Maria Tumolo is an expat mom, originally from Trinidad, West Indies. She now lives in Greater London, England. Her blog Tiger Tales is about her son Angelo. He’s part Chinese-Italian part Black West Indian. He looks totally like his dad, who’s Chinese-Italian. she says ‘The blog is named in honour of Angelo, as he was born in 2010 the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Some of our experiences are sometimes funny or just plain annoying. I write about my everyday life as a first-time ‘older mom’, how I engage him in early years learning chart some of his milestones, as well as writing product reviews from time to time. Baby number two is due this winter in the Year of the Dragon, so we have many interesting years ahead.’
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In my youth, I never thought I’d become a mom. I love my freedom too much. I thought motherhood meant being ‘tied down’. I reckon being the eldest daughter for my mum had something to do with my perception of motherhood, I assisted her wherever possible looking after my siblings, not always willing I dare say. When I did consider becoming a parent, in passing, I always saw myself a bit like Captain von Trapp! I’d blow my figurative whistle and the young ones would fall into place. What a laugh right?
Oh! How I’ve been humbled, since becoming a mother. I heard once… can’t remember where (I was still in my PND haze) that you get the child you deserve. Not a comforting thought for parents off children with special needs or terminal illness. However, for me that meant I was being punished and experiencing some sort of poetic justice for being a demanding child myself. Always sick or up to mischief. Mother laughs at my mothering trials, now. My son showed me VERY early on that submission was not a word he understood. Getting to know and understand my son meant I’ve had to practice what I call ‘child-lead mothering’.
This generation of children seem to be leading the generations before them. Everywhere you read and hear about baby-Led breast feeding, baby-Led weaning, and child-Led play. Seems to me all this amounts to child-Led mothering/parenting. To me, child-Led mothering means that I’m taking cues from my son on what’s the best way to raise him. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m allowing my son to run riot, far from it. I’ve attended a few courses to help me be a better mom because I want to raise a child who will be a credit his family and society.
However, teaching and disciplining is not a one size fit all, as I’ve come to learn… from my son. At first, Hubby and I began replicating the parenting methods that were used on us. Soon, our son soon began to rebel. Passing phase? Toddler tantrum, perhaps? But I saw from the courage and determination in his eyes that this was not the way to go. He’s no military recruit after all. The distant strict ‘Do as I say not as I do’, would not cut it for him. I feel that he’s demanding more of us. He wants all of our attention and all the affection we have to offer. When it comes to discipline, I’ve come to learn that calm, patience and firm voice accompanied by consistency works best.
To say that my world was been turned upside down inside out when I became a mother is putting it mildly. Rather than say that my son broke me, I’ll say he humbled me. I believe I’ve learnt the true meaning of unconditional love. Sometimes I look at my son and I feel so much love, it’s as though my heart would burst. So, I’ve accepted his challenge to be the best mother that I can be. I follow his lead and I don’t feel like a failure in the least. We have our challenges but he makes me proud every day because he’s clever, funny, vibrant and charming. Surely, I can’t be doing too badly… time will tell.
If I’d had a calm quiet child, I have no doubt I’d be a different mother. I’d be more rested, more ‘together’, perhaps a bit less hands-on. Most likely I’d still be working full-time but without a doubt, life would be less FUN. Instead I have a son with the strength and energy for two toddlers or more. He loves having my attention 24/7 and hardly plays on his own. As a result, I started a blog; I left my job, and began attending courses that would empower me as a parent. I dedicate my day to doing things that are fun and educational with him in between all of this I’m learning to drive and I attend a PND support group. All these things I do because I’ve taken up the gauntlet my son threw down for me within the first few months of his life. Now, I’m a better mum for it. Not everyone will agree with my way of thinking. I get that and it’s OK. As I always say, to each his own. All we do is our best and hope that that’s enough.