Thursday, January 05, 2012

I am not Supermom!

A few posts ago, when I had written about some challenges I faced during parenting, one commenter had told me that she was glad to read that I face difficulties too, because she had seen me as a super mom/wife/woman.

I think it is time to set the record straight.

I don't blog all the thoughts that come to my head.  Some posts die before they come out of my head.  Some dither at the draft level.  A very few fructify into blog posts. 

And I am not one who cribs or whines in public, nor do I like washing dirty linen in front of virtual strangers.  So I refrain from speaking about many things.  That, perhaps, has portrayed me as this superwoman.

We all know that there is no such thing.  All of us, I think are in a constant state of effort to improve ourselves, whether we know it or not.  To do the thing that we think is best.  For ourselves, for our children.

Parenting doesn't come with a manual.  And to add to that, every child is different.  Besides, we will be deluding ourselves if we think that we are the only ones who have an effect on our children.  The fact is that we live in a society, and inputs and influences come from every direction.

As a result, we are trying to nudge our children in a direction that we think is best - in the midst of all these thousands of little pushes that the child keeps receiving every day, every minute.

And sometimes we don't even know whether what we are doing is right or not.  Is it going to hurt her in the long run?  Is this going to result in some other behaviour problem later in life?  We don't know.  We cannot possibly know.  So we always do what we think is right at that point of time.  Of course we have a long-term view at the back of our minds, but sometimes, we just cannot be sure of what is right.

I am also a victim of that uncertainty.  I have constant doubts about what I am doing, what kind of an example I am setting.  I know I am far from being organized.  What am I showing her by being lazy, disorganized?  It is too much effort for me to maintain a neat and beautiful home.  Yet, I try.  But more often than not, I fail.  I used to be proud of the house my mom maintained.  It gave me pleasure to see how my friends appreciated it.  I used to be terribly vain about my mother's cooking, my mother's sewing.  Even now, when I am at a loss about what to do in certain home-makerly areas, I have the confidence that my mother's magic hands will set everything right.

But will my daughter have that kind of feeling about me?  I am most certain that she will not.  Because I am a totally different person.  True, she might be proud of me in totally different ways, or she might not.  But, it bothers me that I am not setting a certain standard for her to follow.  It bothers me that I don't take her to too many new places, that I don't expose her to enough things. 

I am constantly told that my daughter is too soft.  My view is that it is better she is that than if she is insensitive and rude.  Besides, I feel that if I give her a nice, secure environment now, she will later anyway grow up to be a secure, confident individual.  I don't care if she is not aggressive.  It is enough if she is content.  But is this opinion right?  Is it wrong? 

Am I lax in my nurturing her, because I don't have any fixed structured timetable for her?  Do I have to make her write her alphabet every day?  Do I have to send her to classes, art/sports?  Am I doing the right thing in letting her be, for now?  I think I am, instinct tells me that this is probalby the best thing. But my brain sometimes thinks otherwise. It tells me that it might cause problems later on.   It pushes, prods, points me to other kids.  And sends me into a tizzy of confusion.

I am not some advertisement mom, who wakes up in the morning fresh and bright-eyed,and glides about my day, each hair in place, my clothes neatly ironed, who knows just the right things to do for my child, and does it smilingly.  Far from it.

If there is anything I have achieved, for myself, or for my daughter, it is only by rising above all this.  It is not because of what I am, it is in spite of what I am.

If you have also been thinking that I am a supermom who sails through parenting, be assured that I am not.  I have to make an effort too, sometimes more than I am even capable of.  Yet, all that matters is that I have my daughter's best interests in mind, and that, I feel, is enough to guide me in my way.


Rajnish said...

Parenting is a tough task and I feel a little care is required than the over care attitude. We should let our children to feel and understand things and hence let them grow as an individuals...

Nithya said...

I think I am, instinct tells me that this is probalby the best thing *probably*

True, Shruthi..I think we grow up as parents along with our children..

Btw, I also got the feeling that you are a supermom when I read some of your previous blogs.. so sad to know that you are just like one of us :P

Sumana said...

Hey shruthi, You are indeed very humble to consider yourself just like one of us. No I am not flattering you here but i still see you as an ideal. Have fun with Puttachi and wish you all a very happy new year.

Radhika said...

Shruthi, you have written what goes on in the minds of many moms - what's the right way of parenting. You may have read Khalil Gibran's views on that. I like it, though I can't be so very detached about upbringing of the child. It so happens that we mostly enforce our views on the child. But that’s fine I feel.
I too worry about my daughter not being aggressive, moving away from kids who’re aggressive. I wonder if that’s good or not good, not very sure!

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Shruthi said...

Rajnish, the difficult thing is to find that balance, that fine line.

Nithya, really, sad? And why should that be? :)

Sumana, it actually bothers me that some people think that way about me. I am really not even close to being ideal!

Radhika, I agree with Gibran's views - that children only come through you, not from you, and they don't belong to you. But I also feel that especially at this young, impressionable age, the onus is upon us to set them on the right path, and give them the right values. For that it is necessary for us to push and prod them a bit. Which, I understand is similar to what you feel...

Abhipraya said...

The part about not being a good example, not showing her new things is something I have been grappling with off late.

And about the child not being not aggressive, this is my worry - it is good that she is not aggressive. But how will she survive in a world full of such people and situations. I don't have answer to that one. Just wondering aloud.

Shruthi said...

Abhipraya, that is one of my worries too. I can see how sometimes she gets edged out by more rough children. But then I think - I was like that too, shy and non-aggressive, and haven't fared too badly... so perhaps....

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