Advice to young parents from a long-suffering single woman

So the first thing, of course, is not to make babies. Seriously. Just do the shagging and forget about procreation. Remember, nothing that comes out of the Original Sin can ever bode well for humankind. Making a baby in today’s world is like making your own homemade paapad. Yes, of course, they used to do it in the olden days. But no one with sense and sensibility spends three days and a few summer months making paapad anymore. No, you go to the store and buy Ambika or Lijjat as your taste maybe and leave it at that. Babies are the same. As far as possible, pick one (if you must) that is preferably house-broken. And remember, you are not giving the baby a life. No, you are getting a life.

But, you had a baby. Remember that most babies are not cute. It’s like baby rats. I can like baby rats or leave them alone. I have the choice. So don’t thrust your young one at me on Facebook, gushing how cute it is. It may or may not be. By all means, put it up on Facebook and let there be a public poll. Give people the choice to do as they think best. Do the cool thing and act surprised and happy if they like your mutt. Some people even like baby rats, you know? It takes all kinds to make the world.

If you are a girl and if it’s a boy, do not listen to the old relatives in the house who will tell you that your life has now been fulfilled. Remember how you always labelled these same people as old-fashioned and senile in your head? It’s true. They still are. More so now. A boy, if anything, must be brought up with more discipline and awareness. How many times did you rue men, say, ‘All men are bastards’ before you found the man who gave you the boy? Yes? So never ever condone anything your baby boy does with the ‘Boys will be boys’ line. No. We don’t want boys who will be boys. We want boys who will grow up and not be men who are childish, whiny, ill-mannered, disrespectful of women, rapists, and the like. And yes, it is your burden. It is your responsibility.

We all know we live in a country where there is no concept of babysitters. Not all of us have live-in doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, assorted relatives, or kind neighbours who can take care of our young one. So yes, we know you must drag that thing with you when you go to a restaurant. And we know, sometimes, with all the bringing up you do, you want a break, you want to eat in a restaurant. We, single people, are very understanding. We will urge you to go to one. But if you do, please choose one that has a play pen for kids. If it’s expensive, remember bringing up kids is all about sacrifice. Do not penny-pinch. And do not for God’s sake run around behind the child feeding it daal chaawal in a crowded Andhra restaurant like Nagarjuna saying loudly, “Beta, khao, Aunty ko gande haath se touch mat karo. Idhar aao.”

While on the topic of the great outdoors, please understand that airports, malls, supermarkets, shops, and such public places are not parks. Read that sentence twice. Yes, surprisingly, not all public places are parks. Read that sentence twice. Now memorise it. Good. So tell your children very strictly that they cannot play on the luggage conveyor belts in airports; escalators are not like the tora-tora in amusement parks; and just because it has wheels, luggage trolleys do not become mini cars for your children. Yes, kids will find a way to make a game of everything, that’s what is so enviable and admirable about them. But you, as the bloody parent, have a responsibility to the rest of us folk who have had tiring, dull days filled with migraines and irritating people and what not, who just want to finish whatever chore we are doing in that public space, and run back home to the noiseless shelter of our singledom. We cannot be subjected to the ‘kitna cuteness’ of your little one. I’m sorry, but there is a limit to what one can endure.

Say anything you want about Victorians, but they came up with this brilliant line. Children must be seen and not heard. Throughout childhood, my mother drilled it into my head. I was taught to look pleasing and clean, smile in a friendly fashion at guests, and speak only when spoken to. She was very strict about it. If I spoke out of turn as I was wont to do because I am like that, she followed the other Victorianism of not sparing the rod and spoiling the child. After a few episodes of that, thick-skinned though I was in those days, I got the message. Everyone, as a result of which, had a pleasant evening, self included. My parents never played the low, nasty trick of saying, “Sing My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean for Uncle, Bhumi.” No. There were Uncles and Aunts though who when high on beer and pork would say, “Bhumi, do the jakka madina (a song and dance from Mangalore) or sing something for us.” And then, I would indulge the guests after my dad nodded his approval. Again, a good time was had by all. So please, don’t embarrass your guests and your child. Don’t ask your children to perform. Remember, they are not performing monkeys. And there is a reason some of us never go to a circus.

