Random musings of a wandering soul

Monster Mom

monster

First came Smitha’s post, then it was Roshni. The last straw was a conversation with a colleague. Her brother was planning to bond with his one and a half year old son over the weekend. So what, you ask? Well, it has been meticulously planned by a parenting club. They conduct weekend sessions for parents and kids with classes from child psychologists, pediatricians, counselors, child care givers and the likes. These sessions apparently teach you how to be a good parent, develop a healthy relationship with your children, and turn them into a perfect combination of an angel and a wunderkind. There are specially designed games, dedicated time separately for mothers and fathers and what not and all these conducted in some star studded hotel or resort with brunch, lunch or high tea thrown in. Mind you, these are for what you would call normal, healthy kids and their seemingly normal parents. Whatever happened to good old parenting, I wonder!

 

I have been accused of proudly spanking my kids, giving them too much freedom, being too casual a mother, not taking care of their health and nutrition, talking to them about adult stuff, making them do things on their own, in short, being a  total monster. Then there is a close group of my friends who thinks I am ok, some even think of me as a super mom 🙂 No prizes for guessing whose opinion I value.

Smitha asked whether we would tolerate bad language in kids and I said I wouldn’t hesitate to give mine a solid whack where it hurts. And oops, that really hurt a reader who thinks we should be really careful about the kid’s sentiments and what they would feel and how nothing should be taboo so they are ready for life. To each her own was my response, but then it really set me thinking and took me back to a time when son was about two or three.

My weekly super market visits were a nightmare. Our pact was he could buy one thing of his choice, either a pack of juice or a small chocolate. There was a bakery on the way back, and trouble would be waiting for me there in the form of Kit – Kats and Cadbury’s milk chocolates arranged very artistically at the window. The act would start with a loud wail from junior and a firm no from mother, slowly progressing into higher decibel levels and finally culminating in a scene where you would find an angelic boy rolling on the floor with tears streaming down his face and a draconian mother dragging him and literally throwing him into an auto. The climax would be enacted at home with the sound of a loud whack on a baby bum, supported by a background score of a reggae mix of hoarse shouts and fading blues. Those were tough times for both of us, it set the tone of our relationship and now when I look back, boy, am I glad that I stood my ground!  Today, he is a mature, independent and intelligent 11 year old (at least, that’s what people seem to think 😉 ), who knows his limits and what his parents consider as right and wrong.

Doesn’t he demand things that his friends have, you ask. Oh yes, he is like any other boy of his age, who would absolutely love to have an i-pad all for himself, free access to internet, games and FB, a pair of F-50 football studs, Real Madrid or Man U T-shirts in his wardrobe and a holiday in Madrid, Spain. And he shamelessly asks for these also, albeit with a grin on his face. And that grin is the real payback for me. The boy knows what his parents can and not, what is a want and how it differs from a need, and hopefully what the really important things in life are. 

The journey with daughter has not been any easier either. It wrenches your heart to not give in to perfectly shaped quivering lips and angelic eyes with a tear drop just waiting to fall off from them. It is hard to ignore their arguments of how their friends have and do it all. Our answer is a firm and never wavering, “this is how it is in our home, you are free to take it or leave it”. I used to be scared to death when I say that, would they take it literally , I used to wonder. After some years and two kids,  I now realize they are not  dumb dolls. They sense and grasp  things much better than their parents. Their mind is a sponge that absorb and retain stuff pretty efficiently. What they squeeze out entirely depends on what we pour into it, though.

Roshni mentions her friends who are fiercely protective of their kids. I have seen parents who will not let their thirteen year old children walk down to their gate to get into a well chaperoned school buses. Yes, I too feel terrified about  what can happen in the big bad world out there. It is a jungle with wolves in sheep’s clothing, tigers waiting to pounce on you and vultures ready to devour you. But then doesn’t it also have peaceful deers, elegant peacocks, graceful giraffes and powerful elephants? As parents, aren’t we supposed to show them the beautiful scenery along with the things that mar the pretty picture?

