Wednesday May 10, 2006
Mums the word!
By XANDRIA OOI
YOU wont know what its like until youve become a mother. That must be the most used sentence in the world of mothers. I have certainly heard my fair share when I was growing up, and I still hear it from time to time.
I used to roll my eyes indignantly each time my mum said that. Even now, the conversation, lecture or disagreement would usually come to an end simply because I am not a mother. I do not know what it is like for her to stay up all night worrying when I am out after midnight, or when she tries to hide the hurt when my snappish remarks have cut into her soul, or how she shares my joys and suffers my heartaches like they were her own.
I tell people that my mum is my best friend, but she is more than that. We share clothes, have regular coffee sessions and even have workouts at the gym together; but in a friendship, the give and take have to be fairly equal for the friendship to survive.
With my mum, the relationship is far from balanced. More often than not, it is she who gives more. I usually take without a second thought.
Recently, I took on a hosting job with only a day in between until the actual event. She sat with me in front of the computer till the wee hours of the morning helping me put the script together. She patiently cut a big piece of cardboard into squares and pasted my script onto them while I frantically tried to remember my lines.
On the day of the event, I received a text message from her saying, I have every confidence that you will do great. It is been said that we see ourselves as others see us, and just like that, I felt a little taller and performed with more certainty.
It is uncanny how mothers seem to know exactly how a situation will play out. There have been many instances when events have unfolded exactly the way my mother had predicted they would, and I have come to appreciate her advice whenever I have to make a decision.
But, however intuitive and logical she can be, there have been moments when I had felt that my mums opinions might not be right or fair. Once, she took me completely by surprise when she acknowledged her mistake.
Before her apology, I had felt self-righteous and thought that having my mother admit she was wrong would be a moment of triumph. Ironically, though, I felt incredibly ashamed that I had not had the grace to say Im sorry first.
While it was true that she had not been fair, she could not have been the only party in the wrong either. After all, it takes two hands to clap. Yet, if she had not apologised, I probably would not have come to that realisation.
Come to think of it, my parents are the masters of guilt. Instead of caning as a form of discipline, they instilled in me a conscience that would bring sleepless nights if I did something I knew was wrong.
My mother is the first person I call when I have good news. She is the only person I trust to give an honest opinion (my dad says Its nice to every outfit that I try on). Safe in the knowledge that she gives great advice but would never demand that I heed it, I habitually ask for her opinion on everything from work-related matters to guy issues.
My mum is also my manager. The term, however, is just a way of formalising our existing relationship. People often ask me, Isn’t it hard to have your mum managing you?
The answer is yes. It is hard for my mum. She runs around ensuring I have water when I emcee, puts up with my erratic mood swings and stresses out on my behalf when I have too much on my plate.
Time and again, I have taken her for granted and she has felt frustration, disappointment and hurt as a result. The worst feeling in the world is to know that you are the reason your mother has tears in her eyes.
It would be so much easier for her to let someone else manage me. Only a mother can give so absolutely and expect only your happiness in return. No friendship can transcend that.
This column is entitled watchamacallit for two simple reasons. Besides the fact that it allows me to write on various topics, it really is just because things usually turn out exactly how, or what, your ma calls it.
Happy Mothers Day to all mothers; I patiently wait for the day when I will join your ranks and know what it is like to be a mother!