The Parenting Puzzle

These days there are two kinds of  married people. Incessant planners and the oblivious non-planners. There are people who plan everything, right down to the prospects of a college fund for their currently unborn children. Then there are people who can’t even spell the word ‘plan’.  They leave it all to God and believe in the sanctity and inexhaustible supply of the reproductive system.

I was never much of a planner. And every time I showed even a slight interest, I was slapped back into a reality of my world, where its just not a good omen to plan anything. When I was expecting my first born, I came across people who had a long list of stuff planned for when they had their children. We didn’t even have a sufficient bank account that would accommodate our child’s schooling or even the coming year! I consoled myself and realized, if not the big things, I could always decide the near future of my child. I took to the easiest option in a woman`s dictionary – shopping. Even that did not go accordingly.

My son was born. I forgot about all the plans and non-plans that had ever crossed my mind. All that mattered were his big brown eyes looking at me with the love of the world. All he needed was our love and attention. And that surely does not need any planning. As a first time mommy, I was pretty tightly wound up and paranoid. Who saw my child, who held my child, what he ate…there was an annoying list. The fact that I did not read enough parenting material only added to my guilt and misery. But that did not last long. I was soon brought back to my senses. My son was happy, healthy and had tons of family to love him. I needed to cut myself some slack.  Then my daughter was born. Let`s just say she was the most perfect, most beautiful non-plan we could have been blessed with. The fact that this time I was not obsessing over things that were not in my control, helped me see the big picture. The actual plan, His plan, seamlessly materialized and things fell into their appropriate little slots on a previously puzzling life.

Many couples are now stuck in this conundrum of when it is the right time to have children. But that’s the thing.  You can never truly be prepared or prepped enough. Its not a dinner party that you can plan days ahead and get everything perfect, right down to the layout of the table. You think you have parenting figured out. You read all the modern books on parenting. You rely on the western culture for their thoroughness and honestly speaking at times, over-elaboration of parenting strategies. But then soon enough, your lack of preparation strikes you harder than a hammer pounding a nail.  You realize this immediately at your child’s birth; then soon after when you haven’t a clue about diaper changing or baths, or nursing! Thank goodness for grandmothers:). And then you understand it the most as they grow older. When they start school and make new friends. When they learn a bad word that is hard to delete from their razor sharp memories. When they love you to bits even though you spend a large part of the day screaming at them like a maniac. When you relentlessly obsess about a healthy diet while your kid ends up eating a chocolate covered doughnut just before bed. So at the end of it all, balance is essential. Keeping up with modern parenting techniques; while holding on fast to precious old wisdom of our parents, their parents, and so on. No book or expert will help you find that equilibrium. You will just have ride your own parenting seesaw and figure out where it all makes sense.

So with children, nothing comes as an official knock on your door. Its more like a sweet whiff of wind creeping through your window.

Unannounced. Unexpected. Welcomed.

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