Mothering Today – Changes and Challenges

Mothering Today – Changes and Challenges

There goes a famous line from O’London’s Tresure Trove, quoting “ The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world !”. Is it true ? Let’s hope so !

Motherhood is undoubtedly a very powerful attitude supported by eternal bliss. Being a Mother is the most rewarded service on the earth, yet one of the most challenging too.  As Today’s mothers just have the fullest possible pressure in their life amidst managing home chores , bringing up the kith & kin, fulfilling expectations of their family etc.  hence it is harder to be a parent today – especially a mother – than it was in the 1970s or 1980s.

To my mind, the ideology of being a perfect mom doesn't really prevail as the parameters are too subjective and challenging in today’s scenario. It is your choice to be the best, not the choice of a "mother-in-law" or "your neighbour  or even your "spouse". If you believe that you are not good enough, your children will pick up on that thought and believe they are not good enough either. 

However, it’s a widespread belief that today’s parents are not measuring up to the standard that parents set a generation ago. Mothers are seen as having the more difficult job, but they are also judged more harshly than are fathers.

Nowadays, it has almost become a strong conviction that today’s mothers are not up to the standard of mothers from a generation before. This is because the mothers are expected & judged more harshly than Fathers. I mean here that irrespective of being a working mother or a home maker; we face relatively more demands from our kids than of fathers who majorly face the monetary demands along with entertaining them by taking them out.

The biggest challenge in raising children today, is dealing with the outside influences of society on their kids. Beyond societal influences, other challenges in raising children include teaching morals and values, maintaining discipline, handling the financial aspects of child rearing, and dealing with their improved & at the same time complexed educational system.

These are seen as challenges to mothers because unlike yesteryears, today most of the families are nuclear & hence the responsibilities of incubating Moral values, ethics etc in the children’s mind are not happening under the able shadows of elders & the mother is single most influencing person under this arena.

Attitude towards working mother is in no way different than that towards housewives. A working mother has to manage her home also in addition to her work. A woman has no choice but to manage both the home and the work front otherwise she is under guilty feelings

But as in the case of every social change, there is a lag between actions and attitudes. While people may be willing to accept the idea of career women, they are not willing to excuse them from their duties as career moms.

The next biggest change & challenge for today’s mothers is people’s attitude towards working & non working mothers. In the case of every social change, there is a lag between actions and attitudes. While people are willing to accept the idea of women perusing her career, they are not willing to excuse them from their duties as mothers. First of all the term 'working mother' itself according to me is a “misnomer” as mothers are working round the clock even if they don't go for work.  In fact, a working mother who spends one hour of quality time every day with her child can probably nurture a better bondage with her child than the woman who is at home nagging the child all the time.

Most of the career oriented mothers will agree that mothers who have to go to work are not happy leaving their child at a young age. They feel guilty and anxious and their anxiety is transmitted to the child. Nevertheless, it’s true that “when a father is anxious, his friends & spouse get anxious too” but "When a mother is anxious, she makes everybody anxious." 

To summarize I would say that the views about how well mothers are doing their job have changed immensely over the past 10 years, thereby subjecting the young mothers to equip themselves with more assertiveness, more knowledge, more planning and more perseverance.
To have these innate qualities, I submit my humble suggestions as follows :

BE YOURSELF! Without conditions, without judgements  just BE YOURSELF! And then it won't matter what others around you are doing or saying, because you are being yourself and that is the greatest thing in the world, if you want your mothering to be fun, easy and fulfilling.

Thank you !! 

Communicating with Grown-ups


Preschoolers use their growing vocabularies and communication skills to express feelings, ideas and curiosity about the world around them

'No' and 'why' become common words for young preschoolers. Saying 'no' is a way preschoolers claim their space. Saying 'why' is a wish to understand the things around them. 'Why' is also a word preschoolers use to question authority. 

