Brigade of new-age, idle moms

India is changing and schools know it much better than most other places. Our students’ problems are different and so are our interactions with our parents. Ours is an international school with children coming from privileged backgrounds. In most cases the mother of the child doesn’t have to work out of necessity. More so, many females choose to take a break to “raise” their little one.

We meet such moms very often. They hold degrees. They have taken a few foreign trips. Their newborn is the apple of their eye and their world rotates around their child. Although they do not hold jobs and have full time maids and cooks and family, they still genuinely feel overwhelmed. They are the new-age, idle moms and there is a brigade of them.

One common trait with them is their anxiety of getting the best for their child. The best party. The best clothes. The best activity and of course the best school. Put together just two moms of school-going children and within 5 minutes the conversation diverts to schools. Homeworks are discussed. Teaching methods are dissected. Trivial details are pestered upon. Gossip is exchanged and opinions are formed. In most cases, authenticity is not sought. While schools too, do not communicate their vision clearly, there is clearly over-analysis on part of the brigade of what their ward is doing. The brigade is so pre-occupied with the well-being of their child that they many a times do the most damage. The children, like all of us humans, need just two things.

Friends to be with and a bit of our own space.

In the modern urban India more and more couples choose to have a single child. Or many times have two children who are years apart, leaving the older one to be lonely for long periods of time. And when the parents realize that the child is feeling lonely a trip to the fanciest toy shop is made and goodies are bought in bulk to compensate for a playmate. Play dates are organized and activities are enrolled in to develop social skills. But siblings and cousins are irreplaceable. Playmate of the same age is missed and loneliness sets in.

The brigade then finds the child’s behaviour erratic and unusual and another aspect of childhood, giving space, is taken away. The moms choose not to let anything be. The school or the colony friends or the maid’s child or the in-laws are then blamed for “improper” behaviour of the child. It is then discussed in-depth over long chats with other moms when the child is kept busy at an activity.

The children need to be rescued from the brigade. They need to run free. Without anxious moms. And the moms too need to breathe in new air. They need to overcome their anxiety and revel in the childhood rather than make it a race.

And I can’t help but share Khalil Gibran’s thoughts on children which seem so appropriate to the topic.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.

PS: This story was first published on our school’s blog.

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