Also, if I want to know how often your child burps, or how your two-year old son knows just how to hit that particular spot of the potty with his wee-wee, I will ask you. I promise. If you insist on feeding me these charming details of your life with child, and you find me gone for good from your life, then know that I did it only with your best interests at heart. A child needs her parents.

You are responsible for your child’s actions. Not the child. Not your host. So teach your child about what is acceptable and what is not before you go visiting other people’s homes. Here is a hint. Breaking things, acting like George of the Jungle and swinging from one curtain to another, kleptomania, spitting on people, scratching old women and children, stepping on the pet’s tail, spilling food and water while playing Hansel and Gretel (not that kids these days know Hansel and Gretel, thanks to you, dear parent), insisting on watching Chota Bheem loudly on someone else’s TV are not acceptable social behaviour. Oh and news flash: None of this is ever cute.

And in conclusion, it’s not that I hate kids. Increasingly these days, I am finding fewer reasons to like them. That, I think, is largely because of the way most parents are bringing them up. My friends have dogs that are more well-behaved and disciplined than some of the kids I have seen recently. When your dog tugs the remote, you have no problem teaching it that it’s not a good habit. Ditto with kids. Some things are just not acceptable whether kids or grown-ups or pets. Being a parent means saying ‘No’ firmly and sternly. Being a parent means giving up your life, time, and a fair amount of resources to ensure you have a decent human being at the end of the day. Someone, other people point out to proudly and admiringly and say, “Oh this is so-and-so’s child. What a good child, I tell you.” Always remember, a little heartache for the child today can make for a decent, responsible human being tomorrow.

Also, remember, by not following advice 1, you signed up for this. So you jolly well do a good job of raising your own. There is only this much I can tell you.

End of lecture.

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About Bhumika's Boudoir

I love to laugh, and end up being a part of high drama and stormy emotion even when I don't pursue it. Being creative, and communicating with people get me going. I enjoy all the good things in life especially those that are slightly risque, and apologise little, if ever, for all that I do. Literature is a passion and so is music.
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55 Responses to Advice to young parents from a long-suffering single woman

  1. Aahahahahaha!!! Touché! Really!

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  2. Gaana says:

    I consider the above lecture a set of very good reasons to never spawn. Amen.

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  3. Sanchita says:

    Wonderfully written. How true.

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  4. Shalini says:

    Oh, Lord! I have already read it twice and it still seems like damn good advice. I am gonna print this out and stick it to my bathroom mirror when I get married. And then, I’m gonna have it made into a wallpaper and plaster in my living room when I have that kid.

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  5. Marvin Grey says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing at the original sin bit. 🙂

    Three baby girls born less than a year from each other made me partial to girls over boys. 2 older ones were our family friends’ and last was my sister. Undisciplined and over smart kids including those in old Hindi movies irritate me too.

    But all kids seem to like me. And I  would be surprised if they did not like you. Either that or they think us pushovers.

    So glaring. And a bit of verbal discipline is good. It is best done in front of the parents. Kids tend to think parents will step in. Show them parents can’t! And show the parents that the kid might get thrashed by public next time when they aren’t around (when grown up enough to misbehave on a bus).

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    • 🙂 Thank you. Kids and I get along, yes. We have the same mental age. But it is also true that I get along better with kids now I am all growed up looking than when I was actually a kid. You see, even then, I used to refuse to make mischief, play in public places, and all that jazz. No. Screaming at other people’s kids always gets awkward. And has the potential to turn really nasty. That is why the blog post. Let them do it. It’s theirs, after all.

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  6. Ch4 says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for articulating how I feel about children and their now oh so incompetent and annoying parents! I’ve yet to come across a well behaved child and whose parents have them under control.

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  7. SK says:

    Just dumb founded .. Can you really, really read my mind??

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  8. shamakabir says:

    Wow! It’s like you read my mind. Especially concerning people who post Facebook pics of my kids first ‘blah’ and ‘boo’…. like who cares! Very well written though. I couldn’t stop laughing.