Trying out following methods might help in communicating better with them.

a) Give full possible attention 
Even a quick but focused connection can fulfil your child's need for communication. For eg: If the child says 'Play with me' and your time is not available, then You could say, 'I had a hard day at work today. I need three minutes to change. Then I can play with you'. Remember pre-schoolers appreciate your honesty.

b) Be aware of your tone. 
Because preschoolers are new to sentence-making, they might have a heightened awareness of your tone and body language.

c) Offer limited choices.
Preschoolers gain a sense of control by making their own decisions. You might say, 'Do you want to get dressed before or after breakfast today?'

d) Don't end your sentence with 'OK' unless you are ready for your child to say 'No'. 
Asking your child if an activity is OK can lead to a lengthy discussion and even a power struggle.


Generally it is observed that school going kids tend to start opinionating about their parents as they are exposed to comparative statements about the parents of their classmates. Such opinion could be positive, humble or even negative and rebellious. 

As school-age kids spend more time away from home, they often develop new patterns of speaking based on what their friends are saying or what they hear on television.

School-age kids can become private about their thoughts as they observe lot of things around them. They tend to get into an introspective mode at times and behave like a person wanting to be alone and secluded. 

Your responses to such kids may shape them positively :

a) Find time to talk with the kid. 
As the kid may have many new things to be told and it expects you to be the 1st listener, you must lend your attention in full.

b) Speak to your school-age child in a mature way.
School-age kids want their 'bigness' to be acknowledged. They might be offended if they feel they are being spoken to like babies (even if they happen to be acting like them). You might say, 'I expect you to do your homework. What time would you like to do it?' instead of 'How many times do I have to tell you to do your homework?'

c) Listen - without contradicting your child.
Instead of saying, 'That's ridiculous!', you might simply say, 'Hmm' or 'really?'. Then ask specific questions based on the situation your child has described. 

d) Laugh a little and admit your mistakes.
At times, humour is the best way to resolve a dispute, react to an upset, or make a request of your school-age child. You can also ask your child for help in figuring out what to do. Kids love to hear parents admit that they were wrong. You can say, 'Am I doing it wrongly? Should we try to figure it out a different way?'

Let's Communicate Baby !

Communication (from Latin "communis", meaning to share) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour. We as adults can communicate effectively by the tool, the so-called language. But, how about the babies who have no language. Let us peek in and learn how the babies communicate intelligently. 

Communication in Infants.

Crying is the universal language of newborn.

It's their way of telling you what they need. Baby could cry for seeking attention because of a soiled nappy, hunger, excretion or a simple need for comfort. Babies also use their sight and hearing to interpret the world around them. To say "I care about you" :

** Maintain eye contact until baby looks away
** Smile while you look at your baby
** Use a warm, (sing-song type) voice 

The following body language provides you clues for your understanding:

** Yawns, puts fists to eyes, drowsy eyes, sleepy blinks -- 'I am sleepy'
** Open mouth -- 'I am hungry'.
** Wide-open eyes with alert body movements -- 'I am ready to play and learn'.
** Head turned away or arched back -- 'No, thanks'

How about communication with Toddlers ?

Toddlers are slightly grown up babies and so they keenly listen to every word we say (even if we don't notice it). They understand a lot more than we think. They can be very sensitive and  burst into tears at the way you said something or laughed at them. 

As toddlers are in the stage of trying to say words or phrase, their major communication would be a mix of few words and more actions. 

It can be very difficult for toddlers to make you heard or understand who can't fully express themselves. It can lead to lots of frustration. To help your toddler handle and express big emotions, you can try following things :

** Help your child put feelings into words, and talk through any angry feelings

** Stay calm, even when your child is upset -  this demonstrates positive ways to handle big feelings

** Prepare your child for situations that might be upsetting - for example, times when your child might have to be separated from you

** Create a low-risk environment for your child to explore, be independent and make mistakes.

Childproofing your home

Is your Baby safe at your home ?
Is your home child proofed to protect your baby from possible injuries ?

Come on , let's have a look on how to childproof your home !

About 2-1/2 million children are injured or killed each year, due to hazards in the home. Many of these incidents can be prevented by taking steps to make sure that your home is safe and that you follow age appropriate recommendations for each stage of your child's young life.

There are many devices available to help prevent injury, along with using common sense. Remember, nothing is completely safe and eyes must be on the children at all times. It only takes a blink of an eye, a turn of the head, for an incident to occur.

