Monday column: The family’s extra luggage

Opinion Sunday 03/September/2023 20:20 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: The family’s extra luggage

In a busy mall, I was looking at a child pulling her mother’s abaya towards a coffee shop where a saleswoman was promoting donuts sold at a bargain price. The mother took a quick look at the direction of where her daughter was pointing then slapped her hand.

The little girl buried her face on the side of her mother as both mum and daughter kept on walking. Scenes like that go unnoticed all the time but they may make a significant effect much later as years roll by. Children can be demanding and parents feel the burden. But with life’s stress hitting the roof, parents find themselves struggling with expenses of raising their young ones.

The art of raising a child is never taught at school. They never prepare you for that. They teach you science and math, apart from other subjects, but not to look after the emotions and turmoil of being a parent years later. We find that there are two ways to cope with the role of a parent.

Learn from your parents in the days when you were a child or learn as you go when you are a parent of your own children. Both ways, it leaves your head reeling when children scream for attention. It seems their demands are endless. Some young parents now prefer to shower their kids with gifts to keep them amused while the rest find a quick slap is better.

But do we connect the past and the present? Did a slap or constant toys worked for us when we were growing up in our parents’ homes? It is frightening to think how little ones may grow up to be when they leave home to seek independent lives. I think most parents prefer to blank it out and not think about it. With long hours at work, bills to pay and personal trauma, raising children in this day and age is never easy.

The ‘manual’ of raising children is re-written all the time as new challenges come up in different modes. Many parents just cope in different ways hoping their children will eventually be ‘alright.’

No wonder now not many young couples want to have more than a couple of children. But real life examples tell you that parents still ‘walk’ through the same path, whether they have two or five children.

I was not shocked when a couple in their thirties said they have extra luggage when they were planning for their holiday. They did not mean the ‘baggage’ but the ‘children’. I still laugh when I remember his words. They probably realize now that the ‘extra’ luggage is something they never thought before they got married. Only now they know it will be a long-term baggage to carry for their entire length of their young lives.

However, we all went into that path but if anyone out there who is not willing to be a parent then they should stay single. They are always strings attached in parenthood and being a bachelor is probably a solution to those who prefer freedom.