Priyanka Chaturvedi

It's all about me!!My people, my favourite things, my raving and my ranting too!

Posts Tagged ‘Mommy column

My DNA column: What’s better than good grades

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Recently, while getting my son to complete his homework I realised, rather, was struck with the realisation, that my son will soon be going to secondary school. Yes, I know there is one entire academic year to go for that, but it still got me worked up. While I was worrying about child one, another realisation struck, that child two will no longer be part of pre-primary schooling, but will be going to primary school from next academic year. My mommy worry-o-meter reached sky high levels.

Now you ask me why I am getting all strung up? That is because my son barely studies for half an hour a day, and that too just to complete some miniscule homework that his school gives him. The weekend homework he gets is also negligible. What worries me is if he is barely studying, how will he outshine the rest when it comes to claiming a seat when he reaches college?

As a parent, hope you are keeping track of the cut offs the college are coming up with. Even 100% is not good enough these days. That’s a far away scenario, I know, but then I don’t know where the cutoffs will reach by the time he gets there. And with no diligent studying, and bad handwriting to boot, how will he get there?

 

Then there are these external exams besides the school exams that I always insist he appear for as much as he hates to. Year on year he manages to get a two- or sometimes three-digit rank in these exams. But I haven’t given up hope even as my son hasn’t given up protesting.

Now to child two. She hates homework which again is hardly any work at all. She’d rather dance, go down to play, draw, and eat, whatever as long as she doesn’t have to write. The perennial complaint from her teachers have been she writes slowly, never completes class work, and that she’d rather talk than write. Whenever I have to attend her PTM, I end up saying a little prayer to god that the teacher has something better to say. My worry as a mom is what she will do when she reaches grade 1, and how she will cope with the rest.

Not that I am really losing my sleep over the two, but then I always envisage myself in the supermummy avatar (badly failing too), and hence I must strategise, arm my children with the best tools to just grow up to face their board exams with exemplary courage, get into the best colleges and have a dream career.

Ok, wait, does that include time out for creative growth, knowledge growth, personal growth, and all round growth in other activities? Well my question would be – do the schools/colleges that admit my children want to know that?

They only judge them by the numbers on their mark sheet. So should I not concentrate on the other stuff as a mother?

So I’d rather give up this supermummy tag since I am just going to let them be. Direct them the best way I can, guide them, discipline them and regulate their study time. Most importantly, be around in case they need any help. For me, a well-developed child in all areas is more important than the grades that he/she will get. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. Till then I continue my mommy rant Mera beta padhai nahin karta… bada aadmi kaise banega?

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Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

July 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

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My DNA Column: When Mommies go back to school

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Do you know what moment mums, dads and more importantly, the kids look forward to with bated breath? It is the time schools reopen. Parents wait for the moment to get a chance to breathe normally again, and kids to get back to their school friends and their routine again.

So how does one begin preparing for school to begin? What I remember from my time is the excitement of opening new textbooks, new stories, the smell of a new page and new uniforms. Of course, today, kids have the same things to look forward to, but there is also a whole new range of stationery, water bottles, and tiffin boxes to choose from. The kids are spoilt for choice.

This time round when I went to pick up a school bag for my kids, I was tempted to buy one for myself. Why didn’t we have cool things like the ones available today during our school days? But despite so much variety being available, our kids still don’t like what they see.

Do you remember the school uniform and the shoes you wore to school? Well, these days, uniforms are designer and shoes are branded. Gone are the canvas shoes days — today’s kids have the option of wearing international brands. As a mother I have to keep track of their favourite character on television or movies and ensure that the school essentials match up to those, else there’s hell to pay! No, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but if you were to step into any store selling these items, you would know what I mean. The battle is between the Avengers, Power Rangers, Ben 10, Hot Wheels, and Spiderman for the boys; and the girls have a huge variety too: Barbie, Dora the Explorer, Chotta Bheem, Angry Birds, and all the Disney women! So you know how tough a mum’s life is to have to keep track of their latest chosen character.
No, this is not a rant on how today’s kids are different and pampered from how we were, but just a look at shifting trends.

