The demands on mothers today — the carpool schedules, home responsibilities, and in many cases, a full-time job outside the home — stretch the limits of human endurance, and sanity.
Ever since I was a girl, I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother. My mother had to work in the city, and my brother and I were raised by our grandparents. We had the best childhood. But somewhere along the way, my brother and I made a pact never to do what my parents did – let someone else raise our children.
So, when my first child arrived, I left my full-time job as a journalist with the country’s leading newspaper, to be a full-time mother. It was the best decision I made. My whole life revolved, and still does, around my son. He is four now.
The thing is, I’m a Sagittarian and have a highly extroverted character. Being home too long gets me depressed. So, I made a pact with my hubby to have something I call “Mom’s Time Out”.
Fixed timings during the week where the hubby takes over the parenting and home responsibilities, and I go out and do things that I want.
It started off with coffee with friends and a little shopping. Then I started going to the cinema by myself (usually during the day when the rest of the world worked) and catching a matinee music or theatre show. It works – the son is happy, the father is happy, and most importantly, the mother is happy.
My latest escapade was to watch Mia Palencia perform.
In 2010, Mia was offered a full scholarship to study songwriting at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Tasmania, Australia and is currently based there. After completing her degree, she was subsequently offered a second scholarship to undertake postgraduate study. Mia’s research involved analysing traditional music from her homeland and incorporating these themes into contemporary composition.
This work led her to accept the offer to compose original music for Kuala Lumpur’s “Mud the Musical”. Last year, Mia was awarded a University Medal to recognise her outstanding work at Honours level. She release her seventh album recently and was back to promote and perform it in a slew of gigs around the city and in Penang.
Given that it was Halloween, I booked seats at her show at Alexis Bistro, Ampang and dressed up for an entertaining evening with a few friends. To my horror, she performed a bunch of standards, which were a far cry from her exotic homeland-loving originals which I was anticipating.
I fell in love with her voice back in college when I first heard her sing and play the piano at one of our ensemble performances. There she was fresh out of school, and that deep, husky voice silenced the room and awed the audience.
Since then I’ve been an avid follower. “Finding My Way”, her first solo album, raised the bar for her as a singer-songwriter, musician, arranger and producer. My favourite song to date is an original, “Sayang”, which comes raw and wholesome. I missed the organic, well-infused songs of hers. Although Mia’s vocals have improved in leaps and bounds (the level of control she has is astounding), I left after the second set, which also saw her brother, a Ed Sheeran-like Christian Palencia, work his smooth voice into his complexed guitar plucking.
As I had to drop a friend at Changkat Bukit Bintang, we ended up being hoisted through a swelling crowd to The Reggae Bar. The night was still young, and in an attempt to dance it away, we were squeezed into a corner, restricting any movement that would require the body to bend. Thanks to the Rugby World Cup finals and Halloween, Changkat Bukit Bintang turned into an invasion of zombies doing the Haka!
After a gruelling hour of what I felt was the set of Thriller 2.0, I left for the comforts of my home and all things familiar. Being a mum is so much harder than I had counted on. In fact, there are some days when this dream life of mine feels more like a nightmare. But I believe there’s a little bit of me in every mum. So, here’s to “Mum’s Time Out”, and getting a wee bit of our sanity back.