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  9. Preethi says:

    Amazingly funny.. i seriously hope all the parents read it, i hv had quite a bit of experience with these meddlesome kids and their parents who think that whatever their child does is awww so cute. Walls( i mean the real ones not the FB one) are not meant for your kids to display their skill in drawing and graffiti, specially if the wall does not belong to your house!!! . i wish i cud just let all the annoying parents know abt this article 🙂

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    • Yes, I forgot the walls. Good point. Thank you, Preethi. And do share. I really want us to change the world. That or have the dogs take over. I’m okay with either option. Welcome to the boudoir. 🙂

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  10. Vikramjit says:

    That they should be well-behaved goes without saying.The downside, of course, is that they might get too self-conscious expressing themselves freely in public. But hell, everything has one.

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  11. Kartikay says:

    I get that the “boys will be boys” argument is quite horrible, but what happened to “children will be children”?

    I’m saying this because I was a problem child. Oh, it was fun!

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    • No. I am not talking to parents who have problem kids or when kids genuinely throw cracked tantrums. Those parents are more to be pitied than censured. Then again, who the hell asked them to procreate besides the aged relatives in the family?
      Also, you shameless person, being a problem child is nothing to brag about. 🙂 Welcome to the boudoir.

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      • Kartikay says:

        I think you’ve hit the nail there: the public is too confused to differentiate between a ‘problem child’ or a ‘problem parent’. (Sorry I’m making terms up!). Mostly, they fall back to the ‘problem child’ explanation which results in pity.

        Anyways, on the whole I agree with you. You’ll just have to face the moral police of the internet world (I can see some scathing comments below already!). Have fun!

        (Will definitely keep visiting Boudoir!)

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  12. Melanie says:

    You don’t think every parents wishes to have a well behaved kid.. a kid who doesn’t embarrass them in public. You think parents wanna bring up brats..Everyone wishes this but it doesn’t turn out that way. You cannot blame parents for this. Parents try to correct their kids everyday, tell them right from wrong, tell them how to behave in public, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    You are talking about well behaved kids.. Do you guarantee that every child bought up this way will grow up to be a better individual in society? Just because you are inconvenienced with “kids being kids”, you blame it on parents. I have seen so many perfect kids turning into crazy bitter adults.. the cause could be their parents trying to keep up with standards of people making the perfect well behaved child…. If you expect a child to behave like an adult, when does he live his childhood. There is a reason they are called children, there is a reason society tolerates them. They have a maximum of 15 years to behave that way and then they have the rest 50 years to be bitter adults who crib about society. Why are we robbing them of their precious years where they can throw a tantrum/ fit and get away with it. I’m not saying its a bad thing to correct them but I speak on behalf of all the mothers who struggle everyday to bring up a perfect child. A mother is a mother.. There isn’t a good or bad to it.. She does her best to do what she can in her power given her sleepless nights/ skipped meals and the burden of running a household with perfect children just so someone else who doesn’t have kids can be at peace. You need sympathize with such a person not criticize them… Only when you have them you know the trouble of disciplining them..

    Then you ask, “Why have them if they are a burden to discipline?” hmm. Kids are not created based on whether they are the good ones or bad ones..When you have a baby you don’t think, ” This is going to be a trouble child.. Let me abort it”..It doesn’t work that way. If someone has a problem with “kids being kids”, I guess its their option not to have them. People have pets instead of kids nowadays and consider them as kids.. Its what works for them… But you cannot ask people with kids why have kids. If certain people don’t agree with your blog, they cant blame your mom for it.. or ask her why you had her? No it doesn’t work that way.. Some people adore kids as they are and there are some who don’t.. So opinions are good, but criticism isn’t..I agree sometimes there are extreme kids who are uncontrollable, but EXCEPTIONS CANNOT BE EXAMPLES.

    This world will be a better place if people live and let live…

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    • Wow. Welcome to the boudoir, Melanie. 🙂
      And now, Melanie, darling, let us understand the points you have made:
      1. All parents wish for well-behaved kids but it does not turn that way.
      2. If children inconvenience me because they are being “children” and throwing tantrums and misbehaving, I should not blame parents.
      3. Children must be allowed to be children, and their precious childhood must not be taken away from them meaning they should be allowed to misbehave, throw tantrums, generally make themselves perfect nuisances. Otherwise they will become crazy, bitter adults.
      4. They will anyway become crazy, bitter adults after they turn 15 and then they have to live like that for the next 50 years.
      4. A mother is a mother.
      5. Only when I have a child can I comment on children.
      6. Kids are not created based on whether they are the good ones or bad ones.
      7. If someone has a problem with “kids being kids”, I guess its their option not to have them.
      8. People have pets instead of kids nowadays and consider them as kids.
      9. You cannot ask people with kids why have kids.
      10. If certain people don’t agree with your blog, they cant blame your mom for it.. or ask her why you had her?
      11. So opinions are good, but criticism isn’t.
      12. I agree sometimes there are extreme kids who are uncontrollable.
      13. EXCEPTIONS CANNOT BE EXAMPLES.
      14. This world will be a better place if people live and let live…

