What I now understand about my parents

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As I’ve just returned from a visit to my hometown, I decided to write a post related to my parents. After becoming a mum, I am more appreciative of my parents given that I have experienced firsthand the trials and tribulations of parenting. On top of that, though, there are a number of simple things which finally make sense. When growing up, especially during my teenage years, I wondered why my parents did certain things or behaved in certain ways. Now I realise – my sister and I made them that way! Here are a few examples.

Waking up early in the morning and taking naps

I have memories from my teenage years of my mum shouting for me to wake up at around 9am and by that time, she and my dad had already been awake for at least a couple of hours. As a typical teenager, I always moaned about waking up early during weekends and wanted to sleep till noon instead. I also recall thinking that my dad napped a lot during the day. In the first year after having my daughter, her cries became my alarm clock. The problem was that this alarm clock went off at ungodly hours, sometimes as early as 5am. We’ve been shifting her routine such that she wakes up at more reasonable hours like 7-8am, but we’re always so tired that we end up taking naps together with her in the afternoon. Voila – I’ve adapted my parents’ schedule.

Being uncool and not knowing the latest hits

I used to go to the cinema almost every week, was up to date on the most popular TV series, knew the lyrics to the latest hits and went for concerts on a regular basis. Now that I’m a mum and can barely find time for a haircut, these hobbies quickly fell to the bottom of my priority list. My preferred entertainment such as Game of Thrones or horror movies is also generally not suitable for young children.  So I’m behind on my movies and series and have no idea what the latest hits are. Instead, I’ve been watching cartoons like Peppa Pig and know most nursery rhymes by heart. I doubt I’ll ever catch up so I can imagine my daughter in ten years’ time, telling me how uncool and outdated I am. I finally understand why my parents only listen to oldies and didn’t go for concerts or to the cinema much.

Decreasing number of friends who we hang out with

When I was in school, I had lots of friends and used to wonder why my parents seem to have much fewer. I still have many friends scattered around the world, but I’ve become more selective with the friends I really hang out with. Not because I’m suddenly less sociable (I wasn’t really that sociable to begin with!) but because it’s harder to plan social outings with a little one in tow. Friends who don’t have kids may not want to hang out with a two year old. A toddler demands a lot of attention and gets bored if we spend hours in a restaurant chatting with our friends. We also can’t stay out too late and certain activities such as hiking or drinking may no longer be feasible. Leaving our kid at home with a babysitter is an option, but we try not to do it too often. It’s sad, but kind of unavoidable.

Getting organized and planning in advance

This is something that I’ve yet to adopt but also the reason why I’m struggling to perform my parental duties. I am not a very organized person when it comes to my personal life (other than planning holidays). While I try to plan in advance, I am terribly disinterested in any sort of administrative tasks. My husband and I can also be pretty last minute and end up rushing for things. After having a child, especially in Hong Kong, our approach does not seem to be working. We’ve missed deadlines for kindergarten applications, gotten the first day of our daughter’s swimming lesson wrong and ended up on holiday in Macau instead, turned up late at almost every single one of her baby gym class which starts at 9am, etc. I now appreciate why my parents are so organized and my guess is that I’ll slowly become more and more organized.

 

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