Monday, 29 June 2015

Why is being a parent suddenly a war of methods?

NOTE: I have not blogged much since the birth of my son. At some point, perhaps, I shall retrospectively post a little more on the journey, both the joyful and harrowing parts of it, but for now, I think I want to finish this post that I began long ago.

I've never read Macchiavelli but I am aware of the tenet most famously attributed to him.

There can be multiple means to a single end and in the case of parenting, one never really knows what good or bad was done until the child in question has reached adulthood. On the average anyway. 

I am siding with those people who say "Parenting is hard enough."

While I am also guilty of mentally judging other parents for what I see them do with and to their kids, at the end of the day, I don't know what their deal is. I don't know what their life is like, their background, how they were raised...I know nothing of that. I see what I see. I take it into account and hope that if I am annoyed by their kid's behaviour, I can avoid encountering it in my own child by doing things differently or reacting differently to the situation in question. But kids are also human--yes, I realise this despite constantly comparing raising a child to raising a dog or a cat. Kids are individuals--yes, like dogs and cats.

This and this. They mean the same thing to me and in a way, convey the same message to me.

Let kids be kids. Be there for them when they need you. Be there for them when they need to be taught things. Show them the magic of childhood by letting them be and by giving them your undivided attention.

I am not compelled to compare one to the other, only compelled to criticise how they appear to speak against the other--the article contents, not necessarily the writers personally--when they are simply two of the many roads toward the same location.


Cut to today.

When I began this entry, I was nearly through my son's first year of life. I was making plans for games and activities we would do to have fun and learn together.

I didn't have that as a child. On the contrary, I was mostly left to my own devices because as a single mom, my mom had to work and work hard for both of us. This is not to say my dad wasn't giving support in any way but of course my mom still did what she had to as a responsible parent. By the time I was born, the days of single income households were dying out and it was necessary.

I never felt, though, that I had to do all those games and activities for my child. The truth is that the wealth of information online gave me so many ideas that it just clicked--I love making things and they would be things that my child and I can enjoy. It's completely win-win.

And then work kicked in for myself and for my husband. After our son turned two, opportunities to grow our investments and businesses began coming in. I found out I'm pregnant. We had to hire a nanny.

The year in which we spent going to playschool and drawing with liquid chalk on the driveway were suddenly a thing of the past. The iPad became a valuable tool in calming him down while we had meetings with potential clients and partners. (Might I add that it did effectively impress most people we spoke with how quietly he would sit at another table with his nanny and he's only two and a half.) Whenever we couldn't bring him to meetings with us, we would speak to him and tell him what time we will be home. Or advise him to go to bed and we will see him in the morning.

Yep, we went from being work from home parents to parents on the go in a snap. (And I thank the Lord every day that our son is so well-adjusted and asks so little of us in return for our absences.)

This issue on whether or not to make childhood magical is just the tip of the iceberg of parenting. We all do what we can, I feel, and I believe firmly that all parents do the best that they can, given their circumstances.

My husband and I work hard on our investments and businesses so we can have more time with our kids as they grow older. And we feel our son is as well-adjusted as he is right now because we dedicated two years of our lives to assuring him of our presence in his. That is what we intend to practice with the next one.

It took me and my mom years to connect as well as my son and I are connected. Our circumstances were different, very different. Truth is, the fact that there are different people involved in the relationship already changes the rules, even if the circumstances were the same.

And I feel that's my whole point to this.

We are individuals. We are all different. Similarities in circumstances give incredible insight but that's all there is to them, really. Maybe I'm just adding to the fuel for one side or the other depending on who reads this but at the end of the day, I say let's just take what good we can from each other and roll on with life as best as we know how.

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