The Parenting Jig

Nothing drills in us a sense of inadequacy as does parenthood.  Or rather motherhood. Especially in a country like ours where we’re always bothered about what will people think and we’re forever poking our nose in everyone’s business. As if in India we are programmed to play on people’s sense of insecurity and inadequacy. Relatives and ‘well-wishers’ hound you with comparisons of how XYZ’s kids is smarter, healthier, chubbier, quick to meet milestones! The list never ends. And as a first time parent you descend into a pall of gloom fearing you’re no good at this parenting jig.

But what is worse is when we as parents internalize these comparisons and start looking at what is missing in our children. When we allow these comparisons to get the better of us and we become exacting and demanding of the little beings that need nothing but unqualified love and acceptance from us.  When we begin to view our children with society’s lenses, we dilute their sense of individuality and uniqueness. Constant comparison is the death of uniqueness. We begin to treat our kids as projects instead of individuals. We enforce our standards of judgement and success on them rather than allowing their individuality to flower and for them to discover their own path.

There is absolutely no harm in reveling in your child’s achievements but no point turning them into puppets and asking them to conform to societal expectations of success, beauty or achievement.

Children are the happiest and most successful when they are allowed the space to make mistakes and the courage to make their own choices. We as parents forget we don’t own them; they are their own little people.  Loving them does not mean we control them or not let them fall. It means a safe space where we don’t judge them or compare them with someone else’s child.

More than a homily or rant, this is a reminder for me as a pre-schooler’s parent to allow him to grow at his own pace and set his own standards. I am hoping somewhere I don’t turn into a parent who expects her child to bear the burden of her unfulfilled dreams and half-baked desires. Sometimes hope is all we need.

Life’s little lessons from my 1 year old

If there is anything I have learnt from life lately it’s been by observing my 1 year old gallivant about the place from close quarters. It keeps reminding me how societal conditioning and upbringing curbs our natural instincts. As children we know what life is all about, we just lose the plot during our journey into adulthood!

My son’s teaching me to wake up with a smile each day.

Seek pleasure and soak in joy in the small things in life

Cry when I fall but get up the very next moment as if nothing ever happened

Ask to be comforted when I am upset instead of expecting others to understand my need

Explore, be curious and be fascinated by everything new I encounter each day

Express my displeasure and delight in equal measure

Stand on my toes to reach greater heights and never give up

Be my unabashed, unrestricted self sans bothering how others judge me

These are just a few that come to the top of my head as I watch him scoot around reconnoitering and scrutinizing about the house with an endless energy, while I huff and puff to keep pace with my diminishing energy levels.