Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baiboo article Three


I am on a 2 hours flight from Adelaide to Sydney and missing her immensely. It has been 11 days away from home and exactly 18 days since I sent Isobel to live with her popo and ayeh.

I reflect back on the night my husband and I sat at our ‘adults-only balcony’ for The Talk. Due to the nature of our jobs (odd hours and constant travelling), my in laws suggested that we leave their (only) grandchild and her nanny under the supervision of my mother in law – at least till Bel is able to walk and eat by herself. With her starting on solids soon, mum in law was worried about her ‘not being weaned properly’.

You see, I was assigned to a 3 week hosting stint in Australia – about the same time Isobel would have started her solids, so naturally I should be grateful that they have offered help at this critical stage, right? I mean, EVERYONE was telling me how lucky I was to have such accommodating in laws!! Then why was I feeling like a miserable, ungrateful twat?

Hubby suggested we send Bel to her grandparents place a week before my departure to Australia. “So you can get used to not having her around you,” he prods gently.

When you are in a relationship, you learn to trust your other half’s advice – so with a heavy heart, I packed half of her things and said goodbye to her. “ You can come and see her anytime you are free and can take her home when you are not working love,” he adds on as he gently releases her from my clasp.

But it was not an easy feat. The first night without her, was heart wrenching to say the least. The last time I cried this much was when my bestfriend was murdered. Suffice to say, I slept staining Bel’s pillow with my tears, with a very worried husband stroking my hair to sleep.

I thought it would be easier as days go by, but today marks the 18th day away from her – and the depression has only elevated. As I type this article, thousands of feet above sea level, I am embarrassingly crying.

Her picture is placed inside any book I lug around with me on my travels, and earlier, when I took it out for a quick glimpse, I realize that my sadness and ungratefulness is mirrored by my inner feeling of regret and confusion.

They call it the dilemma of a working mother. I felt I have failed her as a mother. And this pisses me off. They tell me to prioritize – but striking that right balance is difficult. And I hate not being able to master this.

I am living in fear and anxiety that she won’t remember me – or love me the way I want her to. I am worried she will get more attached to her nanny and wouldn’t want my affection, and this fear of rejection from my own daughter is causing this anger and disappointment with myself.

So what should I do?

Friends tell me to take her back- “ at least you get to see her and sleep with her every night.” Says mother-friends of mine. My in laws and husband feel she’s better off with them. My judgement is clouded. I am a first time mother. So every piece of advice hurled at me is forcefully digested, but due to the pressure of wanting to please and fit in, you listen to the ones who have a lineage right to my daughter. Even if the heart twitches with slight doubt.

Upon my travels here, I met a newly made grandfather who has done very well for himself and his sunny disposition is reflected on the upbringing of his good natured daughters. I unload to him my ‘ungrateful guilt’ as I longed for another perspective to parenting skills and his advice was simple. “ Daphne, when God made you a mother, he naturally bestowed you with maternal and parenting skills. Do what you heart tells you to do, and all will fall into place.”

So once I am done with my travel show, I will be having another talk with the hubby. If her porridge gets burnt, and if I am doing it ‘wrong’, I know at least I tried.
That’s what being a mother is all about anyway, right? 13 more days and counting.

34 comments:

  1. As a mother of young children myself, I can imagine what you feel.

    But you have made your choice to be a working mother. You should know that it has its pros - freedom and personal satisfaction (e.g. own money to travel etc) and its cons - limited time with kids.

    You just have to accept the fact that this is how its going to be and stop feeling guilty.

    Sometimes it's not about striving to find the balance - its making do with the choices that you have and getting on with life.

    You are blessed to have your baby in good and safe hands so you can focus on what you feel is important. Not many mothers have that luxury.

    All the best with your decision on this.

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  2. I have been dropping by everyday hoping you will update,and you did. =). I'm happy now because i'm stuck doing my law assignment. Damn, 4000 words is a lotlah. =/ Your baby very cute!

