The Professional Homemaker

I would like to be a great cook. One that can turn anything into a delicious meal. But I don’t think I have a great passion about it.  I do get excited to try out some new recipes of my favorite meals, but I don’t posses the eagerness to learn or experiment new things especially when it comes to food that I am not really interested in. I also easily get discouraged by complicated recipes and techniques.

A few months ago, my husband and I agreed that we would have lighter and healthier dinner, which means more vegetables, some protein, and less carbohydrate. Okay, this was actually his preference, but I was just too lazy to prepare for two different menus every night (see? Lack-of-passion alert!) and considering how rarely I ate vegetable, I decided to go along with it as well. Turned out, preparing salad requires a lot less time than cooking my usual dishes. Less work, how nice. So from that point onward, we had salad every night except for some occasions when we order in instead.

One day my husband suggested that I could try on different kind of salad, such as pecel or gado-gado. I have zero interest in pecel, but gado-gado is something that I could tolerate enjoy once in a while. So a few days after, I looked up the recipe on the Internet and decided to try on the first one I found. If you ever try to make one, you know that the real challenge is in making the sauce (or dressing?). I did it though, I made a bowl of peanut sauce or something that resembled it. Well, I wouldn’t have said that it was a success, but hey, it was edible and it tasted good if you could ignore the slight over the top acidity. Sure it looked doubtful (I might or might not leave out one or two ingredients), but I thought it was okay. My husband said it was okay… except for being too acerbic. Whatever, I thought, he wanted gado-gado and he got one (sort of). I should’ve got a praise for my effort at least, in my opinion.

Then he asked how many recipe I read. One, I said, but it was from a reputable cooking website. He opened his mouth (and I just knew that I would’ve loved what come next) and told me that I should’ve looked at more than one recipe so I could get the idea what were and weren’t essentials. Basically, he suggested that I did more research before trying to make a new dish. So I told him that I wasn’t really passionate about cooking (especially the ones that doesn’t involve my favorite ingredients) and naturally I didn’t think about doing a thorough research. To which he responded with something like: “but once you decided to take a job, no matter whether you like it or now, you should do your best to get the work well done”. The “job” here referred to making gado-gado, if anyone wondering.

I wish I could say that I had taken the advise wisely then reflected on my action and looked for a way to make an improvement, but that would’ve been a lie. Because what happened next was I degraded to my 15-year-old-self and served him my patented silent treatment and refused to talk to him for about a half an hour (not that he seemed to notice though). Then went on a foul mood for the entire night.

However, after a couple of days, I started to see that there was some (well, okay, a lot of) truth in what he said, which was: I didn’t do my role in the family professionally.

Before we continue, let me tell you a short story when I was 8 or 9. I was in a car with my father and the radio was on. There was an advertisement that mentioned a word that tickled my curiosity: ‘profesional muda’. I asked my father, what did ‘professional’ mean? I think my father didn’t hear the ad so he didn’t catch the context. He thought I was asking about “professional” as in an adjective instead of “professional” as in a noun. I didn’t suspect this back then, of course, so his answer surprised me. He said, professional were those who did things that they didn’t like because it was their job. I remember thinking, who in the world would would’ve wanted to be a professional?

Okay, there is a good chance my memory didn’t serve that well. However, when I thought back to that particular remark, I dare say that what my father meant was being professional meant that you were willing to do anything necessary to get the job done, happy or not.

There are actually several definitions of professional or being professional. One of a few that are offered by Miriam-Webster is ‘engaged in by persons receiving financial return’. Case in point: ‘professional footballer’. If you play football every day without being paid, then by this definition you are not a professional yet. However, there are other definitions that do not mention any monetary gain. And interestingly, those are the ones that came up more during my little research.

Miriam-Webster’s other alternative is ‘characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession‘. Other definitions that I found are: ‘having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organization, and seriousness of manner‘, ‘person who has achieved an acclaimed level of proficiency ia calling or trade‘,etc. Let’s not get you bored by these definitions. You can always ask Google or read this article if you want to explore more.

Anyway, ‘being professional’ that I refer in my post here is the one that corresponds with character(s) instead of financial gain. All four paragraphs above led to this little statement. Sorry.

Okay, so, where were we? *scroll up*

Oh, right. I realized that I didn’t do my role or jobs in the household professionally. I like taking care of my family (or at least, I like the thought of taking care of them) and there are several things that I love to do, like taking and picking up my son to school. There are also other things that I like to do, like making up bed (weird, I know). And of course, there are things that I rather not to do, like preparing meals I don’t really care about, cleaning up the storage room, ironing, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize before (after almost 5 years of marriage. I am slow sometimes.), just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean I can do it carelessly, which is kind of that I did with the gado-gado incident (ooh, doesn’t it add a flare of drama?). What happened was I only thought about getting this done instead of getting this done wonderfully. I’d have liked to get it done wonderfully, but I didn’t want to the extra effort. Then after it was done, I was hoping to get a glorious praise for… my effort (not the result, mind you).

