Everything in this world comes with a price tag!!. Why this sudden realization of materialistic nature of world cropped inside me? This insight actually keeps on popping in my head since my daughter was born.
I am a mom who has to take the charge of the turbulent ship of parenting of a 3 month old alongwith her hands-on spouse who was equally naive about parenting as her. My mother was there to support me during my delivery and she stayed back for couple of months after that. But prolonging her stay was not a feasible option for her. Following months witnessed a completely different persona of mine. I fretted, got irritated and almost gave up lot many times. I took refuge of Google-dev, got myself enrolled in n-number of parenting forums and fished out internet to amplify my awareness about parenting nuances. My mobile phone bills soared with the long duration calls made to my mother & mother-in-law to discuss the changing color of poop of my daughter. Joining back to work became a distant option for me.
As time passed by, the level of challenges to be a nuclear mommy sky-rocketed. Activities like taking bath & answering nature calls took record minimal time to get completed. Other household errands took place only when ‘her highness’ doze her beauty sleep. I went green with envy for those ladies who had the presence of elder generation at their home and enjoys the wonderful cushion of support system to handle their kids. Sometimes I also did felt selfish about my change of mindset about nuclear family, a concept which I liked till now.
But, few interaction with one of my neighbor who was incidentally a new mom (her kid is only few months elder to mine) staying in a joint family set up compelled me to review the backdrop of my cribbing. Initially, I was jealous when she discussed about her spare time which she spends on browsing social networking sites & watching movies. The kid also looked so occupied & happy in the company of grandparents & extended family members. But, then the lady confided with the ground level quandary of parenting in a joint family. Her MIL apparently believed in ‘force-feed & chubby = healthy’ baby theorem. Even if the mother wanted to give the baby a break from force feeding she was instilled with the guilt of being a lazy parent. Doctor’s advice was challenged many times by the experience of the elder generation of her family. Introducing cow’s milk to the baby transformed in an ego-issue in her household which disrupted the mental peace of otherwise synchronized family.
These discussions gave me enough food for thought. I oscillated in the dilemma about this matter of upbringing kids in nuclear versus joint family. It reminded me of an instance which my MIL mentioned. They were staying in joint family set up and every time she had to discipline her kids, she had to pull them to her room as other elder members outside may object to her actions. In Indian family set–up challenging elder’s behavior is generally considered quite awful. So it becomes a sticky situation where your parenting would always be under pressure of family influence. Above all, even kids are smart enough to sense these tug-o-war circumstances after a while.
However, this fact also cannot be denied that presence of grandparents helps to nurture the personality of a child. This I can vouch on the basis of my own childhood. My individuality has a strong reflection of my grandparents. Their presence at home also wipes out any working mother’s security related tension for the child. Their rich experience of life takes away lots of burden from the parent’s shoulders.
Here the Devil’s advocate fraction of me intervened. A nuclear family parent can acquire tons of tips from various parenting sites & books and also can take advices from other elderly people but including them in their parenting is always their own discretion. However, in joint families not acting upon on elder’s tips can always invite uneasy state of affairs.
So, as I mentioned ‘Everything in this world comes with a price tag’. While the joint family parents’ bears the price with losing their sovereignty or say on their kids upbringing; the self-sufficiency & independence to mould their own parenting style costs the nuclear family parents of managing all affairs all alone between the spouses. Ahhh….another dilemma of parenting!!!!
Nibedita Bose is an ex-Team Manager and now a SAHM trying to sail through the changes of life. A mother of a 1.5 year old who loves to read & blog.