On a recent visit to an old colleague’s place, something struck me.
We had gone to meet the little bundle of joy they were blessed with a few months back. We were chatting and sharing non-stop as we were meeting up after almost three years and had a lot to catch upon. In between I casually asked the nursing mother whether she was getting enough sleep and if the baby’s sleep pattern has been regularized. To which our friend responds in negative and goes on to say, “Not at all. She keeps screaming all night long and doesn’t let us sleep at all for even a few hours. Mom and Dad (the grandparents) don’t even come and offer to take care of her and let us sleep. They sleep peacefully knowing that we have to attend office the next day.” To this, his wife responds, “Don’t say like that. They do take care of her the whole day long and they too will be tired.” The parents just did not utter a single word and I could see how hurt they were by this casual remark made by their own son. I felt really bad about it.
I agree having your parents to support you during your parenting days is a big relief and a blessing in itself. They not just help you go to work without having to worry about your child being with a maid or at a day care centre, but they also pass on their wisdom to the children as they grow. Their age and experience helps you bring up the kid wisely. But is it right to expect them to take care of the kids as if it’s their duty? Haven’t they fulfilled their responsibility by taking good care of us and by providing us with all that was necessary? If they are helping us out of their own will, does it give us any right to order or complain about them not doing something more for our kids or for us? Do they deserve to be treated like this?
This might be taken wrongly by those who are in the situation for a variety of reasons including the behavior of the parents. But to me, who does not have anybody back home to support and who has left her kids at the mercy of maids or day care centre all her life, this was something extremely undesirable. My parents stay close by and pick and drop my kids from their day boarding school. And this I believe is too much of a favor they are doing to me and my husband. My in-laws are taking care of my brother-in-law’s child and many a times, I do envy the luck of that child and the bad luck of my children. I feel bad when they complain that they aren’t able to go to parks like other kids do, or when I have to let go of a dance class or a karate class because my kids come back home from their day boarding only in the evening and by then all these classes are over. Then I pacify myself that one cannot have everything in life.
Since our parents are doing whatever they can to help us, does it give us any right to expect that they do something more? Or command that they do something more? I don’t believe so. I feel a little bit of courteousness must have been shown. What would be the effect of such behavior on the growing child? Children are way too innocent and have their own mind and way of judging people. Wouldn’t he/she lose respect for the parents considering he/she knows exactly how much effort has been put in by the grandparents? Our parents have done enough and more for us and I do not believe that they are in any way bound by any rule that says they MUST take care of our children. We must respect the very fact that they have chosen to help us in whatever little ways possible out of their love for us. They have worked hard all their lives compared to us who have much better facilities available due to the technological advances. Isn’t it wrong to expect them to slog hard even at this age? Forcing them and complaining about them in presence of outsiders (even if we are friends), I believe is wrong.
I know I am reacting to something that I have seen and heard without even knowing the background story. But this is what came to my mind after that visit. May be I am wrong and there’s something more to it, like the other side of the coin. But then, I had to share my point of view on the incident. Becoming parents also requires you to be slightly more aware of your actions and behavior because the little one is sure to pick up a lot from you. If you truly want your child to respect you in the right sense, make amendments to your behavior starting today. It definitely matters a lot.