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Saturday, June 15, 2019

When You See No Way Out

We all have these moments when we fight against our lot in life. My moment came 16 years ago when I realised how much my children needed me to stay home with them. The Daughter was a snotty nosed little girl with a perpetual scowl. She was always whining that we did not love her. The Son was Grandma's pet and he had no attachment to anyone but Grandma. The Son has a strong personality and he entered into direct conflict with his Father (also a strong personality) rather too often. The Daughter hated The Son who proceeded to punch his sister whenever he could. I fought with Grandma, who fought with the maid, who complained to me.

What is a family if no one is happy?

With such fraught relationships, no one could excel. The Husband could not. I could not. The kids could not. Achievements require emotional investment. If people have their energies distracted by unhappiness, nothing substantial can be achieved. My life was like a whirlwind of unhappiness and stress (at work and at home). I felt like a failure.

So, I quit my job.

The Husband was not happy with me. Money was in short supply and foregoing my salary seemed like a big sacrifice. So, I had to face down The Husband's displeasure too.

The first year was the hardest. I had not realised how much self-esteem I drew from my job and my salary. To suddenly have to depend entirely on The Husband for all my material needs was unpleasant. I had to watch my spending or face questions from him and disputes with him. Then of course, I became everyone's Girl Friday. Post letters. Drive people around. Throw the garbage. Get the groceries. Clean up the house.

Hey... I had 2 Masters degrees even then.

My lowest moment came when I had to reach my hand into the toilet bowl to remove a thick wad of toilet paper that The Daughter had flushed in there, after pooping. I sat there thinking that my life was over before it had even begun. When I had a job, I dressed up, looked pretty. Sometimes, when I walked into a room, people stood up for me. I spoke and people listened.

When I spoke at home, nobody listened. Work wear is now shorts, t-shirt and slippers.

I saw nothing but a long long tunnel of nothing to look forward to. I could not even say that I looked forward to the day my children would make me proud. They failed more than they achieved. One was a bitchy little sharp tongued virago. The other was a taciturn and sullen looking thug rather too free with his fists.

I would be lying if I said that I knew exactly what to do and how to do to get the children I am now so proud of and who love me so much. Like every other Mother I encounter in my work today, I had no definite answers and so many problems.

Then suddenly, it is now today. The Children have grown up. My job is done. By some miracle and by the grace of God, I managed to get most of the questions to my Life's Longest and Most Important Exam right. Today, I am actually proud of the...

- of the times I stuck my hand into the toilet bowl
- of the days when I had no time to brush my hair
- of every knee I had to kiss
- of every tear that I scolded away
- of hug, every cuddle and every caress I gave my children
- of looking like a frump every day
- of every failed exam
- of every lost competition
- of every time I closed myself into my bedroom because my children disappointed me with their bad behaviour.

Looking back, it is all the icky things that I went through that makes today worth living. So, Mommies, when you see no way out, know that God's grace is sufficient for all of us. When you see no way out, just keep going.






3 comments:

Rachel Tan said...

I admire your courage and resolve to quit your job. I've gone on part-time work, but never had the courage to step out of the workforce completely.

God puts us through situations in life to teach us empathy, contentment, and total dependence on Him. Perhaps that's what all the humbling, painful and uncertain moments are for :) Human beings are prideful beings by nature.

At the end of the day, it's our relationship with God and people around us, that matter.

Petunia Lee said...

@Rachel... There is nothing to admire really. It was just desperation, not courage.

Dean said...

very good story, thanks for sharing it with us.. I'm about to quit my job, but when I read this you've inspired me and make me realise what is the best for me

Thank you