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I am not a perfect mom and would never be. Parenting is a continuous learning process which never ends. And in the end, parents always feel that they failed some exams. But still a parent, mom or dad, has the right to take decisions for their kids without any approvals, till the kids are mature enough to decide for themselves.
Like my other stories, this is again, the story of most of the moms. One day, I was driving my son for his weekend class, when he read the name of a maternity hospital on the way. He understood the meaning and asked me curiously, “Mamma, are moms made here?” I gave a glance in my rear view mirror to see the name that lead to his cute question. I said, “Yes and babies are also made here”. It was technically wrong answer but he still doesn’t know about the process of birth and how babies are made.
“You and I were also made here?” he doesn’t give up easily. “No, we were made in another place similar to this” I just told him knowing too well what was coming next.
“How?” he asked. Wasn’t that an obvious question, and I had asked for it. But I decided to give a new direction to the conversation and said, “So when you were born, I became mom, before that I was just Saumya, and your papa became papa, before that he was not a papa. So when babies are born, then mamma and papa are made”. He seemed satisfied with the answer and also proud because his mamma and papa were made because of him.
Few minutes later, he got busy in his class while I waited and reflected back at the journey of becoming a mom till now. When he was born, I was nervous, I didn’t know how to hold a newborn, but it came naturally as he was given to me. Feeding, diapering, massaging, was all new to me, like all moms, but I learnt. I had people around me to help me and correct me if I was going wrong. Though I never went wrong, I still found myself seeking approval of more experienced people, be it my mom, or mom-in-law. I thought they knew better, and for sure they did. But the part that went wrong was the need to get my actions approved. Phase of parenting changed from feeding to weaning, to decide on baby food and I asked for approval again. And then again for removing diapers, and for everything that I can think off.
Slowly the need of approval started showing as my lack of confidence as a mom. And then my obvious decisions were rejected without much thought. If I said, my son needed more time with other kids, I heard, “No he is fine, he is too young to mingle with kids”. If I said, he should not be give mashed food anymore, “No, he is too young, he won’t be able to chew”. If I said, he should join some classes, “No, he is too young, he will not be to handle the hectic routine”. If I said, he needed a health drink because his growth was slower than kids of his age, “No, these things are marketing strategies, home food is best”.
So basically, all my suggestions were discarded, without even proper analysis, because it came from me. Because I always wanted to be approved. And I just gave in, without much fight. The adverse effect that this had on my son was that he started thinking he was too young for anything. He started thinking that he was not capable. Without proper exposure, balanced diet and proper nutrients that a growing kid needs, he started lagging behind. He was losing his confidence and I was losing my patience.
To make it all worse, same suggestions were accepted when it came from my son’s school teacher, or from his pediatrician. Degree does matter, but sadly there is no degree available to be a certified mom. Nevertheless, I am happy that whatever be the reason, (my) suggestions were finally accepted. And it made me realize that I was always right. Though it all started off a little late, but my son, finally got his share of play time with friends, he got used to chewing which helped him when he joined kindergarten, he also started off with his chess and skating classes and his favorite health drink. He still looks small in front of his other friends, but he surely is growing well now and smart. He lags behind in some activities and shines bright in others. Most important is that he is ready for challenges, whether it’s a mind game or a running game.
So the only secret lies in making the right decisions and giving the right health nutrients at the right time.
And yes, as for me, the approval seeking mom, has become more assertive. I decide for my son, not blindly, but with proper background research and feedback. If my decisions are not agreed upon then I ask for reasons. And I give up only when I am convinced that what I am suggesting is really not going to help.
And with my experience, I would like to say that it’s good to suggest only if you truly think a mom needs help, and not because you think that you are a better mom. Because there is nothing like a “better mom”, but only “best mom” that every mom already is!
Image Credit: Huffington Post