Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hitting a mommy wall.

For three months now, I have been with my 22-month-old every waking moment. Other than the occasional night-time outing (which has almost always been after we've put Linna to bed), Linna and I have been two peas in a pod.

All day. Every day.

Where I go, she goes.

Well, this week, I hit a wall. A BIG mommy wall.

Let me start off by saying that I knew what I was getting myself into when we moved to Singapore: AJ would be working a lot, and my job (like it is at home in Minnesota) is to take care of my family. That means I cook, I clean, I grocery shop, I take care of the kid. I'm a "housewife". It's no different than when I'm back at home in Minnesota. Except... there's one pretty considerable difference.

Our family is home in Minnesota.

Since Linna was born, I have relied on my parents, in-laws, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins to help us raise Linna. I am firm believer in the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. Without my Minnesota village, I wouldn't have made it the last 22 months as a stay-at-home and work-from-home mom. My family is my life-line, my help, my sanity, and my village. In Singapore, I am without my village. And that reality hit me hard this week, where I found myself in a place I feel like I haven't been since Linna was a newborn.

When Linna was about a month old, I learned the hard way that I can't do it all. I was running on empty, trying to fulfill the role of "Super Mom". I struggled to find a balance, and slowly realized that no woman can do it all on her own. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and the worst part was that my husband and daughter were suffering the effects. Every mom, including me (especially me) needs help raising a child. This is a job that cannot be left to one person... if that one person wants to remain sane.

AJ is an amazing husband, who is always there to help me with Linna. Yes I get frustrated when he has to work late and won't be home to help me with Linna, but let's be real... if AJ doesn't work, we don't eat. When he comes home from work, he scoops her up and has "daddy-daughter" time. When I need to take a couple hours to clean the house, he takes Linna to the pool. When I want to go out for a girls night (after I put Linna to bed), AJ stays home with her. AJ never says "no" when I tell him I need help. But AJ works full-time too, and deserves (needs) his own time. Just like I work full-time as a mom/housewife... I need/deserve a break every now and then too. Finding these "breaks" for both of us hasn't been easy in Singapore.

Many (and I mean many) families in Singapore have what they call a "helper". This is a person, usually from the Philippines, Indonesia, etc., brought into Singapore to live with a family and help with the cooking, cleaning, grocery-shopping, children, etc. Hiring a helper is a fairly "affordable" investment for most expat families (nothing near the cost of a nanny or house-keeper back in the States), considering all that these "helpers" do. Many of my friends with helpers are afforded the luxury of being able to leave the house whenever they want to, because the helper can stay home with the child/children. Helpers will cook dinner every night, clean the house every day, pick up after the children... you name it, the helper does it. In some cases, the "helper" is more of a "do-er" if you ask me, but that is a whole different topic that I will get into later:)

The Saighs do not have a "helper", and we're not getting a "helper".

Am I jealous of my friends in Singapore who have helpers? Heck yes I am! If I had someone here to help me 24/7, I probably wouldn't have hit the major mommy-wall that I hit this week. But having a full-time, live-in helper was never in our budget when we decided to move to Singapore. So now, we just need to find our "happy medium", so Mama Saigh is sane, Papa Saigh is happy, and Baby Linna can continue being Baby Linna.

Going home to visit in two weeks is REALLY going to help a lot. We will be in Minnesota for almost two months, I will be back with my village, and Linna will be able to spend time with all the people who love her and don't get to see her every day. Linna's grandparents, aunts, and uncles, are like her second sets of moms and dads, and I will be thrilled to have them help me out:) I will be able to have a little more "me time" (which is good for everyone involved), and Linna will be surrounded by people other than Mama Saigh.

In every family, the role of "Mom" of extremely important. If Mama isn't happy, everyone suffers. And the people who suffer most are the little ones. When Mama Saigh doesn't take care of her needs, Linna gets to experience the wrath of "crabby mom", which is incredibly unfair. Having "the girls" move in with us for the summer, has been incredibly helpful, especially when Ady and Py are able to stay home with Linna, so Mama and Papa Saigh can spend some quality time together. Just like it's important to focus on our individual needs, our marriage needs attention too. It's a balance that we, like every other family, are learning to find. When we get back to Singapore from Minnesota in August, we'll need to make some decisions about how to keep everyone happy, without our Minnesota village.

