And the verdict is out .. Board Results! Is it our credit to take?

Life, Parenting

Months of May and June are here and so is the time of verdict! The twelfth boards CBSE result is out, ICSE is on its way, JEE and IB not too far. Feelings of elation, heart breaking despair and finality are staring at us parents in the face. Many of us didn’t sleep too well after the CBSE result and might be refusing to get up to the reality of our children’s not meeting our expectations or results being a shade lower in comparison to their peers. Many of us also woke up with a smile but with a feeling of some emptiness today.Smiles commemorating the pride of doing it right as per the validation given by our children’s board results. Emptiness because we have been fired from the most important job of nagging them to study. From here on, we are progressing into being a spectator in our children’s successes and failures.Our credit and blame taking phase of them doing well or not so well with their lives is over.

Academic achievement is a long yardstick we adults have been holding our kids to forever.And with the results out, we parents, grandparents, neighbours and relatives have found a new hobby to dissect the results in million minute pieces. Judgements are the name of the game today … The ones who have done well have been crowned along with their parents to have done it right.The others wondering where did they go wrong and if so many children …who they considered to be not quite there could make it … how in the hell did they miss the bandwagon themselves.

Funny it is as we can’t seem to remember the anxiety of results and our parents anxiety of our own times. All we remember is that given the circumstances , with such little exposure , we did pretty well. How many times have we justified to our kids and ourselves …that in our times marks in nineties weren’t so easily given. Amazing it is how the circle of life completes right in front of us.We are and should be wiser because we have seen with our own eyes that marks haven’t always translated in success ( success which might mean different things for all of us) for many of our peers. Many of us who had it rough ended up being tougher and are standing taller in our ability to adapt to the world around.

Then why should we not celebrate the resilience our kids have shown , the efforts they have put in and their commitment and hard work and only celebrate or mourn the percentages they have got. Because life isn’t easy from here on for them. Wishing we instead of taking credit for how well our children have done in their exams, can boast of being parents who let them be their own people and let them live their own dreams. Dreams that aren’t perfect by the society’s standards or what success means to us.

Let our yardstick be there only to measure how much we let their unique self develop, how much we have taught them about giving back to people who haven’t seen it as good as them and how much encouragement we have given them to take that hard decision and get back up after they have fallen flat on their faces.

Because we will be more known for the characters we have built and the kindness, smiles and cheer our children will end up spreading in this world! We rather do the job of making this world a better place with our children instead of just being proud of the top scorers or being the dejected parents of low scorers. Not that both kinds will not have an equal chance to turn out to be good people, not that it’s okay to not do well or okay to not work hard.It’s awesome to do well , it’s a great feeling to be right there but it’s also ok to keep trying and wait for your own shining moment ,where ever it comes from. And yes, all our children will find a place under the sun… Their Own Place!

Hope we parents are able to teach all of them that hard work …works and kindness pays.
And that is surely a credit we parents can take and should take!

Eighteen Is Here with a Bang!

Life, Parenting

It’s the season of emotional excesses..and tears finding their way down the cheeks of a lot of moms and dads. The kids everywhere around me aren’t kids anymore. They have already turned eighteen or are dying to reach the milestone soon. It’s the season of graduation days, it’s that time, we parents have been waiting for and have been dreading …..of seeing them making us proud on the school stage one last time.

Where did the time fly , why did it fly so soon , from babies in our arms with chubby cheeks  to young men and women standing tall in their suits and high heels …mind you very very high heels. Heels which are so many inches tall that they weren’t even a part of our dreamland when we were graduating. The suits crisp and much well tailored then our times. Posing with friends, teachers and us as grown ups with so much confidence and pen ache that we can’t but help reminisce our time back in our days … Days of jubilation, feelings of finally being in control of our lives and our destinies, looking forward to adulthood …like we have been given a well deserved prize.

