The thoughts of a Expat Mum
She was furiously washing the dishes. A thousand thoughts were running through her head , mentally planning out all the tasks that she had to accomplish before they arrived . She had to spread the tablecloth on the table, set the table, put some last minute seasoning in the curry, grill the chicken and bake the starters. Maybe she could make a salad as the menu seemed a little insufficient for her guests. The last time they had visited them as a family, there was quiet a vast array of dishes. Also it looked like the kids had made a mess in the bathroom so probably would need to clean up that too and not to forget …
“Mama, can you draw a frog for me,” her daughter told her giving her a piece of white paper.
“Look , Mamma is a little busy now, can you go and do something else”
“But really Mamma can you draw I want to color it, I am bored”
Go ask your dad then and just leave me alone,” she almost yelled.
“But dad is watching soccer and he is too busy”
:”then just go and watch some T.V but dont disturb me”, she shooed her away.
The evening was quiet a blur as she was mostly on her toes serving the food, having quick conversations, discussing parenting experiences, the latest season sale at the mall, exchanging recipes and cooking and cleaning after the guests. At last it was time for bed, she was quiet satisfied as it looked like the food was a success and the evening fun. However there was a speck of regret in her mind. She quickly peeked into her daughters room to see her innocent face deep in slumber and secretly wished she was awake so that so that she could tell her ,”Look , Mamma is here now and she can draw that frog too.” Alas the day was over and that opportunity gone. All the satisfaction seemed to suddenly evaporate leaving behind a veil of sadness. If only she had been a little kind to this angel who actually mattered to her. The rest was all temporary. She was her greatest priority, it dawned on her as it had many times in the past too. Something similar happened the next week too . Maybe many other times after that.
For any mother, who like me is an expat to another country without the family support will see their life reflected here probably. Most of the times their is a complete absence of family support as well. All that our children have is their parents for company. All we could do on most days is be busy with something. Children are getting lonelier. When I was a child, I remember every evening going upstairs to meet my cousins and the evening would pass with us playing hop-scotch, hide and seek and pretend. We played till we had had our share of fun under the sun. We were tired yet satisfied by the time we went to our parents. This life is a distant illusion for my own child.
Most of the children these days ,what with people migrating and families getting nuclear, are stranded with to their own devices. Playing out on the streets is a distant dream. Most parents have a general sense of distrust about letting their child play outside alone. Its alright if they have some fun in their own backyard. However the streets are empty. The parents who do not have the family support can be lonely too but hey its a global world. We do not need real friends other than in the weekends. Their social media friends will suffice them for the week. Its too engaging to even do that puzzle with that child. If you are still bored just dial a number and talk to your friend , it hardly makes a difference.
However what about that 5 year old at your home, she does not seem to have a Facebook or watsapp account, all she does is watch those characters who come on T.V everyday. That’s the closest she can get of friends till she goes to her school the next day or maybe the weekend when there is a gathering of families. Till then all she can say is ,”I miss my friend A , can I go play with her, when can we go to her house?”, “We will,” I tell her lovingly.
In a few words this is the life of most kids in the present day. However as a mother I realize the least I can do for my child is to try and make the life of my child as memorable and happening as it can get. I would like to take charge and do as much as we could possibly do as parents. Its time to cut down on ‘some cooking’. My guests would surely not mind a dish or two less. Like a friend recently inspired me by not being the mother who is furiously cooking in the kitchen whenever we are visiting her. Sometimes she dishes out some frozen pizza freshly baked in the kitchen. “It never really is about the food only, its all about having a good time “, is what she would always say. A full table never really matters if all it is doing is keeping you from having some special time with your children. Friends will come and go. But your true friends will understand that it never really is about your elaborate cooking skills. Its all about a warm heart and smiles .
Further how many times have you been agitated at your kid for making a mess of an otherwise clean room. I know, I have. I have set some really sad rules as well simply because it would avoid a mess which I would not have to clean. Usually I would be so preoccupied with the house work to be able to spend any time with my kids. It was another friend who inspired me when she said once, “let your house stay dirty at times if being with your children makes them and you happy. Let them create the mess if it helps them create memories. “
True, that. As for my Facebook or any other social media, I guess I could give that a little miss when I am having some real and tactile fun with my kids while painting, doing craft, baking and what not. I guess the virtual friends can wait till my little ones are asleep. Also I am aware that my children are busy growing up and I have to be a part of their memories and that is all that matters!