by TRANSFORMATIONAL LIFE-COACH RIMA DESAI
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a mom. The breath of a child softly pouring on my shoulder as my arms harness it with immeasurable love, was a fancy imagination. I remember being 15, holding an infant for the 1st time in my life who fell asleep from his cries in my cuddles. 13 years later when Pregnancy found its way to me, I was so ‘out there’ with my imagination of how great motherhood will be.
Blessed with a caring, pleasant girl, motherhood has been anything but a smooth ride. It is fun, it is fulfilling, it is breathtaking. It is also challenging, sometimes ugly, sometimes skirmish.
By the 1st few months after birth, I had forgotten my heels, small fancy purses, lovely hair styles, bright clothes and well done nails. I had in fact even forgotten myself. And it left like, just a few more days until 5 years flew by with a blink and suddenly it dawned to me “why is the mirror no more my friend?” “Why does my body and mind feel so tired?” “Where is the ambitious, driven Rima?”
I had done great as a mom, great as a wife and daughter in law as well but I had traded all that for ‘myself’. And so slow and steady re-began a journey of self-discovery. A journey of ‘life’ where now my child was my mentor and I was taking ‘birth’. She was here to teach me to love myself, remember myself, care for myself while also loving her, remembering her and caring for her.
How many of you MOMs have walked this path of OVERWHELM, FEELING LOST, FEELING BURNT while also enjoying the loving arms, the gentle kiss and huge smile from your little angel?
“~ I think tons, I think tons.. I feel the wave of the new breeze, it is calling you if you wish to touch it once, it is time to be born once again ~ ”
The most important worry or question any parent has is – “How can I make my child so confident that s/he can face anything in this world and be successful?” This is a million dollar question and here is your million dollar answer. You do not need to do anything fancy and carry a worry worm within you. Worry has no power by itself. If backed with action it becomes motivation, if left at worry it becomes disease and if left with inaction, it becomes a mountain of problems. Hence, here is the list of THINGS TO DO TO KEEP YOUR CHILD BUFFERED.
- ACCEPT: Accept that your child has his or her own bag of karmas and nothing you do will completely change those karmas. They have their rocks and mountains to climb to learn from and some are really born with a silver spoon. It is just what their soul chose. Hence, you are NOT the person in control, you are only the guide!
- CHANGE WHAT: It is important to focus our efforts in the right direction. Do not attempt to change your kids. Attempt to change their behaviour and help them make productive choices. An introvert will remain an introvert no matter how much your try. If the introvert changes into an extrovert that is because either the situations made him so or because the child was always an extrovert but required the right opportunity. We cannot turn wood into iron and vice versa. The more you show your kids that you love them for who they are and that there are STRENGTHS for all kinds of personality, the more they will be confident and love themselves.
- DON’T PRAISE EVERYTHING: Honestly, this is a hard one for me too. It is so easy to WOW everything for our kids. But the truth is that it harms them at some point because it creates EXTERNAL MOTIVATION and a tendency to PEOPLE PLEASE. They must know to self-analyse and be self-motivated independent of what others think. This is a great way to boost their self-confidence.
- CREATE SELF-RELIANCE: I love the Montessori philosophy that – “Don’t do for the child what the child can do himself”. The more independent kids are, the more they are confident to face the challenges of the world. In the Indian culture we tend to over-protect our kids and do a lot more for them than they actually need. Living in USA, I have been awed to see that a 1 year young child eats NOODLES and all meals by himself or herself and that they change themselves by age 2 and more. It is amazing how much they can learn if we allow them to.
- SOCIALIZE: The more you socialize as a parent, the more your child will too. Social skills are critical to confidence and success in today’s globalization. Few businesses or works are in isolation of other people hence teach them to socialize by modelling the correct manners. I don’t mean PARTY while you leave them at a baby-sitter. I host, invite, attend other moms’ homes with the kind of values you want your child to learn.
- LABELS ARE LOUSY: Never label your child as – “Lazy” “Motu” “Fatso” “Darpok” and so on. Those labels may be fun for you but they carve and itch themselves in your child’s brain and then the brain learns to be STUCK on it forever. Growing up, you may see them do exactly what the label says and mark their way to failure. Imagine failing at something only because you were called names a 1000 times in a decade. You may label their behaviour instead – “This sounds like a lazy idea or you are being lazy” which is very different from “you are lazy”.
- PERFORM but not OVER-PERFORM: The world is a stage and we are the performers. As parents we are so anxious to MAKE THEM SMART. I don’t understand that concept of enrolling a child in 5 classes to make them smart! School, heavy bag, heavy H.W., lots of classes, late sleep and over burden creates BURN OUT not smartness. Choose 2 classes at a time and use them to the fullest. Allow them to stage perform if they want to or don’t mind it. But forcing a child to be on stage I Have them practice at home to hone those 2 skills. The rest of the time that you used for 3 other classes, instead use for spending one on one time with your child. You can save your Rs. 6000 by playing UNO, SCRABBLE, CHESS and MEMORY with them instead. It will make them smarter than you think, save your money and also save the STRAIN in your relationship with your kid.
- NEVER CRITICIZE, JUDGE, STRIP YOUR CHILD WITH YOUR ANGER: “What a shame that ….” “You don’t even know that much…” “I have told you so many times but you are so stupid…” “You fool…” “You could do better than that…” “I told you to do this but you did not listen…” are the best ways to strip your child off their self-confidence forever. Why don’t you turn around and use all those statements on yourself? Feel great uh? Makes you very confident uh? Worse still, use these statements, angry voice and REJECT your child in front of others. Doesn’t matter sister, mother, close friends, whoever they are to you, to the child they are ENEMIES OF SELF-CONFIDENCE and SELF-WORTH.
- UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: Love your child no matter what. Your child was not born to INCREASE YOUR STATUS and NAME in society. S/he was born to allow you to love and to give you love in return. Keep it simple, don’t pollute it with expectations of the world. A 10th rank doesn’t make your child less lovable, neither does failing. It only means GOD IS TESTING YOUR ABILITY TO LOVE NO MATTER WHAT!Express your love, hug them but not so tight that they feel uncomfortable ;) Use the “I love you” statement not to get their approval or make up for your mistakes but because you truly value their existence in your world.
- APPLY WHAT YOU READ: You have read many articles, now apply all the good stuff you read. Stop, Think and Start applying at least 2 of the above points.