7 Things I Have Learnt In Five Years Of Motherhood

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It is universally accepted that a mother is the first teacher of the child. She teaches important life values and skills to her children. However, this truth cannot be repudiated that a mother also learns a lot during her motherhood journey. In my 5 years of motherhood, I have learnt quite a few things, let’s see them one by one.

My tummy is not a bin for leftovers

I had seen my mother doing it. Initially, I did too. I would eat my meal and then eat the leftover from my daughter’s plate. Of course, because we are taught right from the beginning, there are many kids in India and Africa who don’t get two square meals a day, and so it is not fair that you throw away precious food.

I don’t want to joke about it, but what kind of a rationale is that? How stuffing my stomach is going to help any kid, let alone the kids of Africa? On the contrary, over eating was only helping my waist line increase.

The wisdom is in serving smaller portions to your child, rather than stuffing yourself with leftovers.

I need to put myself first

Again, something I tried to do after my mother. She would feed her kids first, then her husband, and lastly she would eat. That’s the Indian tradition. But, the tradition doesn’t understand hunger pangs.

Thankfully, with time, I understood that I was important to the smooth functioning of the house. If I fall sick, the whole house will fall apart. Hence, I made a promise to myself that I would put myself first. So, if I am hungry, I do not wait for anyone, I eat. I take out time to exercise, read and socialize. It keeps me happy. If you are happy, your household is happy too. Try it out!

Slow down, there is no need to hurry

My daughter was just 2 or 3 days old, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had a sudden attack of anxiety. “She is so small, when will she learn all these things – to sit, eat, go to toilet, walk, speak”. The journey seemed long. But, as my daughter started covering all her milestones one by one, I have realized that she will learn. Yes, with time, she will learn all she needs to learn. And, the road doesn’t seem as ominous. So quit worrying or pushing things.

Kids don’t demand much

I have heard this hundreds of times if not more. Kids are an expensive affair. Well, in 5 years, I have come to know, that it’s really not. Kids don’t demand much, we give them. They don’t ask you for expensive toys, education, tuition, clothes, birthday parties or supplies. They are happy with cheap ones. So if you believe in buying them a Polo or a Burberry, blame it on yourself, not the kids.

Smile and touch are the best therapy

If someone asks me what works the best with your child, I’d say my smile and my touch. My smile makes her smile and my touch comforts her. When I go to pick her up after her school, my smile makes her light up. When she is upset and I kiss her, I know her world becomes alright again.

Self control is very difficult

You can pride yourself in being extremely self controlled, but when it comes to your child, your self control is tested to the core. When you are weaning your baby off her nightly feed and she is crying, or when you want her to sleep in her own room, but she comes knocking at yours or when she is standing at the edge of the swimming pool refusing to enter the water and pleading with you to make her quit her swimming coaching, it takes a heart harder than the rock to not give in, but stay impervious. Yes, it is a mother’s heart that can melt at the slightest smile of your baby, but also stays firm when it needs to be.

Lying is not such a bad thing

With time, all mothers become accomplished liars. At least, I have become one. So when your daughter catches you popping M&Ms into your mouth which you don’t want her to have, you say you are taking your medicine. When you need to go out leaving your toddler behind, you don’t tell her you are going for the movies, but that you are going to see the doctor.

In Bhagvad Gita it is said, “If you are lying for a higher purpose, that lie is not considered a sin.” I remember this line everytime I lie to my daughter and hope it will absolve me from the sin. And hope she doesn’t read this post of mine! 😉

I am sure you might have learnt something along your motherhood journey, which are different to mine. Care to share with me?

It takes a village to raise a child! Where’s yours?

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When someone praises my daughter, I beam with pride. I have raised her well. I have taken good care of her. I have spent a good amount of time and effort after her. Isn’t it too much of “I” and “me”. Yes, I am her mother and so my daughter’s primary responsibility is mine.

But what about the neighbours who look after her when I have important appointments to keep, the watchmen who stop her from running outside the building gates, the maid who feeds her when I am not around?

I am raising my daughter well, but not without their help. Hence, it will be wrong of me to siphon off all the credit. It is said it takes a village to raise a child. And, it’s true! They are my village, and without them I would be lost.

Today, parents are being overprotective. And in their bid to be independent and mistrust of people, they are losing touch with their village.

Let me tell you about a small incident that happened a few years ago. As I was waiting at the gate to pick my daughter up at her kindergarten, a classmate of my daughter came out. She was holding her shoes in her hand, and then she put one dirty shoe in her mouth. Without giving it a moment’s thought, I tried to take her shoe away from her mouth. The 2-year girl started crying. Just then her mother came running from nowhere, and gave me a nasty look. May be she thought I was bullying her daughter or trying to kidnap her. I don’t know! She picked up her daughter, shoes and all, and left. No explanation was asked, and none given. The little girl’s reaction was expected, but her mother’s was not.

