THERE’S no denying that Mothers are just a hard act to follow. Most of us can only dream of being half the woman that our mothers are. And as we celebrate the greatest gift that is our Mother, today, the writers of PULSE & VIBES reflect on just why they can NEVER be like their mothers...
Intan Maizura Ahmad Kamal
A sweet tooth. That’s probably the extent of our similarities, mum and me. If there’s one thing we gleefully share, it’s our love of desserts, a passion probably born out of having spent many years in England where every meal would conclude with custard and pudding. And I found a willing partner-in-crime in mum.
Beyond dessert, our connection comes to a dramatic end. Nearer in traits and thoughts to my father, my mother and I are poles apart. Wherein she is a fragile beauty with her translucent fair visage, I’m robust and darker like my father. Where she is tentative and cautious in most things, I tend to throw caution to the wind. Where mum seems to have a predisposition to obsessing over everything and anything, further compounded by a penchant for motherly nagging, compared to her, I’m the epitome of comatose chill.
She’s also manically obsessive over housework — she’s the only person I know who’s proud to declare that it’s her hobby. But her love of it drives us (my siblings and I) mad because she gets mad that we’re not half as mad about it as she is.
Mum is an Aries — but she’s more sheep than ram. That’s not bad, mind you. She’s sweet, nurturing, soft — and like the sheep, is more a follower than a leader. The latter is attributed to my more dominant father. Mum also seems to think the end of the world is nigh so she’s always in ‘preparation’, taking her religious ‘duties’ seriously and desperately trying to make me see the ‘light’ too. After many futile attempts, I think she’s resigned herself to letting God deal with me. Where I see rainbows and sunshine and flying unicorns in my canvas of life, I think mum’s vision is kinda blinkered by fire and brimstones... That she is religious goes without saying. Dad’s always in awe of her devoutness. As I am too. But I prefer to think that God secretly loves me!
Despite our differences, I wouldn’t have my mum any other way. She drives me nuts sometimes but she’s precious. My biggest supporter (an award she shares with my dad), I wouldn’t know what I’d do without her. And the fact that I only get to see mum once a year as she lives in England makes me appreciate her more.
Here’s to your good health, Mak. Happy Mother’s Day!
Crazy little thing called love
I can never be like my mother. A slug can never achieve the lofty heights of a butterfly. And that’s just me. I’m a curled up slug comfortable in the caverns of my solitude, while my mother? She’s the bright sun that lights up a dark day effortlessly. While my siblings have got some semblance of her looks and characteristics which point to their undeniable relationship with Jo (that’s my mother), my own link to her is debatable.
To begin with, I don’t have her sunny disposition, optimistic view that the world is inherently good and her wide-eyed curiosity about people and their stories. She’s industrious while I channel a sloth. She’s friendly while I’m reserved. She laughs easily, gets over tough situations with her faith in God intact while I choose to wallow and shake my fist at God the first chance I’m hit with an obstacle.
She’s charming, graceful and well dressed. Jo despairs of my monochrome wardrobe and lives in constant fear that I’d forget to button my blouse or zip up my jeans when I’m singing on stage. She’s got a natural charm that draws people to her like honey to bees. I’m more flame to the moth variety. So yes, I’m Voldemort to her Potter, Sauron to her Frodo and Vader to her Skywalker.
As different as we are — like night to day — there’s an undeniable bond that connects us. It’s called love. Happy Mother’s Day Jo. I can never be you but I’m glad you’re there to remind me that while people can be different, there’s always this crazy little thing called love which will keep them together no matter what.
How I wish I had to write about Why I Can Be Like My Mum — that way, this piece would be more fiction than reality. I’m guessing my mother would disown me after reading this. Then again, I do owe her a hefty amount of money, so that’s unlikely to happen (both the disowning and paying her back part). For that purpose alone, I shall leave her art of nagging out of this.
When I was 8, I had dreams of becoming a keyboardist after watching copious amounts of Jem And The Holograms on TV. So I asked if maybe I could go for music classes in spite of my inability to even get up for normal school. I suppose my parents figured that even if I don’t do well in school, at least music lessons would help me fulfil the life-long dream of any respectable Eurasian out there: To sing in a pub.
So every Saturday after doing the laundry and cooking lunch, she’d take me to music classes. Under the scorching heat, my mum (with three young kids in tow) would walk out to the bus stop. It was at least a mile away, and carrying an annoying creature in the form of my baby brother must have made it even longer. Handbag, bags for snacks and milk, baby creature thing, all carried on one arm. After the long ride in the usually packed busses, she’d wait with my brothers in the coffee shop next door to my music class premises till the lessson was done. This was our routine for years.
Today, I’m proud to say I sing regularly in the bathroom. I don’t quite remember what a keyboard looks like, but I do know this: It takes a very strong-willed woman to toil under the sun for hours, lugging kids and bags around just so her children can follow their passions. I don’t possess her tenacity, strength and energy but I’m sure at some point I’ll at least inherit her nagging.
Queen of my heart
“Ibu, ibu, engkaulah ratu hatiku.
Bila ku berduka, engkau hiburkan selalu.”
This song from a milk commercial back in 2009 rings so true. My ibu IS the queen of my heart. She’s everything to me and everything that I’ll NEVER be. Firstly, I don’t have any home economics skills. It’s always ‘Ibu, tolong jahitkan baju kurung ni’ (mum, help sew my baju kurung, please). ‘Ibu. tolong masakkan nasi lemak’ (mum, please cook nasi lemak). And she never refuses. I don’t know how she cares for the five of us — and my dad — with so much love and patience.
And she’s really good with children. I remember watching a video of her retirement from her post as a headmistress at a primary school. The pupils had a special performance for her and there was a lot of crying. They loved her so. To be honest, I don’t think motherhood is for me. I can barely take care of myself. How am I supposed to take care of a baby? I’d probably let the baby watch Supernatural every day. In a nutshell, my ibu is an angel, and I’m the devil. But ibu, this devil loves you so much, she’ll die without you! Happy Mother’s Day!
Angel From Above
She’s patient, she’s kind, she’s strong and absolutely honest, sometimes a bit too honest that it hurts. Some say it’s a Libran trait; perhaps that’s why the Aquarian in me can never do what she does. I call her by many names — mummy, ma, omma — but there’s one that befits her more than anything else — angel.
This angel is a single mother to an adopted child. It takes a truckload of courage to raise a child who isn’t hers to begin with, single-handedly, and to face criticisms that society throws at her every day. For that alone, I respect her and will forever be indebted. I doubt I’ll ever be able to do half of what she has done for me to someone else. The responsibility of loving someone else apart from yourself is hard enough, but she so willingly gives love to me without holding back.
In addition to her selflessness, she’s the perfect homemaker too! I’m pampered beyond measure every day with healthy packed breakfasts, hot delicious meals upon my arrival home, clothes washed and pressed and the home is always sparkling clean! The only thing I can do is fix the computer and watch TV. My mum calls me a house sloth, but I prefer to be known as a person who values the comfort of doing nothing. It’s a privilege, I’ll admit.
There are many other things I’ll never be able to emulate but if there’s one that I shall strive to follow, it’s her generosity. Forever giving and never expecting anything in return, it’s probably the easiest out of the many thousands she offers. Happy Mother’s Day Ma!