Parenting Female Adda
11 months ago
My Biggest Learnings As A Parent In 2017

This year has been extremely challenging for me both in terms of work and being a parent. I found myself more out of balance than in control. I was always busy managing and prioritising so many parts of me that I found a sense of doing justice to none. Yes, it happens to the best of us. That’s when it dawned on me I just need to prioritize my life. I am possibly giving into things that are far less important than I think a lot more time.

Parenting is the world’s toughest job. It’s tough not because the kids are difficult but because we have no experience and never enough time. The people running the show are so unpredictable and dynamic that it’s hard and actually not correct to templatize their lives or situations. Yes, I am guilty of doing that.

I have been sharing my lessons all through these years because it helps me reflect on what I want for next year and work towards it. This year is all about the new things we look to work on as a family.

You may also like: Parenting trends to look forward to 2018 

1. Life on social media is not what it appears always and don’t think yours is any less special:

Please do not wake up to social media and feel less accomplished for not having that perfect lifestyle or that perfect moment. It’s all very different and you have no idea how many shots it took to create that one perfect moment. We have no clue how many moms lost their cool while their kids did not want to shoot that moment or they couldn’t get it right! Use social media to learn, grow and adapt and not feel inadequate or inferior.

2. Gadget-free time with kids is a must:

I know it may sound really hard but the two or three hours that we, as working parents spend with them need to be sans the phone. Imagine while you are talking to your spouse and he/she is busy checking something on his phone. How would you react? Unfortunately, our kids feel the same but have quietly given up on us. Let’s do it for ourselves. Let’s give them that undivided attention that they definitely need. Remember, work can wait.

3. Be honest with them: There were moments in 2017 where I thought I didn’t have answers to their questions and some answers would hurt them but I do believe that letting them learn the truth sometimes is easier than the cover being blown off.

4. Invest in teaching your kids:

While free play and unstructured play time are great, I do feel that time spent in teaching the kids and working with them will really help shape the fundamentals or concepts much better. Providing the right stimuli for them to learn through exploration is what I most definitely would want to work in 2018. And these are things only a parent can do. It cannot be outsourced.

5. Me time is not being selfish:

Whenever I spend time with myself I return to the parenting world as a happier mom and the same time, not neglecting my duties as a parent. I am not going to neglect me but I will prioritize on things that could take a back seat to carve out time for myself and people who matter. I also realize that I need to be a healthier and a fitter mom to be able to attend to the needs of my children and family.

6. Lead by example:

I have stopped talking about sizes and weight and started talking more about health, gratitude and the importance of discipline. I want my kids to not look at food as carbs, proteins, fats, minerals but just as essential food groups that aide important functions of the body and not something that results into weight gain or loss of muscle. They need to be thankful for the meal that they eat and that’s what matters.

7. The drive to win but the emphasis to try:

Inspired by our interview with Gopichand, I don’t want my kids to believe that there is only 1 in a billion who can make it to world sports or academics but the process of reaching it is equally important and the lessons learnt along the way is what will shape them.

8. It’s always a perfect day:

I am an eternal optimist and believe that every day is beautiful. I want my kids to always be optimistic and never wait for that perfect day or moment but create those or live each day to make it perfect.

9. Teach your kids to have confidence in themselves:

In a world where everyone is hoping for a near-perfect life and photoshopped images, I want my kids to believe in themselves. There will always be moments when people will make them feel inadequate but the key is believing in not to lose faith in themselves and weave their own magic in the stories they share.

10. If she doesn’t make it to the top she isn’t a loser and you are not a bad parent:

 I think this was the toughest lesson for me to learn. As parents, we burden ourselves with expectations. There could be multiple reasons for you to believe that something would be better for your kids and they must achieve that. At first, when the daughter didn’t achieve what I thought was right for her, I was miserable and I made her feel miserable. And I realised, I was so wrong! Children learn to move on but I couldn’t. Ditch this guilt, parents.

11. My child doesn’t know what she is good at and neither do I:

As parents, we are constantly in a battleground trying to figure out what our kids are good at. What will she do when she grows up, I keep wondering, But the fact is that I have changed 4 careers in my 36 years of life and at this point, what I am doing now, seems the best and what I really want. I really don’t know about tomorrow and how it will change (will it?!) If I can’t predict things at this age, how can I burden my child to figure out what she wants at the tender age of 8/9?

12. Photos are memories and not meant to be perfect because our kids are not models:

My kids love taking pictures of moments, memories, magic and madness. They just hate it when I ask them to stand or pose and I’ve realized I’m not going to be a bitter mom trying to perfect that and lose their spontaneity. So next time you ask your child to smile because he is on camera think whether he actually likes it or not!

13. What do I want for my child?: 

Answer this one question and you will get to know more about yourself as a parent.

14. I’ve learned to laugh:

I have probably stopped losing my head over spilt milk, dirty clothes, scribbled walls, incomplete snack boxes or witty back answers. And I mean this. I drove myself crazy over thinking how do they just drop milk but the point is they do! How does the bottle of poster colours just open and turn itself upside down, but it does! I have learnt to laugh at myself and that’s why it’s easy.

15. La Familia:

I think families will play a much bigger role in the years to come than it is today. Simply because the amount of virtual interaction where acquaintances really define your spirit can be very lonely. What my girls and I definitely learnt after watching the movie Coco was ensuring we spend every Sunday at Nani’s house. Families will be our driving force. They will be the ones that will help us stay rooted and drive our value systems.

16. Not to use love as a carrot to discipline kids: 

This is one of the most important lessons and I realized that every juncture of parenting I did this. Meal times, classes, getting ready. Love was no longer unconditional and it felt like barter each time. This had to change. I wanted to stop making my kids believe that my love was conditional and they had to please me each time and overrule their feelings. Read how here.

17. Never Say Never: 

This is a thumb rule to parenting. Never say never to anything that your kids can do. Kids are an unpredictable species and if you feel that your kids would never do it you are wrong.

18. You are doing the best job you know: 

This is one of my favourite lines from the song affirmation by Savage Garden which says “Your parents did the best job they knew how to do”. In any relationship, it’s never enough and we are all trying to give in and nurture it but some days are cloudy and there isn’t enough sunshine and that is also okay.

19. Don’t try to do it alone:

The biggest lesson is to ask for help and share. Ask help from your friends and family. It’s a tough job and the best person to stand by you is your spouse.

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