When it comes to self-makeovers, there is no louder voice about what "should be done" than the one coming from between our ears. And there is nothing wrong with self-reflection and a determination to do something better in the coming year. But there are certain things that we will never be “ready” for until we start doing them.
"I completely and violently disagree with this concept of ‘weekend parenting’. Parenting, in my humble opinion, is not just about hanging out with the kids and having a great time – that is what they have friends for. And I am of the firm view that I am not interested in being Ayaan’s friend (at least not until he has become an adult in every sense of the word) – my job is to be his mother." -Rohini, Mama Says SoRohini, a full-time working mom, was writing in response to an article about "weekend parenting," a new trend emerging in the middle class in India. Sadly, it's a trend that has been in existence here for years, whether it has been called by that name or not.
I pity the parents who do not feel that it is important to participate in their children's daily lives. "Quality time" is what happens at the most unexpected moments of "quantity time."
Today, on the way home from our walk, Jude came out with one of his "Did you know...?" questions.
"Mom, did you know that bats eat mosquitoes? And flies?"
"Yep, you're right."
"What else do they eat?"
"You know what, I'm not exactly sure. Why don't we look it up?"
We were approaching our front yard, so we went right into the house and looked up bats in a Childcraft book on animals. It gave us a brief overview, but it wasn't enough to satisfy Jude--he wanted to look them up on the internet, too. So Wikipedia was our next resource, where we learned all kinds of things about bats, including the fact that they are viviparous, like humans. This reminded me that Jude has asked several times lately about how babies come out of people, so while we were on Wikipedia, I looked up the "pregnancy" entry and was able to show him diagrams of a baby growing in utero, and explain how when the baby got big enough, the mommy pushed it out through the vagina. He was amazed at how small babies start out, and how weird they looked at first. Then he asked me a few questions about when he was a baby. Finally, he felt like he was satisfied for the moment, and we went to make some sandwiches for lunch.
This is only one "quality" moment of many that hide in the quantity of moments in my day where only a parent will do. For instance, I teach my children the Alphabet Song or other "educational" songs by singing it to them while I brush their teeth. An alternative caregiver, or even a well-trained teacher, cannot replace having a parent involved in their children's lives day in and day out, who cares way more than anyone else about what their child learns, what attitudes they have and who wants to keep their love of learning and curiosity alive.
E.g. Jason and I believe that talking about having a baby is NOT taboo for a five-year-old, but some people may have been uncomfortable answering that question for someone else's child the way I did for my own.
Also, how can one hope to correct anything they see that they don't like about their children in two days on a weekend?
If all a parent wanted was a hobby and a tax deduction, start a home-based network marketing business. There are plenty of "daily" parents who would love to share their kids with you for a few hours on the weekend so you can get your "kid fix." But those are the parents who are NOT willing to give up their rights to train their own children 98% of the time.
Thank you, Rohini, for your thoughtful post on this subject. I hope that it will help some of your readership re-evaluate their own priorities.
I have always been fascinated with documentation and history. I also have a lousy memory, and lose more and more of those memory-retaining cells with the birth of each successive child, it seems. I love words. Once upon a time, I faithfully kept a journal, using real paper and ink. This is a time-consuming habit that has long gone by the wayside. However, I often find myself writing journal entries in my head throughout the day--thinking what a great read that would be in a few years, if only I actually ever had the time to write it down. Of course, if I ever DO have the chance to sit down, all the clever lines and funny anecdotes I wanted to record have long since flown from the windy vault of my mind.
At long last, perhaps this, ah this, will work. Maybe if I make it my homepage, so I cannot forget about it. Maybe...
If anyone else finds entertainment from the reading thereof, that is a bonus. I admit my desire to begin a blog is almost purely selfish--so looking back at my life in a few years, there isn't this long stretch of blurred history where all I can remember are vague impressions of millions of diaper changes blended with getting up in the night for months at a time, controlling 3-year-old temper tantrums in the grocery store, and calling the loo a "potty" and nothing else.
Perhaps I'll actually REMEMBER all those cute things my kids did.
Perhaps someone else will read this and realize they are not alone!
Then I will look back and laugh at this first blog, when I was trying to type and breastfeed at the same time. (This looks awkward, and believe me, it's not as easy as it looks!)
I am looking forward to Jason's return this evening from his two-day training session in GP. He began his new job at Micro Computer Plus yesterday, and I think he is excited/scared about the change in field. Happy to be using his training, but feeling a little out of the loop from long disuse of some of those skills.
Jude has been asking to see him since yesterday morning (he left on Sunday evening).
Speaking of Jude, it is nice to see how he is maturing. We are working with him more trying to get him to say his words more clearly. Every day he speaks a little better, but I think both he and the other kids he plays with are a little frustrated at times with his inability to communicate. Even when he plays with Noah, I think there would be less conflict between them if he could make himself understood.
I cannot WAIT until Noah starts using words. He does try to make them occasionally, but there is nothing that even we can recognize yet, except when he is trying to copy something we have just said. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that most of the time he doesn't feel the need to tell us anything, anyway.
Jabin has become quite the little porker. I had hoped he would be going longer at night between feedings, but he still usually only makes it from 9 p.m. until about 3 a.m., then eats again at 6:30-ish. I guess his metabolism must be closer to Jude's than Noah's, because that's how Jude's pattern went. Noah was sleeping 10-12 hours straight through by three months, which Jabin is only 2 weeks away from!
While Jason has been away, I have managed to do a little bit of everything, and accomplished nothing, really. I got part of a wall painted in my kitchen. I got 1 1/2 scrapbook layouts done. I almost finished LAST week's laundry, so I can finally get started on THIS week's! The never-ending cycle.
What did women do a hundred years ago when they did their dishes and clothes by hand? How did they ever manage to have free time when they had to make clothes for their entire family? I imagine "free time" was a concept unknown to them.
Well, apparently Jude needs me to go protect him from the "sharp tooth" in the Land Before Time movie he's seen dozens of times already. A mother's work is never done. Perhaps I should enjoy these interruptions more--soon enough he may have little need for me at all.