The year-end holiday season that came and went marked many firsts and truly put the right things into perspective for me.
Attended the wedding of my Singapore Airlines batch girl in Bangkok. This was last November – my first time being away from my newborn, my first trip since Covid-19 happened, and our first overseas travel as a married couple. Hua Hin was beautiful. Our seaside resort at The Yanas Villa was perfectly breathtaking. Our drive up to the scenic Khao Yai was super fun. But I honestly missed my baby so much that I couldn’t freely enjoy myself during the nine days away. I was checking up on my boy all the time. Thankfully, he was staying with my mother, who is basically his other primary caregiver.
In December, we did a road trip with our eight-month-old to Genting Highlands and Kuala Lumpur. We packed six adults and a baby into our seven-seater, started our six-hour drive at 4am, and was up in the mountains by 10am, ready to check into Genting Resorts Hotel. It was truly so tiring to travel with a baby. I handled the 7-hour drive back from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore as the primary driver since my husband fell ill on the trip, and that I felt was easy, compared to handling the baby. Especially since I roomed with my husband (who only handles making the milk at night), and a mother-in-law who knows nuts about taking care of a baby. She continues to snore when the baby wakes up and cries for his night-feeds.
I appreciate my mother so much more since my boy was born. Because for her to put so much time and effort into taking care of her grandson doesn’t prove that she loves him. It’s proof that she loves me.
My mother handled my entire confinement and took care of my newborn almost single-handedly while I physically and mentally adjusted to being a new mother. She taught me everything, how to feed, bathe, rock the baby and also the aftermath of childbirth, which she went through three times herself. She also shown that she’s never stopped learning to improve as a mother, to better the lives of her kids. Basically, she’s the role model of a mother I strive to be.
Back to that road trip. Genting is great for travelling with a baby/toddler since all amenities, food and entertainment are within walking distance of a hotel. Even then, my back ached from carrying the boy all day, and it mentally exhausted me to worry about preventing him from catching a cold, whether the food and clothes we brought were enough, and whether his crying was a sign of any sickness. Mummy woes. Since he had started on solids, my mom and I made his daily porridge fresh every day with my portable Beaba Babycook (which I love, and use daily!). We only leave our hotels for our daily itinerary after 12pm, when we’re done feeding and bathing him in the mornings, so our days felt rather short. He has to start his sleep ritual by 9pm.
I also brought my work along on that trip and was submitting for a tender then. Thank goodness my parents are good with my boy. It felt as though I didn’t truly enjoy myself again. I came back from that road trip feeling like I needed another break to recover.
We just came back from a family cruise to Port Klang and Penang for the Lunar New Year period, on Dream Cruises (now re-branded Genting Dream). Our last family cruise was in February 2020 during the Lunar New Year season as well. This time, with my boy, was ten times more tiring than when I stayed up every night to drink and party. Cruises are also great for travelling with kids. I exchanged knowing nods and fun conversations with parents who had their babies in carrier slings as well. In lifts, most people would smile and say hi to my baby. Fellow cruise passengers would gush at my boy. Servers and bartenders wanted to make eye contact and make my boy laugh. People offer to hold doors for me and give me priority queues. In short, I’m ten times more popular as a mom than as a single lady.
Does this newfound popularity cancel out the fatigue? Surely some part of me is screaming no. I wanted to sleep for days after we returned, but when my baby cries in the middle of the night, I wake up and give him whatever attention he needs. Because I know when he wakes up in the morning, I get to see his first smile of the day. Sometimes when he fusses, I can feel my patience running thin, but then that quickly dissipates as soon as I hear his cute babbles.
These days, my perspectives have changed.
Taking care of and spending quality time with my parents and baby, as well as seeing my parents enjoy their time spent with my baby, has taken priority.
We’ll see how that goes.
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