Under mommy’s armpit

When a baby is tiny, mommy’s is afraid of germs and want to protect baby. When a toddler, mommy’s is afraid of toddler tumbling and scratching his knees. When a child enter kindy, mommy wants to stand by the fence and keep an eagle eye on her precious child. When in primary school, mommy makes sure that her precious son adapts well to the basic necessities available, like dirty toilets, lousy canteen food, fierce teachers… Mommy worries constantly when her son has to take the school bus on his own. When it rains, she fidgets in her office. When the weather is too hot, she feels guilty in her aircon room. When she tucks in a nice lunch, she wonders if he is hungry in daycare…. Sigh…. how mommy wish she can protect the child every minute, keep him under her armpit. (a Malay proverb for a protective mother, di bawah ketiak mak).


But sooner or later, the sons grow and need to spread their wings. Mommy cannot afford to keep them under her armpit or else they will be in for a major shock when they reach adulthood. They are going to be pretty screwed up and mama’s boys aren’t exactly everyone’s favourite kind of friends.

Spreading their wings start with finding their own circle of friends. Good or bad. Then, simple steps like learning to take the public bus, going to public places, crossing the road safely, be away on their own for a few nights……. All these usually give every mother sleepless nights and restless days. And when her sons are scouts and go jungle trekking (at midnight!) or camping in the jungle, more worries. But what can a mom do but pray? Pray and keep her child in her constants thoughts. These are all necessary.

Hilarous as it sounds but there are women who check on their sons at camps, bringing pajamas, food, clean water… Doing more harm than good. Because her son is ridiculed for having to change into pajamas at a scout camps. Turning her son into the clown. Or the moms who fetch their children in the midway of camps to go for tuition or watching some Cantonese serial. When I heard of these (cases not from my sons’ school but a premier Chinese school), I shudder to think what kind of boys are these women bringing up? Too much of under the armpit treatment may bring up men who has personalities that stinks.

So, here I am, sighing and wondering what are my two sons doing? On a lazy Sunday afternoon, both have asked for permission to go to the internet cafe for a few rounds of games. Games they can play at home with our broadband but games that will have more oomph if they play in a large group. What I can do but to agree to let them take the public bus, nagged them to promise they will use the proper place to cross the road, never accept any food or drinks from anyone and to stick to each other only. This may sounds like a brainless thing to do – let my children go to those sinister internet cafes. Which could be filled with porns and casinos sites. Or loaded with criminals out to kidnap or molest or sodomise boys. But the thing is to build trust. I trust them to do what they enjoy – playing online games with the camaderie of good friends. I trust them not to betray my trust. And also a process to detach themselves from mommy’s armpit.

So far so good. At least, I know I won’t be shocked and run complaining to the Government to take care of my own children. (mothers had written to the Government demanding for the closure of internet cafes/banning children from entering etc etc) At some stage in life, our child has to learn to spread their wings, flying on their own. And with God’s grace and constant prayers, a mom can help by guiding her children to go in the right direction.

2 Replies to “Under mommy’s armpit”

  1. Sometimes when you love them, you have to leave them. (in this case, let them be and grow up on their own).

    I have a friend whom doesnt know how to even use the washing machine, iron and fold his clothes. The only meal he can cook is maggi mee. And he is 30 this year.

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