As much as I am trying to decipher the mystery of being a parent, at the same time, I am also taking in the obvious changes occurring to the Mother, and in an extension, the Wife.
A lot changes after kids.
My wife and I used to be able to talk a fair bit and share a lot of insights and philosophies. After seven years, it seems that we are both like jaded warriors fighting the same battle day in and day out, working out a schedule that works for both of us. I don’t think we are the only ones like that. That’s why I like the those “before” movies – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight – where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were just incredible in making courtship and marriage so real. Incredible. And it just sort of reminds us that no matter how important our kids are, the relationship of parents are moreso.
The point here is this: the journey of parenting is a tough road. It’s also a lonely road at times. The mother and father often goes through diverged schedules to accommodate the kids:- Mom wakes up earlier, fetches the first to school, Dad wakes up half hour, fetches kid to nanny. Mom sleeps with #2 because dad snores and #1 is too noisy, dad sleeps on the floor of the kids room with #1. Sometimes we see each other for the brief moment, before we have to put them to bed again.
I recently read on facebook, one of my ‘acquaintances’ going completely bonkers about first time mothers being self-centred, lousy in planning and managing and lazy and irresponsible. No doubt this was after a conversation with one of her friends who were probably complaining how difficult it is being a mother. This acquaintance claimed that all mothers should do proper planning and take ownership of the role since it’s so difficult.
Number 1. Facebook is the infallible source of the world’s most complete and utter bullshit there ever was. Because it’s full of people. And People’s opinions, and 99.99% of the time, People’s opinions are utter shit-worthy. Like this one. This is a great example of a shit-worthy opinion because this person is a) Not married b) Not a parent c) The last person you would expect any sort of responsibility to come from. She’s sort of an itinerant person. Very artistic, I think and I don’t doubt her books or art is good (I wouldn’t know but if you can make a living from it, it can’t be complete horseshit right?) – but hopelessly out of depth to comment anything about being a parent. Because she knows nothing. NOTHING.
It’s quite common, whereby a non-parent, or a non-mother or a ‘godmother’ or someone who has nieces and nephews, sit aside and point out how parents should do their job. Because they think just because they spend 2 hours a week with kids will give them enough experience to be a mother.
No. You. Have. No. Freaking. Clue.
I hate to say it, but Mothers are entitled. They are entitled to complain. Yes, complain about their kids to others. YES. The kid is 2 months old. They are not going to suddenly develop a sense of sensitiveness and understand a word that the mother is talking. And child psychologists who mention that negative chi can be transferred to kids:- that is as much evidence in that happening as me eating durians every day to cure cancer.
Why are mother’s entitled?
Because they go through a lot. So, they need to let it out. Let it go. Get the frustration out. Punch a beanbag. Punch a husband. I don’t care. Don’t bottle it in. Sometimes, complaining, bitching, scolding, lecturing – these are the only ways to keep the mother sane. DO IT! And don’t feel bad about it!
I think too many child psychologists out there focus too much on the kids to the point we think these kids are martians with psychic abilities. We never really look at the mother and say, “You know what? Throw a damn tantrum, ain’t nobody is judging you.”
Now, of course, this is different from advocating child abuse (verbal or physical). We should never at any point of time put our kids through mental torture or anguish. We do sometimes, and we just need to learn from it. Like that day, when my #2 rolled off our high bed and ended up on the floor screaming when I asked #1 to look after him. Instinctively I blamed #1 for being responsible. After that, I realised, no, I was wrong to do that. He is 4, he went off to play. He was very sorry after that, but it happens. It doesn’t make him an evil brother. I apologised to my kid and said sorry for blaming him for the accident. It’s weird to do that to a 4 year old, but I was wrong to lash out in that tone. We can talk to our kids and make them understand why it’s important to care for siblings, but going ballistic isn’t the way. But that’s what parenting is – we do so many things wrong and try to learn from it.
So as far as planning, being self centred and taking ownership goes – no, there is no plan. When you are changing diapers and he shits on your shirt. When you are travelling in the middle of a traffic jam and they want to pee or shit. When you look away and they tumble off the bed and crack their skull. When the day before your most important presentation to the board, both of them are sick and you stay up not sleeping and not able to prepare because they are screaming their heads off. When one of them eat glass. When it’s impossible to wake them up when you are rushing to work. When one of them pees all over himself and starts wallowing in pee while you were looking for their diapers. When their shit explodes through their diapers all over the baby seat and onto your car and on their hands, which they proceed to then put in their mouth and you are driving and can’t do anything.
Planning? Parents don’t plan. They wing it as they go along. There is no management here. There is a lot of prayers, yeah, but no, there is no management or planning or project scheduling here. Self centred? If a parent is self centred, their kids will be dead. DEAD. So the fact that you have living and breathing children shows you are not self centred. Sitting around making judgement on mothers – that’s also not being self centred. That’s just being a moron. And to understand all these, you need to be a parent.
So I will end this paraphrasing Colonel Jessep from A Few Good Men to the opinionated person who thinks all mothers should plan and are self centred:
“Girl, we live in a world that has kids. And these kids need to be guarded by women who are Mothers. Who’s gonna do it? You? They have a greater responsibility that you could possibly fathom. You judge them for being whiny, you curse them for being sorry for themselves. You have the luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what they know. That their whining, while hard to hear, helps them bring up little lives. And their existence, though weird and incomprehensible to you, brings up little lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties or at the movies that you can go to because you are single, you want them to guard these kids, you need them to guard these kids. They use words like diapers, poopies, peepee. They use these words as the backbone of a life spent caring for something. You use them as a punchline. They have neither the time nor the inclination to explain themselves to a girl who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that they provide, and then questions the manner in which they provide it. They would rather you say thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick a husband and get a baby. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!”
I guess a lot of these so called opinionated facebookers can’t handle the truth. Just sayin.