"Mumma! She called loudly as soon as she entered the house, stamping her feet .
You need to do something about my facial hair. I want to get rid of them, at least from my upper lip and eye brows. I am so annoyed by them and everyone makes fun of me and my moustache at school.
Why am I the only one with so much hair in my class? I hate them. My daughter was fuming in anger and irritation.
"You're just 13. I got it done when I was 19."
"Why do you compare yourself with others?"
"You're really beautiful and perfect just the way you're, darling."
"You don't need to do anything to look smart and beautiful."
I just had to bite my tongue not to say any of these. I was very well aware of the results that would've followed after these statements, experienced that in the past.
I knew the disappointment, the rage, the conflict, the hurt and regret. I knew it all.
So I chose a different response this time. I took a deep breath, paused and looked into her eyes. In her eyes, which were already welled up with tears.
I could see lot of sadness and pain there… pain of being a teenager, of trying to find her individuality, trying to accept her, of not being able to make sense of everything… and more. That pause helped me see all that.
I took her face in my hands and said, can we check with a good dermatologist and also check with our beautician if threading or waxing would be appropriate at your age, and then you can decide if you still want to go ahead with it.
She nodded in a relief and hugged me. I consulted a dermatologist friend who suggested avoiding for one more year and if not, waxing would be the safest mode to go for.
When we went to the beautician. she looked around other ladies going through threading. The beautician mentioned it's going to hurt as will be first time and can cause redness too. I looked at her with all my compassion and courage.
"Actually, let me get a leg wax only this time, may be I can wait for some more time for this mom", she said.
I gave her a warm hug, might have embarrassed her there 🙂 It was a hug to myself too for staying calm and truly listening to her.
I'd no idea why she chose not to go for it, but one thing I know for sure…If I would not have taken that pause the other day, and forced my decision on her, we would've ended this on bad sad notes.
She probably wouldn't have got the opportunity to make such a choice on her own. It would have been a lose – lose situation, rather than a win -win.
I know now, every challenge is not there for me to find 'the right' solution or answer for my child and me. I might not even have the right solution for everything.
Though every situation big or small, is an opportunity to listen, to make my child feel really heard; to express my feelings with love and compassion, to create a deeper connection with my child when I am able to truly listen to 'the said' and 'the unsaid'.
There have been many times in my parenting journey, when I'd reacted and overreacted and regretted it later. But now I also have list of times when I took the pause, listened, gathered compassion and love in a situation where it wasn't natural for me to do so (due to my old patterns).
Those times inspired me to do so again and again. I hope it might inspire some other mom (or dad) as well.
Love and gratitude.
Dr Saloni Singh