Posted in Life, Parenting

Pick Ups & Drops are not wasted efforts!

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 judgement 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!

( Re posting the above article from 2016, reminiscing …. after hearing from a mom who said she can not make it for our event ,” because that’s my pick up time for my girl “.

I am now a mom of college going kids , studying far far away and yes i do miss all those pick ups and drops and terribly so !

Saakshi Kapoor Singla

Posted in Education, Life, Parenting

Are you A Pygmalion Parent?

I have been hibernating…missing from this space but not from my most favourite topic about what makes kids tick and have been indulging in lots of reading and researching. Something I read today stuck on and thought it was worth sharing. Something that I have been following as a parent forever and ever without the knowledge of the fancy name it is called by in Psychological circles “The Pygmalion Effect”. 

The Pygmalion Effect is a phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an improvement in performance.

But why is it relevant here on a parenting site?

Turns out it is one of the key factors of raising successful and well adjusted kids.

The messages we give out during our parenting journey with our kids are the beliefs that are reinforced in their minds. Beliefs that become a blueprint for them. If the blue print is positive, our kids think themselves to be capable and work towards it. If the blue print is negative , they feel their limitations and work towards strengthening that belief in their minds. We often label our kids … sometimes these labels are good but many a times they aren’t. We label them as shy, as not good in studies, not athletic, lazy etc. And these become their reality. Our expectations form the basis of our child’s self-image. So our expectations should be high from them if we want them to perform better. High expectations does not mean we should expect our tone deaf child to become a Beethoven in future. But a belief that they will become their best versions and what makes them unique.

What we tell our kids will either help them reach success or knock them down, inflate their self esteem or deflate it and start a series of self doubting thoughts and lack of confidence. Parents attitude toward their children spills into their kids psyche and influence how they feel about themselves. Therefore it is important for us parents to continuously give out signals that are strong positive impressions. Our children doing well stems from our own unwavering belief in their ability and goodness.

Brooke Hampton’s famous quote, “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become”, talks about this beautiful power of believing.

So are you a Pygmalion Parent?

If not, stop labeling, and make your kids believe in their strengths by having higher expectations from them & they will surprise you by performing to the best of their ability and better!

I am a Pygmalion Parent and it’s worked for me to be one… my kids are on their  individual journeys and I don’t know where will they reach. But they are sure of themselves and I continue to believe in their inherent strength and goodness! 

Posted in Life, Parenting

Be Mindful, Your kid is watching how you treat that Bhutta Guy on the road!

It is that time of the year, plants seem to have gotten a makeover and road side pavements are all dotted with street vendors. The little rain North India gets is once again making my world look pretty.

Bhutta( corn on the cobs) Season is on. All the trips that I make around the city includes at least one Bhutta Pit Stop. I stop to enjoy different kind of lives unfolding right in front of my eyes everyday. My most favourite are the street vendors who sit on the road leading from Ashram to Apollo Hospital in Delhi. The whole road is full of children and old people selling Bhuttas,  inticing people with their yellow gold beautifully displayed on their carts.Well spoken siblings and friends teamwork on their stalls can put many big corporate managers to shame. Many of them finish school at 2pm and and are seen three o’clock onwards. Sitting there waiting for my sweet golden treat being roasted to perfection I have very often witnessed good and not so good examples of humanity.

A popular wise saying doesn’t seem to be common sense anymore … “How we treat people who are less fortunate then us … speaks volumes of our character”. And how true is that… I see big cars taking roadside pit stops but some break my and kids selling their bhuttas hearts everyday by being rude and insensitive. Some amaze me by bargaining over a 20 Rupee bhutta ever so often.

The Gods were smiling yesterday and the much needed rain showers were making their presence felt. I stopped at one of best Bhutta guy’s cart in Noida, happy to see him resourceful enough to roast his bhuttas in the rain. His partner was holding a plastic sheet over the burning coal and together they were working fast to attend to their clients. The car before me had in it’s driving seat a lady with salon ready look and a young girl – (must be the daughter) waiting for their perfect Bhutta. Sadly the lady did what many humans do nowadays ….she threw out her frustrations of daily life and screamed at the guy for giving her a not so good bhutta. He came to me and asked me to taste my  bhutta and asked if it wasn’t good enough. His sad tone pierced my being when he said,”Look at the rain didi, I am working in this rain because my house depends on my hard work to feed them “Do Roti”. But the lady in the car kept complaining completely oblivious of my drenched clothes, The weather from inside the car must look amazing  but outside it isn’t as rosy for me.”

