Motherhood is a divine gift. But as much as happiness as it brings along, it also brings along a host of changes in the mothers’ lives. Here we have Avneet Kaur talking about striking a perfect balance in the mums’ life whilst ably shaping the young minds.
Hi, I am Avneet. By profession, I am a full-time digital marketing head of an MNC, here in Chandigarh. As a passion, I do blogging and I started this page after I became a mother, which is 8 months ago. So I am a mother to a baby boy (Udyat).
I wanted to do something that I had always wanted to do. I was just thinking of what I should do, you know. I wanted people to know who I am, my ideas, my thoughts maybe and maybe also learn from them. Instagram is something that you tend to learn every day from it. I see posts. I see moms doing so well, teaching their kids many new things. And during this pandemic, they are teaching them at home, different ways of teaching their kids. So it is a learning experience, you know. So this page and Instagram, I believe, is a school in itself. I feel privileged that I am a part of this family now.
I read it somewhere and I strongly believe in it that when you give birth, it is also the birth of a mother. I was very different as a human; I was different about eight months ago. Everything was about the career then.
I got married ten years ago and we planned Udyat after ten years of marriage. For the entire ten years, our priority was to have a good career, settle down in our lives, and then Udyat happened. Things have literally changed now. As a parent, I believe that I have become more responsible, more aware and more sensitive to certain things that did not affect me, and in a good way.
So you start caring for very small things, you start feeling responsible, you start acting a little maturely. When you are with your husband, you can be as carefree and careless as you can but when you become a parent you just can’t afford that. I feel that I am responsible; my one decision would impact us as a family, or my kid. We don’t go to malls often these days. But when we do, I end up shopping for my child. But earlier, I was always shopping at Zara or spending time at a salon. I don’t think I spend that much time now when we go shopping. I spend more time with my child. I also started working again after my maternity leave, trying to manage both work and child. But for me, as of now, my priority definitely is Udyat. And I feel no shame in accepting that. Though I see myself as a working professional, now I see myself as a mother first. That’s the basic change that has happened.
I did not talk about the physical aspect a lot. Physically, I have changed drastically over these years. I was 96, then I was 56, and then when I got pregnant I was 91, and now I am 70 something. And I don’t even care. I know that’s in my hand but as of now, that’s not my priority. I feel that people resonate me with him. I mean, when I am with him, he is the one that gets most of the attention. People tend to ignore me now (laughs). People say “Aww it’s a very cute baby”, they don’t say “She’s a very beautiful mother”. But that’s okay.
The very first education of a child begins from home, and the mother is the very first teacher of the child. Please put a light on this statement.
I would definitely believe that parents are the first and the continuous teachers in our lives. And this I would not say me being a teacher but I would rather see myself as a child and my parents acting as teachers in my life, whether we like it or not. At some point, we love them. They are the first people that we go to whenever we want to seek advice. So parents are somebody, I feel, whose roles as teachers never end. I feel privileged that I would have this honour.
Udyat is too young but it starts from the moment he was born. Kids are so responsive. They try and learn from the environment, and also from how things are at home. The first level of schooling I think, is what they see at home, how their parents behave. How the environment is at home is something that they learn from. I believe- if I tell my kid what’s good and what’s bad, he might not accept it. He might say, “Okay, she is just fooling around” or something. But yeah, if there’s something that he sees and he feels that “yes, this is what has happened”, “my parents feel this is what has gone wrong” or “this is something that I should not do”. So how you behave at home, how things are at home, how you act in front of your kids, I think that’s the very first learning that you give to your kids.
So as a parent, I certainly believe that the kind of positivity at home is very important for kids to grow up in- an environment where they start accepting themselves more. This is a generation all about accepting who we are. The competition has grown so much and not everybody can excel, not everybody will get an ‘A’ grade, not everybody will get ‘A+’. So accepting who they are and telling them “Hey, this is okay. This is what you are and we are happy with who you are” that kind of learning, I think, is the first form of learning that parents tend to teach their kids and they should, I believe.
Udyat spends most of his time with me. How I behave around him is something that he is very watchful of. He is very observant. Even at this age, when I am angry or anxious about something, he senses my reactions, he senses my emotions. He tends to see. Even if I am making him feel loved and cared for, that confidence in him gives me that smile. The moment I show him that love, the moment I show him that you are cared for, he laughs and he smiles. As a mother, it is very important that you tell your kids that you should embrace yourselves, that you are loved, you are cared for. And once they get those feelings, even as adults, they will never have second thoughts about their personality. And I think mothers have a very important role in making them believe that their personality is something that they should accept and work for. As parents, I think we should play our parts in letting our kids grow to whoever they are, whatever they want to be, and just accepting and going with the flow.
Basic skills of parenting, I feel, do not change. As a parent, you need to be disciplinary. You need to be authoritative, rather than an authoritarian. You need to be consistent and dedicated. This is what our parents were. But yeah, this generation, as they say, is a little difficult to handle. But as parents, I think, I would love to be a confidante to my child. If he is feeling something, he has certain emotions, he should be free to come and say to his mom, his dad, or to anybody in the family about what he is feeling. I would always want to create an environment where Udyat is open to what he is feeling. He should accept his emotions.
