The Magic of Shopping

I love shopping !! There I said it .. something all women love but few admit. I love shopping for clothes, shoes , make up , home stuff , kitchen ware well everything. Even a visit to the chemist holds various opportunities to shop for me. After all shopping makes me happy, it makes me glow , it makes the world a happier, nicer place.

When I saw the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic , I finally felt that yes there are others like me . I would not say I am an addict but yes , I have a deep love for shopping. And when it comes to the sale season, my joy knows no bounds because as I say you are really saving so much money, not spending it right ?

I go to the mall , the second time this week rationalizing that the sales are on and I’ll just take a look  and only buy a thing or two if it is really amazing and cheap .

Two hours later , my arms full of shopping bags I seem to have forgotten my resolve. I have bought two dresses , jeans, a shirt , make up and espadrilles, all of which needless to say I could have done without. I have been tempted by the danger word that tempts all women SALE . I see a sale in my favorite stores and my sense of judgement and thriftiness desert me. I am drawn to the signs of forty percent , fifty percent off without really assessing what I need, what I want and what I already possess. So tempted are we by the discounts that we forget all the money we are still spending.

Leaving the mall I am disappointed and upset at my rashness but try to convince myself by how much I have saved and I promise myself I will not even enter another shop for the next six months. I am also worried about how much nagging and lectures dear husband will give me.

And just then I see a pair of sunglasses I had been eyeing since a few months at flat twenty percent discount. Recharged and marveling at my good luck at having spotted them , I rush to the store and quickly swipe my card.

Now to rush back home before the husband is back .. these things need to be hidden properly of course !!

The Smart Mom’s Guide To Reducing Plastic Use

Plastic is all around us , in our cars, phones, shampoo and soap packaging, food and water packaging and cannot be totally replaced. Out of the total plastic used in a year only a very small 5 percent of it can be recycled, the rest of it ends up in oceans, rivers and beaches. All of us know the consequences of these, so here are some very simple , easy ways of cutting down on plastic use which I have been using with my family and have proved very easy to implement:

Say No to Plastic Straws

In the USA alone 500 million straws are used each day. Stop thinking that your one straw will not make a difference. If your kids insist on using a straw but the reusable plastic ones, or better still the glass straws or the stainless steel ones that I use which are easily available on Amazon.

Do Not Buy Bottled Water

Remember to carry a bottle of water from home. Let your child buy a reusable bottle of his or her favorite character so that they are happy carryig it everywhere with them.

Say Yes to Cone

At the ice cream shop have you favorite flavor in a cone instead of using a plastic cup and spoon.

Use reusable shopping bags

It takes approximately 10 years for a plastic bag to decompose. Remember to carry a cloth bag from home when you go shopping or just put a few bags in the car .

Say No to Cling Film

cling film for packing tiffins for school or office can be easily replaced by paper wraps easily available on Amazon, or better still I have started using a muslin cloth to wrap parathas and sandwiches every day in the kids lunch boxes.

Make Birthdays more Eco Friendly

Since my kids have started understanding the harm plastic is causing the environment they have become really conscious and this year agreed to have no balloons or their birthday. All the decorations were made of paper, jute and craft materials. Also all the return presents were wrapped in old newspapers.

Ditch Plastic Cutlery

All of us love ordering food from outside and that comes in loads of plastic packaging. But the least we can do is say no to the plastic forks, spoons, chopsticks etc that comes with ( Zomato has the option of no cutlery, choose it ).

Buy Boxes Not Bottles

When buying soaps, shampoos etc buy boxes since they are made of cardboard which can be recycled rather than plastic bottles.

Buy in Bulk

Buy things like pulses, rice, pasta and other staples in bulk to save money and cut down on packaging waste.

As a family once the kids understand how harmful plastic is , I have seen how flexible and keen they are on shifting to eco friendly options. In fact, a few days back at the toy sho

p Amaira asked if they have wooden toy options. And they are very happy carrying their bottles and steel straws everywhere .

Hope you try some of the ideas , and please share your own ideas

Mom Burnout

As I listen to my daughter’s account of her day at school and how 2 older girls scolded her I am scared and anxious. Two hours after the story Amaira is busy playing and I am recounting the incident in my head and wondering how she could have reacted better , how I should train her better to handle situations. Finally I shake myself up and tell myself that it’s too trivial to really get bothered.

Being the mother of two young kids is like constantly being on edge .. each day is filled with new and different kinds of tensions, stress and apprehensions. Yes each day comes with it’s share of fun and laughter but also the constant worrying.

Why did this happen? Why did she say this ? Why did he act like this ? Did something happen in school?Is she being bullied? Is she developing low self confidence ? There are many many questions that you ask yourself constantly. Am I paying too much attention ? Am I focusing too less ? Am I putting too much pressure ? Am I not pushing hard enough ?