Son reads the newspaper end to end including page 3 gossip and bollywood reviews. He wanted to watch ‘Kai Po Che’ after reading the review, and then saw the book on the shelf. Isn’t it too early for him to read such a book, a friend asked with genuine concern. Having grown up in a house where the only thing that was never considered taboo was books, the thought did not even cross my mind. Yes, there was some so called ‘scenes’ in ‘Three Mistakes of My Life’. But then, I would rather have him read about the magic of ‘making  love’ before he learns about ‘having sex’ . On what grounds do you deny a book like that when he has started joking about periods and sperms ? Don’t be shocked and wake up to the fact that they know more that what we give them credit for. Both of us have turned into excellent actors, we have learnt to mask our shock and turn them into grins. We want our kids to feel free enough to come and discuss anything under the sun with us rather than relying on some dubious source. We take care not to shout at them while we may be screaming inside about what they are talking about. 

I am no super woman who have perfected the art of parenting with a pair of super kids with impeccable manners. They bicker, fight with each other with their tooth, nails, hands, legs and their whole bodies. They still try throwing tantrums, son has started walking off in a huff and a puff, daughter wails, stomps her feet and screams at the top of her voice. They play in the hot sun, run in the rain, shower their head with sand and dirty their feet in mud when they can. They are sometimes allowed to eat a biscuit without brushing their teeth and and sleep in dirty clothes. Son reads anything that he can find at home(that reminds me, need to hide that Nancy Friday book for a few years more ;) ), daughter goes up and down in the lift all by herself. 

Yes, I am a monster mom that way and rather proud of it too. Because I believe my kids have their hearts right where it should be. They might do things that they are not allowed to, their conscience would poke them real sharp, though. In the end, I guess that’s what matters the most! 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Son, “Amma, what’s the meaning of Leah?”

Amma, thinking of cousin’s daughter by that name, “That’s a short version of Elizabeth”

“Ammmmaaa…nooo…’liya’ in Hindi?”

“Took?”

Now, with ‘that’ grin on his face, “so what is the meaning of cochlea?”

  😀

A friend in school told him this joke, in case you are wondering 😉

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Comments on: "Monster Mom" (35)

  1. “The boy knows what his parents can and not, what is a want and how it differs from a need, and hopefully what the really important things in life are.” – Summed it up so well 😀

    I know of a couple here who have gifted their 8th std daughter an S3! Just because her classmates have such phones too! Really? Su and I are so clear already that we are gonna be monster parents hehe 😛

    • That is nothing, Swaru, I know someone who is planning to buy an i pad for their almost 2 year old son because he could watch nursery rhymes and visualize!!!
      Whatever happened to books and imagination ? And is it any wonder we see a generation growing up who cannot accept a no to even the smallest of things and then go end their lives at the prime of their life?
      I don’t have any illusions, as they grow up there is only so much we can do, but at least let us do our bit when we can and when they are still willing to listen to us!

      • I know that is nothing but the reasons are just so vague. I totally agree with Smitha when she says talks about the time factor. Can all these things ever make up for the time parents spend with the kids? I would be ready to give up the work closest to my heart too to give my kids more time than anything else.
        With these new trends of staying *cool* with the kids at home and in school too, I wonder where we are getting to. My aunt has been a teacher and she was saying how students tell them not to ask about the homework or else they would complain that the teacher hit them!?! Where are we getting to? 😦

      • ‘still willing to listen to us’ – My Mom will be very happy to read that 😛 😛

      • ‘And is it any wonder we see a generation growing up who cannot accept a no to even the smallest of things and then go end their lives at the prime of their life?’ – So so true! I see so many of these parents around. By doing this, we are really setting them up for failure aren’t we? Coz in the real world, nobody is going to mollycoddle anybody!

      • Absolutely, Smitha! And the earlier we learn, the better it would be

  2. I dono if u a monster or not (:-P) but definetely ur litt ones are sweethearts!

  3. “Where are we getting to?” Exactly, Swathi!