What hasn’t changed though, is the mommy network trying to get hold of a class senior’s books, so that their child is better prepared when he begins the new session; what hasn’t changed is the mother’s perpetual battle with her child to figure what he will take in his lunch box; what hasn’t changed is us mummies running after them to finish their homework on time.

But then all this is a part of the fun of going back to school. The shopping, the preparation, the excitement is the high point in every child’s life. For the children the countdown has begun. As much as they enjoyed the summer break, they are more than eager now to head back to school.

I am very well aware of what will follow soon after — the complaints about too much homework, no time to play, when will the weekend come, that they are overworked, that school hours are too long. But that is the circle I have been through as a school student myself and it is a routine we all have loved to hate! This is what they will recall as their wonder years when they grow up. The memories that they shall treasure forever.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

July 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

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DNA Column: Choosing the right food for the kids

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So how many of you moms have beamed from ear to ear whenever someone has remembered the ‘Chubby cheeks’ rhyme on seeing your child? I used to too whenever I used to hear those words for my four-year-old daughter. I used to take this as a personal certificate for being the best mommy as I was feeding the child just the right things to get to her chubbiness.

This, coming after a child who was extremely thin and people used to give me looks like I would deliberately not feed him.
Soon I realised that my daughter was gaining weight rapidly. But yet again I was proud of having a baby ahead of her milestones.

Then one day when I took her to her pediatrician I was taken aback when he told me that my daughter was overweight and that she should be put on a diet or else she will keep gaining weight gradually as she grows older. He also told me her weight was not a matter of pride, but should be a matter of concern.

Can you imagine my shock? I refused to believe it. I told him that he was unnecessarily setting the alarm bells ringing when none were needed. He advised me that I should avoid, as much as I could, giving her any food high on sugar and fat. I was left open mouthed! Imagine getting a child who loves all the fatty, sugary foods to avoid it. How would I manage? And, in all honesty, I still haven’t.

With a very heavy heart I told my family this and they told me to take the doctor’s advice with a pinch of salt. They felt that she would lose all her ‘baby fat’ on her own or as she grows up. That is what I wanted to do too. But I could not not address my dilemma as to her weight gain. I discussed this situation with my mommy friends too and they just laughed it off saying I worry too much and she’ll lose the weight without me having to worry about it.

Not that my daughter’s weight is over the top and something to really worry about. But then when I come across some children in and around schools and my neighbourhood, I see that there are lots of kids who are overweight, and yet there is no sense of concern about it — whether it is the kid or the parents. When I researched it, I realised that there is a growing incidence of obesity in our young kids even before they reach adolescence. It is a matter of concern.

As a mother, I had a choice, I could ignore what the doctor said and let her be the way she is, or take some steps to ensure that her growth is as per milestones and not rapid. I chose the latter.

Some still think I am crazy to control her diet, but I’d rather do it now than having to see her suffer with weight-related issues later. Also, there is absolutely no harm in raising a child who is conscious of what she eats, how outdoor play is important, and knowing that being fit is healthy.

I wouldn’t call it a successful attempt yet, nor have I taken all the necessary steps needed, but the process has begun. I think the most important thing here was accepting the fact that as a mother my job was not only to feed my kids, but feed them the right food as well.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

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DNA Column: Super daddies to the rescue

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I remember when I was a child that my father was very caring and loving towards his children, and he continues to be that. But if you asked him which grade his kids were in, he would helplessly look at my mother. Attending Parent Teacher Meetings was always my mother’s responsibility. Anything with regard to our growing up years — whether it was extracurricular classes or outdoor trips — were decisions taken by my mother first followed by him. Bringing up a child was a mother’s domain, he would say, while he would involve himself whenever disciplining us was concerned. This was just not my father but lots of friends’ dads too.

But when I look around me today, right from my husband to other daddies I interact with, are as involved in bringing up the child as the mother. I have met so many men who eagerly look forward to participating in the entire process of bringing up the kids. So whether it is buying feeding bottles or diapers or baby clothes, the new-age daddies do not hesitate in sharing that responsibility of parenting.

Gone are the days when dads were usually looked at as the breadwinner and the disciplinarian. Today’s dad is the more involved and participative in his responsibility. While a mother’s role plays a very important role in a child’s life, we must also keep in mind that fathers are usually the role models to their kids whether we think of it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect by men. Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, confidence and responsibility.

