Copyright Nim Gholkar 2012 All Rights Reserved
Over the years, i have spoken to so many mothers all over the world. Most have said that at some point or the other in time, their children have said to them ‘You are the worst mother in the world’ or something to that effect. Each time they said this, i would smile and say ‘Well, you are obviously doing something right, then.’ My kids too have often been annoyed with my decisions, although each of those decisions was made with their well-being in mind. It is inevitable that us parents will be disliked, hated, called ‘worst parent in the world’ and so on and so forth by our off-spring at different stages of their upbringing. And why does this happen? Because i believe that in order to be a good parent, one must often take an unpopular stance. You cannot be your child’s best buddy all the time. There are enough people out there in the universe who will happily take on the role of their best buddies. And while it is important to be your child’s friend and confidante wherever necessary, it is equally important to risk being hated for the greater good. So, who is this ‘worst mother in the world’ and what does she do to be tagged and labelled in such an unflattering manner? Here is what the ‘worst mother’ does:
The Worst Mother is not afraid to say ‘No’.
The Worst Mother disciplines and loves at the same time, insisting on developing the core values of honesty, integrity and hard work.
The Worst Mother limits tv time, promoting instead outdoor play. TV is too mind-numbing for her to stand back and watch her children succumb to its varied temptations.
The Worst Mother encourages her children to learn to make their own beds, turning a deaf ear to the litany of complaints.
The Worst Mother ensures that each member of the house, adult and child, learns to do his or her own share of household chores so that her children grow up believing there is no such thing as ‘a man’s tasks’ or ‘a woman’s tasks’.
The Worst Mother does not become a slave to messy rooms. Instead she stands back and asks that the mess ( be it strewn toys or clothes thrown haphazardly on the floor) be tidied by the one who created it in the first place.
The Worst Mother insists ‘It’s bedtime!’ at a decent hour, even though her children argue that it is still way too early. When is it not way too early? Most children would argue about bedtime no matter what time they are asked to go to bed.
The Worst Mother does not go around apologising for anything wrong her children might have done. She teaches them instead the art of going up to a person they may have offended and saying ‘I am sorry’.
The Worst Mother insists that school homework be completed in a neat and timely manner, even though it distracts them from playing or watching tv.
The Worst Mother often refuses to keep buying the latest gadgets, latest toys, latest anything and everything in order to develop in her children a respect for money and its true worth. She knows that she will become unpopular every time she says ‘No’ but she is secure within the knowledge that she has their best interests at heart.
And lastly….The Worst Mother is prepared to listen to her children say they hate her. She knows that her own heart is a bottomless pit of love for her little ones…she knows that she loves them more than life itself….and if they hate her for the stance she has taken, she has done her job well.
And so, I salute all you ‘Worst Mothers in the World’. You have been brave enough to risk being hated by your children. You know you are loved, even though you may not always be their favourite person in the universe. As i often say to my kids, ‘It is more than enough that you love me. If i am to do justice to my role as your mother, it will be too much to expect you to ‘like’ me as well’.