Those tough days when my parenting style was challenged

Growing kids and their playfulness keep on posing challenges to maintain a mother’s cool quotient. It becomes tremendously exhaustive when father and mother follow different parenting style, which is a normal situation that exists in every home. Recently, I took a decision to let my six-year girl get ready for her school on her own. It is a three day drama I am about to narrate here.

Day 1:
I woke her up with usual ritual of kissing, cuddling and telling her that she is my lovely princess. After 5 minutes of this whole act we came out from bedroom and I asked her to brush her teeth. She wanted to enjoy her sweet laziness for some time and this was usual. I waited for 5 minutes and then reminded her to go to washroom. She refused once again and tried to bargain few more minutes. Butterflies started fluttering in my stomach. I controlled it for some time and then I instructed her in very strict tone that she should go to washroom right then. She went in and started humming some song that brought a smile on my face but for a very short while. It was really getting hard for me to not get angry. I was getting anxious and she was enjoying her own time in the washroom. After brushing her teeth she made herself comfortable in living room, where my hubby dear was enjoying some reviews on gadgets. She too got busy with computer. I went to her and explained that she had to get ready on her own and if she were late her bus would leave and she had to stay at home. Staying at home means no practice session for her annual day performance which is on 4th Feb. I thought it was the brilliant idea to distract her from computer and that she would hurry after this threat. But she was untouched. My husband noticed my struggle and he came to help me, obviously in his own way. He closed the review window and opened another one playing Jabra fan dance. What kind of help was this! At that very moment I felt like throwing the computer out of my house. But somehow, I controlled myself and tried not to shout at any of these two angels of my life.Once again, I asked my daughter to start dressing up for school and instructed my husband to go to washroom. Both of them kept glued to their places watching SRK dance. Clock was ticking and I was going mad. My husband looked at me and said you leave this to me and relax. I could not believe what I was listening to. How he would manage when he was not even asking her to get ready? After the song got over my hubby initiated an alarm on computer and told his daughter that she had to get ready before that alarm beeps. That was all and he clicked kala chasma dance performance. My daughter gave him disapproving look and instead of changing her dress she started setting her pencil box. Not this pencil….that one, not this eraser…that one, not this sharpener…oh! Where is my other sharpener? And there she goes in her room, which is literally a laboratory with lots of idea lying on the floor or waiting on the shelves. I suspected she would get busy with her pending laboratory work and would forget about the sharpener. I hollered from living room ‘come back and get ready. It is really getting late.’ No answer from her and my hubby once again said ‘you relax. If you cannot help her in finding the sharpener, at least, don’t shout from here.’ I started fidgeting and I was really going mad inside. If my daughter would not have been there I would have shouted at my husband. The whole thing was looking ridiculous but I resisted to make situation worse by surfacing the parenting conflict. I sat in a chair impatiently and after taking few deep breaths I helped her in finding THE sharpener. She started sorting crayons in different color scheme and what not. Setting up a pencil box became such a huge task that it took 20 minutes. Thank God! We always prepare bag (books) as per her school timetable a night before. Anyway, I repeated the same words ‘get ready’ and she started doing it so leisurely. At that moment I felt a strong urge to give a tight slap to her and I controlled myself. Took few more deep breaths and tried to cool myself. No matter how hard I tried to distract my mind from the existing situation but it denied- out rightly stubborn thoughts. Meanwhile my husband said to both of us that set up pencil box a night before and we both nodded in yes. How my husband was still cool! I really hated that cool attitude in that moment. In my mind, I gave them both the trophy of ‘most irresponsible beings I ever met’. My daughter was getting ready at her own pace and my husband was doing multitasking: getting ready and watching the dance performances on computer. When only 10 minutes left for the school bus to arrive, I completely lost it. Existing situation literally licked me up and I shouted at my daughter and stopped responding to my husband. After few minutes, both of them were standing out of the door after getting dressed up on their own, at right time. I took first relaxed breath of the morning. My daughter hugged me, kissed me and both of them said ‘bye’ to me. I said ‘bye’ and shut the door. Next moment I started feeling guilty: Why I shouted at my baby? Why I secretly hated my husband’s cool attitude? See, none of them is irresponsible. After saying that I won’t do it tomorrow, I felt better and got busy with rest of the house chores.

