From celeb moms having maternity shoots and catfights on parenting styles, to the government’s new bill on maternity leave this year in India or the news of a new royal baby arriving in Britain, it has been a mixed bag for parenting in 2017.
For more than a decade, mothers have been at war, debating on the merits of being a working mom and stay at home mom. The battle lines drawn more than a decade ago on the internet doesn’t seem to fade because new moms continue to add fuel to the raging fire that had somewhat slowed down in the midst of other worries of the last batch of internet generation parents, like gadget addiction, education and lack of free time.
In the beginning of the year, Kareena Kapoor attracted the attention of trolls and feminists by returning to work 20 days post her delivery and in sharp contrast, Meera Rajput drew an analogy that had babies and puppies in the same sentence, leading to war of words between her and Kareena Kapoor and several feminist groups across the internet. Parenting philosophies were expressed from both sides leading to much debate in the wake of the recent research on how children of working moms fare much better in life.
Parenting is a grand equalizer. And to prove this, celeb parents revealed their least glamorous parenting moments on a BBC show, which included everything that most parents face like diaper explosions, nits and negotiating for payment for milk tooth.
A photo of a mom at Colorado airport went viral because she was photographed looking at her phone while her baby lay on the blanket on the floor.
Social media is indeed ruthless, we are convinced as the mom went on to explain how she was stuck in the airport for two days and her arms were crying for relief and it certainly was not what it looked like.
Admittedly, motherhood is hard and the Indian government recognized the fact and passed the bill, which awarded 26 weeks of maternity leave, thus changing the paradigm of support system to new mothers, in sharp contrast to the USA were paid maternity leave is as less as 2.8 weeks. We are still a long way from Estonia and Hungary where new moms can get more than a year off from work but a good step to start with. Paternity leave is a hot trend as well and will hopefully continue to remain with more and more nuclear families working on raising children together.
This year was the year of hilarious parenting videos. The best interview award for 2017 goes to the BBC dad who was photobombed during his interview by his children. The video went viral and resulted in the kids getting their own YouTube show.
— The Daily Dot (@dailydot) March 10, 2017
Another hilarious parenting video was that of a mom Dena Blizzard who walked through the aisles of Target praying for the back-to-school day to come soon, hence further corroborating our belief that it takes a village to raise a child. Therefore, we do hope something is done to increase the pay scale of teachers in 2018 considering the effort they put on our children and most importantly how they keep them out of our way!
One of the biggest validation for parenting came this year with the ruling of Arushi murder case in favour of the parents leading to parents across the country murmuring their support on the judgment.
On the other hand, the biggest parenting fail would be the Blue Whale suicide cases and the Gurgaon school murder, an eye-opener and a cause of much distress among parents thus laying greater emphasis to vigilance and safety.
A father wrote a heartwarming letter to his gay son easing the process of his coming out. Closer home, Daljinder Kaur who became a mother at 72, reportedly admitted that motherhood has taken a toll on her health and now that her son is crawling, she has difficulties in coping. God bless her and give her strength for the challenges yet to come for parents.
Zooming over to new thoughts on children and their learning skills, the University of Texas at Dallas reported about differences in vocabulary growth among grade school children of different socioeconomic statuses.
Meanwhile, the importance of adequate sleep among children and toddlers continue to gain media attention. Studies show that teens starting school at 8:30 a.m. or later were the only group with an average time in bed permitting eight hours of sleep, the minimum recommended by expert consensus. Moreover, according to researchers, screens at bedtime are likely to cause sleep and nutrition problems and a higher BMI in children hence a greater importance to ensuring this Maslow’s need is met should see a rising trend in the coming year apart from the usual nutrition and health-related concerns.
Mental health, in general, was a big story the last two years and linking it to motherhood, a recent study provided by Springer postulates that well-being of a working mum depends more on whether her own psychological needs are met rather than the temperament of her baby hence the importance of well-being of the mother will continue to see a rise. Perhaps new products targeting moms for moms rather than for family or for the woman would be the next big idea for corporates.
Device-free parenting has been a wish especially with experts pointing out the perils of device addiction and with more and more parents thinking deep over this matter, I hope we can reverse the trend in the coming years with more and more parents moving towards gadget free from controlled screen time.
As an antidote to electronic babysitters (mobile devices) reading and activity-based play get a greater focus. Summer camps have become the norm and there are much more choices available in children’s books to promote age-old convention of reading for knowledge and fun. An imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books in India has published their first few books even as the current set of publishers continue to battle with the share of mind of children. This is an uphill task and I hope with the support of new age parents, books continue to be the hero in a child’s life.
In 2016, the movie Bad Moms was released challenging the perfect mother stereotype in a hilarious, tell all manner and I certainly see the trend continuing in 2018 with parents taking a step back to enjoy, smell the roses and ensure that children have more play time. The Ghoomophirosisters are travelling sisters, who have been exploring India and abroad from over 8 years now and I suppose with the response they have got, soon letting the children have some fun and exploring time would reap benefits in the long run.
A mix of Social media led new age parenting and traditionally garnered wisdom will continue to serve as parenting manual for new parents across the globe, as evident with Serena Williams and her fiancé who have taken to both their parents and social media for parenting tips.
Online shopping for baby products will continue to remain popular given the tradition of hand me downs is losing relevance with nuclear families and greater affordability or deals on online sale. Subscription boxes for babies could become a big trend in the coming years.
Age old methods of baby bonding will continue even as baby wearing propagated by generations of women in the working class becomes a rising trend in urban India.
However, one cannot ignore the fact that safety will be a bigger concern and a key selling point for schools and services. Hence, the increased importance and stress of keeping your child safe will pose challenges for parents who want to let go and put their children on the path to independence. Therefore, expect more gadgets to keep children safe to become popular in the coming years.
Who said parenting was straightforward?
Riti Prasad is the author of Double Trouble, Double Fun!: A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins, Wicked Temptations and Mathematics Fun, Fact and Fiction. She works in the Fragrance Industry as Creation Head.