So, the other day I was getting ready to pick Namnam up from school. Her school finishes at around 3. Even though I am just 5 minutes away from school, I leave more than half an hour early so I can claim a good parking spot in time and save myself from getting squished by other vehicles scampering for space. Its a mad rush otherwise!
Now on most of the days I wait till she is back from school, to have my lunch with her. But that day I was very hungry so I ate before leaving to pick her. When she was home she didn’t fret about having to eat her lunch alone because she knew I had eaten mine. And she was cool about it. Since I have done it a couple of times before, she was probably convinced that it was not such a big deal that her Amma had eaten lunch without waiting for her 😀
Every time I do this, my thoughts take me to my grandmother who would have been disappointed, if she were alive. She would have scolded me for my nonchalance! She was someone who always waited for her husband, her children and later on her grandchildren- that’s me and my brother- to get home from wherever we would be, till she served us our meals and then sat with us to have hers. So there was always an underlying message where she subtly insisted on waiting for us whether we wanted to be waited for or no.
A lot of parents behave in this manner, I have observed,without realizing the undue pressure they may be putting on their children. While I know the intention is to convey that they care, but I find the gesture pretty constricting.
I remember a friend mentioning once how terrible she and her husband felt when they came home after a late night dinner only to eat again with their parents because they were waiting for them till late!! And they felt guilty to have made them wait, despite informing that they would be late.
Its like suffocating our kids with our impractical love, isn’t it?. By making them feel guilty with our claustrophobic show of love, we aren’t making them love us more, instead we may be driving them away from us.
I sometimes feel bad when I can’t keep up to the expectations I might have set in Namnam’s mind. Then I realize that by setting an impractical bar of expectation in my kid’s mind, I may be knowingly or unknowingly misleading her. She may get dejected if for some reason I am not in a position to keep up to that expectation.
So it’s best to establish a more practical understanding of each other where there’s no room for disappointment or undue pressure on either.