Being A Mother Actually Be Like This


Today is my third Mother’s Day (based on US/Japan calendar, in Indonesia: December 22). Since my only kid currently was born in Michigan, I follow the US version. Hehe. I had my first Mother’s Day at the third day people began recognizing me as “Mom”. The medical staffs who helped me giving birth in the hospital used that term. It was so magical for me!!! I was always a girl who had no interest to kids beforehand, even, a kind of person who preferred to stay away from those noisy, annoying, silly little creatures… ignoring all their cuteness and innocence. If my little sister loves to offer herself as a caregiver for our nephews or nieces in the family gathering, not so with me. If some friends of mine, in my perspective, know very well how to soothe a crying baby, to cope with toddler’s tantrum, or to deal with stubborn teenager when we’re on duty in the kids corner (yeah! although I’m not a kids lover still I was involved in this division for several events.. huh), I had no idea how to do it. If most of my female relatives of the same age is able to guess how old a kid is, I just didn’t get the difference between 1-year kid and 2-years kid. Bahaha 😆

Back to the topic..

Alhamdulillah now I have a son and my life totally changed. I never expected that having kid could be as this much. No body tells me how big the impact is, which then I figured out, it’s like your whole life never be the same anymore, as though the transformation from being single to a married woman is nothing, as if all memories I remember about my parents raising me was nothing but their normal life. Frankly, with the kid presents in my life, I have to understand (and accept) that my life is not mine anymore. I acknowledge unconditional love to my son that I never have with someone else before. That’s why, in honor of Mother’s Day and accidentally I’ve been thinking to write this too for a long time, I’d like to share my personal impression about being a mother. Of course I have a bit experience in motherhood, so the points told here aren’t rules, but the main thing is I won’t be that one who hides the facts to the moms-wanna-be, to expose what it’s actually like to be a mother.. at least in the first five years of the kid’s life 😀

“Takgendong ke mana-mana”

Every task is more difficult than any task in the school / working places

I used to study hard to achieve great points in my exams during the school years (and it turned out excellent results) and struggled to just pass exams in the college (then graduated with average grade). As the student in science major, I knew for sure how I should solve the problems in my lessons even though sometimes I was unable to practice it. I knew where to go and what resources to read in order to find correct solution for my tests, homework, quiz, etc. as well. I also had some work experiences which sometimes required me to stay overnight in front of the computer or grumbled when the clients ask too much extra works. That was challenging, but overall I had job contract / agreement as the restriction. Everything was defined. We could expect for certain answer.

However, when I’m becoming a mom, I feel that there’s no single theory about which one is right in parenting and I always have a little or big uncertainty in what I’m behaving towards my kid. For example, when I let him cry in the night waking and ask for milk (age: 1 year ~) there’s two theories which both seems to be matched to the condition:

  1. right because night feeding isn’t good for his body and will trigger more wakings
  2. false because it makes him get distressed and following the other theories about brain damage due to prolonged crying, bla bla bla

Such confusion also comes up in many other situation, e.g. when he throws tantrum, when he wants unnecessary items, in the sick times, etc. and each case has the respective theory to handle. Even after I take a decision based on my intuition, there are still two possible outcomes: the problem solved or getting worse instead. I give you one example:

Musa wants to eat chocolate. He hasn’t had lunch, but the lunch isn’t ready to serve yet because the rice is still being cooked. Is Musa really hungry? Or he’s just eyeing the chocolate? My little heart says chocolate is permissible, good snack, and Musa isn’t obese that has to avoid it. In seconds, I hand him chocolate, which then I regret. A bar of chocolate has made his tummy full that he refuses to eat his meal… *sob*

Same theory, different moms, and different kids make different results. Thus, the way of parenting can’t be solely inherited from generation to generation. One method for the first kid may also not work for the second kid :))

Kadang kalo lagi khilaf saya sirik sama suami, bilang “Mas sih enak di kantor seharian yang diurusin kerjaan (bayangannya doi berjibaku dengan dokumen, meeting, program-program di komputer, prototipe riset, dsb.) bukan anak manusia. Lha aku? Pusing ngadepin bocah cranky nggak jelas.” Wakakak.. ampun, mas bojo. Padahal doi juga sering ngadepin klien yang banyak maunya, tapi tetap aja yaa sebagai emak-emak di rumah, yang kebetulan punya porsi ketemu anak lebih banyak, godaan untuk merasa ‘ini tidak adil’ itu besar. Helps? Biasanya saya suka sadar lagi bahwa ini itu jihadnya wanita, harus sabar, ikhlas, dan seterusnya kalo keingat masa-masa melahirkan, baca-baca artikel seputar keibuan, melihat bahagianya ibu-ibu lain di media sosial, dan tentu suasana syahdu saat shalat di mana bisa sejenak curhat ke Allah.

