I wrote this piece 3 years ago, and put it up on my Facebook page called Write Every Day. It’s written as if Amma is talking, in her voice….many people had liked it then, so I’m sharing it on my blog now. Okay – that’s not the only reason…I’m going to be tied up for the rest of the day, and won’t have time to write anything for the blog….so this short paragraph is today’s writing exercise. Happy reading!
I’m 74 years, now a grandmother, but my daughter’s been asking me to share my experiences as a mother, so here goes….
1. Every day, I woke my kids at least 45 minutes before the time they had to leave for school. They had a strict routine – wake up, brush, bathe, say a small prayer in the puja area, eat breakfast, get ready, and leave. No eating without bathing, no going to school without eating something.
2. No one was allowed to waste food or to be fussy and refuse to eat something. If one didn’t like something, they could eat a little less of it, but not skip it entirely.
3. I made sure that all of us ate dinner together, the kids and their father sitting around in a circle, with me sitting in the centre, serving all of them. One would start talking about something and someone else would join in, making observations or cracking a joke while the others listened and smiled.
4. Once my kids grew up to be around 7 years of age, I divided some of the simpler household chores such as sweeping, mopping, collecting the dried clothes and cleaning the windows and doors amongst all of them. They took turns at rotating the job among themselves and if one was not able to do it, the others had to chip in and do that part, too.
5. During all festivals, the kids would share in the work that had to be done such as setting up the Gokulashthami mantap, or the dolls for Saraswathi Pooja and making the Kandil for Deepavali.
6. During the holidays, we all went to our native place and stayed with different relatives for a few weeks. My children played with their cousins and sometimes they fought, but I never interfered or made it into an issue with the elders because children must learn to adjust as well as sort out such issues on their own.
7. Although I had a lot of housework, I made time to learn to read, write and speak the local language which was alien to me. I would read books, learn new bhajans and stotras and teach them to my kids, too. I also learned a little tailoring and would stitch all my kids’ clothes myself.
There are many other experiences, but I think this is enough. Anyway, what’s so special about me, almost all other parents must have done those things too….
One day later –
I glanced at the points my daughter wrote down to use as a reference while giving a talk on parenting ….. she’s got some fancy points in it such as…
1. Set rules, enforce them consistently. Emphasize on punctuality.
2. Don’t pamper your kids
3. Spend quality time together as a family. Listen to each other; make communication a priority
4. Teach kids about responsibility, hard work and inculcate team spirit in them
5. Give them cultural rootedness
6. Teach kids to share and adapt to change; help them to develop resilience
7. Be a role model
What a smart girl my daughter is…I never knew we must do all these things to raise children.
Married at the tender age of 15 years, Amma was transplanted from Karnataka to the Konkan region and Goa. Without any fancy parenting tips or psychology guidelines, she raised her six girls to become fine women.
Both Amma’s words, and the list that follows have 7 points….so…all you need to do is connect the dots…