Do you get along well with your mother?
The verdict is out. Singaporeans are not particularly close to their parents. Roshni Mahtani shares about her own weird equation with her mum.
I share a slightly odd relationship with my mother. I love my mother dearly, but there are times that she drives me crazy.
Like when she has something to say about my cooking. ‘Too much salt, dear. Next time, use less sugar…’. She also has a habit of spending time with my helper, teaching her how to organize the kitchen better, than talk to me on the rare occasions that she comes home to visit. And it definitely bugs me that she constantly guilt trips me about not being (physically or fully) present at family dinners when I am up to my neck in work.
Which is why it’s strange that when I first chanced upon this video, I could only think of my Mum.
This video was part of a social experiment – to see if simply looking at someone for four quiet, uninterrupted minutes, with no digital devices to distract, would help you reconnect with that person better. 12 real life couples in varying relationships were chosen for this ad.
If you watched the video, you would know why I felt tears trickling down my cheek. The ad focussed on fathers and brothers and sisters as well. But I could only think of my Mum. And I needed to talk to her right away. So without any hesitation, I gave her a call.
But she did not pick up the phone.
My mind went into overdrive and my heart raced. “Why was she not picking up the phone? Please, just pick up the phone,” I thought; for I wanted to hear her voice, even if she were just to nag me. “What could have happened? Had she fallen sick? I should have called earlier!” My mind had officially entered paranoia territory.
She finally did pick up that call. We bickered about something absolutely random again, and all was well with the world. Only, I had now come to realise something: that..
“Mum, we may not always see eye to eye, but I STILL LOVE YOU.”
Am I the only one?
Being CEO of theAsianparent, I have read and written so much on parenting and relationship issues, I feel qualified enough to write a book on them. Yet, sometimes, I feel like I don’t really know my own parents. Am I alone in feeling this way? Apparently not.
The Prudential Relationship Index: the state of relationships in Singapore
The Index aims to understand the state of personal relationships in Singapore and throughout Asia. These include relationships with partners, children, parents, friends and relatives.
I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. Singapore ranks a meagre 7th out of the 10 surveyed countries in Asia. Not good news for us kiasu Singaporeans, who don’t like to settle for anything less than #1.
How good is our relationship with our parents?
The relationship score that people in Singapore have with their parents is a paltry 44/100 -- lower than the average (47/100) for all the countries surveyed!
It obviously means that I’m not the only one stuck in a tug-of-war relationship with my parents. Many others are going through a similar predicament. What are we doing wrong? Where are we lagging behind and what are our expectations from our parents?
What I need from my Mum
I gave it a good deal of thought and figured out what I really want out of my relationship with my Mum :
- To just be there for each other: All I need is the reassurance that no matter how horrible things get, we will continue to have each other’s backs.
- To give each other space: You are you and I am me. Let’s just respect that and give each other the freedom to live our own adult lives, without interference.
- To be comfortable in each other’s silence: Words can overcrowd an already cluttered brain. On stormy days, I wish I could just sit with my Mum quietly, and be comforted by her presence alone.
- To do things together: I haven’t been proactive about this, but it’s on my to-do list. Maybe someday, my Mum, baby Shan and I, can do something together and actually have fun for a change.
- To be each other’s reservoir of calm: There are good days and there are bad days. I’d love for us to be each other’s source of calm when the going gets tough.
- To talk without being judged: I wish I could talk to my Mum like with my best friend. About anything. Be it fashion, movies, politics, or even global warming. All I want to do is talk, without being judged, or told what to do.
- To understand each other’s lifestyles: Times have changed, and so have priorities. I wish we would empathise better with each other, and try to understand why we do what we do.
“So Mum, I think it’s time for a conversation. Don’t be surprised if I start reaching out to you more often. Here’s to many more such beginnings.”
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