Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


As a new mother few years back I was faced with a lot of questions. What is good and what is not good for my little bundle of joy? There were so many contradictory advice. One of the most contradictory advice I received was regarding the use of the diapers. I was told babies are extremely uncomfortable in diapers and cloth nappies are best for them. As a mother I wanted to make sure that my baby was comfortable but I was also tired with the never ending change of cloth nappies. So I used disposable diapers as often as I could. But deep in my heart I knew I was not comfortable about it.

Flash-forward to the birth of my second born, this time again I started with cloth nappies but it was extremely difficult to go ahead with it. I had a toddler and an infant and I realised I needed to make an informed decision. So I decided to buy a lot of different brands of diapers available in the market. I started with what I had earlier used. It was a popular brand but the baby looked uncomfortable. As a mother I was not at ease with it. With trial and error I finally found the perfect diaper for my younger one. He was at his active best when I started using Pampers Premium care pants. He is one of the naughtiest babies I have ever seen. So it was like a boon that the diaper allowed him to be his free self. It is one of the softest diapers. My little one looks completely at ease in it. In fact, I think the diaper has only encouraged his naughtiness. There is nothing that binds him down.

One of his greatest love is being in water. He loves splashing around and is always ready to jump in his bath tub. A few weeks back, we had few guests over for dinner. He was dressed up in a really cute formal suit, looking like a miniature Pierce Brosnan and that’s when he decided to have a pool party with his friends. Out went the suit and every piece of clothing from his body. His friends followed and within a few minute our house was full of naked and screaming toddlers running around and demanding for a pool party. We finally gave in to the demand and the kids ended up having a lot of fun at the dinner cum pool party (Yes, they refused to come out and ate in the washroom) That night will remain as one of the fondest memories of him growing up.
My little one is free spirited and I am glad I have been able to nurture his spirits and let him evolve.

"This post is a part of the Pampers #SoftestForBabySkin activity at BlogAdda

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Children are not trophies

Being a parent I am a part of lot of official and unofficial parents' groups, I interact with a lot of other parents and with each interaction and with each parent, I see the race increasing, the need to prove that their child is better than your child. I am not generalizing here I have seen this enough number of times to call this a phenomenon amongst parents.

Children are brought forward and their each and every..even trivial accomplishments spoken about in high pitched voices in almost all parents’ gathering I attend these days. What happens when this happens?

Or you can ask what is wrong if this happens? If the child has accomplished something then why not blow your own trumpet in front of the world? I say...There is nothing wrong in doing this sometimes. I also do it and I ask every parent to please go ahead and praise your kids for their achievements which are important. But if you do it for every small thing, please pause and ask few pertinent questions.

What are you celebrating..your child's accomplishments or your child's accomplishments as compared to other children?

If the answer to above question is are not comparing your child with anyone else but you like to talk about everything he/she excels in, think again.

A simple poem written for the first time or the first sentence framed on their own will also be achievements. But what if they do it after most of their friends have done it? What if he/she is the last person in the class to grasp a new concept? Will you still celebrate these achievements?? If yes..please go ahead and do it for things which you think are important. Not every line drawn, not every word spoken is a milestone to be shared with the world, right?

If you celebrate each and every small thing your child achieves, don't you think this will put a lot of pressure on your child? He/She would be under immense pressure to perform and to excel/succeed in everything. It creates a ripple effect. The more you will talk about their small/little accomplishments, the more you will expect them to succeed in everything. The more you will expect from them, the more pressure will be there on them.

Once you start shouting out loud and displaying them as increases pressure on them and on you because now they are expected to perform everytime. They are expected to not fail every time. Parents become a part of this trap, it becomes a cycle which is difficult to break and kids become a mere prey in the game, a mere trophy to showcase.

If we continue doing this every time for every little success what will happen when they don’t succeed?

