Mutually beneficial selfishness

Today, an old school girl pal of mine, during one of my ‘farewell coffee sessions’ at Dome with my old MGS Ipoh friends, revealed very honestly to us that she had no maternal feelings.

M has a son which has just turned one, a child born to her when she was still unmarried to her now husband. Apparently, the deal was that if she’d agreed to have the child, she would not have to care for him.

True enough, M confessed that she had never woken up for a midnight feed since the day he was born (the dad cares for him primarily). Today, she sends him to a babysitter and says that he is better left there because he is apparently more well-behaved. At home, he rejects her at bedtime and prefers the father.

All this, M told us with little to no remorse. She says that she can never spend more than a few hours with her son, and that she does not feel any guilt even when she isn’t able to hear his cries in the middle of the night.

And that she shouldn’t simply because “it is better for him”.

The big question may be why had him in the first place. But what is more curious is that she actually believes that this method of detached parenting, does more good than harm. Now I’m not a supermom, but I believe in first-hand parenting, mostly because my parents were never around when I was a kid, and I want to watch my kids grow up, play an active part in their lives. But I also don’t believe in coddling my kids or sterilising my house once a week simply because children are present. I like to believe I am quite a balanced parent. I give them my best, and leave the rest to God. That is my philosophy.

One thing though: At least M was honest about her selfishness. That she still needed her own life despite being a parent. But is it responsible to say that your selfishness may actually be mutually beneficial to parent and child?

As I sat there listening to her, I could feel part of me tightening up and coals of anger slowly reddening. This was a woman who smoked and drank when she was pregnant. She still gave birth to what is perceivably still a healthy baby boy.

Now she’s justifying her method of parenting as something all modern women who have kids should subscribe to.

To think so many of my friends, who’ve been leading perfectly sane and boring lives, have trouble conceiving.

She is free to do whatever she wants. But she should not recruit.

M, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.

All night, I’ve been thinking about this, and I’m afraid I cannot agree with what you’re doing. Perhaps you’ve just been showing off to us, how ‘cool’ you still are. Perhaps deep inside, you really want to be the best mom but that puts you in a different demographic than your clubbing friends. Perhaps because you’ve had a rough childhood yourself and turned out okay, you reckon your son would be able to survive as well.

You can have balance, in being a good parent and your own person. Yours, is not it. At the very least, get to know your kid. And give him a chance to know you.

No matter how bad you had it, you still have your mom.


Don’t you think he deserves his?


1 Comment »

  1. Raoul said

    “No matter how bad you had it, you still have your mom”

    You know I couldn’t help but agree….yet there are people out there subscribing to your “M”‘s theory. Detachment so that less painful for anyone…or so they think. My own feelings? A child should never bear any brunt of any ill-thoughts/actions that an adult has over another….it’s just not right. *shrugs*

    Btw, good luck in Seattle…:)

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