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A Little Thing Called Mummy Guilt

Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess
Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess

Mummy cat and baby cat

Have you ever felt inadequate as a mum?

I had huge plans for my 3-year old son, Yuri. Don’t get me wrong; his dad and I still do. But sometimes, I doubt my capability as a mum to work those plans into fruition.

I know it’s bad and every wise person should know by now that comparison is the thief of joy, but I’m finding myself in that blackhole. It’s like having a Macbook. Once you go Mac, you won’t go back or something like that. Once you start comparing, it’s hard to stop.

Recently, I find myself comparing Yuri to almost every child I see, and I find myself worrying about his development. For example, one of his friends came to play one day. He’s only 2 and a half but bigger and slightly taller than my boy. It didn’t help that before that, I’ve been worrying about the lack of changes in his height and weight. Yuri had been an exclusively breastfed baby so he was never on the big side.

And then I see posts of kids already reading by 2 or 3; Yuri is still learning the letter sounds (phonics). Last night, I saw my friend’s post about her 3-year old daughter’s drawing of herself and her daddy. Yuri is just learning to trace. It has never occurred to me before, but last night, I feared that we made the wrong decision to postpone preschool this year.

As you might probably have understood, I made a 180° turn from a chill mum to a worrywart.

Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess

Biking while mum is working inside the home office

To be honest, I know deep in my heart that Yuri is doing alright. He’s conversant and acts maturely for his age, and he’s rarely sick (although we just discovered he’s allergic to shrimp – sadness). But I can’t help thinking about my own inadequacies. Did we, somehow, make some wrong decisions that might affect Yuri in some way? Are we spoiling him or delaying him in some manner? Are we not paying as much attention to his health as we should be? The questions are plenty. They are not helping at all, but they are plenty.

I haven’t shared this concern to my long-distance partner, Job, yet precisely because I know what piece of advice he’ll give me:

Pray, read your Bible, and don’t let your emotions rule your head.

And then he’ll add that he’s always there for us and that Yuri is doing great; he’s a smart and a good boy. I know he will say that not to make me feel better but because it’s what he thinks is true.

So I’ve done a lot of thinking last night. Instead of focusing on my what my son “lacks,” which may or may not be a figment of my imagination, I tried to think of everything that makes him special.

  • First, he’s the only toddler I know (so far) who knows the names of around 20-30 kinds of trucks and vehicles. I can’t even tell a front loader from an excavator (and yes, I learned the terms from him).
  • He builds this really well. He’s been building crude versions of cars, trucks and aeroplanes using his Mega Bloks since he was 2.
  • He might be clingy (another one of my mum-insecurities), but he surprises me sometimes by acting so maturely. He’s really defensive of me.
  • So he doesn’t know the numbers beyond 30 yet or the lowercase letters, but he can easily memorise songs and sing them in tune. Okay, a lot of preschoolers do that, but still, I find it amazing!
  • So he may not be as tall or as big as some kids, but he’s strong. Yes I am aware that Yuri’s arm is only a few inches wide and that his ribs are somehow showing, but the boy  could lift a mean load. Examples are my middle schooler sister’s school bag which is full of books and our freshly delivered gallons of water. Seriously!

Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess

In the end, I understood the meaning of my “exercise.” There are so much more things to thank for than things to complain about. Yuri is a special boy who may lack in a few things but is brilliant when it comes to other things. He may not be as big as his peers, but he is healthy. And strong.

Realising these things, I learn that comparison is really the thief of joy and that it is futile. You’ll end up nowhere except in the hole of your own insecurities, perceived to be bigger.

Personal

Birthing Pains

Strawberry Fields Benguet
Strawberry Fields Benguet

Taken in Baguio last March. I PC-restored my laptop recently and unfortunately lost many of my photos.

My eyes accidentally went to the stats on top of my day-old blog. It read very meagre numbers, very very small. The numbers were a speck compared to my old blog’s stats.

Surprisingly, I didn’t care, not even the tiniest bit.

You see, another reason why I started a new blog is to free myself from the mindset of competitiveness. I got tired of always monitoring my statistics. I needed to let go of such an unnecessary stress.

However, I would be lying if I said completely starting a new blog from ground up is easy. It’s difficult, and sometimes, I have to remind myself why I’m doing this.