It is a happy sight to see dads at school to pick up their kids, or drop their kids for an activity, attend PTMs, Annual Day, Sports Day, etc. When I see a dad single-handedly managing his ward at a public place like a mall, or buying grocery for the house at a food store, it brings a new sense of respect for the man!

I have interacted with such new age dads on social media platforms too who have sought opinions on a good place to take their child for an outing, seeking doctors, and schools to send their child to. They share photos of their child’s annual day performance or anything new that the child has come up with. That is the level of involvement today and that is definitely a good sign. Today’s dad is definitely more confident and comfortable in his role, has no fear of sharing his emotions where his child is concerned or doesn’t try to be macho by hiding his vulnerability.

Maybe this is the story of dads in urban cities, maybe because with both parents working and living in a nuclear family, the responsibility of bringing up a child is shared. Whatever the reasons for this I do see it as a process of evolvement. So if you are a father reading this and you are a lot like what I have described as a ‘new age dad’, then please take a bow, and if you aren’t do remember it is never too late to loosen up with this area of responsibility.

We mummies are super mummies only because we have super men as daddies supporting us with the responsibility of bringing up the child in today’s crazy, busy world.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

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DNA Column: Have kids, will celebrate

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Priyanka Chaturvedi

One thing I absolutely enjoy after I became a mommy is to attend birthday parties.

The kind of efforts that mums put in these days to make their child’s birthday a memorable one is appreciable.

I have also pulled out all stops to ensure that my child has a fun day. But sometimes I really wonder if it is all worth the effort we mums put in? Both my kids have no memory of the parties I organised for them!

Our kids today have a busier social life than we do. I can’t help but remember my own childhood days where everyone used to celebrate birthdays at home. Passing the parcel and tail the donkey were usually the two games played followed by cake-cutting and chips, cake plus one more snack were the staple food fare. It ended with a simple token return gift.

But today, we parents do not think twice before organising a lavish event for our own kids.

The concept of a small, intimate gathering is long over. I have seen mums for whom their child’s birthday party is like the event of the year and they find ways and means to make it different and unique from other parties. Then there are some mums who in the search for organising an exclusive party end up organising a bizarre event which has absolutely noconnection to the kid whose birthday they are celebrating.While there are some parties that are so well organised that they just take your breath away. I seriously envy such well planned mums. I am truly scatter-brained when I have had to handle my own kids’ parties.

This is how it usually works, starting with planning a theme for the party and then working around the birthday cards, decor, return gifts and games to match the theme. Oh, by the way, there are many event companies that will take this headache off your back if you have the money to spare! At every birthday party, a tattoo artist, a magic show, a game show host and music are a given. Most of the parties are judged by what they organise over and above that. Also did I mention the entire hullaballoo over the loot bags? What happened to the simple toffee-filled balloons? My kids’ judge how good or bad the party was depending on what they managed to get in their loot bags and as return gifts. Kid you not.

It is not just the scale of the event that has changed; the venue of the party is not the drawing room of your home but usually a banquet hall, or your local club. The return gifts are not your usual tiffin boxes, pencil boxes, water bottles, etc, but a party theme based gift. But these days the most popular venues are usually the pizza/ burger places and malls that have special birthday party packages. I am certain they too have realised the importance and significance a child’s birthday has in the new age parents’ lives besides it being an important revenue model for them.

Sounds complicated? Not really, once you become a mummy, it is almost part of the natural process. Have kid, will celebrate, becomes our mantra.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

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DNA Column: When siblings go to war

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There was a time when I thought that I could never be a good mom; I still don’t claim that I am. It was very difficult for me to bond with new born babies.

I couldn’t coochie-coo babies or even attempt to handle them. Babies used to make me uncomfortable and I would look at the moms who used to have sleepless nights and all things not nice, with a sense of amazement. But then, I chose to be a mom and my life turned 360 degrees! Not that I am a splendid mom, but yes I would say I am doing a decent job of it.