The incident upset me. I admit it. I realized people don’t always take you in the good spirit.

I started asking myself – Was I wrong in helping the child? Should I refrain myself from helping others in the future?

But then an inner voice told me – Will you ignore a child if you see her crying at a mall and all alone? You will not help her just because you burnt your fingers once and might be taken wrongly a second one? Or wouldn’t you raise your voice if you see a child bullying another one?

When I have a beautiful village of mine, shouldn’t I be a part of someone else’s, though they might not want or care for one?

I remember very well when we were young, it was OK to be corrected by parent’s friends, friends’ parents or neighbours. No one minded, and no one’s sentiments got hurt. And no, there were no nasty or suspicious looks. It was a given; you do wrong, you get scolded, even if not from a family member.

Parents can’t be everywhere at all times. But the village is. The village is the community where kids learn, grow and feel safe. It is there to keep a check on your kids, to correct them and protect them so they grow up into good global citizens. It is called community raising.

We talk about how single kids get a short end of the stick. Or how the kids of today suffer from psychological issues or existential crisis. One of the many reasons is because we are losing touch with our village. The kids don’t only have no siblings, but also a very small group of people they can call their own. No wonder they feel left out and feel they belong to nowhere.

Whether we accept or not or appreciate or not, everyone needs a village to raise a child. Thankfully, I have mine, where’s yours?

The Mothers Around Me Who Inspire Me…!!!

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Image courtesy – pixababy.com

My earliest memory dates back to when I was 3 years old. In spite of living in a joint family, I can clearly see my mom in it. Most kids like me will have their mom in their first memories. And, why not! After all, it’s the mother a newborn sees the first. It’s the mother who feeds her cleans her, makes her sleep, teaches her and shapes her. No wonder, a mom is the one person who everyone aspires to be.

I know I do. Since a very young age, I’d want to be like my mother, who selflessly gives. She wakes up before the entire household, cooks for everyone and still is the last person to eat. As the eldest child, I have seen her sacrifices and her tears. And though we hurt her, ignore her…she doesn’t hold any grudge. Does the world hold any other person who would do the same for us? Neither our darling spouse, nor our precious children.

Even in the Indian mythology, we have learnt about the great mothers. Yashoda who raised Krishna like her own child. Or, let’s talk about Keyikeyi, who we might vilify, but what she did was for her son. Or Gandhari who, though knew her son was in the wrong, took off her blindfold so that she could bless her son with eternal powers. While mothers in the real world might not boast of such superhuman powers, what they do is unparalleled.

As I said, my first inspiration remains my mother. Her devotion to her children is matchless. But today, I want to talk about other mothers too who I have been lucky enough to come across in my life.

One is a very close and dear friend. She got married very early, while she was still studying, and within a year she delivered her first child. But with pregnancy, she continued studying. And while her baby was taking her first steps, she was taking her first steps as a college lecturer. She managed home, baby and work efficiently. Within a few years she had her second child, but she continued working. She continued studying for her doctorate program. Today, she holds a Ph.D, she is a college professor, has two beautiful kids, and a lovely home. But, nothing had been offered to her on the platter. She has worked, and worked hard. She learns Kathak with her daughter, she participates in every college event and dances on all 9 nights of Navratri. She balanced motherhood with personal growth and development beautifully. And that’s what makes her an inspiring mom for me!

The other inspiring mother is my lovely neighbour. On meeting her, I got to know that she was an IAS aspirant. But, when she got married, she was asked to stop her studies and concentrate on her family instead. With two daughters coming early into the marriage, she concentrated all her energies and efforts on her. She did the entire household work, took her daughters from one class to another, and looked after their studies. Only when the daughters joined college and became independent, she resumed her studies. And today, she holds a doctorate degree in Food Science and Nutrition, and works in the capacity of Deputy Director in a Govt. Of India recognized, NABL accredited food and water testing laboratory in a reputed women’s university in Mumbai.

And lastly, I want to talk about my house help. A lady who is my age and has 5 children. For the want of a male child, her family made her give birth to 4 daughters and abort 2. A good-for-nothing husband, she does household work and tries to make ends meet. She doesn’t own a single gold piece of jewellery, wears old or donated clothes, borrows heavily but still makes her kids study.

A mother may be educated or not, may belong to a different socioeconomic class, but her children will still remain her number one priority. She makes us what we are…and she loves us as we are!!

This post is a part of #Momspiration stories published on mycity4kids.com.

Mother’s Day Contest

My Dear Mommies…it’s contest time on Firsttimemommy.

