JOYS OF RAISING BOYS

“It’s going to be fun
For you have always gelled well
With every little one”
My dearest ones told me this
When I was blessed with a son. 

No, don’t do this,
Why don’t you try that.
Stop playing with the spices,
Go play with your bat.

Stop throwing a tantrum,
For I won’t give you my cellphone. 

Blue stars for every good deed,
Black stars for not paying me a heed.

I will reward you if you be good, 
Else will take your favourite toy and scoot. 

I tried and tested every advice,
Recalling that my class of 30 was amazingly nice.
I could handle them with perfection,
But my own showed no flexion.
It’s time to get him a sibling,
The new role will be fulfilling.
Another boy it was meant to be,
Sweet brotherhood I thought I’ll see. 

One year later I woke up from my dream,
There was a hard crust under the cream.
Screams and cries became an everyday affair,
Feuds became fights for me to interfere. 

Joys of raising boys is that you call?
Stress and yelling make my hair fall!
Girls are always caring I sometimes yell,
Get ‘Baby Alive Doll’  my elder one tells. 

Let’s send them to boardings,
For they’ll learn discipline and good things.
That’s the last resort we say,
But the heart remains in dismay. 

Hundreds of sorrries
Are oh-so-sweet,
The kisses during those worries,
Hugs and cuddles are my big treat.
These tiring years will soon fly, 

When I’ll realize these energetic boys are my only joy! 

PREPARATION FOR PARENTHOOD

This week on Candles Online, we are discussing the importance of preparation in our lives. There are things that you can enjoy the most when you dive in head first, but for a majority of important events in our lives, we feel that we must prepare ourselves. Is parenthood one such event? Without doubt, yes. And yet, it often throws even seasoned parents into a conundrum.

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Source: Good Parentig Quotes

No matter how many books you read, or gyan you get from mothers around you, or prenatal yoga you do, nothing helps you get back on your feet faster than the thought of your newborn unattended. The stitches from my C-section still burnt with intense pain but one whimper from my daughter would make me spring up from my hospital bed. I wouldn’t entrust her feeds to anyone else. I’m sure many mothers will agree with me when I say that their mothering experiences were quite different from the one’s around them in certain aspects. The same goes for parenthood in general. No amount of research on being a parent is enough when you’re tackling a toddler who refuses to brush her teeth with ‘pink’ toothpaste and wants the ‘blue’ one instead. Aaaah, now there wasn’t anything about toothpaste choices in that book on parenting, was there? Don’t bother checking. There may be a thousand, no make that a million, other instances that the book doesn’t offer advice on. Why? Because every parent and every child is unique.

So should we not prepare for parenthood?

Of course, you must! While much of the learning about parenting happens on the job, there’s still a lot you can learn beforehand by observing others, through books, even through your own experiences as a child. For example, I am eternally thankful for the parenting books I read that acquainted me with the bowel movements of newborns, or else I may have had a heart-attack when I saw my daughter’s first few stools changing colours after every two days!

So yes, books, videos, the experiences of others, they all help you prepare, but the very first step in preparing for parenthood is preparing oneself, and by this I don’t mean buying things for the child, or redecorating your home to make it baby-proof, or going to the doctor or taking your health supplements on time; I mean preparing oneself emotionally to become a parent.

Two days back I talked to my best bud who is not a mother yet and we were discussing how some of our friends are second-time parents already, whereas she couldn’t conceive of being mommy to even one child because she thought she wasn’t prepared for it. What did she mean by that? Not prepared financially? Or her residence wasn’t baby-proof? Or that her career didn’t allow her to be a mother? It was all of that too, but mostly she meant that she wasn’t yet ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of a child. She wasn’t emotionally prepared.

Why is emotional preparedness important for being a parent when it’s your body and your pocket taking care of the child? It’s because biologically, after attaining puberty, most people can become parents very easily. Some are as young as just teenagers when they become first-time parents, but to be a good parent, one must be willing to take that responsibility and ensure that they will do their best to be good role models to their children. 