That got me thinking, why did I do that? I think, I saw myself as doing my family a favor for taking care of them instead of owning it as my responsibilities. Had I assumed it as my responsibility, I wouldn’t have expected anything in return for my effort because it was given. Had I assumed it as my responsibility, I wouldn’t have felt generous for spending time looking for recipes, it was given. Had I assumed it as my responsibility, I (wish) would have taken the job more professionally.

I find that thinking my role at home as a professional job doesn’t make me feel pressured. Instead, it puts things in a new perspective, that is I have to put more, or at the very least equal, effort at home as I do at work. It doesn’t mean I have to do everything alone. Just like a small business, exactly like Wangsa Jelita actually, there are 2 Co-CEOs (or CEO and COO/CFO/C-whatever you want) at home: the husband and the wife. Each person has their own responsibilities, some are shared, others not. In Wangsa Jelita I am solely responsible for Finance, Human Resource, and Production & Supply Chain. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t ask for Nadya’s, my partner, advice every day in the week or ask her to help me to get a job done or start a project based on her idea. That just means that I am the one responsible to look over the grand scheme of those particular divisions.

And let’s not forgetting that we can always hire people to help us or outsource the jobs to other firms. Just like we can hire professional helper or nanny at home or choose to, for instance, paying a catering service to provide meals for the family or a daycare to look after our children..

Believe it or not, a standard company divisions is actually applicable at home as well. A family needs a money-maker(s) (Sales), someone who manages the money and expenses (Finance), someone who manages what, when, and where to buy groceries and other things (Supply Chain), someone who makes sure the family is not left out of the social circle and always presentable (PR), someone who plans events and vacations (HR), someone who closely monitor the everyone’s need (HR), someone who plan and oversee the education of the children (HR), someone who makes sure a smooth day-in and day-out (Operations), etc. If you think it’s easy, ask every start-up founder how easy it is for them to run their companies. This is not a job that could be done (well) with only half the effort.

I am ashamed that until recently I didn’t see homemaking as something that I need to do professionally. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg mentioned that “society has long undervalued the contributions of those who work without salary”. Even though by many definitions, professional is more about character and work ethic. One can have a title of a financial analyst, for example, and get paid for it. But if one doesn’t submit one’s report or any work for that matter, should he/she still be considered as a professional?

In the end, I think, it doesn’t really matter whether you get paid or not, whether the title is manager or homemaker, as long as you have accepted a role/work, you have to take your responsibility seriously and do your job professionally.

 

The Professional Homemaker

The Plan & The Chaos

 

Today I had a meeting, an interview actually, one that included taking moving picture. I got it saved in my calendar: 8 AM at the office. And I was prepared. Really. Or so I thought.

***

I woke up too early this morning, around 3 AM. I briefly considered to go back to sleep but  dismissed the idea right away. I am always cranky when I wake up after a short nap in the morning. Losing 2 hours of sleep was not really a problem (I can always sneak a 30-minutes nap later if I’m too tired anyway). The problem rose an hour later in a form of 3-year old that refused to go back to sleep. But I thought, well, this could be good. Maybe this would make afternoon nap easier. So I let him.

Naturally, our morning routine began earlier than usual. I got Mikail and myself ready for breakfast around 6.15. Great. We were 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Mikail ate his cereal while I made myself a toast and did a little clean up in the kitchen. When I was ready to eat, he already finished his second box of milk so I let him play in the living room (which is only 1 meter away from the dining/kitchen room). When I was on my second to last bite, it was still 6.45.Fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and I could wrap everything up in less than 10 minutes. I was golden.

Then I noticed a brownish smudge on my blouse. Holy. I needed to wear this one because it was one of the pieces that a talented friend of mine made. I really wanted to wear it during the interview. So very carefully I patted down a wet tissue on the offending blemish. Just as I took a relieved breath because it worked, Mikail came up and, because we haven’t worked on that poop scheduling task, told me that he had just dropped something nice in his diaper. I still put him on a diaper while he was at school, so this should’ve not been a problem. The timing could be better but this last minute visit to the bathroom was not the first, second, or third time in the month. However, the situation I found inside his pants was.

