People say parenting is an ongoing challenge. But I believe that coupled with this challenge is the fact that parenting is also intuitive and giving. Be it Indians in America or anywhere else in this world, the values that we inculcate and instil in our little ones are there to stay. Talking about the role of a mother, words fall short. I am not going to talk about her unconditional love towards her loved ones. No book can teach her ways to show her love or how to care for her. It comes naturally and becomes her second nature. During childbirth, she carries with her the pain and suffers thoroughly, some tough decisions are made, and her body goes through another birth. But every mother’s experience is unique and memorable. When she hears her baby’s first cry and later holds her bundle of joys for the first time, that moment is priceless.
I remember after my daughter was born, when I talked to my sister, the first question she asked me was, “Aren’t you tired?” (I hadn’t taken epidural and had experienced the pain. But I didn’t feel even a fraction of tiredness.) I said, “no, not at all. In fact, I am feeling lightweight after so many months.” Jokes apart, I guess the feeling and the experience of becoming a mother make us forget everything. What is left is happiness and a proud feeling of bringing a new life into this world—the feeling of becoming a Mother.
Being an Immigrant mother:
I have experienced this feeling twice. I am a proud mother of two lovely kids who I call mixed-doubles. They are my greatest source of inspiration; they are my teachers, my friends, they give me plenty of opportunities to re-live my childhood days.
While I perform the mommy role, another aspect that has given me a new angle of looking at things is the environment I am upbringing my children. Being an immigrant mother, I have to maintain a balance between the two equally rich cultures.Alpana deo
When my daughter was born, many experienced friends shared their parenting moments. According to them, it was very challenging to find a balance and bridge the gap between the two cultures, especially when kids get old. Parents have to make a choice. Otherwise, kids get confused. Many of you must have heard the term ABCD (America-born confused desi). I had only one thought in my mind at that time. “I have to give my best in passing on our culture and values to my kids. If I put in my sincere efforts, then they will follow it.” And that’s what I did and have been doing till date while raising my Indians in America.
Raising Indians in America:
1. The language barrier
My first goal was to maintain our mother tongue at home. For this, I give all the credit to my parents and grandparents. I am a Maharashtrian who has never lived in Maharashtra. But it was the discipline at my parent’s place which laid a solid foundation for Marathi. I have seen the positive effects of knowing my mother tongue and I follow the same discipline at my place too. Today, both my kids can fluently speak three languages.
2. Never force traditions
I never forced anything on them. Instead, I explained why we follow certain traditions and made every possible effort to bring India to our home. Today, I proudly say that my kids are not ABCD. They are very clear that our roots are that of Indians in America.
Coming to my responsibility as a blogger and digital content creator, I try to incorporate my ideas in my posts and podcasts. It was after my daughter’s birth that I got into writing on Parenting topics. As she grew, I also grew as a parent. After my son’s birth, I re-lived those moments and made some required changes which I learned from my past experiences.
3. Be a model
I strongly feel that if parents want their kids to follow something, they need to be disciplined about it. Kids follow most of the ideas and practices by observing. Today, their understanding and interpretation skills are way more developed than we think. No wonder role modelling is the backbone of parenting. Whether we are upbringing our Indians in America or India itself, the role of a parent remains intact.
Sharing a small paragraph from one of my posts in my blog Mothersgurukul:
“I feel content to see my kids having a special place for India in their hearts. I feel that as a parent it is a reward for me when I see the love and respect, they have for India even if they were born here. They may not feel the nostalgia I feel when I hear the National Anthem but if they are able to sing it properly then that’s enough for me. If they do not compare the two countries then that is enough for me. Lastly, if they proudly talk about India, then that is satisfactory for me.”
Be real, be honest. Have confidence in your efforts and trust your instincts. It will never misguide you. You could be raising Indians in America or India, with close association and understanding we can raise a generation that grows forward while deeply rooted in their values. “Happy Parenting.”
By Alpana Deo
Winner of Top Mom Bloggers contests conducted by The Champa Tree. She is an influencer and founder of Mothers Gurukul. Her article ‘My Experience Of Rasing Indians In America, The Indian Way’, in which she shares her experience of raising her kids on American soil, paved the way for her selection.