Yes, beneran kata statement bahwa raising child is difficult karena emang sering banget lho mati gaya harus gimana saat anak udah di luar kontrol atau tidak sesuai ekspektasi kita. Sepintar apa pun kita dulu di sekolah, nggak ada jaminan bakal gampang juga jadi ibu dan konon banyaknya anak atau seniornya usia pun bukan ukuran seorang ibu akan lebih expert mengatasi problematika seputar parentingMengurus anak manusia dengan karunia akal yang melekat pada masing-masing individu tentu tidak bisa dipukul rata oleh satu kepercayaan (terhadap teori atau lainnya).

Feels like dairy cow (when breastfeeding)

Believe me, this is true. Particularly me, I just got free of this feeling a week ago. My son has been a week fully weaned today. Yey! I had no idea about breastfeeding until Musa born. I didn’t get either that it will spend lots of my time. Never knew if baby had to nurse every few hours to be healthy, or if nursing moms have to avoid some foods like pregnant woman. Wow.. surely motherhood is new world for me.

Flashing back to my first day of mothering, I was ordered to start pumping my breast milk by pediatrician when Musa was three days old because he had jaundice (kulit kuning karena kadar bilirubin tinggi) and he wasn’t a good sucker so he desperately didn’t get enough nutrition. Lucky me, I was planned for pumping before delivery, but still I felt so awkward realizing I’m like a cow.. pumped every 3-4 hours and got obsessed to produce minimal 100 ml each time 😀 I consumed certain foods like dates and beans to boost my supply too. Whatever it liked, I then enjoyed having milk stocks in the fridge for my baby (which was very useful to feed baby while going outside) and decided to continue pumping until my baby turned seven month old by my choice. Of course many times I felt so drained, but it’s paid off by seeing the baby face looks satisfied.

Fast forward, my baby became a toddler and nursed up to two years. What? Yeah, for American or Japanese it’s quite long since they stopped breastfeeding after one year, but for Indonesians, it’s very normal 🙂

Saya bisa paham kenapa sebagian ibu merasa risih memompa ASI-nya. Setidaknya itu yang saya baca dari beberapa buku perbayian dulu. Jangankan dipompa, menyusui biasa aja udah berasa kaya sapi perah kok, apalagi kalo bayi baru lahir yang bisa 2-3 jam sekali minta (dan emang harus) menyusu. Pas anak udah gede menjelang masa menyapih kemarin perasaan gitu lagi. Udah tinggal dikit, mintanya masih rajin, dan gigi si bocah udah 20! Hayati lelah.. wkwk *sok-sokan pake bahasa gaul*

Meskipun demikian ya, jujur sejujur-jujurnya nih, menyusui itu kebahagiannya nggak bisa dilukiskan dengan kata-kata.. melihat makhluk kecil begitu menikmati setiap tegukan sambil tangannya mencari sentuhan skin to skin dengan ibunya itu priceless banget. Nggak bisa saya berhenti ciumin Musa tiap kali doi nenen.. luar biasa cara Allah memberi ruang untuk bonding terbaik ibu dan anak. Di titik terendah di mana kadang merasa jadi ibu yang buruk, berdosa, atau sebaliknya sedang give up sama anak, menyusui menjadi penolongnya karena membuat kita empowered lagi dengan menyadari adanya seseorang yang membutuhkan kita.

