Posted in m@dness

The Motherhood Awakening

To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Mother’s Day, I am celebrating the accomplishment and the title itself.  Today, I am thankful to my girls for helping me break stereotypes and allowing me to be just me. The tiny two, all of 4 years and 1 year has urged me to accept myself for everything I am. You see, sometimes you have to be told that you are nothing, made to feel insignificant and only then will you realise that you are complete, that you have had enough and that you are enough.

In the past 4 years, ever since I became a mother, I have constantly tortured myself over the fact that I have to do get everything right. Losing a parent at any age can be devastating. However, losing one before you truly become an adult makes it more challenging than anything. Being a motherless mother, I don’t really have anyone to model after. All the pretend plays when I was a kid didn’t really help. Sleepless nights during the initial months gave me enough time to worry about how to raise a child, more specifically a girl and then 2 girls! My girl friends, all of whom had mothers would just pick up the phone and ask queries and questions and I would smile. I have to admit, there were times when I’d pretend play and pick up the phone and talk to myself. I was driving myself crazy; watching every YouTube video on parenting, reading every article, studying every book on bringing up children and everything else that would equip me to raise my girls. I didnt know if I should raise my voice or actually worry about tiny things. I was not sure if I should discipline them already or wait till they are a bit older. Did I feed them enough? Did I have to monitor their play time? The Am-I-A-Good-Mother question nagged me constantly.

Until recently. Until my 4 year old came to my rescue.

Kids show us human nature, before all the social conditioning. They are a great inspiration for being yourself, staying in the moment and living life to the fullest and one powerful value that we need to teach children is that we are all learning. Every mistake is a learning. None of us have arrived, we all have enough room to grow and evolve into better versions of ourselves. My daughters have been my patient teachers all through my motherhood journey and I can never ever thank them enough.

This mother’s day I have three things to tell mother’s who are like me; mother’s who are motherless and looking for some tip or technique to raise their kids right.

  1. There is no such thing as a good mother. It is the way we are conditioned to believe that mothers must be good at everything. Nope, the very fact that we are willing to learn is enough. Teach your children to be curious about the world around. They should be open minded and ready to question that makes no sense to them and accept things that may make sense only to them.
  2. Small is big. Its really the small things that matter. Smile at people. Enjoy the rain. Smell flowers. Sing a song. Help people in trouble. Share food. Stay healthy and stay active. This, they taught me, my girls.
  3. Express Emotions. Look at children, they express emotions so well! Let it out. Be it joy, pain or fear, let it all out. It is perfectly fine and it is the best way to live. Express your thoughts and learn to say no to things that you don’t feel good about. Laughter and tears are self healing mechanisms to combat fear and anxiety. Embrace it.

Remember that children are born with only 2 fears; loud noise and falling. Everything else is learnt. They learn what they see. Being the best version of me is the one gift I can give them and I don’t really need a role model for that right?

Here is a quote that reflects exactly what I am now. No more self doubt and no more fears.
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Once again, Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mothers out there.

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Posted in close to heart, The Chronicles of A

Gender Inequality Is In Our Head!

My elder one, Ami is turning 4 in a few months and she is one of those Curious George types.  She has to ask at least 50 questions a day and since she is learning to talk in English, it is mostly why, what and how questions. This morning I was teaching her about Gender- Well, Boys and Girls, Male and Female to be precise. Here is a gist of the conversation and then I’ll get to my point:

Me: Ami, Amma(Mother), Ammuma (Grandmother), Suma(Aunt) are all girls or females.

Ami: Okay.

Me: And Acha(Father), Appoopa(Grandfather) and Kochacha are boys, males.

Ami: Ok Amma. So all boys are males and girls are females.

Me: Yes. Yay! High Five!

Ami: But Amma who is a girl? And who is a boy?

Me: Huh. Hmmm Girls have long hair and all that and boys are rough and have short hair.

Ami: Oh! But I am rough and have short hair. SO I am a boy eh?

Me: <Gupling> No Ami. You are a girl and so is Cookie. Let me think and give you an answer to who is a girl and who is a boy ok?

Ami: Ok Amma

Phew!

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She turned back to playing and I was left thinking about the idea we have in our heads about males and females. Why did I say that girls have long hair when I am thinking of chopping away my mane? How can I say boys are rough and tough with short hair when our Babita Kumari and Kiran Bedi are proving us all wrong. That’s when I realised that gender differences and indifference are within us, in our head. It is on us parents to teach our future generation the actual difference instead of just passing on the adage of what has been drilled into our head. Pink for girls, blue for boys. Boys play with cars and trucks, girls play with dolls and brush!And all this blah blah about women representation and reservations need to be shut down!

