Though I blog, I seldom read my Newfeeds on social media. But there is one lady whose news I follow avidly. I have never met her. She is from Singapore and is a stay-at-home mother of two little girls.
Why do I look for her specifically each day?
Because I look forward to her posts and her photographs. I love the way she is bringing her daughters up. Though she is devoting her whole life to them, she has no pretensions that they are princesses or beauty queens or rulers of the world. She just delights in her daughters just as they are. She posts photos of their everyday lives – eating her home cooked food, playing with their dollies, rearing butterflies from caterpillars, making beautiful stone-paintings. Just loving life, really, with no rush and unrealistic destinations….see how the little buds bloom.
In many ways, she is just like how my mother was. My mother was totally cool about the fact that I wasn’t excellent at anything when I was young and she made no grand plans for my future (I failed many exams). My mother just loved each day with me. After school each day, we would go and feed the ducks or catch little crabs (that we release back into the pond) or go to the cake shop off Palmerston Road or walk by the beach collecting seashells. I wasn’t beautiful, I wasn’t smart and I wasn’t articulate. But it was fine with my mother. She treated my imperfect self as if I were the most precious being in the world to her, rather than a child who needs to be “improved”. And in time, I grew to be my best self (am still growing).
There is a term for what this lady and my mum do. It’s called gentle parenting. It allows children to grow from inside out in the same way that a flower blooms, without expectations or the heavy burden of parental ambitions.
I just think it’s so lovely and rare in today’s ambitious world where most of us have forgotten the age-old art of parenting. These days, we expect our children to be someone (a refection of our ambition) rather than allowing them to grow into their best selves.
Do I practice gentle parenting? I try my best. I am a full-time mum to my 18-year-old daughter. For the past two years, she is my “career”. Thus, it is doubly difficult to parent without trying to influence the direction of her life. I see her many gifts and talents, as well as her weaknesses. And the toughest thing I have to do is to allow her to be, rather than telling her that she should be playing professional football or be a mathematician instead of going to medical school …. it’s difficult not to push, but to accept with good grace that like flowers, all children know how to bloom.
Photos: the little girls’ rock art, courtesy of their mother ❤