I feel like I am caught in a constant whirlwind of thoughts and emotions . In today’s time raising kids is no longer limited to taking care of their health, nutrition, academics and general well being , there are a hundred other challenges that come with being a mother. Each child should be good in studies as well as excel in a few other fields like drama, sports, dancing etc. This should be achieved by pushing the child in the said directions but not too hard. As parents we should boost the child’s confidence by giving him attention and praise but not too much that he becomes spoilt. We should make them do classes in the evening but not so much that they come under pressure.

But who is thinking about the pressure on mothers to follow these myriad rules and standards. Parenting has become so challenging that the poor mother is left at a loss wondering what to do, how much to do . At the end of the day , there is still so much to do that it’s overwhelming , frustrating and exhausting.

But I don’t want to be this person hassled and irritable throughout the day , feeling no joy just getting through the day in a haze.

I want to raise my children in a positive, stress free , happy environment where it doesn’t matter if they are topping the class , or winning in competitions, or learning ten new things every month. They are just 5 and 3 years old, I want them to play and dance and sing as and when they wish, and me to play and dance and sing with them.

What is so Abnormal about CSec ??

My sister in law delivered a healthy baby boy a few days back , and everyone is delighted to have another beautiful addition in the family. She had a a normal delivery, and was admittedly very brave during  the whole time. But here’s the catch everyone has been going on and on about how brave and strong she is, and how I had never wanted a normal delivery and wasn’t strong enough.

My kids are now 5 and 3 and I had both cesarean deliveries as per the doctors advice because of some medical complications. When they were born whoever came to the hospital would ask  ‘Normal kyun nahin kara ? ‘  ‘Aajkal ki ladkiyan normal karti hi nahin hai, inhe easy solution chahiye? ‘ I had to hear all this and many other remarks on how girls these days want to take the easy way out and how in the past our mothers were so strong and selfless.  All this when Iam on a hospital bed writhing in pain, unable to lie down , sit or move. Anyone who has had a Csec will vouch for it, that after the surgery it doesn’t feel like you have taken the easy way out, you are in agony atleast the first few days. How does having a Csec make the whole process of delivering your baby any less wonderful or special, or less ‘normal’. Why is CSec abnormal if it is the need of the hour ?

Does the fact that I had a CSec delivery make me a selfish mother ? Should I have ignored doctors instructions and insisted on a normal delivery putting my baby at risk?

Why are people so judgemental ? Only if you undergo labor pains it is a sign of love for your baby ?

And then come the questions about feeding .. I could only feed my babies for 7-8 months each time due to various factors.Again came the barrage of comments  ‘Girls these days just don’t feed the babies long enough ?’ ‘They don’t want to to be tied down with the baby that is why they give top feed’ .. ‘You don’t eat properly that’s why your feed is not enough.’ I have shed many tears hearing these comments but was unable to explain that to stop feeding my babies wasn’t my choice .

Please let new mothers experience their own unique journey of motherhood. They will gradually learn it all . They will make mistakes but instinctively all mothers know what is best for their baby . So please stop being so judgemental and opinionated on what is the right and wrong way, let them find their own special way.

No I Don’t Have A Job #stop judging

I keep wondering am I just a stay at home mom ? Is that my only identity ?? Am I doing something wrong by not working ?? Well these are perpetual question in my head..

When I was a teenager , I used to look at the women around me and often wonder what kind of a person I would grow up to be . In my head there were 2 kinds : the outgoing , smart girls who were constantly busy and living it up, and the nice, homely girls who were the perfect housewives and mothers. My 13 year old brain could not fathom that every person is a combination of both (just like all of us grew up to be ). But one thing was certain in my head that I will work and have a fulfilling professional life. Being an ace student , I was encouraged by one and all to do engineering or medicine , but I had a keen interest in psychology and decided to pursue it.

My dream, my passion was to have a productive and satisfying career in psychology . Then I got married and got preoccupied with becoming the perfect daughter in law, perfect mother and perfect wife (and yes in this order ). Thoughts of working were shelved temporarily as becoming a part of the new household became a priority . And then came the kids and the temporary hiatus started seeming like a very long and maybe even permanent one.

So busy was I in setting up a positive, nurturing , full of love house and family that my drive to follow my passions, my ambitions got lost without me even realizing how and why. I got so engrossed in my daily life that I neglected my own well being, mental and physical. My priority were the kids and rightly so but I stopped thinking completely about what made me happy.

This is not to say that I regret any of it , I am blessed with a wonderful life and an amazing family. And raising 2 kids is a immensely time consuming and satisfying job. I keep telling myself that when the kids are more grown up I will figure out what to do work wise. But somewhere  deep inside there is a stinging sensation , the reminder that time is getting lost. I feel physically exhausted but at the same time mentally stagnated. My body is always in over exertion mode , but I don’t feel mentally stimulated or productive.

Add to that the general notion in society these days which considers you smart enough or capable enough only if you have a job. It is unfathomable to people that you have decided to stay home the next few years to be with your children and see them grow. Your worth , your capability is judged by the fact that you are getting a pay check at the end of the month.

These thoughts keep running in my head and add to the frustration and feeling of not doing enough.