Apparently, the ‘thing’ wasn’t contained in the diaper. It was leaked and smeared on his pants. Well, this was no simple clean-and-go operation. But I had 15 minutes, so it should’ve been fine, yeah? No.

By the time we finished, we (or rather I) were running 5 minutes late. To save precious time, I carried Mikail to the car, strapped him into his car sear and bolted. 5 minutes late was nothing, I already spared 30 minutes extra before the interview so if everything goes well, I should’ve been in the office by 7.35. Chill.

But everything didn’t go well. Right before we got in the main road, just after I maneuvered around a bunch of high school kids carrying cleaning tools, Mikail, my ever-observant-son, said in a happy tone, “sepatu Mika mana? sepatu Mika mana?”.

Oh, my friggin’ holy….

I forgot his shoes. I forgot my son’s shoes. Remember when I told you how I carried him to save time? Well, apparently carrying a 16-kg boy made me forgot shoes. And I thought I was clever.

For a millisecond I wondered if he could  get through a day in school without shoes. But, snapped myself out and drove back home. Maneuvered around the same bunch of high school kids. Not as easy as it sounds, I tell you.

When we arrived home, Mikail has already asleep in his seat (thanks to early wake up time). I was thinking about dropping him at my parents’ house when he suddenly woke up and said, “mau ke sekolaaaah”. Well, okay then. I ran out of the car, grabbed his shoes, and got back in.

5 seconds after we left home for the second time this morning, he nodded off again. So I decided, I would just dropped him in my parents’. Chances were he would be asleep during the process of transporting him from the car to the bed. But, chances were not on my side today.

Right after I turn off the car engine in front of my parents’ house, he woke up and half-screamed the same thing. Okay, I thought, I could just take him to the office and interview be damned.

Or not.

After 15 seconds, I got a better solution. It was already 7.45, but I knew the crew would need time to set things up before they could start the interview. And since Nadya was already in the office, she could let them in. I didn’t really need to be there in the first 15 minutes so that gave me around 30 minutes to worked on. Meanwhile, my son could take a quick nap during our 15 minutes drive to school and perhaps another 10 minutes in the parking lot. Then I could reach the office in the remaining five minutes. Good. As good as a screwed up plan can be anyway.

He did take a nap and woke up 25 minutes later, already in the parking lot. The first word came out of my decisive-stubborn son was, “sekolah”. Great, because here we are, son of mine.

He was  late but apparently many of his friends arrived at the same time. Huh, I never noticed before because we usually arrive a little over 7.30. But, good to know.

After I dropped then-very-energized Mikail at school, I raced to the office. Fortunately the crew held back in traffic so they were not on time as well. Thank God. However, even if they were, I was right that they do need several minutes to set up. I still would have been able to make it before the interview should start.

***

This morning incident brought my mind back to the days when Mikail was a baby, a still nursing baby. I remember that I always spare an extra 30-60 minutes every time I had a meeting with anyone. So if the drive to the meeting place usually takes an hour, I would leave home 2 or one and a half hour before. Because who knew what could happen when I drove alone with a baby on the backseat. He  could get fussy or hungry and then I would have to stop. It happened a few times.

I was not really a planner. Though I did make some plannings at work, but in my daily life, I rarely planned. However, once you have baby, you HAVE TO make plans. All the time, for every little things. Doesn’t matter if the plan doesn’t work because things got in the way (just like what happened to me this morning). Because, unbelievable as it is, a plan that is not working is still working. It gives a framework, a sense of time in your mind and a focus of what need to happen, which in my case is to get to the office for the interview on time. I designed the steps to get there, but it went out of the window a half hour before the deadline. However, time frame and to-do-list were still etched in my brain. I just needed to find a way to get it done quickly.

Another thing I learned today, as much as I hated to admit it, my husband is right. Always spare an extra time because the world is a crazy place sometimes and everything wicked could happen at once. You know, my original plan was not to get to the office at 8 AM. I had to be at the office by 8 AM, because that was when the crew supposedly arrive. However, I was planning to turn up at 7.30-ish, as usual. Thank goodness, I spared (or in this particular case, Nadya) an extra 30 minutes. I would’ve been late for the interview otherwise.

Last thing I learned today is that you never know what it takes to get a child to school, or any other place, or to do any kind of things. There might be a hair-pulling moment or bomb-dropping-in-the-pants incident. So, you know, be nice to the people who help the children to get where they are and do what they do. And don’t judge quickly when the kids appear a little messy or, you know, without shoes.

 

 

The Plan & The Chaos

Am I Doing It Right?

