Monday, November 5, 2012

We, the Laptop Generation.


To be perfectly honest, I have a problem with the  previous generation who claim that with technology which advanced in leaps and bounds over the last two decades, everything has suddenly become easy for the new age woman. They may have rolled the rocks manually for grinding and blending, or washed those heap of clothes bare handed, but do they remember the members of the extended family who tended to their kids while they were doing the above? Parents of today and their efforts to make ends meet and at the same time bringing up children are overlooked and underestimated under the pretext of owning mixers and grinders at home.

If you take into consideration our grandparents, the minimum number of offspring they had was four. That is the minimum, I mean, bare minimum. The rule was you should have enough children that when someone asks, you have a decent number to quote.Double digits were considered to be an excellent feat. And, they enjoyed the fruits of grudging and gossiping in a joint family because the cooking, child rearing and household chores were shared. And yes, only the single breadwinner went out of the house, the rest stayed at home, with only a radio for entertainment. The other forms of entertainment were cold wars, unpleasant judgments, sleazy potshots, pretensions, boasting, saas-bahu sagas and other epical showdowns. Gone are the days.



Next came my Mummy’s generation, wherein the general trend of their parents coming down to take care of the kids (mostly two and sometimes three, but not more) was followed extensively. Maternal or paternal grandparents of the baby came down and cared for them, when our Moms went to work with the peaceful assurance that their children were taken care of by blood relatives and that no harm can come to them. This service was a wholesome package with FREE finger pointing, saas bahu confrontations, accusations about working women and the like.

Things changed suddenly. Now the families are nuclear. The term ‘nuclear’ can also hold true considering the state of affairs at home or the mood of the couple. A husband and wife set up home continents apart from their parents, and have children of their own. Without parents or kind relatives around, the wife either has to let go of her career or be stretched between home and work consistently under anxiety about the baby who is being looked after by a stranger at a daycare or at home. Not to mention the cooking and cleaning that awaits us at the end of the day, with a child weeping at our feet and a hot pot in our hands. It definitely helps if the husband understands, and even if the chores are shared, it doesn't seem to get any lesser. A friend says that her husband prepares bed coffee for her, and as we sighed in admiration of that guy, she continued to reveal that he uses at least 20 vessels for the same and the sink is full after two cups of coffee are made.

The tricky part is when there is a baby, or a toddler. In today’s world where one rarely gets any good feedback about nanny’s or daycare  and horrific news of child abuse fills the news channels, a parent simply cannot be at ease at any point of time. Come vacation, we fly to our hometowns and all we get to hear are questions about when the ‘next baby’ will come, yes, shamelessly, or about how the existing one is unhealthy as per their standards (which are usually mental images of those bloated kids from cerelac ads) and unfriendly statements that we are starving them. The hours we spend at the child’s high chair at meal times, staring relentlessly at his mouth and sighing after every handful is swallowed are just myths for them. All they know and choose to believe is that we, the laptop generation spend our days happily in air conditioned rooms and evenings at malls or bowling alleys. No, that’s not how it works.


Parenthood has become the most difficult one in today’s times. Children are being exposed to what they should not, at a very tender age through TV and internet, so handling them emotionally is not an unassuming task. From my own experience where my 17 month old is being taken care at home by a housemaid, it breaks my heart every time I wave him goodbye, and the elevator closes its doors dutifully as he looks on, teary eyed, and both hands calling out to me to come back. I wave him back, and cried during the initial days, but the tears dried up with time. I understood that I should not spoil him. Soon he will join a nursery, and it is painful to think that he is not at home anymore. But I have only myself to console and reassure. I get the wildest thoughts about him missing me and crying, or being bullied by other kids. Then I go through the nursery’s website and read the positive feedback they got from various insecure parents like me. Then the fire of anguish extinguishes partly, but remains dormant only to be ignited again in the next vulnerable moment. As a mother, I can tell you that it takes a lot of guts, patience and strength from within to endure the pain of leaving the child at someone’s care.

It is going to be a passing phase. It passes, but the phase doesn't get any easier with that line. But life is all about these little moments. The moments we realize how a child can be a part of ourselves and how they control our hearts and eventually our lives. That a child is God’s gift and parenting them is a divine task we are entrusted with, and that we need to endure the highs and lows that comes with it.


