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Parenting Tales - Luck Is Overrated & Happiness Is Acquired

Hey there! It has been such a long time I wrote here and it feels so good to be back. While the look and feel and reach of blogs have been transformed while I was away, one thing remained constant and that is content. End of the day, we all read when the content appeals to us, when the content stays with us, keep popping out of our minds when we are busy with something else, when it resonates with our persona and current phase of life.

If you are a parent and dealing with new parenting trials every day then yes my thoughts resonate very much with you - our content is the same :) Let me make you feel jealous/happy for a bit now! Recently, during many interactions I was quoted as a 'lucky parent' and I felt the need to write why it is not so on most occasions. Sooner, you will know why.

My child is 5 years now and below are certain things that happen as a rhythm and part of his lifestyle.

1. He is the first one to wake up at home by himself, early in the morning, around 6-6:30 am
2. He waters the plants
3. He has his breakfast (almost anything that is kept on table) on his own by sitting in one place at the table
4. He plays by himself (mostly) once back from school and doesn't depend on me for his entertainment
5. He hardly watches TV
6. He has his dinner by 6:45-7 pm
7. He goes to bed by 7:30 pm

As a fellow parent, how do you feel now? Do you feel
1. Yes, that's what pretty much happens at my home too. Actually, we do much better than these.What is so great about it, anyway?
2. Are you kidding?! You must be the luckiest mom!

If you fall into the first category, then welcome to my club :) You might even be a person who is a minimalist/have alternative approach to life/promote sustainability etc.These are ought to be the most common things that should happen with kids, there is nothing extraordinary about it. In fact, there are many other things that should happen along these lines. Like, kids helping you with chores around the house.

However, if you fall into the second category then let me tell you that I am not so sure if I am lucky enough! I have not perceived luck to be playing a major role in setting up the lifestyle at home. I had to work hard to achieve most of it, which I am proud of and ready to accept the credit for. Now let us go through the points again

1. He is the first one to wake up at home early in the morning, around 6-6:30
This happens because I make sure he gets to sleep early at 7:30 pm, the night before. A child of his age should get around 10-12 hours sleep and there is no denying the fact. This is an eternal cycle of sleeping and waking up with the Sun - ideal scenario, which we are nowhere close to and yet I am happy for whatever we have reached so far, no perfect parents here please!

2. He waters the plants
Yes after having spent around 30 minutes for drinking homemade-falvoured milk (which needs a special post called, 'milk battles', if I have to do some justice to my struggles!) and me constantly reminding him that the plants would be sad (which I correlated to how they wilt with lack of hydration) and would be eagerly waiting for him. This has been practiced for many days till it became a habit. Interestingly, I am still convincing him to make it a morning job of sitting on the throne to unload! Don't call me lucky, ok?

3. He has his breakfast (almost anything that is kept on table) on his own by sitting in one place at the table
This again we have been practicing from the time he was born. First he used to sit in his pram while me and my husband used to have meals at the table and then he graduated to sitting at table sometime after he turned one! So yes it took almost 4 years of consistent hard work, do you think I am being lucky here? And on bad days I give in to him a little bit so I get to keep him happy to continue the habit! Like today he was asking for coconut parantha with pesto spread (which is nutritious and homemade) and yes I prepared it, though it is an occasional indulgence that I change my plans for him. 

4. He plays by himself (mostly) once back from school and doesn't depend on me for his entertainment
His school is helping me here and yet you cannot call me lucky. Why? Because as parents we opted for a methodology with promotes slow and no-shortcut parenting, keeps them away from fancy stuff, has lots of free play (where the kid is allowed to do what he wants to do out of the most boring, basic and minimal things) that develops creativity. Which also means your child at 5 years would still not be sitting at a desk and writing what the teacher asks him to. So yes it is not easy to make such a choice when more than 99 percent of the world around is going in the opposite direction!

5. He hardly watches TV
Same as point number 4. As part of schooling, they encourage parents (not kids!) to not have TV at home and not expose the child to screen till they are about 7. However, we do have TV at home. While I love watching movies and lifestyle channels, my husband is into sports. So yes we do switch on the TV, either when my kiddo is sleeping or occasionally when he is awake, but we never switch on the TV for the sake of giving him some screen time. Some parents might even think that we are being evil! So yes you need to be this evil and even control/postpone your own urge to watch the TV as it beats the purpose if you watch it at any time you please. It's hard work people, not luck!

6. He has his dinner by 6:45-7 pm
He will have dinner by this time, because I would give him light snack around 4 pm. I make sure he spends all the energy at a park for atleast an hour after snacks. I make sure to bring him home between 6-6:20 pm and give him bath (which also relaxes and aids in good sleep). I changed my own dinner time and eat along with him by 6:45 pm on most days so he doesn't get to feel all alone for following a different rhythm or feel as a guest who is given priority (Tip: never treat your child as a guest!). Initially when I wanted to make this change there was so much howling and hitting from him. However things gradually fell in place and how? You need to do it together with the child and do it everyday, I know it is neither easy nor we are lucky!

7. He goes to bed by 7:30 pm
This is like a chicken-egg problem. How the child sleeps at 7:30? Because the child woke up at 6:30 am, has an active day, has a proper rhythm so that the body feels it when it is time for bed. I see my child dozing off at the dining table when dinner gets past 7:30 pm on some days. Now, how the child gets up at 6:30 am without any alarm or a parent striving to get him out of bed? Because he slept early last night, at 7:30 pm, had enough sleep, has a proper rhythm and the body knows when it needs to be active again! Nothing but reiterating the point number one. While we all are blessed, let luck do its own job when we concentrate on other relevant parenting mantras!

LUCKILY, I love to write about parenting musings and other random thoughts so I get a medium to explain why luck is overrated in parenting. Give a pat on your back, be happy for what you have accomplished so far - come on, we deserve it! And  then share your parenting stories so we all benefit from mutual learning. There are also incidental blips in the rhythm and numerous unpredictable tantrums that happen between all these (so called) lucky things (now that's called reading between the lines!). All is not so well and that's the beauty! For now, I am a happy parent to the most extent as many of the essential things needed for a child are happening as they ought to be. And what do you call those? Hard working parents for the sake of their own peace of mind :)

Truly, children are like a mirror!


kavitha reddy said…
Witty and to the point. Keep up the good work Sowmya and yes luck in parenting is highly overrated. Have experienced it first hand many times.
sanchi said…
Glad to find a company :) Thank you!
sanchi said…
Thanks theja :)
Rina said…
Love it..encouraging ..
manali thombre said…
Wonderful writeup- just loved it's

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