Monday, 12 April 2010

The story of Helen, who’s only the mother

Perhaps it’s the drive to achieve equality, perhaps it’s the desire to prove that women are as good, if not better as men… Career driven women are everywhere these days. Helen is one of them.

Rose from rank to rank, always given the recognition in her workplace, a legion of staff under her command… Helen was the epitome of a successful female corporate figure. If you thinking that Helen is single and lonely, then you’re wrong. Helen is married with 2 children. Her husband, just like her, is also a very career driven person.

Under such circumstances, the children were well provided for. Material gifts are aplenty; and just like many working parents in Malaysia, a maid is a must.

Of course, there is no perfect picture in this world. Something has got to give. And in this scenario, all the signs point to the one and only sad truth… the children were often ignored. Helen seldom gets to see her kids. When she reached home after a hard day work, she is either too tired to entertain her children or the children were already asleep.

While Helen was busy working and building her career, maid did the rest… cooked, sent the children to school, picked them up, sent them to the doctor when they were sick, did all the laundry, etc. etc.

This went on for years………

Then, came a time where the maid needed to return home for a few months as one of her family member was not well. Helen, being a good employer, allowed her to go.

On the day the maid left, the children cried non-stop…

“I don’t want mommy to go” the children said.
“What? I am your mommy! Kakak is not your mommy!” Helen screamed!
“No, kakak is our mommy. You’re only our mother”

That was the loudest wake-up call Helen has ever gotten in her life.

Are you the “mommy”?... Or the “mother”?

P/S: Kakak = the Malay word for “sister”


1 year ago…
Maundy Thursday

2 years ago…
Chronicles of vol-ass-no eruptions

3 years ago… An out of this world experiencePrioritise life

29 comments:

Zurin said...

so sad :( and it serves as a reminder for me when I have kids one day... But I have seen cases where children seem to love the maid more than their parents. By the time the parents realise this, it's usually too late..

Anonymous said...

i have a colleague whose maid has been faithfully serving the family since the 2nd child was born. 4 kids down the road, she is still with them - cleaning, washing, cooking, baby-sitting, & does everything else except sleeps with my colleague.

the kids call her "mama" while they called their biological mother "mummy" but i think this is moot point.

however, this is 1 maid who won't be going home. she married a local, has PR & credit cards, & lives in my colleague's big mansion.

i don't expect the wake-up call any time soon.

doc

saucer said...

Yes, I agree with you. But that's life, and it's something hardly avoidable. Working mother normally would not let go their career which has been built up slowly for years.

Stormsea7 said...

Both my parent were also always busy when I was small. Whenever they come back they were always tired.

My brothers, on another hand, were almost a decade older than me. Imagine, when I was taking UPSR, they were in Uni and Graduating!

...but then, my house don't have a maid...so...yea, lonely life... (._.)

InjusticeSistem said...

Don worry la, 30 yrs from now...
1)hong ki/china/macau kids will be calling our msian chinese gals 'mama' wen dey work as maid over der
2)indian kids will also be calling our msian indian gals 'mama' when dey work as maid over der
3)ermm....i dunno where our malay gals will work leh? dey cant se-peak chinese,cant se-peak indian, only se-peak ketuanan malay...so where can dey go? go to indon to work as maid?
Oh my god....i cant even imagine da horror of tat.....
But its ok, da chinese n indian survive as prostitute n beggar, its not so bad to be maid in indon rite?

Jerine said...

Actually I was raised by my grandma. I remember when I was a kid, I only see my parents three times a year - that is during school holiday. On end year semester break, I always cry in my parents house 'cos I miss my grandma too much. Until now, I don't have the habit of talking to my parents at all, except, when I need money then I'll call them to top up my bank account.

Mummy said...

sorry for the delay. i dont know anyone personally, but I know of of this doc: Dr Tan Seng Hoe in Gleneagles, who is treating someone I know. Seems good anyway. I hv spoken to him over the phone before too. Friendly and humble.

All the best in your new country.

jun said...

i can't help but to keep thinking about 'opportunity cost'.

Pinknpurplelizard said...

Cases like these are all too common nowadays.

Anyway, to answer your question. I'm not a mother or a mommy coz I have no kids. Not unless u count my car, laptop and my fishing gears. LOL

I was raised by different ppl at different parts of my life. My parents did make time for us but there wasn't enough to go round.

iamthewitch said...

Ouch, that's a really tight slap in the face. I wish to be someone's mommy when I have kids, not just the mother..

may ling said...

I am 65, have a PhD, taught in universities, but admit my career often suffered because of my need to care for my children. My daughter and my daughter-in-law both successful career women (in positions better than many of their male counterparts) gave up their careers to have children. Would they be able to work and contribute more to society if the fathers play a stronger role and society more supportive of child rearing? Please don't make working mothers more guilty than necessary.

Jennifer said...

Here, here to May Ling. How come no one ever write about "You are just the father?" Or maybe it is a universal understanding that fathers don't really count for much in the family except to bring home the bacon and make more children.

ablogaway said...

I agree with may ling. Where's the father's role in this? If both parents care enough for the kids, this would not happen. This would not only be the story of Helen, but also a story of Hanks too.

Anonymous said...