Content

For starters, there’s virtually nothing in the blog. I made the choice to not migrate my old blog, so I have to write a lot during the next few months for it to have acceptable content.

On the other hand, it is exciting to have the chance to focus on writing content again with brand new categories and stuff. To be honest, I stopped writing relevant content in my old blog because I thought it wouldn’t matter anyway, I would be transferring anyway. Well, I have no excuses now!

Can you spell blog-horrhea?

Design

I’m currently using a free feminine theme from Angie Makes right now. I find it really pretty, but I’m also hoping to have a customised design just for A Joyful Mess. It’s not my priority now, though. Maybe when we reach a point of stability, we can contemplate on having a customised design made. 🙂

And everything else

I published my first blog post yesterday, but really, my blog was (and is) still not 100% ready. I just figured it would be great to finally start blogging here since it’s the first day of the second half of the month. I’m not sure what the relevance is, but I like the timing.

Looking at my blog now, I realise there are still a lot of things I need to do. Setting aside my pining for a customised design, I also need a new author picture (not that one, which I just grabbed from my old blog!). There’s nothing wrong with that picture – aside from the little fact that both Yuri (my son) and I look different now.

I also need to update my about and contact pages which, you guessed it, are all just grabbed from my previous blog! Even my job is not the same any more!

Outside the blog, I also need to update all of my links. Eventually, once we are able to publish more posts, I’ll also have to revisit blog directories and submit this new blog.

In other words

Starting a blog is just like having a baby. The conception of an idea is only the beginning, and the work doesn’t end with giving birth. You need to feed it, clothe it, nurture it, and be consistent in loving it – an inconsistent mum would be really scary.

But it’s satisfying and oddly comforting. And yeah, it’s also a lot of fun.

Personal

Introducing: A Joyful Mess

Hello! Welcome to my new online home. I call it “A Joyful Mess,” and I want it to be a blog that is truly me.

Why Joyful Mess

I’m a messy person. I may have a bit of an OCD, but I am no grace under pressure, I don’t have the gift to “whip things into shape,” unless you’re talking about something virtual, and I am no Martha Stewart. Even my bun is a mess.

But having a type-A personality made me hate this aspect of myself. I want everything to be perfect and in order. Two things made me realise that the mess will always be part of life – of my life. I first realised that when I became a Christian and made the decision to make Jesus the centrepiece of my life.

However, because I was (still am) working, I slipped into my old neat-freak, perfectionist ways. Then I was reminded about it when I became a mother.

Have you noticed that we are not born with the instinct to clean up but rather the instict to make a mess? To dig, throw, discover?

There is truly nothing wrong with order. The problem is the obsession with order. It becomes a problem when you refuse to step out of your comfort zone, when you stop living your life to avoid making a mess. So instead of always telling my son, Yuri, to not make so much clutter, I have decided to welcome it as part of his young life. He will never learn about anything if the books stay in the shelves and the toys in the closet.

And instead of berating myself when I mess up, I thank heavens that I am one messy, messed up person because it means I need God’s grace to give order to my cluttered life. I thank God that I need to depend on him because in my weakness, he is strong. I am learning that there is joy in the mess.

Now I welcome and embrace the clutter and hope to document my messy life here.

What about my old blog

Perhaps a lot of you know that I used to blog in davaomommy.com. It’s still up and running now, but I have felt the need to “rebrand” and start anew since last year. The reason is that I felt the blog name itself was too cold and sterile and, honestly, didn’t evoke any emotion.

I wanted a more personal blog, one that sounds more introspective than informative.

I chose to start all over again. Instead of just migrating my entire blog to a new domain name, I decided to let it live for two reasons. First, Davao Mommy was the product of more than 2 years of hard work. I couldn’t just remove it from the blogosphere, so I would let it run until its natural death.

Second, it’s just too taxing and frustrating to migrate a blog, fix pictures, change tags and categories to reflect the new blog’s etcetera etcetera. I couldn’t be bothered.

I hope you accompany me on this new adventure!

Beginning again is a big deal for me. I have backed out several times because I wasn’t sure the time and effort would be worth it. All the work I’ve done on my previous blog will now go to waste (hopefully not). All the connections I’ve made, I may or may not take with me to this new home.

But I’ve never felt as confident as I do now. I feel like I’ve made the right decision: both to make a new home and to start from ground up.

This may be worth it after all.