It is a Facebook contest. Here’s the link to Firsttimemommy Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/mammaspeaks/

All you need to do is:

  1. share this review link on Earth Baby products on your Facebook page – https://firsttimemommy.net/2017/04/27/review-earth-baby-the-goodness-of-earth-for-your-baby/
  2. tag 5 friends
  3. and tag firsttimemommy too.

50 lucky winners will get a beautiful gift hamper from Earth Baby. The winners will be announced on Mother’s Day 2017. Contest valid till 13th May, 11:59 pm.

PS: Contest limited only to India and the sole discretion to choose winners rests with Firsttimemommy and Earth Baby.

Review: Earth Baby – The Goodness Of Earth For Your Baby!

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A few days ago, I got to know about Earth Baby products. Being a person who believes in clean eating and living, I was naturally pulled towards these products that used natural ingredients. Also, I am sure it’s not only me, but being a more informed and aware generation, we are very particular about what touches our baby’s skin and what goes inside her mouth. And we don’t mind going that extra length and spending that extra buck if we know we will get what we are promised.

As I went through its beautiful website, I realized they don’t only have baby skincare and food products, but also a gamut of interesting products that will help a new mother take her first steps into motherhood. From nutritional snacks for the mothers like lactation inducing panjeeri and hunger satiating organic jowar/sesame ladoos to naturally dyed cotton nappies and jhablas, and herbal mosquito repellent and natural hand made laundry soap.

I talked to the concerned person at Earth Baby and expressed my desire to review a few of their products. They agreed, and sent me samples of a few of their products.

However, before I give the product review, I must mention that the soaps, coffee powder and sunni pithi powder were packed in paper bags, and not in plastic. Being an environmentally conscious citizen, I was mightily impressed. Only the apricots came in a plastic bag, which though initially I was upset, I realized it was needed because of the nature of the product. Also, the plastic bag was not the cheap use and throw kind, but a Ziploc bag which can be reused. So the Earth Baby team believes not only in nature, but also in protecting it. Full marks to the team!!

And, now here is the review of those products.

SOAPS

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So, I got soaps. 3 mini soaps in 3 boldly coloured packaging (neither of the soaps contains colours, they are of natural colour).

Red packaged soap was Cow Milk and Sandalwood soap ideal for baby of 1 year and plus.

Blue packaged soap was Vetiver (Khus Khus) soap again ideal for baby of 1 year and plus, and,

Green packaged soap was for new born babies.

My daughter was excited on seeing these mini soaps, and called dibs on the Elsa (thanks to the movie Frozen, blue is not just light or dark, midnight or Prussian, it has a new tinge – Elsa blue) blue coloured packaged soap. She has been bathing with it for quite a few days, and she loves its smell.

I on the other hand took the soap covered in red paper and have been enjoying its mild flavour of sandalwood.

Verdict – These soaps neither boast of pretty colours nor bold fragrances, but that reassures me on the contrary. It means they are free of chemicals or even if I look at them with a cynical eye, they contain fewer chemicals than the ones available in the market.

BARLEY MALT CHICORY COFFEE

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I love coffee, but caffeine keeps me awake till the wee hours of the morning even if I have a cup at 4 in the evening. It has become a joke in my family that I can moonlight as a night guard on just an evening cup of joe. Well, this barley and chicory coffee has solved that problem. The other day, in a daring move, I made a glass of cold coffee using this decaffeinated coffee powder, and drank it at 5-5:30 pm, and I was still asleep by 10:30 pm.

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I am no new mother, but this coffee is ideal for new and lactating mothers as well as chicory promotes breast milk. It contains no caffeine, so no worries about caffeine finding a way into your breast milk and from there on being passed on to your newborn. Also, it relieves constipation (a mother who has had a recent episiotomy would understand its importance). It has anti-inflammatory and blood purifying properties.

Verdict – It tastes different (not like your regular coffee), but I like the earthy taste. I add some desi jaggery instead of sugar and enjoy my cup of brown wellness.

SUNNI PITHI BATH POWDER

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Indian moms bathe their newborns with a concoction of homemade powders. Earthy Baby has such a powder ready for your newborn baby of 1 week+. It contains chick pea flour, green gram flour, rice flour and turmeric. Green gram flour is supposed to remove excess body hair while turmeric improves the complexion and keeps skin infections at bay.

Verdict – I have been using sunni pithi powder to wash my face, as my 5 year old bathes on her own, and is not comfortable bathing with a powder. But, I like the powder as it gently exfoliates my skin. I have an excessive oily skin, and I find my skin fresh and moist (without the stickiness) after washing my face with this powder.

