We all have at one point or the other cribbed about how life is different as moms.
If only X had happened, then Y would be the outcome! We think about our past a lot. We think about the alternate choices we could have made all the time!
“If and wish situations”. They consume a lot more of our conscious and subconscious thinking than they should.
We are the person we are because of our past experiences- small or big. We are a result of how our life unfolded, how (badly or well) we reacted to situations and people, how (good or bad) we chose from the options that were there.
“We are a product of our past.”
And thats how our kids are going to shape up too.
(Disclaimer: this post is about to go on the tangent of philosophy and spirituality so say OMMMM and get your “open mind and heart” hats on!)
There are certain philosophies that just change the way your perceive life. “Butterfly effect” was the one for me.
It’s a simple yet powerful thought.
I quote from the ultimate pedestal of knowledge, Wikipedia!!
“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”
Yes, it didn’t make much sense to me either the first time I read about it. Its as difficult to understand as Anupama Chopra’s bollywood movie reviews!
Pardon me for the length of this post but I cant continue without giving a little history of this theory. Butterfly effect (or chaos theory) was initially used for weather predictions. The term was coined due to the metaphorical example of how a tornado was caused by the flapping of a butterfly’s wing in some other part of the world.
Though metaphorical, what this theory imbibes is that the smallest of the events have such a linear and cascading effect that they can influence how an important and major part of your personality and your life turns out to be.
It talks of mystical, yet interesting things like- An asthmatic adult was a result of the day his mother reached late to pick him from school (Please remember this is just to illustrate the butterfly effect theory and doesn’t mean if you reach late to pick your child on a single day will result in him getting asthma as an adult!). It so happened that when this child was just 3, his mother got stuck in a traffic jam and reached school an hour late. All kids and teachers had left and the child was sitting with the security guard. He was sobbing quietly and felt breathless for the first time after having sobbed for an hour. However when his mother came, he forgot all about it and happily hugged her and went home. Each day when the bell rang declaring the school timing was over, the child started getting that familiar breathlessness bout. He started correlating the bell with his anxiety. He was anxious if his mother would be again stuck in traffic and reach late. This manifested in quicker breathlessness bouts that as an adult became permanent as asthma.
That’s an example how a small event cascades into a major life event eventually.
Its too heavy duty (and sometime depressing) theory at first. It kind of questions the need of your efforts. But when you understand, practice and imbibe this theory- it’s a catalyst for your Nirvanama journey!
It has a three fold impact when it comes to mothering:
- You realize how important and long lasting your actions are in shaping your child: Your mothering becomes more proactive and pro-child. That’s a given and direct outcome. Obviously. But its not this outcome that is important coz being a proactive mother is anyway part of your mothering plan.
- You realize that certain things will unfold the way they will no matter what you do. You take notice of the fact that despite your 100% effort towards a happy and positive parenting, your child will have some traits and experiences that you wish you could have avoided.
Like I said earlier, its not about giving up on parenting. Its about realizing that beyond a certain point, you no longer have control. The butterfly’s mom of course didn’t know that the flapping of her baby’s wing was shaping a tornado somewhere in the future. She would have stopped her otherwise. Wont she?
So there are some things you will never know or have control over. And that’s fine!
- You stop categorizing experiences as good and bad. Experiences are just that- experiences. They should not be given a tag of being good or bad. We never know what experience will have what kind of an outcome in the long run.
As per the butterfly theory, let me give you an example. Suppose at a birthday party, your daughter wanted french fries from her friend but the friend refused. Not only did she refuse, she pushed your kid away and your kid starts crying inconsolably. At that moment, it seems like a bad experience for your kid. But in view of the butterfly effect the cascading effect that this experience had was that your kid decided never to ask for fries. She infact stopped liking fries. She never wanted to go to a Mc Donald store and started disliking junk food in general. Which, in the long run, finally spelt out that she loved her home food and avoided becoming unhealthy. As an adult she might not even know why she doesn’t like fries. Its just that she doesn’t!
Since butterfly effect talks of alternate outcome lets do that too. Suppose the friend had shared her fries, and both your kid and that girl got along so well that they cemented their friendship by going to Mc Donalds everyday after school and sharing their fries. That translated into a love for burgers eventually. And as a teenager all your kid wanted was fries and burgers. That ended up for a strong dislike for her veggies at home and a small event like sharing ones’ fries ended up giving you an obese unhealthy daughter!
A experience we tagged as “good” ended up with a “bad” outcome!
This is just an imaginary example. Let’s come closer to the truth-
To state the impact of what a huge probability we live in, entertain this thought-
“There are about 5 million sperms in each ejaculation and only one of those 5 million fertilise an egg, right? IMAGINE- If any one of the OTHER 5 million sperms had fertilized your egg than the one that did, you would not have that wonderful little person without whom you cant imagine your life now! You would have had a child entirely different from what you have now!” Equally dear, but entirely different!!
That’s the kind of probability and dependence on chance we live on!
We need to understand that our baby will be a result of the millions of experiences and events she witnesses in her life. You might not have control over them. But you learn to accept that just like you, your baby is also a result of each moment that she lived and how each moment turned out to be.
Its best to do your best as a mother and accept however your child turns out after that.
Stop consciously trying to eliminate “bad” experiences or exposures.
Stop worrying about how your kid will turn out to be.
Know that she is having those experiences because they have been reserved for ONLY her in the universe!
“You cant and neither are you meant to control the fluttering of each butterfly in the world!”