19 comments:

  1. Amen amen and amen. Anu though I do not have to leave my child anywhere that's coz I have the luxury to take care of her... Thank God. But I totally get what you are saying about people thinking we have it easy now. So Not true !!!

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    1. I also have the luxury of bathing, changing and feeding him myself through the day and running back to office which is at a stone's throw from home. I have the housemaid only for monitoring him while he plays and I believe I am the luckiest working Mom ever :D The Almighty works wonders, you just cant beat him or his kindness to us! And indeed you are lucky to have her in the proximity!

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    2. wow ... you bathe and feed him too? and work and cook and clean? how do you do it lady?

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    3. The housemaid cooks cleans and monitors aaron when he plays. I work ..bathe and feed during my brunch and lunch breaks.

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    4. ok Good... that makes it sound more human, thought you had super powers :D

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  2. Anita,

    Today's situation told so well. There is no doubt that present generation is far more tech savvy and independent than earlier ones. With advancement in technology there also comes a price to be paid and that is many a present young women wish to live in nuclear family inspite of elders not being intrusive or interfering but more of support and that too when in laws are old in need of all the love & affection at fag end of their life. Of course, there are different situations as living abroad but how about living in the same town?

    Take care

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    1. Living in the same town with parents makes a difference - they tend to interfere more. We never become independent as long as they are around.

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  3. have a friend who had the same issue.. when the time came for the child to go to first day of school... there was a flood of tears.. the kid wondering why mommys leaving, the mommy crying cos kid is crying... cant help it.. these are stages of life... he was brought up in a nuclear house so he is definitely attached to mommy that much more...
    on the bright side, a month later - he had a girlfriend in that school and couldnt wait for mommy to drop him off so he could be with her :)

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    1. LOL. Yea recently I went to a reputed nursery to book a place for Aaron once he turns 2, and asked a trillion questions to the receptionist and finally broke down into tears. She patted my shoulder and said that she can totally understand my pain.

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  4. Anita, Iam going through the same phase. I started leaving my kid at baby sitter's since he was 7 mth old. The experience with the first baby sitter was really bad and had to change her within 2 months.. Now I leave him with a paati (Tamilian granny)and thankfully she takes care of him well. But in the last 5 mths what has not changed is his cries and my heavy heart, on leaving him and his reaction on seeing me back in the evening - he cries first, then once I pick him up, he cups my face in his tiny hands and stares for 2 mins and then gives a beautiful smile to me and paati and then when I am leaving with him, he shouts excitedly clapping his hands.

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    1. It is so painful. However I am only five minutes away from home and come during breaks to see my son. I also bathe and feed him myself. That way I console myself. Your child will soon get accustomed to the schedule and later there will come a time when we can be peaceful at our workplaces.

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  5. This painful teary moments are so very appealingly true in every working mom's life... At such situations, the only person we can trust and cast our worries is on our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Whenever I leave my child with nanny, I do leave a word of prayer. This will give a great peace within me and I am sure, God is in control.

    Great Post Anita, voicing out the inner thoughts, pains and feelings of all of us - helpless moms - who wish we could spent the day at home instead at work...

    Keep posting...

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    1. I know chechi, and thank you for the comment. If it was not for my trust in God for my son and family, I'd never be sane and blogging :-)

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  6. Reading your post a thought came to me - you're a normal parent. The same fears parents have had probably since the beginning of time.

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    1. Yeah Grayquill, the feelings should have been the same. Like how labor pain has not changed even though medical science progressed a lot.

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  7. I can see you mirroring my thoughts too. Its a boon that I have a creche within the office, so that I can leave my butterfly there and meet her at anytime. All these thoughts were collated into my post here-
    http://jellybeanflavours.blogspot.in/2012/03/battle-against-guilt.html

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  8. i am not a parent yet but correct me if i am wrong, i believe it is the unwritten, unsaid trust that a child develops with parents which over a period of time is washed away in the hands of granny or day care mothers and the child losses the love that he/she was suppose to get from parents .. and same goes for parents as well...!

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    1. Does that mean that we should love and pamper them in such a way that they never goes to school or out of the house , thus the trust with parents is preserved ?

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