Day 2:

Nothing changed. Same playfulness of my daughter, cool attitude of my husband and my anxiety. We all were there once again. But yes, she did her pencil box setting a night before, we made (glued on the wall) a timetable for various activities to be done in the morning. Nobody was concerned about timetable, it were only my eyes oscillating between clock and timetable. My hubby and baby were watching Mogli film on computer. Both of them were enjoying the film and I was in such a miserable state that any kind person would have admitted me to mental asylum at that point of time. I went into bedroom and tried to leave everything to my husband. But I could not. Anxiety got me all. I called my husband and asked him to shut down the computer. He respected my words and thus computer was shut down. I gave a sharp look to my daughter and she warned me not to do that ‘ghooro mat, samajhi’. After lots of chaos she got ready and both of them left for their respective destinations. At the door my daughter hugged me, kissed me and I controlled my tears. My husband didn’t say ‘bye’ to me. I felt low and I cried. I thought to myself: what was this? How was I treating my baby and hubby? Was this the only way? Making her self-dependent had to be this painful for the whole family? Why was I so insanely anxious? Her school should be her responsibility. I was anxious because I had made it mine. My husband didn’t commit this mistake and so he was cool. I admire the way my husband had dealt with my craziness and shouting. I admire the unconditional love of my baby, she didn’t deny her hugs and kisses to me for my angry incarnation. I was the one spoiling everyone’s mood. My hubby had to drive a long way to office with lots of traffic on the roads and there I was sending him away with equally chaotic mental state. I could not find anything positive in my attitude and instead I was devastated by noticing the harms I was doing. I sent apologies to my husband on mail and promised myself not to repeat this next morning.

Day 3:

Nothing changed except I reminded myself the promise ‘not to shout and not to spoil anyone’s mood’. I served the breakfast on the table and excused myself. I decided not to say anything to my baby and my husband. I heard my hubby saying to my daughter that ‘I am trying to delay you by playing your favorite film. You decide you want to stay at home or not.’ My daughter answered ‘I am having my breakfast.’ I was not happy or calm lying in the bedroom but I had to control myself. When only 10 minutes were left to go, I came in the living room to comb my baby’s hair. To my surprise, she was ready- all dressed up and had breakfast. I couldn’t decide whether to cry or smile! I combed her hairs and she announced ‘papa, you are late.’ I smiled and my hubby made a clown face and said ‘o, teri’. I knew both of us (Me and my hubby) were so happy inside that, finally, after two rough days we could make it a smooth happy morning. My daughter learned to get ready on her own and within time limits. She learned to prioritize between computer and school, between fun and need.

I am a person who always wants to start a day with lots of love and happiness. Prior to my decision to make my baby self-dependent for school going process, I always had been a very loving and smiling person. My baby says ’Tum bahut hi khush rahati ho.’ Past two days shook me to the core. I was overloaded with anger, distrust and guilt. My baby experienced this change and for past two days she is coming home with a handmade ‘I love you’ card from her school. My hubby didn’t shout back at me and his parenting style worked. These two days taught me to trust my hubby’s parenting skills and learn from him. I never shouted at my husband and never discarded my husband’s parenting style in front of my daughter. I did this for the sake of my daughter and I thought I trust my husband’s style. Today, I feel that I let him experiment all his ideas with calmness because, perhaps, those matters were not that serious for me. In this serious situation, I found out that I don’t trust his style and it is really hard to distract my own mind from its indulgence. This event also gave me strong grounds to trust my hubby’s parenting style and it is a preparatory step for yet another rocky terrain of parenting. I hope I will make it gracefully all the way to my daughter’s teenage.

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