Fathers, We Could Not Have Done It Without You!!

father's day

Image: Pexels.com

In the parenting world, it’s not uncommon to see most fathers take a backseat. However, it does not mean their contribution is less significant. Along with mothers, they are also the ones who have witnessed the joy of birth of a tiny human being, have held her, burped her, cleaned and changed her, been urinated and shat upon, lullabied the little one to sleep, bandaged the wound, taken her to parks or the malls, driven her to school on the days when she missed the school bus, and many more such things. However, their contribution never comes to the fore.

I remember my mother saying that it was my father who looked after me during the first year of my birth; he would bottlefeed me, clean me and burp me. So this Father’s Day, I want to list all the wonderful things that my father did for me and my siblings, that only he could do.

Telling me stories: Every night before going to sleep, I insisted that he narrated me a story. And he did that, without a single complaint. All the stories that I know, of Indian mythology, Alibaba and 40 thieves, Aladdin and the magic lamp, cap seller and the foolish monkeys, I have heard from him. Long before I started reading, he was my storyteller, and what a wonderful job he did.

Visiting doctors: Whenever I was sick, and I was quite often when I was small, it was he who took me to the doctors and the pathology labs. He held my hands or legs when I took a syringe; and it was a big thing because I screamed, screamed and screamed and made the whole clinic come to a standstill. He wiped my tears and gave me the prescribed dose of the medicines.

Teaching maths: I was not good at maths, but he was. And, he taught me this godforsaken subject; how to solve complex problems and learnt geometry!

Teaching life lessons: Maths and history apart; he taught me something far more valuable. How to live life, work for your self-esteem and not to take shit from anyone!

I may be close to 40 now, but for him I am still his little girl, for whom he cares and worries all the time. He may not talk to me every single day, but I just have to call him, and he picks up on the very first ring.

Well, my husband too has been a wonderful father. Apart from the usual diaper changing and giving her a shower, there are times when he attends her PTA, makes her ready for school, prepares her breakfast, takes her out for dinner, and looks after her when I step out. I have realized that he is a more calm and collected person when he engages with our daughter. And, my daughter listens to him better!

A mother and child’s relationship is unique, but that doesn’t undermine or overshadow the relationship a father and child share. For every father out there – you may think your kids prefer their mother over you or you may feel your kids don’t understand the hard work you put in in raising them up, just relax – they will realize that one day! Fathers are equally important! Believe me when I say, we could not have done it without you!

So let’s raise a toast to the awesome fathers of this world – Have a wonderful father’s day!

7 Observations I Have Made In Five Years Of Motherhood

child and mother

Image: pexels

In the last 5 years, as I have fed, cleaned and nurtured my baby, I have made quite a few observations which can be useful for all mommies! 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 not the cog in the wheel, but the wheel itself that was important to the smooth functioning of my 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 made some observations of yours 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?

villaage

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…!!!

momspiration

Image courtesy – pixabay.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.

Why I visit my parents’ home, my pihar?

pihar

Photo Credit – @GiselaFotografie at https://pixabay.com/en/users/GiselaFotografie-2364908/

I completed 10 years of marriage earlier this year. And, till date, I feel strange that how quickly the 10th year anniversary crept up on us, because it seems only like yesterday that we had gotten married. However, on hindsight, it may seem like yesterday, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I have lived the ups and downs (and remember them too), and can see the changes in myself (both physical and psychological) and in my relationship in these 10 years.

Ten years ago, I called my parents’ home – my home. Today, it is my parents’ home – my pihar. I don’t love it as I love my home; but I have a strong connection with it. That’s where I have grown up, and have lots of memories attached to it. I love my home and it is my sanctum. When I leave it to go to my pihar, it is with certain misgivings. You see, I do not have a cunning mother in law or scheming sister in law staying with me, so when I go to pihar, I am not running away from anyone. When I go, I leave my home behind.

I remember as a small child seeing my mother’s excitement to visit her parents’ house, my nani’s (maternal grandmother) house. On the train journey from Ahmedabad to Surat, she would be as eager as us, for totally different reasons though. We were eager because of the eventful train ride (the spicy chanawala (split chick pea vendor), munfliwala (peanut vendor), milk from Baroda Dairy, masala jaamfal (spiced guava)), while she was to meet her family. And, all through the summer holidays that we spent at my nani’s house, I distinctly remember my mother more as her parents’ daughter than our mother. That was what visiting her pihar did to my mother. Put a spring to her feet, a charming lilt in her voice, and made her a child again.

It happens to every woman. No wonder, visiting pihar is such a sacred event in the life of married girls. No wonder, come the summer holidays and women are talking about going to their parents’ house. It’s the annual pilgrimage that every married woman likes and wants to make, so that she can go back in time and be that little girl for a while. Where she is the taker, and not a giver for a change.

Enough about what the girls feel about visiting their pihar. How about thinking from the parents’ point of view? My mother insists I visit her every summer vacation.

My father still goes for his morning walk and goes to the office at the same time every day of my visit. He doesn’t talk much to me either. But, I know he appreciates my coming over, because during those days, he would bring home all those fruits and foods that I love, and ask my mother whether I have been having them or not. This is his way of showing love.

My mother on the other hand changes her routine drastically. She takes a break from her friends, cancels her kitty parties and concentrates only on me and my daughter. What will I eat, where would I like to go take precedence for her. She is getting older, her movements slower, but when I or my sister are around, she has a renewed energy. Her life revolves around us for the entire duration of our stay. She has a lovely daughter in law and a cute little grandson, but when her daughters visit her, she loves the fact that her entire family is once again living under the same roof. She too, like me, tries to capture a handful of the beautiful past.

