By FREDA LIU
WHEN I found out I was pregnant, I was completely in tears. I was in a state of shock to say the least. I definitely wanted children but wanted to wait for the situation to be “perfect” – and I realised it would never be.
I believe I was in tears because it was the final sign that I had to grow up. I was no longer only responsible for my own life; I have the future of a child in my hands.
What is my role as a mother? I have to begin with the end in mind as Stephen R. Covey wrote in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
I imagined myself on my 80th birthday (or at the deathbed if you’re the macabre sort). What would be my true measure of achievements? Would it be riches or the external successes, or would it be the wonderful relationships and memories I have garnered? The clearest thing I could see is the kind of man my son would grow up to be.
When my marriage ended, I felt like the biggest failure. I tried to salvage my marriage for six years because I wanted the image of “family” as God intended it to be.
I even felt like I had failed my son big time. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but count my blessings. I was thankful for my two mothers.
The two matriarchs
To this day, my former-mother-in-law still lives with me. Bless her heart. I would not know what to do without her generous support and love in caring for my son.
With her around, I am rest assured that someone who loves my son unconditionally is always there to give me time to do other things. Mum (as I call her) is a pillar of strength for me and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Growing up, there was never a moment I felt I couldn’t do anything. If I wanted music or Mandarin lessons, my own mother would be there chauffeuring me around; never complaining.
Because of Ma, there was never a stigma about what a girl should or shouldn’t do. She has always encouraged whatever career choices I make.
My lifetime investment
Having a child is an investment. And this is time spent with my son. In 2015, my goal was to have 52 golden mother-and-son moments in a year which essentially means we would spend some uninterrupted and meaningful time together one day, a week.
Since then, I have made it my annual goal to have these 52 golden moments with him. He is growing up fast and if I don’t spend quality time with him, I would lose that connection.
He is watching my every move and not so much on what I say. Right now, I hear him saying things like I spend too much time with him and how come I squeeze, hug and kiss him so much.
He asked why I can’t be a normal mum and kiss him minimally? I replied to say that when he grows up, he can say he was over-kissed and over-hugged as a child and that there was never a shortage of love.
My greatest legacy
A mentor once told me, “children are temporary guests in your household” and “do not deny your children the privilege of struggle.” My son’s time under my guardianship is limited although I will always be his mother.
I also can’t mollycoddle him because the assurance that he will be fine when I am gone is the second best gift I can give him. It’s no fun being the disciplinarian, but I make conscious effort to explain why he is reprimanded when need be.
One of the best gifts I can give him is the scriptural knowledge:
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
Education is fine but I would rather he grow up to be a balanced, well-adjusted, loving, loyal and committed man. As a single dad recently told me, “Reliability is the new sexy.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!