Many a time I have been told by other moms that they find me a very relaxed and ‘chilled’ mom. Probably because they have never seen me hyperventilating over low grades, messy rooms, having 6 energetic boys over for a play date in our apartment or a dozen pre-teen girls for a party.
Even my 17 year olds friends find me ‘cool’. Their measuring scale being the fact that I tolerate them settling in our living room to have a go at the play station. Where my only acknowledgement of the din they create is to shut the door to my room to shut out the deafening throb of the roaring machine guns in the games.
But this calmness doesn’t come from the fact that I am a calm person no matter what, but because generally when it comes to children and young adults, I like to let them be. It is their age and privilege to be noisy, exuberant and messy. Of course there comes a day when I can’t stand any of it and yell a lot but most days I am alright with it.
When I look back I think the only days when I have had mini panic attacks regarding their school activities, academic and otherwise, is whenever I have visited their school to pick them up. My children have always travelled to and from school via the school bus. On rare occasions I used to go and pick them up. This entailed my waiting at the school gates with the other mothers. Most of them were the regulars. Mothers who picked up their children from school daily. So they met and swapped notes daily on the progress of their wards. As an observer and an eavesdropper it looked to me more like a ‘my kid is smarter than yours’ competition than just simple information swapping.
Mothers sighed over how their child was getting an A and not an A+, how the child wanted to do six different after-school activities and excel at them. And underneath all the clucking and sighs and head shaking was this message which screamed out, “See!My child is actually doing so much.” After watching this for 15 minutes or so was enough to give me chills. For the next two days I would bite my nails and wonder if I was a good mom. What if I had missed some bus and was not taking my child to the required number of after school classes? My palpitating heart settled down only after a good 48 hours or so.
While it is very necessary to boost our children’s confidence and encourage them to exploit their natural talents to the maximum, it’s also so necessary to let them be….