Sona: I’m by no means an expert on the love between parent and child. I only know it one way since I have no children of my own. So I asked my sister to write an article with her best parenting advice. Anybody who has seen Rachna with her boys will tell you she is an incredible mother. Many of us marvel at her stamina and patience, and all of us wonder how the hell she does it. Here’s just a little wisdom from an incredible mother (and sister).
I have spent the last 6 months watching my twelve-soon-to-be-thirteen-year-old son change in ways that even though I knew were coming, I wasn’t ready for. He’s been growing steadily and all of a sudden is meeting me eye to eye, his voice is continually changing and is now consistently staying deeper, and I’m detecting a slight shadow on his upper lip which signals the end of his, up till now soft-as-a-baby’s-bottom, skin. Sigh. And it’s not just the physical changes. I’m noticing that he’s starting to define his role at home, he’s willingly taking on more responsibility, he’s beginning to feel his way through teenage friendship landmines and is finding his voice on who he is and what he wants to do. It’s exciting and slightly heartbreaking. To be honest, when I thought of him growing up, I didn’t realize how much it would impact me. I found myself pulling out an old home video, because I wanted—no, needed—to see him as a little boy again.
As I watched my little man running around on the screen, with a bubble wand, playing with trains and telling “jokes,” I began to tear up. That’s when I realized what parenting is for me: the most transformative experience I’ve had to date. Having healthy children was an incredible gift, plain and simple. I was one of the lucky people who was blessed with being able to share my life with two new souls. As I stared at the television, all the little struggles of parenting faded into small print and the word “experience” became the headline. Tantrums—big deal. Wearing the same t-shirt for a month—big deal. Eating only mac and cheese—big deal. I have a short, short amount of time to share a home with these little people that I love so much that my heart hurts. In just a few years, they will be gone. They could move next door or move halfway around the globe. I don’t know what’s coming, but I know it won’t be my decision….a concept that’s hard to wrap my mommy brain around. As I found myself with the realization that I have such little time with my children, the day-to-day stuff took on a new perspective. I’m gonna have fun no matter what, and I want to have that fun with my kids.
Of course, the first test came quickly, as in the next morning. My nine-year-old son had a fit because I told him it was time to stop playing video games. He let his displeasure out on his drum pads, I kept making breakfast, and about 6-7 minutes later it was all over. I didn’t berate him. We just moved on because I don’t have that much time with my kids, so I’m not going waste it.
Then the next epiphany occurred: “Experience” cuts both way. How I treat them today, they’ll treat someone tomorrow. Together we’ve learned to say sorry easily, to negotiate when we’re being unreasonable and to know that a hug is for hello, goodbye, good morning, good night and all the minutes in between. When I have an “a-ha” moment it’s always exciting, but when I get to transform that into an experience that I pass onto my children, that’s profound. Sharing my journey with young souls who are starting on their journey is a grace I feel privileged to feel. I know that there are many times when I’ve been (and I’m sure will be) impatient, tired or just plain fed up. It may feel like they’ll never toilet train, stop breastfeeding or, stop making potty jokes. But they do. Will they ever clean up their room, throw out the garbage without being asked or wear a coat when it’s -20°C? Yes, and they do it all too quick. When it comes to time, my children are my teachers. I’m learning that nothing stays the same with them. Time moves fast and stops for no one.
I’m sure you now think of me as a pushover mommy. Not true. I hold firm on the big picture things and I find the little stuff works itself out if I don’t put any energy into it. I could talk about natural consequences, time-outs, blah, blah, blah. Don’t worry, there’s always something to work on and lots of books, playgroups and playground advice to help out. You’ll hear advice that will make your skin crawl, make you laugh and advice that you’ll use forever. It’s all a part of the experience. We don’t learn how to become daughters, sons, sisters and brothers. We just do it. I think of becoming a parent the same way. You just do it.
Rachna Joshi owns a design business, Feng Shui Your Way, which offers Feng Shui, interior decorating and homestaging. She lives in Calgary with her husband, two sons and enjoys long walks with her niece, Gracie. She's still getting her website up and running, so in the meantime you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her at twitter.com/fengshuiyourway.
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