Category Archives: Parenting

Holy Hannah Homework Hell


What is the magic ingredient that most parents, if not all, wish their kids possessed when it came to homework time?

At 7 years old, I was not expected to read full sentences in Math of what would happen if Sumathi had 27 apples and 15 oranges in her basket and while running home at 3.6 km an hour, she fell and sent 2/3rds flying into a pond. At that age, I was running alongside Sumathi and falling beside her and laughing our heads off, after we climbed some Rambutan trees trying to add to our fruit collection adventure.

So, the burning question again is: what is the magic ingredient? Some missing chromosome, some gene x that did not meet some gene y? More importantly, how do I get some for my kids?

When it was just my first-born, and I was a stay-at-home mother, it was a natural progression from learning the ABC’s to additions and subtractions. Then things started to get complicated when fractions and decimal points came into play, ahem! I am referring to myself and not the child…. told you I was out climbing trees that day. Sometimes, I wish I still possessed some of my Std 1 books so that I have an AB comparison. Nowadays, the poor little drooly kid next door, who is barely out of diapers, is learning the multiplication tables. All right, I could be exaggerating a tad, but is it really very far from the truth?

Look at all the tuition centres here in Ipoh. Math, Bahasa Malaysia, Moral, Chinese, Science, English, and Art? Mind you, that is only the primary school we’re talking about. Correct me if I am wrong. I thought Art is a creative subject, and it is something from within and not taught? Yes, some guidelines here and there, but have you seen some of the artwork on display by some of the students from an art school? It reminds me of a production line in some factory.

So, there you go tuition, tuition and more tuition. How did education become so competitive?

It is obvious that I have a bone to pick with the education system here, but that’s another can of worms I do not care to open at the moment. What irritates me is the fact that my kids have a ton of homework and most of the time, I need to send them to tuition for extra help. Why can’t I help them myself you might ask? Very honestly, simply because I do not have the patience to go through all their homework and still remain poised and composed at the end of it all, and I cannot guarantee that my kids will not end up in tears and hate me for life for trying to help them understand the benefits of homework.

At the end of the day, I am saying that as far as I remember, school used to be a lot more fun, where students had a good balance of school work, tuition and a healthy social life. So there is no magic gene, no special chromosomes that will take away the homework blues, just plain old fashioned bump and grind, put your back into it and do your homework, please.

As a parent, what can I do? Be patient, be understanding and finally, be the best cheerleader I can be for my kids. That is the least I can do!!



In Between the ‘No Mores’ and ‘Wait Tills’




Why is parenting so hard?

My 11 year old ambles out of bed, mumbles a ‘Good morning mom’ and proceeds to ask, ‘Can I play with my PlayStation 2?’ ‘NO! NO! NO!’’ I scream on the inside…..but luckily (I am not too sure, more for him or me) I am able to calmly tell him ‘No, not yet’ simply because I don’t want his brains to turn to rot, first thing in the morning. Then I proceed to explain at length, the necessities of starting the day right with a good breakfast, bla bla bla…. while my 8 year old makes a bee line from the bedroom to the kitchen, bypassing the older sibling getting a lecture from mom and proceeds to inhale a packet of Mamee Monster for breakfast… I hate my job!

I have a 15 year old, an 11 year old and an 8 year old. Friends with younger kids say… ‘You are so lucky! Your kids are all grown up already, no more diaper changes, no more burping, no more breast feeding, no more this, no more that….’ and then, friends with older, more grown up kids will happily share with you, ‘Wait till they start to drive, wait till they start to drink, wait till they start having boyfriends/girlfriends, or both!’

So, can anyone tell me, what stage are my kids at? They are no longer at the ‘no more’ stage, neither are they at the ‘wait till’ stage (although…please, bear in mind that I could be in serious denial about this stage though…)

All right… somebody better tell me now, when exactly do kids become hassle free and good filial children? Anyone? Come to think of it….my mother might tell you she’s still waiting for that elusive day! Darn!

Honestly, I don’t know the answer. None of the expensive child care books tell you the answer, believe me, I have searched. I am still learning. Every single day. Till today, this hour, this minute, this second, I am still learning as a parent, there is no hard and fast rule of being the perfect parent. It is about being there, journeying with my kids, sometimes we enjoy a great ride, at times, we fall. At the end of the day, when we gather to have a cuddle, tickle or a smell (sorry kids!) it satisfies and reassures me that just for that one day, I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything in the world, and that is reason enough for me to have had them in the first place. That is my MO (modus operandi), just to take one day at a time, good and bad, with my kids, simply because, my kids will continue to live their lives, whether I am there or not. So if I want to be a part of their lives, I’d better not wait for any ‘no mores’ or ‘wait tills’ to happen.

I believe parenting is hard because as kids, we tortured our parents and now, its payback time. But seriously, parenting is hard simply because we care and love our kids, and it’s always hardest when you want only the best for your loved ones, regardless of whether they want it or not.

One of my closest gal pals once said, ‘I might not be the best mother in the world, but I am the only mother they have, and I am the best they have got!’ That works well for me. What about you?

Big Momma