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Raise her wild and raise him right!

The other day I met my girl friends for lunch. We chose a place quite far from the city so that it’s easier for one of our friends who’s just had a baby to go feed her baby in between. When I told my son this reason for choosing this place, he immediately said innocently, “When I grow up, I’ll design women in such a way that they can keep their breasts at home for the baby while the mom can enjoy a peaceful lunch with friends.

Nothing very unusual here but just the innocence of an eleven-year-old. What I thought of when I heard his statement was when does it actually creep into the minds of people that mothers are not supposed to have a life of their own.

I quit my job when my son was born, because he had medical needs. This was my decision, nobody forced me to quit my job. I did not look for any appreciation for the same, but when I was ridiculed again for going out with my friends with a sly comment, “not taking your husband along is fine but not taking your child with you is not right”.

Why? If you see a postgraduate woman quit her job at the drop of a hat to take care of her baby as just her motherly duty, why do you have to see her having a life or taking a breather from her daily chores as something offensive? Isn’t she a regular woman too? Why put her on a pedestal the moment she becomes a mother? And why aren’t men asked the same question? All of us have husbands who are friends with each other too and they meet regularly too. Why aren’t they asked the same question? Aren’t they capable of taking care of their own child for a few hours? If yes, why have you raised your son so incapable then?

We are people of yesterday raising today’s children for tomorrow’s world. As parents, our job is not to raise children just like us, but instead raise them as better citizens with more compassion, understanding and empathy for a better tomorrow.

I am proud that my son made a statement like this as soon as I told him my friend had to leave early for this reason.

What he said is not viable, but the thought behind it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a mother spending some time outside of her world. I admire my friends who are working mothers. They did not give up their financial independence just because they had a child, and neither is their care any different from a stay-at-home mother. They love their children just as much as any other mother would do.

Teaching our sons to understand and respect the women in their lives and raising our daughters to respect themselves is our job as parents.

Forcing them to listen to our choice of music or watching only the movies we like is not parenting. Telling them that we used to study under streetlamps is also not parenting. It’s not their fault that they’re born in an era where there are lights in their house!

Raise her wild and raise him right! Peace!


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