By Mumtaz Moosa Saley
As the door of the fridge opens for the nine millionth time, and my kids are on their third breakfast for the morning, I sit typing out my article on “How am I to handle the rest of this holiday?”
Somewhere in our minds, we have all made a deal with ourselves that we would not turn out like our parents. We also reminded ourselves that there are specific phrases that we would not dare use as parents – such as “Where must you put it, you ask? Huh, why don’t you put it on my head.” But those words creep up on us in the moments of utter desperation when our brain fails us.
With report cards being due in a week, we know that many parents will tell their children they could have done better, while some parents will go and fight with the schools’ teachers for marks. Let us take a step back and remember that this year, children were hit with schools opening late, school rotations, bringing anxiety to our children as they adapted to new surroundings. Not to mention teenagers who were dealing with their hormonal and other changes, and you have a recipe for disaster that your parents warned you about when they said, “Just wait until you have your children!”
As parents, we must understand that we have and are currently adjusting to the new world, which means younger, unemployed youth living with us for more extended periods in the day. So instead of saying they’re lazy or didn’t put n enough effort, let’s understand that it has been tough on them. Just for this year, take the win as a win and let life be. If your child has just passed or made it with a full distinction, they all deserve a celebration this year.
At the starting of the school term, our school principal added in the letter that each child would try their best, but we also need to realise that some subjects may be fun to a child and others simply not, and that is okay. As parents, we tend to have the same preference, and with that, we also need to push our children but not hold them up to the child from next door and have unrealistic expatiations.
Yes, I know we want the best for our kids, but we also need to understand that the best is considering mental wellbeing and the changes around us. As family members, we need to stop asking kids in public, “so what award did you win this year? “No one asks you, so did you get a promotion this year or not. Let’s level the playing field and stop with the long list of expectations that doesn’t make sense. Before you say that I am making kids weak, look at us, how nice we turned out. The reality is that many adults today feel that their parents aren’t proud of them because small wins were never celebrated; knowing everything meant you were too big for your boots and not knowing how to make round roti was a sin.
If your child is going into the teenage years, I suggest you start asking people to make dua for you; those endless eye rolls and being called “dude” will make the words of your mother come out. After all, mothers are considered with a high status in Islam, and my opinion is that it is because of the sheer amount of sabr (patience) we need with the little humans who live with us and need to eat five million times a day.