Moments like these


Went for K's bonding day at school this morning. I appreciated this opportunity to be able to see him in a group setting, at a place that he spends so much time at on a daily basis and meeting the friends that he often talks about. It was a good experience, as I got a glimpse of certain dynamics within the class and realised who he has learnt some of the words that I have been hearing alot of lately (not too pleasant ones).

For K's school, bonding day generally happens once a quarter, where one parent is invited to spend an hour with their child in school. Parents get to watch what goes on in class and then the teachers will invite the parent and the child to do craftwork together. I think this is a good opportunity especially for parents who work full time, just to see how their child is managing in the school, as well as give them the chance to do a craft together.

From attending today's bonding session, one thing that strongly striked me today was the behaviour of 4 other kids that did not have their mom/dad/guardian with them. It started when the parents and the kids were divided into their respective groups to start their craft, while the teachers accompanied the kids who did not have their parents with them.

All of a sudden, I heard the cries of a little girl who started bawling very loudly. Her cries sounded so sad (somehow it is quite easy to tell the difference between cries of pain, anger, fear or sadness). And I overheard her say amid her tears, "My mummy is not here." When I heard that, I felt so sad for her. From a child's perspectve, watching your friends proudly holding their moms hands, walking together to their respective seats, must have been a longing sight for her :(

The teachers comforted her and was able to focus her attention on the craft after a while, and I turned my attention back to K who was already happily threading the coloured marcaroni into the wire for the wind chime that he was working on…

Fast forward to the wrap up of the session, when the kids sang their goodbye song and the teacher dismissed the kids. While most of the kids walked towards their parents and got ready to leave the classroom, we were disrupted by another sobbing child who said, "I want to leave now…" It turned out to be one of K's friends that he usually plays with in school, who did not have his mom/dad with him. I encouraged K to comfort his friend and tell the latter not to be sad. K's teacher turned to me and commented with a sigh, "I already told these moms to come and accompany their kids just for an hour today, which will mean so much to them, but they are busy or just don't have the time…"

Times like this, I put myself in this child's shoes and can understand the sadness and longing they feel, when they see their friends' with their parents, enjoying the session together :(  When I was at K's age, I used to cry like crazy whenever my dad dropped my mom off at her workplace each morning. I can still strangely recall the emotion that I felt at that moment, (despite knowing that I will see my mom again that evening after she returned from work) was somehow very sad and there was a certain sense of loss. Despite being a working mom, my mom had always put her kids and family first, not putting in long hours at work and always spending the evenings, weekends and making a point to attend any school event or activity.

When I told hb what occured in school today, I got a very logical perspective from him. He said that sometimes some of these parents are just struggling to make ends meet, and not all have a comfy desk job or understanding employers. I agreed with his perpective, however at the same time, wondered if it is that much of a challenge to take half a day out of the 14 days of leave that most working parents have, just to spend that 2 hours with your child? Maybe reserving the leave for a holiday, or possibly days when the child is sick when the child really needs the parent, is considered a priority versus spending that short time at school with their child.

Working parents do have a greater challenge when it comes to managing their time with their children. Afterall I was once a full time working parent with a regional job, and travelling at least a couple of times of month was part of the job scope. It became a struggle for me to manage it all, when I realised that I was missing so much from being part of his growing up process;  being there to witness most of his milestones, as well as being there to share that little moments of joy and sadness.

Sometimes, we do need to take a step back to think about what being a parent truly entails. Apart from being that provider, we need to be that pillar of support, that person that our children know that they can always rely on when they need a word of encouragement, a comforter when they experience sadness and the friend that they can share their joy with.

What may seem trivial to us, might mean so much to them. Especially so during their preschool years, our presence and time mean so much to them. What matters to them now, should also mean something for us. I don't want to wait till my kid turns 12, and then realise that so much time was lost and take more effort to spend more time with him. By then when the child reaches that age, most will usually prefer that their parents are not around to bug them so much.

I need to constantly remind myself to treasure these moments with my child. Work can always wait (afterall, too much of it tends to make me this grumpy, irritable mom who becomes less patient with my child's naunces). Work is definitely important to bring in the dough, but it cannot take priority over moments like these.

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  1. The crying must be so hard to watch! My heart goes out to the kids whose parents didn’t attend….. *hugs*

    Yes it was, I felt so sad for them. Plus the first girl accidently dropped her wind chime and broke some parts of it midway during the session and started crying again. Nothing was going right for her this morning…poor little one! Somehow for times like these, the parent’s comfort will make that difference, but the parent was not even there to witness that :((((

  2. as a working mum, this piece of notes reminds me not to miss my girls’ requests:).

    and i am glad that my work is not demanding :p…

    U are blessed not to have a demanding job, which is so hard to find these days. Alot of my full time working moms just share how difficult it is these days to spend more quality time with their little one.

  3. It is indeed sad for those kids whose parents couldn’t be there… Which makes me wonder whether this is really a good move on the school’s part. While those who make it really feel good about the bonding session, it also totally crushes those kids whose parents can’t make it. And realistically, a lot of parents do need to make a living and to expect every parent to make it is not realistic. Even though it might seem simple and easy enough to just take a few hours off, it is not up to us to judge. I’m sure those parents really wish they were there too.

    I’m glad you managed to have a good time! :) I love every opportunity I get to enter the kids’ classrooms too…

    I still think it is a good initiative, it’s rare that parents to get to see what their kids do in school and a good opportunity to get to know other parents.

  4. Thanks for this sharing, Rachel. Indeed having work in a presch sector, I knew I had always wanted to be a FT mom and gave my best to my kids. But being a SAHM now, there are moments whereby I’m dealt with dilemmas and discouragement even from my own mom who used to be a SAHM but turned FT working mom much later. My mom had always feel that it is a waste that I’m not working and helping to bring in the dough. Of course, I disagree and felt that the best thing we can give kids are not really material needs, but time and attention. Though indeed, I can’t deny it is tough with a single income esp in Sg. Upon reading your post, I do sympathize with those kids. Some adults might not be aware but I can’t imagine the hurt that might company them throughout their lifetime. So I am..really counting my blessing. It’s a great inspirational post. thanks =)
    .-= Yvonne´s last blog ..Confession of a Mean Wife =-.

    Rachel Reply:

    It is indeed a blessing to be here for your kids whenever they need u. They grow up too fast, we need to sometimes live for the moment and focus on what really matters; quality time with our kids.


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