Motherhood brings immense joy but it can also trap the mother in the shackles of episodic self-loathing, self-judging and doubt. To add to it, if you are a full-time or part-time working mother, then life is no less than doing the tight-rope walk, wherein you ought to seek the right balance, while keeping the sanity of your mind intact.
For working mothers, “Quality Time” is the buzz word, but the problem lies in the fact, that what it entails is actually ambiguous. I believe in “To each, his own”. The journey of my life could be very different from yours, my routine, priorities could be way different and so could be my definition of “Quality time”. Idea is to have a clear-cut picture in mind and then adhere to it strictly.
Kids in the age-group of 3-8 years are highly impressionable. This is also the time, when they are in the process of forming early memories and habits, which will perhaps last with them for a lifetime. This is an ideal time to consciously give them wonderful memories and reinforce them. Wondering how memories can be reinforced? Well, they can be, by repetition and by following a routine with them, in order to rule out any inconsistency. We as parents, aspire to provide the best nutrition, the best education, the best accessories to our children; but how often do we consciously try to give them the best memories?
At such a tender age, when finer skills are still developing and language development is in progress, what could be the way to instill life-long memories? The primitive instincts are quite strong in kids and development of cognitive function is a work in progress. The basic sensory perceptions like touch, smell, sounds and visuals can develop some wonderful memories. So, can we weave these stimuli into something concrete, in our fast paced hurried and worried lives? With a little planning and thoughtfulness, these things can be beautifully embedded in our routine and can go a long way in nurturing our bond with our little ones.
I am myself, still a wanderer in search of that elusive balance and here are some of the snippets from the diary of a young mother:
#1. All’s well, that starts well:
The start of the day should be calm and poised. A huge time margin needs to be kept for early morning cuddling and snuggling with your child. The early morning touch is the “Midas Touch”, its after-effects will keep the child glowing and flowing with energy, all throughout the day. Touch is the most effective, yet most underrated therapy in our Indian way of things. The sensation of touch is acquired by the nerves and sits in the deepest recesses of our mind, sub-consciously.
#2. Bathing Ritual:
Yes, I call it a ritual because it has a deep rooted impact on the kid’s psyche. Children express themselves by splashing water and a well worked-out bathing ritual will give them a vent-out to pour down their emotions and feelings. Care needs to be taken so that they shouldn’t find it merely a chore or find any of its element repulsive. The water should be maintained at an optimum temperature. Bathing products should have familiar fragrances, mostly fruity, so that they can correlate it and find pleasure in using them. Smell can evoke memories as distant as of 5 years old, later in life. Reason being, smell processing centre is situated close to memory forming centre in our brain. The body wash and shampoo being used, shouldn’t be very alkaline for their tender skin. They shouldn’t have harsh chemicals, as child’s skin is three times more absorbent than an adult’s. They shouldn’t be tear free and fun. At last, read the labels carefully. Recently I stumbled upon a wonderful range of bath products from Carrie Junior, which were couriered to me by my cousin. The products are thoughtfully designed and fit my list perfectly. They are tear free, fruity fragrance and so gentle.
#3. Post-school Reconnect:
It’s mandatory to ask about child’s day at school. They hugely derive their feeling of self-worth and importance in your life, from this little yet important gesture. If not in person, then may be a phone call can raise their spirits.
#4. Doing things together:
Children like to emulate their parents and want to be seen as responsible and accountable. This self-image they are going to carry with them, forever. Involving them in creative activities, is a wonderful opportunity to provide them with positive strokes. The task can be as simple as planting a seed and watering it daily. I can’t tell you the sheer joy, which my daughter gets, on watching her baby plant grow. For her, the plant is her ally, who is growing up just like her. She is 3 but she knows why flowers and seeds are important. She knows the importance of watering them daily and she knows where the food is coming from, on her plate. The activities should be well integrated with real life and should aim towards making them thoughtful.
#5. Bed-time bonding:
Now the time comes for culmination of a long day. The hugs and kisses can be our parting gifts, to help them sleep better. Bed-time story-telling can foster creative imagination and values in a child. Asking him/her to tell some stories, can be a good way to understand their psychology. Children otherwise may not be very expressive, but a part of them comes alive while they weave a story in their head. Many suppressed emotions can surface and will unleash all hidden anger, anxieties, stress and fear.
I am still a mom-in-making. I try to do these little things daily. I succeed at some and falter at many. The story of my motherhood is not complete, but it’s a fable in evolution; for my kid is growing up and so, I also need to grow-up as a mom, on a continuous basis. The motherhood technique needs to evolve with the changing needs of the child. Thanks for taking a pause and hearing me out. Have a happy motherhood.