Pernah dengar kutipan “parenting is a constant battle between going to bed to catch up on sleep or staying awake to finally get some alone time”? Kayaknya semua orang tua, terutama yang baru punya newborn, akan setuju. Saya pun termasuk yang mengangguk-angguk dengan penuh semangat sambil teriak, “hear hear, sister!!”.

Tapi buat saya, ada lagi constant battle yang lain: a nagging question of ‘am I doing it right?’. 

***

Ketika saya memutuskan ingin berwirausaha atau being self-employed beberapa tahun lalu, bahkan sebelum saya punya anak, salah satu motivasi utamanya adalah agar saya bisa lebih fleksibel mengatur waktu kerja sehingga saya bisa betul-betul hands on mengurusi anak.

Dan sekarang saya sudah di sini. Memiliki jam kerja yang fleksibel dan menjadi primary caregiver Mikail. But, man, ternyata perjalanan ini tidak semudah yang saya kira dan penuh dengan keraguan di sana-sini.

Beberapa kali saya membawa Mikail pergi untuk urusan pekerjaan yang ternyata makan waktu lebih dari yang direncanakan sehingga kami terjebak macet berjam-jam. Melihat Mikail duduk resah di car seat dalam waktu yang lama akibat dari urusan saya yang berkepanjangan kadang membuat saya berpikir, sebenarnya worth gak sih semua ini? Apa jangan-jangan saya hanya egois saja dengan memaksakan untuk bekerja sembari mengurus Mikail? Apakah akan lebih baik kalau saya tidak usah bekerja saja?

Atau, jangan-jangan saya terlalu proud untuk mengakui kalau Mikail lebih baik dipegang oleh pengasuh sementara saya fokus bekerja? Setidaknya kan kegiatan sehari-harinya akan lebih stabil dan dia tidak perlu lelah dibawa kesana kemari.

Pernah juga suatu kali saya menitipkan Mikail di rumah orang tua karena pada hari itu saya harus menghadiri acara di tempat yang cukup jauh. Sayangnya, acaranya sedikit terlambat, hanya 30 menit sih, tapi ditambah hujan deras, perjalanan pulang jadi macet sekali. Di tengah perjalanan, Bapak saya menelepon menanyakan saya sudah ada dimana karena Mikail sudah mulai mencari dan minta pulang. Begitu saya sampai rumah orang tua (setelah perjalanan 3,5 jam), Mikail sudah menunggu di teras, lengkap dengan tas dan topi, dan langsung memeluk saya. Saya bilang, ‘maaf ya Nak Ibu terlambat’ sambil tersenyum padahal sebenarnya dalam hati saya sedih sekali.

Di sisi lain, saya menyadari kondisi saya yang mengurus anak sehingga punya keterbatasan waktu ini juga kadang memaksa partner saya untuk mengambil peran lebih. Nadya tidak pernah protes atau bahkan menyinggung bahwa hal itu mengganggunya sih. Dia bahkan selalu mendorong saya untuk mengutamakan peran saya di keluarga. Tapi saya paham matematika dan sadar kalau waktu yang saya dedikasikan untuk pekerjaan tidak sebanyak yang ia dedikasikan.

Karena keterbatasan waktu itu juga, sering kali juga I am being a bitch about closing a meeting or leaving an event and running home. Hahaha. Padahal saya paham sih kalau networking itu penting dalam bisnis. 

So, anyway, pertanyaan apakah saya melakukan hal yang benar adalah salah satu constant battle yang saya punya biarpun makin lama makin jarang keraguan itu muncul. Bagaimana caranya supaya yakin akan apa yang kita jalani? Sejujurnya, saya tidak punya jawabannya. Saya bercerita bukan untuk memberikan tips atau nasihat, tapi sekedar berbagi bahwa saya pun punya keraguan yang menghantui di belakang pikiran saya. Saya belajar bahwa ketika saya mendengar kalau ibu-ibu lain ternyata juga menghadapi masalah yang serupa, saya jadi merasa tenang karena berarti barangkali memang demikianlah motherhood. Kita tidak selalu yakin dan punya jawaban atas semuanya, tapi kita bisa belajar memperbaiki kesalahan sedikit demi sedikit. Seperti lebih tegas dalam manajemen waktu atau lebih baik mempersiapkan kondisi anak dan orang-orang yang terlibat ketika akan menitipkan anak.

And then pray hard that I don’t ruin anyone’s life.


Am I Doing It Right?

Playing Space


Sampai hari ini, spacenya Mikail di kantor adalah yang paling besar. Ngalah-ngalahin spacenya Nadya atau saya atau space saya dan Nadya digabung. 😥

Judul ruangan ini sebenarnya ruang santai. Bisa untuk siapa pun yang mau shalat atau bobo-bobo (yes, ada tempat tidurnya juga!). Tapi sekarang ini yang sering pakai memang Mikail soalnya setiap habis pulang sekolah hampir selalu diboyong ke sini dan baru pulang setelah nanti usai tidur siang.