 

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Source: Pinterest

From what I have learnt after being a parent, parenting is all about being responsible, sacrificing and setting a good precedent for your child. Parenting is a lot of work and most of the time it’s a thankless job. Oh! also most of it is guesswork. Add to that, today’s definition of a parent does not limit itself to ‘someone who takes care of a child’ because the term ‘childcare’ itself means taking care of the physical, emotional, educational, financial and spiritual needs of a child. No wonder it’s a confusing experience for most first-time parents, but let me tell you, it isn’t any less confusing for second and even third, or fourth-time parents, because every child is unique! Again taking an example from my own life, my mother tells me, I gave her hell at mealtimes, and she fretted that my brother would turn out the same way, but he turned out to be an angel. So much for her parenting experience!

So if you are planning a family or are expecting a child in your world soon, the first thing to prepare is – yourself. Ask yourself if you’re ready. Ask your self if you will be devoted to your child – love him, nurture him, ignore his tantrums and bad habits, yet guide him on the right track to life and be a friend, mother, father, family, guide, teacher, protector and cheerleader to him for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. When you answer yes to all of the above, you’ll know your preparation for parenthood is almost done. Now go ahead, have fun being a parent and yes, you may now buy that cute dinosaur onesie! 😉

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Source: Pinterest

Featured Image: OnlineMommyDiva at Pixabay

GENDER IS JUST A BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE, NOT A WAY OF LIFE

I have a girl and I love her to bits, as I imagine every Mother in the world must do, regardless of the sex of her child. But even though my child is my everything, the centre of my universe, there was still a fraction of a second when I betrayed her and wished she was born a boy.

Did that surprise you? It surprised me too when it happened. When I lay motionless,  barely conscious in the operating room, and when the Doctor pulled her out from the gaping hole in my belly, she held her up for me to see her for the first time. I was overjoyed to see my baby finally, but right on the heels of that pure joy came that sickening moment which was the biggest betrayal to my baby girl. Because in that moment, however small it was, I wondered how it was that I brought forth a girl, when its a boy I had prayed for?

It’s true, I wanted a boy. People used to tell me how myopic my views were, how archaic my reasons sounded for wanting a boy in a family that was overflowing with boys. They accused me of being patriarchal and old-fashioned. They didn’t know the real reason, and I told no one because I feared a backlash if I did – I didn’t want another girl going through what women go through every day. To be specific, what I went through. If I bore a girl and brought her up only for her to be stared at, catcalled, or heaven forbid, touched or violated by some disgusting leche; or even to see her being mentally tortured or conditioned into believing that she was weak, that she had only one job in the world, or that she was secondary to someone, it would break my heart just like it breaks the hearts of millions of mothers out there who have daughters who have faced the ire of the world for being a woman. No mother would want her child to suffer through things like differential treatment, lewd stares, periods, leaving her home for another, dowry, domestic violence, family pressure for babies, and the list goes on…  But the heavens gifted me a girl, and now I wouldn’t exchange her for any number of boys.

But am I the only one who wished to have a boy for the reasons that I enumerated above? I suspect not. There are parents who have wanted a boy for reasons far worse than mine. And that’s why we have baby girls being killed off in India – a nation known for its reverence to its vast array of goddesses, yet infamous for little regard to the women in their own homes.

I will not go into the gory details of what female foeticide and infanticide are and what the stats say about them. If you wish to know that, please click here. I’m here to discuss the reasons behind it. And my own story is part of the perception that fuels this problem. I know that women, in general, don’t have it easy in any part of the world, but I can only attest to the situation in my own country. In India, a female child is unfortunately considered by many, an unwanted commodity, who has to be fed, clothed, educated only so that she can be the nurturer for someone else’s family. And even though it is this girl who is going to eventually perpetuate the family of another, it is the burden of the girl’s family itself to bring the dowry. Is that not the wrong way around? Forget that, why must there be a dowry at all for a ‘family member’, or for a ‘human being’? Is that how families should begin – by a barter of the boy’s hand for money or gifts from the girl’s family? Who’s genius, twisted and mercenary idea was it anyway?! But dowry remains the prime reason why girls are killed in a mother’s womb or right after their births in India. The economic strain of rearing and the eventual loss of a girl becomes the reason for their doom.

