Hi, and welcome to the secret society called “Parenting”. Here you will find adults usually mid-30s, some maybe mid-20s (those that are cases of “the surprise”). Most are found in a perpetually exhausted and zombie state, that is the result of sleepless nights due to kicks from kids in the tummy or snores from spouses. Their days are spent in struggling to make ends meet or buy their 2nd car. (both need hard work)
For the uninitiated, I will spill the beans without any remorse or guilt, because what I state here is the truth and if anybody says otherwise then know this- “they are lying”
Sure the giggles and cuddles make it all worthwhile, of course, they will grow up one day and all this will be dearly missed. But the truth remains. Parenting is tough. It’s a huge responsibility.
Imagine you are being watched at all times, your behaviour is under the radar for check and analysis. That’s what it feels like, living with a toddler. And I have two !!! they will emulate every word, action and mannerism and it is usually the things you don’t want them to learn. So you have to act right at all times.
But fret not whether you’re single, married, planning a baby or already have one, here is parenting in a nutshell for you.
Warning: Reader discretion is advised.
Stage 1 newborn to baby-
In this stage, all that you’re supposed to do is look after the nutrition of the child. The first year goes only in learning to breastfeed and then learning weaning with solids. The crazy starts from here. At that point, you will get thoughts like “will she ever learn to latch?” “will he ever leave breastfeeding?”. And once the solids phase starts then its a constant situation of mom guilt. “ am I feeding her enough?” “why is not gaining enough weight?” “how can I make him eat without the screens? Trust me this is just the beginning.
Stage 2 toddler stage-
In this stage, all you have to do is try to keep them alive, engaged and entertained all the same time. Most of your time goes in research about their milestones and in keeping a track of their growth. Learning tons of DIY activities, and of course how to get rid of screens because by now, it would have become a habit. Best stage ever all because of their innocence, their cuddles, kisses and their cute faces that make even the worse of pains disappear. Another headache that starts at this stage is to discipline them and yelling and spanking don’t work nowadays. they were quite a thing in our times but not now.
Stage 3 tween stage-
In this stage all you have to do is carry Alexa, Ok Google or if your old school like me then a copy of Britannica or encyclopaedia with you at all times. Because this stage is riddled with questions where kids learn the workings of the world. “Mom, why are the wheels round and not square” “mom why do tigers have stripes and lions don’t?” “Mom, where do babies, come from?” yea we all get hit by that one someday or the other.
So better be prepared with an answer that doesn’t involve a stork delivering a baby home (thankyou Hans Christian Andersen for the amazing folklore, it worked like a charm till toddler age group). Also, any and every child discipline technique that worked in the past will now cease to work. its the charm of then tween stage and the reason for many sleepless nights too. there are some common reasons as to why your child discipline techniques fail to work and working on those can do wonders I getting that nights sleep and days peace back.
Stage 4 teenager-
Nothing can quite prepare you for this stage but you can still try. So at some point, these efforts will help you satisfy your guilty conscience in the middle of the night. When you think where you went wrong – you can tell yourself “at least I tried. This is the stage of existential crises, proving themself, adjusting to their bodily changes and of course peer pressure making it really tough for their teeny tiny teen brains.
How to handle it – maintain a safe distance of at least 6 ft from your teen at all times, pretend they don’t exist and talk only when they need you and you should be good to go.
Pro tip – no amount of over-concern, cuddles or kisses will make the boo-boos of this age go away. That works only for toddlers.
Super Pro Tip– (yes it exists) if you actually wish to succeed at your parenting skills in this stage, (by succeeding I mean, be able to get a reply from your teen without any rolling eyeballs and huh’s) then efforts start much earlier. You cant work on your relationship with your teen when they have reached their hormonal peak. Research has shown that the most involved parents have harboured a relation with their kids from a very young age. The foundation of a healthy relationship with your kids lies in doing small things together like having family meals together, movie night, pillow fights. These traditions, practices will go a long way in fostering a loving and caring relationship with your child and you will reap its fruits in teenage years.
Stage 4 -adult.
You don’t have to do anything in this one. Your assignment ends here.
Whether you did a good job or not will be determined by things like how self-reliant/independent he/she is, how does he/she treat his/her spouse, kids, colleagues, etc. Lets leave that for another day.
Don’t be intimidated, planning a child, go ahead, accept the challenge, level up in your life and enjoy the roller coaster ride.
P.s Enjoy it while it lasts.
This blogpost is written as a part of #MyFriendAlexa 2020 blogging challenge organized by Blog chatter.
For more parenting-related issues like how to handle kids in this pandemic, you can visit my podcast. Doctormommyspeaks Parenting Podcast. listen and subscribe using your favourite app.