File:Cute boy face with butterfly.jpg

How will we feel when every other parent is talking about how well their child is doing in maths in their class and we know our child is lagging behind. If you are a parent who is use to of displaying your child like a trophy, you will put unnecessary pressure on your child to perform. The motive will not be to make him learn and understand the concept, the motive will be to make him win, make him come first in this ongoing race. And if you are a child of such parent what will be your frame of mind. You would be terrified of failures, you would be petrified to face your parents for every missed question and every wrong answer.

Yes we should be proud of their accomplishments, yes we should motivate them, encourage them but do we need to do it for everything and do it every time we see other parents? Are we trying to prove that our children are better than other children everytime? What is the need? Really?? Why?? Why do we care?

Shouldn’t we also tell them that it is okay to fail and fall sometimes? Infact they should fail so that they learn how to stand up and succeed through failure.

As a parent I am also tempted so many times. I know my child is doing well and there are times I do talk about the things he is doing well but I don’t want him to think he is better than other children in everything. Because he is not. So I don’t do it every time. I do it for things that I know are important for him, things that are really big to be spoken of atleast once.

When he does lags behind I do feel a little off, get a little upset but I move on and focus  on him learning the concept, even if he is doing it last in the class. Why am I okay with it? Because I have not created unrealistic expectations around my children.. I do talk about their accomplishments but I prioritize. I define. I keep it under certain boundaries. I also accept it is not easy, we love our kids and it is so nice to talk about their accomplishments, to praise them, to see others praise them but what came as an eye opener for me, was a look at such kids who were under a lot of pressure, who were trying to outdo other kids, who were competing not only with other kids but also with themselves, trying to outdo one achievement after the other. A look at their face every time they do not succeed, every time they fail will break your heart.

I will try my best to keep my children away from the rat race. I don't know how long I will be successful in it but I will try. They are not trophies, medals to display...they are my children, my champs and like me they excel in few things and they are not good in others. I am completely okay with it. 

It is their life, their accomplishments, we are a part of it. Their life is not about me but about them.

They have to be prepared for failures, hurts and tears. And we have to be there everytime when they fall. No we cannot fall when they fall, we can’t rest when they rest. It is not about us when we are with them. It is about them. We cannot make it about us, it will never be.

Children are not trophies or medals, they are not our property to be displayed.

Image credit here

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Benefits of breastfeeding your baby

Anunoy Samanta with his keen interest in public health talks about benefits of breastfeeding. Give it up for him for touching the topic spoken in hushed tone. 
I am also very sensitive about the topic but I also believe we have to start talking about it openly.Open dialogues and discussions can help us in learning and sharing correct information and practices.

Anunoy I love the candor in the write-up and would urge all mothers to read it with an open mind. This is not a judgement on anyone. It is an effort on our behalf to support and encourage a practice which is medically proven as better than bottle feeding/Cow's milk/formula


“People say, ‘You’re still breast-feeding, that’s so generous.’ Generous, no! It gives me boobs and takes my thighs away! It’s sort of like natural liposuction. I’d carry on breast-feeding for the rest of my life if I could.”  - Helena Bonham Carter (English Actress)

Didn’t you find Carter convincing enough? Well, if I tell you the ugly truth that the moment you’re bottle-feeding your baby, you’re simply amplifying your little angel’s chance of death by more than 5%, would you still not be motivated to breastfeed him? 

Off course I’m not addressing this to those moms who’re refraining from breastfeeding their babies due to medical reasons like, breast infection, inflammation, cracked painful nipples, blood infections, mental ill health or on drugs which can harm the suckling infant.

I’ll try to have a coffee-talk with those mothers who’re abstaining from breastfeeding either due abundance of wrong information about it or not motivated enough. No sentimental touch up here, today I’ll tell you ten well proven reasons why you should breastfeed your baby and after that I’ll leave it to your prudent discretion:

(1)Your breast milk is free from any contamination or adulteration, isn’t that a big matter of relief?

(2)It’s available round the clock, so, no worry of empty packets at night! You don’t need to measure how much to serve because Nature takes care of that. Whatever your breasts can hold is never too much or too less for your baby.

