The tough corporate lady has a soft side when it comes to spreading smiles through her writing and with her bang on parenting tips thanks to mothering a 20-year old. Vidya gave us some awesome ideas about effective parenting and we cannot help but spread the word…
SKParenting Sizzlers with Vidya Sury
Name: Vidya Sury
Designation: Writer, blogger, editor
Blog: Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles (plus 6 more)
Parent to: Vidur, 19-year-old
Family details: Live with husband, son in college, studying on campus
Background (what your usual life is like, in brief): After almost two decades in the corporate world, I chose to work from home, to be a hands-on Mom. I write content, blogs for businesses and edit manuscripts for publishers. I do my own housework and enjoy it because of cheapest fitness routine ever with benefits; I love cooking, travel, photography and books. I try and appreciate the present moment because that’s all we can be sure of. I share a wonderful relationship with my son and husband and feel blessed to have them as a family. I am also diabetic and when not working, busy trying to find ways to show my diabetes who’s boss. A typical day in my life consists of all the things I enjoy doing, and sometimes, playing hooky, because—perks of #WFH. I like going on walks with my camera and time-passing with children. And talking to strangers.
SKP Q1. How do you split parenting duties?
Vidya: We like to keep it flexible and don’t believe that a particular duty must be done only by one of us. But yes, we do tend to do more of what we enjoy—and we’ve broadly divided chores between us. When our son was an infant, both of us managed changing diapers, taking care of him, washing his clothes, singing to him, and all those baby-related activities. Husband does the laundry, I enjoy doing things in the kitchen and taking care of shopping. During weekends, we both dust, sweep, swab. We take turns to do the dishes. We fold clothes together, watch TV together (not a chore I know). When our son was in school we took turns to support him, ferry him to and fro. And when he was home, he had a list of chores too. When one of us has a work deadline, the other simply takes over and does stuff. I know—I am fortunate.
SKP Q2. What top five values do you feel most compelled to instill in your kids?
Vidya: Just asked my husband as well—and here’s our list:
- Equality of all human beings
- Intolerance of injustice
- Scientific temper and rational thinking
- Never giving up
SKP Q3. How do you believe other people see your kids? How do you feel about others’ opinions on your kids?
Vidya: There are those who criticize and those who praise, and I take both with a large pinch of salt. I know there will always be opinions on why and how we do the things we do in all walks of life, and parenting is no exception. I recall how people found it hilarious that we dropped and picked up our son from school, but that did not stop us from doing it, because, we—and he—were both confident that it did not weaken him in any way. Also, people see and tend to assume a lot of things and feel free to pass judgment. It is best to take everything with a smile.
SKP Q4. In what ways have your kids exceeded your expectations?
Vidya: Our son comes across as a gentle, soft person. I confess that at times, I have secretly wondered if he’ll manage tough situations well. Also, if he would have the confidence to step forward and speak when the situation warrants it. Most of all, my husband and I both worried about how he would manage to study on campus since he was going to be away from home for the first time. But he manages just fine. It was as if he grew up overnight, and we are proud of him. Sure we worry because that’s our privilege, but we’re pleased to see him managing his life, being helpful to others. We are seeing wonderful sides of him we did not see before, perhaps because those situations did not arise.
SKP Q5. What is your greatest area of weakness as a parent?
Vidya: Speaking for myself, I’d say my love for my son. And my secret worry that he should be okay when he’s away from home. That he should not fall sick. That he should be cheerful and strong. A Tall order, but as a Mom, I consider it my right to wish for all good things for my son.
SKP Q6. What is your greatest area of strength as a parent?
Vidya: That same love—my weakness—is my strength. I have faith in my son and am confident he’ll do just fine. Also, I don’t pressurize him with my expectations. That’s my real strength. We communicate comfortably and can talk about almost anything. We’ve always enjoyed each other’s company and I am thrilled that has not changed.
SKP Q7. What did your parents do particularly well?
Vidya: My Mom was a single parent and I think, if I am considered a good Mom, it is mainly because of the relationship we shared. Hard to pinpoint what she did particularly well—but I’d say she taught me to believe in myself and that I could do anything I set my mind to. Also, she was quite strict—in the iron-hand-velvet-glove kind of way. One look from her and I’d know exactly what she was trying to say!
SKP Q8. What do you love about being a parent?
Vidya: Everything. I am filled with awe that I gave birth to a healthy human being. That we love each other, that he trusts me to support him no matter what. That I have the privilege of shaping his life. That he feels free to speak out and share anything with us. And of course, these days, I look forward to his visits home.
SKP Q9. How well do your spouse and you work as a team in our parenting?
Vidya: Pretty well, I think. I have to confess we’ve used the good-cop-bad-cop routine in the nicest ways. One thing we’ve made a point of us to never argue in front of our son and that’s a non-negotiable rule we are quite proud of. Also, we never scold him in front of others.
SKP Q10. How authentically do you speak with your kids?
Vidya: We’ve been as honest as we possibly could in an age-appropriate way. We have never believed in hiding anything from him. It is better to face the truth and deal with it than live in ignorance. That’s a life lesson instilled in me by my Mom and I am fortunate my husband believes that too.
SKP Q11. Have you dealt with trying to make your kid/s”perfect” at any time?
Vidya: No. We always consciously emphasized to our son that he is who he is, and does not have to be “like” anyone else, or conform to a stereotype. We think he’s fine exactly as he is.
SKP Q12. How have you felt while pregnant? Enlighten us
Vidya: I got married at 33—considered pretty late by our family tradition—and I know everyone who cared was anxious about whether I’d have kids, and right away. I had just quit my corporate job and everyone expected me to return to work after a short break. So imagine my joy, and everyone else’s when I announced my pregnancy three months later! I felt absolutely wonderful. I did everything by the textbook—taking care to follow a strict diet. No pickles, no fried stuff, none of those “cravings”. My doctor would be so amused during our follow up visits. I did not want to do anything that would not be beneficial for my baby. I’d say I had a very cheerful pregnancy. Oh, there was the morning sickness and all those things, but looking back, I sailed through those. Halfway through, my Mom moved in with us and our happiness was complete. We’d spend warm afternoons sewing clothes. And finally, when he did arrive, he ushered in an era of total happiness. I recall how people in the hospital came and visited him—because he was born on the same day as Sai Baba.
Yes, I am a super-happy Mom.
Vidya’s Review of SmartyKidsParenting.com :
Smarty Kids Parenting is an interesting and useful concept for new and seasoned parents. Because a parent never stops being a parent. Check out the blog section for some thought-provoking posts.