Where does the problem lie? I believe it originates from our beliefs that there is a difference between a girl and a boy, apart from the biological ones. We rear them up from infancy to think that they are bound to certain ‘roles’ in society because they were born with certain body parts. I also believe that the problems faced by Indian girls and women today have their origin, partially, in how we bring up our boys to consider themselves the ‘superior gender’; the other half originating in women themselves who think that a girl is a commodity, to be hawked away at a price. The problem of female foeticide and infanticide persists even in the modern era because of our skewed perception of what a girl signifies. To most traditional and pseudo-modern Indians, a girl signifies a freeloader. Like every freeloader, she is taken for granted and treated as secondary, in matters of health, education, occupation, even in marriage. Who wants a freeloader? No one. And so, no one wants the responsibility of raising a girl, but they only want the ultimate benefit a girl brings – the furtherance of the family name. What noble intentions indeed!

To be sure, there are laws, government initiatives, family planning programmes, free education initiatives and other sops offered to parents to deter them from sex-selective abortions and infanticide, but to eradicate the problem from the root we must teach ourselves that a gender is not a ‘way of life’… it’s only a gender, a biological difference. 

I bet if we were to bring up a boy and girl in isolation they would exhibit emotions and preferences conventionally ascribed to both their own gender as well as those ascribed to the opposite gender. It’s only when society and cultural influences come in, that the gender stereotypes begin to emerge in a child. My girl, for example, loves cars instead of dolls, she digs shorts, not skirts, she won’t allow her hair to be pulled into a ponytail , she won’t wear ballerinas, but shoes and has a morbid fear of headbands. She loves any activity that involves getting filthy and tumbling around, and her emotions are never tempered by any feminine restraint. And yet there are times when she’s affectionate, motherly even, and does not flinch from being a diva – like when she says ‘cheese’ for the camera! She’s at once, a girl and a boy, and all of that is because SHE IS HUMAN. 

Perceptions like ‘you must cook because you’re a girl’ or ‘you must be strong because you’re a boy’, may have originated in necessity, so that the man could forage for the family while the woman tended to the home, but those times have come to a close. We live in an age today when our technologies and our education afford both the genders the ability to be either the nurturer or the bread-winner, or even both. Then why must we doggedly hold on to the archaic beliefs about ‘gender roles’? Why should we as parents perpetuate those stereotypes? Why teach our daughters that they must be demure, pliant, understanding, forgiving and kind ONLY because they are girls? And on the contrary teach our sons to be fierce, strong, unabashed and sharp ONLY because they are boys? Are these attributes not human attributes? Why must they be divided to define only a type of gender? 

Being parent to a girl should not be a burden, but being parent to a human being, requiring the same amount of care and effort that one puts into the upbringing of a boy child. Even if our worries about our girls are founded in the loftiest of good intentions, it’s ultimately a way of telling our girls that they are somehow weaker than boys. If we are to breed stronger women, we must start by making them stronger at home, bringing the change in our families, our perceptions, cut off traditions that teach us otherwise, and only then can this become a nationwide, or a worldwide change.

But until this change occurs in the upbringing of every child, boy or girl, and every family member, there will always be an ounce of worry attached to the birth of a girl.

 

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOUR CHILDREN HAVE LOST THEIR WAY

Parenting can be stressful, difficult, and complicated. You become responsible for the life of your child and you’re expected to raise them up as a responsible citizen of the country. It’s no easy feat and you may find yourself questioning your capabilities and parenting skills if something goes wrong.

While it’s natural for us, parents to be disappointed of ourselves and think of giving up, we have to keep in mind that our Parent in heaven never gave up on us. So if you’re struggling right now as you encounter challenges with raising a God fearing child, here are five important things our Parent above wants to remind you. 

You Are Imperfect

Like your child, you are still a work in progress. You’re bound to make mistakes. So don’t beat yourself up too much because of what happened to your child. When things go wrong, don’t blame yourself as blaming never gets you anywhere from point A to point B. Instead, continue to be accountable for the life of your child. Continue to pray according to God’s will. More importantly, entrust their lives to the perfect One who understands and shows Himself faithful to those who hope and rely on Him. 