Dari dulu sejak meniatkan mau berwirausaha, saya sudah bercita-cita supaya bisa bawa anak ke tempat kerja. Di ruangan ini, seperti sudah disebutkan tadi, cuma ada tempat tidur (hasil limpahan barang tidak terpakai dari rumah Nadya), TV (yang tidak bisa menyala tapi entah kenapa masih saja disimpan), sama kamar mandi. Oh, dan AC! In fact, ini adalah satu-satunya ruangan yang ber-AC di kantor kami. Working space kami semua ada di ruangan tengah yang cukup besar dan berventilasi bagus, jadi tidak butuh AC.

Sederhana sih tapi cukup buat Mikail, apalagi sejak dia punya satu kotak mainan yang memang sengaja disimpan di kantor. 

Saya punya ambisi pribadi menjadikan ruangan ini makin ‘kekanak-kanakan’ dengan lebih banyak matras, mainan, dan stiker-stiker. Sekarang memang baru Mikail yang pakai, tapi nantinya kan (mudah-mudahan) akan makin banyak anak-anak yang datang ke kantor kami.

Playing Space

Notes About Praising People

Pernah berada di posisi employee dan employer, saya paham pentingnya (dan senangnya) memuji (dan dipuji) atas pekerjaan yang dilakukan. Persoalannya, dari apa yang telah saya alami, tidak semua pujian ternyata efektif. Bahkan kadang malah bisa jadi mengecewakan 😦

So here’s a list of things to note when giving out praise to others based on what I learn and experience:

#1 Give credit when they actually earn it.

Some of us like being the good guys and give credit to anyone when it’s due… ish. Saya termasuk golongan ini juga. Contoh (bukan kasus nyata, lho), saya dan seorang partner mengerjakan sebuah proyek dimana partner saya kelimpungan mengerjakan bagiannya sehingga saya bantu hingga selesai. Dalam semangat being the good guys, saya berkata kepada orang-orang, “partnerku in bagus banget kerjanya. Ini semua hasil kerja dia”.

Ada beberapa hal yang bisa jad masalah di sini. Pertama, si partner akan merasa kinerja yang telah dia kerahkan kemarin (yang mana sebenarnya keteteran) sudah bagus bangetWhy bother improving the next time?

Kedua, while the partner feels really good and appreciated at first, if you keep doing it, sooner or later he/she and probably other people will find out that praise tends to come out too easy from you that it is no longer a privilege to get one, which perfectly denies the purpose of praising anyone.

#2 Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

Berikan pujian ketika memang ada yang harus dipuji, kalau tidak ada, sebaiknya diam saja (atau kasih kritik, bila memang perlu). Kadang-kadang ada situasi dimana memuji orang lain menjadi semacam bahan obrolan basa-basi, but that is not cool. Pertama, mana tahu si lawan bicara tidak hanya menganggapnya basa-basi tapi benar-benar menangkapnya sebaga rekomendasi. The thing about recommending is that you put your neck out along with the recommendation, it shows your standard as well. Giving bad recommendation is simply bad for your reputation. Kedua, jangan salah, gak semua orang senang diberikan pujian (kosong) apalagi yang tujuannya supaya yang memberikan pujian tampak bagus. Praising is about the people you praise, not you.

#3 Single out the one(s) that is truly deserving

Terkadang saat kerja dalam tim, ada satu atau dua individual yang menonjol kontribusinya. Pasti dong kita ingin mengapresiasi individu-individu ini. Permasalahannya terkadang jadi gak enak sama yang lain kalau kontribusi mereka gak ikut disebut, terutama kalau ada media atau orang di luar tim. Akhirnya, disebutkan satu per satu nama semua anggota tim baiknya yang paling menonjol maupun yang biasa saja. While it may come from a genuine intention to appreciate everyone in the team, but it againsts the purpose of appreciating the ones who run the extra miles. Guess what, why bother to run the extra miles the next time?

 I think people would only listen two or three names, if you mention more than that they might just think that it’s your decency talking, not objectivity (then they will think that even the first names you mention come out of your good heart). Sangat penting untuk membuat mereka yang pantas merasa ditonjolkan, tapi kalau kita menonjolkan semua orang yang lain, jadi tidak ada yang menonjol lagi dong (sungguh banyak kata ‘tonjol’ dalam kalimat ini).