(3)You won’t believe the tremendous anti-infective potential of your breast milk. Once you’re breastfeeding, your baby will have much lesser chances to develop diarrhoea, pneumonia and other infections. Diarrhoea or pneumonia may sound trivial illnesses to you by virtue of casual self medication practices (courtesy: Web search) but they can unfortunately be fatal for your kid!

(4)Scientific studies have proved that breastfed babies are less likely to develop obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems in later life. So, by breastfeeding you’re securing his future health too!

(5)There is evidence to suggest that breastfeed babies stand out with higher IQ score in later life! Do you want your child to grow up as a dumbhead or an ingenious mind like me?

(6)Give a tight slap to anybody who advocates that breastfeeding can distort your figure. As a matter of fact, it shapes you up after the chubbiness of pregnancy! You’re wondering how? Well it’s pretty simple, excess energy stores in the form of fat laid down during your pregnant state is are consumed during the lactation period, i.e. in a nutshell you’re transferring your unwanted energy to your baby who needs it the most.

(7)As you get used to breastfeeding your baby you get a sense of unmatched satisfaction and develop a feeling of importance, essentiality and motherliness! Do I have to highlight that money can’t buy them?

(8)Breastfeeding will strengthen your bond with your child. After all, no mother desires her child to be indifferent towards her in future.

(9)Once you’re a breastfeeding mom you’re less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer in future!

(10)Lastly I would like to talk about the spice breastfeeding can add to your sex life. If you’re sincerely breastfeeding your baby, you may indulge in unprotective intercourse up to a period of six months from the date of delivery of your baby… no nauseating pills… no itchy latex… isn’t that great? If you want to enlighten yourself more on this subject, oblige yourself by searching ‘Lactational Amenorrhea’ in internet.

I’ve talked of only ten valid reasons why you should breastfeed your baby, honestly there’re hundred more.  If I go into the details it might read uninteresting for you. Suppose, if I tell you that by breastfeeding your infant you’re hugely contributing to the national cost savings in a developing country like India, though it is a fact, you may find it irrelevant to your present situation. Now some of you may argue with me about the importance of cow’s milk, but I tell you it is way inferior to your breast milk. Cow’s milk will best meet the requirement of her calf while your baby needs yours. So, happy breastfeeding!

See I told you I loved the candor and this guy has guts and is not uncomfortable in sharing his knowledge on something clearly marked under female domain.

Stay tuned for correct breastfeeding techniques in his next post.

Who is Anunoy Samanta?
Besides his usual run for bread and butter, Anunoy Samanta also has a keen interest in public health and he manages to squeeze out sweet time for creative writing, travelling and photography. 

He enjoys blogging at his personal blogs and iMakeMyTrip. You may also reach Anunoy through his Facebook profile anytime.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Breastfeeding (Tips and learnings from my journey)

Breastfeeding can be the most heart melting and heart breaking experience for any mother. There are so many questions, so many may be and so many prying eyes. This can be especially tough for a new mother.

On the occasion of World breastfeeding week; I want to share my journey and learnings from my journey with a hope that it may help or encourage breast feeding.

I had a wonderful first experience, the baby latched on, there was enough flow and he maintained a clockwise schedule of feeding on his own but inspite of this my second experience was very difficult. My second baby, as they say, was a very very lazy baby. He refused to latch, would sleep in few seconds, would be hungry all the time and would cry invariably all the time because of the hunger.

When I look back now I realise how different both my babies were and how I tried to implement what I had learned the first time forcibly on my second baby. Ofcourse it didn’t work, nothing I knew worked. I finally went to a lactation consultant whose advice did help. She gave me a lot of tips which worked.  I am summarizing a few which I think would have helped me in any situation:

1) Relax: Yes this is the first thing she told me. I was hyper, worried and really unsettled and unconsciously I was passing on these to my baby. Babies are an extension of you, they very quickly get your mood. Because I was so hassled, it reflected on the baby also. Remember you and baby both are new into this and one or both sides may take time to learn.

