Tanu Shree Singh: Keep Calm

Dr Tanu Shree Singh is a parent to two teenaged boys, a lecturer in psychology, and has a keen interest in the area of Positive Psychology. Her book Keep Calm and Mommy On will be published in late May 2017. You can preorder it: http://amzn.to/2q92spk

I was at best a closet writer; and definitely no authority on being the perfect child or on parenting, for that matter. My mum would never admit it but I gave her more than her fair share of nightmares. And when I had my own child, I had no idea what to do with it. In the initial months, the mantra was, ‘keep the baby alive.’ There were no theories being visited, research papers being studied, or potty colour being compared online. Just keep the little squeamish creature alive. And then two years later, the second one arrived and whatever fine balance my life had was tossed up.

After a few dazed years, I started getting the plot and things got easier. Around that time I also met quite a few harried moms ,who were out of breath trying to keep up with the world and the kids. All the planets in all parallel worlds aligned and I ended up attending the Duckbill writers’ workshop. It was the first three days that I stayed away from home, the sibling squabbles, and everything else that came with the territory. They helped me step out of the closet. The harried moms and my boys gave me fodder to write and the rest is the first chapter of history.

Parenting can be a daunting journey if one was to find set paths, read too much into the competitive world and allow oneself to be judged–by one’s self and others. Someone else’s child excelling at art doesn’t mean that my child lacks something. My child acing his exams in no way implies that he is the best there is. One needs to understand that each child is unique and pushing and prodding him to fit in a mould is futile and counterproductive. Hence the blogs were born.

And then one day, three of my favourite people sat me down and told me, ‘We see a book.’ I stoically nodded. Inside, I could hear the bollywoodish violins, and see myself dance in the rain to the applause of a stadium full of people. All I said was, ‘Okay.’ After reading, re-reading, editing and biting all my nails, I sent them all across.

Some months later, when we met, they dropped another welcome bomb: ‘Do you think Vivaan would be interested in doing the cover?’ I can control my emotions fairly well as again, despite the orchestra, I calmly said, ‘I guess so. You’ll have to mail directly since I do not want to be a part of this discussion.’

Now that it is about to get out, I have tiny knots in my tummy. What if people hate it? What if all copies languish in some warehouse? What if? What if? But then one look at the boys and I ease up. Everything in there did work for us. We are here and so many years later, I did manage to keep them alive! They are towering over me now and are transforming into good young men. So if I can, everyone can. All we need to do is to Keep Calm and Mommy On.


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