SULPHUR FREE ORGANIC DRIED APRICOTS

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My husband and I are a big believer of clean eating. We use minimal salt and sugar in our everyday food, and promote the same in our daughter. We use molasses, jaggery, coconut sugar, dried figs, dates and dried apricots to flavour our beverages and desserts. However, till I read the label “sulphur free” on Earth Baby’s organic dried apricots packet, I didn’t even know that I had been eating sulphite laden dried apricots all this while. On googling, I came to know that sulphur dioxide is a preservative used in dried fruits like raisins, apricots and prunes. And if you are sensitive to sulphite or have sulphite allergy, it might pose a series of health problems like difficulty in breathing, wheezing, etc.

Verdict – Earth Baby’s organic dried apricots taste different and better than the ones available in the market. However, it is a little hard to bite for my 5 year old, so I have started soaking it in warm water for 1 hour and add it to her curd. She loves it. Also, it might be me being overobservant, but she has not complained of constipation once.

Apricots has a high fiber content that helps rectify constipation and acts as a mild laxative. It is also a good source of iron.

I am super impressed with the quality of Earth Baby’s products. My sister in law is expecting, and I have a very good mind to gift some of these lovelies to her and her newborn.

Meanwhile, I urge you to try them out and experience their goodness too!

PS: I will be launching a CONTEST shortly! Stay tuned!

10 Guaranteed Tricks That Make My Baby Smile, No Matter How Much She Has Been Crying!

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Pic Courtesy – Pexels.com

Little babies have an attention span of a housefly, and get bored and cranky fast. If we moms don’t have enough tricks up our sleeve, we must be prepared for a cranky and crying baby!

I am sharing 10 guaranteed tricks that make my baby smile, no matter how much she has been crying. They have been tried and tested by me on my baby. And trust me, they work; they really do!

1. Blowing Air On Their Tummy

This one is a true wonder. I think it is the noise and the cool air on her tummy that makes your baby stop her crying midway and smile at you!


This is how I do it:

-Pull up the T-shirt of your baby

-Fill some air in your mouth

-Now, rub your mouth on her tummy gently, and slowly let go of the air making a noise
A word of advice though – do not try this in public; the sound is not very appealing, and you might have people giving you weird glances. 😉

2. Making Faces

It works like a charm, every time! It works even with older kids. As a mom, I have learnt that making faces, sticking out your tongue, rolling your eyes and some other silly facial expressions will surely make your baby smile. They probably enjoy seeing their mommy look so comical, and may even try to imitate you!

3. Making Your Baby Stretch

Make your baby lie down on her back. Now hold her legs by the ankle and make her stretch. You can try any posture – legs wide apart, legs up her chest, or cycling motion.

This will help her release some gas and make her smile too, as she feels a sense of comfort.

4. Playing Peekaboo

This is another guaranteed trick I have tried to get that million dollar gummy smile – play peekaboo! Lean in close to her, kiss her nose or cheek, and then go back.

With an older baby, you can take a pillow or a cushion or her favourite blanket, and play peekaboo using the prop. Or do it the old-fashioned way using your hands. It works each time!

5. Massaging Your BabyWho doesn’t love a massage! Even babies do! If you want to use oil, it’s up to you. It’s also totally fine to dry massage too! Gently massage your baby’s feet, her toes and legs in circular motion.

Read more at http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/10-Guaranteed-Tricks-That-Make-My-Baby-Smile-No-Matter-How-Much-She-Has-Been-Crying/1401/2

Hypothryoidism – Do not suffer in silence..!!

I am not sure whether I have shared with you before, that I have Hypothyroidism for last 12 years, and been on medication since.

Now, an underactive thyroid has a host of unappealing symptoms: brittle nails, hair loss, fatigue, lethargy, brain fog, hoarseness, depression, joint stiffness, muscles aches and pain, sensitivity to cold, constipation, slow metabolism, unexplained weight gain and inability to lose weight, complications in conceiving/carrying it full term.

So, this small gland secrets hormones vital for your body functions, Now, medicines help but they do not repair your gland. Even after taking medicines, I still suffer from all these symptoms, their intensity might be low, but they still plague me one way or the other. People close to me know my constant struggle with fuzzy memory and weight loss.

So what option you have other than taking medicines for your whole life?

Yoga, of course helps. Yoga has specific asanas namely:

  • Sarvangasana
  • Bhujangasana
  • Naukasana
  • Ushtrasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Chakrasana
  • Simhasana
  • Surya Namaskara and many more.

Recently, I came across this video by Luke Coutinho, a well known nutritionist from Mumbai/India who has shared great tips to manage your hypothyroidism. And, one of them is consuming Coconut Oil. So here it is. My bottle of cold pressed virgin Coconut Oil. A spoonful daily, doesn’t have any taste. But, can work wonders.

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So let me get back to you after a few months on my hypothyroidism status.

For all ladies suffering from hypothryoidism, do not suffer in silence. Act today!

Check out this link –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64eVj9hwRm0&feature=youtu.be

Disclaimer – This is not a product review. This was the cheapest bottle of cold pressed virgin coconut oil available on Amazon.