⟨ Misc ⟩

Dear, Doing Nothing is Really Okay

Okaymama

Words & Photography / MINICHERRYB
Translation / Fanny Chan

當了媽媽後,白髮不但多了、又老是忘東忘西,還總是睡不飽、又總是莫明的擔心。在家庭、工作的身分隨之改變,失落感也愈來愈重。「這樣的情況,早在疫情爆發前已經是這樣了。」大概身為女性,雖然還未成為母親,不用看畢《82年生的金智英》也能感受到,究竟從懷孕開始,母親是怎麼活過來呢?

就在思考這問題時,我看到了這20隻飛鳥。

雖然2020年已經到了4月,有很多人其實從去年6月開始,生命中的時間彷彿停下來了,我們的笑容是被甚麼掩蓋?台灣網上免費月刊《給媽媽的月月刊》創辦人Okaymama推出的《可以Swan不要絕望》2020年年曆,配合香港插畫家Koey的插畫作品,溫柔而堅定地為各位打氣。

After becoming a mother, not only did she have more white hair, she also became forgetful, could hardly get enough sleep, and was always filled with inexplicable apprehension. As her roles in the family and also at the workplace changed, her sense of loss became more acute. “Such changes and feelings have long existed even before the virus outbreak.” I am yet to become a mother, but as a woman, even without finishing Kim Ji-young: Born 1982, I felt a need to address the question: How do women survive motherhood? 

As I was pondering the question, I saw those twenty flying birds.

Though four months have passed since the arrival of 2020, time has seemingly been paused for some people since last June, and smiles on their face have since felt out of place. As a humble yet determined way to introduce some positive vibes, Okaymama, the founder of  Taiwan’s free monthly webzine, Webzine for Mums Every Month, together with Hong Kong illustrator Koey, have released a year 2020 calendar, namely Be a Swan But Don’t Despair. (Editor’s notes: “swan” and “dismay” share the same pronunciation in Mandarin.)

【Doing Nothing】

在這疫情之下,我們都被迫著甚麼都不能做,不能出國、不能上學、不能⋯⋯ 突然間無所事事,得到渴望而久的耍廢時光,反而很不習慣。是這樣嗎?

Okaymama: 懷孕時曾經歷生死交關,真的是非常幸運能活下來了,對於能擁有這一切會份外珍惜,我一開始當然也是跟一般家長一樣,瘋狂地拍照寫日誌記錄親子生活,另一方面也生怕自己身體又出狀況,覺得一定要給他留下我滿滿的愛,也可以說成我想成為更好的人,更有耐心、同理心,更有正面能量,好讓我的孩子能跟很棒的人一起成長。

《給媽媽的月月刊》是這樣誕生,《母曆》也是這樣誕生,在看似甚麼都不能做的現在,原來只要想成為一個更好的媽媽,就在產生神奇魔法。我開始覺得「Doing Nothing is really okay」這句標語有著很多層次。

Okaymama:「Doing  Nothing is Really  Okay」或者也可以看成「如果時間過得太快,我們拔掉一些電池就好啦!」各位母親,無所事事或做自己喜歡的事,完全很可以。

Koey::Okaymama的故事和想法很觸動我,讓我畫得很高興順心。做媽媽很不容易,從懷上孩子那刻開始,自己的生命已不單屬於自己,把時間和自由貢獻給孩子和家庭,一不小心便會把自己忘掉。去年的無力感也很重,後來這位默默追蹤我6年的台灣女生聯絡我說喜歡我的畫,對於業餘創作的我其實還蠻高興和驕傲,我仍能為自己爭取時間做屬於自己的事情。

「Doing Nothing」本身就是一件事,我們不必擔心虛度光陰,在聽風、看海、獨自喝咖啡的時候,我們做了一件了不起的事,那就是「休息」。拔掉電池是一件事,拿去充電是一件事,等一下,就等一下,一切會更好,我們定會再見。

【Doing Nothing】

In the time of pandemic, we are all being forced to do nothing; no travel abroad, no school, no… All of a sudden, we have been gifted with the time to be idle, which many of us have yearned for. But then, even when presented with such time, we get uncomfortable. Does that sound correct?

