Let me start this piece by urging you to open the newspapers from the past several weeks. Read the news from last year and the year before. Some pattern there? Yes, there is a distinct one when it comes to news related to crimes targeting children. A child murdered on school premises, a child raped outside in a park, a child molested by a sports instructor, a child misguided by online predators. The list is horrifying and endless. Child safety, which was possibly assumed to be present some decades back, has now become a luxury.
And that leads us to wonder as parents, as to what is the solution? The legal system is not really in place when it comes to protecting children. The schools are ready to circumvent any rules that do exist, in order to make money or save it! The role of the mother becomes even more complex – usually she is the primary, or even the sole care giver. But she has to now become doubly vigilant, doubly involved, doubly aware and informed, with the lives of her child or children. Our parents have also been protectors for us, during our childhood. But it was not a time-consuming exercise since safety wasn’t such a challenge then. In order to protect the children, due to the world we live in, women have to leave their jobs and spend time and effort, by being around the children as much as possible. Where does that then leave them with time to pursue their career or even their passion, except for in an extremely limited manner?
The other trend one sees in millennial parents is that we want our children to learn everything, and I mean, literally everything. We want children who are going for sports, for music, for theatre, for Spelling Bee competitions, for just about every class that can keep them occupied and make them “all-rounders”. Good to have that kind of thought process, but what does that leave you with? Firstly, it leaves you with children whose lives are running on schedules and not on spontaneity. Secondly, it leaves you with mothers, whose lives are occupied with rushing to these classes to drop the children and being around (because of the first aspect we spoke about – Child Safety) and then coming back home. Where, again, is the time to step out of your home to follow a career? To set up a business venture? To manage good quality work that you enjoy doing but needs your time and focus?
So, in today’s times, while one seems to see the positives like how technology has created different and flexible work arrangements, our general environment and surroundings have regressed into times where a child is no longer safe in any place – home, school, park, classes. Parents, specifically mothers have therefore had to reduce working, and be around to protect their children. Because sadly, child rearing has become more about protecting than about nurturing.
By Simran Oberoi
Simran Oberoi is an independent HR Consultant in Bangalore, with HR Advisory, Knowledge Development and Research expertise of over 13 years, in Rewards & Compensation, Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Development, HR & Social Media. She has worked with consulting firms like Hay Group, Aon Hewitt and PricewaterhouseCoopers in the past, in India as well as Asia-Pacific leadership roles. Simran is also a keen baker – you can find her recipes at https://ovenderfulhealthybaking.wordpress.com/