Motherhood, among other things, is a sobering and humbling experience. All your lofty ideas about ideal parenting are finally put to sleep as you struggle day in and day out, to get your act together. Which is why I no longer say the following things:
1. That kid is such a spoilt brat: I always used to feel, that for a kid to lie on the floor and bang his hands and feet had to be his parents’ fault. Because, of course, they must have set a bad precedent and the kid now believes that he can get his way every time he breaks into that routine, in public. My daughter has recently started using this tactic at home and in public places. I don’t know, how it started. I don’t know how I can curb it, but I know this, it wasn’t me who encouraged this behavior.
2. How can they let their baby cry: Here’s a fun fact- kids are like grownups…They like drama, and they cry- to get attention, to get their way, because they are bored, because they can’t sleep even though they are terribly tired, because they are hungry but don’t like their meal and for many reasons that parents have no idea about (at least in that moment). I always thought, that if a baby is crying profusely, and his parents are walking ahead without consoling him, cajoling him, or comforting him, they must be a really bad set of parents. I have come to realize that, every time a baby cries, it doesn’t always have to be real, serious or even something remotely important. My daughter cries, if I take away the shoe, she was so gleefully chewing on, 3 seconds ago. She then again cries, if she accidentally, gets her tiny, oh-so-cute hands on one of my lipsticks and literally decides to ‘paint the town red’ with it. She then cries again, if she discovers our dustbin has some thrown away food in it and wants to munch on it and I clearly being the villain, stop her from another of her ‘innocent’ indulgences. Sometimes, we have no choice, but to allow our children, to get over themselves, because we just cannot give in to their temporary ideas of happiness!
3. Bad parenting sign #3– did he just hit another child: I thought, that if the home environment is ‘nurturing’, ‘healthy’, ‘happy’, ‘non-violent’, a baby will never hit another baby, until the day, my baby girl, hit me and when I expressed my pain, she started laughing. I have to admit, that her laughter was so cute and adorable, that I almost got ready to be hit by her again. The ‘responsible’ parent in me, however, tried telling her that one must not slap, push or hit another person. But she is too young. I would be fooling myself if I hope, that any idea I intend to plant, will hold roots anytime soon. Until that happens, I am that embarrassed mother, in a social gathering, who apologizes, every time my baby plays her little game and hits another baby (tinier than her) and then appears shocked when the baby starts crying; all this while wondering that she was just being friendly.
4. Eww…please grab a tissue & clean your baby’s face:…and while you are at it, maybe change her dirty clothes as well? I used to be extremely judgmental about the parents, who would what it appeared to be at that time ‘turn a blind eye’ to their child’s obvious shabbiness. Here’s the thing, they can see it, but just can’t help it, sometimes. My husband and I just recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and since it was right in the middle of the work week, we decided that nothing flashy or elaborate is possible and that we will try and go to a ‘nice’ place for an early dinner. I bathed my baby girl, dressed her up in one of her new party outfits, matching everything, with everything. Then quickly got ready and off we went to the ‘nice’ place for our ‘somewhat’ romantic dinner. While we were on our way, our daughter demanded a biscuit and we gave her the one, she is currently fond of, a chocolate cream biscuit. By the time we reached the restaurant, her face, tiny little fingers were smeared with chocolate. She had some stuck in her hair too. I promptly took out one of the wipes, but since she was already irritated with the fact that she was again made to sit in her pram, she refused to be touched, especially her precious face. So we entered the fine dining restaurant with my baby looking like she just got into a street fight with another baby for a toy dump in the dirt. So yeah. Maybe nobody noticed, but I did and it was one of the many reminders, that no matter how perfect, you want things to be for your baby, you need to realize that sometimes there will be tiny little things (no matter how annoying) that will be out of your hands.
5. Please stop using your baby as ‘show and tell’ toy: My parents used to do it very often. Every time, a guest would visit our house, they would ask me to recite a very difficult poem that I had learned and had previously recited on tv. This went on for a while. Things they wanted to showcase kept changing with time, but their knack for asking me to recite/sing/act something specific, didn’t. While growing up, I saw other parents, doing the exact same thing to their kids. Now that my baby is old enough to mutter some simple words like ‘mumma’, ‘puppa’, ‘no’ etc, I not only tell my colleagues on a daily basis my account of all her mumblings, but I also try and make her say some words when they are around. I am sure, I will shamelessly ask her to recite some random poem when she gets to that age. I do it because I am extremely proud of my baby girl’s little achievements and I want to share it with my circle of friends. I no longer think it’s awkward, or weird, or plain stupid. I guess, now that I am on the other side of parenthood and not a mere onlooker, I have realized that things that used to appear vague and non-consequential have some kind of fondness, tenderness attached to it.
In short, I no longer believe, I have grown up to become a perfect parent, which I thought I would be. I have left myself, in the tiny hands of my daughter and truly trust her ways to mold me into a parent, who would be tailor-made for her.
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