Category: Parenting

Stressed out by technology

Stressed out by technology

The other day I went out for a spot of shopping. Since I’ve become a SAHM/WFHM going out is a bit of a treat. I look forward to it. So the plan was I’d finish the chores then sit at a cafe and watch the world over a cup pf coffee. The kids don’t get back home till 3 pm so I have plenty of time.
I left the house at about 11am. Half an hour later I realised I’d left my phone at home. And that was it. Just like that my trip was ruined. I rushed through the chores, getting impatient at slacking salesmen, worry clouding my mind.
What if something happens at the children’s school and they need to contact me?
What if the Husband calls?
What if my parents need me?
What if? What if? What if?
One part of my brain kept telling me I was being ridiculous, that nothing could go wrong in the space of two hours. And yet I couldn’t shake off the worry. The coffee, of course, was abandoned. I came home with a throbbing head only to find the phone lying innocently on my dresser with just the usual, inane, WhatsApp messages crowding it.
It might have something to do with the fact that the Husband is out of town. Being the sole person responsible for the kids makes me continuously anxious, perhaps. 
Or is it just that I am over-dependent on the phone? That I have fallen in the habit of checking it ever so often? That I need the content reassurance that all is well? I do know the kids are safe at school. How else would I let them spend the better part of their day there? That’s what the rational part of me tells me. And yet the worry doesn’t leave.
Our parents were happier ..
My sister and I went to a school some 10kms away, which by our small-town standards, was really really far. The bus stop was over a km away and we walked, on our own. We didn’t have a phone at home, not even a landline. My dad could be contacted in office of course, but that was it. And we survived.
The thought then was, ‘The girls are at school, what can happen?’ 
All I think now is. ‘So what if they are at school, anything can happen.’
That, when schools today are better equipped to handle emergencies, with full-fledged sick-bays and well trained staff.
Technology, I am sure was made to reassure us, instead it has made us so much more anxious. Maybe we simply need to put our phones away and learn to get used to it, to give up the urge to check them constantly, almost like we were expecting bad news.
Do you do this too? Do you check your phone often? Do you also feel insecure if you’re separated from it?
Linking up with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
                                                
Why I sweat the small stuff

Why I sweat the small stuff

Dear H and N,

You know as well as I do that mornings aren’t the best time of the day for us. The stepping out of that warm quilt, the quick shower, the scramble for the id-card, the rush to the bus-stop – not quite your favourite things. I know.
A lot of these things aren’t really mandatory at school – like the bath or the ID card. And yet I insist. No you cannot stay up late on a school night, you cannot stay home just because you are feeling lazy today, you cannot go without a bath and you have to put your towel out to dry, yes you have to wear your ID card every day and yes you have to make two ponytails.
“But my teacher doesn’t mind,” you had whined today. You have a point, of course. So why should we struggle and worry and pick an argument every morning?
No I’m not crazy, though you may not quite believe it yet.
Let me begin at the beginning.
I was brought up in a disciplined household where we were taught to respect rules, at home and in school. Like you, I didn’t always agree with my parents. Many days I scrambled for the bus. I trimmed my nails on the way to school, I cut up my ribbon to make the mandatory two ponytails when I forgot. And when I couldn’t ‘manage the situation’ I was prepared for the punishment aware that I was at fault. Not that I had a choice.
It’s tough, isn’t it? Doing it the ‘proper’ way all the time?
As I grew I learnt that it was okay to stretch the deadline, be a little late, bend the rules and then further I learnt it was okay sometimes to not be completely honest. Yes I learnt all of that and I did it too.
So, I hear you ask, when we have to grow up to live in an imperfect world why not begin to learn its ways right now? Why struggle to learn things we will need to unlearn later? It’s the easier way, the more comfortable one, after all.
Here’s why..
Imagine my mum had told me it was okay to tell a lie occasionally, rules don’t much matter and punctuality was useless. Would I, then, have even tried to do any of those things? How would I have even known right from wrong?
There lies the difference.
Each time I took the easy alternative I knew it wasn’t quite right. And I did try ever so hard to stick to the rules before I took up the other way. Even while I’m aware that I live in an imperfect world, I continue to appreciate and value a good habit, a disciplined lifestyle, an attempt at doing the right thing. The awareness of good and bad is the first step to striving for the good and it is my job to pass on this awareness to you, dear children, in as undiluted a form as I possibly can.
For now you will simply have to believe that the rules are there for a reason. In another few years you’ll be gone, studying and living on your own. I know then you will dump many of them. Do that, by all means, enjoy the freedom, stay up late, skip the bath, miss the bus. I did it too. What you do later in life, how you use your childhood lessons, whether you use them at all, will depend entirely on you.
I am hoping, however, that when you’ve had your fill of freedom, reason will return, like it did to me. I am hoping, as you grow you will see the wisdom of these age old values. Not all will stand the test of time and that is fine. You will question them and change them and make some of your own.
But when it comes to the really big things, I am hoping, you will know right from wrong and that you will find the courage to do the right thing.
I am counting on it.
That’s why I sweat the small stuff now – because often it is the small stuff that makes a big difference.