The Crib

Never use a crib that has missing slots or loose hardware.

If you repaint the crib, use only high quality lead-free paint.

Always lock the side rail when you put your child in the crib.

Use a mattress that fits tightly. If you can fit more than 2 fingers between the edge of the mattress and the crib side, the mattress is too small.

Never place the crib, or any children's furniture near window blinds or drapes.

Never put your baby in a crib filled with stuffed animals, pillows or heavy blankets.

Remove all pillows and soft, loose bedding from the crib.

Remove all such items which may prevent suffocation. 

Never use strings to hang objects, such as mobiles, toys, or a diaper bag in or near the crib. 

Most important, always put your baby on his/her back, on a firm, flat, tight-fitting mattress, to sleep. More infants die or are injured in crib accidents than any other nursery item. 

Crib Toys 

Crib gyms and other toys that stretch across the crib with strings, cords or ribbons can be hazardous for older or active babies.

Make sure crib gyms are installed securely at both ends and cannot be pulled down.

Remove crib gyms and mobiles when your baby is 5 months older, or before, if the baby begins to push up on hands and knees. 

Hanging toys and mobiles should be out of the child's reach. 

Don't use toys that have points that can hook on clothing. 

The Deadly Couch

Infants can suffocate when they get trapped or wedged between the cushions and the back of the couch. 


Consumer Product Safety Commission warns parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds, stating that the practice puts babies at risk of suffocation and strangulation.

Swaddling Your Baby

Once your baby is one month old you should stop swaddling your baby when sleeping, as it hinders mobility. The baby is also at risk for overheating.

Play Pens 

Deaths have occurred when the drop-sides of playpens and cribs were left in the down position. 

When a mesh side is let down it forms a pocket. Young infants, even just a few weeks old, can move into the pocket, become trapped and suffocate. 

Deaths have also occurred when the playpen was not securely locked into position, causing it to collapse, entrapping the child's neck. So,.... never leave an infant in a play pen with the side down. 

Remove all large toys, boxes and bumper pads. They can be used to climb out.

Avoid tying any items across the top or corner of the playpen. They can cause strangulation.

Baby Gates

Some gates are dangerous. A child's head can get trapped in the openings of baby gates with accordion-style or large V- or diamond-shaped openings, and can get strangled.  

Expandable enclosures can be equally dangerous.

Be sure the gate is securely anchored in the doorway it is blocking. Children have pushed gates over. 

Pressure gates are not recommended at the top of a stairway. They can pop out of the opening. 

A child's touchy message !

We all agree that being a parent might be tedious most times. Don't we ? 

Hence, we are going to post lot of articles to help you appreciate the various stages of development in a child. Broadly the pre adult stages can be classified as  :

Pre-schoolers &

Though Parents are more dominant over children, we need to consider their views and ideas in every aspect. Please see below image, which is a small child's sensitive message to his parents :

Studying about aspects like Behaviour, Communication, Nutrition and Safety will put enough light in the way we as parents need to address them. 

Let us now study in detail on each aspect, but I am going to write them in different threads as this may seem very long. Please do not miss to read them too !

Ten Tips on Parenting

                Parenting is the course of nurturing and enlightening a child from birth, or before, until adulthood. The objectives of human parenting are questioned. Parents are the ones who provide children their physical mandates, protect them from harm, and inculcate in them skills and cultural values until they reach legal adulthood, usually after adolescence. The amount of attention parents give to their offspring is directly proportional to the upbringing of the offspring to a successful and responsible adult. 

                  As a parent you know how much happiness children can give you. But you are also aware of the tough times and situations you had to go through when raising them. Even the most patient and careful parents can make mistakes. Here are some wonderful tips to help you become a good parent.

1. Love your children. 
Tell them how much they mean to you and give them lots of hugs and kisses.

2. Give safety to your children. 
Depending on your children's nature, take the appropriate steps to comfort them and protect them.

3. Spend time with your children. 
It is a fact that bad children behaviour is a result of the lack of attention, so spend some time with them and make them feel responsible.

