It was Mother’s Day on Sunday and apart from receiving a hand painted personal plate from my 4 year old, I also received from my 10 year old a series of secret messages to decode and puzzles to solve which eventually led to a Mother’s Day letter.
But my mother’s day treat really began on Thursday with a bunch of ladies who were stranded in this part of the world because of their husbands’ work. To some of them, the daily chore of having to clean, cook and chauffeur the kids around was a cultural shock. Back home, they strutted around in power suits, had peaceful lunches at work while the kids were taken care of. My friend from India had 3 maids to serve her and she never had to cook a meal. To her, it has been a hardship tour. There were also some who took this as a year long vacation. They wouldn’t have travelled this far if not for their husbands’ work. Then there was the majority, like me, whose lives revolved round the kids, be it at home or here. When the kids were younger, we had them with us 24/7. Anyway, we all agreed that a ladies’ night out sounded great.
We decided to carpool because most of us really want to be sipping adult beverages rather than orange juice. The ones who were still serving their duties as milk cows aka breastfeeding moms were tasked to drive. I went with my Scottish friend who has 3 kids and still has to tend to her little one in the middle of the night.
As much as I love going out for a drink and partying into the night, the truth is, my energy is often depleted by sunset. We were supposed to meet at 7, the time that I would usually be in my pyjamas. Our night lives here had been non existent. It doesn’t help when going out at night here requires one to have a working knowledge of crime stats of the various neighbourhoods. After all, the last thing you want is to get lost in a bad neighbourhood.
So here we are, 2 boring moms who hardly wander out on our own after sunset, trying to find our way to a popular hangout place in town. We both agreed that smartphones have made us stupid. We no longer read maps, recognise landmarks and know our North, South, East, West. My friend made a greater effort to avoid being a victim. She drove the car that night without Google Map. I was of little help especially without my glasses; the road was blurred out in patches of glare. We drove past dodgy neighbourhoods and it was interesting how we could read each other’s minds. It’s good to know I wasn’t the only paranoid one. Anyway we got to where we were supposed to go, and spent the night gossiping, sipping margaritas and bidding farewells.
Amongst us, there were mums whose schedules were planned around their kids’ lives; one had her entire schedule around her 4 kids’ soccer games; another picked up Taekwando so that she could learn along with the kids; some never missed a single event or field trip in school; one even chose to have her toddler 24/7 with her instead of sending him to play school because she really wanted to spend more time with him while his 2 elders siblings were in school. There was no shortage of Mums who put the interests and needs of their children above theirs.
It is especially comforting to find some kind of camaraderie in this group of ladies. That despite coming from very different backgrounds, we could relate to each other as mothers. And it is encouraging to know that we all face similar challenges and that it is normal even if at some point in our lives, we doubted about the choices we have made and felt uncertain about the paths we have taken. We were all trying to do the best we know and for that, we deserved a pat on the back.
So if you are mother, here’s cheers to motherhood!