Sunday

Parenting

Having children or a baby for that matter is a big responsibility. It requires certain amount of time and effort and money, constant loving and caring and it's a role for life. I remember my mom asking me if we already have a baby, of course I expected she would ask that question. We have been married for atleast two years at that time. In the Philippines, it's almost like an expectation that husbands and wives would have kid/s even on the first year of marriage. It's almost automatic and is expected by excited grandparents. It's a tradition. So, being married for five years now I have been constantly asked when am I having a baby? And my constant reply, "One of these days." I almost feel their wondering stares even people I just met, or people I don't even know. Sometimes it's exhausting having to explain myself for the follow-up questions and unsolicited advices. Something like "you should have now while you are young, the older you get the harder for you to have kids." Of course I am well aware of my chances, but it's almost like an intrussion to me when people say that. I have my reasons, plus I think I am still young. I once encountered a Filipina at the grocery store. I was pushing my buggy down the isle when she looked and asked "Filipina na ka?" I said "yes" and then we started chatting. I was telling her we just moved to the area. And then she asked if I am married,I said yes. Then she asked how long have we been married, at that time we were on our fourth year of marriage. She continued, "Do you have kids?",I replied "No, wala pa." And then she said " Mag-anak ka na." I replied "Of course, one of these days." I mean I just met this lady and she's telling me I should have kids. When I told this coversation to my husband he said " She probably thinks you are married to an older guy." Good point. She probably presumed I am married to an older guy because she even asked if I am married to an American. In which I said "yes". I still don't understand what's the hurry. Being married for five years is too long not to have kids, probably to some people but to me it doesn't matter how long I am married. What matters is whether I am prepared to assume that role of being a mother. Of course I don't even bother explaining how we are saving up and waiting for that moment. But when people starts to question me for not having any kids yet. I feel pressured and even think "Do I look that old that they are saying I should have kids." I mean I don't mind family members and friends telling me that, but when a total stranger whom I met for the first time tells me that, I don't know what to say and think. It's almost invading my own privacy. I don't have to explain myself and tell that person that I am simply not ready yet. I am still young, my husband's just two years older than me. First of, I am glad that I am able to enjoy the privilege to choose and plan and decide for that moment that I want to get pregnant and have kids. A lot of women don't get the chance to do that because sometimes the moment just knocks them out and next thing they know they are pregnant and even if they are not ready yet, they got to assume the responsibility, and sometimes it's not their choice but there's no choice. Being ready is one thing, one has to be prepared physically, emotionally,psychologically and be committed it. And to be ready one has to take time. Even years of marriage isn't enough for someone to prepare for this life long role of becoming a mother. So, for those who got the courage to assume that role at a young or older age, I admire them. But for now, I am just trying to better myself in order to become a better mother and a parent in the future. And not jump into it, just because everybody is having a baby or because eager parents wants to have grand kids, or because it is the acceptable practice. I want to be able to plan as long as my internal clock isn't ticking yet. I understand the concerns of other people, but it's not always the case. I want to be able to do it on my own time when I finally gathered myself and say "Okey, I am not getting any younger, it is time." And that time hasn't arrived yet, so I just enjoy myself instead of chasing spoiled brats. Don't get me wrong I love kids, I have to really make sure I have grown up enough to have my own. So, for now, I'll just enjoy friends getting excited for their bundles of joy and maybe learn a little bit so that when I get there I would know what to do.

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Talking about kids, I grew up taking care of my younger siblings and cousins. I remember as an older child, second to the eldest, we have to help take care of our younger siblings. I have four younger siblings. It was tough. I was a little girl and I was assigned tobe responsible and take care of my siblings. I learned to be a mother at a very young age when my parents would leave and we would be left at home. There was one time that I was left at home with my younger brother who was an infant at that time. My mom had an operation and I was assigned to baby sit. We were in my aunt's house because I had to take care of my cousins too. I was feeding my brother with his milk bottle, but when I set the bottle down on the table, my cousin who was very young at that time got it and sucked the nipple out. He tore the nipple of the milk bottle. I couldn't find any nipples around the house and my brother started crying. I tried to give him the milk with the big hole at the tip of the bottle, but he's too young, he has to suck it, not gulp it like adults do. I was too young, I didn't know what to do. He kept crying for hours, I was getting nervous but I can't leave the house. Hours past and I grew impatient and dread for my mom to come home.I don't know how long it took, but she and my aunt finally came home and I told her what happenned and I was almost mad. You know when you are young, you don't know what to do. Anyway, that's just one of my childhood tales that came to mind as I thought of the responsibilities a mother and a parent has to assume when they have children. A parent can get away for a moment from her children, but she is responsible twenty-four hours of her children no matter what. Atleast until they grow up and have their lives of their own. But even then, parents don't stop being parents then. It's a lifetime commitment.

Of course in the modern times, it is much easier that parents are able to leave their children to day care centers for them to be able to go to work. It is still a great risk putting that responsibility to the hands of other people. Even baby sitters are available, it's just a question of whom you can trust your bundle of joy.

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