  4. Do I even have to tell you how much I love this post?

    You had me nodding away. Children will always try to test their boundaries, but as far as we as parents set clear boundaries, things will fall into place, in my opinion. The problem starts when there are no boundaries, when we can’t say a no, when we refuse to discipline, when we let them get away with everything. Once ‘nothing is taboo’, how do we help them distinguish right from wrong? I love the way you have been open in communication with your son. I do hope I can do that with daughter. I would love for her to joke, to be able to talk to us about everything. I had met a couple( some friends of husband’s) and their teenage son. Their son was such a wonderful child! And his parents said exactly the same thing you said. They talk about everything. They have limits when it comes to behaviour, but they reason it out, and the child knows right from wrong.

    I still have to get daughter in that lift by herself though 🙂 She’s scared coz it stopped midway once – but she has no problems climbing up 11 floors by herself 🙂 Just not the left – yet 🙂

    The least we can do is give them the foundation, and let them free to do the rest of the building, isn’t it?

    • Oh no , Smitha, you don’t have to utter a word, I know how you feel about this. Remember, it was your post that first inspired me to write this 🙂
      I’ll add one more thing to the foundation , pray hard that they find happiness in the right things, places and most of all, people 🙂

  5. Remind me to come to you when I have kids myself! Pukka! 😀

  6. I didnt get the joke anyways.. 😦

    But I loved reading this straight from the heart post… everyone has their own methodology of dealing with kids… we have always made our son understand what and why… luckily he has been not too much of a tantrum throwing kid… I have maybe hit him once or twice… though I dont approve of it myself… I believe i lost patience when I hit him…

    You are not a monster mom at all… I used to get spanked by my Mom ! but then we were 3 boys who would turn her world upside down with our antics… Its always best to practice what one feels is the best way… judging others is not our job !

    • just a few days back… my mom sent Hriday to buy some chocolates from a shop in the noon as he was asking her for that… and I have been guilty of over protecting him… when I came to know he had gone out to shop… I was like why mom ?! him alone!! and yet in walked him with 30 Rs change and his 20 rs ka cake and chocolate ! Giving his hisaab to his granny… ! I guess we all learn on the job ! 😛

    • Thanks for that vote of confidence, hitchy!
      I do agree each one has their own way of bringing up their kids, but not at the cost of others is my point. I have seen a kid at a party pushing everyone around, once even into the waste bin where all the left over food was thrown and finally she started throwing sand into the food. All through this, the mother is sitting quietly in one corner and watching this. I just gave that kid a piece of my mind irrespective of the glare that almost pierced my think skin 🙂

  7. Binds voting u as super monster mom & follows ur footsteps.

  8. Thank you so much for the mention, Bindu!! I too am a monster mom, by the way! I make my kids buy their own toys from the allowance they earn by doing specific stuff in the house! So, child labour coupled with deprivation!! 😀 It doesn’t look like they hate me yet but they could be great actors!! 😀

  9. I think it is great to be a monster mom and teach your children about choices and respect. The world is already messed up.
    What you have done is wonderful although I am not sure about the spanking part. I will let you know my feelings on it after I reach that stage. 🙂

  10. I had a different name, ‘Hitler Mom’ (self-given). Anyways, it means the same as Monster Mom 😛
    I too followed the, “This is the rule in THIS house” policy.

  11. I loved the post, Bindu…Was nodding my head away..
    I did a similar post on how parents are so touchy about their kids getting hurt at play..In comparison I feel like a very casual parent who has left her kid to fend for himself, already!

  12. I agree with you completely. It the way kids should be brought up. When I see some parents obeying their children’s commands I always wanted to whack them and bring the kids back to earth. Now I want to see Kai Po Che 🙂

  13. Parenting is a very tough act…..it’s very easy to judge and everybody has opinions.
    The only kind of parenting I can’t stand is the ‘indifferent’….the kinds who let their kids to anything as long as they are out of their hair. Which means the kids are being a menace to society. But even there I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt :-P.

    My parenting originally is somewhat ur style 😀 but it has over the years changed a bit and incorporated some of H’s ideologies too[which mind u, were alien concepts to me in the beginning :-P]. I guess we all live and learn.

    I didn’t get the leah joke*rolling eyes but not surprised…afterall I didnt get the tag tubelight for nothing :-P*

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