Chicken soup for this mama’s soul
AUG 19 — Motherhood has bestowed me with superpowers.
Passengers give up their seats for me when I board the bus (my super power does not grant wishes unfortunately. So no chauffeur, no car). Fishmongers offer up the freshest cuts and happily fillet the fish into baby sized-portions. Nurses smile in understanding.
I am life-giver, milk maker, smile-bringer. No product recalls here.
But I have my Kryptonite. Sleep deprivation has been a major bummer. That’s when I become the ugly grumpy mummy. That’s when I turn to online support.
Recently I have come to know other mothers through a couple of mums groups on Facebook. We share recipes for baby food, methods to soothe our little ones, we rant, we laugh, we cry.
The support within the group is immeasurable. When one frantic mother posted a message about rushing her child to hospital, messages poured in round the clock to buoy her spirits.
Curiously, we all seem to be in our 30s with children under the age of five.
It all sounds very Ya-Ya Sisterhood and it is; connecting with other women like me has kept me sane. Scrolling through daily posts by these mothers has taught me much. To be grateful for a husband who shares in household chores. To be patient.
In today’s plugged-in society, it has become that much easier to connect with other like-minded women.
I remember when my mother had to take care of us little three girls, her outlet was having her sisters or our neighbours over for what we call today play dates. I would catch snippets of conversation and in my adult’s mind today, it was pretty much the same content 30 years ago.
But that was when we knew our neighbours and saw them every morning as they went to work or to the market. When, like clockwork, they watered their gardens the same time as everyone else.
Now grownup me only sees my neighbours when we happen to wait for the elevator together. During the ride down, a smile is shared but little else. How are we to bond? I would never ask them to help watch my children if I had an urgent errand to run.
Thank goodness for social networking sites. New arrivals to Hong Kong know to look to Asiaxpat, GeoExpat and GeoBaby for pre-loved items (furniture, toys), how to navigate the school system and most importantly, to meet new friends in a strange city.
There are due date clubs for women expecting in the same time frame. A friend joined for each of her two children’s births and now they have informal playgroups with playmates who have grown up with them. My friend meanwhile has friends who are going through similar ups and downs with her in a city far from home.
Then there are online chats. I surreptitiously log onto Gmail and Facebook to check if any friends are online. A quick hello is enough to perk me up.
You could argue that this dependency on my cyber friends is stopping me from making a real effort to meet 3-D friends. I admit that there is some truth to this.
With a grabby baby and an unwilling four-year-old in tow, a lunch date becomes an energy-sapping lunch-less event pierced with disjointed conversation. I miss my old friends but I imagine they will understand given my current status: mother inundated.
There have been opportunities to meet with my online mother friends, like today when I joined a meet-up at a playgym organised by the mum’s group. It was fun putting names to faces based on thumbnail images burned into my memory.
So how does a supermama keep her act together? I would have to find one such woman first. As for me, this is how I do it: Click. Click. Click.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.