      Stellar points. Of course, you are right. You have shown me the light. I am so sorry. What was I thinking when I penned this? I am filled with remorse. Please understand how sorry I am that I will not call you a half-wit. What if you turn out to be a friend of a friend or something like that? Worse, what if you are connected to the press? And God knows I am courting them for my school like there’s no arse-licking on this planet. Sorry, was that an opinion or a criticism? I cannot begin to fathom. So I will give you something good to whack me with. Melanie, don’t worry about asking my mom why she had me. Of course you can. I don’t see why you cannot when she is doing it all the time. So please, go ahead. My mom, who is a mother, is a mother, is always going on about how if she had as much sense as I do now, she would never have had a child. Like that.

      Also, I don’t mean to be picky, but please ‘its’ shows possession; it’s = it is.

      However, I will take your advice and let live. But please can I urge you to read the post I have written again? Or better still, get someone to explain it to you?

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      • Sanchita says:

        Melanie, my sister has 2 little children. Brats, I call them. She agrees. She too has had sleepless nights and what not. Hell, even my mother, who might I add, brought up my sister & me single-handedly. Of course, not a day goes by when she mourns giving birth to us or bringing us up, but that’s another topic, for another day.

        I’m curious. You have mentioned that parents should not be blamed for uncontrollable children. Pray, tell me. Who does one blame? The environment? Or maybe the doctor/mid wife who helped during the delivery?

        I tried throwing tantrums when I was a kid. I was whacked back to my senses. I am now an adult. People would probably consider me as crazy and bitter. But I do not blame my childhood for that. I blame parents who do not correct their children in public for turning me into a crazy bitter adult.

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      • Ramdas says:

        You are absolutely right, Melanie. What’s the guarantee that a well-groomed child becomes a perfect adult. In my personal experience some of the perfect children with whom I grew up have ended up as miserable adults. Who are to be blamed? Their parents? I strictly feel that single women and men should simply celebrate their status, and be happy that their parents chose not to be single or celibate. Where do they know the pains and pleasures of being a parent?

        Melanie, that aside, parents as well as pet owners must own up for their children/pets behavior when they are in public place, in someone else property/house etc. They better be, and they simply cannot absolve themselves even if their child is a “special child” or suffers from other psychological or physical issues. I am sure most of us would be sympathetic, but some need not be. As parents we need not have expectations from others to appreciate our children.

        Till a child becomes an adult, parents need to be made accountable for every action of that child. Morally and Legally! If you are a mother, and your child mis-behaves in public and creates a nuisance then please keep your child away from the public.

        You need not take that holiday, or go shopping with children along, if they cannot be made to behave the way a fellow-passenger or another shopper expects them to be. Yes, I understand that it’s not easy, but you better make arrangements, or give up on several liberties, because being a parent is a big responsibility and automatically means that there are sacrifices to be made, extra expenses to be met etc.

        Bhumika, you perhaps don’t understand your mother. What she means is that after seeing you all grown up, she had this wisdom that she should not had a baby after all. She never had that wisdom when you were growing up! She probably never would have had that wisdom, if your turned out to be a different person. Think again, you’ll understand or simply check with your mom again! 🙂

        I am a self-confessed wise man, and also a proud father of a fairly well-behaved child(only Allah knows how she would turn out to be) and owner of a not-at-all-well-behaved boxer dog. So I understand things from a few more perspectives.

         Have a nice day, ladies

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        • Below the belt, Ramdas. If I were that terrible an adult, I would not have acquired three women who think of themselves as my mothers. Oho. And you know that. Nonsense.

          And it is highly erroneous to suggest that just because I am not a parent, I will not know how to bring up children or understand the pains and pleasures of parenthood. If I am not mistaken, no one is born a mother or father.

