When Mumbai-based Deepshikha Chakravarti’s seven-year-old son requested her to call his school principal to ask for a change of class section, she was amused. What amused her most was not the change of section but the confidence with which a 7-year-old would look to exercise free will. “He told me he has free will and should be able to choose his section. It was really funny and a lesson in parenting,” she said, adding how she felt glad witnessing the newer education systems putting children at the centre.
One of Chakravarti’s significant learning this year with respect to parenthood resonates with a lot of mothers who spoke to us about their parenthood experiences. As we look to embrace 2023, let’s hear some interesting parenthood experiences from a few parents who, amidst running ten thousand errands, took the time to speak with SheThePeople regarding not what they taught their children but what their children taught them instead.
Suggested reading: New To Parenthood? Wondering How To Keep Your Baby Safe?
Parenthood Experiences 2022
Parenthood is another ballgame altogether. As challenging as parenting can sometimes be, raising children can also turn out to be humorous sometimes. When your kid twists a word, behaves inappropriately in front of a house guest (I mean, c’mon, it’s funny) or acts like an adult in the house (sometimes, in actuality), it gets you through the otherwise supremely chaotic life.
Dr Puneet Goyal is the father parents of nine-year-old twins. His parenting style changes with the behaviour of his children or, he says, “maybe it’s our parenting style that changes their behaviour from time to time. There’s no one rule.”
39-year-old Goyal, who has also studied psychology, often stands at a crucial juncture between how he was raised and how he is now raising his children. “the intention has always been in the best interest of children. Our parents raised us differently because we’re talking about way back in the 80s and 90s. We can’t implement those measures today for the upcoming generation. There’s a lesser sense of command now,” he tells SheThePeople.
Coimbatore-based 29-year-old Vilakshana resonates with Goyal in this regard. As a mother of a five-year-old girl, she tries to teach her more about choices and her recent encounter with her daughter’s learning left her amused in a good way. “Parenting itself is interesting as no two days are the same. The other day, I told Adira ‘this is your food, you have to finish.’ She took a ten-second pause and said, ‘No, first you ask me.’ When I asked her what she meant, she said, ‘You should first ask me whether I want it or not.’ I asked her, ‘Adira, do you want to eat this?’ She coyly replied, ‘No, mamma, I don’t want to, thanks.'”
In a way, Vilakshana is happy to see that the things she is trying to inculcate in her daughter are taking shape. However, she adds, “she did use the consent tangent on getting away with eating food, but at least she is gaining the sense of boundaries between command and consent.”
Parenting Is Exhausting, Challenging And, Most Of All, Rewarding
For Kalyani Ganesh, 2022 was special as her play-school-going daughter participated in her first sports day. Seeing their child perform or partake in any activity is also an emotional moment for any parent. It’s not like they don’t do activities at home but seeing them on stage, on the field representing and owning their confidence is a different feeling altogether. She said, “Her class had three activities and surprisingly my naughty little baby did so well that I was moved to tears! All the students were given a certificate and medal. Seeing my baby girl walk up the stage and get them from the chief guest was a goosebumps moment for me. I proudly took videos and enjoyed the surreal moment and her enthusiasm multiplied my happiness.”
Melbourne-based Amanda McGowan Ahmed relives the same moment every day as her son rushes to the door at the sound of his dad’s car coming in. It’s these little moments, she says, which she will miss as she soon grows up. “I’m excited to watch him grow but just the thought of him not being a baby anymore is overwhelming,” she tells us.
I once told my mother how parenting is different and manageable now especially as children as growing older and understand more. She laughed hard and said, “Oh, you’ll know.”
Parenting Is A Learning Experience For Parents Too
Chakravarti reflects on how, as parents, we often put our kids too high up on the pedestal to be perfect, and sometimes it’s the kids who tend to teach us to take it easy.
For Bengaluru-based Swetha Kochar, her daughter has taught her the music life lessons she’d forgotten during adulting. “On vacation the other day, my daughter was in a playful mood and rushed to me so she could ask to join in. However, she saw me reading a book and said, ‘You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and then we can both play together later.’ I was surprised to hear this and also proud to see how a young kid like her understands space.”
For Delhi-based Pavleen Bindra, embracing motherhood twice was an experience like no other. “My two girls gang up on me when I tell them something and outright reject the idea. They believe with all their heart that the two of them outnumber me and can make me accept that I am wrong. I mean, sure,” laughs Binda, adding, “I mean, it’s cute they think that.” Bindra sounded like US-based Rodney, who recently shared his parenthood experience on his social media writing, “Parenting is a lot like talking to an automated phone attendant. You’re hopeful at first, but then just end up repeating yourself and yelling.”
Ishani Mukherjee’s acceptance of her worth and drive to embrace self-love stemmed from her relationship with her daughter. “It’s not just the tech knowledge that I learned from my daughter, the significance of not overlooking my wishes anymore is also something that I understood,” she reflects. It’s said parents grow up with growing children, too, and Mukherjee’s time with her daughter felt like an enthralling change. “Every single time you learn from children, you discover a new you. As most Indian women, we tend to care for the whole family, but when it comes to ourselves, we often neglect or overlook it. My daughter made me realise my worth, and I’m grateful to her for that.”
Children these days live their life teaching parents that there are different ways to live, too, and that in itself is a forever learning for parents. For Haldwani-based Shreyal Agarwal, her daughter’s in-between remarks help her get through tedious days. Agarwal once asked her daughter what she’d want for her birthday, to which the letter replied, “Mumma take me to a shop where we can get babies. I would love to buy one and keep it at home.”
When I asked my sister when we should visit her place next, she said, “if you want a clean house, come after ten years. But it’s just a parent thing, come and help me clean though.” This reminds me of a tweet a parent shared a while ago when she hilariously pointed out the mess her house was. Speaking of funny tweets, let’s also have some fun with the funniest parenting tweets of the year. They’re relatable, dreadful (for expecting parents) and a whole lot of fun.
It was one time, woman
I used the old “I gave birth to you” on my daughter, she said “That was one time”.
— uncle mom (@mayamanion) July 11, 2022
Don’t mess with your daughter’s doll (read daughter)
Tried to throw a slightly neglected baby doll into the toy basket and my three year old shrieked “THAT’S MY DAUGHTER!!” Had no idea
— Melanie Lynskey (@melanielynskey) April 6, 2022
You can’t teach kids their bedtime story lessons. They ALREADY know
When my daughter was 7 years-old she once interrupted a bedtime story to tell me, “In a pie-eating contest, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose because you get to eat pie.” I think about that a lot.
— NicholasG (@Dad_At_Law) September 27, 2022
My teens' rooms have literally become the Bermuda Triangle for our dishes and cutlery.
— Jacana Mommy (@jacanamommy) September 12, 2022