Mothers’ Day seemed like a good day to write about the fact that I consider myself a childless mother. So when I received Mothers’ Day wishes this year, I simply said ‘Thank you.’ Another reason for not clarifying that I have no children is the fact that it seems to make some people uncomfortable. I’ve had conversations that went like this:
New Acquaintance: So, how many children do you have?
Me: I don’t have children.
New Acquaintance: Sorry.
Me: Why are you sorry? I’m not.
New Acquaintance: Oh….
Me: (Then attempting to put them at ease, although I’m not sure why I bother) I got married only at 41………..
By the time I’m done, their eyes are glazed, because not only do I have no children, I’m not sorry about it, and perhaps they’re now wondering whether I’ve been married before…. and they simply don’t know what to say.
Don’t I sometimes wish I had children? I would be lying if I said ‘No.’ But I’ve accepted this far better than I would have if you told me when I was 20 that I wouldn’t be having children. And honestly, I’ve had the chance to mother kids, as I explain here.
A version of the post first appeared on Parentous.
A Childless Mother
You watch an infant having a tantrum, holding her breath and getting blue in the face. You tell her screaming mother not to panic and try to divert the child’s attention. Instead, the mom turns on you with: ” What do you know? You have no children!”
It’s the same thing you hear when you advise a friend that her 14 year old son is old enough to take the school bus or public transport. But no, she insists on dropping him and picking him up from school herself.
When a 17 year old, obviously has serious issues at home, gets into a fight at school every day and is eventually imprisoned for petty crime, you counsel the parents. You tell them that their son is actually a soft-hearted kid and very smart. He’s hanging out with the wrong crowd because he wants attention. They look at you as if you’re insane. They know their son is a no-good fellow who needs a sound thrashing. After all, what do you know, you don’t have kids.
Yes, I don’t have kids. It’s not by choice, but by circumstance.
The fact that I have no children does not mean that I don’t understand children. It does not mean that when I tell you not to panic about your child turning blue that I am not worried too. No, I’m telling you that your panic is going to transfer to the kid and make the situation worse. When I tell you to let your son go on his own to school, it does not mean that I am heartless. No, it just means that I believe you’ll be teaching him independence. When I tell you that your son is a good kid, it’s because I’ve taken the time to talk to him as a person and listen to his cries for attention.
I know that if I had children, I would have loved them as fiercely as you do yours.
Sure I would make some errors in judgement in their upbringing. There would have been times that my children would open up better with an uncle, an aunt or a teacher. I would not have been a perfect parent – because there never was a perfect parent.
I am childless and that’s a fact that I’ve come to accept. But, please know, you do not become a parent the moment you give birth to a child. Parenting is something that is learned from practice, but also from openness. Parenting is the skill of relating to a child in such a way that s/he feels secure, loved, cherished and has the freedom to be who s/he is.
I am childless. But my phone rings early in the morning, on a particular day every year and a young man, now in his thirties says, “I want you to be the first one to wish me for my birthday”. When that young man, who used to be the misunderstood 17-year-old, and now a successful manager in an MNC calls you ‘Mom’, you know that even a childless person can be a parent.
What are your views on childless parents?
“Sometimes we just have to let things go” is something I’ve come to believe very strongly. This is especially true about relationships. I’ve gone from attempting to force people love and respect me, to choosing to love and respect myself first. I’ve learned to realize when to quit a relationship and thought I’d share my ideas with you.
Know When To Quit A Relationship
We often hold on to people in our lives because we value them and we have learned to love them. But, when to quit a relationship? When to know it’s time to leave someone important? When do you stop letting into your life?
When there is abuse.
The abuse need not to be physical. Abuse comes in different forms; it could be verbal or psychological. It could be when a person keeps on getting from you without giving back. It’s when you feel used up after spending your time with them.
When there is no respect.
Whether it’s relationship with friends or your significant other or even with a relative, respect must always be present. When there is no respect, boundaries are crossed, and your rights as a person are violated. Quit a relationship where respect is not present anymore.
When there is no commitment.
If you’re the only person committed to make the relationship work out, then it’s time to quit. A relationship is a two-way street. It is a partnership. When the other person feels like he’s free to do whatever he wants at your expense, or does not make you a part of his plans, it means he’s not committed to you.
When you’re changing in a bad way.
A relationship should be nurturing. It shouldn’t worsen you or kill you softly. It should bring you joy and not sorrow, because what’s the point of spending your life with a person if it only makes you miserable?
When you hold each other back.
In life, staying stuck is as good as being dead. When your partner or someone in your life keeps you from reaching your goals, it’s time to quit them. When you find yourself holding back your partner from becoming a better person, it’s time to re-evaluate your motives.
What keeps you in a relationship? What is it that makes you think it’s time to leave? If you’re not happy, if you’re not becoming a better version of yourself, maybe it’s time to walk out the door and never come back. Know when to quit a relationship so you can make room for the good people to come into your life.
You might also like to read the digital version of my article from ‘Complete Wellbeing’ : 5 signs that your friend is just pretending to like you.