2) Breastfeeding positions: There are a lot of breastfeeding positions which are correct. Not everyone may know about it. Make sure to talk to an expert/lactation consultant/Any doctor about it. With trial and error figure out what works for you and your baby the best. The most normal position is a cradle hold, the baby turned towards you resting on your arms. This worked like charm for me the first time but it didn’t the second time. Second time I kept varying positions because the baby was never comfortable. Changing positions worked with him to an extent.

3) DO NOT maintain a schedule: The feeding should be driven by baby’s hunger and not by a clockwise schedule. Feed when the baby is hungry. Feed when the baby asks for it. Don’t restrict it. Especially in the starting, with an infant, they are too young and may not follow a clockwise schedule for feeding and naps. However try and breastfeed them as long as you can every time. If the baby sleeps try and wake him/her up. I was told on an average a new born could take feed for about 40-45 minutes. In addition to this, with time try and learn hunger signs of your baby. Especially in case of newborns, make sure that they are fed every few hours. A gap of not more than 2-4 hours is advisable (depending on the age of the baby). This applies at night also, make sure to feed the baby even when he/she is sleeping.

4) Seek help: If you are having issues please seek help. Don’t be embarrassed and no matter what anyone says you are NOT supposed to know it naturally. It takes time. Seek experienced and preferably medical help without hesitation.

5) Be comfortable: Get enough support; your body would be sore from pregnancy and delivery. Make sure to get enough pillows and cushions to support you while breastfeeding.

6) Drink a lot of fluid: Drink more than you normally do. Especially if you feel uneasy while feeding, drink through the process. It eases pain and nerves both.

7) Maintain a normal and healthy diet.

8) Don’t give up: If it is difficult and it remains difficult, don’t give up. It will get easy with time. Just be patient and don’t give up.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience, not only is it medically preferred but it is also a beautiful way to bond with the new born.

One of the other things that worked for me but I have not included in the above list is “Being deaf and blind”. I went deaf to all the contradictory advice coming my way both the times. With time and trial and error I figured out what worked best for me. Also I turned blind. Breastfeeding was a very personal moment for me but not many people around me thought so. I tried, running away, hiding behind doors etc etc but finally went blind, ignored and went ahead with it. You can’t change and control these things.

Also last but not the least please note that breastfeeding is not a judgement of you being a good/bad mother. Even if you are not able to continue it/do it successfully it doesn’t make you any less of a mother.

To read more on breastfeeding and World breastfeeding week please click here 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Should I apologize for being a Stay At Home Mother?

I am a stay at home mother of 2 boys; just this statement is lending me into so much trouble these days. It is like there is something wrong with me being at home with my kids. Everything that I am saying is being judged with the context of being a stay at home mother...I am doing something grossly wrong; something that would affect my and my family’s future very badly?

Yes that is what I was told!

Funny thing is I decided to stay at home not for my child but for other reasons; some other responsibilities. This decision was taken 2.5 years back but I continue to live with the decision. Yes I have an option of going back to my professional life right now but I don’t want to.

My younger one is 1 year old; when my elder one was one year old I was already in office. Working from 9-10; yes I was putting in that many hours to overcome the gap that my maternity leave of few months had created. But it went on; I continued to work like this. I loved my job. In process I had climbed the stairs of success in my career quite quickly but I had missed my son’s first steps; first words and first almost everything.

This is what I am enjoying right now with my younger one. I am there; there to experience this wonderful stage. And is there any other place I would rather be?

No absolutely not!

But my decision to be a stay at home mother; is it a judgement on working mothers? No ofcourse not!

It is my decision and it is my life. If another mother is working; it is her decision and her life. There will be ten thousand reasons for me to be at home and there would be ten thousand reasons for you to be in office. Not each reason is justified but who am I to judge and question?

I have said it again and again; I believe every mother is a good mother. Situations can be different; people can be different; children can be different but a mother will always be a mother (I am excluding exceptions here).

I really really dislike being judged and commented on for being a stay at home mother. And I dislike when people say it has no merits. Ofcourse it has merits; I have been on both sides and I can say with 100% confidence it has merits.