4. Reward your children.
When they learn something new or when their behaviour is appropriate, tell them how important that new thing was and how proud you are of them. But you also have to tell them that they should always keep trying to learn more

5. Create a consistent set of rules. 
Rules should not change often and if that happens make sure your children understood everything that's new.

6. Keep a regular schedule for your children. 
A schedule will help them become disciplined individuals.

7. Listen to your children. 
Children always have something to say. Always listen to their words. Sometimes they will ask complex questions that will surprise you. Take some time to discuss with them and try to give simple and meaningful answers.

8. Don't criticize your children. 
Nobody are perfect, even grown individuals make tons of mistakes. When your children make mistakes don't criticize them. They need to know what they did wrong and why is that thing wrong. Criticize the behavior, not the child.

9. Don't spank your children. 
Spanking achieves nothing but fear. If you feel frustrated or angry take a break. Try to control yourself.

10. Confide in your children.
The most important factor is that we need to have confidence on our children. If we lose hope, the child may feel depressed or let down. They may arrive at conclusions which may hurt them badly and upset their schedule. 

Philosophy in Child Development

                 We all presume and hope that children are willing to learn since birth. They love exploring and enjoy self-constructing. So, Dr Montessori discovered that their ability to learn could be improved by providing them an enhanced and superior environment. How did she come to this conclusion ? How was the Montessori philosophy invented ? 


1) Dr Maria observed the children intensely and studied them technically

2) Whenever a child does something strange, she would not accept it right away. She quoted, ‘ I shall not believe it yet, I shall, if the child behaves in the same manner again’, in her book, The Secret of Childhood. 

3) So, it becomes evident that the children revealed themselves to Maria and she was clever enough to detect them and draw to conclusions. 

4) She also observed the situations under which the children performed these actions

5) She was certain that it was a child’s true character, only when the child performed the action repeatedly under certain conditions without adult manipulation.

Setting up of Montessori System 

         The first Casa Dei Bambini, or House of Children, did not have specified educational principles, when it was started. It contained around 50 to 60 deprived, under privileged children behaving badly. Their parents too did not have any idea as to what educational arrangement they could offer their children.

          When Dr Montessori took up this project of educating these children, she had no specific furnishings or apparatus for the children. In fact she had no qualified teachers to coach them. In short, the set up was a total Zero when compared to the Montessori schools of today.

        But it was in this House of Children that the children revealed their unbelievable features of child nature, their mentality and their capabilities, and also their hunger for needs which were unfamiliar so far. A number of incidents occurred which motivated Dr Montessori to discover several aspects of child psychology. 

          As she possessed a scientific state of mind, she conducted repeated tests on child behaviour through a group of friends who reported the results back to her. After nearly two decades of such severe experimenting, Maria concluded that she had found out a method for child education, known as the Montessori Method which aids a harmonious development of the child’s mind and body. This concept of education was accepted and spread worldwide, still being practised successfully.

A Montessori Classroom 

Elements of Child Education

              Adults are the idols of children. We should understand that a child endures physical and psychical growth since birth. Physical growth is based on natural laws of development where the events are obvious during discrete phases. Whereas psychic growth is based on a prearranged outline for which a child needs a suitable environment and an adult’s assistance.

                  Dr Maria Montessori, Founder of Montessori Method of education, through her lifetime experiments discovered that a child needs to be given a special education, which should have an aspiration to help his self-development. This also helps the child in his preparation for his life.

                   In her Montessori system of education, she insists that child education should be child-centred which helps in the development of the whole personality of the child through, motor, sensory and rational motion.  Let me just list the three elements of Child Education here below :

1) The Adult - The Directress or The Humble Teacher 

2) The Environment - Prepared specially for the child's self development 

3) The Apparatus - Montessori Materials or other tools for practice

In the future posts, we will go through in detail, on each of the above  foremost elements of Child education. Thanks !

Child Psychology

What does psychology of children mean ? 

Child psychology is one of the many branches of psychology and one of the most frequently studied specialty areas. This particular branch focuses on the mind and behavior of children from prenatal development through adolescence. Child psychology deals not only with how children grow physically, but with their mental, emotional and social development as well.