YES Mom equals HAPPY Mom

Mama can I have chips ? No it’s lunch time

Mummy can I go down and play ? No you have to finish your homework

Mummy can I sit and do see what you are doing ? No go finish your homework first

Mama I have done my homework can I watch TV ? No you watch too much TV

Mama can I have chips now ? No eat your fruit , you eat too much junk

and the list goes on for a thousand other things .

If each one of us starts counting the number of times we say no to our kids in a day we will be surely shocked.

A few days back my 3 year old son came to me and asked can i have ice cream ? I said no its lunch time .. can I go downstairs and play ? I said no  have your lunch first .. at this he started howling and said you ALWAYS SAY NO.

When I heard this I got really upset and said Ayaan this is no way to talk to Mama. I always listen to you but this is lunch time. And both of us were visibly upset but somehow being a kid he soon settled down and became his normal , cheerful self . But even after an hour I was pretty upset by his outburst , and I  really began to think about what he had said. Does my son actually feel that I always say no.. and to my own shock and disbelief  I actually realised that i do mostly say NO.

As mothers we are concerned for  our kids safety, maintaining their routines, feeding them nutritious food , keeping them away from TV so much that we have become programmed to say no. Our automatic response to 90 percent of their demands is no ( which kid ever asks for carrots as a snack or for a book if they are getting bored ). Kids being kids always do ask for the fun stuff , to play , to eat junk , to not study so our instinct  has become to say no without even thinking if its really necessary.

As a kid we always hated to be told things , to maintain a structure and vowed to ourselves that when we become parents we’ll not behave like this , that we will be the cool parents we always wanted.  So where did these thoughts  vanish. And trust me when I recall our childhood, our parents used to say no a lot less than we do, they were more lenient and relaxed in their approach. I don’t remember my mother saying such a strong no to chips or chocolates or to playing a little more.

When I recalled my son’s request and his subsequent reaction , I really thought about it and felt that if I had let him play for 10 more minutes and then have his lunch, what difference would it really make, summer holidays are going on , there’s no rush so how does 10 minutes really matter.

If we think hard and objectively a lot of the things we say no to don’t really matter. But our children’s happiness does. So that day i decided I’ll try to say yes the most that I can. This of course doesn’t relate to safety related issues but in all other things.

So in the evening we were going to the park . Generally I keep rushing the kids saying finish your fruit and let’s go let’s go. That day Amaira said I’ll not eat banana just plum and go after 10 mins so I took a deep breath reminded myself not to start off about the importance of calcium and just said okay. And she stopped and looked at me cos clearly she had been expecting a different reaction. One less disagreement already. In the park they said 10 more mins I said okay and the smiles on their faces were worth all the minutes in the world. Could I really make my kids so happy just by  giving in to such a simple request.

Its been a week and I’m trying to be YES MOM and leave the no mom pattern.If I know I need something has to be done Iam trying to find a mid  way and also to communicate my point in a more positive way like I told Amaira yesterday you have to do 1 page writing before lunch time but you can do it before or after playing that you can decide. Of course this doesn’t apply to everything like their health and safety but at least say no where it is essential. And I can see that even the kids are wondering what is happening , yesterday Amaira said you say okay to everything and I couldn’t stop smiling.

I am going to try to continue on this path and see how much I can make it work. What are your thoughts ?

Why Is Father’s Day Neglected ?

Ask most people what are their plans for Father’s Day, and you are likely to get blank looks. Most people might not even remember when it is (June 16th) and will probably make last-minute plans at best.

Mother’s Day, on the other hand, is filled with declarations of love, flowers, gifts, lunches, and dinners. Why the differentiation? Do we really appreciate and cherish our fathers less or is it that we feel we don’t need to give our fathers special attention and gifts?

I believe it is a combination of both these factors. We as a society have always talked about mothers’ sacrifices, mothers’ devotion, and unconditional love. And I wholeheartedly see these in all the mothers around me and cherish them for it.

But are we forgetting and diminishing the role of our fathers? How many of us have actually acknowledged and appreciated all that our dads do for us? Fathers are the actual hidden heroes in the family who keep it going. They take on all the stress and responsibilities of running the family without a single word of complaint. It is their broad shoulders we still return to every time there is a problem. Faced by any difficult situation my first call is still to my father whose voice and calmness makes it somehow seem manageable.

And now in recent times, men are equal partners in managing the house and the children. I remember my dad as always being an equal participant in our growing up years. He was the one we went to with all our demands and never returned disappointed. And now my husband is an equal partner in our endless sleepless nights, feedings and playtime. It is my husband who keeps the ship running when I am too tired or just need a break.

He has been my anchor and support system in handling the daunting challenge of managing two very young and energetic kids.

As mothers, we should encourage our children to express their love and affection for their fathers wholeheartedly and also acknowledge all that they do.

Also, it is a misconception that men don’t like displays of love. On Father’s Day let’s give them flowers, cards, and gifts and show them how much they mean to us. Let’s make cards and gifts with our children and take our own dads for lunch and a movie. At the end of the day, all of us in our hearts remain our daddys’ little girls.