          Also, Melanie’s arguments suggest exactly why some people should never ever breed. Evidently they think their own kids are not their responsibility. And that ‘children will be children’, so let us all just put up with nuisance. And that line about, ‘Do you guarantee that every child bought up this way will grow up to be a better individual in society?’ What sort of a sub-intellectual derivation is well-behaved kids = happy, well-adjusted adults? That’s sheer drivel. So you mustn’t encourage such people, baby, and lead them on with an ‘I agree…’ Tsk. Tsk.

          Thank you for the rest.

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          • Melanie says:

            Lady, you were extreme in your post… and I had to go to the other extreme to create a balance in nature…or else we would have been walking in a wobbly world.. 🙂
            I took your advise and re-read your post.. lol.. I didn’t need anyone to explain it to me thank God!!
            I do agree with a lot of things you’ve said Bhumika but certain points I was totally taken aback with. It felt as if you were banishing kids from this planet. I’m sorry if my rage got the better of me.. I was just like you and used to wonder whats wrong with today’s kids? I always thought one day when I have them I’m not going to have one of the brats. I have a really well behaved kid, thanks be to God and my parents values.. But I know how hard it is to do that and not every mom can accomplish that. Earlier, I hung out with all my single friends and pointed fingers at the moms who couldn’t manage their lil ones..I guess now that I hang out with other mom’s, I see the world from a different perspective.. Some of them try so hard, spanking, shouting, pleading just to make their kids behave and sometimes they just cannot. I sympathize with them… Yes kids can get pretty antsy when you make them stay in a place for more than 30 minutes like the areas you mentioned- restaurants, airports..you just have to find a way to distract them… (God!! that’s hard)
            But bottom line is a kid is a parents responsibility, BUT there are instances when kids will be kids and the world has to live with them- brats or not.. 🙂
            No hard feelings!!! Keep up the writing!! 🙂

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            • Sigh. Volte-face. No hard feelings indeed. Thank you so much for re-reading it again. Melanie, this post is not for those parents who try very hard to discipline their kids. But if they try that hard they should be able to achieve it, no? Ignore that. That’s me being result-oriented again. Apparently I do that a lot. No, this post is for those parents who stand and watch with pride when their ten-year old son plays with the luggage conveyor belt at the airport. True story. Those sorts need to be beaten up, I’m sorry. And no, I won’t banish kids from the universe. That’s really cruel. Also, I need my baby fix every now and then myself. 🙂 Take care. Keep visiting. I’m glad you turned out nice and sensible, after all. 🙂 Here’s to new beginnings. 🙂

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              • Melanie says:

                lol lol lol.. I know its hard to believe but I am nice and sensible. You just brought out the devil in me… I read your other articles and they are really good. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep an eye out for the misbehaved kids and fwd their moms your link.. 🙂 Great job girl!!

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    • Marvin Grey says:

      I saw it Bhumika. I saw it all. It was Miss Scarlett in the Cellar with a child. She watched gleefully and clapped as the child being a child tore up the envelope. “The kid is not my responsibility” she said. Yes, in private sometimes she says “the kids is that bastard’s!”

      It is worth asking whose responsibility is the kid? That would see some blood.

      You have certainly gone way out on limb thinking Bhumika is a single person who cant get along with kids and vice-versa. That gets me angry. Cant blame the parent, cant scold the kid but can we tsk tsk you, to set you right? It is very imperative to understand no one complains about a well behaved child, about kids playing noisily in the street, about kids asking questions or such. More than half the time the complaints come when the kids endanger themselves in the presence of their parents like playing on conveyor belts and no one bothers. And Bhumika is not the kind of person to stand and watch the kid get injured. Just watching is common in India and we loose a lot of children that way. The other 20% is when a child pokes you or touches you with a sticky fingers. The murderous rage comes in the last 20% when you see the parent watching blissfully and enjoying the show.

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  13. Rheea says:

    I am convinced someone deletes my comments here. I think we have our bang for our buck here, Young Anand, your post here delivers with tender bluntness the Trend of children and their children-parents. Also to add a crumb to the debate, I think it’s easy for parents to say “oh we teach out kids right from wrong, but what to do, Munna has this temper.” type of attitude is yawn worthy. Actually most parents don’t have enough dialogue, are fiercely over protective and overtly emotionally coddling. More out- of -the- box thinking and exposure to new adventures are necessary. But Adults usually keep their kids like they want them to be and inculcate their sense of moral code on them. See, if I have a child, I’ll make him a hippe and send him to the mountains for a year or two. I heard the Monks are great story tellers. But for now, I have two well behaved dogs.