It’s Friday today and although Sanchie Vee and I had decided to take a break from #FridayReflections through April, I decided to it slightly differently. I’m putting up a linky – and asking you to write on any of the older prompts that you may have liked and missed. I’ll have the same linky up all month through, just on fresh posts. Also, I’m asking for a link back to my blog in your post to prevent people who are writing ‘off prompt’ from adding their links.
If you want to know more about #FridayReflections and find prompts to write on, I’ve created a page with the ‘rules’ and the prompts. So go ahead and have a ball. Remember, to link up here so we can all enjoy your writing.
This post is in response to the prompt “Sometimes we just have to let things go” from 3 June 2016.
Image of heart on a beach via Shutterstock
Ten years, this year. Yes, that’s how long we’ve been married. We celebrated our anniversary in our quiet way – just the two of us holidaying in Goa – the place we got married in. At the end of ten years, and at the ripe old age of 52, I can say the best part of our marriage is that he gets me! Yes, that’s the biggest blessing, because I’m afraid that most times my family of origin cannot fathom my choices and behavior! They find me a bit too much to handle! Also, I’ve lost quite a few friends over the years because of differences of opinion and the fact I’ve made not to allow anyone to dictate my choices.
He gets me!
With José it’s easy for me to say what I feel and know that he won’t be shocked. It’s easy to be authentic. He’s not embarrassed by me raising my voice (unlike my Dad who often told me to speak softly) or taking on someone. He gets that I need to stand up for myself. Quite simply, he gets that I’m an independent woman and gives me the space to be me.
But he also gets my goat! Ha, ha. Yes, today’s prompt is about 5 things about your partner that irritate you and I’m sorry I’m going to throw you under the bus, José.
- One of the things that irritates me, is a common problem that I’m sure most women face with their male partners. I dare not share a problem or an issue with him without him starting to give me a solution. Once you understand that men move into problem solving mode because they don’t want you to be hurt or struggle with something, it’s easy to accept.
- Another thing that irritates me is that he’s almost always right. I’m often quite naive and tend to go headlong into things and generously offer my time and effort to people and causes. He’s pretty good at reading situations and people and will sometimes warn me ahead about how things are going to turn out. Nine times out of ten, José’s predictions are right.
- He’s messier than I am. We’re both pretty messy, especially about our study tables and reading area. Too much stuff and not sorted out too. I guess I’ve always hoped that I’d have someone to clean up for me. No such luck!
- He calls me out on bull****. This kind of goes hand in hand with #2. Now it’s not always a comfortable feeling to have someone telling you that you’re hiding behind excuses. So let me put it down in the ‘things that irritate me’ list, as much as I appreciate it.
- He doesn’t like surprises. If you’re a Leo, you’ll know that surprises, gift-giving and receiving are things we love. José does try to surprise me, but for him the best part of romance is in the everyday gestures of love and caring and in buying me things that I need. He puts a lot of effort into planning our vacations too.
The best part of living together for this long is that we’ve learned to accept each other’s craziness. I’m certain José’s list will be double the length of mine, but who cares, he’s stuck with me!
If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Everyday Gyaan give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.
Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.
Prompts for this week:
- Write about something you always think ‘what if…’ about
- Valentine’s Day – yay or nay?
- 5 things that irritate you about your partner
- “Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one.
- Picture Prompt (credit: http://everydaygyaan.com)
Our featured writer last week was Mithila for her favourite writing book. You can be our featured writer too. All you need to do is write on one of the prompts and link up below. Remember to read other posts and share the love. Don’t forget to come back on Monday and vote for your favorite post!
Image of older married couple via Shutterstock
Our lives revolve around relationships. A happy relationship with our Maker, partner, family, or friends doesn’t just come about. There are important rules for a happy relationship to happen. As relationships are a huge part of our everyday, it’s necessary to keep it healthy.
A happy relationship needs hard work. It takes effort on both sides to keep it healthy. Some people end up sabotaging their relationships without knowing it. And when they realize, it’s too late.
Here are 5 Important Rules for a Happy Relationship
As long as there is mutual respect, there is harmony. As long as you respect the other person, there will be peace even when you don’t always agree. When you respect someone, you will not do anything to hurt their feelings. With respect present, there will be equality, there will not be hurtful words thrown at each other, and there will be consideration. It will be easier to accept that not everyone is the same. People involved in respectful relationships are generally happy.
Always make time.
Whether it’s your spouse, children, friends, or parents, it’s important to make time for the relationship to grow. Always make time for prayers to grow your faith and relationship with God. Aside from family time, schedule a date to spend quality time with your partner and each of your kids. Find time to see or at least chat with a friend. Visit your parents. Relationships die when you fail to nurture it with time. Spending time with the people in your life is one of the most important rules to follow for a happy relationship.
Rick Warren said it best: “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.”
Once in a while, try something new together. Visit a new place and explore together, watch a movie you haven’t seen yet or a movie with a different genre and discover arts together. Try a new hobby. You don’t even have to try a hobby together as being diverse gives you something to talk about. Thus, making you look forward to conversations.
