The Memes 2018

Parenting

“I am a mother of 2 and have run over half a dozen half-marathons till now. While balancing my running and taking care of two school-going kids in our nuclear setup is tough, I am lucky to have my husband sharing the work. Since I get up and go for runs or workouts every morning and only return by 7am, it's my husband who takes care of the kids that time. They have to get ready for school and my husband takes care of that. The spouse’s support is essential for managing life with kids given today’s demands.”

- Aparajita, 38, Working mother, Noida

The word “Parenting” entered, the Merriam Webster Dictionary in the year 1918. A quick search on Google defines parenting as the “act of being a mother or a father to someone”. From a life-stage that adults underwent, parenting in the 21st century world has become not just an act but a verb. In contrast to the good old times where it took a village to raise a child, today parenting is both an art and a science, practiced almost like a profession. We strive to get better at it everyday not just by learning through our experiences, but by reaching out to fellow parents on social media, reading books and attending workshops and seminars that help us grow into better parents.

In urban India, the growth of nuclear families, single child households and the fact that women today are donning roles beyond child rearing has led to the emergence of parenting as a conscious activity that must be learnt and shared. With the absence of traditional models of support in the form of grandparents and joint families where multiple children grew up together and learnt from each otherorganically –new age parents are dependent on online communities, pediatricians, high-end nannies and counselors.

In today’s environment where the gaze of social and digital media compounds the difficult process of finding one’s own approach to child-rearing, parenting has become a spectator sport, as much as a lived experience. Efforts to shield children and provide them with perfectly choreographed childhoods are unrelenting. Unlike the past, parenting is no longer something that takes place behind closed doors. From ‘mommy groups’ on WhatsApp, to parenting apps and blogs – the hysteria around parenting is everywhere. When you consider that more kids and therefore more parents will be born in India than anywhere else in the world, in the foreseeable future, the obsession with parenting is only going to intensify.

We also live in the age of what is popularly called ‘sharenting’ – where according to some studies more than 80% of children are said to have an online presence by the age of two, where the average parent shares almost 1,500 images of their child online before their fifth birthday. Modern-day parenting as a meme is clearly highly popular, and will continue to remain so for years come. From Mompreneurs juggling small businesses with baby duties, to Millennial Dads who participate more intensely in the parenting process, today’s parents continue to find new strategies and coping mechanisms for rearing children in the challenging environment of 21st century India.

Ever since we launched our app in 2015, we have witnessed a 300 per cent increase in our conversations with our users. This also gave us enough confidence to extend our business from just being a content-driven community for parents to become a platform that serves and addresses all their needs.
- Naiyya Saggi, co-founder of parenting platform Baby Chakra.com