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    • Exactly. That ‘Munna has this temper’ is just what gets my goat. Munna is too bloody young to know what a temper is. Don’t fill his head with stuff and nonsense like that and make him a short-tempered, evil chump who screams murder just because toast was a little extra brown. But no, what would we know about parenting? Also, Mukherjee, that son of yours will marry my daughter. We’ll be related then. Just like in the movies. 🙂

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  14. I am perhaps from the generation in between yours and the one that you mentioned- the annoying brats who are perhaps not being brought up like you were or like I was. I am perhaps the change in between the old style of parenting- Children can be seen but not heard, and the more modern one- where children have liberty to do almost anything.
    I agree, parents must teach their children how to behave in public and not give them liberty to annoy and pester others, however, I don’t think it is just the fault of parents.
    Now it is more normal for both the parents to be working to support the ever increasing demands of a higher standard of living (something that I feel India is aping from the west- but that, I suppose, is a different issue altogether) and I know that I, in the future, will try and do my best to balance or juggle my family, my career and my child/children.
    But as I was saying we cannot just blame the parents and their style of upbringing. I think a lot depends on the environment of the child- schools, play houses, what they are shown via the television/internet.
    I’m not offering any advice on how to change the world, I am merely expressing my view.

    I do understand that your article is targeting new parents and perhaps people that you’ve met who don’t come across as the best of parents. That IS true, there are so many times when I’m using public means of transport and there is that one annoying baby on board who needs to be taught to behave. But we should try and understand the pain of those parents, who have to live with that child and somehow feel blamed already for not being able to show their best through their child?
    Like you said, nobody is born a mother or a father. But they will surely learn?

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    • Well-put, Tanya. That they will learn, that they should learn is exactly why this post is up. If I were really unsympathetic, I’d whack the kids who behaved badly. I don’t. I just glare and say a stern no. The post is written in the hope that the parents will not make it necessary for strangers to glare at/discipline their kids. Welcome to the boudoir. 🙂 Hope you are working on your writing.

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  15. neetichopra says:

    I am a mother of two and never liked kids before I had mine ( or the ones in my family)… I belive in being strict with the kids and like them to be well behaved both in and out of the house. And so I read this post with an open mind and I agree that parents must teach their children how to behave in public and not give them liberty to annoy and pester others. I have come across many a kids who have been spoilt beyond limits. They have never heard the word NO from their parents and if they hear it from some one else they create a scene! To add to it their parents would come rushing to their rescue and make some excuse for their kids’ behaviour…. It is not acceptable…

    I also agree that making your child perform in front of EVERYONE and pushing your child’s “Cuteness” in everyone’s face is a little annoying….

    But on the other hand, I found the post a little harsh… Everyone deserves a break.. So if parents want to dine out and there is no play pen and the little one decides to throw a tantrum, there is little the parent can do except to give in to the demands and try to calm the child in the best possible way. These are the times when a parent just wants the whole wide world to turn a deaf ear to the loud cries of the child and carry on with whatever work/ food you are there for and silently apologies to everyone around.

    It is true that I was able to live “MY life” better when I didn’t have kids and was single… but today I live “our LIFE” and I would never swap that on any advice that you give me 🙂

    Like

    • Neeti, welcome. 🙂 You sound like a good parent. I understand tantrums. I don’t think anyone complains about that. Everyone knows you really cannot reason with a two year old who wants sleep or food or air or some toy and thinks the only way of getting that is by bawling the roof down. Of course, this can happen even when they are four. And yes, it can happen even when they don’t particularly want anything. So on those times, single people mostly sigh, write it off as a sad day for quiet and peace, mutter a prayer that they don’t have to deal with it, send a sympathetic look at the parents and all is fine with the world. I am referring to parents who let their kids run around in restaurants playing hockey with the spoons and forks or catch-catch around tables. I’m sorry, that is just not acceptable.