Let others be.
You can’t control the other person. It could get suffocating when parents practice helicopter parenting. When your partner becomes too involved in your life, it can make you lose your sense of identity. It will make you feel as if your privacy has been invaded. This could sabotage any relationship. Give others the time and freewill to do what they want. Allow them to learn on their own. Let the other person grow as an individual so they could contribute better to the relationship. It takes a mature, whole, happy person to make a happy relationship, and not the other way around.
Never forget and underestimate the power of humor. If you can laugh at your own mistakes, and laugh with each other, of course it’s bound to be a happy relationship. Life is not always about rainbows and butterflies. There will always be storms, bumps along the road, reroutes and dead ends. You need people in your life that will make you see the light no matter how dark it may seem. A happy relationship happens when the people involved choose to make it happen. Choose humor. Laugh often.
There are many rules in life. Rules don’t bind us or strip us of our freedom. On the contrary, rules guide us so we can enjoy life more and avoid unnecessary stress. Same is true with relationships. There are important rules to follow. For a happy relationship to happen, don’t just wish for it to happen. Work on it, and revel in its fruit.
Do you have any rules you’d like to include?
Image of paper doll people via Shutterstock
Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken.
Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.
A while back, my friend, Lisa Brandel, wrote on her Facebook page ‘The Widow Lady‘ about dealing with the loss of a loved one:
One thing stands true though, after any kind of loss, we “start over” to one degree or another. The relationship is seen in reflection, and sometimes even more clearly. Those things we cherished about the people we lose, well, those sting for a long time after as we come to terms with the fact we will not have that from them again.
There is a unique opportunity……as we see those things that made the person we lost so special to us…we have an opportunity to be that for people we still have in our lives.
While Lisa was most probably referring to the death of a loved one, I began to think about the other losses we have, especially the loss of friendship. In recent years, for one reason or the other, I have lost friends. Some of these people were an integral part of my youth and adulthood, but are no longer friends.
I am much happier and freer without these people in my life – and I say that with no bitterness, but just that it’s the simple truth. There was anger, pain and feelings of betrayal (on both sides, I’m sure). For some time, it was difficult to think of these individuals without the emotions I mentioned.
I am able to look back and remember happier times in these relationships. When I read what Lisa wrote, it struck me that I could also think of some of the qualities that I admired in these people. Although they are no longer a part of my life, I can replace feelings of bitterness with memories of their good qualities. I could go a step further and try to incorporate these qualities in to my life. Wouldn’t that be the perfect healing for these relationships?
I would love to hear your views on this.
(Also do visit ‘The Widow Lady‘ – there’s loads of wisdom there!)
Indians are said to have a different concept of personal space when travelling by public transport – only because of the sheer size of our population. However, when it comes to interacting with people on a one-to-one basis, we’re pretty ‘normal’ and expect people to respect our personal space. As you are aware the concept of personal space differs from culture to culture, so I’m not sure whether our elevator etiquette quite matches international standards!
Personal Space Invaders
This post is really not about proxemics, although I could rant about mobile phone users invading our personal space. No, I’d rather talk about personal space invaders of another kind. In India, it’s perfectly normal for us to borrow newspapers and magazines from our fellow passengers in public transport. But what surprises visitors to India is how most people don’t think twice before asking you questions about your marital status, your progeny, your career and yes, even how much you earn! Perfect strangers would be offended if you didn’t answer these questions. The other day, Jose was travelling by auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) in Mumbai, and the driver began to ask him about his job. Rather than explain too much Jose told him he was retired. The man then wanted to know how long ago, and made a quick calculation and presumed to tell Jose that he looked very good for his age, which he probably put at over seventy!
But this post is not even about inquisitive strangers! Personal space invaders of the kind I’m talking about, in India at least, go by the code name of ‘well-wishers’. They can be members of your family, your friends, acquaintances, or someone providing you a service.
How do they invade your personal space?
How do they invade your personal space? By offering you unsolicited advice about how to live your life! Since I haven’t led a very ‘normal’ life by Indian standards, I’ve had plenty of well-wishers telling me what I should do. When I quit what was thought to be a very secure job, I was given loads of advice about how stupid I was being. A nun told me that now that I had no job and was past marriageable age (early thirties!), I should consider joining the convent for a ‘secure future’! When I did decide to get married, in my early forties, a well-wisher inquired if had checked out Jose’s background to see if he was marrying me to take care of him in his ‘old age’. Another,
nosy parker well-wisher, wondered why we were getting married when we clearly couldn’t have children!! Yes, I’m laughing as I share all this, but it certainly was not funny at the time!
I’ve learned to cut these people off with smart answers, just ignore them, or laugh in their face! For my part, I’m also learning to hold my counsel and not dish out advice.
“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice”. – Bob Goff
How do you deal with personal space invaders?
I’m linking to Sanch and Write Tribe for #FridayReflections and #BlogShareLearn