One of the few things you learn in life is that you should never judge someone for their choices, lifestyle because you do not know the whole story. We are encouraged to foster a more tolerant outlook on people and generally accept their foibles as just that- quirks in their personality and life that have come about as a result of some factor in their environment. But of course we secretly go on judging- this persons choice in marriage, that persons work ethic and the greatest judging of all happens in the wonderful world of motherhood.
Yesterday as I held Nadi’s hand to cross the road to his school gate, a small blue Pothar Jeep, zipped speedily upto the school gate. The door to the passenger side swung open and waves of throbbing music billowed out from within- and a small 2 year old, looking wobbly at best, literally popped out. The school gate keeper moved forward to help the kid catch his balance and escort him into the premises, while the Jeep zoomed off. I was rooted to the spot, horrified beyond belief at the parents who had time to have the baby but dont have time to see him off to school- especially when we are barely in month 5 of preschool. As horror disgust and judgement swept through me, so did a whole host of other statements, reasons, justifications for the reason why this poor child should be so unceremoniously dumped at school. Perhaps he didnt have a mom. Perhaps the mom was ill. Where was the father? Why was NO relative doing this? The driver was driving so fast. Cheap indian music on the way to school? Who are these people who can send their kids to school in a car alone with a man toting a gun even if he IS a guard? Dont they have any qualms? Too career oriented, not interested enough in the child, my judgmental side says righteously feeling safe in the knowledge that Nadi has a mom who puts him first and drops him to school. But people have to work, the other voice says, to be able to give their children a good life. Yes, the mom in my head argues, but whats the point of providing THINGS for the child. THINGS dont hug a child or make him feel secure. Perhaps the driver was a trusted family member- the Good Voice claims. Really? asks the Bad Voice. You believe that? No says the Good Voice, admitting defeat looking for some other tack here. Sometimes people do things they dont have to because they dont have a choice, sermonizes the Good Voice, still trying to get me to see that there could be a plausible reason why this poor barely 2 yr old was crying but the only person around to comfort him was the school gatekeeper.
I feel a little hand tugging at my clothes and I an snapped out of my reverie to reality. Its so hard to draw boudnaries between what is making th child independet and what is pure love and security sometimes. I remember when Nadi wa sjust learning how to walk, an older aunty said you should just disappear from sight and let him get up and walk to find you- and I found that method sad- that my child would have to learn to walk because he was panicked at losing his mom. why are we in such a mad hurry for them to grow and be their own people anyways? Why cant it be wonderful to be needed for now- because thats natural and then to let go later when its natural- rather than to urge them to walk off now but then reel them in when they start making their own life choices?
The Good Voice prevails mostly- reluctantly at times- because I am scared to judge the situations around me without insight into what their life is. I am sure many of the choices I have made regarding Nadi horrify other more hands on moms. I let him sip Coke sometimes. I let him have fries three days in a week in a row if he so wants. I dont force milk on him- I have been known to be quite relaxed with bedtimes and general schedules, going the more boho way of taking things as they come. So yes, like any mom out there, who is struggling to do their best without completing giving up on themselves their own lives and agenda, I am also doing what I think is my best- but still, I see things around which make me wonder- are they seriously doing their best- and seriously, is this the best they can do?