Please don’t take away the merits by calling them logistics. They are not logistics. These so called logistics can be managed by others; I agree but saying that there is no merit when a mother does them; I disagree.
I am educated, independent and have an open mind and I am sure all the time that my kids are spending with me is helping them and creating a better base for them. I am teaching them things that I know others can also teach but I am their mother and ofcourse I am doing it better than others.

Don’t take away my efforts by calling them worthless. They are not!

Please don’t look down upon me and tell me I have done injustice to myself; my education and my career. Being a stay at home mother doesn’t make me a better mother and similarly being a working mother doesn’t give an upper hand to any one.

A mother is a mother. When did it become Working vs. Stay at home?? And Why?? What is the constant need to prove superiority over the other section?? Is this the only way we know how to rise; by looking down on others?? Is this a way a working mother justifies her decision; but why is there a justification needed? And stay at home mothers; why do we call ourselves “not just a mom”; why should we clarify? What is the need for clarifications?

Yes that is why I am just a mom. I don’t see the need of any other clarification and I don’t see the need of any tags to add to my role. My role is a job definition in itself.

Have you ever heard anyone say “Not just a manager? Or Not just a CA? Or not just a lawyer etc?” No right?

Then why should I define my role any further. I am a mother and if I have any other qualification to share; I may share or I may not but I will not justify my role as a mother.

One of the other things that I have been told again and again since I quit my job is that my kids will never learn to be independent because I am at home. I beg to differ!

I was brought up by a stay at home mother and I am furiously independent since as long as I can remember. My mother taught us the value of hard work and being independent and I am passing on the same values to my children inspite of being at home.

I am independent inspite of being mostly home bound and my 4 year old is independent inspite of me being stay at home. I do not want to brag about him and the things he can do on his own because it is not important. What is important is to understand that same values can be taught by being at home and not being at home also. But the amount of time and effort each will take would be different. And ofcourse being at home makes my journey more colourful and filled with more memories.

At the end of the day I am just a mom.....why should anyone care if I am working or not?

Disclaimer: The above writeup is my personal opinion. It is not targeted to any individual; working or not working. I request everyone to read it in the same context.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Little lovely dreams

Sleep tight my little one I am there
Shut your eyes my little one I am there
I will hold you tight
And never leave your side
Give me a hug and kiss me good night

All the wonderful dreams are waiting for you
Fairies in pink and clouds in blue
Let me sing you a song by a nightingale
Let me read you a poem that will help you sail
In little lovely dreams

Little lovely dreams
With golden light and neem
Bursting with bliss
That you should never miss
Across the rice fields
Flying with no wings
Floating in the air
Dancing on the swings
Touching the moon
Eating the stars
Everything is soft; no one is harsh
In the little lovely dream
Shut your eyes and open your mind
Jump in the colors and leave behind
All your worries and all your hurries
Let me caress you gently
To leave you in a land of plenty
Little lovely dreams

Hold on to those dreams my little one
Shut your eyes my little one
Sleep tight my little one
I am there

(C) Juztamom 2013

Fireblossom at real toads challenged us to write a story in a poem about a poem or book with a poem; or with a poem!! Here
I have chosen "A cradle song" by Nightingale of India "Sarojini  Naidu". I hope I have done justice to the challenge.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Children and TV

As a child I remember I use to watch TV on Sunday mornings with a dose of Donald Duck and Mickey mouse. This restriction was not only because of lack of options on TV but also I never thought weekdays are for watching TV. No one in the house would watch TV on weekdays except for news at night and Rangoli on Wednesday (I think).On Sunday all of us had different time allocated to watch TV. Mornings was ours, afternoon was my mom’s and evening movie was for all of us. Nights for Dad.

Image credit

When I became a parent few years back, there was a long list of “To dos and not to dos” for my child in my mind. One of them was not allowing too much TV time to my kids. But was I able to do it?

