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There's something special about 10th boards as it evokes mixed reactions and unites all. No sooner my daughter’s 9th grade got over and she got ready to step into the much awaited but dreaded 10th grade, I realised that I had many well-wishers; more than I had ever expected. Anybody who even was remotely related to me or my family felt that it is their birthright to guide me so that my daughter passes with flying colours. I feel that 10th boards are highly overrated as it is just another milestone and the marks of which has no bearing on the future.
I went to my native village, there every elder I met, even strangers came up to me and gave me their dose of wisdom. I was told that it is most important class and I should keep my reigns tight on my daughter. Frankly speaking, I really got a bit nervous but anyhow, I assured one and all that I will follow their advice to a tee.
They remarked ‘Dekh lena tumhari beti awwal number se pass hogi’, 'Tenth mein achhe marks aa gaye toh life set ho jaayegi'. I listened to all of them patiently and gave a sly smile to my daughter. Whereever I went I was asked 'Tumhari beti tenth mein hain naa?' and then the tips to crack the boards (as if it was some IIT or IAS exam) followed.
Soon school started and the only advice that I gave to my daughter was to have fun along with studies because this phase will never come again. All around me there was chaos, I was in an utter sense of confusion as every parent was now hyperactively immersed in the kid’s studies. More than the kids, the parents were brushing up their studies as if they were going to sit for the exam. The conversation revolved around studies only and if I started a normal conversation, I was met with snide remarks as if I was not a concerned mom.
A WhatsApp group was especially created for moms of tenth class students so that we all could share our tips and pass on relevant information so that there is nothing amiss. Believe me, the discussions that were there in the group gave me more attacks and heart burn than the food itself. I was most of the time clueless or felt like a misfit. I encountered different types of moms in the group which was a revelation to me and looking at them I had guilt twinges.
Types of Mom that I encountered:
Stuck in The Rut Moms: For these moms the only job is to look after the studies of their 10th grader. They forsook all forms of entertainment and always remarked that they have no life of their own and their life is a bore. They are a rare breed and avoid mixing with others lest their time gets wasted. These types of moms are the ones who heave a great sigh of relief after the exams and celebrate as if released from jail.
Burning Midnight Oil Moms: These were the ones who used to religiously stay awake midnight with the child from day one and helped their kid in studies. They provided moral encouragement and sit through the whole of study routine so that the child never felt alone.
Health Freak Moms: These were the ones who went overboard with nutritious diets and other health tips. A complete diet overhaul with healthy and filling shakes and snacks is their forte. It seemed that they were competing for the top nutritionist award.
OverExpecting Moms: These are the ones who are always having high expectations from their kids and they leave no stone unturned to make their child top scorer. For them, what matters in getting highest marks whether the child understands or not. I have a friend who emphasised on getting full marks in all the subjects and her poor child was always under pressure. Even a 0.5 difference gave her fits.
Nagging Moms: These constantly nag their kid for studying and in every conversation, the topic of studies crops up. Whole house reverberates with 'Padh lo'. They nag about study patterns, sleeping schedules, eating habits and nearly about everything.
Comparing Moms: These moms are in a comparing mode, comparing their kids with others. 'Tumhari friend to itna padhti hai aur tum bilkul nahin padhte', Mrs. Roy ki ladki ke itne achhe number aayen hain, tumhare kyun nahi aate'. Every argument is met with a comparison with some kid. For such moms, their kids are good for nothing and all other kids are doing rather well. They compare so that they can put some sense into their kid's minds.
Money Bag Moms: These are the ones who provide each and every kind of coaching or tuition available on Earth so that their child is not lacking in resources. They also make sure that their child has the latest edition of reference books of different kinds, sample question papers, past question papers of all subjects.
Hovering Moms: These are the ones who keep a tab on every activity of the child lest the child whiles away his or her time rather than studying. Such parents would often be heard saying when their child takes even a short break ‘Ab padhne baith jao’
MollyCoddling Moms: These are the ones who literally baby sit their tenth graders. They feed them and help them in rote learning by reading out to them.
Cool Moms: These are the ones who are attuned to their child’s needs and they do not freak out over every little thing. They are right there when the child needs them and are more at ease with the studies.
Overzealous Moms: They are too enthusiastic for the boards that they are consistently in touch with the teachers. They often meet the teachers and make notes on how's of improving the grades of their kids. They also take the advice of others and follow to a tee.
More such drama will continue throughout the year, will be at peak during the exams and finally culminate with the board results. The board results will unfurl more drama, heartaches, emotions and nervous breakdown but till then the situation will be tense and somewhat chaotic.
I have become a bundle of nerves seeing all this and I have some serious doubts about my parenting abilities. How my child fares in her boards is a different story but I know she will be a happy person. Most of the time we put pressure on our kids due to societal pressure and expectations as ‘Log kya kahenge’ but seriously how will it matter a few years down the line. Why do we burden our kids with our dreams? We should have real expectations. By expecting too much from our kids, we are pushing them to depression, suicides or even murders as in the recent case of Siddharth Ganore who murdered his mom because of constant nagging.
Our role should be as a guide and to show the right path, the right way without any undue pressure.