Are you a hands-on parent? Are you spending the holidays taking your child to summer camp activities--craft, art, sport, swimming, skating, etc.? Or are you the type who prefers spending time with him or her, creating make believe stories, doing finger painting sessions, building lego cities, together?
And, do you ever wonder, how much 'parenting' is enough? And if you are doing too much 'parenting'? Well, I do. All the time.
I worry that if my five-year-old
spends all his free time with me (especially during these holidays), he
and I will no longer enjoy each others' company. I believe that it is
not my job to constantly keep him occupied and entertained. More
important, I believe that if we (that is, him and I) have some time away
from each other, then both of us get the space and the freedom to be
ourselves. Okay, to be totally honest, that applies to me, more than
him. Time away from my son is precious for me--it's an opportunity to
just be me, not mother, not older playmate, just me being myself, doing
my own thing.
So why am I thinking all this? I have
many friends who are wonderful mothers and who are also much more
patient and cheerful with their children, than I am or ever will be. And
one of them, let's call her A, told me she is enjoying the holidays and
loving the time with her son. "Things are so much more relaxed
nowadays. I don't enjoy school time, I think my son's diet and health
takes a toss then. He hardly eats because during school time, everything
is such a rush. And I hate that," she explained. No surprises for
guessing that A has not put her son in any summer camp. Me, I enrolled
my chap into a locally-run summer camp, as soon as school closed for the
A is a wonderful person, and loves
interacting with children. But she thinks children who are four, five
and six-years-old, should not be doing too much work at school. In fact,
her husband (let's call him B) concurs. They feel children in
kindergarten should be at play always, not doing writing, learning
numbers, or anything that qualifies as 'work'.
They could not be more different from
my husband and I. We think children need to be engaged, involved and
challenged. And I for one, love school. I love the fact that my little
fellow learns new letters, spelling, reading, numbers so on and so
forth. So at home too, I (and my husband) get him to read by himself, do
writing and so on. If we don't make the effort, we will be doing him a
disfavour--how will he cope with the heavy school work that is the norm
in the upper classes? He will be totally unprepared.
Well, coming back to children and
play, I have other friends who spend a lot of time taking their children
to art, craft and sport camps (not summer camps) on a regular, weekly
basis. I admire the energy and zeal with which they do this. And I am
astounded at the amount of time they spend in these kind of activities.
Because I simply cannot imagine myself running from art class to
swimming class for my child. I'd much rather have him go play downstairs
with my building security guard's son. In fact, the two boys (the guard's son is nearly four-years-old) play
wild, loud and noisy games, every day. They run around madly, laugh
their heads off at silly jokes, do cycle races and, occasionally fall
out, fight and bawl at the top of their voices. But they are supremely
happy in each others' company. There are basic rules the two have to
follow, they cannot run out on to the road, for instance. And the
security guard should be around, all the time. But I don't go supervise
their play--instead I curl up with a book but keep a ear out for sudden
silences. If the boys are playing noisily, all is well; if they are
quiet, then something is definitely up. That's when I go check on them.
Else, I let them be.
So you see, I am a full-time parent, but I certainly don't want to do full-time parenting. What about you?
(This is my post from: http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/blogs/connected-lives/blog_posts/are-new-age-parents-doing-too-much-parenting)