Love and hugs
Ma

Pic: PIXABAY

A less than perfect role-model

A less than perfect role-model

You know the trickiest part of parenting? The part where you become a role model for a tiny human, or two in my case, whether you like it or not.
Never in my life have I striven to be a better person — with better habits and a better attitude — as hard as I did since I had the kids. That, without even being aware of it.
The idea that someone thinks (at least for the first decade of his/her life) that you are the epitome of perfection, aims to be ‘just like you’ and is watching you all the time and copying you too is unnerving to say the least.
Years in the hostel and then with just the two of us – The Husband and I – at home made us lose touch with many ‘good’ childhood habits. When the twins came along they sprung right back up with a vengeance.
To begin with we got into a proper schedule. No lounging in bed till 10 am on weekends or staying up late watching movies endlessly. First it was because unexpected changes made the kids cranky and then later simply because that was what suited all of us best.
Next we purged swear words from our vocabulary – no shits, no craps, no damns. Two tiny toddlers lisping them out at us was more than we could handle.
That was just the start. I realised it was easier to get them to do things if I did them first. If I wanted to them to eat at the table (and not in front of the TV) I had to do that myself too, if I wanted them to not go barefoot I had to wear slippers too, if I wanted them to speak a language well I had to give up the mish mash I often slipped into.
They even made me challenge the non confrontationist in me. I learnt to speak out when they were wronged not only because I was way too angry to let it go but also because I didn’t want them to sit back and accept bad behaviour or unfair treatment.
I changed. A lot. However, it’s been ten years since they were born and it does get exhausting. Much as I would want to be this other person permanently, all the time, I realised I simply could not — even though she was a far better version of me.
Some of my childhood habits came back and stuck for good but some I gave up along the way.
Mercifully the children are growing out of the ‘mama is perfect’ mode. And that is a relief, at least for now. I know I’ll be regretting it soon enough as they move to the ‘You don’t know anything, You don’t understand’ phase. But until then I am glad I can let them see that I am not perfect and that they don’t need to be either. And yet that doesn’t mean I’ll stop bugging them or that they don’t need to keep trying their darndest.
I won’t obsesses about it, though. As long as the basic values are in place – honesty, loyalty, empathy, chivalry – the rest shall follow in good time.

Picture credit: Pixabay
Clearing my head

Clearing my head

…. that’s exactly what I’m trying to do through this post today. A few weeks back I shared my anxieties regrading the twin’s academics  – how they seemed completely unconcerned while I was losing sleep (and hair in equal measure). 

A mum blogger, Suchitra raised a point in the comments.
She said, “I wonder sometimes if it’s just us trying to impose our insecurities on our kids because what they do and how they do it reflects on us and how we raise them.”
It made me think. Am I pushing the kids solely for their sake or also because their performance proves my credentials as a good parent – to myself and maybe to others too?
Will it matter to them whether they scored a 100 or a 40 in their exam? The truth is I will be more affected than them maybe because the importance of academics hasn’t quite sunk in for them.
Good grades are important in that they are an indicator of a good education. And they make me come through as a good parent. And both those make me happy. The two motivations are so closely entwined it is tough to separate one from the other. They are almost the same thing. Almost.
It really is a thin line, because when the children do well it automatically makes me look like a good parent. The important bit is to make sure the focus remains on them and not on me – on their progress and happiness rather than on how I am contributing to it.
It is easy to confuse the two and to begin to do things for them, to choose paths for them that make me happy or make me feel like a good parent, in the belief that it makes them happy too. The grades are just one instance.
However, as they grow up, I need to remind myself, that they are not solely a product of my parenting – not their grades, nor their talents, definitely not their likes and dislikes or their personalities or even how they turn out, finally. It is important to recognise them as separate people guided by myriad influences.
In other words to not be an obsessive mom!
I am not as evolved as all of that. But recognising that it needs to happen will put me on the path to making it happen soon enough. Hopefully.

Picture credit: PIXABAY


And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
Somedays I am a 9-year-old

Somedays I am a 9-year-old

I was out shopping for a birthday gift for N’s friend and I spotted an Elsa bag. What? You don’t know Elsa? Elsa from Frozen ? Don’t let N hear you say that, she wouldn’t think much of you.

N has been in love with Elsa for some time now. She sings Let it Go till the rest of us beg her to stop, sleeps with her Elsa quilt and an Elsa cushion and has made an Elsa collage that she’s stuck onto her cupboard. I have nothing against the Frozen girl. I loved the film as much as N. More importantly I shall be forever grateful to her for ridding (well almost) N of her Pink obsession. 

Blue-Green is the new pink, ever since Elsa came along.

Anyway so when I saw this slingbag I thought I just had to pick it up for N. But then something made me stop. I mean, why was getting all excited? Why on earth was I behaving like a nine-year-old? Wasn’t it my place to think whether N really needed the bag at all? Which of course, she didn’t.

If you’re a parent and have been in my place you know why we do it – why we go to Mc Donald’s and eat happy meal after happy meal and demolish our diets, why we buy Spideman bags and Chhota Bheem bed spreads, even when our kids aren’t begging for them – all for that smile on their faces.

And then there are days when we complain about the obsession and the cost and about how marketing companies make children a target of their strategies. They are simply doing their jobs, though some amount of social responsibility wouldn’t hurt. 

The kids are of course just being kids.

So then it has to be us who has to put on the brakes, even at the cost of that dear smile from our little one, for it is but transitory. I know I’m stating the obvious but I’m doing it because I need to hear me say it.

We have it tougher than our parents who had fewer choices and didn’t have to struggle with these dilemmas. I wish I could summon my mom’s classic don’t-be-silly look, the one she would have given me, had I asked for something like this – the best ever antidote to smart marketing strategies.