Managing Expectations

In continuation to my previous post, I wanted to add a few more thoughts.

In my working life, one of the things that I used to stress to my team was on the importance of managing expectations. There were several instances where people would commit to more than they could deliver, or to time lines which were just not practical or possible, for that matter. It did far more harm to then have to go back to the client and tell them that the work item that was promised could not be delivered on time.  We have an unexplicable urge ‘to please’ people. So many times, people say ‘yes’ to things, to avoid conflict, but then end in bigger conflicts than what would have been, if they had handled it right the first time.

Managing expectation, in my experience, is the crux of all relationships, be it professional or personal. It makes much better sense to set expectations right, rather than set high expectations and fail to deliver.

And it works both ways. Some children have a sense of entitlement that is mind boggling. I remember having a conversation with somebody who was angry at his parents, because he needed money for something and his parents refused – they said they did not have it. Now this fellow is well educated, in a well paying job, surely time to stop expecting handouts from his parents? I feel it is totally fine for his parents to have refused, but he kept saying that they had enough to spare. Whether they had enough or not – surely, it is their decision. Can’t they decide what they want to do with their hard earned money? Does being somebody’s son or daughter entitle us to everything they own? I think once parents have brought us up, given us an education, we really cannot expect handouts from them. If they have money, I would rather that they kept it and used it for something they like. Have some fun, go on holidays..

There are other instances of parents assumed to be ready made, free, babysitters. I find that really unfair. Even more so, when sometimes, they are uprooted from where they are comfortable, and brought to places(sometimes abroad), where they know nobody, have no life for themselves, and have the job of looking after the grandkids.  It is perfectly acceptable if the parents want to do it, but sometimes, they just do not know how to say no and end up in a situation where everybody is unhappy.

The same goes for parents. Just because they have brought us up, does not give them a ‘right’ over our lives. I am sure that most children would love to be there for their parents, but it works much better when expectations are managed and set.  There are families where the parents live with their son and have a miserable time, because they cannot understand why their daughter-in-law comes home so late from work.  Their son coming back late is perfectly acceptable, but not for the daughter-in-law. It really helps if expectations are set right in the first instance. The fact that both of them hold down jobs and that both their jobs are equally important is something that is best understood at the beginning rather than after things spin off into a point of no return. Pixie’s comment on this post is one such example.

Unreasonable expectations from all quarters can be equally de-stabilizing. Be it from the younger generation or the older. It makes life so much easier, if we could all set, manage and handle expectations at all fronts. Although I have to admit, managing expectations in professional life is a cake-walk in comparison to the managing expectations in personal life.

Sacrifice? Really?

I decided to take time off from work, 3 years ago because I found it difficult to balance everything to my liking. I am sure, a lot of women would have managed better in my situation, but I decided to take it easy, because it worked for us as a family. And the reason I say this is, it was my decision. It was not a sacrifice. It was a well-thought out decision and my daughter (at one year of age)was one person who was not party to the decision-making process.

Why this statement? IHM’s latest post. The post touched a chord. It is a topic I feel rather strongly about, so I can’t help but pen down my thoughts here as well.

Given my background, how fair would it be if I say to my daughter – ‘I sacrificed my career for you, now it is your turn to pay me back’? She, who did not ask me to be born, she, who was not party to the decision that we made,  should she be made to bear the brunt of my expectations and my decisions in life?

As parents, I think a child gives us so many joys.  Those things itself make our life richer. Just her presence, her hugs and her love makes me glow with happiness. All I want is for her to have a happy and content childhood. For her to grown up into a good person, who is mature and sensible. I had her to enjoy being a mother – not as security for my old age.  She made my life complete – I did not do her a favour by giving birth to her. There I think is where the crux is.  In an older generation, people had children(read boys) so that they had security when they aged. Childhood joys and bringing up a child was more matter-of-fact, something that had to be done.

A child had only so much to say. A child had a lot to do though. A child had to make sure that all the expectations were met, that parents are always obeyed, irrespective of how old the children themselves were..

Now, I am not really advocating a life where we have no responsibilities. The way I look at it, if children is brought up well, there would be no need to force responsibilities on them. They will be wise enough to take care of both sets of parents. The problem occurs when the expectations from parents are so high, that they might road-roll over what a child might have planned – be it career or choice of life partner. And when I say children – I mean both girls and boys,. Both girls and boys should be equally responsible. Why should only the men be burdened with it?

Another thing that keeps coming up is how the Western society lacks family bonding and has no family ties. After living in different continents in the west, I do think that it is a blanket statement, which we use to make ourselves feel better. There are issues everywhere, and there are exemplary families everywhere too.  Every day at Poohi’s school, I see lots of grandparents pitching in with the child care. They drop and pick up their grandchildren. They participate in school trips, volunteer at school activities. They don’t seem lonely and sad. Most of them live in their own homes, with or without a partner, and are yet very involved with their families. I had a landlady who had a 90-year-old mother, and she used to be quite involved with her mother’s life as well as with her daughter and grandkids lives. All this while living with her partner.

One of the problems is that the older generation in our country( a large percentage of them atleast) are not occupied, busy, with a life and circle of friends of their own. It is almost as if, the moment retirement comes, they have no idea what to do after that. So then sets in the dis-satisfaction and unhappiness. For some, of course, it sets in earlier when their children refuse to toe the line. Then they feel that all their ‘sacrifice’ was of no use. But then, ‘sacrifice’  means that it was a ‘selfless deed’, doesn’t it? So how is a selfless deed, selfless, when one wants something in return? That is more of an investment, isn’t it?