All in allpraising is an effective tool to motivate and appreciate the people you work with but only if it is something privileged that only given to those that are deserving, bukan macam brosur yang dibagikan di mal.

P.S. I think the notes can work when dealing with children as well. 😛

Warmest, 

Yasmin

Notes About Praising People

What Happened After

Umumnya ibu-ibu hamil tidak sabar ingin segera bertemu dan memeluk anaknya, si makhluk yang berbulan-bulan menetap di dalam rahim. Saya pun tak luput dari perasaan tersebut. Berkali-kali saya bilang ke suami, ibu, dll kalau saya sudah “GAK SABAAAAR MAU CEPAT-CEPAT MELAHIRKAN DAN LIAT KAYAK GIMANA ANAK INII!”.

Waktu itu ibu saya bilang, tidak usah buru-buru justru kamu nikmati saja saat-saat sebelum mengurus anak. Nanti kalau anaknya sudah lahir, repot lho. Nasihat yang saya anggap angin lalu. Dasar anak durhaka! Wkwkwk.

Lalu lahirlah Mikail 5 hari lebih cepat daripada perkiraan. Wah, ketemu juga akhirnya!!

Perasaan saya? Senang, terharu, menjadi satu. Ada satu makhluk yang dititipkan Tuhan kepada saya dan suami untuk disayangi dan dididik… Dan boleh dibawa pulang!! Kalau dulu kan gemes-gemes sama keponakan, gak boleh dibawa pulang. Hehe.

Yang di atas itu memang sudah saya perkirakan sebelumnya. Memang sih pada kenyataannya intensitas emosinya jauh lebih hebat daripada bayangan saya sebelumnya, tapi saya tidak terlalu kaget lagi.

Lalu apa yang membuat kaget?
Bous, apparently taking care of a baby really taking up all of your time. All. Of. Your. Time.

Mau tidur susah. Mau makan susah. Mau mandi susah. Mau buang air susah.

Mungkin beda bayi beda cerita sih. Ada juga bayi yang anteng dan tidur terus. Tapi kalau Mikail dulu sih, maunya digendong-gendong dan menyusu terus. Untungnya 5 minggu pertama saya camping di rumah orang tua, jadi ada Mbak yang cuciin baju, masak, dan bersih-bersih. Meskipun saya berusaha sebisanya mengerjakan sendiri supaya ketika pindah ke apartemen sendiri sudah terbiasa. Juga ada ibu dan adik yang sesekali gantian pegang Mikail, biarpun itu juga sesekali ya secara mereka pun sibuk (FYI, ibu saya dokter dan adik saya mahasiswa kedokteran). Sementara suami cuma dapat cuti 1 minggu dari kantor.

Kalau lihat iklan-iklan produk bayi di TV, wah si Ibu kelihatannya cantik dan rapi memandangi anaknya dengan penuh cinta sementara si anak senyum-senyum tersipu. Scene seperti ini terjadi juga kok di dunia nyata. Kadang-kadang. Banget. Seringnya si ibu pakai daster beraut muka berantakan disertai lingkaran hitam di bawah mata akibat kurang tidur sementara anaknya meraung-raung. Does the mother smile, though? Well, I can’t say for other people, but I did smile although I’m sure that I was nowhere near look as pretty and fresh and smell (I assume) as good as the models in the TV commercials. 😉

The point is, taking care of a baby is often not a “pretty” sight. It’s messy, chaotic and sometimes awkward. Saya mulai memahami ini di minggu pertama setelah pulang dari rumah sakit.

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Di minggu kedua atau ketiga, saya sempat bertanya ke beberapa teman yang sudah punya anak: gimana caranya kalian punya waktu untuk diri sendiri?

Setelah terkekeh-kekeh mendengar curhatan saya (ini bayangan doang sih, soalnya saya nanyanya via WhatsApp), mereka bilang, newborn memang biasanya demanding sekali dan jadwalnya cenderung  berantakan tapi lama-kelamaan (which at that time seemed like forever) akan membaik, things will get better.

Lalu salah seorang teman saya bercerita bahwa ia juga mengalami kestresan yang sama, bahkan lebih, saat bayinya baru lahir dulu (anaknya 3 bulan lebih tua dari Mikail) hingga di titik di mana pikiran untuk membekap anaknya (yang tak henti menangis) sempat terlintas di kepalanya. Wow, saya pikir, ternyata gue masih mending ya. Saya memang kadang kesal, kadang teriak, menangis sambil menelepon suami pun pernah, tapi kalau sampai berpikir melakukan tindakan sih belum pernah. In a way, I felt relieved after hearing my friend’s confession, karena menurut saya teman ini adalah ibu yang baik dan sangat sangat sayang pada anaknya. Artinya, kalau dia saja pernah merasa demikian dan pada akhirnya semuanya baik-baik saja, maka apa yang saya alami dan rasakan ini masih normal dan saya belum gila.