      It is harsh but nothing here is exaggerated or a figment of my imagination, unfortunately. I have continuously been subjected to the incompetence of annoying parents and their non-cute kids. Now I am giving back. But like you, parents can take it or
      leave it. With their kids, especially when stuck on a flight with them or waiting in a queue at a supermarket, I have no recourse but to put up with it. I believe that’s not only harsh but cruel. And unnecessary.

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  16. Jessu Goodfellow says:

    I came here all guns blazing to provide you full support. But you know what? You’re okay, I’ve figured. Most people agree with what you have to say. Except for a couple of long-drawn out defenses in favor of the parents or the having of children.

    Now, I agree and disagree with you on the matter of kids. There are reasons why I would love to be a mother. There are reasons why I believe breeding is dangerous unless you’re sure you’re right in the head. At the end of the day, the having or not having of them does not define anyone. The ‘mother’ is glorified too much. She’s as much a faulty human being as anyone else. She can also be great if she can be in control of herself and very honest with herself and therefore with others. The ‘baby’ is elevated to a disgusting height. It is as much a delight as a pain in the ass. If it turns out great, you might die in peace. If it turns out like nothing you had desired, you’re in for hell on earth. In the end, none of this matters. Because there are no guarantees to how anything or anyone turns out in spite of one’s best intentions or actions. When a person is happy within, the having or not having anything or anyone (even babies) makes no difference to the quality of that person’s life. All of life makes up a two-sided coin. Pros. Cons. There is no state or stage in life that is perfect. It is only important to be at peace with oneself at all times. With that in place, you might have half a chance at being a good parent. No one deserves a medal for just having a child.

    Great post, by the way 🙂 It got you all these comments. You know you are a success!

    Like

  17. Kanchana says:

    Bhumika I totally understand how you must have felt on seeing the child play on the luggage conveyor belt. I just do. And I think my understanding comes from being a parent, not in spite of it. I feel just the way you do when I see little children running up and down mall escalators and their parents just smile at them as if their child has conquered a milestone. I feel exceptionally frustrated when they bawl at restaurants, or even public places and their parents succumb to the ransom. And I totally avoid taking my son to the ATM, it is so damn frustrating for those waiting outside to see a parent encouraging their child to monkey around with the card and punching in the password. Lord! There are so many many instances like that, ones that irk me after having had my own child. Recently, there was this couple at a mall that forgot their 4-ish year old son and I waited with him for them to come back. When they did, all they did was giggle while he cried and pummeled them. I just stood there shocked out of my wits and when I came back to my senses, I wanted to use my fists too. Lucky for them, my husband just dragged me out of there 😉

    When people decide to have children, they may / maynot be responsible adults themselves. But all that matters is that they grow into their responsibilities before the child realizes that they have no control. The consequences of that being particularly dangerous to the child and really frustrating to the people around. That is the greatest challenge with parenting, that the greatest efforts too sometimes just don’t work. But I think it is still important for parents to demand good behavior from the child, and have firm rules especially in public places. I believe and use that all the time. So there are times when we have come back midway from a restaurant or a family get-together when my son has thrown a tantrum. But I have never regretted it, and my son now knows the consequences of not behaving well. All said and done, it is a journey without any destination just like any other 😉

    You have all my support and sympathy. You should perhaps take a hundred prints of this post to hand out to parents just in case you land in one of these situations again 😉

    Like

    • Kanchana, that story of the lost child. Those parents. Yes, exactly. This is just what I mean. Thank you so much for being so beautiful, intelligent, incredibly brilliant an author, and coming in to my life. 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment here. Coming from a parent, it will seem more credible than anything I have written. 🙂

      Like

      • Kanchana says:

        Bhumika you are more than welcome! Thank you so so much for all your praise – you are so very generous 🙂 I am so lucky to have you in my life too. Hugs.

