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Why comparisons could be odious in this realm of life
One thing I often hear being said by fellow-mothers is that I am lucky to be blessed with daughters. The compliment given till here really pleases me though I seriously believe everything that we have or not have is for the best of us — daughter, son, special needs kid, no kid. Because life is not about having or not having; it is about the aim of reaching the state of a higher being.
Still, being a regular woman and a doting mom, it makes my heart swell with pride when people compliment me for my daughters. But things become quite annoying when people take one step forward and say, “After all, daughters are easy compared to sons.” People have no serious intention but when I heard that quite frequently, and being on nerves most of the time because my elder one is no less than a bumbling bee, and pushes me to the brink of my temper, these kinds of uninvited comments started to really bother me. These casual statements reek subtly of discrimination to both girls and boys.
They sound to the mother in me like all my hard work, my toil, in raising my kids is being treated as if I am having it easy compared to those who have sons. Such seemingly innocent beliefs lay the foundation to the cruel expectation of our society for parents of a prospective bride to virtually worship parents of a prospective groom. So I try to explain people, it’s not like that! My now four years old girl is a ball of energy, enough to give me a hard time since the day she started gurgling. Wasn’t even six months when she started crawling without waiting to be fed. She jumps, runs, shrieks at the top of her voice every now and then. Does not want to sleep, does not want to be restricted in shopping malls, does not sit straight, does not keep quiet, does not want to eat, does not listen to me… the list is endless with her as much as my fondness for her. She can be a real brat. And I don’t find it easy many times. Yes, parents to daughters too have their share of parental blues.
In fact, parenting any child has its own share of perks and problems. Everyone has their own challenges. These cannot be measured or compared. Each one is given enough according to each one’s capabilities. They say we are given only that much that we can handle. No one is given happiness beyond what we deserve, or pain beyond what we can endure. It does not become easy or tough based on dealing with a daughter or a son. A boy can be as gentle, as a girl can be a real mischief. But if you start conditioning one child from the beginning to be gentle and accept another’s playfulness as an inborn trait, then yes, a difference appears generalised.
Comments such as “daughters are more kind” are beyond my comprehension. Given the skewed ratio of girls and boys, don’t such comments mean that more than half of the world we live in is unkind? Well, that’s a dangerously hopeless world then! Since when has virtues such as kindness, love, patience and compassion become limited to gender, or class, or race? As far as I know, each life is blessed with immense potential to love. It is our narrow views that bring up a child with more or less of it. It is here that parenting skills pitch in.
What is the point people are trying to make bringing in the gender of a child in normal conversations? I have understood that gender-related disappointment is a genuine issue that many suffer from. And also, gender discrimination is an ill that cannot be cured easily, maybe never. The truth has dawned upon me that we are a gender- obsessed society. The stereotypes, the rebellion against it, everything is ingrained deeply in the fabric of our social order.
Otherwise, a kid is a kid is a kid. A person is a person. A life is a life. Nobody is less or more. That’s it! When people start talking in such terms only then all kids can flourish in an environment of equality and opportunity. Parents to only girls, parents to only boys and parents to both the genders, remember it is our responsibility to not limit our children according to some preconceived notions, to give them enough space where they can explore their strengths, to raise our kids in such a way that they respect each other without bringing in the differences of appearances and capabilities. Yes, it is not a casual thing but a very serious affair, for we are the caretakers of the future!
This post first appeared on author's blog and later on online edition of The Hindu