Parenting is: This or That?

posted by Manju Jain, June 07, 2017

Parenting is love. Parenting is laughter and tears. Sometimes, it's laundry, and nagging. And at other times it's a picky eater or picking up toys. But most often, in almost everything, it comes down to be about making choices. Tough, nerve-wracking choices that demand time and research.

When did parenting get to be mostly this - choosing this or that - what is best for our kids

There used to be a time when a village came together to raise a child - when living in a joint family made it all easy or the wisdom of grandparents led the way. We've ceased to rely on these. Instead, we gather inputs - crowdsource data, scan resources, research - and then compare and delve before we decipher the right choice for our kids.

From birthing plans to diaper choices, childcare options, schooling systems, and down to bedtime routines, we parse organized information to choose what's best. And then there are everyday choices like organic or non-GMO, stay-at-home or working-parent, free play or afterschool class. Even picking out a pediatrician or honing their religious leaning involves reading, discussing, and pondering. To make matters worse, money-hoarding corporates strive to confuse us. Throw in social media, messed up food and health industries, academic racing, and all jargons associated with raising brilliant, healthy, creative, and compassionate kids! Parenting drives us nuts, doesn't it?

Trying to reason out the cause for this endearing pursuit when it comes to anything to do with our children, I realize we inherently don't want to settle for less. And we are almost wired to analyze and evaluate.

Cooped up in nuclear family units, and having denied ourselves any sort of hand holding, we've set ourselves up - we have high standards to reach, yet we are paranoid. And we over parent, so we won't screw up.

Well, there's nothing really wrong with any of this. Only, it makes it all plain hard, and it siphons out the smaller pleasures of parenting. The important thing to remember is that we have the privilege to choose, and the pursuit in itself is driven by a noble intent to give our children better than what we received. What's also interesting is that we hardly ever go back and evaluate our choices - with little time to play judge, we move on to setting better, loftier goals. The key is to know where to stop, what battles to pick, and to also allow ourselves to be mediocre.

Parenting is easy, said no parent ever. But before we go about making choices for our kids, there's a crucial choice we must make for ourselves. A conscious choice to let go, and to sometimes fail knowingly. Because that's the only way to savor the love and laughter in parenting.

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