Parenting Your Child
You're a parent. But, are you parenting your child?
I had to learn this the hard way when my daughter turned eight. She started becoming rude to her teachers in school and they were worried she wasn't receiving adequate care at home. That must be so far away from the truth because I was a full-time mother to my children even though I was running a business; I was ferrying the kids to and fro school everyday, I cooked their meals, did the house chores and ran all the errands as we don't have a domestic helper at home...I was tired beyond belief being a hands-on mum and yet I wasn't providing adequate care for my child? Quite a ludicrous claim don't you think?
Finally, after refusing to accept that I could be the problem, I caved and agreed to meet with her teachers to discuss ways to circumvent this issue.
To my surprise, in spite of my contribution of blood, sweat and tears to running a happy household and raising healthy kids, I was not doing it the right way.
So, what exactly was I doing wrong?
Turns out, whilst being together as a family is wonderful, a child also needs the sole attention of a parent, because when spent as a family, parents would have to divide their love and attention among other kids as well as their spouses. The dynamics of a family is separate from the dynamics of parent and child.
With this understanding, I started to plan my time differently than before. I have two kids, so I'd have to divide my time with them as such:
-me + child A
-me + child B
-me + child A & B
-all 4 of us
Similarly, my husband would have to do the same for each child.
I know, this sounds daunting and you're probably thinking "how do I even begin to find extra time to do all these?". You'd be surprised because even just bringing one child along with you to fill the gas tank is considered exclusive time with that child. It is sufficient time to create a special bond between your child and you; one that will forever remind them of how special they are in your eyes. And if you make that specific activity an exclusive one with that child, and let's say you fill your gas tank once a week, that makes 52 exclusive moments each year. Quite a significant number!
My child is eleven now. Over the years, I have become bolder and more experimental with my exclusive moments with each child - I recently returned from a mother-daughter bonding holiday to Australia, just us two. I made her my navigator and gave her full control of where we'd go. Some days, she chose to go for long drives and we'd talk about life, other days, we'd simply sleep in and while the day away doing nothing much. There was one day we traipsed to the beach just before sunset with paint and canvases in hand, and did a 1-hour paint-the-ocean challenge. Those paintings now sit in our living room as reminders of that one hour we spent watching and painting the sunset, the sea gulls sauntering around us, and feeling the soft sand under our bare feet.
My daughter witnessing the sun setting - it was a magical moment
On this trip, I've discovered her blossoming talent for photography and art, and a kind of street savvy-ness I've never seen before. I also realised she didn't care for restaurant food and preferred my cooking over highly-rated restaurants'. So, we'd cook most meals together and washed up together too. I now understand it isn't about how exquisite or expensive a meal is, rather, it is how much comfort a meal brings her that means the most to her - and her mother's cooking will always bring her comfort.
She taught me "hold your palette up against the sky like this and find your colour, mummy!"
I was beaming with pride as she painted. I never knew the extent of her artistic side.
I feel our jobs as parents shouldn't be about developing specific skills for a child or determining their academic pursuits since an early age. Maybe just providing them with a consistently wholesome, nurturing environment and indulging them in inspiring conversations can spark potential ideas within them and they in turn feel safe enough to shape their own specific skills as they go along.
She didn't want to go eat in a fancy restaurant and requested for a simple one-pot meal instead.
We drove for 2 hours towards the countryside, and she'd secretly taken a photo of me with my phone. I only discovered this photo that night, and I thought "This is what award-winning photography looks like!" or maybe I'm just biased. Haha!
I created Culinary World Tour for parents to spend exclusive time with one child at a time. A working parent would have to take leave from work to do this, making it a really special occasion with his/her child. And the child understands the effort - they always do - and they feel so special because of it.
So, if you're looking for a unique experience to share with your child, look no further. We go on a 'tour' around the world to learn about each featured country's cuisine, cooking techniques and taste profiles. This expands the culinary repertoire you have at home, and I always see kids eating more vegetables as a result of these classes.
Seats are filling fast, so don't miss this school-holiday only programme!
I hope to see you soon!