Secondly, as modern parents, we should talk less and listen more. Because, the moment your kid senses that “my parents are there to listen”, they will definitely open up. Sometimes I really want to say something to somebody, but I don’t get a chance to talk to somebody. That talking to somebody, if that is your parent, what better can it be?
Children find it very difficult to just open up to their parents. So it is up to the parents to create an environment where the child feels very comfortable with what they are sharing.
Absolutely, and we should be their critics also. As a modern parent, I will not say that let your kids explore things around. Of course, let kids explore things, let them go wrong. But you are there to tell them “this is where you have gone wrong”, “this is where you can come back”. When we were kids, our parents used to tell us right and wrong. We are who we are because of how our parents have groomed us and how things have been around us. But we have to be a little gentler and more understanding and more adaptable now. That’s what I feel modern parenting is.
I have been working since the past 9-10 years now. I see myself as a working woman, I don’t know, for many years from now. My husband works as a radio jockey here in Chandigarh. He is also very work-oriented. We both are very work-oriented people. And yes, when it comes to parenting, it is a job in itself. I won’t say that we excel at it, it’s a learning experience every day. We make mistakes, we learn, together—“We will not do this again”, “This is where we have gone wrong”. And we have got help. I have my parents, I have my mother-in-law. They are there to support us. They know that both of Udyat’s parents are working and we tend to shift Udyat here and there. Sometimes he is at his Nani’s place, sometimes at our place. Now he’s getting used to the idea that he has many homes and many people taking care of him. That’s what, I think, we as parents feel- rather than leaving him to a crèche or something we might end up doing so, I don’t know at this moment.
Co-parenting comes to us as we respect each others’ work. When he is working, I take care of Udyat and when he’s free and I need time to sleep and rewind, he gives me that time and takes care of Udyat. He has also got help at home. We have a nanny at home, she takes care of Udyat. So, a lot of things settle down. But I think this responsibility is never-ending and we are ready to face the challenges, ready to learn, ready to emerge from the situations that we face.
My child is relatively very young to teach him life skills. I think during this pandemic we, as parents, have got to learn so many things together. Otherwise, if it would have been a normal situation, I believe, the way that we have raised Udyat until more would have been a little different.
When we were home together, we got to raise him in a very different way. He tried becoming more responsive. He, now, communicates equally to both his parents. His father was also there, his mother was also there, and there were also other people at home. So he knows what family is, he knows what love is. And we being working parents, the situation would have been very different otherwise. I don’t know how much of our availability would have been a possibility in normal circumstances. But during this pandemic, we got to spend most of our time with him. He has had his own share of learning. He has learnt from his parents and has seen things around though he has not gone out much. He still cries and makes people when he sees people that are quite unknown to him. But I think that’s common. That’s common in this age. But now he’s changed. He reacts to situations in a more sorted manner as he is growing but definitely, life skills, I mean, this was the only thing that I could probably teach him. I am more eager to teach him but I think when he grows he will try and understand what basic life skills are important for you to, you know, grow.
See, advice, I think, from my limited experience I would like to say something because I still am a new parent. I still am learning. I do not have that right to tell parents that do this, do that but, as you said that modern parenting is a little different, you know. So I believe that my only suggestion to moms and fathers is that you will go wrong. You should accept that you have gone wrong, learn and come out of it. Also, there is something known as mom guilt. People will continue telling you “this is what you have done wrong”, “this is how you should have behaved with your kid”, you know. But that mom guilt should not be there. You, as a mother, know what is right for your kid, you know it best. And itna confidence hona chahiye in your motherhood that you, as a mother, would never think wrong, or go wrong when it comes to your kid.
Secondly, the communication; I think, we should never stop communicating with our child, chahe wo jitna bhi chota ya bada ho. And being there for your kid- that’s more important. I think, working parents ke pass time is very limited, I understand. But jitna bhi time milta hai, we should try and talk to them, spend time with them. We should try learning how they are feeling and be there for them. That is more important. And, of course, there is no other way of bringing your child up, I think. It’s a learning experience. How your kid grows up to be is dependent on many things. It is dependent on the positivity that you have towards life, it is dependent on the confidence that you instil in the child, it is dependent on the love that you give him, it is dependent on the exposure that you give him.
As parents, I think, we should try and make them more independent. And we should try and make them feel things, accept their emotions. Because I think parents have that thing ke “rone nahi dena hai bacche ko”, we have that. Of course, as a mother, I cannot watch my kid crying. But sometimes you have to teach them to accept their emotions. Aur who tabhi ho payega when they start facing those situations. So as parents, I think let them face those situations. Let them learn from their own experience. I think apna experience is the best teacher. You as parents should always be there at their back, standing and watching from behind. That’s the basic advice that I would like to give my co-parents as well. I would love to hear, I am always open to suggestions. When I was a new mom, I became really apprehensive of people coming and telling me. Of course, I know that wo sahi hoga ya nahi varies from situation to situation. People will never stop coming to you. People will never stop saying “aise kar lo”, “waise kar lo”. But we should always listen. We should always experiment. Wo attitude nahi hona chahiye ki “I know everything”. Wo bhi nahi hona chahiye ki you start becoming judgemental of yourself- whether you are doing it right or not. Always listen, be open to suggestions. Try and experiment with things. Parenting is, I think, an ever-going experience. You learn every day.