Dear Kids,

I screamed and called you names everyday. I lost my temper and patience. I was the worst nightmare. The next minute, I was trying to be the best mom – cool, calm and collected. Yet, in a split second I became that monster again. 

Everything that I told myself I would never be, I became without me realising. I became the person I detested the most, instead of being the one who protects you, nurtures you and shows you how beautiful this world can be. But I never meant for this to happen.

I'm so sorry

The days where I lay in bed and expected you to do everything yourself was because all I had left in me was to hold on to one more day. I was tired, not because of you, but because of everything that had been overwhelming me. Not that any of this should be upon you.

I guess I’m sorry for all my failures.

I am sorry you had to be the strength for me to go on. Yet, the 3 of you will always come back to me and say, “we love you mama so much”.

If not for you guys, I would never have known what a family is.

A family goes through thick and thin together and stays united – because that is what family is all about.

Everything feels wrong, but I'm trying

I tried reflecting. I took my medications. I tried meditation.

We had our social workers in place. We went for counselling. We did everything in our power to sort our past and present out, but I guess there is one thing we cannot control or rush, and that is TIME.

Only with TIME can things naturally take place in their own due course.

Even as I try every single day, it feels as though everything I’m doing is wrong. It feels like a vicious cycle that we can never break out of. I never knew how much my life would have impacted the future and your lives too. 

Dad and I both held it together the best we could. Then, we started looking around us to see what was missing, only to notice everyone else’s family and see how well they were functioning. Their kids are all well-behaved and doing well academically. Parents are happily married and have family support.

That was when it struck us deep — your mom and dad have multiple mental health conditions, you have no grandparents to rely on, no aunties or uncles, no celebrations, no gifts, and no community in your lives.

You only had us, mom and dad, who were dysfunctional, but trying so very hard… 

You gave me hope

Please believe me when I say I don’t know what happened.

How did you grow up so quickly?
I remembered holding you in my arms, I never knew I could ever love so unconditionally. I never knew the little smiles you gave me would end up being the reason I keep fighting and holding on and wanting to fix my life; to fight my conditions and become what I dreamt of becoming before the trauma happened in my life.

All of you gave me hope.
I know that I may not be the best mom, in fact I’m probably one of the worst moms.

But I want you to know that we must never give up or lose hope.

You taught me love

I love all of you so much, my dear children.

You must know that life is never fair. Although, we always try our best, our best may never be enough. What is more important to us is for you to be healthy, happy within, and living life filled with kindness, compassion and integrity. 

Thank you for forgiving us.
Thank you for being our children.
Thank you for teaching us what love is, and thank you for being you.
You have taught us so much, more than we can ever expect.

Weight of guilt

Because of my past, I have put so much on you — not wanting you to fail and hoping that you will be protected as much as possible. And yet, at the same time, I am the perpetrator in your life. It weighs on me every single time I sit and reflect. 

The amount of guilt kills my soul.
I recall the days when I was young and said I would never be like my mom or the people who were the perpetrators in my life, and yet, I became exactly that.

I'm not perfect

I try my very best to manage the house, to care for you, and to manage my own conditions. Not a single day has ever been easy. But I have also realised that you need to fail to grow and there is only so much I can do as a mother. This makes me wonder, what kind of mother am I? I live a constant cycle of self-blame and guilt. 

However, someone once told me something I have never forgotten: 

"There will never be a perfect mother, but we are perfect enough for our children."

As I’m seated here next to all of you, my heart aches tremendously, with tears welling in my eyes, only for me to take a deep breath and suck it all back in.

I pray fiercely: “Dear God, please ease the lives of my children, please guide them and watch over them for me.”

Because I have failed so badly. I have said and done the meanest things I never ever imagined myself capable of. 

I love you the only way I know how

My dear children, at the end of this please know that I tried.
Please know that I did what I could.
Please know that I was just suffering from my mental conditions, and that I am trying and I have never given up.

This does not make my love for you any less, but I am sorry if my best was not enough. 

We are enough for our children

To all the parents out there who are suffering emotionally and mentally, you are not alone.

You are not the worst.
You are enough for your children, no matter how badly we screw up.
You are, and will always be, the best mother or father for your children because no one can ever replace the love you have for your kids.

No amount of money can buy a parent’s love. 

Let’s keep encouraging each other and never give up and lose hope because life has no manual to it.

Ling Anne Hsieh

Ling Anne Hsieh

Ling has developed a strong passion for mental and social work due to her personal struggles in life. Ling strongly believes in “The power of healing yourself through the act of helping others” and the mantra “Charity Begins From Home”.

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Last modified: September 20, 2021