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Taking care of child, or earning an income || Acharya Prashant, on single parenting (2017)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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Questioner (Q): I am a single parent in a difficult situation. I have a four-year-old kid with me but I have no source of income. I have to look after my child and find a source of income also. I am unable to understand how to manage both.

Acharya Prashant (AP): First of all, being a single parent is great, at least for the child. Instead of two to pester him, there is only one. I am mentioning this because yesterday as well you talked of that fact as if it is a bit of a handicap. It is not.

Socially we have been trained to visualize the happy family as a kid with his two arms being held by two people of opposite gender. That’s really not needed. The kid is already being held in the palm of his real Father. The real Father is not even holding his arm—He is holding the kid in His palm. So, if you are a single mother, great!

Now, the question of the kid being four years old and you needing to earn. He is four; the troublesome period is behind you. Had he been one or two, then the situation would have necessitated your constant physical presence near the kid. He is four years old now. You can have periods in the day when he can be left with the relatives, with his grandparents, or even in daycare. So, get going with all sureness; figure out a means of livelihood. And don’t look at your situation as if you are in a bind. Never ever think of yourself as if you lack in fortune.

You see, look at the animal world. How long does a cub stay with the lioness? For how long? For how long does the calf stay with the cow? Please.

Q: Only a few months.

AP: Going by natural biology, even human kids are not really required to stay tied to their mothers for ten or fifteen years; it is just a social construct. And it disables the kid. The longer the mother remains tied to the kid, the worse it is for the kid.

Even in good old India, kids would be sent off to a distant gurukul . It was not a day school where the kid would return at 2 p.m. They would be sent off to a distant gurukul , and then the parents would rarely have a look at them; it was not encouraged. At the age of twenty-five, the fully developed young man or woman would then return to the household. The twenty years of his stay with the guru was a period where it was not considered proper that the parents pay frequent visits. Parents should stay away in these twenty years. When he would be twenty-five, he would come back.

It’s just that when you look at the people around and the families around and the apartments and the houses, you see even thirty-year-olds clinging to their mothers. Like in Hindi movies, the six feet two inches Sunil Shetty comes and says, “Maaa!” and you think that this must be the natural order of things. This huge fellow! And this is not only accepted but actually venerated; this is taken as strong family values. This is not family values; this is stickiness. I will venture to say this is a hormonal imbalance. The fellow needs a decent woman in his life. But being what he is, he doesn’t get any.

Watch your kid. He enjoys with you, and also see that he enjoys without you. You are not so necessary. It’s great when you are with your son or daughter. But ask the sons and daughters; they say it is equally great when you are not there. So, don’t be so worried. Get a nice means of livelihood which helps you have some creative expressions. If you can have a creative expression in your work, you will also be creative and more loving as a mother.

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