by Dr. Saraswathy Thurairaj.
The year 2021 started after the worst. The year 2020 was officially over. Initially, I was like everyone, excited to write my new year resolution and plans for the year. This is a crucial year for me, as my younger daughter is sitting for UPSR. I had already planned to coach her as well as send her for tuition. My nightmare started when the Covid 19 cases escalated once again. When I was drowning in online education, my daughter celebrated her joy of not having her physical tuition. As a mum, I screamed and fell into depression when all these extra responsibilities surrounded me. People say it is a blessing having your children – “oh yeah, very much so but, do you know it comes with many sacrifices? Oh my God, how am I going to handle another round of sitting and coaching my daughter with my work responsibilities?”
Whenever I heard the ‘roller coaster’ announcements from the minister, the worst thing was to hear the announcement of a another delayed announcement… having to wait until Monday for it. Why on earth do we have to go through our weekends wondering what the announcements would be? Then finally when Monday came, he announced and left. Then on Tuesday morning, he said, “wait until 2 pm as I am going to give another significant press conference”. I wish I can ask him, “You think I don’t have anything better to do except watching you on TV? I am a mother! I have so many chores to do. I am not like you – just appearing as you wish on TV!”. Then, my WhatsApp was overloaded with messages. “Please, give me a break! I am here sitting with my daughter, not knowing if there will be a UPSR examination. Was I going to teach her at home? Was I stuck with her?” On the other hand, this minister, acted as he wished, wanted us to watch him live! Who cares!
I wonder… “Why do mothers only have two hands? Sleep deprivation is a real problem for working mothers and I shudder to think of its long term effects on mothers’ well-being.”
I always have Movement Control Order as long as I am a mother! It is because I can’t move around freely. My elder daughter is there; if I go left, my younger daughter is there; if I go right; if I go to the front, my husband is there. If I go to the back, my dog is there. Oh! MCO is around me all the time. Whenever I ask my children why is everything on the floor? They always answer me, “Gravity, Mum!”
The moral of the story is, whether it is MCO or not, keep counting your happiness and smiles because you have a family around you and when anyone asks me, “what you do for a living?” I always answer them, “I breathe in and out!”
Finally, my home Malaysia is the best place on earth to live in.
About the Author – Dr. Saraswathy Thurairaj is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Modern Languages (DML), Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI).