We have witnessed a kind of revolution lately. A silent, but highly successful revolution, in which little people have taken over the world from grownups. Suddenly, A whole generation of young parents is living under the commands , wishes and whims of three foot tall kings and queens. These Kings and Queens are not only responsible for deciding what to buy and where to go, but also a huge portion of how their parents lead their lives.
It is like a epidemic. Almost all ambitious career women I knew have hung up their boots to rear their young ones. They probably expected an easy life ahead, full of sweet stories and TV soaps when they had put in their papers. Instead, they are on their tiptoes, day long, 24/7 , juggling pizza and pasta, karate class and swimming lessons, indoor and outdoor games. They are required to be the world's best cook, coach, storyteller and driver. And when Papa comes home, the duty changes. A new servant arrives to pamper and serve the little rulers. The parents, willingly, relinquish the command of the household to the apple of their eyes. They give up on their grown-up pleasures, and hobbies, and lead life with a singular aim of creating an IIT/IIM/AIIMS graduate of their child. So, you'll find plenty of parents using all available techniques, teaching nursery rhymes to 18 month olds and reading to three year olds! The situation in a lot of homes is frankly, out of control!!!
I am not suggesting that we stop caring for our kids. Neither is it wrong to be ambitious about them. In fact , it is quite natural for parents to dream big for their children. Parents in all ages and eras have been doing so. But I would definitely say that weaving ones life totally around the kids , and to loose the independence in the process we so craved for as a teenager, is going a bit too far. Parents need to stop being a doormat, and look at their needs as genuinely important too. Not only will it teach kids to respect their parent's time and efforts, it will also prevent parental 'burn-out' resulting from giving to much of oneself to the process of parenting.
There is another reason for me to advocate this. I see, all around me, young, talented moms, dedicating their whole time to their kids. The only point of conversation with them is their kids. They can go on and on about little Richa's paintings and Mehul's theatrics, but try to hold their attention for more than one minute on any other general topic!! Either Richa would be eating sand, or Mehul's nose would start running. Mamma darling has to run with the Hankey, so bye friend. Nice talking to you. These mothers entirely lose out on adult company, for they are too busy being a hankey, pillow, spoon etc. to be an interesting adult!! They lose touch with their old friends, and never get around to make new ones. Unfortunately for them, kids don't need mammas for ever. Sooner or later , they grow up old enough to fetch their own real hankey, pillow and spoon. Mamma is no longer needed in the playground, and is only tolerated in PTA meetings. When such a time arrives, the doting , all-sacrificing mother has neither a hobby nor a friend to fall back upon.
It is great to have a baby. It is even more wonderful to watch her grow, and to be a party in her growth. No achievement can compare to the feeling a parent gets to see the child play a tune perfectly on the keyboard !! But we should be alert that this does not start defining our lives totally. If your kid goes to a class, join a class nearby yourself. You'll learn something new, and your child would have a role model in you. Don't get so engrossed in watching your kids grow, that you stop growing yourself. (Except the occasional gray hair, of course). Let them have some time by themselves while you watch your favorite serial. It doesn't have to be cartoon all the time. Do not postpone your facial till eternity. Or calling friends over for a chat. Your child will get around to understand that Mom has life beyond him too.
I agree, that these are precious years for your preschooler. But these are not exactly junk years for you either. As you help and support and nourish your young one, cherish and grow yourself too. Do not feel guilty in taking some personal time away from the kids. It will do you good, and will eventually help the whole family. Also worth considering is the fact, that children learn best when they are not being taught. They assimilate, understand and remember information best when it arrives to them from natural sources, and when they ask for it. They learn best when unhurried. So why bother yourself making your kid mug the full Encyclopedia Britannica, when you can use that time to get a full body massage once a week for the whole lifetime!! (And your child would still learn a lot from the Encyclopedia, at his on pace, at his own time).