Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lessons from Mommyhood

I have always thought about this topic consciously and unconsciously and ever since I have been tagged by Divs, it has set me thinking all the more.

Though it sounds very cliche, Mommyhood  has completely changed me! I can say this proudly because the change has been very positive.

The biggest thing I have learned is to accept that I as a Mommy can make mistakes also.Up until I did not have kids, I always thought that I will be a very strict parent and raise my kids in a very strict environment. I did so until IP was 5 I think. But then, all the light bulbs started going on one after another. I started looking at my kids as individuals who have their own personality and preferences. I realized that the generalized parenting style of strict rules, no sass, less expression of affection to prepare them to face the real world is not appropriate for my kids. I obviously want them to grow up to be well behaved, polite and manner full, but along with that I want them to be self confident individuals who have been loved and respected in their family to demand that from the world. I use the word 'demand' because no one respects you if you are too good. You don't want to become the doormat that people wipe their feet on and move on. You want to become the painting on the wall that draws (demands) attention and praise. In my naive days, I remember, I was steering IP towards becoming the doormat - teaching him to be extremely nice and to always give up just to make others happy. I made him a people pleaser. I am so thankful to God for enlightening me early on before much damage was done. At first, I did not know what to do. My heart ached every time I saw him feeling happy giving up a toy because he thought that was 'sharing', or giving up his spot in the queue so that the kid behind him could go on the swing first because he thought he had to be nice. I taught him to think about other kids' feelings, but did not teach him that his feeling are important also. No one should hurt his feelings! Because I thought everyone is teaching what I am teaching so IP's feeling will be taken care of automatically. Stupid me!

At all the get togethers with friends and family, I saw how everyone around me was so over protective and possessive about their child and his/her feelings while I was teaching my kids to do the opposite. From this experience I learned that it is important to raise self confident, caring and responsible individuals with high self esteem instead of nice, emotional fools. I learned to set my priorities straight, my kids are my first and foremost priority and I have to quit being a people pleaser so that I can be a good role model for my kids. I learned  that it is very important for the kids to have my support to feel secure. I had to show my kids that I care about them - not just in words but in action also. They knew that I love them, but they had to see me standing up for them, speaking up for them and favoring them.  I realized that I am their rock, their protector and the world will treat them the way I will treat them.

My kids have always taught me that there is something called unconditional love. Regardless of how upset I am with them, all they want to hear from me is 'I Love You.' Until and unless I say that and give them a hug, they will not consider the matter resolved. A gazillion 'its ok' will not work. Just like they mean the world to me, I am their World! I say that because of age, experience, maturity, maternal feelings, etc. But for them I am truly what it means!

IP was doing a unit of friendly letters in school. They had to write a friendly letter to someone special. He wrote a letter to me because he wrote 'I am the specialest person for him.' This was after I had gotten mad at him in the morning for not picking up after himself. SP has also written many meaningful notes/one-liners here and there. Last night I was feeling slightly under the weather. As soon as he heard that, he held my hand, took me to my bedroom and signaled IP to follow. Then, they both massaged my shoulders and legs. SP made a crown for me and said, "You are the Queen. Please rest. Let me know if you need anything." He then read a book to me and tucked me in bed.

He has written in his journal that he hopes his Parents could spend more time with him, but he also knows that they are very busy. I have learned that when it comes to spending time with kids, quantity and quality are equally important. IP and SP love doing craft projects with me or cook with me or have me read to them even though they are both independent readers. I always thought that they will not need me as far as TV is concerned, but I recently learned that their dream TV time is all four of us watching their movie together.
I have learned that my kids will appreciate and remember the time I spend with them more than a clean house. It sounds common sensical, but I had to take baby steps to implement it in my life. Being a clean freak, I had a hard time ignoring the mess or a sink full of dirty dishes, but now I have loosened up.

Mommyhood has taught me that kids love conversations with their Parents! Sometimes, both IP and SP say, "Okay Mom, let's talk." or if the conversation ends abruptly because I am distracted by some other stream of thoughts, they both say, "Mom, talk." They both participate actively in any conversation with me or VP.
Mommyhood has taught me something that I am very proud of - I can multitask and I am a supermom! In fact, I have even bought myself a christmas ornament that says SUPERMOM on it. I have also been called a supermom by my friends. I am proud of my ability to multitask and be a supermom, but I think the time has come to slow down - one more lesson learned from Mommyhood. My boys have taught me to slow down and enjoy the day.

I have learned that I am like a truffle... hard on the outside, soft in the inside! I can drive to the ER in a snow storm without my glasses, listen to IP read the street signs and try to keep SP awake to ensure he is okay simultaneously. I can be a rock till SP receives his treatment and breakdown in tears as soon as VP walks in the hospital room. 

Though I am the disciplinarian in my family, I have learned to allow them to break rules at home. I don't want to receive an award for raising well disciplined kids at the cost of losing their childhood. During my new Mommy days, I always thought the way my kids behave will prove what kind of a Mommy I am.... which is very true. But just to prove that, I don't want to spend the time disciplining, yelling and giving instructions only. Everything is good in moderation. What others think about my parenting style is not my lookout. Everyone has an opinion and they can keep it to them self. All I care about is to provide a loving, nurturing and a happy environment for  my boys to grow in and to build a strong bond with them. They will flourish and so will I as a proud Mommy.

Mommyhood has taught me a lot and I have a lot more to learn, but at present I know bringing our boys in this World  was our choice and we are responsible for their lives and upbringing. A big responsibility that VP and I will fulfill extremely well with each others' love, support and co-operation.


  1. Love the way you put your thoughts together here HVP! Thanks for taking the tag and letting me come a little closer to your life as a mommy :-) I can relate to soooo many of your learnings too...I guess mommyhood is unique for each person yet similar for so many of us in so many ways :-)

  2. Hi, just spent lots of time reading your old write very well. one thing I discovered is you are gujju...I am also gujarai...patel but we use our surname as last name:)

  3. @ Nayana:
    Thanks for taking the time and reading my old posts. I had figured you are a Gujarati because I saw pics of some Gujarati scriptures in your home and also pics of Pramukh Swami. :))