- Make a list of 6 things your mom does for you and the household on a daily basis.
- For the next 10 days, carry out this list and find out what it’s like to be your mum!
When I was first asked to take on this challenge, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My family is blessed with a helper who helps with chores and a grandma who cooks for the household. I had gotten used to having meals and clean laundry provided so I needed to intentionally think about the different things my mom has done for me that I have overlooked. Apart from assisting my dad with his business and providing phone counselling, my mum avails herself to the household readily. As we live with my grandparents, she often tries to spend time with my grandfather by chatting with him or bringing him snacks so that my grandma doesn’t need to worry so much about his food intake. My grandparents get very bored at home so she tries her best to chat with them or be around them. She also assists my brother and I with our homeschooling. Despite my helper and grandma’s contributions, my mum still does plenty for the household. These are the six things she does regularly which I would like to take over for this challenge:
1. Sort laundry for our family
2. Keep my grandparents company
3. Homeschool my brother and I
4. Clean the car
5. Help with cooking
6. Prune plants
Today I stayed in the living room with my grandparents for a couple of hours and did my homework. Being more intentional about this made me realise how I may not necessarily be present in the family, even though I’m at home. It also had me thinking about how long my grandparents might be around, and it was a reminder to remember the little everyday things that I’ll miss when they aren’t with us anymore.
Today I sorted laundry and chatted with my grandparents. My grandfather is hard of hearing and my grandmother speaks Mandarin, which I’m not very good at. Though it was difficult, I managed to converse with my grandma about cooking. I’m beginning to realise that I don’t actually speak to my grandparents much even though I’m home all the time. The reason why I talk to them so little is that I’m usually in the study doing schoolwork and it’s so easy to get caught up doing my own things instead. While the barriers make conversations difficult, it’s not impossible if I choose to make time for them.
Sorted laundry again. It wasn’t difficult; I’m just not intentional about doing them. I’m really thankful for this challenge because it’s making me notice what goes on at home. However, it’s slightly disappointing that I needed a challenge to start taking more initiative to help out at home though.
Today, mum and I cooked together. This is really rare! We made a stew for my grandpa which was different from the usual Chinese cuisine my grandma makes. Both of us don’t enjoy cooking but the opportunity to spend time with each other made it fun. It was a good reminder of how it’s not just doing something for someone that’s special but doing something in service together that makes it meaningful.
Helped my brother with homework so mom could make calls. I’m not fantastic at Biology but I’m thankful I knew enough to help him out. Got my brother and I out of the house to exercise so that mom could have some time to herself. After dinner, mum and I got to just hang out and read.
Did laundry again, and I helped my grandma cook. Today, mum was looking through our old stuff to pass to a family who’s recently started fostering. We were clearing some old toys that my brother and I had long outgrown. Looking back at the stuff we were clearing, I realised these were things I loved when I was younger that my mum had gotten me. I’m thankful that my mum made the effort to know and learn about things I was interested in.
It was my first time making lunch (bee hoon) for the family. I didn’t know it needed so many ingredients to make it tasty. Though it was a challenge, I learnt so much during the whole process. I didn’t realise how much planning and thought goes into cooking for so many people. Not only do you have to account for dietary needs (no spice, has to be soft for grandpa, no beef, no pork) you have to be sensitive to everyone else’s schedules for mealtimes as well. Managing all these was stressful, and it’s not something I thought much about before. I think food is something I take for granted a lot. I’m very blessed to say that I’ve never had to worry about my next meal.
Today I cooked dinner. I have no idea why I don’t do this more often. It only takes an hour or two; the same time I use to scroll through my phone. This is a productive use of time that also lifts the burden off someone else. I think I’ll be doing this more often even after this challenge.
Today I did gardening. Mum usually does it to ensure the branches of our bushes don’t get too long. Even though it’s not a complicated task, it can be very tedious and time consuming. It made me realise how there are many tasks at home that I don’t usually think about because I’m not tasked to do them.
Today I cleaned the car for the first time. Even though we don’t go out much during this period, the car still gets surprisingly dirty. Since I can’t drive, I don’t see the car as my responsibility but that should not be the case, it’s a family car for a reason!
Being in a place of responsibility is not easy. Although all of the tasks that I’ve done over the past few days are physical, I’ve yet to account for the mental and emotional burdens my mum carries too for our family. She looks out for people who need help and she inspires me to treat others with Christlike love! I’m going to continue making an effort to spend more time with my grandparents; I don’t know how long they’ll be around for. I’m also going to try to cook more meals for the family. It’s a little sad that it took this challenge for me to realise I need to be more responsible in my household but I’m glad that I’ve been compelled to do more from now on. It’s not easy being a mum, but I’m glad I can just be a daughter for now!