I am a mother of 5 grown up children.As I remarried after losing my husband , my second marriage came with a husband and his three children. With my two, we found ourselves parenting 5 children( 3 daughters and 2 sons) ranging from eldest 22 to the youngest 14. This was thirteen years back , now the youngest is 27 years old and the the eldest …..you do the math !When we got together they were all in different studying ages of life . So the early years of marriage went in their schedules, exams, submissions, half yearlys and finals. We thought just a few years , they will grow up and take charge of their lives . Oh, how naive can parents be !!!Now they are all settled, daughters married , ( eldest 2 are mothers themselves) but we still find ourselves in the center of it all . Not a day goes when I am not consulted by one of our daughters on something as innocuous as how to cook this or that vegetable to what should I do when my mother in law says or does this?My job is to hear her out, calm her down and give the best advice I can and something which will not aggravate her further. Its a tight rope walk and I pat myself on my back if she keeps the phone down happy and smiling.Boys come with another set of challenges. Fed up of their jobs, routine , pays , etc ….my job is to show them the proverbial silver lining, boost their morale when down and generally be the sandbag on which they can practice throwing their punches.Our youngest , now going through the growing up pains of entering responsible adulthood wants to know why should he be committed to one single girl only? Why should he give up on things he likes for her ? Does everyone accept and change for their partner ? Try answering these mind boggling questions when almost falling asleep after a tiring day ,as he is half way around the world !Slowly it has dawned upon me and my husband , that though we are now taking it easy and finding time for ourselves and our pursuits , we will never be able to detach ourselves from parenting! Its life long and all the different ages of our children come with different set of challenges to be dealt with !Counselling our children through life is a parent’s job. We have to be available for them , be there for them when they stumble and cheer them when they get it right . Though they disregard when we say we speak with experience, but some better sense makes them listen to us sometimes and that is our victory .There is no sure shot formula of being a good parent. Its all instinct, trial and error, with lot of pitfalls on the way. But I am sure, no parent would want it to be otherwise. Fun part of being a parent , is the journey and not the destination !
Vaishali Chandorkar-Chitale was trained as a journalist and worked for many years as a teacher. She now lives in Mumbai.