Okaymama: My pregnancy resulted in a life-or-death situation. I feel so very lucky to have survived it, and as a result I cherish everything that I have now. Of course, at the very beginning, I was just like any ordinary parents, taking pictures of my son like a lunatic and writing blogs to record every moment I spent with him. On the other hand, I was worried that my body would shut down again, and I felt that if I was going to leave him, I needed to ensure he received all of my love. As if to say, I want to be a better person who is more patient, empathetic, and generally positive; so that my child can grow up and be influenced by such behaviors.

Webzine for Mums Every Month was born because of this, as was the Mother’s Calendar. At this current time that allows us to do “nothing,”, it turns out that as long as you want to become a better mother, magic will happen. Soon after launching, I began to feel that “Doing Nothing is Really Okay” has many unique and even personal levels of meanings.

Okaymama: “Doing Nothing is Really Okay” can also be read as “If time passes too quick, just unplug some batteries!” To all mothers, doing nothing or doing what you like is perfectly fine.

Koey: I’m touched by Okaymama’s stories and ideas, and that made me happy and felt at ease while illustrating. It’s not easy to be a mother; from the moment you get pregnant, your life no longer belongs solely to you. You dedicate your time and freedom to your child and family, and you might even forget about yourself without meaning to. Last year, the feeling of powerlessness weighed heavy on me; then later on, this Taiwanese girl who had been following my work for six years contacted me to tell me that she likes my illustrations. As an amateur artist, hearing this made me feel quite happy and proud of myself that not only could my art inspire others, but that I could still manage to make time for myself to do my own thing.  

“Doing Nothing” is actually something; we don’t have to worry about wasting time when we’re listening to the wind, looking at the sea, and sipping coffee alone, as we’re doing something amazing, and that is “taking a break”. Unplugging the battery is one thing, taking it to charge is another thing. Hold on, just hold on, everything will be better, and we will meet again.

【不要絕望】

絕望是多麼沉重的一個詞,我好奇那是甚麼感覺?是甚麼導致這溫柔的母曆用上這樣的標題:「你們怎麼理解『絕望』是甚麼?」

彷彿看到Okaymama的長嘆:有次孩子跟我一起染上諾羅病毒,我們都吐得亂七八糟,但是先生看到視頻,只看到我打了孩子的屁股,我明明是心力交瘁地死裡求生,但又再次陷入無底洞的感覺,當上母親後每天都很容易感到「絕望」。誇張一點就是有種 :我們母子一起等死好了。我都病成這樣,我還要怎樣為誰堅強下去?走投無路幾近崩潰的感覺好強烈。

Koey:可以想像做母親有多容易掉進黑暗,人人對自己都有所期望,卻不一定給予體諒。我的絕望是,覺得自己的生活沒有意義、很疲累,想做的做不到或是做不好,要做的又不想做。我很努力地生活,但好像一事無成,被現實綑綁著,沒有自由。

每個人對「絕望」都有著不同的定義,那是一種感受,一剎那的情緒,沒法比較也不必被接受。但如能理解那「甚麼都不想做了」的無力,不如來一個擁抱?不宜擁抱的話,那一張母曆是不是能令彼此得到一點點安慰?身為母親的你,拍拍肩: 可以Swan 不要絕望,任你去演繹,一切將會變好。

【Don’t despair】

Despair is such a heavy word, and I wonder how it feels to be in despair? What had happened that led them to put down such a title for the Mother’s Calendar, “How do you interpret ‘despair’?”

As if I could actually see Okaymama’s deep sigh: Once my child and I were infected with the norovirus, and we kept throwing up. But what my husband could only see from the video recording of me and my child was that I slapped my child on the butt. I was obviously struggling to survive, but once again, I fell deep into this bottomless pit; it is so easy to feel despair on a daily basis after becoming a mother. To exaggerate, the feeling was like, “let us mother and son wait for death together please”. I was so terribly unwell already, how could I stay strong for other people? The despair of coming to a dead end was overwhelming. 

Koey: I can imagine how easy it is for a mother to fall into the darkness. Everyone has expectations for themselves, but they don’t necessarily give themselves a pass. To me, despair is that my life is meaningless and exhausting. I can’t do or can’t do well in what I want to do, or that I don’t want to do what I need to do. I am trying my best to live my life, but it turns out that nothing is achieved, and that I am confined by reality with no freedom.

Everyone has a different definition of “despair”. It is a feeling, an emotion of that specific moment. It can’t be held up for comparison, and it’s not necessary to simply accept it. But if we can both understand that vulnerable feeling of “I don’t want to do anything”, why don’t we give each other a hug? And when a hug is not appropriate, maybe our Mother’s Calendar can bring a little comfort to the both of us? To you, the mother out there, pat on the back: Be a swan, but don’t despair. Interpret however you want, everything will be better.

