Stop conditioning girls to be thankful and grateful for what they deserve!

“I am grateful to my parents that they loved me unconditionally despite me being their third daughter.”
“I am so lucky that my husband and in-laws allowed me to work.”
“I will be forever indebted to my parents that they supported me and my children after my divorce.”
“I am so thankful to my parents that let me study and pursue my dreams and did not pressurize me for marriage once I turned 22.”
“My husband baby-sits our children when I am out with my friends on a Friday night. I am so lucky.”
“My son helps me in the household chores and my friends and relatives say I am fortunate to have a son like this.”
“My husband helped my daughter with her homework when I had fever. I am so blessed.”
“I didn’t feel like cooking today, so we ordered food from outside. I feel so guilty giving my family outside food.”
“Thank God for my stars that I have a mother-in-law who treats me so well unlike so many women out there.”
“I watched my favorite series while my husband put our kids to sleep. God bless him.”
“I was so lucky that I grew up in an environment where my parents did not differentiate between me and my brother. We were given equal opportunities.”
“My husband “allowed” me to go and take care of my dad when he was hospitalized. I am so thankful to him.”


How many times have we heard these from women from all walks, all strata of life? Girls/women are raised and conditioned in such a manner that they are thankful to each and everyone for “allowing” them to exist, work, rest, party! How often do we hear men being thankful for “allowing” them to live the way they want to? For most boys/men it’s a way of life, but still for many girls/women its their good fortune.

The girls are told to be thankful for what they actually deserve or have the full right to. Girls have the right to take birth, to study, to think, to pursue their dreams pre or post marriage, to work or notwork post babies, to take a day off, to order food from outside rather than slogging in the kitchen, to be taken care of!


When parents support their daughters to study or divorced daughter the society applauds the parents, but tell me if the parents don’t support the ones whom they gave birth to then who else will support? If a husband, who has taken the vows to protect and support his wife, doesn’t share the responsibilities or support her then who else will? When a son helps his mother in household chores, why do we need to applaud him? Shouldn’t it be the way of life?


Women are conditioned to feel guilty about prioritizing themselves before their parents, spouse or children. That’s the reason they feel so “blessed” or “fortunate” when these people support her or share her responsibilities.
Real women empowerment will be the day when women start to live their life without feeling obliged or guilty. For once, they should be thankful only to themselves for fighting out all the challenges and balancing every role so well.

I am fine

To all the parents of adult children, to the siblings, to the relatives, to the friends, to the in-laws, to the children..
Next time, when you hear your adult child, sibling, friend, relative, daughter/son-in-law, saying I am fine..remember..
 
-When you say, raising children is easy and today’s girls make a big deal out of it, on the other side of the phone, a young mother must just have cried buckets not knowing how to pacify her newborn or why the baby is cranky.
 
-When you taunt your son staying abroad that he is leading a life of luxury, he might be tensed as to tomorrow he might get his pink slip.
 
-When you tell a woman that she is so lucky to have a job and support, she might have just endured humiliation by her boss and in-laws on the same day.
 
-When you ask a woman to ignore/tolerate an abusive/angry husband, she might just have been slapped or humiliated verbally.
 
-When a dark or plump child is not taken in the lead role in a drama in the school and you laugh it off and it breaks the child’s already broken heart more.
 
-When you ridicule your child who chose to follow his/her dreams and failed to fulfill it.
 
-When your child is depressed and you can’t read between the lines.
 
-When your friend is sharing her pain and you are boasting that you are lucky.
 
-When your introvert child is not invited to any party and you blame your child for being unsmart.
 
-When a newly-wed bride is taunted and she pretends to be happy over phone.
 
Be kind to anyone you speak, no matter how close or casual the relation is.  You never know how broken or sad a person is from within as we are taught to fight our own battles once we grow up.  We are told that parents are getting old, everybody is busy, and that problems in life is no big deal.  Most of us have done it and still do it when with tears in our eyes, we say “I am fine”…

Building emotional immunity and strength

Let’s face the truth. We bring up our children in the scenario of an idealistic world where honesty, compassion, love, sensitivity, and no bias exist; but the reality is totally different. As an adult, we face the harsh realities of life and either we learn to tackle them or crumble under the pressure. It’s imperative that when kids start growing up we need to show them the true picture, make them strong, and be with them whenever they need us as adults. Don’t let your children be “too good” because it doesn’t help them once they face the outside reality. Of course, they should never compromise on basic human values, but they should know how to dodge those bullets. We need to build not just our kids’ physical immunity and strength, we need to work on their emotional immunity and strength too. 

Look around, look within

So, people are out there discussing about bullying, nepotism, being one call away and so on. These discussions are all over the place only after a tragedy. Let’s have a closer look around us. We have so many school bullies, coworkers who manipulate, boot lick and go ahead, people being ridiculed because of speaking wrong English or eating a certain food. A new bride is treated like an outsider and bullied (most of the times), people judged on the basis of their caste and religion. We have seen groupism, being left out, being dropped like a hot potato once we are no of use. Before criticizing others, lets look around us, let’s look within.

Life skills..not gender specific!

#lifeskills

Cooking, cleaning utensils, basic jhadu pocha..these are few of the things which everyone should know irrespective of the gender. No, not just during any emergency like lock-down, but even in the normal days. Few years ago, my father suffered a massive heart attack and I had to run to take care of him and my mother in another city. My son was in 10th at that time and my daughter in 5th. I just packed my suitcase, took the first flight and was by my parents’ side. I was with my parents for almost 15 days before I came back to my city. Not once in these 15 days did I worry about what my husband or kids were eating or how the home was being managed. My husband has always been a hands-on father and knows household chores. Thanks to our upbringing, my children know basic chores right from a very young age. My son despite being in 10th that time would wake up early, pack his and his sister’s lunchbox, make breakfast along with his dad and then go to school. He would come back, have lunch, go for his tuition, come back, switch on the washing machine while my daughter dried the clothes. Both the kids helped their dad in making dinner and winding up. My son would also study for his board exam. There was no “burnt toast” scenario in my home. Even during this lock-down period the three of them have been doing all the chores along with me.

