to bed. So effectively, I really don't have much time with them. It breaks my heart whenever the kids tell me they miss me. I know I really have to get home earlier.
Earlier last week, I looked at EV straight in her eyes, and told her I was going to come home earlier the next day. She looked at me more intently, and gave me a big hug. She had missed me, missed all the hours of play that I had with her when I was on maternity leave the year before, and when I took time off last year. I told myself that I must keep this promise I gave her.
Kept it I did, and what a great afternoon and evening I had with EV and AA the next day! We had the best, most fun time, making a 'house' out of ice cream sticks, making felt ducks, learning 'A' words and playing the piano. Time passed so fast, I wish it would last longer. I knew I had to do this with them again.
So I'm motivating myself to work harder, and come home earlier from work more often, in order to spend more time with them, even if it means I'll be driven crazy at work. It's all right, because at the end of the day, a smile from EV and AA is enough to transform the craziness into peacefulness and love.
EV has liked the song Fireworks by Katy Perry for a while now, and recently, she's been belting out Let It Go quite often too.
Now, I admit. I don't like either song. Firework's lyrics is somewhat meaningful, but it's overplayed. Same with Let It Go. Plus, I don't like the way Elsa is portrayed in the animation as she sang the song, how she was all covered up in winter clothes at the beginning and as the song progressed and she became more confident, she transformed into a 'sexier' Elsa, complete with a high slit and heavy make up. It's like telling kids that in order to be confident, one has to look a certain way? Not exactly something I want EV to learn. She must be confident, no matter what her appearance.
So usually, when either song is playing, or she sings either song, I would ask for her to switch it off, or stop singing. I don't ban it, but I restrict it.
Then recently, I got an a-ha moment. Since I love EV and who she is, should I also embrace what she likes too? Shouldn't I respect her preferences? Shouldn't I model to her what it means to love and respect each other, no matter what the differences? At the same time, I can also teach her about the bigger lesson of confidence and not let how you look affect your confidence, because each person is unique with his or her strengths. I can also slowly teach her about the influence of external sources like the media, how it affects our perception of things. In the same way, I should not restrict what she reads and sees, especially in this internet age when she can have easy access to lots of information, but be there to teach and advise. By doing that, I'm fulfilling my role as a guiding light showing her the ways of the world as she grows up, while respecting her as an individual with her own thoughts, feelings and opinions. I think that only throug this, I can help her to face the world in future, which it believe is going to be more challenging than it is today.
So the next time she starts singing Let It Go at the top of her voice, I will tell myself not to stop her. However, if she does it too often, I will probably limit her. Because she also needs to learn to respect others, in this case, me. But it depends on me to model to her first. To love and respect family, friends and other individuals one may meet in life. Love their individuality, respect their differing views. Embrace them for who they are.
Finding time to embrace
Which leads me to the issues at hand. I need to work even harder so that I can have even more precious time with EV and AA, to teach them embracing people they love, they care about despite their differences. Two key words guide me on this journey: love and respect.