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.