Celeste Baliraj
3 minute read
27 Nov 2019
1:00 pm

Parenting – are you ready for the lifelong commitment?

Celeste Baliraj

Parenty guest writer Celeste Arends talks about the lifelong commitment of parenting and how she chooses her battles.

Picture: iStock

My son will be turning eleven years old in less than a month and I find myself reflecting on how much he’s grown as a person. At the same time, I know how much more learning and growth lies ahead.

It seems like a second ago when we were encouraging him to crawl – holding our hands at the back of his feet so that he could push himself forward on all fours. At the same time, I remember all too clearly the heart-skipping moments as he learned to walk and then how to ride a bike without training wheels. As a new parent, you are often warned about the sleepless nights when they are babies and then the “terrible twos”.  What nobody warned me about was that the teaching and “phases” never end.

Although it seems obvious now, as a young parent, I never realised that parenting would be a lifelong challenge. Oh sure, it has its joys and I personally cannot say I had any sleepless nights and certainly don’t recall any “terrible twos”, but the pressure of always wondering if you’re doing the “right” thing is so overwhelming at times that I literally want to run away.

A dear friend of mine had a similar conversation with me when we were both young and free. She was adamant that she would never have children because she was afraid that she would be a bad parent and that she had no guarantee that she wouldn’t somehow end up raising a psychopath killer.

Back then, I couldn’t follow her logic and believed that you had to be a “bad” person to raise a “bad” child – a naïve notion. Now I live in constant fear that this person I am raising could one day turn out to be someone I don’t recognise. I catapult between “Am I too much of a disciplinarian that he will rebel” and “Am I too much of a friend to him that he won’t respect what we say when he’s older”.

And as we swiftly approach adolescence with our son, I feel like I am only just recovering from the trauma of teaching him to read (C-a-t Cat; Th-he-e The). I have opted to sit on the sidelines for the now constant fights with his father taking the lead on studying for tests and exams. And, I refuse to constantly ask him if he has remembered to brush his teeth. Instead, I save my energy for managing the mood swings and relationship building or mending.

I believe teaching him good relationship building skills is probably going to be one of the most important lessons we can try and teach, but ultimately, his EQ will determine how he manages relationships with friends and family both now and later in life. For now, the thin line between being liked by your peers and being bullied is so minuscule that sometimes I even find it hard to show him one side from the other.

So, we must take each day as it comes and try to be the best versions of ourselves in the hope that something will stick. After all, if our parents made it look so easy, we can certainly follow suit.

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I am an events manager by day and warrior mum and wife in my spare time. Playing referee between my 10-year-old son and 40-year-old husband (when they aren’t ganging up on me!) is one of my favourite activities. Delivering under pressure both professionally and personally is what I do best. Anyone who is a mum will know that multi-tasking and time management is one of our key strengths.