Recently I realized that I am a mix between a helicopter and a dolphin. Sometimes I tend to be a helicopter mama, more because of the fact that I hover around my kid, and less because I am an aviator’s wife. (Well, my husband flies a helicopter, but that doesn’t ‘qualify’ him to be a helicopter parent). But in general, I am a happy-go-lucky dolphin mama who likes to give her kid plenty of space. For me, my child’s autonomy and sense of freedom is priority number one, while taking care that it doesn’t infringe on my basic authority as her parent. But considering my protective instincts, you can also categorize me as a helicopter-flying mamabear, who doesn’t hesitate to shred the flesh off the bones of someone who might harbor even the slightest idea of picking on my kid.
I was scared of keeping nannies for childcare and baby care, after seeing all those horror videos of child abuse by nannies in youtube. So, I have never kept a nanny to take care of my kid. I believe that not all nannies are bad. But what can I say. My paranoia borders on neurosis, or even psychosis. My second pet peeve, is about cooking and washing dishes. I am afraid of ‘unclean hands’ cooking meals and half-washed soapy dishes! (The thing is that I am not much bothered about sparkling floors or folded clothes, but I am obsessive about my kitchen and what goes around in there). In fact, these are things I can never abstain myself from complaining about. As a result, I have to clean, cut, chop and cook every vegetable, every fruit and every morsel of whatever we eat. I just cannot let another person, other than a member of my family, do that for us. See, I am neurotic. I really strained myself with no help around, when my daughter was a newborn; the downside of being paranoid about silly yet serious things.
As a child, I never got to spend quality time with neither of my parents, because they were working full-time. I regret that. May be, that is the reason why I left my job after my daughter was born, because I wanted to be around full-time at least during her first few formative years. That said, I don’t glorify sacrificing one’s job and staying at home, looking after the kid and blah, blah, blah. I respect moms who work full-time and also take care of their kids. I am not a ‘martyr’ who sacrificed her career at the altar of motherhood. It has been purely my choice. I feel that a parent claiming to be a ‘martyr’ for his/her kids is cheap and selfish. ‘Martyrdom’ in parenting is definitely overrated.
I am a ‘failed’ product of tiger parenting, ‘failed’ in the sense that I peaked early, and burned out early, so nonchalantly. (Remember the cello-playing kid from The Hangover Part 2, who was touted to be a future surgeon by his ambitious dad, who lost his finger? He was so coolly unconcerned about losing a finger, right? Well! I am his somewhat, female version (although my area of expertise was not cello and I may have had only half of rrrrrrr…..well, may be a quarter of his talents). That said, I am not for or against tiger parenting. Many tiger mamas and tiger papas around the world, have high-achieving and successful offsprings.
I was totally into breastfeeding and stuff like that because I have heard from my mother that me and my brother were bottled-fed as babies, since my mom never had the time or energy for breastfeeding, because of working full-time. I like getting involved in my daughter’s affairs; we play, run, jump, hop, skip, dance and go for movies together. These days, we both are learning to climb trees and I just can’t keep up with my daughter. I am so happy now that I am reliving my childhood with her (not through her. With her). Being a ‘child-woman’, I am enjoying this part of my life to the fullest. You see, the naughty, hyperactive girl who was trapped inside this overgrown body all these years, has found a new lease of life playing with my own daughter.
In the beginning, my little girl used to be very clingy. But, I have been noticing a change from the time she has started going to playschool. Now,she prefers playing with her friends over there, rather than with her mother. It is a positive change; her social skills are developing and wow, I realize that my little princess is growing up fast. So, right now, playing together is marked for Sundays when she doesn’t have playschool. I also like getting her involved in my business of life; in kitchen work, gardening, housekeeping, etc.etc.. In fact, I started her off, earlier than most of the kids of her age group.
My ways are a little unconventional. But that doesn’t mean I don’t discipline her. Since I have decided on being a SAHM for a while, I guess I will be hovering around my kid for a little more time, till she hits that age when young girls get totally involved in their own friends’ and BFF’s circles and lose interest in their mothers. But I would still want to stick around and play the ‘cool’ mother card. (Wishful thinking? I don’t know. Only time will tell).
Am I a success? Or am I a failure? Well, that again depends upon my perception of living a happy, healthy and fruitful life. And it doesn’t depend upon how others perceive me. Then again, my definition of a purposeful life may not exactly correlate to my neighbor’s idea about it. Right now, this is my purpose in life. And when this purpose is satisfied, I may shift my attention and energy to other areas in life.