It was about 8 pm, I sat down to go through my emails, dimmed the lights, tucked my kids into bed, put on some music, poured myself a glass of wine, suddenly my daughter Mehr asked me to change the playlist and asked specifically for music, that helps her think of incredible things, by all means, I obliged. After a minute or so I change the track and suddenly she got very upset, “Mama!, I was just beginning to imagine myself as a mermaid and you changed the song!.” Of course, I changed it back, so my baby girl could keep imagining herself as a mermaid floating through gleaming waters, in her glossy hair and sparkly tail… I sat back and watched her drift into her magical fantasy world, wondering deep within what magic would I create if I was given a chance to fantasize, about a world that existed far from reality.
At 33 years of age today, I understand the importance of having an imaginary world to explore, you see, we are programmed from a young age to think to live a certain way is the norm. But as you grow older and wiser does that programming really help? Does it nurture our soul? Does it help overcome the bumps and curves life throws at you?
I was always told growing up, study hard, get good grades, work hard, get married, take care of your husband and family, try not to gain too much weight, always keep a neat and clean house, wear presentable clothes, be adjusting towards situations, stay silent, your patience will pay off in the long run….and so on. It was not just family, it was the society imbibing all this into us.
Personally, I’m in that phase of my life where I’m still trying to reboot the old installation and create new ones, customizable to what suits me best, and trust me I’m judged for it every day, but I just put all my barriers down and keep going.
As a mother of two today, I want to be able to give my kids the luxury of dreaming, of imagining things out of the ordinary, I would like my son to understand that his sole responsibility is not to grow up and make money and take care of his mum, but to create a life that he considers worth living. I would not want my daughter to curb her wild spirits only to be accepted into society, her fierce, fearless character can help her take on anything in the future!
I suffer from confusion today because I was never able to explore or experience situations that would lead me to find my passion, my exploration has started in my 30s and I’m loving every bit of it, although it gets challenging because I can’t really focus all my time on self-discovery when I have mouths to feed and bills to pay, and when I write this statement of having mouths to feed and bills to pay, I know deep down it’s coming from those external voices/figures in my life, that remind me of this every single day, and especially when I try to do something for myself.
Therefore, as a parent, I only wish for my kids to embrace their road to self-discovery now. And I know this may not resonate with some of you, you would think magic won’t make money, how will they fend for themselves, how will they make investments or build a financial portfolio?
But I’m of an opinion, that money follows joy! When you’re passionate about something you will automatically somehow just make it magically lucrative.
Here is how you can make a difference in your child’s life by inculcating small changes in your daily lives.
- Give them a journal, ask them to write in it every day, about what makes them happy, what makes them sad, their hopes and dreams, magic, really just write about anything, and please try not to pry into it, respect their privacy.
- Help them be independent: As Indian parents, we have this constant urge to do things for our kids, to help them out all the time, pick up their heavy load, tie their laces, butter their toast! Really, there is no need! I am often judged for being a lazy mom (not like I give a shit) but the bright side of being a lazy mum is that your kids end up doing everything for themselves! Let them do their own stuff, let them handle money and be responsible for it in small amounts, yes it will be messy and sometimes time-consuming but your patience, which I’m guessing you have in plenty, will pay off in the long run.
- When your kids ask questions and you’re too busy checking your Instagram stories, don’t shush them away, please answer their questions honestly, trust me they can handle any information.
- Role-playing of different scenarios, jobs, and skills is a lovely way to give them a taste of different skill sets. Activity parks such as Kidzania have come up in different parts of India, I would highly recommend visiting them. When my son was 4 years old he was obsessed with cleaning AC units, he would be very vocal about his chosen career path of an “AC repair man” as he would call it.
- Exam grades will not really define who your kids are, by forcing them to focus on subjects they don’t like and removing their play time or extracurricular time, don’t think that they will be more proactive, a child needs equal play and physical activity time. In my opinion, the way times are now I would rather force the kids to play outdoors instead of playing on a gaming console indoors! Sometimes I wish I was forced to play more growing up, who knows, today I might have taken to a sport, I’m trying these things now and I realize I really enjoy certain activities such as squash, kickboxing, etc.
Daydreaming, nighttime dreaming, fantasy, magic, fairies, unicorns, pirates and pixie dust… please allow it to happen, your children can create magical journeys of their own someday and you can just sit back watch and can’t help but feel proud that you did something amazing by bringing these magical rascals into this world!