Solemn prayers or peaceful tilawah times during the day? Not anymore

The time of being a mother is the most challenging period in my life to just get solemnity (kekhusyukan) in establishing my salah,  Don’t we sometimes think lose our focus in the middle of salah even when there was no kid around? we do! So, it’s about ourselves not kid, no? Err.. but, how could I read a long surah if my baby cries and screams without me knowing the reason? It can happen any time before you know it! You can’t ignore it anyway because the child may be in trouble. From baby eating spicy foods, falling off the bed, getting stuck when trying to climb, to the ‘more trivial’ incidents such as pouring entire bag of cereals (just happened yesterday!), scratching the markers in the carpet, spilling milk over laptop… the list would be long if I count all those crazy things as the cause. Blame me as the weak Mama! 😦

Oh, did I mention that my son also loves to lay down in my prayer rug (sajada) while I’m doing salah? Recently he likes to ride on my back (aka piggy back) when I’m doing sujuud. I’m sure every salah-practicer Moms has this experience. If not now, it MUST be later 😛

When it comes to Quran recitation, my son seems not want to miss it too. He always snuggle with me, turn over the mushaf page vigorously, pull my hands to stop reading… fiuhhh. Never ending effort to steal time to finish even one page, whereas in my old days one juz per day wasn’t extra ordinary -_-

Ini nggak tahu cuma saya aja atau emang ada temennya, yang kadang kala merasa kualitas ibadah menurun sejak punya anak. Shalat buru-buru, tilawah nggak konsen, dzikir habis salat pilih yang pendek, dsb. Udah terus dicoba biar bisa kaya dulu tapi rasanya makin besar si anak makin susah aja. Jadi saya sekarang berusaha tidak perfeksionis sambil terus memperbaiki dan fokus agar dari ibadah non-mahdah pun bisa meraih rewards sebanyak-banyaknya. Lurusin niat saat ngerjain pekerjaan rumah yang tiada habisnya, saat membahagiakan anak dengan menemaninya bermain, saat mengorbankan beberapa keinginan pribadi karena tugas ibu negara udah numpuk.. yaa gitu-gitu deh. Salut buat ibu-ibu yang bisa istiqamah menyelesaikan targetan amalan-amalan hariannya di tengah kesibukan mengasuh anak-anak!

Suffering sleep deprivation almost every day

Either you’re a full time mom or working mom, I bet your 24-hours won’t be enough to finish your duties other than raising kids. The solution? In my case, the only option left is cutting my sleep hours. Because I can’t hire assistant to wash my dishes (tahu sendiri kan kalo masak sendiri cuciannya sebanyak apa!). Because I can’t ask somebody else to remove stains in some laundry before they go into washing machine. Because I have no time to read books about parenting, cooking, or my other interests while kid is awake. Because I still need time to manage my schedule, my finance, my email, my groceries list, etc. ; to reply the messages on social media ; to fix the broken tools or to repair damaged clothing by myself. A lot thing to do during the night!!!

Kondisi kurang tidur mungkin terlihat paling parah saat bayi baru lahir, sekitar 1-3 bulan pertama deh.. tapi celah positifnya adalah bayi masih banyak tidur di siang hari, jadi kita pun bisa bayar hutang tidur saat siang itu dengan bobo bareng bayi. Saya mengikuti saran para senior agar memanfaatkan waktu tidur siang bayi untuk tidur juga meskipun nggak selalu bisa begitu. Kadang kerjaan terlalu banyak dan tetap nggak cukup andai saya belain ganti tidur yang kurang. Kebetulan saya orangnya nggak suka tidur lama dan banyak maunya. Udah sibuk ngurusin bocah masih aja ambil tanggung jawab di organisasi, cari kegiatan di komunitas, suka bikin / ikut kumpul-kumpul yang berarti harus masak ekstra, bikin deadline untuk proyek-proyek pribadi.. dan sebagainya :roll:. Praktis, waktu tidur mau tak mau harus dikorbankan demi tepenuhinya target.