【因為有你所以幸福】

「所以Swan天鵝又代表甚麼?是自由嗎?」我想知道Swan是代表母親還是孩子。

Okaymama: 我覺得天鵝的形象很優雅,「可以Swan 不要絕望」是因為天鵝插畫,而想出來的標題。我發行《給媽媽的月月刊》時,很多次想放棄,但是當其他媽媽都傳來訊息,說他們需要這樣的生活調劑與慰藉,我想既然做了就不要停下來。我希望媽媽們不要因為生了孩子,就讓自己的生活變小了。

Okaymama:你知道嗎?一開始我們想的甚至是有點天真的天鵝雲,讓媽媽能坐在雲朵上喝茶。 所以11月的時候,我們其實是這樣發展的,「雲躲:一杯茶的時間」 身為媽媽閃避不及的那些生活衝擊,如果能有這樣一大朵的天鵝雲,就有種讓人可以安身安心的感覺。不過當時也遇到香港反送中衝突事件頻傳,看到很多令人難過的消息,身為媽媽,非常非常不捨那些上街的年輕孩子,也一直很擔心 Koey 的安全,你知道那種明明很著急,但又不敢打擾她畫畫的兩難。

Koey:我雖然還沒結婚生小孩,但我非常認同「但能夠成為媽媽,仍是我覺得這輩子最棒的事」。雖然,我還是覺得自己未有能力照顧小孩,但很矛盾地,愈跟我哥哥孩子「臭屁蟲」一起相處多了,我愈覺有孩子的家庭很溫暖,見證小孩長大是很奇妙的事。昨晚我爸爸跟臭屁蟲在房內一起跳舞,這些溫暖的時刻也會讓我感到有小孩子真幸福。

母曆的其中一面是20隻飛鳥,正在展翅高飛,即使過了2020年,也不會「過期」,中間的戴了一頂紅色畫家帽的天鵝載著一位手執熱飲的女生,我後來覺得「天鵝」可能是孩子呀!孩子帶著媽媽一起探險,旅程由懷孕的時候便開始了,咦!我也是我媽媽的天鵝。

【I am happy because I have you】

“So what does a swan stand for? Is it freedom?” I want to know whether swan stands for the mother or the child.

Okaymama: I think swan is very elegant. We came up with the title, Be a Swan But Don’t Despair, from an illustration of a swan. When I first started the Webzine for Mums Every Month, there were multiple occasions that have pushed me off. But then some mothers sent me messages saying that they needed such amusement and comfort in their lives. I decided then that I shouldn’t stop since it had already started. I wanted to let all the mothers out there to know that they shouldn’t live a small life because they have children.

Okaymama: You know what? At first, we were inspired to illustrate a cute swan-shaped cloud where mothers can sit while sipping tea. In November, we were actually heading down that path, “Hiding in the Cloud: Time for a Cup of Tea”. There are these inevitable obstacles in life that mothers need to overcome, and if there really was such a big swan cloud, maybe mothers could finally feel at ease there, both physically and mentally. However, at that time, Hong Kong was experiencing ongoing social unrest due to the anti-extradition issues, and there was so much upsetting news. As a mother, I was very very worried for the young kids who took to the streets, and I also feared for the safety of Koey. It is that kind of dilemma that on the one hand I was very anxious, but on the other hand I was so afraid to disturb her working.

Koey: Although I haven’t gotten married nor have a child, I very much agree that “being a mother is the best thing in my life.” I still feel that I am not capable of taking care of a child, but paradoxically, the more time I spend with Stinky Bug, my brother’s child, the more joy I think a family with children could have because it is such a wonderful thing to witness a child’s growth. Last night my dad and Stinky Bug were dancing in the room, and I thought it is moments like this that would make me feel blessed to have a child.

One side of the Mother’s Calendar shows an illustration of twenty birds spreading their wings and  flying high. Even after 2020, this will not “expire”. The swan in the middle wearing a red painter hat carries a girl with a hot drink in her hand. I realised later on that the swan could be a child; a child taking his mother on an adventure, and that journey started when pregnancy began. And hey! I am also my mother’s swan.

給媽媽的母曆海報(Mum’s calendar 2020)
台灣訂購: shorturl.at/Ygrst
香港訂購: shorturl.at/jksEZ