Estimated read time : 7 minutes
Motherhood is possibly the most challenging job and there’s no retirement age! Besides, most mothers grapple with how to parent their kids, often wondering whether they are doing the right thing or not. Juggling work and home, being typecast in the role of nurturer, very often they feel guilty or overwhelmed.
In an effort to make it easy for the rest of the lot, we interviewed some successful professional moms who have shared some of their parenting tips.
Dipali Sikand is the Founder of Les Concierges Group of Companies and is a successful entrepreneur who wears many hats. She firmly believes in instilling values in her kids to make them better and stronger people. She says, “As a mother of two extremely high energy children, a decade apart, I have learnt more from them to successfully parent them. My firstborn taught me what it takes to be responsible for someone’s life and in this, I was able to share with him the importance of humility, sharing and caring. My second child taught me that at age forty, being a mother again need not be a trying phase but indeed built my patience, determination and perseverance.”
She believes, “To be a successful parent to me means being able to provide your children the fundamental building blocks of becoming self-sufficient, self-driven, responsible, caring and compassionate. To do this entails being able to understand your child’s strengths and growing these strengths with them. But, allowing them to learn from challenges and grow from these too are crucial.” And by the way, she adds, that she is not only a mother to two human kids but also to 11 dogs and a cat! Way to go Dipali!
Mumbai-based Viji Venkatesh has over three decades of professional experience in cancer patient care and support. She is Regional Head, India & South Asia of The Max Foundation – which has a presence in all parts of the globe and works tirelessly for cancer patients. She wryly says, “No child comes to its parents with a ‘How to be a good parent’ kit. At most we have our own upbringing and our own parents’ skills as a reference point. I was by turns a terrified, proud, delighted and bemused parent most of the time. My husband was terrified all the time, especially when our two boys were babies! So I learnt how to be a good parent on the job.”
She ticks off her mantras for good parenting saying, “Never saying no (maybe come back later?) was mantra number one. Mantra number two was to make sure we both recognized and understood the boys’ potential and put ourselves out to be there for them so they did not fall short of that. A big lesson learnt is that you (can) never stop being a parent. So we learnt how to unlearn that and we never crowded our children’s lives with our (overwhelming and obsessive) attention. My mother’s advice is now mantras number three to ten – to let them go. The tighter the bonds you tie them to you with, the easier it is for those to break. The longer and more flexible these bonds are, the more resilient and unbreakable they are.”
Best-selling author Jaishree Misra needs no introduction. Motherhood has been a challenging yet rewarding journey for her. “I’m mother to a girl (now young woman) with special needs and parenting, for me, has been the equivalent of an unending wrestling match,” she confesses. “There are days which have me feeling bruised and battered and utterly destroyed, and others when I stand, arm raised high in the air over some triumph. The roller-coaster that all parenting is becomes magnified hundred-fold for those of us whose kids are not the angelic creatures that obediently roll over at three months, sit up two months later and toddle beatifically by the age of one.” With the struggles of bringing up a child with special needs, she asks, “So what tips can I possibly offer on the subject of parenting?”
Her message is one filled with hope and joy. “Perhaps all I should venture to say is that special needs parenting is such an anxious affair; the best thing to do is let go of tightly clutching the steering and try to enjoy the ride, potholes and hairpin bends and blind turnings and all. There isn’t much that will go to plan but I can promise plenty of belly laughs along the way so it’s best to learn to free-wheel, enjoy the wind in your hair and gaze at the horizon with a smile.”
Meenakshi Menon dons many hats – apart from being the Founder and Chairperson of Spatial Access, India’s first audit and advisory in marketing services, she is also the Founder and Trustee at Vanashakti, an environment conservation NGO established to instil a sense of responsibility amongst citizens. And a proud cat parent to boot. She believes children teach us life lessons and not the other way round! “In April 1988 when I became a mother, I knew my world was going to be turned upside down by my beautiful daughter. The most perfect baby I had ever known,” she says.
“What I did not realise was that she would turn out to be my teacher, the force that made me a force to reckon, personally and professionally. My top parenting skill is to learn from your children. Let me explain why you can never go wrong as a parent if you let the Child become the Teacher. Children are the best people on the planet. They are born with a sense of values and innate wisdom, which gets distorted and corrupted over time dealing with adults. Their sense of justice, generosity and fairness is of the highest level. Children are so smart and hard wired for survival that we can learn many a thing from them. Their ability to manage their environment and to motivate their care givers is a skill that should be made available to business school students. Their ability to communicate using their faces, limbs and bodies with or without words is a skill worthy of drama veterans. I became an acolyte when I became a mother. My daughter has a baby on the way, and I wonder what her parenting style will be?” Well, chances are your grandchild will be a passionate environmentalist like you