Me-time? Almost bye-bye and if any, it’s also related to family

Related to the previous point, almost all my me-time is done in the night too. Just recently I can make to have extra me-time in the weekend while husband is able to watch over the little guy. On working days he has spare time before and after office hours, but it doesn’t effect much, means I can’t do things without getting disturbed if they remains home. They? YES! Don’t you know that husband is always ‘the first baby’ after all? He makes me busier than me with baby alone. Waking him up is more difficult, feeding him is more complicated, asking him to brush teeth before bed is such wasting time.. and so forth. Anyway, let’s leave it as another story :))

To get a real me-time, I have to stay away from both husband and kid. It can be attending cooking class, going to Islamic study with the fellows (alias pengajian), shopping, etc. but still most of them I do is for family too. Even the short time of such activities will make my day and keep me stay sane. In the other sides, husband also learn to know kid’s needs and increase the bonding between father and son. ❤

Saya nggak pernah lupa kata-kata seorang teman baik, “Di rumah itu yang harus dijaga kewarasannya adalah ibu.. bayangin aja tiap harinya berkutat sama piring kotor, popok kotor, rumah berantakan, anak rewel.. (terus lupa gimana lanjutan redaksinya dan males ngegali di lapak aslinya. wkwk)”. Intinya kalo ibu udah nggak sehat baik mental maupun fisiknya, bakal error-lah semua urusan rumah tangga. Sementara, kurangnya piknik seorang ibu adalah sumber dari ‘penyakit’ itu. Mulai dari yang kecil kaya suka marah sampai yang besar kaya nyakitin diri sendiri dan/atau anak (naudzubillah). Dengan beban sedemikian rupa (baca: menghadapai rentetan pekerjaan yang tidak semua enak dilakukan dan sepaketnya dia dengan anak sepanjang waktu), wajar aja lah kalo emak-emak butuh alokasi khusus buat me-time

Contoh me-time yang paling gampang buat saya itu keluar rumah buat belanja.. oh it’s such a vacation for me! Melihat susunan produk tertata rapi dan cantik di supermarket serta bebas memilih apa yang kita suka itu refreshing banget.. lupa kalo setelah itu harus berjibaku lagi di dapur buat masak si bahan-bahan yang udah dibeli :meh:

Soal me-time ini rupanya drama banyak ibu-ibu muda. Sampai suatu hari tahun lalu seorang teman baik saya di dunia maya menginisiasi sebuah grup di FB khusus buat ‘manjain diri’ bareng. Di situ kami bebas curhat apa aja, diskusi apa aja, bikin postingan apa aja, sharing materi apa aja.. pokoknya semua hal yang bisa jadi hiburan para mahmud didalamnya. Setiap Kamis ada lapak buat reportasi anggota juga tentang minggunya seperti apa.. apakah fantastik atau memprihatinkan (wkwk), anaknya punya kepandaian baru apa, dsb. Tiap anggota juga punya tanggung jawab untuk memimpin diskusi tentang suatu topik yang dekat dengan kehidupan ibu sehari-hari. Lumayan, kan?

My close friends are the fellow Moms

Many times I had to pass invitation to join event due to my status as mom. Oh sure, kid is not border to have fun. We just need to shift our preference. If you’re and the gang are the foremost troops of concert, theater, fashion show, or kind of thing, fulfill your satisfy BEFORE having kids 😛 Otherwise find the crew to take care of your kid(s) while you need to go. I don’t have heart to do it though.. having fun while subcontracting my kid to another party sounds terrible.. and forget how it feels to watch movie inside the theater.

The sweetest thing is definitely if you can get along with your lovely friends too in the phase of leading the marriage, having baby, and so forth. I’m living a nomadic lifestyle, so hardly meet my childhood friends, and get used to welcome new friends in the new places. Instead of getting envy by watching my old friends who’re still kid-free, I love to spend time with the fellow moms and appreciating their shares on social media. Their ups and downs stories help me to recognize my main role as a mother and ensure myself that I’m not alone.

Namun begitu, jangan bersedih wahai temanku yang belum diamanahi menjadi seorang ibu.. you’re still in my heart ever after and I love you to the moon and back! 😉 Ini soal waktu aja.. ketika tiba masa anak masuk sekolah sih katanya bakal balik normal lagi kok kehidupan sosialita para ibu. Haha. Cuma pahamilah dengan kondisi ‘berbuntut’ begini kadang mau pergi itu harus merhatiin timing-nya (apakah nabrak jam tidur siang atau nggak), ambience acaranya (apakah harus tenang atau bisa jerat-jerit), lokasinya (apakah ada ruang buat anak pecicilan atau tidak), makanannya gimana, rest area-nya gimana, dsb. Aduuuh.. ribet yak? Embeer.. dengan anak kecil, paling enak tempat main itu ya antara rumah orang atau taman 😛

