Dear Guilty Parent …
Earlier this week, I was watching an interview where Twinkle Khanna, an Indian author, was chatting to Anupama Chopra, an Indian Journalist as they discussed the launch of her third book, called Pyjamas Are Forgiving.
I relate to Twinkle on a few levels. Some say that we resemble though the main connection for me is a shared passion for simplicity and writing.
Like her, while writing and trying to connect with those yet unknown to me, I lose connection (if only momentarily) with this world around me. While my mind chases concepts and characters that exist only in the most obscure corners of my mind, my eyes are moored to the pages. This place is called the zone. It is, to me, the most beautiful place on this earth.
The Guilty Parent Syndrome.
Twinkle and others commonly associate it with guilty mums. Somehow I see many dads care so deeply and feel the guilt too so I can only think of parents in totality.
This syndrome refers to the inherent guilt of neglecting our children especially when doing things we love. If we don’t feel it, societal pressure continues to send gentle reminders. This guilt isn’t limited to writing – it extends to every aspect of our lives.
Given I am a single parent, I am often forgiven for having to go to work since that is deemed a necessity. Sometimes I get pitiful comments like, ‘she does service’. A very odd choice of words but I come from a very traditional Indian set up where a job is also called a service!
Next up. Writing. Writing is often classed as my time consuming hobby that doesn’t really make me any money.
And God forbid I ever step out for the odd date! That one breaks all resistance and pushes me off the guilt (and don’t forget shame) chart!
So if like me, you go on this trip every now and again, here’s hope.
Two years ago I was working on my first book called C-Tunes. My mother felt that the children would get neglected. But my son, who was seven at the time, challenged me that if I could write a book; he could too. And true to his word, he did. Today, I am super proud to say that his book is due for release this January.
And my daughter, who has usually seen me working in some form or another, made it her business to get herself a job the month she turned 16. When I told this to the lady at the hair salon, she said, ‘you must be doing something right.’
I’m not saying we are perfect – in fact far from.
Yet, for all the guilt being handed out in abundance, take some time to reflect on your moments of pride and remind yourself of all the things that you are doing right. Whatever your circumstances, you are just the perfect parent for your children. I think if there is such a thing as the perfect family, it is the one that is real – the place where you can be just who you are and know without a shadow of a doubt that you will be accepted & loved unconditionally.
So the next time you feel the guilt creep up, look at it this way. Your children will mirror you – and chances are that their mindsets will mirror yours too. If you want your children to sense that they are accepted just for being who they truly are and doing what they love to do, you have to feel it first. Let go of your guilt and be you!
Then trust the universe – those acorns aren’t going to fall too far from the tree.
Happy Guilt Free Parenting!