When my husband & I decided to have kids, being the type who wants to prepare to the hilt to get everything right in the first time, we armed ourselves with as much information we could find. Books, internet, parent-child bonding classes, pre-natal lessons, discussions with our friends who were parents and what not. We registered ourselves for emailers & newsletters & officially became part of the parenting bandwagon.
But, informed as much as we were, our greatest & most profound learnings came on the job. Like my career, although my MBA degree taught me the rules & the rote, my experiences taught me the practical application of the written words.
So, here’s my list of the skills I need/ developed as a new mom/ parent-
- Multi-tasking- I am almost always doing more than 1 thing at a time. Yes, I get at the end of my to-do list faster this way, & although I am secretly proud of this skill, I feel it’s a double-edged sword which will send me closer to the burnout & mental fatigue faster. This is one skill I am looking forward to put to rest.
- Building a network outside my comfort zone- I have ventured out & made friends/acquaintances with people with whom I have very little in common, in fact only my kids in common, & surprisingly this has offered solutions to problems which I had been dealing with alone, be it car pools, references for a dentist, scheduling last minute doctor appointments.
- Asking for help- I used to think asking for help outside my usual behaviour, but I have found people (mostly) to be accommodating & considerate when you tell them you are a new mom & any 5 mins saved in a queue will go a long way in your day.
- Patience- It is as clichéd as it can be. You become your own nemesis when you become a mom. If you have a short fuse, your child’s favourite pastime will be to press your buttons :-).
- Confidence- I have more confidence than I had ever before. It is a surreal sense of achievement, not vanity, just plain contentment, that I feel & have seen in the eyes of my fellow moms.
- Faith- I know at least 3 couples, very good, kind & loving people, who have refused to have children because of the fear that this world is not a good place. This only gets fortified by the news that you read so very often these days. Yet, at the same time, I as a fact know, at least 20 couples who have more than 1 child because they believe that with their kids, they can make this world a better place.
- Gratitude- I have renewed, in fact, ever more new gratitude for my parents. The ethical, disciplined yet democratic & loving way they brought us up, with never a mention of their struggles & challenges, is something I can only hope I can emulate.
- There has to be a God- I read somewhere in my teens that ‘Pregnancy is the only time when a human assists God in creating a miracle’. Today, as a mom of two I believe it. There are zillions of permutations and combinations that can either give or deny you the pleasure of parenthood. With kids I realise there is no rhyme or reason for anything & everything. You as a parent can do your best & HAVE TO leave the rest to God. No amount of education or books can ensure what life will turn out for your kids.