I am SO Looking forward to seeing our friends and family in just TWO WEEKS!!!

XO,

Mama Saigh


14 comments:

  1. Why don't you just feel fortunate for all that you are given, there are so many parents that are out there with kids that have life threating diseases and they are praying and waiting for a cure that will help there kids be back to normal. I think you need to take a step back and realize just how you sound? I would be embarrassed if I was your husband and reading this

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    Replies
    1. First of all, I really appreciate when people take the time to read my blog posts, and I welcome all types of feedback, questions, etc. It's why I put my life out there for all to see. However, if you're going to take the time to make comments directed at how "ungrateful" you feel I am, the least you could do is leave your name, and not leave anonymous notes. For those who know me, they know that I am VERY grateful for all that I have. As I mention publicly in almost all of my blog posts (including this one), I am so thankful for my husband and this experience that he's given us. We are VERY blessed to be where we are today. That in no way means that I don't have problems, feelings, and emotions just like everyone else. As I wrote in this blog post, I have an amazing husband who helps me out in every way possible. But, like many moms, even with help from our husbands, we can still feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of being a housewife. Please DO NOT undermine any woman's role as a housewife! I take much offense to that. No matter what kind of a lifestyle people live, no person should ever feel ashamed to admit that they are feeling overwhelmed. I am so very lucky to be living where I am living, and to have what we have, but I feel very offended that you (the first two people to make comments on this post) feel the need to undermine my feelings. No, I have not experienced the loss of a child (God forbid). No, I do not have a child with a life-threatening disease (God forbid). And yes, there are many mothers out there who struggle every day to put food on the table, find jobs, etc., etc. Just as these people have their struggles, I have mine. We ALL need to count our blessings, as we ALL have so much to be thankful for, no matter how difficult we may think we have it. Just because I wasn't talking about death or illness, doesn't mean I don't have feelings. And when I wrote this blog post, I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and sad. Although I am very lucky to be able to stay home to raise our daughter here in Singapore, I am still away from my entire family, I am responsible for my family's well-being, and I have a LOT of responsibilities being a mother and housewife. As ANY mother will tell you, raising children is HARD WORK, and sometimes we hit a "wall". Just because this "wall" isn't death or illness, doesn't mean it's not an obstacle to overcome. Thank you Heather (Bellina's Mommy) for reading the true meaning of this blog post, and thank you for saying these words without hiding behind your computer. My heart goes out to any person dealing with struggle, no matter how "petty" others may think that struggle is. I hope no one ever feels ashamed talking about their person struggles, for fear that "anonymous people" might undermine their pain. YOU ("anonymous people") should feel ashamed for undermining the personal struggles mothers face, including THIS mother... because every woman deserving the title of "Mom" deserves some time for herself. I for one, will never be ashamed to admit it. - Melissa Saigh "Mama Saigh"

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  2. I think you need to look outside of your world and look at other parents who have children that have passed away way too early in life, and they are wishing and suffering everyday that they could give their kid a hug and kiss everyday and now they can't. After reading your blog post about how you are tired and can't take this "lifestyle" anymore I think you need to realize how you sound and you need to look outside the bubble you live in and think about others who are suffering whether it's through death, divorce, sickness etc. you need to appreciate that your husband works his but off to give you this "gifted" lifestyle that you constantly brag about on all of your posts that you always update everyone with.