What the parent me was thinking when I saw her being rude ? Instead of being sensitive to people on the street, we sit in our big cars…big bungalows and throw verbal garbage at people who can’t speak back. And the vicious circle goes on and on. Our children who go to expensive schools and for whom we buy books to teach them values are seeing how we are living our lives. We are failing miserably at being good human beings and also at our parenting responsibilities when we disrespect people based on their economic position in the scoiety.

Let’s  stop bargaining and minding paying more for the street vendors’ hard work and open our hearts a little bit more. Isn’t it easy for us to shell out a few hundreds for one scoop of Baskin Robbins ice-cream or a candy floss from a lovely little kiosk in a mall. Let’s teach our kids what is dignity of labour … let’s teach them by our own example.

Saluting street vendors, my favourite bhutta guy and all the children and old people sitting on the pavements who make our journey more interesting by selling their best golden juicy bhuttas at ridiculously low prices everyday.

Dedicating this post to all the street vendors of this world!

Posted in Life, Parenting

I don’t have the brakes in my feet and steering wheel in my hands anymore!

Parenting is TOUGH and BITTERSWEET in all it’s stages. But what is the toughest part of being a parent? Many would argue child birth and seeing their kids going through pain..something on which they have no control on. And that’s what I thought till I took my kids … okay not kids- my young adults for their driving lessons.

Metaphorically kids being in the driving seats is what every parent is waiting for. But literally, kids in the driving seat and you in the navigator seat means the kid is in control of his and your precious life. And that in my opinion is the scariest and toughest part of parenting.

Before every driving lesson I have to prepare , prepare hard and push myself out of my comfort zone, wear my brave armour …tell myself ….if I can teach them to talk and walk, how much difficult can this be? Parents who are in the similar stage as me … I think know what I mean. To see your child growing and blooming into a tall,handsome, pretty and confident , sure of himself or herself adult is Aaaaaaaawwwesome ….but God can’t it just end there. Do I have to go out everyday and fret and have my heart in my mouth while they take the wheel. And me doing  what? …..helplessly pressing and pushing hard to find the brake in my feet on the other side of the vehicle. And when I can’t find that brake , a difficult realisation sets in everyday ….I am now the “Navigator” and navigators are guides….controls aren’t supposed to be in their hands and feet.

Why didn’t Mr.  Henry Ford and his counterparts not think of putting the controls on both sides of the cars?

Why Why ?

The toughest part of parenting is to see your children put themselves at risk again and again with you sitting as a onlooker on the other side.  Praying hard and hoping other people on the road can see the “Learners” sign on the back of our car and have their brakes well oiled. (That reminds me, I need to put the red danger sign in the front and all the sides of the car too).

My  anxiety level keeps growing by the minute during their driving lessons. With my heart talking aloud and legs shaking I am short of screaming my lungs out, dying to take the control back. But the bullet has left the gun, my kids aren’t willing to let go the control anymore. How much ever I want them to go back being babies….it isn’t possible. They are in the driving seats now. How well or not so well they drive their cars and their lives is in their hands and my control is diminishing and soon will become zero. I am waiting patiently actually not so patiently to see them manovering their cars and lives well.

They aren’t there yet…But HOPEFULLY will be soon. With this thought…I ready myself to get into passenger side of my car everyday , give them the wheel and hold my breath and keep reminding myself ….that I am not and cannot be in the driving seat anymore!

Posted in Life, Parenting

” Boys Will Be Boys ” “Girls Poor Girls”

“Boys will be Boys “and “Girls poor Girls ” are the longest withstanding cliché that we know of in our world…Stereotypes that we resented when we were growing up and stereotypes that our kids resent when they have grown up enough to make sense of the above two phrases.”Boys will Be Boys ” phrase has for centuries absolved men from many wrong doings and it’s time to stop that and make them accountable too. ” Girls are Girls …poor girls “cliché has stopped the women from going after their dreams for far too long, and given them also a reason to not work hard enough … Again for far too too long!

