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Archive for October 10th, 2013

Compensation

There was a short post on FB by Shail on modern parents compensating their love with gadgets. It was a humorous take on gadgets at least being available now 😀

It did get me thinking though.

What exactly does it mean by compensating love?

Does it mean that you cannot love your child enough and that is why you have to give them expensive stuff to be happy?

Or does it mean that you don’t have the time to love your child and buy them expensive stuff to keep them busy?

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If it’s any of the above two, then gadgets do serve the purpose, don’t they? They keep the children happy as well as busy. And if some parents are okay with it, who am I to judge? I, personally speaking, have very strong views about children and gadgets (it doesn’t help that a very popular cartoon character fishes out amazing gadgets at the drop of a hat! My children think he’ s the epitome of cool-th and want a magic pocket just like him 😐 ).

Since, its none of the above two reasons for me, I desist from making my children gadget friendly. I’d rather they be an ignoramus than be a smart-ass.

But then, this post isn’t about gadgets. It’s about compensation.

I wonder, who started using the word “compensation” in a parent-child relationship anyway? How exactly in this world can we compensate for something that we cannot measure? And by ‘something’, I mean Love, not time! Time is measurable 😀

What got me thinking more on these lines was an incident that happened at home the other day. The twins were jumping up and down on the sofas after being strictly warned not to do so. I raised my voice sharply and scolded the two to stop the jumping right now!

The FIL, who was in the hall with me, immediately cautioned me, “Don’t shout at the kids, remember, you are not at home the whole day“. He didn’t add to it further but the wheels of my mind started churning rapidly. Should I not correct my children when they are doing wrong, just because I go to work?  Should I be always sweet and obliging because I don’t spend the whole day with them?

I did not point out my vehemence to the FIL right then, maybe next time a similar situation comes up, I will voice my opinion.

But I just want to know, how many people believe that because a woman goes out to work, she should be extra kind and generous towards her children?

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Since the kids started school, I’ve kept telling them that I need to go to work just as they need to go to school. Only that my work timings are longer. The twins have learned to accept my absence. Sure, they miss me when I get late but it isn’t a deal-breaker in our relationship. I do everything that a regular mother does. I get them up, make their lunch boxes, prepare their breakfast, brush their teeth, bathe them, get them dressed for school, pack their bags and see them off. The only thing I don’t do is give them lunch (they have it at the day-care). Once I’m back, I take their homework/studies, feed them, prepare their uniform/shoes for the next day, tell them stories, give them milk and lie down with them till they go off to sleep.  Projects, assignments, preparing for assessments, all are done in time. Any extra work of mine is done after the kids are asleep.

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Nowhere in my regular day do I feel that I lack in my responsibilities as a mother. I may be spending less time with my children, but every second that I do, is accounted for. From the minute I come back from office to the time the kids leave for school, we are together. Weekends we either laze about or do some crafts. Sometimes, I even take them out to meet relatives or friends (Shopping with children is still off the list).

Till date, I’ve never let my work come between me and the kids. They are my priority, sure, but my work is important too. The kids understand this. I’ve done nothing to let my children feel that they can boss over me using the guilt train because I’m not at home! They don’t do it. I was just peeved that the FIL felt I should be guilty because I’m a working woman.

Maybe its just a generation thing. At their time a woman’s sole responsibility was to look after the home and hearth. My in-laws are by far one of the most broad-minded couple in my entire relative circle, but there are times, like recently,  when age-old conditioning sets in . I don’t grudge them that.

I’m just worried that someday, their perception of a working woman’s attitude towards her children will rub off on my children. I don’t want my kids to believe that I’m doing something wrong by going out to work and they need to be compensated for my absence ( They will never get anything from me if they take that route 😐  ) . Today they are too small to understand the implication of the FIL’s words, but tomorrow, they will understand it and God forbid, even use it to their advantage!

So, has anyone else faced similar circumstances, arm-twisting by the children, guilt-trips? Please share how you went about handling such situations!

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