Your Child is His Child, Too

He knows how you feel. He understands your pain as you see your child get lost because they won’t heed your instructions. They chose another path which they think is best for them but in reality, it leads to the path of destruction. You may be panicking and driving yourself crazy thinking of how you can get your child to realize the error of their ways. God sees and knows about it. Continue to get on your knees and pray for your child, who’s also the child of the Most High. Trust His plans and hang on to your faith for He knows what’s best and He’s got your best interests at heart. 

His Timing is Always Right

You may have been praying for your child for some time now but you may not see any result yet. You may have even wondered if God can hear you and doubted whether He really cares enough to hear your pleas day and night. You may think your situation is hopeless and that your prayers fell on deaf ears. But still, hang on. God’s timing has never been wrong and we can trust Him to make things beautiful in His own time. 

He is in Control

It can be heartbreaking to see your child not acknowledge God in their lives. One thing we can take comfort to when we’re struck with difficult circumstances with our relationship with our child is the fact that God is in control. We may think that things become complicated more than ever as days pass by. But sometimes, God takes us to the long route of life so that we’ll realize how He’s in control and how He’s faithful to provide all our needs.

He’s With You Whatever Happens

God knows what’s in your heart. He is faithful to carry out the plans He has for you, your child, and your family. As you go through the difficult circumstances, continue walking by faith and not by sight. The circumstances may show you the opposite of what God said. Nevertheless, believe God’s words and not what you see. That’s why it’s called faith. You don’t see it but you believe in it. But I say don’t just believe God’s promises. Embrace them and declare them in your life no matter what you see happening in the life of your child. Whatever happens, stay in His love. It’s a choice you will never regret.

As parents, our children are the most important gift we could ever have in life. Our love for them is unmatched and unequalled. And so is God’s love for us, our children, and the rest of His children on earth. When we anchor our life in Him, we will not be moved. No circumstance can ever shake us.

So hang on tightly to your faith in Him. Do not give up. He will see you through this most trying time of your life and your struggles too, shall pass.   Continue reading “5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOUR CHILDREN HAVE LOST THEIR WAY”

GOOD PARENTS CREATE GREAT LEADERS

Every morning sitting with a cup of coffee or tea in one hand and the newspaper in the other, we come to terms with the world we live in.

What do we do?

In most cases we end up complaining and blaming our leaders for not doing their job well. We complain of our votes getting wasted and then resolve and wait to vote for the next leader who would repeat their mistakes and make new ones. We are full of suggestions and are always trying to put in our own advice during the rise of a crisis.

Well is this that we are entitled to do?

We all dream of a better society brimming with competent leaders skilled enough to handle our social, political and economic issues.

But where do we find such people?

Our education system has taken up an endeavour to create leaders for tomorrow. But the making of an excellent leader starts from home itself. A good leader has great parents. Children learn from experiences and by watching their parents. They consider their parents to be their role models. A parent who upholds the values of integrity, perseverance, justice, cleanliness would try to inculcate these in the child; rather the child would imitate the parent and strive to be like him or her. On the other hand, a child whose parent is negative, torturous and lacking in morality and hygiene would succumb to these values later on in his or her life.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “There is but one way to train up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself”. That explains the fact that a parent should be a good role model.

Every child is different and therefore to create good leaders, a parent should learn not to compare a child to its peers. This involves having good management. Parents can adapt themselves to the child’s temperament and try to understand better in case a difficulty arises. So, good management of affairs is the key to making a good leader.

A child remembers all when an adult. Hence, it is necessary for a parent to create good memories. They will help the child later in life. It’s not only a parent’s job to train up a child as some of us are competent, some are not, some are blessed and some are in the waiting.

You don’t need to have kids in order to be a parent. I am not married and don’t have kids but still I consider it to be my job to guide children in making them amongst greatest leaders of our nation. If you are like a parent to any child, grab the opportunity to inculcate good morals when required as our world is in need of a cure.