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As parenthood becomes religion, marriages nosedive

How American parenting is killing the American marriage - Quartz

I have been saying this (directly/indirectly) in every single blog post of mine — we take parenting way too seriously. It is not good for average couple with average urban lives and barely-there marriages.

Quartz, a very savvy online news journal, wrote a very sensible essay on how parenting was affecting American marriages. But this not just an American phenomenon. It is global.

…sign of the parenthood religion is that it has become totally unacceptable in our culture to say anything bad about our children, let alone admit that we don’t like them all of the time. The origins of the parenthood religion are obscure, but one of its first manifestations may have been the “baby on board” placards that became popular in the mid-1980s. Nobody would have placed such a sign on a car if it were not already understood by society that the life of a human achieves its peak value at birth and declines thereafter. A toddler is almost as precious as a baby, but a teenager less so, and by the time that baby turns fifty, it seems that nobody cares much anymore if someone crashes into her car. You don’t see a lot of vehicles with placards that read, “Middle-aged accountant on board.”

Think about this statement. I’m surrounded by parents, to-be parents, just married couples on my social media pages. Yet, it is the ones with kids who almost never post anything about themselves or their partners. It’s always about kids’ achievements, their medals, their schools etc etc. Honestly, I too occasionally slip into this ‘parenting’ abyss myself.

I do get asked, “How can you write a rant blog about your boy? He’s so likeable and boys are naughty after all.” So, li’l girls are not naughty? Mommy doesn’t have the right to talk about real facts of motherhood? Or about the bad days when she wants to discipline her child for smacking another kid in the mall or worse biting another class fella?

We are allowed to say bad things about our spouses, our parents, our aunts and uncles, but try saying, “My kid doesn’t have a lot of friends because she’s not a super likable person,” and see how fast you get dropped from the PTA.

It is exactly this ‘i-will-boycott-you-socially-if-you-publicly-scream-at-your-kid’ attitude that makes us shudder and shove away all the bad mother days somewhere deep within us — including those when you have disciplined your child by not giving in to his/her tears after they commit a mischief that is not easy to overlook.

Children who are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe have a tough time when their special status erodes as they approach adulthood. Most troubling of all, couples who live entirely child-centric lives can lose touch with one another to the point where they have nothing left to say to one another when the kids leave home.

Dear Husband, where art thou.

Original Story Source: Quartz India

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Surviving the “kindergarden admission” ordeal

I have been bugging Surabhi Pande Pant to share her motherhood experiences on MommyBegins. And she finally conceded. Yay.

She has 2 beautiful and absolutely adorable girls who keep her on a spin 24×7. Her younger daughter is about to start school and we all know how difficult the process of search-selection–preparation-admission is. So here’s how this mommy cracked the school admission ordeal without traumatising herself or her daughter.

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Our search for a school began when our dear daughter (DD) was just about 1.5 yrs old. With forms submitted, we eagerly awaited an interview call, which would be sometime – a year later. Fast forward- YES, the day finally did come.
We were going to have an interview, for which my now 2.5 yr old was all prepared for — nursery rhymes to alphabets to colours to shapes and many more such ‘ must know’ things. But, of course being an international school, it turned out to be an observation based interview.
I walked into the nursery classroom, holding little hands of my daughter in my nervous sweaty hands. My daughter was greeted by a teacher with a big warm smile and a ‘ hi-five’. The kids were encouraged to play with the various options that were placed in front of them – play dough, water play, blocks, paints, toys etc. The teachers just sat at the far end of the class making observations. With fear gripping me about what my daughter would do next, I looked around for her. She had comfortably seated herself by the blocks and begun making a tower. She even managed to exchange a few smiles and play along with a couple of kids.
At the end I walked out of the classroom like a proud mommy. No, we didn’t get through the interview (actually results are still awaited), but only a toddler’s Mum would know that it’s like a battle won, if your child didn’t fight for a toy or throw a major fit over some insignificant thing.
That day indeed was more like a test for me, but for now as I write my experience down, it only brings a big smile to my face- a smile of relief indeed.

You did good Mommy. Keep us posted on that admission call.

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Toddler argues for cupcakes, Mommy under fire from critics

Another day and another viral video of toddler. Only this one has been dissected across online platforms over “is this how parenting is done in this house.” Little Mateo and his mommy, Linda Beltran must be wondering how did their innocent video upload on YouTube evolve into this parenting monster.

First casual look at the video, you see what’s obvious. Mateo does what kid’s his age do best. When Mom says no, ask Grandma or anyone who is a softy. Nothing wrong, nothing outrageous. You might even do a “Awww” while watching it for the first time. But then take a look again.

Here’s Huffington Post highlighting an issue.

In the midst of Mateo’s monologue, he tells us that “It’s gonna burn [my] butt.” And his mom says, “You and Kevin don’t listen, so I have to give both of you guys pow-pows on your butt.” That’s a mother and son talking about spanking, one of the more controversial disciplinary actions. That’s a mother and son talking about spanking, one of the more controversial disciplinary actions.

Former HuffPost Senior Columnist, Lisa Belkin, argues that the spanking “debate” shouldn’t exist, because there aren’t two sides — decades of research shows that spanking is ineffective and psychologically harmful. But still, news outlets and other parenting blogs discuss the practice often. The real news here is that the Internet is choosing to ignore that part this time, for no clear reason.

Yet, the fact remains that spanking exists making parental discipline a divisive topic. Babble’s Selena Mae offers a somewhat rational take that mirrors my own.

My mind boggles at how a not-so-typical, cute kid has a bunch of adults arguing like out-of-control children themselves. Perhaps if the lens was turned on each of us, some of our own imperfection would be glaringly apparent and we’d quit trashing each other’s parenting.

Kids need to be taught right and wrong, right? But at the moment in my mind, I am not clear what punishment — in any form — can be an effective answer. This topic needs some more brainpicking at my end. If children don’t learn that society has rules of conduct and consequences for bad behavior, what will they be like as grown ups?

Mateo’s mommy Linda gives her side in this explanation:

“In an effort to raise independent young adults, we let our children have a voice. I’m a new parent and I’m learning as much from my kids as they are learning from me. The arguing started way before Mateo could talk — he would let us know he didn’t like certain shoes or clothes with his baby blabber.”

I’m using Selena’s words below and urging to ‘parenting critics’ to give us mommy’s some space. Okay?

I see a very precocious, smart young man who needs to be taught a thing or two about how to debate respectfully when the time calls for it and listen to his mama (and eventually peers, colleagues and other loved ones in life), when the time calls for it. And to be able to discern the difference. No easy task, teaching these things to our children. You bet it starts during the toddler years. I see a mom who is engaging her child and not shutting her son down, while not backing down either. I think we could all do well to be less judgmental of different parenting styles. This child is THREE.