Locked-up emotions

I used to complain or just simply rant away that my husband and I never had any quality time together. Life was such. The only time we had to talk was in the car, on the way to work. We had 45 minutes to talk. And then another 45 minutes when he picked me up from work. We hardly ate together as his dinner timings did not coincide with mine. I used to be pissed that he was too focused on his intermittent fasting. We ate separately.

We could hardly talk in the house because my daughter would want to be part of the conversation. She would want to be the only one talking. So our conversations at home gradually stopped. We argued over different modes and methods of disciplining our daughter. Most of which involved me being the bad person. Perhaps the evil one, while daddy was the calm and collected one. We eventually stopped arguing and marched into our separate roles – Good daddy and Bad mommy.

And then came COVID-19 and a lockdown.

Perhaps it was a sign from higher powers to stop me from whinning and complaining.

We were home bound for 2 months. Now that we easing away from being captive at home, I have to reflect if I have appreciated and spent my time wisely with my family.

  1. My husband is now home with me. Have I appreciated the time given to me to fully and sincerely spend it with him? We can now talk for a whole day. We are no longer bound by 45 minute blocks. We can catch up and chat over breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can actually eat together! Time was abundant. Perhaps we did run out of things to say as the days went by. He read Reddit. And I was sucked into Netflix, watching my Korean drama and occasional Chinese fantasy- celestial drama. I hope I made an effort to talk to him, chat with him.
  2. . We were stuck at home with a soon-to-be 4 year old. There was only so much personal space or quiet time we could get – toilet break. And that too with some banging on the toilet door ‘Mommah quick… why are you taking so long?’ There was only so much ‘good daddy’ could tolerate. Soon good daddy became tough daddy and eventually scary daddy. I guess he was going to explode someday. And I became ‘stay-behind-the-scenes mummy’. The disciplining was offloaded from my hands. I noticed by husband shouting more and his patience was wearing thin as the weeks flew by. It is tough. But I am somewhat glad I am no longer ‘bad mommy’ – in most occasions at least.

Before being captive at home, my daughter would be in childcare for about 10-11 hours everyday. I would drop her off at 7am and pick her up at 5.30pm. For a child in school for such long hours, I am pretty sure she must be missing her parents.

During the lockdown, there were moments when I was so exhausted having to deal with her daily bursts of tantrums and mood swings, that I’d find myself angry and just snapping at anyone or anything. Her constant need for attention was overwhelming. Her constant attempts at trying to negotiate and hoping to get things her way (never happens 80% of the time). Her requests for TV was annoying me. Her lack of ‘please and thank-you’ made me as if I failed to teach her manners. Her lack of listening ears made me wonder if she had ears to begin with. The list will go on.

But I decided to take a step back the past week. Though I have been guilty on numerous occasions saying ‘I wish she was in school’. It might have hurt her feelings. I am sorry but it was too noisy for me. Tomorrow my daughter returns to school. Her childcare is finally taking the children in by staggered weeks.

I should have spent more time (I think I tried here and there), to watch her grow. She has grown taller. Instead of telling her to do house-keeping and cleaning up her table, I should have watched how she developed. I noticed her colouring improved. Her painting improved. She was dancing more. She was singing in rhymes. She could write a few alphabets without the dotted lines.

I should have noticed her love for plays and musicals. Especially when she made me play ‘Elmo-the musical’ on repeat. I should have noticed her love for books during breakfast lunch and dinner. We bought more books for her. Instead of scolding her to eat independently, I should have been more patient and read her stories while she ate. I was more engrossed on routines or afraid that she might forget routines. I shouldn’t have been so stiff.

Just as us adults were feeling suffocated and emotional during this period, I should have been more considerate to a toddler who was greatly missing her friends and teachers. After all her life did revolve around them.

Tomorrow, the house will be quiet. Her toys will be untouched. When I return home earlier from work, I will be slapped with silence. There will be no Pingu, no Sesame Street or Pinkfong running in the background. Absolute silence. I might find myself very sad and perhaps lonely.

Very lonely.