Most parents strive hard to be the role models for their kids; to be the best version of themselves so that their kids can learn and grow! And, like many other parents, I also had the same aspiration – to be a role model for my daughter; to be the person she can aspire to be or atleast the person she could be proud of!
But recently, when my 7-year-old innocent and naïve child opened up to me and spoke about how she feels about growing up, it broke me! It broke me into thousand pieces and made me reconsider how I was turning into a person whom my daughter not only detested, but was also scared of!
Me: “Riya, beta drink your milk! It will help you grow up!” Riya shyly in her meek voice said: “But, mumma I don’t want to grow up! I want to stay the way I am!” That was hardly an answer I ever expected from a 7-year-old. Contrary to other kids, who were eager to grow up, my daughter wasn’t at all keen to grow up! After persuading a lot, what she shared, left me sad & heartbroken!
“When I will grow up, I will also have to work like you. I will also need to hear everyone’s complaint. I will have to stay away from you and papa. I will have to bear anger of elders as you do of Dadi! No one will love me! I don’t want to grow up, Mummy!”
As I wipe off the tears from my daughter’s eyes, she continued, “Mummy, even though it is Papa’s fault, dadi scolds you. You don’t say anything in return when she shouts at you! When papa tells you not to go to meet your parents just because someone has to take care of house, you just accept and cancel your trip! While papa stays with his parents, you need to wait the whole year to meet your mother once! I don’t want to do it! I want to stay with you always! I don’t want to work so hard and see people still getting angry at me!”
“You are the first one to get up and the last one to sleep. Everyone just keeps ordering you around – be it Papa, Dadi or Dadu or Bua! No one even says thank you when you do things for them! Rather they keep scolding you! I don’t want to grow up!”(Also Read: Dear Daughter, I Hope You Are Nothing Like Me: A Heartwarming Letter From A Mother)
As Riya finished, I had nothing to say. With tears in my eyes, I just hugged Riya. And, after struggling hard to find words, I gathered my thoughts and told her – “Riya, you will grow into smart, brave and intelligent woman! I promise you I won’t be a weak person whom everyone shouts at! If anyone will shout at me, I will tell them not to! I won’t be quiet anymore! Now you quickly drink milk!”
In the night, I told my husband about the incident and told him – “I won’t take anyone’s taunts or harsh comments anymore! I won’t suffer in name of family values! Because I am fine being besharam and unsanskaari; but I am not okay being a weak mom or a bad role model for my daughter!” (Also Read: Moms, Can You Stop Making Endless Sacrifices & Qurbani; Your Daughters Are Watching!)
Realizing how firm I was about the decision, my husband made sure he let my in-laws know that they need to change their behaviour. My husband also worked hard to change his own behaviour towards me! His whole motivation was to raise a strong and independent daughter, who knows how to be treated well!
While I wanted to give my daughter a good life, it was my daughter who gave me the better! While I wanted to make my daughter a strong woman, it was she who gave me strength! While I wanted to be her role model, it was she who became mine!