To do or not to do?
The day a woman becomes a mother, she embarks on what can be a rather lonely journey; lonely not because she doesn’t have company, but because there are suddenly fewer people who stand by her decisions. When it comes to parenting, she sometimes finds herself taking a stand that’s different from (or sometimes even in opposition to) what the rest of her family believe in. Parents have the right to discipline their children, but somehow the mother’s decision to act tough seems to come under undue scrutiny and criticism in many Indian households, as compared to the father’s.
It’s not so different in my case either. I remember the day my daughter turned five, and we dined out to celebrate the occasion. We placed our orders and were happily eating and sharing the food when I noticed that my daughter was playing with one of our mobile phones while her grandmother was feeding her. This annoyed me on two counts. Firstly, I don’t like it when people (especially children) busy themselves with their mobile phone when they should instead be interacting with their family. And secondly, I believed that my daughter was old enough to eat on her own and did not need to be pampered with spoon-feeding.
So, I took the phone out of her hands only to see, a few minutes later, that someone had handed it back to her. It was one of those times when I found myself standing alone in taking what I believed was a necessary disciplinary action against my child.
Loving a child is necessary; pampering them is not. And situations like the above are dangerous because they can breed disrespect for the person that the rest of the family is putting down – in this case, me. My daughter knows that she cannot have her way every time she wants, at least when the decision to yield to or refuse, her request rests with me. She knew, for instance, that the only way to get me to talk to her at the dinner table that night was to put down the mobile phone. And she did just that. It was a moment of quiet satisfaction for me.
There are still occasions when I doubt my own decisions, but I remind myself, each time, that I must do what is best for my child, regardless of whether people agree with me or not. There are times when a mother must act tough with her child. I think it is necessary, at such times, for her family to understand the intention behind her actions and support her. The latest campaign #StandByToughMoms by All Out® presents the exact same thought. I believe that parenting is a shared responsibility and that mothers should get the due respect and support from their families in doing the very best they can for their child.