I was bought up by my dad who donned the role of a mother, just like that. He learnt to cook, tie my hair, listen to girl talk, answer teen queries and every other thing that a mother is “supposed” to do. And me? I used to run around in shorts and tshirts and play with boys, climb trees, ride cycles and do everything except pee on the road! Then why did I reply in that manner to Ami?

It must be the stereotypes that are drilled into our brain from the time we are born. No matter what we do, or where we go or how we are raised, these stereotypes will tag along. And it is not just the information passed on from one generation the other, it’s not just one movie, it’s not just one TV show, it’s constant exposure to the same outdated concepts in the media over and over, starting before preschool and lasting a lifetime! Unfortunately,  gender stereotypes in movies and on TV shows are more than persistent; they’re incredibly effective at teaching kids what the culture expects of boys and girls. What makes these messages stick ,and harder for parents to counteract is that they’re timed for the precise moment in kids’ development when they’re most receptive to their influence. Think of preschoolers who are just beginning to identify as boys or girls. The characters they see on TV and in movies often have an obvious masculine or feminine appearance, such as a superhero’s big muscles(Little Singham, Johny Bravo) or a princess’ (Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa)long hair. These characteristics also are often associated with specific traits.For young audiences who absorb ideas from the media on how to behave and what to become, these characterizations can lead to false assumptions and harmful conclusions.

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Now, kids have this amazing, natural ability to see the world as limitless, but when adults signal that certain things or behaviors are off limits for kids based on their gender, their worlds get smaller and smaller—and that’s not just sad, it can be damaging as well. Obviously, every parent has the best intentions, but sometimes it’s possible to unknowingly promote stereotypes that can fence our children in. Its not just in India, but around the world as well. What is disheartening is to know that. although we have stepped into the 21st century and there are heated discussions about feminism and glass ceilings, there are still very consistent forms of patriarchy all around the world.

So what can I do or what can I say to my girls so that they don’t get caved in and caught up in this ever rolling ball?

Well, at least for the sake of my girls, I’m going to look at it as a window of opportunity to really address these attitudes and beliefs before they become cemented later on. How?

  • There is NO boy toy and girl toy. Girls want to play with a car, so be it!
  • Football and hockey isn’t just played by boys. Go, play!
  • Pink is not just for girls and blue isn’t just for boys.
  • Show my girls the people who have broken stereotypes and marched ahead.
  • Choose books wisely.
  • Chores of the house are divided equally. There is no such thing as a job that acha does or amma does.

We just seem to think of gender as a binary function when we are all non-binary. The age old saying of let boys be boys and girls be girls must really be questioned. And so, off I go to tell little Ami that if you pee on the road, then you are a boy!

Wink Wink.

Someday soon… Hopefully

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Posted in m@dness

Girlcations Can Wait!

“We need to go on a girlcation“. I had just sent this to Ms.A this morning as I came across one of our old pics together. Lately, my facebook wall seems to be flooded with ladies going on trips with their girlfriends and the only trip I can think of now, is a trip to the bathroom. Alone. But, I totally envy the girl gang who have actually gone on girlcations. More power to you! And please, this post isn’t an after effect of watching the trailer of Veere di Wedding. Oh I have a gang of girls or I can think of at least 4 people who I’d love to go on a trip with and vice versa. These are people who I want to get together with, talk over vodka, catch up on our lives, non existent careers and post pregnancy bodies!.

In my twenties, I believed that I needed the validation of having a lot of people around me. I needed more friends. More people in my contact list. More connections for things to do. More people to comment on my Facebook posts. And boy I did have a lot of friends.  Today, I look back and know the need to put off that perception of being “liked” in order to feel good about myself.It didn’t take me long after having my first baby to realize how empty that need was. In the first few days or weeks post my delivery, when my heart was full of fear, doubt and exhaustion in its new journey, there really weren’t many of them I felt could call. While I had a lot of “virtual” friends, I could barely call them for a good heart-to-heart chat. I had the validation of feeling liked, but I yearned for the friendships that made me feel alive.

With the coming of my second one, I am convinced that although my “social network” shows that I have 2000+ connections, those are not my forever friends. Since the past few months, my life in general has gone through a storm; I dont mean my little girl, but a series of events from losing loved ones to my dad getting sick to fallouts with family and so today, not only have I learned to value myself, I have also understood the value of real, raw, back-and-forth friendships.

