Necessity Is The Mother

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I grew up in London…
I thank my dad for that…
Because I learnt the greatest lesson…
To see the world as round, not flat…

I learnt other lessons too…
To appreciate art and music…
And very hygienic loos!

The biggest lesson…
I learnt by far…
Was to be an…
Independent star!

I was a shy…
Twit of a girl…
Never knowing…
The ways of the world!

But in London…
As I modeled my mum…
I saw, for the first time…
How housework was done…

She worked at BA…
(My mum always works!)
So there wasn’t any other way…
But to help everyday!

She stayed home…
Just a short while…
Enough to teach…
Her shy girl child…

Soon, I was shopping…
At the corner shops…
At the butcher’s, the baker’s…
Buying dough or pork chops!

Going to the launderette…
Sometimes on weekends…
When mum had to cook…
Dinners for ten!

And when…
My pals would come….
For a day-spend…
In my back garden…
We’d climb apple trees…
Dirty our knees…

And my mum would make…
An apple pie, she’d bake…
Then give me a rake…
To clean the back garden…
And if, a mess I’d make…
I was never given pardon…

I cleaned it again…
Till it was spic and span!

With physical independence…
Came mental as well…
And an independence of mind…
Made me stronger inside…
Though still, I was a quiet child…

By the age of ten,
I was unlocking the door…
When I came home from school alone… with a key…
At a quarter to three…

With such independence…
You tend to become fearless…
You become quite free…
And this was a sense of liberty…
For me…
This was a sense of what…
I would be…
And so I believe…
In a balance …. and equality…

Necessity is the mother…
Of all invention…
My mother is the inventor…
Who created my independence…

And I’m still a quiet sort…
But strong in my head…
I can kill with my words…
When’s all done and said…

Now my daughter, she…
Is the antithesis of me…
She already has a sense of free…
Maybe because…
I’ve raised her to be…
A no-nonsense type…
Without all the hype…
Standing up for herself…
With no kind of help…
Comfy in her own skin…
And undictatable by this…
Stereotypical world we live in…

But her independent mind…
Came before physical independence…
So she often takes for granted…
Many chores, for instance,

She demands her dinner…
Oh she always says “please”,
But it’s an order that’s given…

Or says, “Where are my clothes?”
I say, “In your drawer”…
She demands to have them out…
Like some kind of royal!!

It’s my own fault, I admit…
I’ve been, for a large part…
A helicopter mum…
But a few years ago, I did start…

To ignore all demands…
One day, daughter was without food…
Because she refused…
To heat up her meal…
I felt guilty…
But didn’t squeal…

I held my ground…
And soon daughter did…
Many chores assigned her…
Without so much as a crib!

In my quiet way…
I’m wielding a sword…
Behavior modification…
Jobs for reward…

She’s passively resistant…
But is doing the chores…
Becoming fully independent…
By getting involved…
Positive reinforcement…
Opens doors…
Cures many flaws!

A good by-product of this…
Is that she tells her father…
“You cannot expect maiya…
To be cook, chauffeur and dish washer!

She isn’t a lackey!
She already works so hard…
Not just at home…
So stop being lazy lard!”

This is music to my ears…
And has the desired effect…
Though I started training her late…
I have no regrets!

Today, our kids have privileges (husbands too!)
That we never had…
The first being car and driver…
And that is just sad…

And a maid is attached…
To the kid…
At the hip…
Of every blessed child…
Right from the time of the crib…
And for the rest of their lives…
Kids are used to giving lip…
To the maid…
Who’s often enslaved…
How can they learn ‘equality’
With an attitude of patriarchy!?

Then, suddenly, these parents…
Will give spontaneous “independence”…
Neglectful of real upbringing…
Letting the teen go wild…
Some parents know least…
Of what their kids are saying,
Doing…

They become these lazy louts…
Who think of no one and nought…
Take everything for granted…
And become elitist and slanted…

In their views of the world…
And the perception of right and wrong…
Thinking the world …
Should dance to their song…

This isn’t true just for men…
Women grow up like this too…
All kids have to be ingrained…
With real-life situations and issues…
And have to have consideration for others too…

This is far from the picture…
These days…
And having your head on your shoulders…
Isn’t, unfortunately, a mainstay…

In such a scenario…
How can a kid grow…
With any sense of equality…
That we know?

So we bring up children to expect…
A certain kind of world…
And when that doesn’t tally…
Minds go into a swirl…
But, hopefully, from this…
Then, they learn!

As I said before…
It’s catch 22…
Parents teach their kids….
Only what they knew…

By Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade is a Clinical Child Psychologist, Part-time mother, blogger, French teacher and IATA teacher. She has worked with the differently abled, and now works on and off as a teacher.

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