I knew everything there was to know about life, lessons it has to teach. In other words, I thought I had learnt all the life lessons before I had my son. But a short while after my son Harshal turned one, I realized how little I knew about the word called ‘life’. Guess what? In these four years, my son has taught me as much as I was ever taught by my teachers. I’m learning some of the best and most important life lessons from this boy. The life lessons I learnt from my child will stay with me forever and I doubt if I will ever stop learning from him.
Life lessons I learnt from my child:
I am amazed at how motherhood for me has become a never-ending course in reshaping the meaning of life and how I must live it. With Harshal’s curiosity and innocence being the catalytic agent for my learning process, the life lessons I learnt from my child in his early years have been invaluable.
1. The art of balancing and how to let go…
Let go of judgment. More than anything else, just how short-lived it all really is, happiness, sorrow, and life. I’m a bit of a control freak. I have always applied perfectly good energy trying to strategize, forecast, and avoid things that I by no means can conceivably plan, predict, or prevent.
And, then one day when I saw this beautiful soul watching me cry endlessly during the most horrible day of post-partum blues, he stayed calm and kept smiling at me. At that very moment, I told myself that I want to be him! Babies are happy, they don’t judge, estimate, or evaluate the heights before jumping off the table. Of course, the assessment comes in at some point, but that doesn’t deter them from jumping, skipping, soaring, or hopping. They are just motivated to explore without stressing over the whys and what-ifs.
When Harshal turned two, these life lessons became more complex, however, I learnt something mind-blowingly ‘cool’.
2. How not to be boring
Life as a mother and that of a toddler can be taxing. For a child of that age is more like a mixer/grinder without a lid, really!
With so much competitiveness around, the constant struggle with your own self to achieve perfection, and everything coupled with long working hours and the constant FOMO which leads to more screen-time, the stress builds up.
But in the second year of my life as a mother, Harshal taught me the importance of slowing down and the importance of play. Sometimes and especially after long, hectic days, I have told myself how I don’t want to play, like to play, or have time to play! But then the fear that this life is short-lived takes over me and all I do is drop whatever I am doing and sitting down to build Legos with Harshal. My day gets a lot easier. As adults, we get caught up in the gigantic responsibilities of life and often we forget what it’s like to play.
3. How not to give in
Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.
There is a myth of joyful parenthood. Raising children is not easy. Like when your 4-year-old screams, “I hate you!” and slams the door. That’s when you realize that s**t has hit the roof. Earlier such reactions would freak me out. My brain would tell me- ‘take control of this situation, take CONTROL of this boy’.
But, with time I am learning the answer is to hold on tighter. My son has taught me how it is possible to focus on what one CAN do, against what one cannot. He taught me how it’s so much better to stay close by and calm during the tantrums instead of leaving the room and let it run its course as opposed to distracting him.
One can achieve a lot more by lending an ear, and by expressing unconditional love. Anything can happen, absolutely anything! He has tried to test my patience, but I have learnt not to give in. Harshal has taught me the subtle art of not giving in. The life lessons I learned from my child, made me what I am now.
This post has been originally created and published for The Quint