Stay at home grandparents – A thing of the past?

They say it takes a village to raise a family – and it truly does. But these days things are different. Gone are the days of everyone contributing to the ongoings of a household day in and day out. Typically, the more westernized daughter-in-law’s and sons were the breadwinners of the home. And their completely eastern parents stayed home and did the child rearing. The eldely filled their days with changing diapers, stroller walks, and fitting in their radio listening time in between.

But now everything’s changed. We’re meant to make a life and a living, all while our parents are doing the very same, just with completely different agendas. So how does one check all the boxes necessary without losing ones head? You call in the reinforcements. You seek help by any means necessary. There’s a reason the recent trend of hiring domestic caregivers or enrolling your young in preschool much earlier than most of us joined has sky rocketed in popularity.

But still there’s something missing. There’s something that just ultimately connected all us 80’s South Asian second-gen kids with our roots by the way our bibi swooped her chunni around her neck, and managed to fill the house with the scent of “thurka” at the same time every evening. We’re missing that magical touch of our own true culture.

Our parents have now completely assimilated into the Canadian way of life. The “bibi-era” is long gone – and we have no one but ourselves to blame. We forced our parents to drop their accents and their baggy salwaars. We cringed when our Caucasian friends came over and we heard the cutting board and haldi can come out the drawer. We didn’t want ANYTHING to do with our strong roots then, so why complain of their absence now?

Each way of life has its benefits. With more breadwinners, comes less stress on the youngins to be the sole source of income for the household – but they also have to think twice about child rearing. Another thing not going in our favour is just how much knowledge is now out there about parenting.

When we were babies and slightly beyond our parents just kind of played it by ear and we ended up pretty alright. Nowadays, new parents are being held to such a standard that we drive ourselves nuts, even when our kids aren’t, that we aren’t doing it right. We’re constantly trying to perfect our parenting skills only to cause more stress and less fulfillment in our new roles.

Maybe we need to take a page from our good ol’ bibis book and just take it one stroller walk, Sikhism story, or radio talk show at a time – and just go with it.

All in all both ways of life – with grandparents of home and with grandparents out the house has its pros and cons. Each family just had to figure out what works for them. Accept help when it’s offered, and seek help even when it’s not. Because the days of having young with strong demands, and raising them in today’s day and age is something challenging but brilliant – if only you aspire to this role in the best way you know how.

Loving & Leaving Your Kids 

I used to say I never wanted children. My rationale was that I just wouldn’t be able to bear the thought of the day they slam a door in my face shouting, “I HATE YOU!” Oh those dreaded teen angsty years to come. But of course I realized that is only a short lived time period with your child and it’s silly to write off having kids altogether just because of that.
So my husband and I made the decision shortly after my grandmother passed that we were ready to start a family of our own. The reason being because I saw how far the branches of her family tree reached and how lucky she was to not only be loved and surrounded by her grandchildren but also her great grand children too. I wanted to be so lucky as that one day. Which can’t exactly happen if you begin having kids at the age of 30.
So I battled a lot with wondering what kind of mother I would be. Then I just decided that I would let my son decide that. If he needed to be parented in a more hands off independent way, then so be it. If he needed me to be an arms length away at all times, then that’s how I’d be.
But there’s one thing which I have learned for certain. It’s that no matter how you raise your kids, make sure you raise them so that once they reach a certain age (adulthood) they are able to be fully independent autonomous beings completely in charge of their own lives.
It’s hard to make that shift. It’s hard to draw back. I know I’ll have an incredibly difficult time knowing when my role of being the centre of his universe is over. But that’s just a fact of life. In order to let one grow, you have got to let go a little bit. Of course I’ll always be his mother, and I am talking way way down the line here, maybe some twenty odd years down the road, but there’s one thing for certain, it’s that I want him to always be able to live strong and proud on his own two feet.
I don’t believe parents should be a safety net or crutches to their offspring. This only handicaps and stagnates their development. If you’re never allowing them to be their own person, you’re robbing them of the opportunity to have their own life just as you have.

The reason this is even a relevant issue is because all too often in my culture I see adult children hiding in shadows of their parents. They’re incapable of leading their own life because they’re just riding off the success of their parents.

Heck even I was raised in an extemely sheltered manner. My mom made my doctors appointments and cooked all three meals a day for me until the day I moved out into my husbands house.

But of course once you’re married. It’s silly to still live that way. Not to go off topic but why get married at all then? You may as continue being a child in your own home.

What brought this topic to my attention was during my sons gym class at the end the instructors asked us to step away for a few moments (called seperation time) to enourage the development of independence in our babies. I thought it was kind of silly at first but then I realized that it is important to not always coddle your child and be around them every waking moment because then as they grow older and you pull away it might not go so smoothly.

And sure some may say that one day he’s going to grow up and want nothing to do with me completely on his own so all of this is irrelevant but raising your child with that in mind is ridiculous. You shouldn’t be focused on the time he or she won’t need you anymore. That’s like not living your life the way you wish to because one day we are all going to cease to exist anyway.

I suppose all I am trying to say is parenthood is all about balance. It’s about enjoying the moments of their youth as long as you can, and learning to adapt and change to each stage of their life as they grow. This is the true mark of a loving family. Giving them the freedom to excel, while providing a strong base which always remains the same.

What are all your thoughts on parenthood if you are in this stage of life? Or what do you think of the way you were raised yourself? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!