Subha Manoj

While I Was Away

Subha Manoj

And that is what parenting is all about

I will be soon completing 7 years of motherhood. Yayyy! To say that parenthood has changed me by poles would be an understatement. I have realised my undermined strengths as well as weaknesses. The thing about becoming a mother is that it comes without training but with a lot of intuition and gut feeling. It is like being an intern for the rest of your life. You fail yourself a lot of times and there comes a moment when you feel pure marvel. Somehow parenting books have never worked for me. I have a Dr. Spock lying in my library though, and there have been times when I have picked it up in doubt, but I cannot really say it has been a big help. What has really helped me are my fellow mother-friends, my family and most of all my intuition (it has never ever failed me). Having said this, all the factors mentioned above have limitations. None of them really tell whether you have succeeded mothering or parenting a child. The one and only person/s who can tell you so is your child or children.

Children have this ability to teach you in a very subtle manner the many intricacies of life. I am thankful to my kids for being the teacher I never had in my life. They have taught me qualities which I can bluntly say even my parents could not. This post is all about that.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /


(When it is time to let go)

Between Anirudh and me (on a busy morning)
Me: Drink your milk and go to potty…fast!
A (Flashes me his pissed off face): How many times do I have to tell you not say ‘potty’?! Can you not say ‘toilet’ or ‘loo’? You think I am a small kid like Nia? (his kid sis)
Me: Ok, sorry. Could you please go to the toilet…fast?!

(When it is time to accept with an open heart)

He was about to leave to school and was going to enter the lift alone.
A (with the look of a lost puppy): What if the power goes off and the watchman forgets to switch on the generator?
Me: No, baby. It will not happen. They are very careful.
A: Promise me, you will stand here till I reach the ground floor.
Me: I promise, I will.

(When it is time to let go)
It was evening time and I was going for my walk, while A was unlocking his cycle in the parking lot.
Me: Bye, enjoy with your friends (And I hugged him)
A (pushing me away): My friends will see you hugging me. I don’t like it.
Me: What is the big deal? I am your Amma.
A: I know you are my Amma. But you don’t still get to hug me when we are out.
Me: Sighhh

(When it is time to accept with an open heart and realllly not lose cool)
At 9 pm, when it is time for the kids to sleep, I am dead hungry and my latest fav TV show is about to begin.
A: I just remembered I am supposed to make a class project for English!!
Me: What???
A: If I don’t take it tomorrow, the teacher will scold me.
Me: Serves you right. You have to learn to be more responsible.
A (with the same lost and guilty puppy face): Please Amma….you have to help me.
Yup, I did help with all my might and a rumbling tummy. The end result was a beautiful English project and a tight hug, kiss and ‘I love you, Amma’.

And then there was this: (with my 2.5 year old!)

(While we were going for a walk, I tried holding her hand)
N: No hold hand. Nia big girl.
Me: Ok.
And then she sees a dog sleeping and starts screaming at the top of the lungs.
N: Ammmmmma….Doggie!!! Nia hold.
After I pick her up and kiss her.
Me: But Nia is a big girl, so why are you scared of a dog?
N: Nia no like dog. Nia Amma hand hold. My Amma.
I swear I could have gobbled her down! 🙂

It was later that I pondered upon what my kids did. They simply taught me that as parents we need to do just one thing correctly. Everything else is not a big deal. And that is,

No matter what age a child is at, they want us to let go when they feel they are big enough and accept them with an open non-critical heart when they feel they are not big enough. And this does not change when they turn into adults too.

Most of the days, I don’t want my mother to mother me. I want her to listen to what I want to say. And then there are moments, when all I want to do is call my mother and no one else. I want her to speak to me and tell me, “It is all going to be fine.” No strings attached. And that is what parenting is all about.

11 Replies to “And that is what parenting is all about”

  • 200% right Subha. When I read your words I feel like there is nothing left for me to add to it. It's like listening to my own voice. Maybe we were twins in an earlier life 🙂

  • What an awesome post ! So rightly said. I loved the conversations and I claim I had the privilege to love it more than many others who would have read this, because, I can picture both A and Nia's faces, their expressions when they speak that. I actually laughed when I read Nia's.. "My amma.. " I love the way she says it. Absolutely delicious 😛 Gulab Jamun she is 😀 And you are bang on in saying that children do need our acceptance no matter how old they are ! LOVELYYYY ! Reminds me of the lines from the movie 'Black Swan' — "Perfection is not only about control, it is also about letting go". My fav 🙂

  • Subha..cant tell you what precious piece you have written..I was struggling to make up my mind on how should I behave with M…now I know.."let it go and accept with open heart" This is not me to decide..let my babies decide which one to pick 🙂 love your posts..I want to see you writing a book very soon..

  • Subha, i wrote such a big message for you..and google ate it up..:(
    Lovely Lovely Post…amazed to see what a clear thought process you have..uncluttered mind..want to see you writing a book one to A and N and to you 😉

  • Oh very true ones Subha.,. Felt like I was reading my own experience.. Especially "When it is time to let go".. I have experience it many times.. Adi always tell me this and I use to Sighh Sighh Sighh!!! Especially at school pick up times when I see all the girls in his class giving hugs and kisses to moms !!!! I like to think that it is a boys thing 🙂 🙂 (will let you know whether my theory proved right when my girl start school !!!)

    – Sneha.

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