Parenting is trending’, is what Natasha Badhwar, journalist and author of ‘My Daughter’s Mum’, heard when she started writing her blogs on the internet.

For Badhwar, writing about parenting started with her blog which got shifted to micro-blogging websites like Facebook and Twitter. But she says that Twitter helped her majorly as it was very new when she joined it in 2007. It was mainly because people didn’t know each other there as compared to other platforms. And this anonymity helped her explore writing in full spirit and became the base for her book.

“Twitter freed me. And so literally it moved from a very small blog to updates on Twitter. At some point, an American author followed me and then a few filmmakers from the international community followed me. After that I shared my blog and got really good feedback and eventually got an offer to write columns on parenting,” said Badhwar at Shethepeople.Tv’s bookreading session on – ‘My Daughter’s Mum’.

‘Older people didn’t have opportunities’

Talking about the generational divide in dealing with parenting, Badhwar said that people of all generations have had conflicts and thoughts but it’s only the current generation that has got the opportunities to channelize it and discuss it in larger groups

“They did not have the six-month maternity leave. They haven’t had men taking care of children as much. They haven’t had smartphones so you can continue to work with your left hand while balancing the baby with your right hand. And it is also true that when we first started speaking about parenting, there was almost a backlash saying ‘what’s the big deal?’ And one of the things I was writing about was an answer to this. Just because it has been happening in a certain way, it doesn’t mean that is the right way and doesn’t mean that is the only way it has to be repeated. So what I was doing with writing was I was giving a voice to the mother in me.”

The authoritative professional and vulnerable mother

Working in the media industry for close to two decades and in leadership positions, Badhwar felt that after becoming a mother, her professional voice and her voice as a wife were intact as authoritative. But she was facing difficulty giving the mother in her the same confidence. Even after having all the information at hand, her motherly voice was vulnerable.

“When you are a new mother, you really know a lot but no one assures you that you are well-equipped. In fact, we are so well-equipped that today we get information from everywhere as also from digital spaces like online groups, communities and baby centres etc. And we are even accused of being ‘Google mothers’. But we also go through a transformation particularly because I’d had my children late. So already I was aware of the fact that I was quite powerful at my work and suddenly, I found myself sitting in a corner with a baby and feeling so powerless and for me, it was very important to give a voice to the mother.”

On gadgets and rules for children

Children in the digital age are also quite tech-inclined. And so how do parents direct how much and what gadget should the child use?

Badhwar spoke on how she disciplined her children. She said that one has to keep negotiating it with them. “Since today so much of data is available to children that if you switch of the WI-FI, they will switch on their 4G etc. But it is an everyday process and it is hard.”

Neela Kaushik, Founder of GurgaonMoms, said, “Giving space also means that there will be rules. And when you feel that the rules are being broken, my son knows that I’ll start to reiterate the parent-child relationship and you are no more a friend.”

She added, “Otherwise it is freeway. We both have fun and talk about various things. But there are also rules and children can certainly have their space around it.”

Gurgaonmoms is an online community that allows mothers to come and learn from each other’s experiences and allows them to network.

One may have generational gap and newer ways to implement parenting may have come, but parenting is never going to go out of trend. It has, is and will always be trending.

ALSO READ: Melinda Gates On Parenting In The Age Of Technology

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