No I was not. It was not easy, I was a working parent and he was much calmer and easier to manage while watching TV. So I thought I will allow it for a little while, he is too small/young to form habits but I was wrong, he had gotten addicted to TV and cartoons.And when I finally realised it, he was about 3.5years. A 3.5 year old with a very strong mind and personality, hence just telling him to not watch the TV suddenly was not working.

This raised a question..Should I completely stop him from watching TV? And if not how much is okay? And how do I change the habit?

I asked around and I was bombarded with contradictions. Most of them said that children should not be allowed any television but their children watch because they can’t help it and there is no alternate entertainment etc etc. Hence though it is not okay, still I won’t be able to stop him. Hence I should let him be; maybe he would grow out of the habit on his own.

But I didn’t want to let it go. I decided to learn with my own experience. I was sure if I work would with him I would be able to come up with a balance. I didn’t want him to never watch TV. Why not? But I wanted a balance.

With a lot of efforts and hours put in with him, I can proudly say he is not addicted to Television any more. He is 4.5 years and does have a favorite cartoon character but it is limited to stories and he understands the difference between television world and real world.

After a lot of trial and error the plan that has worked for almost 6 months now and is still working is this:

Ten stars
I don’t know how I came up with this concept. I am sure it was through surfing on the internet but this is what works with my son. Though it was devised for TV viewing, I follow it diligently for good and bad behaviour and it works like magic.

In a week he has to earn atleast 10 stars in order to watch television. If by Saturday he has earned 10 stars he is allowed TV for 1 hour. (Nonstop, with no interference and breaks)

If he earns more than 10 stars, with each star his time increases by 15 minutes (this rarely happens, most of the time he just about manages 10 stars)

When I started the plan, in order to encourage him to participate in it and to motivate him; I use to give him a star for every small thing that he would do correctly. Like brushing his teeth properly on his own, at correct time would yield him a star earlier but now it has become a healthy habit for him and I have increased level of difficulties for him to earn a star.

These are the activities at my home that earns him a Star:

1)Following correct routine for brushing, bathing, keeping his clothes in the laundry basket, getting ready for school, keeping his things at their place and cleaning his room at day end. All these things done correctly would yield him one star, daily!

2)Eating his meals on his own. Finishing all the meals. One star, daily.

3)One good deed (this I have started only now). Since he is not even 5 this is a difficult concept for him. I have brought it down to a simple and uncomplicated level. He needs to either help me or one of his friends or his brother or any uncle/aunt in carrying out any task. Again one star daily.

In order for this system to work I am very particular about:
1)Following it diligently and not letting it go.
2)Being strict about stars. He has understood that he has to earn the stars. No amount of pleading or buttering would work.
3)His dad is an equal partner in this and most of time he doesn’t give in on his buttering
4)If he has earned 10 stars, I make sure that he gets his TV time as promised. (Even if Patidev wants to watch TV, he has to wait)

Along with this I also think children learn a lot from parents. We are not a big television viewing family. I think this is also helping me in establishing a good habit. He doesn’t see us watching TV, hence he never questions why is he not allowed?. But if you do watch TV at home, make sure to lead with a good example. Show restraint in front of children, they will also learn and will show restraint when asked for.

All kids are different. There are different things and different concept that would work with them. This has worked with my child but it may not work with yours.Also I am a stay at home mother; so its easier for me to look after small things. It may be difficult for a working mother.

 But I do urge every parent to keep trying. There are always ways and concepts that would eventually work with your child. Just telling them no and expecting them to follow may not work everytime. I believe we should strive for a balance between being strict and being creative.

Things that can be handled in a creative way; may look difficult in the starting but with a routine it gets easier and saves a lot of headache later.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Do you manage kids?

I was asked recently how do I manage my 4 year old? How do I discipline him? And what is my game plan now that he is growing up? And I didn’t know how to answer. I thought for very long but couldn’t come up with an answer. I really don’t know If I manage him..if I have a strategy, a game plan!

Do you need a strategy or a game plan for your kids? I don’t have one. I don’t manage my kids. I don’t have a ready made plan where they would fit in. Each day is different and I am learning each day.