Selain curhat ke teman-teman sesama ibu, saya juga suka memantau forum ibu-ibu January 2014 Birth Club di babycenter.com dan ternyata banyak juga lho yang cerita mengenai hal yang sama, tentang bagaimana mereka overwhelmed oleh tanggung jawab baru mereka. Makin legalah saya. Horeeeeee gue gak sendiriaaaan!
*ternyata nyari temen

Tujuan saya menulis ini adalah untuk membantu meyakinkan ibu-ibu baru bahwa merasa agak depresi karena overwhelmed oleh tanggung jawab baru merawat anak tidak menjadikan mereka ibu yang tidak baik. It’s normal, it doesn’t mean that you don’t want your baby, and it doesn’t make you a terrible mother.

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Beberapa minggu setelah melahirkan. Saya masih chubby tapi tampak lelah dilengkapi bergo dan daster seadanya. Wkwkwk.

Menurut pengalaman saya, bercerita atau bergabung (meskipun hanya sebagai silent reader) di kelompok atau forum ibu-ibu baru sangat membantu. Lalu, tak ada salahnya juga meminta bantuan orang sekitar untuk membantu menjaga bayi sembari kita istirahat sejenak. Para ibu biasanya paham kok bahwa ibu-ibu baru umumnya kelelahan dan kurang tidur, jadi bila ada orang yang kita percaya menawarkan untuk menjagai bayi kita agar kita bisa, grab the chance in a millisecond!

Terakhir, saya pernah baca bahwa ibu baru kadang merasa hidupnya “dirampas” oleh bayinya karena waktunya tersita untuk si buah hati. Tips yang saya baca (dan saya jalani) adalah tetapkan setidaknya satu hal yang akan tetap kamu lakukan untuk dirimu sendiri, no matter what. Kalau saya menetapkan bahwa saya akan tetap mandi 2 kali sehari. Sesingkat dan sebasa-basi apapun mandi itu, pokoknya pagi dan sore saya harus mandi, you’d be surprised how difficult to keep that pact apalagi kalau mengasuh anak sendiri tanpa pembantu atau baby sitter. Buat saya mandi itu benar-benar ampuh untuk recharge energi (tidur juga iya sih, tapi kan gak mungkin juga tidur cuma 5 menit) dan membuat saya tetap merasa ‘manusiawi’. Lagipula kan kasian Mikail kalau ibunya bau kecut. Wkwkwk.

Sebagai penutup, berdasarkan apa yang saya lewati, menjadi ibu itu tidak mudah dan normal saja kalau merasa kebingungan, kewalahan, atau bahkan sedikit gila. But give it a little time and before you know it you’re going to do things that you never imagine you could do before. Hang tight, mothers! 🙂

What Happened After

Baby On the Go

Keputusan untuk mengasuh anak sendiri sudah saya dan suami ambil sejak Mikail masih di kandungan. Pertama, karena kami ingin. Kedua, apartemen mini kami tidak akan nyaman kalau ditambah penghuninya.

Maka sejak masa kehamilan, saya sudah berusaha menyiapkan apa saja yang saya butuhkan agar saya dapat tetap hands on sekaligus bisa menjalani aktivitas. Salah satu prioritas utama yang saya ingin siapkan adalah car seat. Bila ada yang belum familiar dengan car seat, bisa dibaca di sini.

Saya sendiri dulunya kurang familiar dengan car seat karena orang dekat sekitar saya belum ada yang pakai (atau mungkin saya gak ngeh aja sih. Hehehe). Hanya pernah lihat dan dengar cerita dari kakak ipar yang pernah tinggal di US. Anyway, turned out car seat is one of my lifesavers!

Beruntunglah saya karena suami kami punya teman-teman yang baik budi dan dermawan yang menghadiahkan car seat beberapa minggu setelah Mikail lahir.

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Gambar lebih jelas dari sebuah car seat seperti ini:

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Source http://thoroughlyreviewed.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Baby-Car-Seat2.jpg

Mikail pertama kali ke luar kota (Bandung) ketika usia 3 minggu, berbekal car seat ini. Awalnya saya agak ragu juga menempatkan bayi merah ke dalamnya, tapi sebenarnya kalau dipasang dan digunakan sesuai aturan, membawa bayi bepergian dengan mobil (atau pada dasarnya, kendaraan apapun) paling aman dengan car seat. Kebayang nggak kalau bayinya kita gendong seperti biasa dan tiba-tiba mobil mengerem mendadak atau ditabrak dari belakang, badan kita pasti terdorong ke depan dan bersama dengan itu juga bayinya.

