I received so many mails asking me what is my secret to raising smart children.
I don’t think there is any secret to raise a smart child, but I do think there is a secret to raise a happy child.
For me that secret was to take money and my own career out of the equation.
My motto was,I gave birth to my childrenand I will raise my children.
I still have all those letters my mother wrote to me calling me an idiot for giving up work. Every time she called me the first thing she would ask me was ‘When are you going back to work?’. She told me so many times that she herself raised 4 daughters and worked full time and her children are all doing well! She even tried to make me feel guilty for wasting my father’s hard earned money that he invested in my education.
It wasn’t easy to walk away from a well paid job and sit at home and do nothing. Especially when I was raised in a culture that suggested that only a loser( the one that didn’t get good marks in school, the one that did home science for a degree because it was the easiest way to obtain a degree and a rich husband etc) stay at home.
I didn’t belong to that category and no one I knew in my field of work quit work to stay back home.
There are no words to describe the social isolation I felt the moment I decided to quit work.
My friends stopped calling and visiting. It was like suddenly I didn’t belong anywhere and I simply vanished.
There were so many times I contemplated getting a Nanny for Yaya and going back to work.
But I believed no one can raise my child better than I can and my daughter deserved the best.
Giving my children my time was the only thing I did for my children. I was there for them. I read with them, played with them, scolded them and set consistent boundaries for them.
We didn’t have any ultimate goals to achieve. We just lived each day to the fullest.
We still do.
We didn’t follow the norm. When every three year old was attending nursery school, my children were at home playing.
I didn’t believe that a child who learned to read/ write faster is going to be a smart child and every mother’s job is to raise a smart child who can inherit the earth.
What I believed was ‘Whatever intelligence your child is born with will always be there. There is no expiry/use by date for intelligence and you can’t create intelligence’
So I gave my children a non rushed childhood.
I let them grow at their own pace.( Yaya couldn’t read till she was 7 and it was fine with me)
I was/am the constant factor in their life and they know that.
That is my secret.