Life without help

I decided a long time ago, back when I was still a child, that I would take care of my own children. I would cook for them, I would spend time with them… I would not let others dictate how I should parent! I would not disappear from dawn to midnight, leaving my child with the maid! Ahem. No prizes for guessing who grew up this way. 

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in an environment where help was never rendered without conditions or a feeling like I was begging for handouts. 

I ended up fiercely independent and self reliant (stubbornly so?), wanting to do everything myself, figure out my own problems. 

For the most part, it worked beautifully, and I learnt so much along the way and did many things that deserve a good pat on the back (by myself, of course). 

Giving birth? No epidural! Confinement? No nanny! Taking care of Lorraine? Me! Housework? Me! Cook? Me! Still run a business full time? No problem! 

Except… yes got problem. Finally, after 19 long months, I realise that I’ve finally found where my limit is. 

I have not slept more than 3h in a row for 2 years (including late pregnancy). 

I have not gone out without a baby in tow for more than 1 hour, and I’ve only done it once. 

When I do my work, it’s when I cross my fingers that Lorraine is deep asleep enough, and I tip toe out of the room to work. I never know how much time I have, so I can never plan anything in advance. Ever since she turned 1 or so, I couldn’t even work while she napped, cos she has developed ninja senses to know if I was beside her. 

When I was sick from bronchitis and an injured rib, I soldiered on. I threw myself many pity parties along the way, but onwards I went.  

Despite that, I hung on. Because I was still coping, if even barely. It didn’t make any logical sense to do what I did, but I don’t regret having spent 24/7 with her for the past 19 months. I was exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, but I loved it. I loved that I was there for every moment, every milestone, that I understood everything she was saying and doing. I could look at myself in the mirror and I could truly say that there was nothing more that I could have done, nothing more that I could have given. 

The happiest moments I’ve had in my life were over these 19 months. 

But now, it’s time to accept that some help will do our family good. I have rejected the idea for a long time, but we have finally hired a helper and will be picking her up in an hour’s time. 

I hope that with an extra pair of hands, I will have more energy and time to recharge, so that I can be a better mother and wife. 

I hope that with help, I can spend more structured time on my work (which I absolutely love), instead of stolen minutes spent haphazardly, and hopefully contribute to a higher standard of living for us. 

I realise that, far from escaping the responsibilities of motherhood, accepting help around the house – could very well be the opposite.

Where did all my time go?

It’s been a trying year, 2017. 

Lorraine started waking up every 1-2 hours since Feb (it’s been 3 months now). I tried weaning her and failed. I couldn’t win.

It was a toddler screeching at the top of her lungs, right into my ear, in the middle of the night, with frantic tugs and crying MAMA NO MAMA MAMA MIK MIK MAMA NOOOOOO… for 2 hours straight. 

I could deal with that, and get no sleep myself and die the next day, or give in and let her have her milk 4 times every night. I’m still exhausted but it was the lesser evil.  

So, this sleep thing, and then on top of that, she got bronchiolitis. I don’t know how or when she got infected, but urgh. It spread to me, then Keith. 

At one point, all 3 of us were coughing and running a fever. And then Keith hurt his back so bad he couldn’t walk. And so did I. I also fractured my rib from coughing too hard. 
And through all this, Lorraine needed to go out, needed her diapers changed, baths, meals, entertainment… and she still woke up every hour at night. 

Fun times indeed. 

Goodbye 2016

2016 passed in a flurry of sleepless nights, breastfeeding, changing diapers, rushed showers, cooking, and laundry. 

The days melted into nights that melted into days again. Half the time I didn’t know which day it was, or what I was doing. 

Never have I been so busy, or so exhausted. Sometimes I feel like I went in over my head when deciding that I should take care of Lorraine myself. 

But as simple and sometimes mundane the days were, the year has been magical; a year with memories that I know I will hold so close to my heart, memories that I will probably be going through in my mind again and again in 20, 30, 40 years. 

Happy new year, my little family. I love you both so, so much.