warning: this post is a judgemental one on “bad” parentals!

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?


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13 thoughts on “warning: this post is a judgemental one on “bad” parentals!”

  1. any mother who teaches her child the ABSOLUTE importance of dancing with abandon is A-OK in my books.
    and then if the child insists the kheeezy join in… it’s just pre perfection.

  2. Sadly, not everyone who is able to have a baby is able to become a good parent. When one hears of horriffic stories of a mom who beat her 18 month to death or the one who sold her 5 year to be a sex slave so she could pay for her drugs (recent stories in the North American news), one CANT help but judge.

  3. khizzy you are biased and i love you for it.

    sarah i didnt even go in the direction of the horrific stories as yu can see- im too busy being secretly appaleed by the daily stuff. that psychosis is beyond my very lmited understanding of the human nature. thank god ?

  4. I have a lot of respect for men and women who go out of their ways, sometimes fearfully so, and take responsibility of a relative’s abandoned child; even if they’re not certain they want to do that, they look through that uncertainty and believe that the child needs parental figures. That’s why you have children in the first place. To be a responsible parent, and certainly NOT because you want to fill some impossible void in your own life.

    Fries, coke, bedtime … we all know a lot of aunties who’re obsessed with routine. They tend to overlook the importance of raising good human beings who have a sense of humor. I’m not a mom but there’s quite an age difference between me and my little bros. The only feeling greater than watching their faces light up when I bake brownies is asking them to wipe the chocolate smudges around their lips after they’re done 🙂

  5. I thought there was some comment moderation thing going so I waited for a while. But turns out it didn’t get published or probably went to the spam queue.


    But I didn’t even add any fuzool link to it!! Bhaan.

    *gathers strength to write it again*

  6. Okay, so here I go again.

    See I think it’s very natural for people to make these snap judgments. And while we all want to be humane and politically correct and existential and all that while thinking about how people raise their kids or how they live their lives et al. Because we tell ourselves they’re doing what they’re doing because of some reason which is unknown to us, so we try to give them some margin about their choices.

    … because I am scared to judge the situations around me without insight into what their life is.

    And that’s exactly how I feel. But when it comes to certain situations where I can’t help but go wtf and wonder if the people are just plain BLIND to the consequences their behaviors are producing.

    Recently I witnessed almost all the parenting styles. Laissez faire and autocratic. Laissez faire parents let their kids run loose in a big empty restaurant wrecking havoc every which way, getting drunk on 8 glasses of pepsi within 2 hrs, getting high on 2-3 bars of chocolates after the aforementioned Pepsi and proudly proclaimed that they never stop their kids from doing anything because what the hey, ‘They eventually develop immunity on their own’. Both parents were qualified surgeons. Go figure.

    Then there are these autocratic, extreme disciplinarians whose kids go to sleep at 7 and aren’t allowed a drop of Pepsi and sit in mortal fear of people when they are in a large gathering. While these kids are model children, they are also boring and stereotypical. NOT something I’d want my own child to be. They are also under-confident and slightly neurotic. Believe me, these kids will wail at the slightest hint of not being paid attention to by the parents and will hide behind their mother if a stranger attempts to engage them.

    I haven’t seen the democratic style of parenting as yet where children are shown compassion as well as authority and the balance makes them stronger, more confident, creative individuals. In my own case, I remember my parents spoiling me rotten when it came to buying Barbies and books but I don’t remember a single incident where I destroyed someone’s drawing room in one single go. My mother likes to fondly recall my childhood instances where I would go up to random strangers and talk to them regarding just about anything. I’m not saying my parents didn’t make mistakes but I guess they didn’t go overboard on my routine and they didn’t let my misdemeanors slip either. I was always reprimanded, always told it wasn’t right to snap back at an elder person.

    So I don’t know how I’m going to raise my own kid and I don’t know exactly what my parenting style would be but one thing’s for sure. I’m definitely going to avoid extremes – and while it is understandable that we all make mistakes – letting a kid get high on Pepsi and not letting him stay awake even a minute past seven are both things/styles I’m definitely going to stay away from.

    Wow. That was long.

    Talk about compensating. 😛

  7. you know minerva- id love to be able to say that 2.5 yrs into parenting by george ive got it…but the learning curve is just mad here- everytime i think whoa im getting good at this- a new set of things happen and im back to square one-
    so the longer term lesson being there is no such thing as the right combincationb- sometimes it has to be more laissez fair- sometimes more autocaryic literally depending on the day and meal!! and i would also love to say i judge people (an myself less) but no. i think i judge them more because now i am slowly becomeing aware of what a big job it actually is. so eys, we ARE to blame when things go wrong!

    loved the page long comment!

  8. a couple of weeks ago i went to this health centre to get an MMR shot. I had to sit in the waiting room for nearly 3 hours and in those hours i saw a lot of people come and go. a couple of women came in dragging their 2 year olds for their routine shots. jammies, i can’t begin to describe the way the 2 year olds were treated. from vile language to harsh dragging and pushing back and froth- i saw it all- and the poor two year olds would cry and stop crying on their own- bearing the abuse with which they were being treated by their mothers. it realy made me hate those women who had bothered to have the children as you said- but couldnt get off their stupid cellphones long enough to wipe their childs nose because he was howling after she threw him in the chair.uff-so angry i was.
    i think you are a great mom and are doing a fantastic job with nadi.

  9. I second minerva totally. There are two extremes and i hope and feel everyone who visits this blog fits somewhere in the middle…recently, outside my 2 yr old’s preschool, i witnessed something horrific – as i put my son in the car and went around, i saw a 3 yr old girl being laciviously kissed and hugged by a driver (who was standing with 2-3 more people). I mean no discrimination here by saying driver, it wouldve been just as bad had that man been anyone BUT the dad/dada/nana/mamu (who im sure wouldnt maul a kid like that anyway). As I started to reverse, something in my head went no, i should do something. The kid was clearly uncomfortable and the driver saw me staring at him but continued. I gathered courage and went up to him and without looking at the guy, asked the chowkidar the girl’s name. Then i went home and called the school. The next day, coincidentally, I went to pick up ammar and he was behind me. He asked me if i was the one who called and complained and i just maintained a stoic expression and mumbled something about that being between him and his employer. In a way, i regretted my actions because i feared some kind of revenge on his part. MY point here is: i dont get parents who send strange men to pick their kids up. And I judged this parent but obviously she didnt do anything about it – he was there the next day!! Maybe he’s an old driver whos like family,,,maybe its something else. We live in such a heinous world though that it is shocking how relaxed some parents are…

  10. oh God, Batool, I’m so glad you did what you did! More people need to be proactive like that. I mean I heard someone telling me that a driver had picked up a girl from school (she too was in preschool) and the school uniform was a skirt and the driver had the girl up on his shoulders. I mean it could be anything too – but we can never be too careful about these things. And I for one hope never to be one of those parents who can let strange men get too close to my kid. Gross. Seriously.

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