August 8, 2019

Beginning early this year, every time people asked me- "buat apa sekarang?", I found myself jokingly answered "SAHM" which means "stay-at-home mom." Later, at almost every art event or social event I attended, I started using this answer more and more frequent. Slowly it hit me-- maybe I wasn't joking all this while. Maybe I AM a stay-at-home mom. After all, it IS what I do most of the time, no? More than writing, composing, and performing. It is my number one job before being a writer, a performer, and an advocate. Whenever Ikhlas is away at school, I'd dig up what interesting activities I can do with him, what fun educational places I can explore with him, how to keep him mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy, how to shape him into a kind, gentle, and loving person, how to show him ways of becoming a better Muslim though I myself am seriously struggling. It is indeed a never-ending task. Yet a task I have always dreamed of.


I quit my desk job in 2015; 2 to 3 years after Ikhlas was born (I brought him to my workplace many times during these years), upon realizing I wanted to mother him full-time at home. It was not an easy decision and transition. I was not brought up by a stay-at-home mom; I had no idea what it's like. No reference. I was raised by parents who worked super hard; a mom who was outstation every other week and a dad who was away for a long period of time every once in a while. Our home was always well stocked up like a grocery store, to prepare us siblings living independently on our own. I respect my parents so much for the sacrifices they made to ensure us a comfortable life, but I also need to create my own path and identity as a parent. Gradually I discovered that I need to be A parent; I don't need to be MY parents. I am aware that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have these options (especially single moms), to have a husband that supports and parents who gave me the green light. I must admit that it took me years to get that green light, though. My mom is still trying to embrace the fact that I am not a government servant or an academician like many other masters who graduated overseas.


Since I don't have the privilege of getting pregnant, giving birth, and becoming a biological mother, when Allah SWT granted me the blessings of adoption, my values on life and rezeki changed completely. I finally got to become a mom! I thought- this is it. This is my chance. Probably my only shot at motherhood. I need to do this right. I can't blow this off. But of course, through time and experience, eventually I learned that I will always be an imperfect mom. I will never be right all the time. And that's okay. Because Ikhlas will always be an imperfect child too. So we'll make mistakes and learn together. Parenting, marriage, family life- is a lifelong learning process. Nobody got it all figured out. Tak ada orang yang tahu semua benda dan betul semua benda. I hope to enjoy this journey with an open spirit and positive vibes. Because it is in this journey that we'll find moments, and in those moments we'll find reasons- to live, and to fight for the people we love.

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