        Like

  18. Pingback: Too much of an honest thing? | Bhumika's Boudoir

  19. harini says:

    It has been a while since I’ve jay-walked in the blogosphere. And after my Facebook demise, there’s so little I have to say to people and I don’t get to hear much from them either. But today, I was suddenly overcome by this strong urge to visit the Boudoir and of course it was the same wonderful experience I knew it would be. Thank you Bhumix for finding the time to share your thoughts with the world. In your honest and inimitable style. I’m sure, for several of us, several days are “made” at the Boudoir – like my Sunday morning was today. But the reason, I’m writing is not just to send you a big “thank you hug” but to also tell you that this post sort of stayed with me. I should know, I’m just back after a 16 hour flight where someone’s 5 year old brat of a beta, sitting right behind my seat, insisted on kicking my seat’s backrest for at least 10 hours of the goddam flight duration. A polite request to his mother asking her to mind her darling only yielding this long tirade labeling me a selfish “corporate type unwoman” that knows nothing about children. “He is but a child and this ordeal of having to remain seated for so long is so distressing for him. How would a single woman like you know? If you had a child of our own, you’d not be so self-centered as to mind…” What happened next is beside the point and I won’t bore you with the details. But the real point of this note is that a certain line here called out to me. “Increasingly these days, I am finding fewer reasons to like them (kids)” – you say. And, I was wondering if you would consider these – they certainly work for me.
    • Kids help you believe. Now, that’s a big thing. Just when life’s about convinced you that marriage is a failing institution, that we folks (as a community) will never learn not to litter the streets, that corporate climbers always pull each other down given the tiniest chance, that your bum will always get pinched (assuming you are female) if you choose to stand amidst the “gents” after boarded the bus from the rear door of the BMTC bus…your 17 year old proves it all wrong. She is so sure her now two month old romance will last a lifetime, runs energetic little campaigns sweeping the neighborhood and assures me that the “uncles” in the bus are completely harmless. She makes me smile. I like the feeling. Maybe, she’s right. Maybe, I’m just a cynical tired ol’ thing.
    • Kids show you up. After countless chats about phone calls at odd hours, I threaten to confiscate her phone if she won’t put it away after 10 pm because I think those never-ending chats and pings do no good to her sleep cycle. She counters saying “I can’t wait to turn 18 and have my own bachelorette pad where you won’t snatch my stuff away.” And I see it then. I don’t want her sleep cycle ruined because of a phone under her pillow no matter what her age. I tell her that. I apologize for that snatch-the-phone-threat. We talk about a reasonable time to put the phone away no matter what. And whatever age. We settle at 10:30 pm.
    I learnt something that day. So often I find it easier to settle things “my way” by just bringing to bear my adult and parent status. But, settling things “respectfully” like we do with our friends, colleagues…even near strangers is something we owe our kids. They are people too. Guess sometimes, it helps to be “shown up”.
    • Kids up your stick-to-itiveness. In fact, I owe my career to my girl. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my job. And I work my arse off for it. But, there are days – rare though they may be – that I hate it with as much fervor. I’d have never weathered those days and got to where I am today if I didn’t absolutely have to bring home that pay check then. Of course, the big driver being the beneficiary – my girl. It’s almost a study in character building, I’d say.
    • Kids help you feel young. How can you not? After 12 hours at work with every cell aching to shut down and melt into the arms of Hypnos, just the glee on that face as she holds up a CD of The Lord of the Rings – full and complete series – is unbelievably infectious. And what follows is a whole week-night spent in Mordor. Descending to planet Earth, as we know it, at 12 noon the following day, watching the maid go about quietly tiptoeing picking up those telltale Lays packets – testimony to a night of complete decadence – school and office were obviously not on the agenda. Playing hookey does things for the spirit that can only be termed healthy, I think.
    • Kids put things in perspective. This morning I was reading something rather morose and full of self-pity that led me to comment to my girl “Geez, I think unhappiness is for losers. What say?” She said, “Well, unhappiness is human. Then quickly added, “So is happiness.” “And anger. And curiosity. And disappointment. And boredom.” “But mom, what’s for breakfast? Can I finish all the chocolate ice-cream leftover from yesterday with whatever else you are making?” I rest my case.

    But yes Bhumix, making a baby in today’s world is indeed like making your own homemade paapad. Somewhat unnecessary. I wish I had adopted an Ambika or Lijjat. It would have done the world a little good. And I’d have had as much fun.

    Like

    • You are lovely. And I agree with everything you say. I know. Maybe the detractors are right. Maybe the angst is just that I don’t/won’t/maybe can’t have any of my own. A shrink could tell me perhaps, but I don’t trust them either. I have missed you. I wish you would come back.

      Like

  20. Chandragiri says:

    hmmm..points noted ,Bhumika.

    Like

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