- Natasha Badhwar
- for BBC Hindi
I have always dreamed of being a mother. I had full faith in myself. She knew she would be a good mother. I imagined myself walking holding my son’s hand. Both, treading an agile march. Happiness moves in our hearts.
Many years before I had my first child, I was making these notes about how I would raise my children. And those notes were good.
I was at the birthing table when I first grabbed my daughter. I started singing lightly for him.
She cried non-stop like a newborn baby. But her crying stopped with my song. She’s listening, so I believed. She knew my voice. I’ve been singing this song for her since she was in my womb.
But over time I realized that my voice would not always calm her down. In just two weeks, my husband, mother, and I put together a checklist of why a child might cry. It was so
1. Are you hungry?
2. Do you need to belch?
3. Is your diaper wet?
4. Do you need to shake it gently to sleep?
5. Does your nose get blocked?
6. And then back to the first question
Sometimes it’s hard to silence kids anyway. And when all efforts were in vain, we wrapped our son in a soft blue dupatta bandhini and went for a bike ride. This calmed everyone’s mind.
The practice of listening to the things of the world
I remember an incident like this when one evening it started to rain while walking like this and we had to take refuge in a tea dhaba next to the road. People around us murmured that these new parents were coming here with such a small child. I had tied the baby securely to my chest, but we sat in the dock.
As the years went by, our journey through the path of life progressed, the seasons changed and many of my love misunderstandings began to clear up. I learned that when people look, they keep looking. I also learned not to grab people’s slingshots in my heart.
I made a practice just smile at the comments of strangers, their advice and even their quarrels. When the kids went out to explore the world in their own way, I hardened my heart. Most importantly, for our mental security, I started building a house so it is our nest. Where we can go back to be safe, laugh out loud and cool off.
What does it mean to be a father?
Being a father is not just about having children. The work of creating something new begins later. First you have to destroy a lot of things. Your ego sinks without making any sound. Say goodbye to who you were before conception.
Whatever sense of self you have, define it again. To keep only a faint memory of what we were together before having a baby between us.
Being a parent means feeling proud and happy at the same time. Feeling we have ‘Run out of gas’ emotionally. It’s hard to know what you’ve lost during this time. Check your childhood memories over and over again to find out exactly what we are looking for.
Also do this work to identify those traumas, those fears, that you don’t want to let your child share. In this sequence you become familiar with those injuries that you have been denying but are still green.
When a person grows up and has children, their lost childhood knocks on the window of their consciousness and demands their treatment. Only as we raise our children do we know that we must recover the lost child within us.
As my children grow older, I can’t help but notice how chaotic the environment around them has become, from home to abroad. His feelings are being bombarded by bad news, clashes and noises.
Screams coming from TV screens, videos filled on cell phones, loud conversations from the elderly, bad comments, insults to others. It is not uncommon for most of them to grow up as cut young people from their environment. Young people who have fallen asleep in the face of all forms of violence and are beginning to find the people they depended on strange. Sensitive children moved away forever from the world around them.
We have imposed this period of worry, panic and apathy on ourselves. But as parents we must understand that we are not helpless on this issue. We also have a role to play in saving our children’s childhood.
the children do what they see done
When I started my parents ’journey halfway through my life, there was no idea behind me enrolling in a self-improvement program. I had to teach a few things, I didn’t have to learn anything myself. But I soon realized how easy it is to want to take a different path in parenting, but how difficult it is to free oneself from one’s own sociocultural prejudices.
I remembered the lessons of my moral education. He was also aware of manners and rituals. I used to like to search for answers on the internet. I even had a few books on parenting out there with all the important references and photographs. But the values of life that seem very good in books and in classes, don’t work much in reality. They need to be tested and questioned at all times.
Should we always obey the elders? Are teachers always right? How much ice cream is considered more ice cream? Can I wear my thongs with a lehenga?
This has proven to be the most awkward lesson when it comes to leading the way by example. Remember how our parents used to say, “When you grow up, do what you want.”
They said it, but that was not what they meant. If I want my kids to sleep well, eat healthy foods, and sit up straight, I have to do it myself first. They do what I do, not what I tell them to do.
Maybe it’s not that I’m always online myself, but I hope my kids log out of the computer and go to the park to play. I have to show it all by doing it myself.
Kids catch even the tricky things
The latter is a gift that is not even expected. The lives of children. This takes a lot of pressure off me. I just need to listen. Children can easily see the tangled web of lies in the conversation of adults.
When my little one was four, she said, “Everyone loves me. All the guests who come home love me.”
“It sounds great to hear,” I told him. There was something in his tone, as if there was a problem in his heart.
“I don’t like it,” he said.
“Why don’t you like it?” I asked.
She said, “Yesterday my aunt spoke well of me, but soon after she scolded her daughter. I didn’t like to think about how my sister felt.”
I hugged him. As a parent, all I have to do is trust my kids. So that the children have confidence in themselves.
What is right, what is justice? Their understanding is natural in children. Those who care look at him. If we get hurt, they get hurt too. They care about the world around them. Our children will become the generation that will overturn the clouds of hatred with the cold wind of love.