Parenting is a befuddling, bittersweet journey. When you start out, you are the sole providers, care givers and opinion makers in your children's lives till they watch cartoons and have friends that is. Then they grow older, acquire a vocabulary and interests. You also get some sanity in your routine as you leave diaper changing and continuous feeding behind. Life looks rosier. But, wait, it is time to adjust to not being the decision maker in your kids' lives. They now have a mind of their own and how. Google baba gives them teeth to dispute every fact you can think of. They have a million influences and your grip on them loosens further. All parents grapple with letting go little by little. The grip on their hands loosen till one day they fly the nest. But the hold on their hearts and minds are forever yours. I still sometimes hear my parents' voices in my head. Such is the beauty of upbringing. And, you know what, you realise that while you have moulded their lives and thoughts, their influence has been no less on yours.
Being a parent has been among the most rewarding relationships in my life. Actually, I think I underwent the maximum change as a person when I became a parent. Overnight, I became a worrier for life. Seeing a living, breathing life emerging from me was one of the biggest marvels of nature that I had the privilege of experiencing. There are times when I look at them with such intense pride and joy! They are mine. I have created them. How big is that! But bigger was the responsibility that parenting brings with it. Every second of every day, you try to do your best.
I am a damn good mother even if I say so myself. I have taken things from my own parents who were extremely liberal, trusting and hands off in their own approach at parenting me. But they were more detached. I am more involved, better read yet democratic in my parenting. I am their friend when I need to be, which is quite often, yet when it comes time to crack that whip I won't hesitate. I am their parent first and foremost. Any discipline in their habits, approach and behaviour is imbibed by watching their parents and being made to do things in a certain manner.
Within this larger framework of order, they have a lot of freedom for chaos.
Here are the lessons I learnt from them:
It all begins with empathy
Just yesterday, my son was telling me about a project in which he scored pretty low marks. I was fine. I said all I wanted especially in this subject was that he learned it as best as he could. His marks were not of concern to me. He knows that too. He said he was so relieved, whereas the other boys were already nervous as to how they would face their parents.
The look of joy on his face made me feel good about myself, about him and about how we go about doing things in our home.
The son showed me that compassion pays.
Love wholeheartedly and forgive easily
There are times, many times, when I lose my patience. I will not take complete blame for it because I am human too. Sometimes, they know which buttons to press and then I give it back after adequate warning. Later I feel terrible for my harsh words. And, I reach out to them. I apologise and even through their tears they always forgive. Immediately they will smile and give me a hug. They do it easily and effortlessly. I never cease to admire this quality. If only, we adults could be as easygoing and forgiving. Sigh!
It is not too tough to tread the right path
My younger son is extremely observant and has a marvellous eye for detail. He also finds joy in small things. Sometimes, one does not have to do big, lavish things for them. An outing with family, a movie, a home-cooked meal which is their favourite suffices. My children are amazingly adapting when it comes to food, clothes or even gifts. I got tired of birthday parties from very early on. They felt fake and useless to me. I stopped throwing parties after each of my sons turned 5. They readily accepted, didn't throw a tantrum or argued. And you know what, I see them make the effort to eat healthy hardly ever hankering for chips or colas. It makes me appreciate their wisdom and adaptability. And their intelligence in bucking the trend and peer pressure to tread the right path.
Knowledge knows no age
Of course, they are way smarter than me at knowing gadgets. Even my little son is better than me. I don't bother even disputing that :) When I am stuck with a gadget, I know who to approach.
But it is the other life's lessons that I've mentioned above that I marvel at.
After all, I would have thought that I was going to do most of the teaching when I became a parent but here we teach each other every single day about life, love and relationships.
These beautiful Khushi ke Pal make parenting immensely rewarding.
This post was first published on Rachna says.