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    Replies
    1. First of all, I really appreciate when people take the time to read my blog posts, and I welcome all types of feedback, questions, etc. It's why I put my life out there for all to see. However, if you're going to take the time to make comments directed at how "ungrateful" you feel I am, the least you could do is leave your name, and not leave anonymous notes. For those who know me, they know that I am VERY grateful for all that I have. As I mention publicly in almost all of my blog posts (including this one), I am so thankful for my husband and this experience that he's given us. We are VERY blessed to be where we are today. That in no way means that I don't have problems, feelings, and emotions just like everyone else. As I wrote in this blog post, I have an amazing husband who helps me out in every way possible. But, like many moms, even with help from our husbands, we can still feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of being a housewife. Please DO NOT undermine any woman's role as a housewife! I take much offense to that. No matter what kind of a lifestyle people live, no person should ever feel ashamed to admit that they are feeling overwhelmed. I am so very lucky to be living where I am living, and to have what we have, but I feel very offended that you (the first two people to make comments on this post) feel the need to undermine my feelings. No, I have not experienced the loss of a child (God forbid). No, I do not have a child with a life-threatening disease (God forbid). And yes, there are many mothers out there who struggle every day to put food on the table, find jobs, etc., etc. Just as these people have their struggles, I have mine. We ALL need to count our blessings, as we ALL have so much to be thankful for, no matter how difficult we may think we have it. Just because I wasn't talking about death or illness, doesn't mean I don't have feelings. And when I wrote this blog post, I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and sad. Although I am very lucky to be able to stay home to raise our daughter here in Singapore, I am still away from my entire family, I am responsible for my family's well-being, and I have a LOT of responsibilities being a mother and housewife. As ANY mother will tell you, raising children is HARD WORK, and sometimes we hit a "wall". Just because this "wall" isn't death or illness, doesn't mean it's not an obstacle to overcome. Thank you Heather (Bellina's Mommy) for reading the true meaning of this blog post, and thank you for saying these words without hiding behind your computer. My heart goes out to any person dealing with struggle, no matter how "petty" others may think that struggle is. I hope no one ever feels ashamed talking about their person struggles, for fear that "anonymous people" might undermine their pain. YOU ("anonymous people") should feel ashamed for undermining the personal struggles mothers face, including THIS mother... because every woman deserving the title of "Mom" deserves some time for herself. I for one, will never be ashamed to admit it. - Melissa Saigh "Mama Saigh"

      Delete
  3. I am actually really offended at both the previous comments! To say that Melissa doesn't care about other families, or that she is taking for granted what she has is ridiculous! I have known Melissa for ages, and she is none of the above! To say that you have hit a wall is not rude or inconsiderate of other people facing difficulties, in fact it is reality! As the mother of a 23 month old, I can say I completely relate! You tend to lose patience and be at your wits end with everything when you don't get a break. There is not problem will wanting your 'village' to help raise our child, or give a moment of silent for yourself so that you are a better mom, wife, and friend! I think you are doing an amazing job Missi, and i relate to so so many of your posts! Keep up the good work! And to those who are critiquing a mom of a toddler who needed to vent, think about what you say before you say it, especially if you don't know the person.

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  4. First of all, I really appreciate when people take the time to read my blog posts, and I welcome all types of feedback, questions, etc. It's why I put my life out there for all to see. However, if you're going to take the time to make comments directed at how "ungrateful" you feel I am, the least you could do is leave your name, and not leave anonymous notes. For those who know me, they know that I am VERY grateful for all that I have. As I mention publicly in almost all of my blog posts (including this one), I am so thankful for my husband and this experience that he's given us. We are VERY blessed to be where we are today. That in no way means that I don't have problems, feelings, and emotions just like everyone else. As I wrote in this blog post, I have an amazing husband who helps me out in every way possible. But, like many moms, even with help from our husbands, we can still feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of being a housewife. Please DO NOT undermine any woman's role as a housewife! I take much offense to that. No matter what kind of a lifestyle people live, no person should ever feel ashamed to admit that they are feeling overwhelmed. I am so very lucky to be living where I am living, and to have what we have, but I feel very offended that you (the first two people to make comments on this post) feel the need to undermine my feelings. No, I have not experienced the loss of a child (God forbid). No, I do not have a child with a life-threatening disease (God forbid). And yes, there are many mothers out there who struggle every day to put food on the table, find jobs, etc., etc. Just as these people have their struggles, I have mine. We ALL need to count our blessings, as we ALL have so much to be thankful for, no matter how difficult we may think we have it. Just because I wasn't talking about death or illness, doesn't mean I don't have feelings. And when I wrote this blog post, I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and sad. Although I am very lucky to be able to stay home to raise our daughter here in Singapore, I am still away from my entire family, I am responsible for my family's well-being, and I have a LOT of responsibilities being a mother and housewife. As ANY mother will tell you, raising children is HARD WORK, and sometimes we hit a "wall". Just because this "wall" isn't death or illness, doesn't mean it's not an obstacle to overcome. Thank you Heather (Bellina's Mommy) for reading the true meaning of this blog post, and thank you for saying these words without hiding behind your computer. My heart goes out to any person dealing with struggle, no matter how "petty" others may think that struggle is. I hope no one ever feels ashamed talking about their person struggles, for fear that "anonymous people" might undermine their pain. YOU ("anonymous people") should feel ashamed for undermining the personal struggles mothers face, including THIS mother... because every woman deserving the title of "Mom" deserves some time for herself. I for one, will never be ashamed to admit it. - Melissa Saigh "Mama Saigh"