O iya, di pihak sebaliknya, sering juga saya dengar bisik-bisik teman yang sungkan kalo harus main sama para ibu. Takut nggak bisa catch up obrolannya yang udah beda topik. Wah.. padahal sih kami para emak rempong ini bakal senang sekali kalo ada yang bantu jagain anak mengimbangi tema diskusi saat ngumpul-ngumpul gitu. Terus, seingat saya yang hobi nyempil di ibu-ibu rumpi sejak semasa mahasiswa single kinyis-kinyis dulu juga rasanya selalu hangat aja sambutan mereka ke saya yang kepo ini. Waktu itu emang udah kebelet nikah sih jadi pengen tahu gitu problematika rumah tangga apa aja. Hahaha.

My trip is about kids-friendly destination

I have almost no interest to buy branded products like most ladies do, but ask me about travelling. Oh, I do looooove it! And big thanks to @aisar he looks to be a traveler too and has taken me to many great places so far. LOVE! However we never claim ourselves as travelers. We have neither to visit list nor photos hunting list. Throwing back to our first year of marriage, we had checked many outstanding experiences such as exploring cave, riding hot air balloon, diving, biking over the hill, and going for hajj pilgrimage. Those which would be hard near to impossible to do with kid(s) around, alhamdulillah we’re done. We also used to make detail itinerary for each destination including its transportation cost and ticket prices.

After having Musa, bye-bye itinerary! and amazing destination is optional to go. Every time we travel with him (we have taken him for long journey since two months old), all we search for on the internet is attraction for kids, e.g. zoo, park, children museum, playground, mall with indoor playground :)) Natural destinations come next. If we keep going to the museum for adult or factory, he will end up playing smartphone 😀

So, I’m saying with no doubt, go for honeymoon or short escape to any where as much as you can while no kid!

Kalo di poin sebelumnya disebutkan faktor waktu, suasana, kondisi lokasi, sampai pada ketersediaan fasilitas yang jadi penentu cocok tidaknya suatu event saya ikuti sambil bawa bocah, nah kalo lagi on trip ini keputusan mau pergi ke mana juga bergantung pada mood si anak. Maka dari itulah itinerary simply doesn’t work when you travel with kids. Mood sering kali juga berkaitan dengan kesehatan anak. Kalo lagi nggak enak badan dikit aja bisa dicurigai dari mood-nya yang buruk. Di Indonesia, kami sudah beberapa kali harus batalkan rencana ke tempat ini itu karena Musa tidak fit.

Selain tujuan wisata, dengan adanya anak kami juga terbiasa untuk deal seputar tempat makan dan tempat belanja selama bepergian. Ada kalanya belum sampai ke restorannya si anak udah ngantuk berat (padahal belum jam tidurnya) jadi harus cari tempat makan lain agar doi bisa makan dulu, atau belum dapat barang yang diincar saat belanja tapi anaknya udah teriak-teriak bosan. Wakakak… yah, begitulah serunya 😀

Getting used to eat the spits

Well, I’m actually trying to remember the other disgusting things about being mother other than eating my son’s chewed foods, but no result. Suddenly amnesia:D Gonna add more later!

Do you know that being a mother also means you’re ready to eat back the foods that your kid has spitted out, spilled, or thrown away? The reasons? It can be the food is still quite good to throw, expensive (what the heck), the floor can’t get dirty, too big to eat (not because your kid doesn’t like it) or that needed to be cut, and any possible reason 😀

Spits di sini maksudnya lepehan. Makan lepehannya anak itu juga derita seorang ibu yang bisa dipilih untuk ditinggalkan. Wkwk.. kalo saya mah tutup mata aja langsung masuk perut nggak peduli segimana jijiknya asal nggak jatuh ke tempat kotor. Bukan cuma lepehan aja, melainkan juga makanan yang jatuh atau tumpah secara tidak sengaja, sengaja dibuang atau ditumpahin, dan sebagainya. Berbagai macam rupa polah tingkah anak yang bikin elus dada seputar menyia-nyiakan makanan/minuman. Musa kalo dikasih kemasan yang utuh atau wadah bagusan dikit malah jadi penasaran pengen buka, bongkar, tuang… alhasil saya nggak pernah kasih doi kepercayaan berupa porsi besar makanan / minuman (paling cuma 50 g / 50 ml sekali serving). Itu pun masih ada aja cara doi untuk bereksperimen :cry:.