Though I never thought of it consciously earlier but now I have realised that kids learn from me and you. I really believe if I set in a good example they will follow it. I did lay down rules for some acceptable and unacceptable behaviour but he does not and will not follow it because I will tell him to. (I wish it was that easy). 

There have been times when I had to speak it out, reiterate what is right and wrong. There have been times of time out, of misbehaviours but even then I would want him to understand right and wrong on his own and follow correct behaviour. I do not want him to apologize because I am angry or because I said so. I want him to learn from his mistakes and not repeat the same mistakes. Ofcourse I am there to guide, to support, to spell it out but he has to learn on his own. He has to understand and see the difference between right and wrong.

As adults we also falter, misbehave but it is okay as long as we know the difference between right and wrong. Same goes for kids...they are kids, of course they will make mistakes, misbehave, hurt you, hurt themselves, and hurt others. As I see it, this is not the problem. The problem would be if the child is not conscious on his own that his behaviour was not correct. As parents we can keep reiterating that this is right and this is wrong but a child would learn best from live examples.

 I have recently been questioning myself a lot...Am I conscious that he is watching and learning everything from me? I will be frank I was not;  but now as he is growing up I see him picking a lot of things from me, This has made me self conscious.

There have been days when he has sulked and misbehaved a lot, in retrospect I do realise that there could be things that he picked from me. There were my bad moods that may have spilled over to him. Hence I have learned to behave, to follow more rights and do less wrongs.

No I don’t manage him, rather I don’t know if you can manage kids but I am learning and growing up with him as a parent.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Is there a bad mother?

When you become a parent, more specifically a mother two things invariably happen. One you become an invisible member of all parents groups in the world and two your life becomes an open book for everyone and anyone to judge and give advice.

In my last 4.5 years of being a mother, I have been judged, criticized and applauded for same practice innumerable times. Each day as a parent I encounter parenting specialists who have a ready-made solution for everything. These specialists include my neighbors,  my maid, friend of a neighbor,  relative of a neighbor,  friends, Aunties from my building, Uncles from my building, Aunties on the road, Uncles on the road etc etc....

Parenting is a specialization that doesn’t require any professional knowledge. Infact you don’t even have to be a parent to judge and pass advice to other parents. As long as you have eyes and you know how to talk, you are eligible to advise, criticize and comment.

As a mother I am always trying my best like all mothers and as a mother I do not appreciate advice from people who are not parents or who have not brought up kids...young, old..I don’t care. If you have not experienced parenting in any form, you have no idea what is right for my kids. Do not stand from a distance and judge others, if you have guts jump in and then we will talk. I don’t mind experienced advice. But what I do mind is “Being forced to take the advice”.

I should have the freedom to decide whether I want to take the advice for my kid or not. All recommendations stemming from experience are welcome but still it doesn’t give a right to anyone to judge. And I shouldn’t be expected to follow all advice.

No mother is a bad mother because she decides differently from you or she does things which are not accepted norms.

Again what is accepted in one family/circle/society/religion is different from others. So in effect every mother will be a bad mother by some criteria or other.

Earlier I thought because I am an inexperienced mother that’s why may be I am a vulnerable target but second time around, no such reasons. Same advice, same recommendations and same judgements. It doesn’t help that I have a 4 year old very well behaved child who eats well, sleeps on time, is socially active and physically fit (Apologies for bragging).

I do try to not let this affect me too much but there is so much clutter of information that it does reach me, there is so much judgement about everything that it does make me question my decisions.

Parenting and motherhood is one of the most difficult jobs in the world and every child is different. With so many judging eyes any mother is bound falter, to make mistakes. I really urge everyone to please step back and give us a break. I truly believe in my heart that every mother has her kid’s best interest in her mind. Give her the benefit of doubt, Let her be.