Eighteen is just a number for us parents because like our parents we can’t stop being the parent we have been for so long …just because the calendar has turned it’s pages to stop at our childrens’ favourite dates . But Eighteen isn’t just a number for our young adults …instead eighteen is the most important double digit of their wonderful life …..or so it seems for them today.Eighteen means independence, eighteen means freedom , eighteen means to be able to take a drink and to drive ( both not at the same time though) eighteen means …I can uber it Mom, eighteen means we can stay late for a party ….as late as we want , eighteen means ” I have had enough of your nagging mom”, eighteen means ” I have it all under control”, eighteen means , I am old enough to get the spare key to the front door, eighteen means we are ready to handle it all on our own …..and the list continues in favour of our children who are stepping into rather running to reach the goal post called adulthood. The adulthood they think we have been hogging on and keeping to our selves for so long.

We who have progressed towards the times beyond our eighteenth and  that so with lightening speed ….are reminding ourselves today of that sweet feeling of new beginnings , the masti of college days, the fragrance of new love and excitement of a new job. And aren’t we feeling amazing about the same …because we have seen it all …the time then when we were dying to grow up and time now when we would give anything in this world to be eighteen again.

Cheers to our just going to be adult children and some who think they are luckier to have reached there earlier than their friends!
Cheers to the enthusiasm that feeling of being grown up brings !
Cheers to lives unfolding at their own terms !
Cheers to us who have survived the teenage years and forgotten every pain and screech!

Cheers to them soaring to bigger heights and working hard to realise their dreams!
Cheers to our wonderful children ….who aren’t children anymore !

https://www.inc.com/jenna-lee/oprah-gives-commencement-speech-telling-grads-to-do-this-one-thing-every-day-for.html?cid=sf01002&sr_share=facebook

Relationships…Make them stick or kick them Forever!

Life, Parenting

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Relationships are Simple, Relationships are Complex!Relationships can make our existence worthwhile. Relationships can also make our lives hell! It’s our relationships that take us on a roller coaster ride of emotional excesses and detachment periods. It’s those good ones and  also the suffocating ones that together make a package deal that helps  us appreciate life.

Relationships with our chidlren, with our pets, our parents, our siblings ,our in laws, our bosses, our mentors and our followers,our friends, our belief system and above all with our own self… make us who we are. It is puzzling to see how our relationships change so drastically with different people, as if we were not one whole but parts of many differnt personas.

What is it that makes us react in different ways in our relationships?…. Does it have anything to do with the level of bonding – with blood- with love? Difference I guess  is in the set of expectations we have from different people in our life. Our kids can get away with murder, our pets can get away with more than murder, our spouses… we allow them to get away with anything short of murder, our parents are our parents and nothing can change that and our siblings are our partners in crime, who we might fight with forever , but won’t let anyone else say anything else negative about.Our relationship with our own self is the most cruel , we judge and  keep judging ourselves and the sweetest with our own reality and belief system, we love what we believe in and  our reality and our opinions are always right. Relationships with our friends, our in- laws and our bosses are complex because these are full of unknown expectations and sets of rules that sway like a pendulum in different directions at different times.We live our lives fulfilling these expectations of others and ourselves and life moves on… And it’s these zillion expectations and how we manage them is what make relationships tick and also relationships break!

Talking about and modelling well balanced relationships for our children is a big part of parenting them well. Hope we are not telling our children that unrealistic expectations of people in their lives, have to be met…its ok to let people walk over them to keep making realtionships stick. Let’s instead teach our children to include love in all their relationships, uncomplicate them and always remember good relationships are a two way street, under contruction forever.

My relationships with my children and all the other people in my life aren’t perfect, I oscillate between sometimes complicating them and sometimes doing a pretty good job with them. Balancing and managing our own and other people’s expectations is a process we all continuously struggle with. Hope we keep working at getting better at it and keep learning and working and nurturing our relationships to make them work. And if they aren’t simple , aren’t workable or are making us people that we and others don’t like.We should also find the courage to kick them out of our life. May that be  our relationship be with a person or a belief. But with a promise to ourself , that we will follow a small rule.  A rule that can’t be broken , a rule that says that we can  kick them out only after giving them our best shot.

Summed up in a few simple sentences for my children and yours..

"Keep the expectations low, judgements minimal and give your 
relationships space and energy. Good relationships grow, 
glow and are full of love.Good Relationships are a 
two way street that is under construction forever!"

Obsessed are we? and should we be? with making Our children turn out good!

Life, Parenting

SAAKSHI SINGLA

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Funny how we parents can turn any and every situation into a life lesson for our children.A lot of us are guilty of the above big time…. and have used many situations, good or bad, difficult and fun to fish out various life lessons to our children. Hope we have succeeded in our trying to live up to their expectations of walking the talk. Life lessons like “be part of a circle of  good people” ,”the world won’t give whatever you want on a platter”, “life isn’t a bed of roses always”,  “look out for your happiness”,” work hard and dream big”, stay away from toxic people” etc etc. We talk to them constantly and what we tell them becomes their inner voice, not to skip mentioning that sometimes we talk a little too too much … and a lot we say gets lost in oblivion. And then we live our lives, either true to what…

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Obsessed are we? and should we be? with making Our children turn out good!

Life, Parenting
IMG_0653

Funny how we parents can turn any and every situation into a life lesson for our children.A lot of us are guilty of the above big time…. and have used many situations, good or bad, difficult and fun to fish out various life lessons to our children. Hope we have succeeded in our trying to live up to their expectations of walking the talk. Life lessons like “be part of a circle of  good people” ,”the world won’t give whatever you want on a platter”, “life isn’t a bed of roses always”,  “look out for your happiness”,” work hard and dream big”, stay away from toxic people” etc etc. We talk to them constantly and what we tell them becomes their inner voice, not to skip mentioning that sometimes we talk a little too too much … and a lot we say gets lost in oblivion. And then we live our lives, either true to what we say , or the exact opposite to how we expect them to live when they grow up. Children are a huge responsibility, the time we take the decision of having them, we are stuck and hopefully happily so to be the best version of ourselves always. They are watching us closely instead of listening to us intently and that I am sure must be unnerving if we are living a pretentious life. Because, I guess the universal fact which nobody can refute is that we all want our children to turn out good!

The world seems to be getting less tolerant and not so happy day by day. There must be something wrong in how we humans are approaching our children’s sensibilities and how we are parenting them. We have been hearing a quotation from centuries” A well balanced, happy home, well adjusted happy children”! But are we walking the talk? It’s easier for homes with well balanced relationships and very difficult in homes who have unfortunately seen it tough. We might have ended up with a raw deal and even if our life isn’t going to be perfect we still can’t absolve ourselves from the responsibility of keeping our children away from all that drama and toxicity. And it is , I know easier said then done as life throws at us loads of negatives too.

 We are trying our hardest to give the best to our children and meeting their physical  and intellectual needs. and hopefully also their emotional needs. Our goal for our children is seeing them happy forever, but is that a realistic goal. If we teach them that their happiness is the constant they need to aim for, the ” be happy ”  life lesson being given out by everyone in the universe , is going to be a very bad deal and  might contribute to becoming the biggest menace of the modern world. Instead we need to teach them to take that hard decision, to give back to make others happy, to adjust, to adapt and stand for their true selves, look for peace within themselves and contribute to make the world around us a more peaceful place.

So life lessons are important and my poor children will keep getting them till whatever time they are even a little willing to listen. I am evolving  and my growth is helping me see the world in shades of grey and understand that my reality isn’t the only reality possible. And hence the life lessons I am so continuously giving out are, I think becoming more and more sensible. Praying for myself and all the parents out there to have the courage to walk the talk forever and ever!

“Mom”How similar are the emotions that this one word elicits in all of us!

Life

 

How similar are humans in their expression of love. It amazes me to see this one word ” Mom” evoking wonderful emotions in people … Emotions which are never fake and never forced. There are few things or actually ….may be nothing else in this world that connects human hearts alike and with so much passion.We all express our love for our mothers in the most unlimiting ways.The unrestrained expression has no comparisons, no expectations of reciprocity and no hidden agendas.Wish we humans could do that or at least try to do it  in all our realtionships.

Social Media platforms were flooded with messages and pictures of moms and daughters and sons yesterday. People expressed their emotions ….the shy ones, the not so expressive ones, the busiest ones…..many came out to posts their tributes. The Mom & Us messages and posts kept the celebration going  and hearts dancing for many people yesterday. It was good  to see lots of people turn into fabulous poets, photoshop experts, photographers and  storytellers. There were no judgements like   why were people over sharing on the social media ? , why were they only showing the happy picture of their family? The pictures and posts shared yesterday were  refreshingly genuine and happiest that we have seen in a long time. And that’s why there isn’t a more happy word in this world than “Mom”.

Having a special day for celebrating Mothers is a recent phenomena , we grew up without these reminders. The new fad has a day of celebration for everything and everyone and has been condemned big time for commercialisation of the concept of love. But why not …I say… why not if it helps us all to look back and cherish beautiful memories and count our blessings. Blessed are those who have been fortunate enough to feel a mothers love, have had a lap to lie down in and a shoulder to cry on sometime and many times in their lives.

Cheers to all of those who have their mothers hand on their heads, to those who have been lucky to have God Mothers AND Cheers to all of those who have their mothers sending their love from another world! Nobody can replace their love but to have known such love and feel their presence forever in our lives is what makes the word “Mom”the best expression of love in the world!

Happy Mothers Day, yesterday, today and tomorrow!

“Cheers to Our Moms and the Moms in Us!

SAAKSHI SINGLA

Someone long ago thought of the concept of Museums. Thanks to him /or her, we have thousands of Museums around the world for everything and anything. Puppet Museums, Textile Museums, Natural History Museums, Science Museums, Art and Design Museums, Transport Museums, Umbrella Museums, Holocaust Memorial Museums, Doll Museums, Wax Museums, Toy Museums etc.  And then, there are some very weird Museums. like The Museum for Instant Raman in Japan, Dog Collar Museum in England, UFO Museum in Mexico, Gelato Museum in Italy , Museum of Torture Instruments in Amsterdam , Hair Museum in Turkey, Sewer Museum in Paris, International Spy Museum in Berlin,  Sulabh International Museum of toilets ( this one is India and is an inspiration for less developed nations), Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers, Lunch Box Museum and Skelton Museum in United States.

Many who don’t normally visit museums have a tendency to dismiss them as boring…

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Education

Guilt Trips…Once a Parent , always a parent!

Life, Parenting

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Someone ( I am sure a parent) wrote a hit quote sometime ago.” Once a parent , always a parent”. And how true it is and how universal and relevant it seems for our generation, our parents and grandparents generation and all the generations before that. We have held on to our parents heartstrings forever and now our heartstrings are in our children’s hands and much more tightly so it seems.  Our children who we have given birth to, our children who we have adopted and made our own and our children who come in form of furry balls … our dogs, our cats, our pets whatever animal, bird or insect we have decided to become parents of. Our Furry Ball is the apple of our eyes and someone who our whole family completely and totally dotes on  . And his name is Spencer Singla called “chotu” lovingly by dadi and dadu and is  Speny, SPencie, Penku, Penka and sweetheart for us!

It’s so easy for parents to go on guilt trips. Guilt after reprimanding their kids, guilt when one has got better grades then the other, guilt when one’s birthday treat is not as good as the other, guilt while seeing the movie alone, guilt if work has to take priority over kids, guilt while partying when the kids have to study etc etc. Balancing two children with work and rest everything else has been a challenge  for me forever but that didn’t make me smarter …. as we went on to adopt a five week old baby boy five years ago. And it was on June 10th 2012 that our third child :Spencer became an integral part of our world.

We have a tradition , ritual or may I call it a compulsion to take Spencer (our spoiled with love cocker spaniel )to the school to drop the kids every day. The morning ride ritual in the car is as old as him… five years … well almost. He started riding with us when he was around 4-5 months old. The uneasiness on his face on his first day to school made it clear to me that Spencer had inherited my car sickness trait. Thankfully the car sickness for me is better and I focus on better things like the beautiful greenery, fascinating facades of buildings and people of various shapes and sizes travelling in vehicles shining clean, muddy,  gleaming new or scratched somewhere for sure …the last scenario being predominant on Delhi and NCR roads. Spencer has done a good job of managing the uneasiness and car sickness too. After the leaving the kids , we drive back with him sitting on the front seat enjoying the scenery outside and barking at every cow and stray dog who dares to be walking the same road. It is very entertaining  to see him balancing himself on the front seat beautifully at every pothole and speed breaker on the way. The reason of his constant shifting around in the car sometimes I feel is also because he is trying to find the right spot where the air conditioning is working the best, where cold chilling air draft comes right on his face. And how amazing is it for me to drive back with him with music running in the background happily chit chatting with one child who never back chats.

Coming back to the guilt trips , the young adults in my house aren’t the problem anymore.It’s Spencer dear who is refusing to grow up and is the master of guilting us into a whole lot of things. Guilting us on eating that boiled egg without giving him a bite, guilting  us on not putting the AC on, guilting us in leaving him behind when we are all going out for a movie etc etc. The big one is the morning car ride ritual which he thinks is his birth right. He is up and above early and hovering around me and the kids all morning. Patiently going up and down to their rooms and mine , seeing them getting ready and fussily shoving their eggs and milk down their throats. And then he sits at the door waiting for the words “Lets Go” and the moment he gets the signal ,he jumps and into the car in the back seat, ready to take his brother and sister to school. And God forbid , if I decide to go to the gym or work or anywhere else from school and leave him behind on altar, I will find him sulking the whole day , feeling betrayed with his adorable face buried in his paws . Who would not go on a guilt trip and a big one if faced with this scenario where your pet is giving you a cold shoulder and sulking with the cutest puppy dog eyes…making you feel like death…with looks telling you that you have let him/her down and cheated by taking away his /her birth right of getting attention twenty four seven.

“Once a parent is no doubt always a parent “And I am a proud one of three awesome kids who are my pride and my joy even when they have the power to send me on guilt trips forever and ever. Keep holding my heartstrings always my children and I will  keep finding a way out of these guilt trips!

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Pickups & Drops are not wasted efforts !

Life, Parenting

Not all parents have the privilege of having their own vehicle for pick ups and drops for their children. Not all parents even when they have the privilege, want to do the mundane job. Many children are fortunate enough to travel in school buses and get a break from their moms questioning sessions after each school day. The others are ferried in their own cars with their house help and drivers.Some of them are happier because their didi’s and bhaiya’s are like their family members, old and trusted people who dote on them. The others not so fortunate as their drivers and didi’s faces are ever changing,  who are many a times just doing a job , well done or not. Most of them have their eyes glued to their phones instead of the kids in their care, some smoking their lungs off and others enjoying some not so nice jokes with their fellows in the queue. No judgements really, but some of them look too scary to entrust our precious children with.

Being a mom who has  been there , outside in the kids collection queue for most of the last sixteen years, I have seen it all. Sometimes it has been tough and limiting and not easy to juggle work as per the pickup drop schedules of my children from school ,classes , birthdays etc. But all in all it’s been a pleasure…one because I like driving and secondly being there with them during these car rides has been the easiest and sure shot way to connect with them. It has not always been pleasant though. Sometimes I’ve hovered too much, other times the kids have been not so polite.I have had my share of some very bad days, when I have cribbed and cribbed and the trips have not always been happy. Many car rides over the years have also ended up in big fights, tears, rage and extreme emotional outbursts from both sides. My love for doing it everyday doesn’t automatically mean, my kids must have enjoyed them forever too. Being ticked off for many reasons like untied shoe laces, ruffled hair, homework questions include some not so pleasant car prison like memories.

My car has been where the most meaningful conversations with the kids have happened over the years. It’s here, where none of us have had an option out….nowhere to run , or hide from each other. With two young adults , one who is ready to fly and has finished school and the other having just an year to go. Life has been good, as we are happily bonding and are not in each others hair or critical of each other anymore.Loads of teachable  moments thereafter with me doling out life lessons and advice in earlier days of my parenting , car rides with them have now become just pure fun connecting time. My car companions have taught me a lot too. I am happy about being ticked off for skipping a red light or being caught for being condescending in my discussions  by my very independent thinking children. From discussing news, ideas ,relationships, family ties,  ted talks to daily detours to get our favourite ice creams on the way back home …its been all worth it ! And I will miss it big time soon!