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  3. Hi Daphne...
    I guess I am one of your millions fans out there...
    I put your blog on my blog list..so, if you update it, I will be able to read through it..
    I am not married yet - but I guess I understand what u faced. My mom is a career woman too.
    By the way, Bel is really cute! U have such nice daughter!

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  4. when I ws scheduled for 2 wks training in hanoi last time, i simply throw all the un-happy tots away until it happens.. during the separation, i kept myself busy wif work n spend a fortune on phone calls.. sometimes u gotta do what u gotta do i guess..

    but i seconds u, have another talk wif ya hubs.. get ur Bel back and spend as much time as u can (bear) wif her.. u never now wat u could miss, her first laugh or her first step etc.. because we can never turn back time u see..

    follow ur heart n good luck! :D

    -am a frst time mom meself! :)

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  5. Hi miss Iking! I like the posts in your blog! your baby's sooo adorable!

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  6. Hi Daphne..

    I am first time mom myself and i know and i can feel your dilemma. As Mimi said..'u never now wat u could miss, her first laugh or her first step etc.. because we can never turn back time'and that is true! and of course you as well dont wanna miss every single things going on right? especially her first 'mamma' or 'pappa'..Well it just a matter of prioritize. I am leaving in Sweden and thank to God that here in Sweden we have 1 year maternity leave so i will be able to see and take care of my son till he turn 1 yr old.

    You have such a wonderful and adorable daughter...so have a talk wth your hubby and all advices are good but the most important thing is 'follor your heart'. Good Luck and God Bless!

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  7. i wldnt know anything abt being a mumas im only 18. but i respect u as a woman thats why i visit your blog every now and then. and im sorry to hear abt your best friend who was murdered. it must hv been a terrible ordeal. God will lead u in the right path, jst hv faith in him. God bless.

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  8. Dear Daphne,

    When I was halfway reading through your article, I reminded myself to pen in my thoughts. I was going to write what the grandfather told you. Mom knows best they say.

    I also agree with what Mimi said. I'm a father of 4 kids and I know that I've tried my best to be with my kids every single day. I remember their first smile, their first steps, their first feed and not so pinky memories such as their first act of vomitting over me (all 4 mind you).

    Today is gone tomorrow. You can never turn the clock. I live every day as if its my last day with them.

    Having said that, my wife had a career too. We both had a discussion and agreed that since she quits her job so that she can take care of the kids. It wasn't easy for her. It was very-very difficult being at home. Unlike work where you can just switch off now and then, with the kids there's no switching off. It's full concentration all the way.

    There's no easy way out Daphne. When in doubt, follow your motherly instincts. Mothers are the greatest. Your baiboo knows that.

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  9. HI Daphne - I read about you in TELL and wanted to visit your blog but could only find time now.

    As a former frequent flyer Mum, I understand what you're going through.

    3 weeks is a rather long time for you to be away and I'm not sure if your Hubby can handle Bel on his own for that long?

    My Hubby could take a max of 10 days LOL. Even then, he made a long distance call to Africa to let me hear my 11 month old baby bawling for me!

    I think it's great that Bel has her grandparents to fall back on during your long stints away. You'll be assured that she's getting lots of TLC.

    Although I missed him dreadfully when I travelled, he was enjoying all the love in the world being doted by Grandma and late Grandpa.

    My dear father passed away just 2 months ago - I am really thankful to God that I didn't insist on doing it all alone. I let my son spend some precious moments with his loving grandparents.

    After all, what is childhood without Grandpa or Grandma?

    I 'hijacked' my baby's spare bolster during my long trips away and replayed videos of him over and over again in transit. People thought I was nuts. Who cares, right? I miss my baby!

    Have a good trip!

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  10. I just chanced upon your blog via some link. I saw you on the cover of CSB mag.

    MY little take on cosmetic surgery:

    http://harrisonbinhansome.blogspot.com

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  11. Daphne, i totally understand what u're going thru. I sent my son to my mother when he was barely 1 year old, and I only get to breastfeed him that long..

