By Esther Rachel Lai. - 5/06/2016

Being 23 and having a kid - two kids in fact, I often feel much older then I should be with all these "adult-ish" responsibilities that most other girls shouldn't have to worry about (at least not at twenty-three). I don't keep up with the latest drama (I've been hearing a lot about Descendents Of The Sun & still have completely no idea what it is about except that it involves Korean men in military uniform) or the latest songs (I can count the number of times I plug into my tunes in a month) or the latest anything - which is totally fine with me cause I don't aim to absorb myself in trends (not that I have the time even if I wanted to) but I can't help feeling like a misfit.

Even as a mom.

See, I don't fit in being a "twenty-something" even though that's essentially what I am. They say age is just a number and for me, it's totally true, except that I don't feel "young or young at heart". Quite the opposite in fact, I feel OLD at heart (oh god, typing it actually makes it feel even realer). Admittedly, it isn't so much of feeling out of place with people my age that bothers me. It's more of not feeling so much like a mom amidst other moms who are of "mom age" i.e. late twenties, early thirties.

I don't know if I can call it inferiority complex, but I kind of feel this way maybe cause I'm quite lax in my parenting? Like I don't obsess over Kylie's studies (although I do care about her developmental progress - e.g. whether she can read simple words, do simple math etc.), I don't really restrict her diet to "all things healthy" (judge me all you want but Kylie has fast food too. Although, I do control her sugar intake because it's insane when she gets a sugar high), I don't jump at her defence as often as most people would like me to & I let her do a lot of things on her own e.g. let her make her own milk (even if it means dealing with hot water) or purposely let her climb around and watch her take a tumble so she learns the hard way (because Kylie is stubborn like that). But the thing is, being a parent is really stressful! I don't know if it's the Singaporean culture or if it's like that across countries but Kylie is soon entering primary school and I can already feel the pressure.

I don't want to turn into that "helicopter" parent but I don't want to seem like the young mom who "can't be bothered" either. Because it's not that I can't be bothered but rather, I don't see the point in putting excessive pressure on her. Yet when I look around me at other older parents, I can't help thinking to myself "but am I doing too little?". I knew all along that as Kylie surpasses toddlerhood, I'll be faced with new parenting challenges but gosh, now that I'm actually facing it, it's really kind of scary and pressurising. Nobody's putting any pressure on me but every now and then, I feel anxious and worried - stressed out even. People tell me "Oh you're doing a great job as a mom! I take my hat off you, don't know how you do it but I can't imagine being a mom at 19!" but honestly, there's a lot more self-doubt and apprehension than I actually show. Pushing a baby out of you is the easy part, tackling babyhood and toddlerhood doesn't seem like such a big deal now that I look back but now that she's in Kindergarten, I find myself getting anxious about her STUDIES, MANNERISMS, BEHAVIOUR even more than ever. AND SHE'S ONLY FIVE!!! On one hand there's me thinking "oh she's just a kid" but on the other hand, my head's arguing "But she's a grown kid already!!!".

I swear I wouldn't turn into THAT mom but goodness, she's two years away from Primary school and I'm feeling the heat already. I can't help but wonder if it's just me or do other older parents feel the same way too? Or maybe I'm just going through a phase. Like some quarter life crisis or something. Worrying about the kids is just one thing. Then there's my career. SIGH. You probably don't want to hear me rant on that (or at least not after this whole chunk of text which would probably sound very ridiculous once I've reread what I've typed) but gah, I need to stop feeling so..."stuck". I've been feeling like that for the past month...and maybe I'll talk about that another time but right now, I really do think I need to chill out, stop overthinking things and maybe take a swig or two.

Just the other day, I was throwing some of Kylie's toys away as she watched on in slight disbelief and screaming my head off "YOU BETTER KEEP ALL YOUR TOYS KYLIE! IF NOT I'LL THROW ALL THE REST OF YOUR TOYS AWAY!!! AND I MEAN IT KYLIE!!!", she came out of the washroom after packing her toys and told me in the most matter-of-factly tone, "Mommy, can you just...like...chill a bit?" my jaw literally dropped and eyes popped at her words (like, OMG, who is this teenager talking?!) but maybe she's right, maybe I really need to take a chill pill...

Or she could just learn to keep her toys. Heh.

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