Today’s world is a lot busier than it was a decade or two. More and more youths (men as well as women) are falling in the working categories. Among women, the shift is moving from being a housewife to a working woman. Joint families are no longer working out for most of us. All we want is nucleated families with independence. While this article is not a fit to discuss what is good or what is bad, lets discuss the impact of these paradigm shift that has on your child. And then lets find out how you can be closer to your child.
When I was a child, I grew up in a hybrid kind of environment. We started staying in the joint family but gradually shifted to a nucleated family. However, the whole family from my mother’s side stayed quite close to our place and so I never felt the jerk of growing up in a nucleated family. I loved the experience of growing up in that kind of environment. I think the value and principles that I live by today is because of the kind of caring environment that I was brought into. My mom and dad were both working, but still I never felt the loneliness of not being with the family. This experience of mine has made me understand the importance of people in our life.
But today, it is all total a different problem. Almost everyone wants to stay independent and far from each other. Employment situations have compelled people to stay in the city where there is demand for service and employment. Families have spread across the various part of the globe. For my mom to reach me, it takes around 28 hours of journey by train and 3 hours of journey by flight.
Needless to say, we are a nucleated family. Me and my husband, both are working professionals. But I worry for my 3 and half year kid. She never had a chance to stay in the joint families. Not a single member of the family from our (me and my husband) side is staying in the same city. There are occasional visits but that doesn’t last for more than a week or two in a year. At max, we are able to make only 2 trips yearly based on the leaves that we get.
All these conditions have put more burden on me to care more about my child and her upbringing. I want her to grow by the same values that I grew up with. But the thing that bothers me most is that at no point of time should my child feel lonely. It is very important for a child to feel loved and cared.
Initially when I started working again post my pregnancy, I used to be so tired finishing off the daily chores that almost neglected spending time with her. My love for her was never less, but somehow, I was not able to manage the quality time that she deserved. And she was just 6 months old. It was a mess for the next six months. I was not able to handle office and home at the same time. More than anything, I felt so bad for not being a mom that I dream of being one.
After much of the thought, I decided to take a break from my career. To get myself organized, it was a necessary step. I did resign and took a break for around 1 year. But never in those 1 year did I regretted leaving my job. At that time, being with my child was more important than anything else in this world. It was during that time that I realized what my kid wanted from me.
It might not surprise you but all that a child want from his/her mother is the attention. My kid loved when I paid attention to what she wanted to say or what she was doing. She always wanted me to be part of her activities. My kid wanted me around her for most of the time. She was the happiest when I appreciated her more than anyone else. It is an emotional moment for all the mothers.
The next one year was amazing. Raising her all by myself was rewarding (my husband was there too…..). I did work on few freelancing projects during that time but always ensured that my kid gets the time she deserved.
The complexity of our lives has increased so much that it is very hard to focus on your child the whole day even when you have the whole day. So here are few tips that I would like to give to all moms irrespective of whether they are housewives or working:
When you are with your kid, just be with your kid
It is a natural habit to check our smartphones or engage in some other activities when we think we are sitting idle. The same feelings will overpower when you will be with your kid. You will think that as your kid is playing around better check the mails from office or browse through the WhatsApp group. My advice is not to do it. Try observing how your child plays, what are they involved with and if possible, be involved in their activities. It’s important!!!
When your child is asleep or falling asleep, try to be near to them
Kids always understand the presence and touch of their mom. It is their extraordinary sense. So, when your kid is falling asleep or asleep, try to be near to them for some time at least. It gives them a sense of security and relaxation. Do not try to figure out how they know if you are there but trust me they do understand your presence.
Try to go to places that your kid would like to go rather than your favorite place
I know this might sound a bit of a sacrifice but try doing it. You will enjoy the experience. When it comes to me, I prefer going out to a nice park than a mall (I love shopping!) because my kid loves it. And I love the happiness and excitement that she shows when she is at her favorite place where she can play and enjoy! You don’t have to make sacrifices always. Do go to malls or restaurants but also make it a priority to visit places which your kid loves.
Try to engage your kid in some physical activities and be a part of it
My kid loves coloring. She loves to play with colors. Give her some poster colors and a paper, and she will have loads of fun with it. Give her a colorful dough and she will put that all over her fingers and sing “daddy fingers…” These are just cherished moments that I capture in my heart. Get your kid involved in some activities and see how they make you a part of it. Appraise them, play with them and have fun. These days are never going to come back again.
With digitization surrounding us, it is obvious that YouTube videos and kids app look much easier options, but refrain using them for all the time. Physical activities are a much better bet than virtual apps.
These are few of the experiences that I have gone through while raising my kid. I know each one of you will have a unique experience with your child. You need not be an expert in child caring. Just know your child well and connect with them. If any of these tips helps you, I will be happier than anyone else.