    But yeah, we working mothers have no choice but to make the best decision for our baby. the crying wont stop i tell u. what i did was surround myself with friends so i didn't get to be alone and thinking about him.

    Since your nature of work leave you to make hard decisions, just remember to keep calling her from time to time even though u arent able to be around her, she wont understand u but at least she'll stay attached to u by hearing your voice everyday!

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  12. hey daphne..
    get down on your knees and pray for that inner strength from God. only He can console you.
    just look forward to the time when u will see her again and how happy you will be. don't think of whys and what ifs. there is only the present, and better make use of it properly.
    all the best and God Bless..

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  13. evrytime i watch movie similar to ur case..i always feel worried things like the baby called the nanny-'mama!'..i think u shud spent as much as u can..and evry chance u got with bell..

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  14. I understand how you feel Pon, not easy..makes us feel like we're a bad irresponsible mommies...but what to do kan, we have to work..no work, we cant provide for our family comfortably. Have to tahan hati...pray for her well being whenever you are away. I always 'ask' God to take care of my baby when I am away. Who is more mighty than HE? I guess we just have be patient and not beat ourselves up..we are working mothers and we will try our best to give and provide...God bless! :-)

    -Angeline-

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  15. Hi Daphne..

    This made me cry! I can't imagine what you're going through!!!! I may be a mom, three times over..but still, you can't change your heart, the way you can change your mind, right?

    Don't feel too guilty, please. You'll only kill yourself! Be strong and know that you'll be seeing your daughter real soon.

    Whatever your decision is, I hope everyone in your family supports it. Take care

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    ReplyDelete
  17. Hai Daphne

    u made me cry lor huhuhuhuh

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  18. Hi Daphne!

    I've been following your blog since last year while you were pregnant and I was pregnant too! Throughout the time, I just feel that we have more or less the same feeling of being the first time mother. Now, my son is 4 months old but we (he and I) have gone thru a tough time during his 3 months old. He was admitted to hospital due to heavy cold and gone thru suction procedure for more than 2 times per day for 3 days. I don't like to remember the sound of his cried out loud and the pain looking face after the suction process. You are lucky to have your in laws to look after your girl. I do understand the feeling to have someone else to look after your baby co'z I have to send my boy to the nursery when I go to work. He got the cold only after 4 days at the nursery and till today (though he's getting better) I’m not 100% satisfy with his condition. Anyway, I believe that God creates a mother as the angle of her children. The children will always know that their angle will always be with them no matter what. So stop feeling sorry to yourself of not be able to spend more and more time with your girl. (I’m keep saying this to myself as well) She understands you. (^-^)

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  19. Oh, I forgot one thing!
    You should live with your girl.
    It's all about the quality time with her. You can touch her, talk to her every night and everytime you are not working. Your in-laws can only take care of her while you are working. She is yours!

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  20. dear Daphne..could you please reply my email/response to my question sent earlier? Need HELP and SEEKING advice on what to consume during confinement after c-section delivery.. I have bought all you magazines but NONE of it ever mentioned what to consume during your c-section recovery period... appreciate your swift response...

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  21. You know what i dont like when leaving my baby with my parents? That they would know my baby better than i do and they will tell me what's she likes and what she doesnt like I am somebody else. It pains everytime but my case i dont have muich choice (single mom). I went to KL to work on her 3rd month. Couldnt find a babysitter and limited income left me the only option of leaving her with my parents (in swk). Seriously, I was worried of the same things you mention here. KL lasted for 3 months only then i decided to get a job in hometown. Now I'm much happier for I see her growing everyday. Being with her at home after work is the most precious moment in my life.

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  22. hai daphne

    sedih i baca your entry kali nie. Do take care and i wish you well.

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  23. hi daphne,
    i'm a silent reader.. totally know the feeling of separating with own baby.. my baby is 3 months plus now. At first, in-laws asked to send to their house but I objected. Better send to nursery as I can still be with her daily (rather than weekly?).Furthermore, the baby is mine!