Also a story to share,
One day I’m in Mcd, a family celebrate birthday, ofcourse, taking picture is a must, right? But, suddenly the birthday boy cry, don’t want to have picture, with the reason,” I want kakak”…….. even the kakak just stand infront of him, he don’t want. He want to hold the kakak hand…. Even his beautiful mother pamper him, he still want kakak, even the handsome father….he still want kakak..!!~…. So, with the end, “family” picture out with the kakak loh….
But, I also meet a case before, mum is not working, take caring 3 sons……. 1 day, my mum listen that ….. the son scold/ say his mum………”I wish u turn to be prostitute”….!!! +.+ ini punya macam~!!! In front of a neighbor (my mum)……… his mum just smile only~@.@


Keis

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. To put balance in the previous comments by "May Ling", I wouldn't mind stepping up and taking care of the kids.

I am a successful investment banker, make enough to make ends meet and put aside some for the future kids education. Hopefully they will be able to make it to a good school, have transferable skills and migrate and avoid the quagmire we are in right now. But I digress.

A few years ago, I took a sabbatical for a year, to spend more time with the kids. It was one of the best time off work I had, and I came back with more energy and rigor and lo and behold, made more $$$ than my past 10 years as an Investment Banker.

Men, take strategic breaks to reconnect with your wife and family, and let the women save the world!:)

Terra Shield said...

Something must be wrong with me. I actually started laughing towards the end of your post!

jam said...

That's the case when come to looking after your child. Or else the kid will see others as mother.

beckam said...

hear ye hear ye. not only father brings back the bacon but also watches football, plays football, dreams football, football, football n more football.

sinlady said...

the women-can-have-it-all movement of the 70s was a big lie! you can only do so much with your life. choose well..

zewt said...

Zurin - dont be... there are bright things ahead of u i am sure :)

anon aka doc - well, as long as the mummy doesnt mind her kids calling the maid mama... no worries right? besides, check out some comments below... turning into a sexist argument apparently.

saucer - hello there... then, some ppl will have to pay.

Stormsea7 - well, i am sure you turned out well. and that's important.

InjusticeSistem - hahaha... maybe another 10 years, prost and beggars are certified ambitions already... :P

Jerine - hahahaha... dont need to call lah, just put in a standing order... transfer to your account every month :P

zewt said...

Mummy - thanks... will certainly keep that doc name close to me.

jun - there are opportunity costs in everything we do... just how we see it :)

pinknpurplelizard - well, you turned out well and you didnt called anyone else as mommy right? :)

iamthewitch - i am sure you will be just fine... :)

may ling - hello PhD holder, are we supposed to bow down and worship you? the scent of pride in your comment is just overwhelming. well done to your daugher and daugher in laws, sad they dont have equally good male counterparts to go with them. oh... feel guilty is good enough, no need to feel "more" guilty.

Jennifer - that's becos, i have personally heard this from helen's mouth. i have yet to hear from a father's mouth. but there is a similar story. refer to my reply to ablogaway below.

zewt said...

ablogaway - not hanks... it's called Jacke... here... http://zewt.blogspot.com/2009/05/jacke-story.html

anon aka Keis - hahahahaha... that is worse than Helen man!!! hahahaha...

anon @ 13/4 1.13pm - yeah, i actually dont mind being a househusband, some of my friends too. but if you say you want to be a househusband, then women will say you are not man enough... but then, it's the same bunch of women who will say why there are no stories like "you are just a father"? can never strike a balance, can we?

Terra Shield - hahaha... i shall join u :P

jam - yeah, at least helen's kids still call her mother.

beckam - hahaha... since when ronaldo turned to beckam?

sinlady - do share your points to the 3 very career driven lady above.

Pinknpurplelizard said...

It does kinda depend on what u mean by I turned out well. LOL

My growing up like that required me exert my independence much earlier than any teen. It's a bitter-sweet if you know what I mean. :)

Huei said...

i cried whenever my maid left me when i was a kid..i sleept with them..they bought me things (cheap..but at least thoughtful)..but i always cried in silence..because crying is apparently a sin at home to my mum!

but i'm glad my dad was there..whenever he comes home from work i'll share with him all my stories..everything that happened in school..my friends...he brings me shopping..he buys me things..he reads me bedtime stories....i think there's always a way to make up for it..not all parents can afford to have one of them stay home to take care of the kids..but they can always care for the kids when they get home from work!

Pauline Yap said...

nice post, Zewt. You know, I'm a mum now :D

I always believe that quality time spent with children is better versus quantity time. I learned from experience. Came from family of 6, both parents are busy working, but we still love our parents more than anyone else, when our parents sent us away for baby-sit, we can't wait to return home.

eiling lim said...

I think this happens to many families. So do you choose career + money over your children?? I think it's difficult to choose as one is working hard to provide for the family and want the best for the children but of course the children wouldn't understand why. Very difficult to choose.

zewt said...

pinknpurplelizard - well, the fact that you are not there buying non-diving submarines... good enough :P

huei - yup, and not lepas geram at them after work.

Pauline Yap - congrats to you... it's a new phase of life which i am sure you will enjoy and cherish very much :)

eiling lim - balance is always a difficult point to strike.

KittyCat said...

Well said! this is why till today I am happily maidless

zewt said...

KittyCat - good for you and i am happy for your kids :)