Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Parents aren't perfect

Your parents aren't always right.

They are not flawless. They're not always virtuous. They won't always be there when you need them.

They lie.

They err.

They fight.

They sometimes set bad examples.

They are unreasonable.

They are demanding.

They are needy.

A lot of times they're simply selfish.

At all times -- they're human.

And we have to recognize them as such.

Like all children, I put my parents on a pedestal for the longest time.

Until I became a teenager.

I remember analyzing them a bit more critically. Calling them out on their "wrongdoings." Not taking their word for everything.

Respecting them, but not worshiping them.

I was jaded, you might say.

But I also recognized early on that they were just trying to do their best.

Juggling their jobs, their relationship, their aspirations, their ambitions, and their only child.

Parenting is no easy task.

I'm observing my friends struggle every day.

Since most of them have toddlers, the biggest thing right now is making sure they mind their language in front of their kids. No saying "shit" or "crap" or "damn."

They will repeat everything.

As the kids grow, the parents -- my friends -- will start minding other things. Behaviors, habits, beliefs.

But just as I don't acknowledge them, or myself, as perfect, in time their kids won't either.

It's hard when the myth shatters.

I remember the time I started seeing my parents as just two individuals with all their follies.

It hurt.

Why couldn't they be perfect?

And why did I have to feel like an ingrate for thinking of them such?

They had so many expectations of me.

But I had even more. Of them.

I resented them for being who they were -- thinking I was part of a dysfunctional family.

Why did this have to happen to me?

Until, years, later I realized that all of us are part of dysfunctional families. There is nothing like a functional family.

All families are comprised of people -- and people aren't perfect.

The disappointment faded away.

I started empathizing with them -- as an adult. A flawed, imperfect, human being.

They were just like me.

Like the rest of the world, I used to see them in myself -- the eyes, the hair, the nose, the jawline.

Now I started seeing me in them.

It's been easier since. I relate with them on a completely different level now.

In their head, I will always be their six-year-old.

And they will always be my parents, telling me to not do this, to do that better, worrying about me, encouraging me, brimming with pride at my smallest accomplishments.

Some things will never change.

But some things have.

I don't dwell anymore. Neither do I expect the world of them.

I listen more.

And try to rationally understand.

I see them objectively for who they are.

I am able to say "it's ok."

They are my parents. But they're also adults figuring their way about life.

Just like the rest of us.

Also posted on my blog.

Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia


Savira Gupta said...

I began to understand my parents after having children! I thought I knew it all. I made mistakes with my kids especially when the teenage years! Now I am happy to say they are now teaching/showing me their journey. Seeing the world through their eyes is a joy!

Anonymous said...

It's great!!..................................................

Unknown said...

All I can say is that it is so true, parents are not perfect. They make a lot of mistakes, and we can learn from this. Thanks for a great blog..Mary

Anonymous said...

Very wise post, thanks for the perspective Mansi.

Katherine Jenkins said...

This is so true Mansi. Loving our parents just as they are can be so hard but it can make all the difference in the world. It starts with loving ourselves and like you said, realizing that we are all human and not perfect. If we can find love in ourselves and for ourselves, we can start to find love for others, even if they are difficult to love.

Heather Conroy said...

It is true for me (like you) that I have cycled through all the stages you write about here. I'm in the 'just love and appreciate them' stage and I'm enjoying it. We do have to grow up before we get there don't we? I also feel that time spent with them is precious now as they are both in their 70's, but really we don't know how long any of us has, so it is lucky I know this while they are still with me.

Andrew Swansson said...

Dito Aine ~ Whats that saying about not being able to put old heads on young shoulders !

Thank you

Mrs Macnaughty said...

This reminds me of famous Brit poet who wrote this:

Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse

They f*ck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were f*cked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Yes, my parents weren't perfect, either, Mansi, but I naturally and easily forgave my father; it took me years to realize my own mother was adorable. I just needed to see her without wanting anything to change. It was then that her annoying habits became enjoyable quirks. It was then that I knew how fortunate I was to have her as my mother.

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