Getting ready to be upset

Another fact related to the food is mom needs to get prepared for whatever response of the kid towards the food she serves. Child can’t lie. Child can’t play drama just to make us happy. Thus, when I furiously put the effort to make beautiful arrangement from rice balls, chicken sticks, and colorful veggies, but then the client (aka kiddo) is not interested at all or just eat a little…….. grrr hufff (deep inhale), besides try to persuade him to eat again, I have to get prepared to replace his plate with another menu. THIS. IS. NOT. A. RARE. MOMENT. but also not everyday..

Udah rahasia umum kalo balita itu selera makannya nggak bisa ditebak, bahkan bisa berubah dalam hitungan detik. Suapan pertama mau pakai tomat, bisa jadi suapan kedua udah nggak mau sama tomat lagi, tapi begitu ada satu hal yang mengalihkan dunianya sekejap, bukan barang aneh kalo terus dia jadi mau makan tomat lagi di suapan berikutnya. Haha.. labil banget, kan? tapi itu terjadi loh!

Privacy is gone, tidiness is exclusive

The top of all craziness in being a mom is this. Wherever I go, my son is attached non-stop like glued. He still stay with me in the toilet almost all the time until now. If he doesn’t see me in the blink of eyes and finds me in the toilet, he will knock.. umm.. I meant, BANG the door hardly until I let him in. Sometimes he just cry poorly and I feel so sad… and guilty (since I check updates in there.. haha), so in the end I let him stay with me too.

“Poo-poo,” he usually says, then help me to flush toilet bowl.

My daily bed time scenario looks as follows: I and my son take a bath together (seee???), then I put on his diaper and pajamas, brush his teeth, and put him in the bed ask him to wait for me coming back. It should be my time for washing my face, brushing teeth, going to pee, changing my clothes, cleaning the kitchen, fixing my body.. every thing I need to get done before sleeping.. BUTTT, almost all the time he’s unable to wait for Mama in the bed. Instead, he will watch me washing face, brushing teeth, whatever I do wherever I move he’s there.

Countless time he caught me in the act when cuddling with hubby (upss.. never until ‘the show’ fiuhh), opening my smartphone, checking my notebook (then usually he asks for watching Youtube -_-), eating sweets, drinking guilty beverage, escaping home for a moment, etc. Oh no, why does he always know? All things captured in this video really happened in my life!

I’m about to say that tidiness is also gone as privacy with kid around, but okay, let’s say it’s “exclusive” instead. Exclusive here is restricted to some occasions such as when we host the party. I’m a perfectionist in cleaning the house and very care with the detail, so yeah.. you can see my home is tidy only when I invite you. Hahaha. In normal days, all rooms are just messed up with the toys, which might hurt our feet when we step on it *sigh*

Baiklah, privasi memang sudah tak ada, kerapian memang sudah jadi impian.. tapi saya coba lihat sisi lainnya. Beberapa kali baru-baru ini Musa sakit semacam asma (masih tahap pengamatan hingga tiga tahun) yang membuatnya jadi lemas sekali sampai tak bersemangat main dan tiduran mulu, padahal semua orang yang kenal doi pasti tahu betapa aktifnya doi. Di saat-saat kaya gitu saya ngerasa miris. Rumah rapi dan bersih, tapi hampa. Nggak ada celotehan doi, nggak ada aksi kepo doi inspeksi lemari, meja, dsb., nggak ada yang lempar-lemparin benda ke segala penjuru, nggak ada yang ngebuntutin ke toilet.. semacam itu. Kalo udah ingat masa-masa ‘suram’ itu, nggak sempat marah deh lihat rumah berantakan atau digelayutin makhluk mini ke mana-mana. Sayangnya suka amnesia gitu nih emak.. 😀

***

Nah, segitu dulu deh kira-kira cerita emak rempong. Ntar kalo ada tambahan yang belum ter-cover di poin-poin bakal ditulis lagi. Gimana, tetap penasaran mau jadi ibu atau udah jiper duluan? 😛

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