I’ve always wanted to be the ideal mum (who doesn’t!), juggling a million tasks and duties and yet able to spend time with her child – both in terms of quality and quantity. I strongly believe that education cannot be left to schools alone and so take an active interest in stimulating my child’s intellect and exciting her curiosity in the manner I know best. I also prefer to handle small parts of her daily routine instead of leaving it to the maid (oh, the omni-present maids of South Mumbai), and most of all, I strongly believe in dropping her to school and picking her up so I can discuss how her day was, what she did, etc. So all in all – you can say that I like to spend as much time with her as possible; and until recently I believed that it was the right thing to do.
But recently I have begun to have my doubts. My daughter has started her new school and while she has settled in well, I am sorry to say that she has not taken to travelling by the school bus as well! She wants mama to drop her off instead. Each day is a struggle as she cries and refuses to climb in. And increasingly, I notice a tendency in her to cling to me when we go out, preferring to stay at my side rather than mingle with other new childern in a new place. By contrast, some of her friends are more independent and settle into new situations quite happily. And I notice that these tend to generally be children whose mothers are not as ‘around’ their children as I am.
Am I generalising or over-analysing here? Or could it really be that children whose parents spend a lot of time with them also lose out on some amount of independence somewhere along the way? I have only ever heard positive things being said about parents who are around their kids a lot, but maybe we need to learn to let go more, be a little less protective, allow them to make their mistakes (yes, even at this early age!)… Finally, how do you strike the right balance between allowing them to develop their own identities and being around to catch them when they fall?
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