Parenting comes with a vast share of shaming. As much as being a parent is about joy, sorrow, pain, exhaustion and confusion, it is also a constant battle with facing social shaming, especially for the mothers. Whether it is for spending too little time with the kids, letting them eat junk food, inability to make them voracious readers, or simply being ‘bad role models’. But how much of this shaming should one take seriously?

Actor Shveta Salve recently got trolled on social media for posting a picture where she could be seen smoking in front of her daughter. In response to which she posted another photograph of herself smoking and drinking wine. She went on to question her trolls as to how did this make her a bad mother? She wasn’t wasting away her life. Nor was she neglecting her child. So, the facts that she smoked and drank enough to label her as a bad mother?

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A Day off Looks something like this .. . Yes I Drink and Smoke … I am real , honest and basic like that. It has to be of no reason that anyone ever judge me for the person I am or the Mommy I am .. I don’t propagate it and neither do I question anyone else who does , so I would respect the same back . Today I got a few random DM’s by totally random people about my actions , and I usually let such things go pass me but for some reason today I felt like addressing it . How does this make me a bad person or a bad mom ?? Do you see me wasting my Life ? Do you see me sitting unemployed n jobless ? Do you see me neglecting my child ? I work , I work multiple jobs , I’m an actor , dancer , an entrepreneur . I successfully live in two major cities of our glorious country . I have beautiful friends whom I love and I know who love me back for the person I am . Risking the fact that I might sound aggressive but don’t ever question my abilities of being a bad example to my child !! So tell me does an honest sex worker who sells her body to feed her family , to maybe get an education or to provide a life for her children is a Bad Person ? A Bad Mother ? A stigma to society ? Who are you and I to Judge ?? My parents taught me well and exposed me to the good and evil of everything . They smoked and drank too but they did a mighty fine job of raising my brother and I . As children we knew that this was not something we could practice until a certain age . And that too if we ever wanted to.. a choice that we were allowed to take as adults … Today I share a drink with them , and celebrate the fact that they gave me a fabulous childhood n Life and I aspire to do the same with my Baby . . . I don’t pay for likes and followers , you choose to follow me for who I am . And hence what you see is me being me and you always have the option to unfollow me 🙂 . Live and Let Live ✌?.. this rant has gotten me all irked so I’m gonna go and pour myself a red and light up .. #micdrop ?? . #bekindtooneanother #peaceout

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What Salve is facing isn’t anything new. A major chunk of our parenting related guilt stems from the shaming that we face from our families, friends or society. Unlike her, most of us give into this shaming and end up feeling guilty about our lifestyle.

In our traditional setup, we are expected to lead by setting up good examples for our young ones. Thus, we must attune our lifestyle to what is certified as good, by the society. So when it comes being a bad parent, choices like smoking, drinking, living separately from ageing parents, etc. are clubbed with likes of being violent, predatory or negligent. There is no discrimination between good or bad conduct, just the lifestyle that our society disapproves or approves of.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Actor Shveta Salve recently got trolled on social media for posting a picture where she could be seen smoking in front of her daughter.
  • She went on to question her trolls as to how did this make her a bad mother? She wasn’t wasting away her life. Nor was she neglecting her child.
  • The pressure of ideal conduct is more on mothers than fathers.
  • Shouldn’t the focus be more on teaching kids to make their own choices on growing up, according to their own sensibilities rather than copying their parents?

But when most of us migrate from conservative backgrounds to more liberal ones, we begin questioning vilification of certain choices. Call it exposure to modern or practical sensibilities or just plain adulting, but most of us eventually develop an agency over our lifestyle before reaching parenthood. However, we are still surrounded by a society which disapproves of many of these choices. I am not endorsing excessive smoking or drinking as a habit here. But merely outlining how we stand conflicted today, both as parents and society.

We don’t come across many people who would call out men for smoking or drinking in front of their children. They get the leeway of entitlement which comes with belonging to the male gender. So once again the onus of carrying and passing down socially approved virtues sits with women. Are we to also pass down this hypocrisy to our kids, which condemns a certain conduct in one gender but turns a blind eye to another?

It is high time that our society learns to evolve into a more mature and accepting one. We all have our flaws which we do not want the progenies to inherit. But being “flawed” is human. Thus, the focus should be more on teaching kids to make their own choices on growing up, according to their own sensibilities. Rather than merely copying their parents. Yes, it is easier said than done, but no one ever said, bringing up a sensitized generation, which understood agency, was ever going to be easy.

Picture Credit: Pixabay.com

Also Read : Indian Kids Are The Most Cyberbullied In World. Are We Surprised?

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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