Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
Tiger mom, Helicopter, Snowplow mom or even an advocate of roadkill parenting, whatever that is – apparently every parent needs a signature style. What’s yours?
I write to you with a heavy heart and a glimmer of hope in my eyes. Ever since Anika has come into our lives these last five years, I see that you have been partial only to her demands and request for gifts. You haven’t even noticed the stockings (stuffed with my long list of desires including pedicures, long naps, long uninterrupted showers without people knocking the door down etc) or the cookies and milk that I have dutifully left for you. I get it. Children are most important in the larger scheme of Christmas, but sometimes the rockers of the cradle need some attention as well, right? So let me get straight to the point.
I need help defining my style of parenting. No, no. I haven’t lost my mind. It’s true. You have no idea what it feels like to lurk the corridors of unbranded and unclassified parenting these days. These last few months, people have grown so suspicious about my lack of direction as a parent that a lot of mommys have unfollowed me on Twitter and Instagram. (Yes, FB is archaic now so please don’t DM me there) Let me help you understand the scenario better by giving you a few examples of what I’m talking about. While growing up, all I saw was, the ‘behave yourself or I’ll throw a belan at you’ kind of parenting, so I feel a bit lost.
Tiger mom: You see, these are the ones who know that tough love is the right kind of love. No cat, dog or elephantine traits will do here. I have even been told about Dolphin moms who are more nurturing and collaborative. And jellyfish mothers who are too friendly and let children run riot. Now with the plethora of options before me, can you see my conundrum? Which aquatic or mammalian entity am I as a parent?!
Helicopter Mom: Does this mean I need to constantly hover over my child? Then wouldn’t I rather be even more modern and become a Drone mom? Then I can hover in a more fuel efficient and lightweight manner no?
Snowplow mom: Apparently, this is parenting where parents clear all obstacles for their children instead of letting them fight their way in the world. Given the unbearable heat these days, I would at least have opted for this one, necessitated by the need for cooler pastures but I was told this classification is not to be interpreted literally or climatically. It is not specific to people living in cold countries. Darn.
Hot air balloon parenting: Nope. We aren’t talking about parenting on vacation here. This, I was told, lies in the bottom heap of parenting styles and people stick their noses down at it. Excessively liberal parenting which sways with the whims of their children. No wonder it has been voted the coolest parenting style by kids worldwide. You can never please everyone now, can you?
French parenting: I’m not about to broach this with my French colleagues or clients but this style adheres to the ‘kids do not need to be mollycoddled’ train of thought. I agree to an extent that over-indulgence does sometimes lead to rotten kids but then my kid is give! How do I just ask her to start on her adult boots saying ta ta, I’m hanging up mine as a parent?
Roadkill Parenting: Umm. Enough said.
As I sit atop this wondrous pile of all parenting, good and bad, you see my predicament now? What do you think though? Is it okay if I take it a day at a time, do my best as a watchful parent and let her take flight or will she fly back as a grown up and come back to peck my eyes out one day as retribution? Yikes! Just the other day my daughter asked me what she should do and I said, ‘Anything you like baby. Go down to play with your friends. Take your painting things. Have fun. Just be back home by 5pm.’ The lady sitting next to me (an acquaintance) looked at me like I was an uninspired worm.
‘What?? You haven’t fixed a playdate?’
‘Ermmm. No. Didn’t need to. She goes down to play everyday.’
‘No hobby classes?’
‘Well, school does cover a lot of those. She will pick what she is interested in eventually.’
‘What about tuitions? Surely you don’t think she is Einstein already and doesn’t need help with her studies?!’
‘She…is five years old. What tuitions?!’
She looked gobsmacked and hasn’t spoken to me since.
I sign off now with a prayer in my heart and a cookie in my hand. For you. Once you have told me what kind of parent I am, I promise I will never judge anyone. Each to his own right? Just help me figure this out. I’ll be any animal or object you deem fit. You still have many months to prepare, but this Christmas I need a response in the stocking I leave you. Just hurry up. Before I lose any more followers!
Parent in identity crisis
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