Confessions of a I-don’t-give-a-shit mom

tiger momSo the other day, Re came back from school, sulking. I asked him what the matter was. He said he was the only child in school that day to come dressed in a uniform when the whole school was dressed in traditional clothes. I had no idea what he was talking about. “But why didn’t anyone tell me?,” I asked, pained that he felt left out, but annoyed that the Whatsapp psychos hadn’t told me.

“You are supposed to check e-campus everyday mamma! It seems it was written on it!’. He was referring to the school website of course, which totally intimidates me. Now, given the time I waste on the internet every day, you might say what’s the harm checking a school website to find out what’s going on? But I find it painfully boring, I really do.

That’s when I realized that I don’t really care; I am just happy that he goes to school every day. When people are holding forth about tiger moms and camel moms and lamb moms, I smile beatifically. Because no one is talking about the I-don’t-give-a-shit moms. So I thought I will share a list things that I don’t give a shit about:

I don’t care what he learns in school. I chose the school only because it has a good arts program and they teach the kids how to swim and songs about science. It was one thing I wouldn’t have to do. Also I look at school as an extended form of daycare, so I am happy with the basics. The more I expect from it, the more I have to do. And I won’t do THAT.

I don’t know the difference between ICSE, CBSE, IG, IB, IGCSE any new boards that may have been invented without my knowledge and frankly,  I don’t care. I don’t think learning comes prefixed with labels. I am still learning although I may have some labels.

I hate homework. Okay let me correct it. I hate that I may have to help with homework. So I pretend it doesn’t exist. My time with my kid is my time with my kid. It cannot be an extension of school time. I have enough trouble being a mother. I don’t want to be a tutor. Besides I would suck at it. Having been a teacher doesn’t help.

I hate it when other moms on Whatsapp discuss homework. I think they are all losers. I really do. I mean what kind of person would triple check what a child says is homework just in order to ascertain that it indeed is? Your kid knows what to do. It’s just that you don’t trust him/her. Losers.

I am constantly nervous that the child will come with a note in his almanac or some circular will be issued from the school that parents have to do a project/make some costume/ prop. I don’t want to be a part of it.

I am really bored of listening to people talking about their kids’ achievements. Like really really bored. Do something yourself and tell me, for Christ’s sake.

I love it when my kid plays with dolls, puts on makeup for them, paints shoes on them, does their hair, adds sequins to their clothes. If you have a problem with it, it’s your problem.

Sometimes I forget the difference between my outside voice and my inside voice. My kid calls me shouty. But then it’s okay, because he forgets it too. So we are even.

I sometimes make feeble attempts to ask him whether he would like to learn ballet, the piano, or tennis maybe, knowing fully well that I will have to sacrifice more hours of writing or doing what I want for it, but then he says no; he already knows ballet. And the piano. I don’t argue. I am relieved and let him be.

I try and redeem myself from time to time by posing as a tree for a play that the child is a part of and wants to practice at home. But that is the exception more than the rule. So don’t typecast me. It may look like I am winging motherhood, but six years down, and I still don’t know what I am doing.

 

( A version of this post appeared as my column in Pune Mirror on 19th October, 2015)

 

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14 thoughts on “Confessions of a I-don’t-give-a-shit mom

  1. Right there with you sister! Though I cop to being on top of their homework. No classes for my kids. No extra tutoring at home. Just be is my mantra.

  2. I so agree with you. I have practiced this throughout my sons’ school years. I sent them to school with the firm belief that in those hours they were the school’s responsibility and since I didn’t ask the school for help when they were at home, the school shouldn’t ask for parental participation when they were at school. I would also happily give them a note saying ‘couldn’t do homework as mom was traveling’ (of course when I was). And also told them that they should be happy with their project’s because they did it all by themselves without any supervision.

  3. You are funny…. in a very refreshing… “I don’t give a shit way ….”
    As a pediatrician, I wish I had more moms like you coming to my clinic. It would be quirky… but I am sure I would appreciate the change
    Regards
    Dr Gaurav Gupta, Mohali, Pb

  4. I so identify with this and the last line. It’s been three years for me of being a sahm and I double check most time of what am I doing or am I right, I am responsible enough to be a mother. Has the father no other job than paying the bills, what about me? Where am I in the mommy deal. I feel like a pathetic mother today so maybe the outburst. But most of all I want to thank you and send you a virtual hug for getting these things out of the closet. I feel incompetent as a mother, I admit it and feel it’s not fair for the kid, but I try and reading you makes me feel better. Thank you

  5. Omg!!! That’s so me.But I haven’t been able to accept it. Having been a teacher myself,I wondered why am I just not interested in taking up my 6 year old’s study. U just said it there…my time with my kid is my alone…I do not want it to be extended school hours!! Loved it 🙂

  6. I come across this thought process of thinking, from parents who think one should be learners for life and the labels are nothing but labels. These also come from parents who are “achievers ” and does not have to struggle for a meal , or life’s necessities or wants. For people who do not have time to go to a park or spend time playing with their children even when they really do not want to – because they have to work long hours to keep a roof over the head , is NOT lazy. I know of a teacher who wants her children to PLAY as much as they can – inside or outside , and who does not bother much about the children’s school herself , and the school management keeps her in school from 6 am till 7 pm, sometimes even till 10 pm, and they have school the next day.They struggle to make ends meet. Her philosophy, values and ethics in life is simple, but she is trying hard to keep a roof over her head. Mostly her children’s toys are things what they can find in the house. If the child asks for an extra toy – she says that it will come on a birthday. Thank You.

    Priya

    • I hear you Priya. This is how I grew up. That teacher was my mother. We struggled to make ends meet. I know what it is to get a toy only on your birthday. Perhaps I feel liberated that I can make choices. Thank you for your point of view.

  7. Your blog posts are very ASPIRATIONAL. Kudos to you. My partner and I have labels , and we think like you but my sister and brother struggle – They want their children to go to school and pay very close attention to their home work so that their children will have labels. Unfortunately only people who have labels from IVY league /Name-famed schools are given credit . When I went to a school (IIT) for my Post-Masters I got credit , BEFORE THAT I didn’t. And guess What – Most of my ideas come from my sister who is a school teacher , who never gets any credit because she is “ONLY ” a school teacher .

    Please don’t take it otherwise. We appreciate your writing and thought process very much and you articulate them into words . EDUCATION is the manifestation of the perfection we already have , said SWAMI Vivekanada – And everyone strives to take that journey, but environmental factors take the lead and influence – Thanks to the media, which is is “SHOUTY” as Re says. We are all aware, but “off the beaten” paths of thinking is not for the people who are struggling to make things meet. WORKSHOPS shout “Balance/ moderation” at the end of a day. That is not a NEW answer. Can a weighing machine stand in “BALANCE” for a long time .

    Thank You for the space you provide .
    Just my 2 cents

  8. I’d just like to say this. Something happens, why make it a definition of what you are as a mother? Cock a snook at someone and hurt yourself all the while. Your kid was hurt, maybe he cried a bit, you were sorry, you apologised or somehow let your feelings be known.

    Your kid probably moped a bit and went back to his lego toys or bicycle. It’s good to learn stuff from our kids, thoda sa shit happened, then, I did something else.

    These tiger mom, tiger pa, panda mom, panda pa definitions are completely out of sync with the realities of a growing mind.

    Maybe it’s part of a media conspiracy to make parents feel bad about themselves and buy more baby products 😛

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