October 03, 2013
The One Percent Mothers

For this mother of three, the world of motherhood is divided into two groups: one is made up of constantly harried moms like her, and the other is those women who make motherhood look like a walk in one of Jakarta's glitzy malls. This is her observation of those "one-percent mothers".

by Gita Putri Damayana
Issues // Politics and Society
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Before anything, I just want to make sure that you mommies out there read this with a sense of humor. I’m in a permanent state of mommyhood myself—both my 5 and 6 year olds had a projectile vomiting episode this morning, almost to the expense of my latest batik outfit from Thamrin City. But no worries, they’re perfectly fine, just your regular cold and coughs.

Which leads me to my point: Every now and then you meet these gorgeous mothers aged 21-to 40 (the ones Internet porn gawkers describe as MILF), who make other women question themselves whether they had not worked enough at making motherhood a more fabulous experience. Yes, I’m talking about a tiny group of women who make motherhood, the job, seem like a breeze, thus making the rest of us look— let’s just admit it—frumpy and underachieving. 

When I say mothers in this context, I’m talking about middle class, city dwelling Indonesian women. And in my incapacity to be technical, I just divide the mothers into two groups: the 99 percent and the 1 percent. This story is about that 1 percent.

The 1-percent is not those shabby women of the past who are wrapped in faded batik daster (that quintessential house dress), ambushing the cart-pushing vegetables vendors with their killer haggling skill to knock a couple of thousands rupiahs (that’s about a 20 US cents) off a bunch of water spinach.

Not only that the 1-percent mothers won’t be caught dead in a granny housedress, they couldn’t care less about keeping alive the dying art of market negotiation of their mothers’ generation. There are other more pressing things to care about, like how to keep their body slim—how to acquire a yoga butt and pilates biceps—while raising super kids. All these they do in the same precious way their husbands might look after their cars, or bicycles, or whatever expensive toys that men are into at the moment.




So, I’ve come up with a short list of some of the traits you can recognize from your local 1-percent mommies. Just a reminder, they do walk among us, in fact, you, fellow readers, could be one too:
  1. They embrace motherhood (read: pregnancy) like a walk in the park. Being pregnant somehow switched the hot-mama button in them. Thank God there is Facebook, where the 1-percent mothers can display the prenatal photographs of their bulging self in various states of near nudity. What is labor but a few deep breaths (that they’ve already mastered in prenatal yoga) and some concentrated pushing—preferably in the water, with a doting husband holding their hands—anyway? And pain killers? GASP! At the expense of missing the joy of labor? Plus, you might sedate the baby in his/her entrance into the world. Don’t worry, you will not be judged if you find yourself secretly hoping they have uncontrollable farts while they rant during school reunions about their perfect pregnancies and how their post-natal bums fit easily into their old jeans.
     
  2. They want only the best for their kids. Ah, don’t we all? I’m talking about my kid-is-the-next-world savior (the last one is Jesus Christ and we all know what happened to him), so the world must revolve around him. There should be fried chicken with galangal because Darril won’t have any meal without it. Kiara’s cubicle should be painted in purple hue despite school regulation because the color soothes her. And my favorite is of course, during Boy Scout sleepover at school, there should be an allocated time for them to check on their kids. How old are these kids? Eight years old.
     
  3. They’re the perfect lovers to their husband. With medals to prove it—like the unsubtle wet hairdo that, in Indonesia, implies “We just did it in the crack of dawn”, looking all giggly and pheromone smelling.
     
  4. Everything I do, I do it for you. Yes this is a title from a corny love song in a movie back when Kevin Costner was still in his element. They are the kind of mothers who’d go to great lengths to ensure the wellbeing of their kids. This is slightly different than No. 2. These mothers are very able and too willing to comply with anything, and even take it a step further. They never ask for compromises or to be exempted from any rules imposed by schools (or taekwondo course, or dancing classes or some popular overpriced children playgroups). They make working moms like me feel like neglectful parents when we see their kids’ lunch menu (Japanese bento with organic steam chicken and warm roast vegetables wrapped in Nori) or their kids snacks (sliced tomatoes with stir-fry Szechuan Tofu). 
Now I know you have your list of 1 percent too. Or perhaps you might even relate to some of these 1-percent traits? Be honest, now, no one’s judging…well, maybe just be a little bit.
 
About Gita Putri Damayana
A self-proclaimed good mother of three kids and pretentious wife of a model citizen. A law graduate from University of Indonesia with no particular distinction at all, but who is highly opinionated on almost anything under the sun. She casts herself as the mirror image of actress Dian Sastrowardoyo, while maintaining a health regime of Mama Hengky, the famous 80's comic.