I have the best of both worlds. I work part time, and also get to be with Asher at home on some days. Compared to my family and friends in Singapore, where the option is pretty much non-existent, it is a luxury.
I don’t take this opportunity lightly. No matter how tired and exhausted I am juggling between life at home and being with my son, I remind myself that many women would love to be in my position.
Sure I get cranky. Housework does not always get done. My mind has an endless running list of things to do or organise. I find myself switching off when hubby speaks to me because I’m busy trying to figure out how do I fit in groceries, swimming and cooking in 4 hours.
It hit me how disrespectful it was when hubby gently told me that he has repeated the same thing 4 times. While I seem to be listening, I was not present.
The term working mum is misleading. Yes, I’m a mum. Yes, I work. I’m also a wife, a daughter, a friend, a niece, an auntie and despite my granny’s passing- I’m always her grand daughter. I cannot help but wonder, have I stopped being a wife just because I’m working and busy being a mum?
My days are filled with work related commitments, play groups, play activities for Asher, an occasional coffee with a fellow mother, baking, cooking, organising appointments, planning meals, cleaning and goodness know what else I have forgotten with this ongoing never ending list. It is so easy to think that cooking his meals and doing his ironing as part of being a wife. Or perhaps making sure that the house is decently clean so that he can enjoy Asher over the weekend without needing to worry about most housework (sorry hun, you are still on laundry duty).
A wife. It means being a partner. Someone to share his life with. Listening, sharing his joy and pain. Problem solving, being supportive but honest. Being forgiving when one makes mistakes. Showing care, concern and gentleness. Calming his anxiety, but being his cheerleader when it is needed.
I haven’t been consistent in meeting my “jdf” of what a wife should do. Sure I can say that balancing work and looking after a toddler is challenging. I prefer to keep myself in check at times because there is no way that I want to disrespect my husband or put my marriage in the back burner because I’m too busy working or chasing after a toddler.
I did an experiment.
Almost every morning, especially on weekdays, I would send text messages to hubby. I decided that I would thank him for at least ONE action. It has to be concrete- no fluffy statements like “Thanks for loving me”. I would write it as “thank you for bringing me a cup of tea when I couldn’t move from the couch last night. I know you love me.” or “It was so helpful this morning when you took Asher down so that I can have 10 minutes to get ready”.
It took him nearly a month and suddenly he texted me. “Thank you for these morning messages. I look forward to it every day.”
That. made. me. smile.