Salah dua hal yang penting diperhatikan saat menggunakan car seat adalah:

1. Menghadap depan atau belakang?
Untuk bayi di bawah 6 bulan atau bobot tertentu biasanya car seat diharuskan menghadap belakang (rear view) agar ketika terjadi hal-hal seperti di atas, bobot bayi akan terdorong ke punggungnya yang relatif lebih kuat daripada bila is menghadap ke depan (front view) dimana bobotnya akan ditahan oleh bahu dan lehernya.

2. Kursi depan atau belakang?
Memang sangat tempting untuk menaruh car seat di kursi depan, persis di sebelah pengemudi (apalagi kalau pengemudinya kita), tapi kalau kursi depan samping pengemudi dilengkapi dengan airbag, maka tidak boleh dipasangi car seat karena ketika terjadi tabrakan malah bisa menggencet car seat-nya. Kursi penumpang samping pengemudi mobil saya sebenarnya tidak ada airbagnya, jadi pernah juga saya taruh car seat di situ, maksudnya biar Mikail lebih tenang kalau ada saya di sampingnya. Tapi karena anak saya gratak dan suka pencet sana sini, termasuk iseng coba buka-buka pintu mobil, maka akhirnya saya taruh lagi di bangku belakang, yang mama sebenarnya memang lebih aman juga.

So anyhow, I love car seat because it’s the safest way for my traveling baby. Alasan lain saya suka dengan car seat adalah karena dengan keberadaannya saya bisa jalan-jalan berdua naik mobil sama Mikail.
Berdua? Iya!
Berdua aja? Betul!
Gak ada pengasuh atau Mbak yang nemenin? Nggak! 😀

Lalu kalau bayinya nangis di tengah jalan gimana dong?

Nah, inilah salah satu tantangan yang saya rasakan sejak jadi ibu: selalu berencana matang sebelum bepergian. Kalau dulu sebelum ada Mikail saya bisa pergi kapan pun saya mau, semenjak punya ekor ini setiap mau pergi mesti dipikirkan dulu ini itunya.

Yang paling penting menurut pengalaman saya, si anak tidak boleh dalam keadaan lapar atau terlalu lelah. Niscaya akan rewel kalau salah satu dari dua hal itu tidak terpenuhi

Tapi tetap saja kadang juga kecolongan dan Mikail nangis meronta-ronta di tengah jalan. Biasanya kalau begini saya pasti menepi secepatnya, kecuali kalau tempat tujuan sudah dekat sekali, ya hajar saja! Memang sih, di ibukota Indonesia-Raya-Merdeka-Merdeka ini kadang susah menepi apalagi kalau sedang macet. Maju kena mundur kena (heaa, macam warkop). Kalau memang tidak mungkin menepi, yang penting tetap menyetir dengan tenang saja. Easier said than done indeed. Saya pernah terjebak macet ketika pulang dari Ratu Plaza dengan Mikail menangis di car seat belakang, rasanya stres dan kesal entah sama siapa. Tapi toh tidak membuat saya kapok jalan-jalan berdua sama Mikail juga sih. Hehehe.

Karena sekarang Mikail sudah cukup besar, sejak beberapa minggu lalu, saya pasangkan iPad di depan car seat nya agar dia bisa ada hiburan nonton video dan lagu anak. Cara ini sangat efektif lho membuat Mikail tenang dan betah di car seat nya. Mungkin karena kalau di rumah dia jarang sekali nonton TV ya, makanya kalo nonton di mobil jadi kegirangan. Wkwkwk.

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Ini contoh iPad/Tablet holder untuk di headrest. Bukan gambar milik saya lho, yaa 😉

Intinya, punya anak dan mengurus anak sendiri bukan berarti tidak bisa kemana-mana kok. Bisa, tapi memang lebih repot dan lebih banyak yang dipikirkan. Soal waktu tempuh juga harus diperhatikan. Selalu spare 30-60 menit lebih kalau-kalau anak rewel dan harus menepi dulu. Jadi kalau misal ada janjian jam 11 dan waktu tempuh normal adalah 30 menit, tambahkan waktu ekstra bila terjadi apa-apa dan harus menepi, sehingga artinya kita harus sudah mulai jalan jam 10 atau bahkan 9.30.

OK, then. Any comment, feedback, question? Anyone? 🙂

Warmest,
Yasmin

P.S. bila ingin tahu lebih banyak soal car seat, silakan baca artikel ini.

Baby On the Go