19 April 2017, by Lim Peifen
Husbands are probably familiar with the saying “Happy wife, happy life.” There is a mixture of humour and truth in it, and it is probably better for men to heed the advice than not.
For mothers, I think a similar saying applies.
A Facebook friend of mine gave birth recently, and she shared a photo of her beautiful baby with a long and heartfelt post, in which she described her emotional and physical challenges as a new mother.
I could relate to everything she mentioned, and I recalled how lost and distressed I was in the first few weeks of my motherhood journey. In search of support and enlightenment, I spoke to family, friends and searched on the Internet.
Out of the many, many different pieces of advice I’d received, the one that stuck was really simple: “Happy mummy, happy baby.” It made me realise how unnecessary those negative feelings were.
In trying to be a “good mother”, I became worried, frustrated, confused and depressed.
Rather than a “good mother”, what I really should be is a “happy mother”.
If my obsession with doing things right made me unhappy, my baby won’t be happy. If my baby is not happy, how can he grow and learn well?
I have to be in a position where I can influence my child positively; the best I can give him is not what I do or buy for him, but what I am to him and with him.
And so, I left a comment under her FB post, sharing with her the same little advice that has proven to be so useful in keeping me positive under any challenging circumstance. Happy mummy, happy baby. I don’t usually like to give advice, but this I feel is a great reminder for all mothers to take things easy, because mothers tend to do otherwise.
One of the ways I keep myself happy as a mother is through exploring music with Luke. As far as I can remember, I have been singing and playing music to him, even when he was still in me.
A couple of months back, he started showing interest in the ukulele (he calls it the guitar as he still doesn’t know the difference). I have one of my own, I bought a smaller one for him, and we have lots of fun with our musical toys almost every afternoon at home.
I’ve been picking up new chords so that I can expand my repertoire of songs to play and sing to him, and he is slowly learning to sing some of them, his current favourite is “The wheels on the bus”.
This is a really easy song that can be played with just two chords, C and G. I usually start by playing a short introduction while announcing excitedly to Luke that we are about to sing his favourite song, then I sing the first three lines: “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus goes round and round” and Luke joins in at the very last word of the last line “All through the town”.
I am terrible at remembering lyrics though, so other than the first verse, more often than not I start making up silly lyrics like “Mummy on the bus go Luke Luke sit, Luke Luke sit, Luke Luke sit”, or even just counting in Mandarin “一二三四五六七，五六七，五六七“.
That is just as well because I end up being amused by my own creations and laughing out loud. Luke doesn’t quite get the joke, but he laughs along as well.
Indeed, happy mummy, happy baby.