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  5. I am far from embarrassed when it comes to my wife telling me or others how she feels. If you compare our problems to those of a family dealing with health issues, financial issues, or abuse issues, our problems do not seem that severe. We understand how lucky we are and we are grateful for that. However, to discount her feelings because you feel they don’t measure up to a certain physical or emotional extreme (i.e., cancer) is very unfair and thoughtless. Missi works extremely hard as a stay at home mother and receives very limited help on a daily basis. The emotional stress created by being responsible for another human all day long is a stress I personally do not have the mental capacity for (and I would say most do not have the capacity for). In addition to raising our daughter, she also devotes significant time and effort to her blog. She is extremely dedicated to the blogs success. She is extremely passionate about letting other mothers or fathers know it’s ok to be stressed and it is ok to step away if they are upset or over-whelmed by the stresses of raising a child or running a home.

    Every day you hear a new story about a school shooting or a parent/guardian abusing a child severely enough to cause death. The reasoning these individuals tend to give as to what caused their harsh actions is that they were too over-whelmed with the stresses of their situation and they didn’t have anyone to vent to. So now, when someone (Missi) does express that she has hit a wall and needs some additional support, you attack her with a surge of comments bringing to question her character. You should be shaking a finger at yourself for your lack of empathy as a fellow parent or lack of sympathy as a fellow person.

    I am proud of Missi for having the courage to let people know how she is feeling and I would only encourage this openness in the future.

    -AJ

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  6. Jane Specken (Nana Specken)June 17, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Melissa: I am very proud of what you have accomplished and what you continue to accomplish every day. You have a wonderful husband and daughter, and you have been lucky enough to be a stay-at-home working mom! I know how hard it is to raise a child and how stressful it is, but you take every day in stride and are doing a wonderful job. I, on the other hand, was a much better "work outside the house" mom but am sometimes sad about what I missed by working outside the home.

    We are SO EXCITED for you to come home to your village and to be able to be back in Linna's life on a daily basis. Dad and I are so very, very proud of you and so happy for the opportunity that AJ's career has afforded your family. God bless you and safe travels back to the village. I love you and miss you and can't wait for you to come home so you can have your me time and I can have my Nana time. Love you, love you, love you and I am so proud you are able to share/vent and hopefully give somebody a perspective of not being alone. See you in a week!!!!

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  7. Melissa, I completely agree with this post and totally get it. Don't take the first couple comments seriously.

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  8. I am just new to reading your blog and comments on this entry and I just read it and wanted to comment even though this post was written in June. By reading this blog entry it is clear to see that you are a perfectionist and you want everything to be perfect all of them time, but unfortunately it won't happen like that all of the time. The people that have the real challenges in this world are moms who are in the working world and trying to raise kids too. Think about it if you were a working mom and raising three kids or even a single mom raising three kids. Now that is something that is a challenge. You are given a lifestyle where you don't have to work and all you have to worry about everyday is your blog and how many pictures you are going to post a day, and you are still crying about it. Look outside the box and realize that there are a lot of people that live in reality that are working hard everyday to work and raise their families. I can see why you are writing this blog entry, please remember that its hard to be perfect 24/7.

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