"I am struggling, getting up, falling down, learning and unlearning each day as a mother. Don't cast a shadow, just help me grow"

Image flicker

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Tips for stressed out new parents

A small bundle of joy is a source of instant excitement and love. This is the part that every first time parent is prepared for but with it comes a lot of stress and fatigue. A splurge of emotions that can’t be called happy ones. It doesn't matter how much you read, how much you try to learn before hand, nothing prepares you for the whirlwind that’s about to come.

Please don’t think that I am saying that it is not a happy occasion. Ofcourse it is and most probably it is one of the happiest moments of your life. But parenting doesn’t stop at that moment. It starts with it. The whole preparation of nine months was not about that one moment, the first cry. In the awe of that moment we forget to look closely at our emotions and by the time we realised how stressed we are, it looks like there is no way out.

This is especially tough for first time parent. By second time you are already a parent, you have experienced the stress and fatigue and you know that it will not last forever.

It happened with me also. First time I was so stressed about everything that I do not even remember enjoying the first few months, infact I do not remember first few months of my elder one at all, except for the sleepless nights, the diaper changes and the constant 24 hr crying but I am sure this was not all. Now when I did enjoy the first few months of my second one, I really wonder why did I not do that after my first baby.

Looking back I think there are a few things that if I knew or really believed it would have been easier for me. I have tried to encapsulate them below:

Surrender: Yes surrender to motherhood, don’t fight it. This is a rookie mistake a first time mother could do. Though you may completely devote yourself to the baby, you would keep going back to you earlier self, your free memories and would compare them with being with an infant (I know every mother does it but most don’t admit). It doesn’t matter whether you admit it or not but acknowledge the feeling and remember to not fight the phase. If you completely surrender 100% and don’t think of earlier memories,it will become easier for you (It will tempt and create dissatisfaction)  

Take a break: I earlier said surrender but along with that do remember you are only a human being taking care of another human being. You are not a machine. It is very important for you to take a break. It doesn't have to be a big break. It can be a very short break of 15-20 minutes (You can lock yourself in the bedroom and read a book for 10-15 min, or could go for a short walk, with baby obviously safely kept with your partner or anyone trusting)

This break is essential for your sanity and for your baby’s well being also. An infant is an extension of you, he knows you inside out. He can sense if you are tired or stressed, this makes him more stressed, so you being calm and relaxed is also better for the baby.

Do not overdo: Yes, we tend to overdo and over care. If the floor is not mopped 20 times in the day, it is okay. If you don’t wash your baby’s clothes in a special laundry cycle its okay, if your baby cries with your partner and you go for a walk its okay. Bring the standards a notch down!

Share responsibility: You are a mother, your primary responsibility is your child right now. So share other responsibilities in the house, take help, ask for help and if that is not possible than bring standard down even in household duties. It’s okay to eat cold food once in a while, Newspaper spill on the floor can remain on the floor, clothes piled in the corner can remain in the corner etc

Perspective: It is very important to keep the long term perspective in mind but along with that take each day as it comes. Don’t plan and schedule too many things, babies are unpredictable. And remember that this is just a phase, it will soon be over, those small hands and feet will outgrow themselves, out of the house and of your enjoy each day.

Take notes: Yes take notes. This is what I didn’t do properly for my elder one. I have some of his milestones written somewhere but I am not talking about bookish milestones. There are a lot of small things that look small right now but will become invaluable memories in future. These are the moments no one ever thinks of recording like the first time the baby smiled at you, laughed at you, looked at you directly, slept for more than an hour, your first trip out of the house, your first trip out of the city, his first toy etc etc.

Remember you are a good mother: Always remember you are good mother. Don't doubt yourself. If possible do this exercise daily, repeat at least 5 times, "I am a good mother" never mind if once you slept a little more than your baby, if you didn't pick him/her up at the first cry, even if you feed him cereal from a box... you still are a good mother!

These were some of things that I really really wish I knew the first time. If this helps you even in a small way, I would be really glad. Trust me few years down the line you won’t even remember the tough time.....and till then just Go with the flow and build beautiful memories

Thanks to Dr. Gauri Kekre for recommending the last point.

Image courtesy: