We were raised very differently, my spouse and I. He was brought up in a strict manner. His parents were strict on food, strict on toys, strict on studies. As for me, mom died when I was 10. Dad was a policeman and he had 5 of us to look after in addition to making sure we had enough money for our education etc. I don’t think he had very much time to ponder on how we were being raised. So I was left pretty much to myself.
It is because of this difference in the way that we were raised that constantly comes up between us when we are trying to raise our own kids. It is not that we want it that way but it is hard to change our values and the way we were brought up ourselves. For example, the spouse believes in pushing the kids in their studies. He wants them to have the values of doing the best that they can. He wants them to learn that they have to work hard for what they want. Nothing wrong with that. These are good values to have.
However, it causes challenges for me. I want the kids to have time to be kids. To play and be happy. So, I the primary caregiver since I am at home with them most of the time, am not meeting up to his standards of working hard. For instance, during the school holidays he wants me to sit down and do revision with the kids. His reasoning is I should do so otherwise they will have a hard time when school starts. (and this is true). If we don’t take the opportunity to do some work during the holidays, quite often we have a hard time catching up in school during school days but I reasoned that if we work them hard during the holidays too, then when will they ever have a holiday? When will they ever get time to play?
Of course the spouse being the family man that he is tries to make sure they have time to play as well. He makes time for them, takes them to the movies, out to the mall etc. Still, I feel a little bit stressed and worked up every time he asks me “So, did you all do some work today?” and the pressure to get good results is very high during exam periods. Recently, my girl did not do very well for her essay papers in Chinese and Malay. I told him that she had worked very hard and his “You must not only work hard but work smart” resonates in my ears and in my heart.
I am not a very good teacher. I feel so overwhelmed looking at all the things that they don’t know and I don’t know where to start. We seem to go around in circles. It is really hard trying to teach the kids 3 languages plus Maths and Science. The spouse teaches the kids Maths and Science so that helps but getting them to be good in 3 languages? That’s really really tough. Sigh. This post was tough to write too. I don’t know how to put my thoughts into words the way I usually am able to. I’m rambling. Its all wrong. 🙁