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  24. I really like the way you write, it's detailed, honest and heartfelt. Keep on writting!:D

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  25. such a sweet mom..... way to go daphne!!! ohya, i'm one of yr biggest fans.love to see yr bubbly charactr in tv. GOD bless!

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  26. Dear Daphne,

    I totally understand your predicament as I am going through the exact same thing at the moment. All I can say is that when night time comes, if I am able to and if time & locality permits me to, I would definitely wanna be sleeping with my baby snug in my arms. And whenever I am not able to, I just pujuk my heart by the fact that my baby is in the safe hands of his mak tok & tok ayah. I guess we cant have everything in life, but we have to make do with what we have.

    Follow your heart ok! All the best!

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  27. Dear Daphne..

    All the best ..

    Just link your Blog!! :) :)

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  28. Dear Daphne

    It is hard as well and pain staking thinking that you are not doing the right thing. My best friend and god-sister also faces the same situation as you do.

    The option they had is to have their parents/in-laws to stay with them so that they can be with their precious as well as knowing someone is there for them when they are away.

    I understand it is hard to have the in-law staying with them as they want their way and their teaching not giving them a chance to really be a mother. But as time pass by they had learn a lot from them and also not feeling lost or away from their precious.

    I hope this helps and what the advice given from a good friend earlier to you is right, things or situation happens for a reason and we will always try to make it and succeed.

    I know you will and hope that this does help you bits.

    Take care and there is always sunshine tomorrow.

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  29. Your daughter is so cute. But, I thought it was a boy before I read your article. o.0. my other half thought so too. I daresay she's going up to be just like you. Outspoken and lovable! How old is she? Is she growing out some tooth?

    Daph, being a mom is about trial and terror. LOL. Talk to your hubby, I am sure he'll understand that a daughter is best raise by her mother, and not the grandparents. They may have eaten more salt than you do rice, but Isobel needs you the most, as you are her mother. You and Isobel have a lot to learn from each other. And what is life without making error, right? Times flies pretty fast. I hope you enjoy a good motherhood, Daphne.

    http://cleffairy.wordpress.com

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  30. Hi Daphne, this is my favourite entry in your blog as I understand the very same feeling of leaving your own child behind as we have to work. Yes, everytime I went away for work I fear when I came back my son won't recognise me anymore. And I fear he won't love me as much as he love his grandparents because they keep showering him with gifts and manjakan him. Fyi, we are still living with my parents and sometimes it gets conflicting because of this. Anyway if I were you of course I will take her back so I can sleep her with every night.Haha..I guess I'm quite selfish when it involves my own son.

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  31. Hi Daphne,

    Just want to give you my 2 cents worth... I was brought up by many babysitters as my mom was working. Let me tell you that I just hated it. I hated the fact that I had to listen and obey 'other' people. I hated that my mom wasn't around when I needed her. I hated that I always had to bring bread and jam sandwiches to school because my mom was too busy to make me anything else..I could go on and on..

    One can argue that since your baby is with her grandparents she'll be ok. Yes, but grandparents have different standards. Are their standards and life principles same as yours? Will your little darling grow up with 'other' people's stardards, not your own?

    The anguish and the pain that you feel right now is something that God has given all mothers. God put it there so that mothers will give their very life to protect their offspring.

    You DO have a choice Daphne.

    Just to share. I used to work in TV3 too. I left the station because my private life was going to pieces, but continued as a co-host for one of the talk shows then. I stopped everything when I was 4 months pregnant.

    I'm now a full time stay-at-home mom, my eldest will be 10 in Sept. I can honestly tell you I have NO regrets. I do miss being on TV, but NOTHING compares with being in control of my family's life.

    Being a homemaker need not be boring unless one lets it be so. For the 1st few years, life was so hectic I couldn't fit anything else in anyway. Now I'm involved in many other things like helping to lead a support group for stay-at-home moms (yes! they exist!), I'm also in the committee that organises seminars and courses for families and married couples. Plus I write for my church magazine etc etc.

    I don't know about you, but for me, I always think that,"If my baby is going to be attached to someone, it's got to be ME, not anybody else!"

    You take care.

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