In my previous life (read before being a parent), I never imagined what it meant to be a parent. Some women say they were born to be mothers! I never had such delusions. In fact, I never thought about motherhood or parenting before. It was going to happen sometime in the future, but since so many people do it, it could not be that tough!
Phew! As I often say, it was a different life and I was a different person. Overwhelming, all-consuming and extremely challenging are the words which can define only certain aspects of parenting. I am not even talking about the physical challenges of attending to a new-born, an infant or a toddler; or the informed choices one has to make along the way. Of course, there are different sets of challenges with older children but I am not going to dwell on them right now because I like to take one day at a time.
‘The star’ is going to complete 18 months by the end of this month, and I am already at life’s crossroads re-evaluating every belief system, bad (okay, not-so-good) habits, behavioural issues and planning for various things to come.
Values: Right from honesty to respect for another individual (big or small, elder or younger, man or woman, rich or poor), I have to walk the talk. It is important to count our blessings and share some of the privileges with people who are unfortunate. Values are like pillars of one’s character. If you get that right, nothing else that your child inherits can be as useful for his life and happiness.
Habits: I don’t really have any bad habit but there are several things on my to-do list. From getting up really early to making frugality / recycling a way of life, from limiting the use of gadgets in everyday life to choosing healthy food over junk food; there is always scope for improvement. I have some good ones to boast about too. I am not under the spell of the idiot box. Moreover, if he picks up my reading habit, I will be the happiest soul in the universe. Nothing can be as enriching a hobby as reading.
Behaviour: Mommies and daddies would agree that it is challenging to handle aggressive / unruly behaviour in younger kids. This is the time when they have acquired power but no understanding of the consequences. Keeping your sanity and calmness is an everyday challenge. And for a person who has always been impatient and short-tempered, you can imagine what that means! But violence can only teach violence and disrespect for another individual, even if he is your child. So I constantly check myself whenever I feel the temper rising.
Pre-empting: Although ‘the star’ is still about a year away from playschool, I have already started thinking about evaluating the various schools around my place. I have started discussing about the kind of school, the kind of classes, whys and why nots with Daddy. I want to provide opportunities and encouragement to the talents ‘the star’ might have without making his life miserable with tuitions and hobby classes. Creativity and originality can emerge only when you have time to indulge.
Parenting has provided an opportunity to turn around and look at my own shortcomings, missed opportunities and experiences, and attempt to be the person I want my son to be. When I say all these things, it certainly does not mean that I have accomplished them. These are like goals, I want to be there. Being aware about where I am and start working on it is the first step to being there. Every step in that direction is an accomplishment. If I can give my child the parent he deserves, I will be proud.
These thoughts played a big role in choosing to be a stay-at-home-mom. If I am going to do a thing, I am going to give it my best!
Reema Sahay is a stay-at-home mom who spends her days running around her very curious toddler, ‘the star’, and catching up on books when he naps. She writes about charms and challenges of life at Pen Paper and shares her passion for books at Recommend Books. She sometimes feels that her 5.5 years stint in Marketing Communication was in another life.