A must read for all parents or about to be parents! A new novel by Jo-Anne Richards
I have decided that every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist and especially doctors (sorry doctors but you really do) need to read ‘the imagined child’ by Jo-Anne Richards...Please don’t get me wrong – it is a wonderful read. No preaching about parenting, disabilities and personal foibles...but it is still a book to read before becoming a parent or if you are one...
Yes. It is about more than about what children inherit, genetic or otherwise from their parents. And I found the thread of the ambiguities in our so called ‘New South Africa’ not seen through those hopeful ‘rainbow glasses’ so many of us donned in ’94 so well done that I could just enjoy them as I like to in a novel. (Philistine that I am perhaps...).
But motherhood, parenthood and growing children is not a clean, hygienic, rosy and romantic thing. It is actually about the deepest emotions you will probably ever feel. And smelly, messy and completely consuming. And the highs and lows will leave you knowing more about your ‘bad’ and ‘good’ sides than I, for one, particularly wanted to know. (Unless of course you manage to have a day and night nanny perhaps?).
And actually somehow being as adult as you could possibly be at all times (eeeee!) and creating a childhood for your child that will breed resilience and humanity into their pores in such a way that eventually they can kick dust in your face (with a happy laugh and fairly kindly) as they hit the road running out of their first home....
I had genetically 'normal' kids. Lucky me. And I had been working with children for years before I had my own. In my firstborn’s first month I had an ‘ah ha’ moment about baby battering...No I did not hurt my baby nor did I actually wish to but I just knew why if one had no support or were emotionally fragile or under more stress than one should be I could see how one could crack.
But perhaps we all need to get a little less judgemental, a little more real about how children get brought up by us, so very fallible beings. And how important it is to sometimes get a bit thoughtful about this parenting thing we do. We can rule countries, write amazing novels, get Nobel prizes or sales person of the week...but still how we shape our children’s lives still seems to me the most important thing we can do – once we accept the title of ‘parent’.
So read it and become just a little more forgiving to your own parents and to your own parent self. And also because Ms Richards is a South African author we can be proud of. And it is a lovely read.
By the way - Viva moms of SA, viva!