Saturday, 11 February 2017

Of Careers and Creches

Today I want to muse a little on parenting - as loyal readers know, it is one of my favourite topics. Mostly, it's a chance to say unkind things about The Child, who is, thankfully too preoccupied with a pile of books borrowed from the library last week, to get back at me.

I attended an interesting session at IIT today. I was the "Chief Guest" at the creche in the campus. I agreed to go simply because a friend of mine asked me and I found it hard to say no (she is most accommodating and I owed her one). I was a bit hesitant at first, 'cause I didn't have a ready made speech to give. I know, I know, that has never stopped me before, and it did not stop me today either.

I laid out a salwar kameez to wear then on the spur of the moment ditched that and wore a sari. It was a purple-ish one and I wore matching earrings and a bindi. My parenting moment involved the walk to school to drop the child off, during which she laughed loudly and informed me that all three were different shades of purple, and nothing matched. Oh well.

My parenting philosophy has mostly revolved around Role Modelling. I can't for sure say that it has worked out super well for us or anything. But it is something that makes sense to me, and it gels with my own personality. Some aspects of role modelling are such that it can backfire on you - for e.g. the fact that I wake up early and run regularly leads to a certain disdain for running, for sure! But so be it! I am hopeful that in the future she will be somehow inspired by it, and last week I distinctly heard her say "I need some exercise now, it has been a while since I had a proper workout."

Speaking of creches, I think an important thing to bear in mind is the fact that all the feminism and equal rights and lack of a glass ceiling and so on falter at the altar of early motherhood. I know that in the absence of a high quality day-care center, on campus, right close to my work place, with a reasonable philosophy of child rearing, I would not have managed to have a career.

I could have handled a job, yes, I would have worked for sure, maybe simply because I am not very good domestically, but having a full fledged career would have been well nigh impossible without a set-up such as the one I was at this morning [My own early motherhood was dedicated to a sister concern that is in IIT Bombay, where the child went from the time she was 16 months old].

For that reason among others, I am immensely grateful that such things exist today, unlike when I was a baby. While the grandparents are super awesome and are any day better at parenting than any creche (or myself), the guilt I felt for putting them through the whole feeding - diaper changing - nap-time - and other routines of babies, was strong. Plus I think for a single child, having a set-up outside the home and some friends and non-family adults to interact with, were valuable.

It was a great walk down memory lane for me today. It was nice to introspect a little and tell the eager young parents that were in the audience, that the "Food Battles" are really not worth it. It was so hilarious to think about how much I used to agonise over her food, considering that she is 3 inches taller than me now!! I tried to convince them that it has been one of my failures as a parent.

Most of all, it felt good to do this informal session and spend the rest of the day mulling over the various things said and heard this morning. As we move on to Phase two - 'Parenting a Teen' - due to happen soon, while all is said and done, it has been a really wonderful journey. Although it sounds geeky to say it, the apple of our eye has grown to be a good (if distinctly disobedient) friend, and perhaps when she reads this she will recall those early creche days with fondness...

A long-ago memory captured for posterity


madrasi said...


Viji said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful..
Love the pic too