When my father was recommended a few books on parenting by his friends, when he became a father, he got not one, but many books on parenting, much to the chagrin of my mum! Mum as usual, was annoyed with the stack of books entering the home then. Dad remembers her saying – “Everyone at their fag end of life can and will throw wisdom like weight, around! But none wants to talk about the tough road that led to imbibing that wisdom. Success earns more perks than failure when you are narrating a story. It is the same about parenting too.” Exactly three decades later, I say – WORD!
My parents still own that wide collection of old books on – the guide towards becoming perfect parents. The books have bitten dust and, had been sitting in the shelf for years waiting for a release. Around the year 2011, I chanced upon them. I had conceived that year. And as a means of killing time, I began reading those books.
And boy, how good it felt reading those books! At the time, they made me feel as if parenting was a cake walk! One one of the occasions, I casually asked my father – “How did these books help you in raising me?”
To which he promptly replied, “Don’t read these books, Narayani! You read them and then when, you have kids, you end up as the most disappointed parent on earth! These books make you feel miserable at a later stage and, if you are still in the magnetic circle of these books, you might even end up believing that you are the worst parent on earth.
Just remember, Parenting cannot come with instructions and that, is the only big hard bittersweet fact. Everything else is nonsense! This is what your mum and I have learned in raising you. Period.”
As for the cake walk facade, the shear film of perfect parenting shattered and, reality seeped in when I realized it is not a cake walk, but a mountain walk! And, every step you take towards the pinnacle takes gargantuan efforts, that were conveniently left off in the books! So, I am learning the same from my parenting journey. The ideal parenting scenario as explained in countless books on child psychology, is purely hypothetical.
Besides, no parenting journey is complete without those countless instances of admonishing that are sometimes, supplemented with tiny bouts of spanking!
So, let me share my post that was published on Parentous on playing the good cop, bad cop in parenting:
“If you have gone through my earlier articles, you might have caught a few glimpses from my own childhood as I narrate my son’s. Well, I never touched the topics about how difficult I had been as a child, how many times I have fought with mum over curfew timings, how many times Dad and I have had stand-offs on my uncontrolled shopping sprees when I worked in a city away from them. Not that I cautiously avoided mentioning the bumps and the hiccups part of parenting, but I did not feel the need to express it until a beautiful article resonating with my thoughts caught my eye.”
To read the whole article, click here.