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Mother’s love

A mother has a special influence over her children that no one else has.

I WORK as an accounts assistant and am studying towards a part-time degree in accounting. I will be completing my studies in December. I have been very busy in the office. Most of the time, I stay back till 7pm even though the official time for work ends at 5pm. Recently I was promoted to acting accounts executive.

My children, a four year-old girl and a two-year-old boy, stay with my mum. I have realised that they learn nothing at my mother's house. They spend their time watching television.

I also suspect that my mum does not like my son. She seems to treat him differently compared with my daughter and nephew who are also under her care. My son gets caned whenever he does not listen to her.

My brother shouts at my children whenever he wants them to stop doing something. I think that affects them negatively. My children have picked up the bad habit of shouting whenever they want anything from me.

I am the kind of parent who does not like to spank my children. Rather, I prefer to explain and talk to them. I treat them with respect. However, recently, due to my heavy workload and coursework, I lost control and spanked them. Will this affect my children emotionally? They also witnessed my husband and I fighting some time ago.

Am I a good mother?

Concerned working mother

It is not easy for a working mother who has to do parenting on leftover time. And it can be challenging when you depend on others to care for your children. As parents, we make mistakes. But if we are committed to doing a good job in raising our children, we will correct our mistakes and learn from experience. We must also learn to forgive ourselves when we have failed.

Your children need parents whom they can trust to reflect their actions and try to help them make connections with what they are learning. Your role as a parent is to help them make sense of what they are learning and sort out the confusion in their lives. If any misunderstandings occur, help them solve the problems; this will strengthen the parent-child bond.

Before you start trying to make amends with your children and extended family members, you must deal with your guilt as a working mother. The situation you are in, as a working parent and part-time student, is temporary. In a few months, once your studies are completed, you will have more time for yourself. The more frustrated you feel, the worse it will affect your home life. Go easy on yourself.

Having your mother care for your children has its advantages and disadvantages. While you feel safe with this caregiver since you trust her and know her well, the care-giving can put stress on your relationship with your mother. Both of you want the best for the children in your own way. You may not share your mother’s ideas about discipline or the way she manages the children. Your mother may feel that she knows what is best; after all, she brought you up and is now looking after your children.

One way to make this arrangement work is to spell out the rules and expectations clearly. Tell your mother that you appreciate her help in care-giving. Explain that you find it difficult to do a good job as a parent when there are conflicting ways of managing your children’s behaviour. You must also stress that you understand how difficult it is for her to cope with your son. Encourage her to let you know whenever she finds it hard to manage his behaviour; assure her that you will help her wherever possible. Offer to do what you can so that she will not feel too harassed from caring for three young children.

Whenever you are with your children, remind them to use their quiet indoor voices to make their requests known to you. If they shout like their uncle, gently tell them that you like it better when they talk nicely. Your children may even learn to say this to their uncle the next time he shouts at them. As a mother, you have a special influence over your children that no one else has. Make this influence a positive one.


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