Can we trust anybody?

As I watched the news this morning, I can’t describe what I felt to this piece of news..

A nursery worker has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and three charges over distributing indecent images of children.

A nursery worker! A person in whose hands so many parents must have left their children. Whom so many parents must have trusted.. So many parents like me.. parents who must have searched, checked every possible reference..

I remember when I went back to work after daughter was born. I had been to countless nurseries.. rejecting most when some little thing did not match my expectations.. nothing but the best.. All for that sense of trust that these people, to whom I entrusted her from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening – will look after her well, in my absence.. As far as I know, that nursery was exemplary.. had very good reports.. was a national chain… everything was perfect with it – but how can I be sure?   When I saw this nursery worker in the report above.. my heart comes to my mouth.. What if it had been my child? What if there had been just that one bad apple in the nursery ?

With parenthood comes a lot of happiness and a lot of responsibilities as well as a lot of insecurites.. I remember when we took the decision to opt for a nursery as opposed to a nanny or a childminder.. in the hope that a nursery is more likely to follow processes and with the number of people around, it will be more difficult for one person to do something wrong.. With CCTVs and everything  – it somehow made me feel secure.. But when I heard of this nursery worker.. all my fears came rushing back.. Can we trust anybody? How do we ensure that she is alright when she goes to school? What if something happens there? Can we ever be secure in the knowledge that our babies will safe?

PS: I know I have not responded to most of the comments from the previous posts nor have I been able to read your posts .. Been a bit busy.. but could not stop myself from doing this post when I saw this in the news.

The Amazing, Fun, Crazy Rollercoaster ride of Motherhood…

of motherhood.. I know it sounds cliched but I absolutely love everthing about being a mother- atleast so far 🙂 I may change my mind later- but I am certainly loving it as of now!

Goofy Mumma tagged me with this tag about listing 5 things I love about being a mother.. Just five things? oh – this is going to be tough – to select just five things 🙂

One of the greatest thing motherhood has taught me is to appreciate my parents even more.. It makes me appreciate everything that I had taken for granted so far – their unconditional love, their putting us ahead of everything else, the way our happiness comes first and foremost, and with it, my own emotions of wanting to be there for them, in any way that they might need me.. I always felt this way – but I think it has become even stronger after I became a parent. If I could do half the job that they did, with me  – I would be thankful..

I think it would be fair to say that motherhood has changed me beyond my wildest dreams.. While, I was always the mothering kind, the strength of the emotion that I feel for my daughter – still surprises and amazes me.. All those times, when some little thing freaked me out, of how I was on the phone to the NHS Advise line, because she threw up as a one month old.. Yes, all the books told me not to worry – but I still needed to be reassured.. Like Goofy Mumma, I was totally freaked out when she fell from the bed at 5 months – though she fell to a carpetted floor and was fine.. Rushing her to the emeergency because she fell head first from the sofa and having to wait there till 9:00 in the night, on a night that my husband was not in town.. So many insecurites and so many triumphs! The joy of seeing her turn over or smile at me made up for every worry that might have come my way. I used to pour over books and the internet to check out everything – I remember asking a doctor why she was not smiling at 3 weeks – I was worried she was autistic – little knowledge! Motherhood has been a truly roller coaster ride. So many things that bring a smile to my face, so many things I wonder, if I should have done differently.. How I used to love the way, she used to crawl her way to me, sometimes over other children at the daycare, when I would go to pick her up 🙂 And how everyday, when we used to drop her off, she was so eager to start her day – that she would even spare us a second glance.. So many things, so ways she has touched our lives, and  taken over it completely

So now, to do the actual tag, five things I love about being a mother.

1. The amazing fact that you can so totally be in love with another person, even if she manages to do really gross things at times.

2. The fact that being a mother has totally changed my perspective towards life.. My goals, ambitions, had been so different, just three years ago..

3. The way, sometimes, when I read her a bedtime story, she just hugs me and tells me ‘ I lub you, Amma’ – out of nowwhere!The way she hugged me today and told her dad to get me tea – coz I was in bed, unwell! And the way, she started crying and got upset, because I was unwell..

4. The way she hugs and thanks us for something routine, as giving her, her favourite strawberry milk or buying her a pair of shoes! Her emotion when she thanks us amazes both of us!

5. The way she jumps and runs towards her dad everyday, when he returns from work. And I will never forget the way, she clung to him at the airport, when we got back from vacation.
How she is moved, by any child that cries, and tries telling them – ‘Don’t cry, baby’!

Oh there are so many things.. that move me, amaze me and make me thankful that I am a mother and that I am able to experience all this.. I know that I am no perfect mother, nor can I ever reach that – but I know, that I will do everything to try and do whatever I can to make my daughter’s life better.. I have doubts about my parenting style all the time.. I worry about mollycoddling her too much, and then about being too strict with her.. But all I can say with any sincerity is that ever since I have become a mother, I want to do my very best for her.. I do think that motherhood has brought out the best in me..

I believe this tag is about linking mothers across the world.. Most of the mothers I know have already been tagged, So I am tagging.

Happy Kitten

Varunavi

Manju

Hip Hop Grandmom

NM

N

Sandhya

 

Edited to addRenu – Don’t know how I missed tagging you – Apologies!!!

And Daddy bloggers – Masood and Rakesh – I love your baby posts!