On the Mother’s Day card that the boys gave me, my son wrote "Be more positive" before signing his name. Obviously to him, I’ve not been successful in practising what I have been preaching on this site. Sigh… what to do. It’s difficult to change your way after so many years, and my mother is not the best role model.
Almost all women I know dread to grow up into their mother. It’s the ultimate nightmare. (Am I glad I have no daughters!) Unfortunately it is unavoidable since she is the only role model for mothering that a daughter grows up with. A friend whose mother gave her much pressure in her studies is now pushing her own daughter. Much as she denies or fails to recognise her behaviour, her action reminds me of her mother when we were students.
Last Saturday, I hosted a dinner for our Macau friends and some from Mike’s Flickr group. There were lots of left over from the catering. I called my Mother the next day to tell her to cook curry and prepare a salad for the nasi bryani from the left over for dinner.
When I brought the food over on Sunday afternoon, she asked if the maid needed to cook more. I said no, there is enough food.
Pork Chops? No, don’t cook that, just prepare the chicken curry and salad. Anyway, Mike won’t be joining us for dinner as he is going out with the visitors from Macau, I had explained.
My instruction was crystal clear right?
On Sunday when we arrived for dinner, she complained that I didn’t tell her there was so much food.
You didn’t tell me there was so much food, I went to cook fish, she accused.
I was flabbergasted. I explained and repeated our conversation that afternoon. You wanted to cook pork chops and I said no, because there is enough food for all.
You shouldn’t have said ‘enough’. You should have said ‘a lot of food’. If I knew there were a ‘lot of food’, I wouldn’t cook the fish, she insisted.
Anyway, why didn’t you say Mike was not eating?
Huh? I was totally confused. This must be the onset for demientia.
I told you this afternoon that he was not eating and you asked why and I said visitors from Macau.I explained.
That was too late already since I have already bought all the stuff at the market this morning.
This was getting out of hand and we were practically having a shouting match. Then I asked, Min (my brother) is not eating dinner. Did you know beforehand?
She admitted that she was not told.
If you cook too much because your son didn’t tell you he is not eating, don’t blame me for it because I’m very sure my instruction was clear. That shut her up.
So this is what my sister and I’ve grown up with all our lives. Favouritism, especially towards sons (重男轻女). Coming from a Chinese school Nanyang, my classmates experienced similar situation and we were resigned to it. (One classmate’s mother gave birth to six girls before getting a boy, in an era when ‘Two is Enough’.) So we tend to disregard and put up with it. But this time, enough is enough.
I try not to regress to a victimised child, since I know as a single mother, she had a hard time. But I wanted her to know that she can’t go around casting blames whenever something is not right, or for her own wrong decisions, whether it’s to me or to the maid.
I understand each mother has her favourite child among all her children, so I am not resentful. My friends have accused me of favouritism towards Aaron. My two older sons probably have their own opinions. I deny it of course. My defense is whatever effort I put in for one, I put the same effort for all three. But I don’t deny that it is easier to love the child who is obedient and give you the least trouble and headache. Compare to a teenager, Aaron is definitely easier to control.
I tell Mike, I hope I don’t grow into my mother. He tells me not to worry. He’ll be the first to warn me if there is any sign.