bringing you back to 2018, way before my son was able to roam around freely. i went to my first trip to indonesia (bali, to be specific) as part of the hujan entourage (gittew) for soundrenaline. bare in mind that soundrenaline is only 18>, meaning that children were not allowed even backstage.
my son’s a pretty active person, even as a baby. he couldn’t stop wriggling his way out of the swaddle, and his limbs would be flailing everywhere. when he started crawling, he wouldn’t stay put – not even a second, unless its bedtime. he would play with a toy and move on to something else within a few minutes. that’s how active he is.
so by having to care for an infant of this nature, i couldn’t simply stay put in the hotel with a bored toddler in the room for 2 hours. of course, i contemplated at the thought of having to handle him all by myself while i play tourist in a town i was clearly not familiar with. i imagined myself having to use one hand to open the gb pockit while i carry him on the other- but you know what? i did it anyway.
i took a grab to the nearest mall (and i have no one else to thank but Allah for protecting me throughout my 2 grab rides). He blessed me with safety. the first grab rider was a pleasant man who had a kid he was very much in love with. he loved to sing. my grab ride home was equally pleasant, with the driver being a rather pious middle-aged man who kept warning me about eating non-halal food, considering the stalls all look halal-friendly. closing by to the hotel though, his phone died and he asked me for mine. i was honestly afraid and told him i could open my google maps from the back seat and verbally instruct him but like i said, Allah was definitely protecting me, and things ended up smooth-sailing (transport wise). i safely reached back at the hotel.
my story this time though is not about my grab rides nor is it about what songs i had to sing for the first grab driver. it was about my experience as a lone mother, handling her toddling infant who could barely stand up, as a tourist at an absolutely foreign place. it was honestly a terrible experience, now that i think about it.
hidayat was about 9 months if i’m not mistaken, at an age where he could eat solids. as i was window shopping at the mall, he didn’t want to stay put in the stroller. he cried and cried, and i had to pass him all the toys i had interchangeably, from my magic toy bag while i tried to keep myself distracted from feeling bummed up by how things were going. i bought a banana cake to feed myself with, but it wasn’t enough. i thought i should get myself a cup of coffee as it was also his snack time.
we parked over at a coffee shop and believe it or not, i had to leave him by himself at the stroller while i picked up our tray of food. it was a frightening 20 seconds, and i would never ever do it again.
i came back and tried my best to feed him while i fed myself. we hadn’t eaten our lunch because i had to wait until my husband was done, and sadly, a delay in the event had interfered with our lunch plans.
while i was struggling to eat and feed my kid while attempting to hold him still so that he would fall, being a persistent infant that he Still is, he insisted to stand up and lean by the window. no matter how many times i pulled him back to sit on my lap, he would find his way out of my arms and crawl over to the glass to lean on it as he looked out.
fine, i thought he’d be safe.
but i thought wrong.
just as i was about to take a bite out of my pie, HE ACCIDENTALLY LOST BALANCE AND FELL OFF THE BENCH, ALMOST HITTING THE FLOOR when out of a sudden, my mom powers manifested and i managed to swiftly catch him in time. i screamed in panic of course, but if i hadn’t used those mom powers, he would’ve landed flat on his face.
just a little additional note: the bench was quite a high one, it actually seemed like he was attempting a stage dive. hmm, must run in his blood.
i was already sad at the fact that he just didn’t want to stay put and that he fell, but i was even more upset when i looked up to see everyone at the coffee shop looking at me in abhorrence. it was as if i was the worst mom in the entire universe when in actual fact, i was trying my absolute best to bring balance by being both a good mom and a functioning human.
i hugged my son who was obviously crying and then i packed everything up, quickly tossed my pie into my bag, belted him onto the stroller and walked out of the shop, almost crying of embarrassment, disappointment and guilt all at the same time. i walked as fast as i could to find the washroom to calm him down because he was screaming his lungs out and also because he needed a nappy change.
i desperately looked for a nursing room to nurse him to sleep (because that’s usually what calms him down after a frightening experience, eg: vaccine injections, mommy suddenly not around for the past 1 minute, etc). it was also his naptime.
any mother would’ve thought: perfect, it’s his naptime, so from now onwards, this should be a breeze.
i eventually found the nursing room, yes (which was in actual fact just a small cubicle attached to the ladies room so we could hear women flushing and they could indefinitely hear his screeching cries). milky goodnighty though was NOT HAPPENING. of all the times my method could fail, it HAD to fail during such a crucial time, at a foreign place.
i was trying to calm him down. i tried everything i could, from getting him to drink, to rocking him sideways and gently patting him. nothing worked.
for a good hour and a half, i was crying alone in the nursing cubicle while my son was screaming his lungs out (non stop ya?). the women outside were knocking and asking if everything was alright, and i casually replied in english, ensuring them that it was all good, that i was fine and that my son had a tummy ache which was making it difficult for him to sleep.
so finally after that ferocious hour and a half, he fell asleep.
i laid him gently in the stroller (extremely carefully so as to not wake him up after all my effort), hands all worn out, wiped my tears away, washed my face, and finished my cold pie. at that point of time, i just wished i never left my hotel room.
so my point is, if you see a mom who looks like she’s just being irrationally fierce to her child or careless– just don’t judge.
moms are almost 24/7 on their tippy toes. you could ask any mother in the world, and i can guarantee you that 99% of them would share experiences, similar to mine. we care SO MUCH. we really do.
having to eat a cold pie with worn out hands and a sleeping baby with dried tear trails on his cheeks during a trip to the ever famous hub for tourists & newlyweds in indonesia, happens to be my mom story to tell. so be grateful to your mother. until you become a parent yourself, you’ll never be able to feel so grateful for your mother’s existence and for how well she has taken care of you for you to have become the person you are today- still alive and breathing. if you’re not a parent yet, i hope the story i just shared with you would make you understand a mother’s point of view and how much we love our child/ren, so you could dial your mother’s number up and tell her how much you love her too.