After bringing up a tantrummy, hyperactive, and extremely naughty first born, the husband and I were very clear that we wouldn’t go for another baby. Yes, this despite the fact that I come from a large family myself and I know the significance of having a sibling. But then that’s what we thought and it was not to be because as soon as my son turned three, he kept talking about having a sibling to play with. And that single emotional plea from him forced us to rethink our decision. I remember reading these lines somewhere during those indecisive days ‘Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring – quite often the hard way’. We thought and re-thought and came to the conclusion that this was it and another baby was needed. For the love of the first , the second was plotted!

 

If I was to expect that the two would bond from day one, I was sadly mistaken. Once we settled at home I would see my son quietly go and poke her with a pencil, pinch her to get her to cry and various other creative ways were found to make trouble for her. Now, now in case you think I hadn’t geared up for such behaviour let me be clear that loads of books and research had been done on how to make the first born feel comfortable when the second one arrives. So as I tried to be the referee between the two. Little did I know that this would turn out to be my full-time job as a mom.

I can easily say my assessment was not wrong. My daughter grew up to be a fighter too. She would give back as good as she got from him despite the four-year age gap between the two. Once, fed up with their constant fights, I asked their doctor if this was normal between the two, and she reassured me it was absolutely normal and healthy for siblings to squabble all the time. But after that I have often wondered, what about my own mental health managing the two?

Yes though they do fight and there’s never a peaceful moment between the two, they both are always together when it comes to fighting it out with others. That gives me hope, fills me with positivity, that if they both choose they can get along and be on the same side. And till the time they do not get along and keep fighting, I will patiently play the role of a referee! As long as it is sibling revelry rather than sibling rivalry, I do not mind my rapidly graying hair.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:34 am

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DNA Column: when your child is the bully

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Recently, I had taken my kids along for a birthday party. When kids start managing themselves at parties, one usually tends to chat with other mums and catch up on kids in general. Most of the times, I have been able to connect with mums who face similar issues like their kids’ eating habits, schooling, how getting them to do their homework is a pain, etc.

So I was taken aback when I met a mum recently who was sitting with us but was busy concentrating on what her son was doing — his dance moves were monitored, his cricket shots were being checked, and a loud shout of cheer went out from her whenever he played well. Yes, I agree I’d do that too, but what I wouldn’t do is defend my child’s every shot even if it was a wrong shot.

She just wouldn’t let the kids play their game without interfering in it all along. This particular mum was unstoppable; she got into scraps with the other 8-year-olds at the party, she would run to her child’s defence if the umpire would so much as suggest that her son was out, and gradually, some mums were also at the receiving end of her ire if they tried to intervene to correct her.

At first I found this behaviour very amusing, but as the party progressed, I realised that her child was the most boorish of the lot, with a very ‘I can never do any wrong as my mum thinks so’ attitude all over him. He got into fights with other kids, he told the birthday boy that he did not like his party and his ‘return’ gift as they were not what he thought he’d get; while all this was on, his mum was a mute spectator not stepping in to reprimand her son for his rude behaviour. I was absolutely appalled and taken aback with the mum. A few mums shared stories of how there are some mothers who refuse to tell off their children even though their kids bully the rest in the garden or at the park. Bullying to the extent of beating up other kids!

What are we encouraging in our kids if we let them get away with being rude to people, encouraging them to cheat at games, telling them that winning is everything whether you do it through fair means or by unfair means? Most importantly, why are we even interfering on how they should handle a situation? Why can’t the kids be encouraged to sort out small problems amongst themselves? What kind of citizens of tomorrow are we raising if we don’t check them today?

Some mums would argue that they would not want to embarrass their child by reprimanding them in front of other kids, and I agree to that. But maybe you can take your child aside and politely let him know that you do not encourage his behaviour, and if it continues it could lead to a punishment at home. I have done this several times and have seen my son fall in line after that. Now he doesn’t need to be told, he knows what is expected of him.

In an ideal world, we would have perfect children and we would be perfect mums. But sadly, it is not the ideal world we are living in. If we don’t tell our child that his attitude towards a person, game or a thing was wrong, who will? By no means do I want mums to stop indulging their children — please do indulge, but with some kind of sense of responsibility would be nice.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

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