Parenting In A Joint Family
Living in a joint family set up has its ups and downs. Especially after having kids. There are people other than the husband and you to look after the child occasionally. While that may give the new parents, especially the new mother some time to relax and unwind, the repeated differences in the styles of parenting can be a dampener too.
I have lived in a nuclear setup for as long as I can remember. Our parents lived in a different city from our grandparents’ due to my father’s job. After my marriage, the husband and I stay in a nuclear setup too because of job and travelling considerations. Now all that was fine until we had a baby. We did know we would have trouble managing the baby with our jobs, but we thought we’d figure it when the time came. And so we did. We were managing quite well for about 4 months as I continued with my maternity leave. I took care of her in the day while the husband helped around in the evenings. Then, the husband had to travel onsite for work.
And so, after handling sleep deprivation and the little one all alone for a month, I joined the in-laws until I found a full time/live-in maid. And hence started the battle of the parenting generations. Initially the suggestions came in subtly. And then a little more stern. For some time I gave in even if the suggestion differed from the way I would have handled a situation. Slowly, I realized it was not going to work out this way.
The differences cropped up for as little things as sleep time and feeding. I preferred to feed her while she was fully awake and put her to sleep when she wanted to. The MIL preferred mixing up these activities. She reasoned we could get her to drink more milk that way. I countered that we could not burp her after the feed if she was sleeping. Also this habit might be wrong in the long term as she would want to sleep with the bottle and the long standing milk in the mouth could harm her teeth. Good habits start early, no? And then there is the whole sleeping time fiasco. She wants the kid to be allowed to sleep whenever she wants and as much as she wants. Not that I want to interfere with the kid’s sleep time, but I figured that distracting her from sleep/nap just before nap time helped her sleep better in the night. And eventually better sleep for all of us.
But she stuck to her guns. And me, well. You know how a young mother is like a lioness protecting her cub. Slowly I figured her confidence of “I am right” came from experience and mine from, well, being a mother. Haven’t you heard, a mother should always trust her instincts? Nobody knows the baby better than her. I came to realize that her lack of trust on a young mother just because she is young and “what does she know” made me a little bit of a rebel.
Slowly we are finding a middle ground as we realize that our paths may be different, but we are moving towards the same destination. Towards a healthy and happy kid.
Have you faced such a situation with your little one? How did you resolve it?
Ghata has been quite the center of attention during her school and college days due to her unique name, but now she enjoys her new found title of Mommy to her 5 month old hyper active princess. She is an Engineering Graduate and works with an MNC for a living. But what she really loves is reading books, spending time with her baby and writing about anything that catches her fancy. She blogs at My World. Also, she is the author of a future bestseller. At least in her head