These days, juggling work from home, studying, managing 2 girls, tango and the man, the only time I get to spend being social and friendly with my loved ones are limited to whatsapp chats that I reply to days after I have read it or likes on fb posts or if am very lucky, two minutes of phone calls with kids shrieking in the background. But, I am happy for that, about that. Because, it’s like saying to each other that, we are still a part of each other, we will  talk when we can, we will soak up the times we get together n we will still be with each other when we are allowed a social life years  decades later.

These friends of mine are people I know will wait for me to reply but know exactly when to pick up the phone and call. They know our relation had to take a back seat not because they weren’t important at any point but because they know that we are good enough friends and neither time nor distance can create a scratch, leave alone a scar. People  say that it’s dumb to keep friendships that you can’t devote time and effort to, but I believe it is those relations that are lowest maintenance that are forever and for real. The ones worth keeping. Till the very end.

To my friends who I don’t always get to spend time with, we will do what we can for now and that will be enough. And otherwise, we will do those things and go on girlcations in just a bit. Maybe, 10 years later?

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Posted in close to heart, The Chronicles of A

Going from One to Two

One of my closest friends is pregnant with her third and another one I know is pregnant with her first. The former can’t remember what month she is on and the latter knows the week and date to the t. And me? Well, I am going from one to two and boy the difference is night and day. I know many articles and blogs have been written about the difference between first and second pregnancies and I will not talk about whats there. This one is for what it has been for me.

Before I start, Ami, my girl, you will always be special. It is not just because you are my first born but because you were my teacher, the reason for me having so many of my “first” and “aha” moments. For teaching me that unconditional love is the purest form of love.

There is something about the first time that is just sort of magical. With us, it was just Ami and me. When Ami was born, I didn’t shed a tear because I was happy to see my friend of nine months finally in my hands! I was filled with an anticipation that will likely remain unmatched for the rest of my life. At every step of those nine months, I knew what week I was at, what fruit size the baby was in my tummy, what were those measurements on the scan report, what to eat, what to avoid, what made the baby uncomfortable, when was the baby most active etc. I would write down the changes each month, make a number of checklists, list of baby names from month 2, had a hospital bag ready by 7th month, thought about what dresses to buy, what to wear and my the list can go on! To cut the long story short, I was too occupied and happy and excited to think about anything else but my baby.

This time, its different. I wouldnt say it is a bad thing but things are very different. From announcing my pregnancy to getting that hospital ready, everything has changed. I have become paranoid! No, I’m certainly not worried about what fruit size my baby is or what week I am on or what my baby is feeling or doing. I am on 33 weeks and I haven’t done any shopping. I haven’t decided a name, I havent thought about anything at all! Checklist you ask? The only checklist I have are all work related! At this pointI’d like to say to you Baby 2, that its not because I dont love you already, it is because I am too worried about your well being! Now, because I know what its like and have been there done that, I know the risks, I know the signs, I know its not a cakewalk. Remember though, that I am like this because I love you to bits already.

Last evening, I spoke with my mommy-of-2 friend because I had to speak to someone who had the experience. I wanted to ensure that I was normal! I have been thinking about what would happen to my family if something was to happen to me? What if something went wrong with me? What is the husband going to do with a 3 year old and a new born and a dog! I mean, he cannot even take care of himself for a day without goofing up! I had never really thought of dying and have never been afraid except for now. The thought had began to affect my sleep, my work and my whole life. I would on some days look at AMi playing and silently shed a tear. My friend said its okay. It happens and its perfectly fine!

This morning, as I woke up and made tea, I realised that even if I didn’t consider myself of any value, those few human beings certainly needed me around. I suddenly felt very wanted. My fears seem to slowly fade away. Today, I live.

So, my advice to the moms going from one to two, take it slow. One day at a time. To feel scared is normal. It just shows you care too much for those human beings that need you. To the first time moms, enjoy while it lasts! Savor every moment, cherish every kick and nibble. This one is special.

See you after I go from one to two 🙂

To my Two,

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my babies you’ll be.

Amma

 

Posted in fiction

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He was born in a land far away. They worked there.  They decided to celebrate his first birthday  in their home country. His relatives said the boy looks like him.  Her relatives said the boy looks just like her. The couple smiled, looking at each other. Little did the relatives know, the boy was adopted.

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Posted in The Chronicles of A

A Mother Speaks- Chapter 3

Soooo I am going on a much awaited, much deserved vacation. I am going home! Again, I’ll be off for awhile! Last evening, in the midst of a conversation between moms and moms to be, I realised how much life has changed for me, how much I have changed!The transition from being a carefree lazy woman to a new mom is a huge shock on so many levels. I had to warn the moms to be ;). I didnt mean to scare the girls but I had t warn them because I thought they were waay too young!As a new mom, I have found myself doing countless things I never would have expected to do — some that are laugh-worthy and others that will make you cringe.

