Parenting Wreaks Havoc on One’s Belief System

Parenting wreaks havoc on one’s belief system.
You go from an “individual” to “us”.
Nothing…not friendship…not family…not marriage…nothing alters one’s belief system than when one holds one’s own.

Caring, feeding, hoarding, protecting…all these gerunds take on new meaning.
Suddenly, Maslow’s hierarchy need pyramid is doubled….one for you and one for your child.

There is several ways to raise a child.
For me, it is the  “it takes a village to raise a child” approach.
I believe I need everybody around me to help my child.
To raise, to nurture, to feed, to laugh, to cry, to hold, to motivate, to heal, to everything….it is not just me. There is a village. It is a powerful village.

I also believe raising my child is not a zero-sum game.
Somebody doesn’t have to lose for my child to win.

I believe life is bountiful and I lead my child to believe the same.
I don’t have to hoard resources for my child.

I don’t inculcate the scarcity mentality.
I lead him to believe the world is his…..and his is the world.
He has to go forth and conquer it with love and passion.

I am open minded. I try my best not to judge anybody or their choices. Because, everybody has their own story.
Over the years, I have had numerous “interesting” encounters with those who raise the next generation.
The kind ones.
The generous ones.
The open minded ones.
The ones that urge me to be a better parent.
The ones that teach me resources are endless.
Then, there are the ones that want to hoard.
The ones that believe in the zero-sum game.
The ones who hold on so tightly to the scarcity mentality.

It is everybody’s karma. What is right for them might not be right for me. And, my outlook to life might not be right for them.

Our children are going to do what they see us do.
If we believe in the zero-sum game….they will too.
If we hold on tightly to the scarcity mentality…they will too.

If we believe the world is bountiful…they will too.
If we teach them to go forth and conquer the world with love and passion…they will too.

Which side are you on? What is your belief system? What do you teach? Whatever the case might be….I urge you to think about this topic. Because, this parenting stuff  is some serious business.

I am forever grateful to those of you who are in my life and influence and inspire me with the great style of your own parenting. You might have shared with me just one insight long ago over coffee…or you might chat with me every day, every week, every month and ask how the heck I am doing. You check in on me, help me see the light and urge me to do the right thing. For that and more, I am grateful.

Our parenting story has to be one of that special bond with the spouse, the family, the community…because we realize we are all in this together. It is the story of us feeling vulnerable and strong…all at once. It is the story of humanity’s struggle to protect its off-spring and send them forth to a brighter and happier world. It is the story of nature manifesting intelligence and kindness. We are the generation that is holding the baton to raise the “next” generation. I wish all of you good luck with your parenting. Stay Strong.

Lunch Box Jokes and Notes

Since school started in August, Ari has been asking me to drop him a note in the lunch box every day.

As much as I love him, I am no Martha Stewart-y mom when it comes to packing lunch or putting notes in there every day.

As if that wasn’t a big enough issue, I am also not a morning person. Thank God for earlier riser Kumar.

(Hey School and College Buddies, I know you are snickering and saying “I know. You haven’t changed much. I didn’t expect you to.”)

Anyways, if I were to write a spontaneous note, I would do that.

Case-in-point: Handwritten Note with Warm Socks

However, writing and putting a note in there ever day was driving me crazy.

So, I did something our brain is trained to do in this day and age.

You are right. I Googled it.

Hot Damn! I found tons of lunch box notes, jokes etc.
I sent the links to Kumar and requested him to print it out. I cajoled Adi to cut it out neatly. Trust me, there were tons of printouts. I wouldn’t have had the patience to cut it all out.

Now we have the lunch box notes and jokes ready. Right?
Found on google – check mark.
Printed out – check mark.
Neatly cut and stacked – check mark.

You would think the easy part is to put the damn notes in the lunch box.
Easy enough? Doable? Is it not?

Well, in the morning rush I forget to put the notes in. Geez.

My hot, fiery, little Leo is not ready to take any BS from his mom. When he sees me during pick up, the first thing he says – “Amma, you forgot to put a note in my lunch box today.”

I smile sheepishly. I say “Sorry…Sorry…Sorry…” a 100 times in 100 different funny voices and make him laugh. Then, I shower him with the biggest and longest hug that was ever given on this planet.

Anyways, by now, he has figured out that I am going to forgot it in the morning rush.

So, he reminds me every night.

“Amma, have you taken the old notes out and put in the used dabba (Tamil word for box)? Have you put the new notes in? Not one. I want more than one. AMMAAAA. STOP. Don’t hold the note in a way that I can see it. Other side…alright…hold it the other side. I want it to be a surprise for tomorrow. Good job Amma. You did it. Hi-fi!”

End of story.

Now, I know you are going “Cluck…..Cluck” and wondering “What the heck does she do around the house anyways? Kumar rises early. Drops the boys. He even prints out sheets for her. Adi does the cutting…as if she couldn’t do even that on her own. Poor Ari….has to remind and nag her to put the lunch notes in. What the heck?”

So, if you wondered that, I wouldn’t hold it against you at all. Because, your doubts are well placed. Do me a favor.

When you meet any of the 3 boys next time, just tell them “Hang in there buddy.” It will mean a lot to them.

P.S. I love, adore and respect Martha Stewart-y moms and dads. You’ll inspire me. You’ll make the world go around. For that and more, the rest of us slackers are eternally grateful to you’ll.

YEAH. We have Managed to Pull Together This Year!

Adi and I shared a fist bump as I dropped him off for the last day of school. The fist bump celebrates our friendship and our joint partnership.

It says “YEAH. We have managed to pull together this year.”

Calling 2014 an eventful year is an understatement.

We have had so many transitions and so much learning.

During the first few weeks in Texas, when Kumar was away in California and Daddy was in India, he stepped up and played the role of man-of-the-house.

He helped me move and settle down. He carried his sleepy younger brother around on many of the long days. He helped him fill out numerous paperwork that comes with settling down in a new city. He made coffee (tasted terrible, but the gesture!) when I sat down after a long day of running around in a city that I didn’t know anything about. He hugged me often and said “Amma, it is ok. Appa will be here soon to help us.”

Both he and I have grown up so much this year.

I can’t wait to relax and go absolutely crazy with the boys during the 2 week holiday.

“Parents raise kids” statement is not complete. It is a 2 way street. Kids raise us as much (and in some cases like mine, probably more) than we raise them. Parent raising is probably harder than kids raising…for the simple reason that kids are willing to be raised and molded by us. We, on the other hand, think (falsely, of course) we are already done “growing up”.

I urge you to think about who is ACTUALLY raising who?

How to Deal with a Tricky Situation by using Your Wit?

I just had too many things to get done today afternoon.

So, when Adi made a few mistakes in some math problems repeatedly, instead of giving him a big long lecture, I told him “Why don’t you go write a 1 pager on the primary reason you are having trouble with these problems repeatedly?”.

I just wanted to get him out of my working space. He walked away with a sad face. I went back to my work and found my “zone” again. I don’t know how long it took him. But he came back to my desk and presented a 1 pager.

I didn’t really expect him to bring me back a 1 pager. So, while I was a bit annoyed he came to my desk to interrupt me again, I was also pleasantly surprised that he took the effort to write the 1 pager as per my request.

Then, I laughed+cried as I read the 1 pager.

How to deal with a tricky situation by using your wit - Ambal Balakrishnan

He had not only retrospected but also added some humor in his write up.

I pulled him to my side. Sat him on my lap. Gave him a big hug.
I told him “Well, looks you are starting to learn the fine art of ‘How to deal with a tricky situation by using your wit?’. That is a good skill to have.”