Saturday, December 11, 2010

Play Geisha to my Husband

Everyday, my husband takes off his white uniforms n leaves them hanging on the wall hook. I pick them up without complaining and throw them in the washing, along with the dirty clothes that he has discarded on the bedroom floor. Sometimes, after dinner, I bring him a glass of drinks while he vegetates in front of the TV.

To me, they are simple acts of love. I know he's really tired and grumpy at the end of a long work day, and my pottering about helps both of us to unwind. He doesn't reciprocate immediately, but I know that he'll always top up my cash for me and give me a massage when I have a body ache.

But some of my more independent-minded galpals raise their eyebrows when they hear what I do for him. Most just tease me bout how much of a slave I am to him, but some of them are actually indignant that I'm lowering myself to such a level. "Can't he do it for himself?" one gasps. "It's so demeaning - you're spoiling him!" Another tells me, "You gives a wives a bad name."

They think I'm letting the side down if I cook breakfast for him everyday, or occasionally pack his clothes for vacations or out-station works. I should have more self-respect, they say, and if I'm working in the future, I may contribute 50-50 towards the household bills, I shouldn't stoop to doing such meanial tasks.

I can understand where they're coming from. For decades, women have had to fight for everything. We fought to get a vote, we fought to go to work, we fought to get that corner office and we fought for women rights etc...

And our traditional enemy has always been the opposite sex. They're the ones who told us to stay at home, look after the kids and not to bother our pretty heads over complicated things like hedge funds and contra deals.

Woman had to steel themselves to tell their husbands things like, " I'm going to work - you look after the kids'" and "If you're hungry, go microwave something." So now that we've finally achieved what generations of women before us had been fighting for all these years, isn't it a slap in the face to them if a soon to be working woman like me regresses into the traditional wife role now?

Well, yes and no. The difference i that I now have a choice - the women of my great-grandmother's generation didn't. They did whatever their husbands commanded them to do. I, however, pamper my husband of my own free will. He doesn't order me to pick up after him or cook him breakfast. I do it to make his life more comfortable and I'm not above sulking when I feel taken for granted (sometimes i do, but not over the top sulking) hihihi...

In fact, I see spoiling my man as empowering. As the traditional wife, I'm reclaiming some of the softness we lost when we snarled and clawed our way to the top. Like the women in 'Memoirs of the Geisha' have shown, you can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Besides, after along day of being a tough as nails working women (soon to be), slipping into old-fashioned wifey mode can feel like putting on a comfortable robe.

I'm not saying it works for everyone. Some women can actually find it stressful having to pander to their husband's needs (I do feel that way kadang2) and more comfortable being the one on the daybed while their guys bring them that glass of water. Their husbands feels that treating their women as princesses is as an act of love, and they would be insulted if their wives refused to accept it graciously.

Besides, housework is only one aspect of a marriage. The woman who's happy to let her husband serve her may also be the one who takes care of all the bills and paperwork and wakes up at 2am to feed the baby. If that's what keeps their marriage solid, who's to say otherwise?

Different couple have different ways of saying "I LOVE YOU" to each other. So please stop making fun of me if I want to play my husband's geisha. After all, I don't say anything about that whip you keep in the kitchen, do I?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Woman on My Mind

When I was young, I look alike my mom. I was every bit my mother's daughter. You see, this particular type of ownership doesn't lie in outward appearances or is sanctified by a piece of paper. It's in, and from, the heart. Unspoken words, loving hugs and an intuitive relationship told me in more ways than one that my mother was mine and I, hers.

I count myself lucky to have been blessed with an angel who has seen me through many falls and guided me towards many triumphs. But there were lot of sacrifice on her part. Mama has always been the epitome of strength and love in my life. So it came as no surprise that when I embraced motherhood some 3 years ago, I, too, readily signed on for this lifelong commitment - and the most important assignment of my life.

Despite the trials (like when a child hits a high fever), the romantic notions about motherhood have never worn thin. I'm fortunate to have a role model who taught me about the selfless giving mothers are always best noted for. It's this same selflessness that the single mothers in our midst implore. According to writer Jill Churchill, "There's no way to be a perfect mother-but million ways to be a good one".

Single mothers like my mama demonstrate their faithfulness and commitment, day in and day out, on their own. they willingly submit to the prices reward of knowing that the little blessings that come their way - like cherubic smiles and butterfly kisses - are well worth it. They aren't waiting and praying for men who think they should be rewarded jst because they marry a single mother.

The opportunity to influence a child is the most demanding, most heart-rending... and most rewarding job a woman may ever have in her lifetime. Motherhood isn't for the faint-hearted, it is very much an endurance test. even if the thanks she receives are few and far between, it doesn't diminish the importance of what she does. As a mom to Rayhan and Iman, I've made a lot of mistakes too. Though the thank you's haven't flooded in, but I'll settle any time for those quirky grins and sloppy kisses along with the claim of "My Mummy" from my kids.

And as for my mama, after all these years, rather than resist her maternal concerns, I take pleasure in having another chance to hear her voice and call myself her daughter. May the legacy I pass on my children be just as wondrously magical!