Mum of one (soon to be two), Jill Lim, shares her story, and reminds us all why we need to say a big thank you to our helpers this Mother's Day...
Happy Mother’s Day to mothers young and old, single mothers and even fathers who are taking on both roles! Being a new mother, I found motherhood not only exhausting, but at the start, pretty isolating too. When you first bring your bundle of joy home, it can seem like the baby’s sole purpose is to divide and conquer. Here’s what I mean…
Newborn bliss vs reality
Lily, my daughter, had the worst colic known to man, our two dogs were more demanding than ever, and we wanted to do everything on our own. #Newageparenting. Very quickly, bickering began about how things should be done. Endless fights over whose turn it was to wash the baby bottles and frustration over not having clean underwear because laundry had long been forgotten.
Occasionally when my other half woke up to feed the baby, and I woke up to pump because Lily couldn’t latch directly, we’d have a quick hug and exchange some words of encouragement. We became colleagues. I was working the day shift, and dad was on nighttime duties to our 3.05kg slave-driver boss baby Lily.
Finding a superwoman to help (aka a helper)
Thus started the pursuit of Aisel. Never had my husband stepped up so quickly to get a task done. Nor has he pursued a woman this hard, myself included. He jumped right to it, reading MOM’s guidelines to bring a helper in, what insurance we needed to get etc. He even made a trip to the embassy to see if there was anything we were missing. It turned out we could only hire a helper who still had a valid work permit. Imagine our surprise when we found out that Aisel’s permit was still valid. All we had to do was transfer her name to us. Someone was looking out for us!
It was a Tuesday 2.35pm when Aisel walked through our doors. At 1.48 metres, Aisel was our newest tiny bundle of joy, and I’m not ashamed to admit, she not only changed our lives but brought more joy than our baby did.
Dealing with mum guilt…
The plan was for her to focus on managing the house, and cooking, while we handled the dogs and baby. I had to be the first thing my baby saw in the morning and the last thing when she went to bed; bath times were also off-limits. The very next morning, I found Aisel in Lily’s room, changing her diaper and insisting she gave her a bath. Feeling the ‘mum guilt‘ creeping on, I remembered my helper when I was little. She put me down for every nap, gave me baths, taught me spelling, brought me to my ballet classes and took care of me when I was sick. My parents worked full-time.
A trip down memory lane
However, it was still Mum-time once she was back from work. Dad, too, of course. The memories I have of my helper are filled with warmth and safety. Whenever Ace of Base’s ‘I Saw the Sign’ comes on, I remember the dance parties we’d have in her room. I remember how she’d love to tie my hair and put ribbons in, how she was always so proud when strangers would compliment my behaviour. How she would point out other children being fed by their helpers and say I was “so clever” because I could eat on my own. The day she left was filled with tears, and we wrote to each other even after we said goodbye.
Why helpers mean so much
Now, as I watch my daughter excitedly chat to Aisel as they speak to each other, I cannot wait for the memories they’ll have together. After her days off, Aisel rushes home and swipes Lily right out of my arms to show her all the new clothes she’s bought for her. How lucky Lily is to be loved so strongly and enthusiastically by a second mother.
Take time to say thank you!
I hope this Mother’s Day; we take the time to appreciate our helpers and remember how difficult mothering is. Let alone mothering someone else’s child, with a high likelihood that you’ll never see them fully grow up before moving on to another family. With that, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to our wonderful helpers who make our lives that much easier and love our children as their own while missing their own back home. We really do appreciate everything you do!
Happy Mother’s Day!