Times are changing , so is the world around us , there are a few strong and sensitive leaders , both men and women who are emerging and breaking the stereotype , giving us and our children a chance to get inspired. To make gender equality a reality. In in this new era , are we parents trying hard enough to merge with this new reality? Are we contributing in diminishing these age old distinctions in how we are parenting our boys and also our girls? How far have we reached ? Quite far but not far enough still because even the progressive parents who have impressive educational background backing them up are guilty somewhere and not just the uneducated people or the regressive orthodox parents out there.

The orthodox regressive parents are more straight forward in making the distinction based on the sex of their children. And have the most consistent and most gender biased parenting style. They have no ambiguity and have more acceptance from their children..Which off course doesn’t make it into an ideal scenario because their boys grow up to be Chauvinistic king size pigs and their girls grow up into submissive , I can take any shit , because I know how to ….kind of adults. Girls should be doing the housework , they don’t need to study much, let’s get them married the soonest …kind of parents. Boys should be taught riding, driving the soonest possible , the boys should be fed as soon they come home, they never need to lay the table or pick up the dishes……kind of parents.

There are some parents who treat their girls as princesses who shouldn’t be rough handled, should be dressed in frills and pink, protected from the sun, the grime and harsh words and don’t need to do much work ( because they will have to may be do a lot of it when they go to their own homes with many responsibilities ). They feel that girls should be brought up with tenderness and tenderness only. These parents also treat their sons well ….they don’t have to do any chores and are given things on a platter but their boys aren’t allowed to cry. Crying is for girls , they say ..toughen up , you have to face the bad world tomorrow …they say that a little too often. There are too many expectations from the boys ….get your marks …you can’t suck at math, it’s fine for girls because they don’t necessarily need careers ….and not math and science for sure…., and the girls don’t have to work for earning their bread tomorrow, how will you run your own businesses and homes tomorrow if you don’t study or take sciences and man up today.

And then there are parents who try the hardest to make sure that their girls and boys are brought up exactly the same way, with the same leverages, same expectations and same tenderness and also the same toughness.These are the ones who are progressing towards making the world a better place …where people hopefully will be seen as their unique selves and not as the fair sex and the not so fair sex people. In homes like these girls aren’t delicate princesses and cry babies, they are warriors , wonder women inspired young minds making the most of their talents. Girls who understand the value of labour and know that their brains are most important part of their bodies.They are made to earn their privileges and don’t mind the arm rustles too. In homes like these boys aren’t kings either, they are sensitive to people around , work for their privileges, are allowed to cry and express their emotions. Boys who are tough Super Heroes who care and who can be the softies too and don’t mind shedding a tear. Homes where children know housework is not only the job of the mother and her house helps! Homes where boys are encouraged to be feminists and where girls are taught to be tough!Homes where boys and girls both are given the confidence that they can do anything that they want, may it be a job earmarked for men or stereotyped for women! Homes where they can dream big and are taught the importance of hard work and dignity of labour irrespective to their gender and the job associated with any gender.

But this is a long haul from where we are right now, because even these kind of homes where gender equality to quite an extent lives , aren’t the most ideal that they could be. Because when those boys and girls are maturing into teenagers …we parents find some of our gender distinction free parenting style going out of the window. Like we will make our teenage boys to be more independent ….go on metros, uber the town alone, come home later ( maybe) etc etc . And I am guilty of the above and so are so many of my friends …Not because we don’t want our girls to be more independent because it’s high time we absolve ourselves from the duty of driving them around and letting them live their lives as freely as our boys.

Sadly this is one area of our parenting style that we don’t like but are stuck with for as long as our world isn’t safe enough for girls. For as long as women aren’t respected by every monster out there. For as long as the other two kinds of homes and parents don’t start bringing up their boys differently. For as long as boys aren’t encouraged to be human and allowed to express their emotions openly, for as long as they are not brought up as kings and not as a the superior race, for as long as they are all brought up to be feminists!