Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Toughest job- Being Mum!

I was asking my daughter, an accomplished photographer in my limited opinion, to take a photo of me, since I was in my brocaded Indian finery, all dressed up to go to a Diwali dinner and dance. She was looking increasingly exasperated, as I consecutively rejected the results of her efforts, with words such as- "My double chin is showing" "I look too broad at the waist" "why don't you go further down the room and take it" "The light is not right" "My smile doesn't reach my eyes."

My children like many others I am sure, are sick of my obsession with the Facebook, the only social media I seem to be addicted to. Its funny how I seem to live my life, thinking about what I can post on facebook. Sadly my attempt at baking a cake today, has not had a photogenic enough result or else it would have been on facebook for everybody to see!

Kids are into instant messaging and for us all to be on two screens at any given moment is the norm.
The only parenting I seem to be doing is battling this onslaught of screens in our life.

My nani used to tell us how my masi's (mum's sister's) parents would pace up and down, outside the room where masi would be getting hit while being tutored by her granddad. But masi's parents would not dare to go into the room, confront their father/father in law and rescue their only daughter from him! It was just not done. The old man would hit her everyday and the parents watched helplessly.

This scenario is completely unheard of today. I get upset even if somebody decides to raise their voice to my child. My in laws would after much thought comment on my childrearing but never do anything like scold or hit my children.

I do at certain points of time, when repeated asking, ordering, threatening does not bring desired results, do feel like hitting someone, but all I end up doing is something akin to hitting my head on a wall!

The train of communication is usually- "Can you switch off the TV?" This then becomes- "Do it, just now", which then used to go on to things like "I am going to withdraw my consent for your school trip" or "no sleepovers for you" or "you can stay at home for the new year"

But over time and as I have graduated to becoming a mum of two teenage children, I realise that it is a pointless, tiring and losing battle of wits!

I read elaborate psychological analyses on parenting styles. You can be a helicopter parent- someone who is constantly fluttering over them, micromanaging their schedules, deciding what is best for them, helping them in school projects, organising their parties....

On the other hand you can be a laid back Consultant parent, someone who is there when the kid decides he or she needs advice, help or a bail out!

You can be Authoritarian (I pay your bills, hence you do as I say and not as I do) or Permissive (you are the apple of my eye, you can do as you like, I trust you!)

You can be Instinctive and let your children be free range (read wild), like chicken roaming the farm, feeding on insects!

I can't say which parent I am! Needless to say, I do think in that moment- "I am right, this is what needs to be done"

My daughter once accused me of being an "Indian" parent- believe me, they are a class of their own, probably only beaten by the "Chinese" I have a Chinese colleague at work and we like sharing notes, its interesting. So if I ask- does your son practice? He will say with a shrug of his shoulders- "He has to", while I look at him with amazement and wonder! I have newfound admiration for a man who can make his child do what he wants!

Coming back to my daughter's view on Indian parents, she said- "If I ask you anything, you say google it, find out, look at the globe, look up the dictionary,

Yet....without any input from your side, unlike other parents who actually help with revision, you will expect top grades, that's how you Indian parents are- Results! you are only interested in results!"

I felt a bit guilty for two days after she said that, and tried my best to help only to be told- "Mum, you can't suddenly change, leave me alone, I can do this"

However, I have realised I adapt, I change, I innovate....I am authoritarian one day, permissive the next, instinctive with one child, helicopter with another yet I constantly feel I am fighting a losing battle, I don't know if I can do better!

For all new parents or parents yet to enter the kingdom of  Heavenish hell- Welcome to the commandments of parenting which are impossible to follow!

"You have to be strict" "You will only encourage rebellion" "This will spoil them" "This will make them dependant" "You have to respect their individuality" "They have to know the boundaries"

Damned if you do, damned if you don't! Basically they just grow up inspite of you, not because of you!


1 comment:

anurag shukla said...

Great write. All parents can share the angst I am sure. The best part was the astute classification of parents, what one is , is beyond their control though. Kids of course have the last word in . Indian parent , indeed!