I have never been around any kid while they grew up. The babbling and the crawling are all new to me. I mostly gather all my info from reading up. I swear by Dr Sears Baby Book. Its like my bible. I am not suggesting thats the way to raise a kid, but I really dont have a choice… So how did my life change…

I was never too fond of bathing. Yeah yeah judge me! Go ahead. I used to look at it as a chore. Something just to keep ourselves clean. Now, its on my to do list everyday! I look forward to the time I take a bath. I love bathing. Its the 15 minutes I get to myself. Nobody else can take that away from me. After a long day, some warm water n me. Bliss! There are days when I have even slept off there.Instead of European Tour, I daydream of long showers and baths. Hmmm. I am just gewtting started.

I am a singer. Not a self proclaimed one. Acquaintances,colleagues, friends and family know that I sing. I used to hum all the time. I still do. Its just that now I sing more of baby songs and lullabies. I try to sing songs but go back to baby tuning! I dont even know whats the latest AR Rahman tune is like! To think there was a time when friends used to come to me for the latest tracks 😦 I sing the same songs on repeat so much that my own voice is starting to drive me crazy, but it’s worth it, because that smile is everything to me! I am also known to talk a lot. I was the talkative child all the way through school n college. I would even talk to a log! Well, I still do. These days its more third person talk. I have somehow transported into a different dimension where I talk in the third person, as in, “Amma needs to sit down n take a break….for real”. Also, I find myself giving the play-by-play of every little action I am doing, even when no one else is in the room. Appaarently you have to keep speaking to babies so that they develop theor communication skills! Looks like I’ll need to attend spoken english classes before I can start speaking socially again.

No i wasnt exactly the stylish diva ever. I’d be seen mostly in tshirt n jeans. These days I cant even remember when was the last time I wore a clean pair of clothes!My clothes are mostly used as scotch brite wipes, wet tissues or jut\st tissues! In the beginning I used to change outfits more times in a day (due to various baby bodily fluids) than a teenager on the first day of school. Eventually I gave up changing clothes and accepted that I’ll be covered in something at all times during the day.The ponytail and nude face look has become my signature look, and by signature look, I mean my only look. I guess I should just go bald or sport the bob cut look!

Eating was a favourite! I was a foodie! I used to try every newly opened reataurant in town! Take time to enjoy a meal, savouring every bite. haaaaa what a life that was! Eating has now become a competition around finishing my plate in the shortest time possible, and I HAVE forgtten about savoring a bite. That hot cup of tea I made this morning to enjoy while getting ready for the day…..It’s 2 p.m. and I still haven’t gotten halfway through it and have reheated it four times. I enjoyed cooking. Ilove experimenting and spending time in the kitchen. Now I use my kitchen timer not to cook something delicious, but as a countdown to when Ro comes home and when I can hand over!!!

Sleep! Oh what a luxury it was, if only I had respected it and savoured it wjen I had the time, instead of wasting countless hours on the net!  10:00 p.m. has become my new bedtime, and even that seems late most nights. Moving even an inch while she is napping after nursing is a terrifying experience for fear of waking her. Sneezing while the baby naps is absolutely off the table, just hold it in and take it like an adult. Hold it, I say! I celebrate the fact that my baby is finally sleepng longer by spending my newly found free time obsessively checking on her.

Getting out was so easy! Pick  up bag n leave. Now, there’s a checklist on the door that has to be checked even if I am going down to the grocery shop. Diapers are a must. Maybe one in your pocket is also a good idea.  I have forgotten where I kept my handbag. Her bag is mine now. Or rather, I kind of ask for some space in her bag to just put my purse.

Hmmm as you can see, life does change!  A lot. I am just not the person I used to be. I have changed from being a carefree, lazy, laid back, selfish prick to being an over cautious, on the move, selfless mother. I no longer care of whther my hair is tied up or whether I have had food on time or that I havent got sleep for days together. What matters is that my princess is happy and comfortable. I see her smile and I know am doing it right.  Oh well, I know there will come a day when my girl will demand that I sport a ponytail and look chic. She will demand that I eat on time and get some rest and go back to the lady I used to be. Till then, I am at  her disposal.  Till then my time table is the one she sets n resets every single day…. Till the day she becomes the lady I dream she will be… till then……

  1. Like how parenthood totally doesn't change you at all.