When you raise your children well, teach them chores and cooking, instill good values before anyone else it gives you immense satisfaction as a parent. When people say that “I am lucky” that my son helps me, I say its not luck its our upbringing. It will help him immensely once he goes out to study and to work. He will never be dependent on anyone for basic food and a clean home. His wife will have an equal partner.

Cooking or chores shouldn’t be looked down upon or be gender specific. It will help the children, the parents, the future family, and everyone in general. Education is important for the children and so are life skills.

Live life bindaas..

I have heard my mother say many a times that when she was in her teens my naani had stopped wearing bright colored sarees as “log kya kahenge” that the mother of a grown-up daughter is trying to look “good and glamorous”. Even now in social media, I see women dancing and doing fun activities and many of them captioning “40 plus and still dancing or having fun!” Why are women apologetic about their age? Is it the age-old conditioning or the fear of being ridiculed? Is it the “budhi ghodi laal lagam” judgmental opinion of others that scares them to have fun or live the life as per their wish? Times have changed a lot. I and my generation of 40 plus women are mostly in T-shirts and capris/shorts, we dance and party, we don’t shy away from being “real” in front of our grown-up children. I have heard many a times that mothers should be role models for their children and so they should behave in a certain manner.
My experience says being real is the best role model. Women should stop being apologetic for their age, their desires, having fun, dressing up, partying, pursuing their interests no matter what the age is.
#khulkejio

Break the chain..

#changingfaceofmotherhood My daughter who will turn 13 in a few months’ time watched Thappad yesterday. I have read a lot of reviews about the movie from a lot of women, but I wanted to know the perspective of a young girl. She simply said, as said by the protagonist in the movie, “Why should one pretend to be happy when she is not happy?” We discussed a lot of issues like gender bias, patriarchy, women and financial independence and so on. Times have changed and so has parenting. Most girls of my generation (not generalizing) were taught how to adjust in the sasural post marriage, how to be tolerant and prioritize others over themselves, how to be a good wife and mother but most of the times in most families they forgot to teach their educated daughters how to prioritize their own happiness, how to be strong and raise their voice against injustice, how financial independence was the most important thing, how walking out from an abusive relationship was far better than adjust and cry alone.

Looking at so many unhappy women around me, I so don’t want my daughter or her generation of girls to be unhappy and suffer. I have done my job of raising a good son, but now I have to raise a strong daughter. Time to break the chain of unhappy girls/women..

Time to tweak parenting

#Boyslockerroom versus #girlslockerroom will not solve the issue. Blame game is not going to change the mindsets. Instead of that, look into your own homes and if you are not raising your children right mend yourself instead of blaming the other parents or gender. Instead of getting embarrassed about talking about “taboo” topics, communicate freely with your children. Instill the values of respect, consent, compassion, equality in children. Patriarchy runs in most families and kids observe and get influenced, knowingly and unknowingly.

None of the kids are born this way, they get raised this way. They need to be guided, disciplined, talked to. Taking away mobiles will not change the mindset.

Support counts..

When I got newly married, I couldn’t cook much. I started my new life with my hubby dear in a nuclear setup and out of enthusiasm would pack him roti and sabzi for lunch everyday. My rotis would be the out of shape, partly kachcha, and sometimes burnt. But my husband would quietly take the dabba everyday. My husband himself is a very good cook and eventually taught me a lot of dishes with patience. Present day, post 18 years of marriage, I can make perfect rotis and am a good cook.

Whenever one is new in something and trying his/her best instead of harsh criticism or demotivating words; be it a new job, a newly married woman/man, or a new mother, one needs support and encouragement.  When one is judged and criticized at that point when he/she needs the support and encouragement the most, it breaks the heart and the person never forgets those days.  Eventually everyone learns job skills, managing a home, cooking, bringing up children, but the initial days of anything is never forgotten.

When a child writes a grammatically wrong poem or displays his scribbled lines as drawing, we should always appreciate it instead of making fun of it or criticizing.  When a new mother makes mistakes in bringing up her infant, instead of blaming her one needs to help her out.  As we age, we become thick skinned and most of the things stop affecting us.

I do have my usual nok-jhok with my hubby as he is a man of few words and might not appreciate me always, but I will never forget the support he gave me in the first of year of my married life when I became an inexperienced wife and mother.  That was the foundation of our strong relationship.

Mom/wife without guilt

I made lunch today, served in the plate, and ate alone aaram se. The others in the family were either busy or wanted to eat a little later. I was hungry and so I had it before others.
 
Yes..I am a mother and a wife and I can eat before others without guilt. I am not the dukhi and stereotyped mother in an old worn-out sari slogging alone. When I am unwell, I express it. When I am hungry, I eat. When I am angry, I yell. When I am sad or hurt, I cry in front of my children. I don’t try to be a superwoman and ask my family for help when needed. I am full of flaws and humanly emotions and I am not ashamed to be myself.
 
I don’t need claps for my “sacrifices”, I need equal participation, I need to behave like a human, I need rest. I have created a positive example in front of my children where my son knows that a woman is not supposed to slog quietly and the man needs to be equal and my daughter knows that a woman shouldn’t quietly cry in the bathroom and pretend that everything is fine.