No, our kids don’t owe us anything. No, we haven’t done any favor to them by bringing them into this world. No, they are not indebted to us for raising them and turning them into the inspiring people of tomorrow.
While growing up, I heard it so many times – my mother telling me and my sister that she & papa sacrificed so much for us. Whenever my sister and I made an attempt to do things against my mother’s wishes, she was quick to make us feel guilty for being selfish.
“How could you be so selfish? Your papa and I sacrificed so much for you so that you can grow up and do things that hurt us! Why would you listen to us now; you are all grown up – do whatever you want even if that means people who sacrificed their whole life would feel insulted and hurt!”
But, this wasn’t just our story. My husband has a very similar story too. His mother, even at age of 62, makes sure her son feels indebted to her for bringing him into this world. Whenever he chooses to do something that she doesn’t like, she makes exactly the same statement that my mother used to make –“Issi din ke liye bada kiya tha humney bacchon ko!”
Before you read any further, here is a much-needed disclaimer: No all parents are the same. Not all parents make their kids feel the burden of their parents’ baggage. If you have never been shamed for making choices different from your parents; if you have never been made to feel guilty for not meeting the expectations of your parents, then I do understand that you may not be able to relate to it. But, if it is not your reality, that doesn’t mean it’s not true for others!
My husband and I made it a point that our kids won’t feel the same suffocation that we felt because of our parents. We are very clear that our kids don’t have to pay any debt to us just because we decided to bring them into this world. So, here’s a letter to my kids that they don’t have to pay anything to me for being their mother.
My Dear Children,
First thing first – you don’t owe me and your papa anything. We brought you into this life because we wanted to. If you feel we have sacrificed things in our life, please remember it is because we wanted to; not because you wanted us to.
While growing up, I heard your grandma blaming us for quitting career; She blamed us for her unhappiness as a housewife. It was quite painful for me and my sister to bear the burden of how we became the reason for our parents’ unhappiness. We were told that we are carrying a debt to our parents, that can’t be repaid ever. At every step, we were reminded to think about their happiness before ours, and that brought a lot of unhappiness and disappointment among us. We were always reminded that our life wasn’t our life. It was our parents’ and we were just born to meet their expectations. We lived a very suffocated childhood and we never want you to feel the same.
We want you to know that you make us better people. You are the reason why your dad & I try so hard. We have shed our egos, become more empathetic, and understood the real meaning of family. You have added another dimension of happiness to our lives. You taught us how to change with time; how to be more than just what society expects us to be!
Your father and I started our parenthood journey with a lot of apprehensions. The reason being that we were so scared of not putting you through what we had to. We never wanted you to succumb to the parental pressure of being accountable to us. We never wanted to hold you back or become the reason for your unhappiness. But, when we held you for the first time in our arms, we realized that you will guide us through.
Thanks to you, how an unsure mother and a father full of doubts learned so many things along the way; along with you. And, as you are growing up, we want to let you know that this is your life and you don’t owe us anything. We have learned so much because of you. We just hope that we have guided you well to make sound life decisions.
We don’t want you to carry any burden or obligation; we don’t want you to feel guilty for choosing the path of your happiness; we wish you a life full of success and happiness. And, thank you for making us so happy with your presence in our lives!