So, even when there are times when I don’t want to visit that inferno of a place called Ahmedabad in the summer, I still go, for my parents. Because, they might have given their daughters away in marriage, but we still form an integral part of their life.

The kids are not all right

monkeybar

A few weeks ago, I had attended a birthday party of my daughter’s friend. There they played a game, the age old ‘Passing the parcel’, however, what was different was the way it was played. The child who was caught with the parcel when the music stopped was asked to leave the circle, but with that parcel as the gift, and then a new parcel was introduced. The game continued till every child got a gift. I asked the mother what was wrong with the earlier version, the version we had all grown up with.

She said – “I do not like kids to be disappointed. See, here every child is happy as he or she gets to take a gift home.”

In another instance, I was in the park with my daughter. She was playing lock and key with her friends. Now, one of her friends fell down. Her mother, who was on the other side of the park ran to his son, all confused and upset. She scooped her son in her lap and started inquiring – “Are you hurt? Let me see! Do no cry! Shush, mama is here.”

The child, had a scraped knee, who was perfectly OK till then, started crying earnestly.

I was at a friend’s home for lunch. Her 5-year old daughter refused to eat what was cooked for lunch. My friends felt so guilty that her daughter would go hungry, that she cooked up her favourite pasta immediately. According to her, it was not the first time this had happened.

At the School Sports Day, there are no races, no competition. No first, second or runner ups. Because, everyone is equal, there should be no competition between the kids.

Kids today have a room full of toys and games. Some they ask, some they do not. But, they still get them. Everything in excess is the new mantra of life.

Our parents taught us self-reliance, while we hover around our children and want to protect them at all costs. We like to hold our babies closer to the protection of the nest. We go out of our way and rustle up something when they don’t eat what’s cooked at home for everyone else, because we don’t them to sleep hungry. Instead of letting them play outside, we organize activities for them. We do their homework and their assignments. We even resolve their conflicts for them.

It makes me wonder, what will happen to these kids when they grow up?

Will they get a gift everytime they fail? Will they be able to handle disappointment? A child who has never been denied anything, how will he cope with rejections? There are a growing number of cases when kids run away from home or commit suicide because they are not able to deal with low marks in examinations or when they fail to secure an admission in an institution of their choice.

Will their parents keep them hidden in their bosom all their life? Our mothers never ran after us, a scraped knee was just that. She would ask us to wash it with some water and then forget about it. But, there was no drama that followed. Falling and hurting was a part of daily life for us. We cycled, climbed up trees and jumped from the stairs. Today, kids travel in elevators and escalators (because they might fall down the stairs and get themselves hurt). Earlier, kids walked and cycled. I hardly see kids walking nowadays, unless it’s for a kids’ marathon and they are required to pose for selfies with their cool mommies. I never see kids climbing up the monkey bars, do you?

Will they shy away from competition or be able to survive it? OK, so we can accompany our kids till the college gate and sit in the waiting area while they appear for a job interview. In one-child China, parents have been known to put up tents outside their college kids’ dorms. This is an invisible umbilical cord we are just not ready to cut. And, what happens after that? A child who is never used to losing – how will he survive in the big bad world?

We are raising our kids to be adult babies.

So what should we do?

  • Stop telling our children that they are special all the time. They are not, at least not always. So reserve the praises for the times when they actually deserve.
  • Stop going out of the way to create happiness in their life. The life is a mix of joys and sorrows, and it is for a reason. We have no right to interfere with the nature. So let’s stop pretending that everything is all right when it’s not. Let the kids have their fair share of disappointments at an early age. It’s better to fall at 10, than at 40.
  • Stop giving them things when they don’t require it. We had fewer toys, but did we ever complain? Were we unhappy because of that? No, right. So why are we teaching our kids to be materialistic? Why should they find happiness in toys and games, and not people? We give them iPads, iPhones…we are teaching them it’s all right to speak to the technology, rather than people. Today’s kids have more virtual friends than actual friends.
  • Stop hovering around them. Let them take action and be responsible for it. If they have done a wrong deed, they should take the punishment or the consequences for it. Do not protect them unnecessarily.
  • Let them fall. And, do not cushion their fall. Also, let them get up on their own. Only when they fall, will they get up. Let them learn things on their own.
  • Stop feeling guilty. For things we can’t provide them. We are the parents, not superhumans or Gods. Make kids understand our limitations.

It’s not the kids who are at fault, but us, the parents. Let’s sit with our parents and understand how they raised us – independent and fearless. We can take a leaf or two from  their parenting book. It wouldn’t do us any harm, but might save our kids!

5 Lessons I Have Learned In 5 Years Of Parenting That Make It All Worth It!

lessons of parenting
When I first held my tiny newborn in my arms, I experienced such an overwhelming rush of emotions that is both overwhelming and yet at the same. As I touched her tiny pink fingers, I resolved to teach her all the fine things of life and to raise her to be a good human being.
5 years later, my daughter has turned into a confident social person. She is a person in her own right and I am proud of her. But, what I am more proud of is the 5 lessons that I have learned in the 5 years of parenting that have changed my life and made me a better person.
1. Live in the present 
Like most people, I worried about tomorrow. What will happen tomorrow? We hoard things and money for tomorrow, and in the process do not enjoy TODAY. But, my daughter lives in the present. She wants her chocolate now, she wants to play today and she wants to open up all her gifts today itself. Even when I tell her she can have an extra hour of play the next day because it’s her holiday, but she won’t listen. Tomorrow is a concept she doesnt understand and believe in. All she has is today, and she wants to make the most of it. That makes me realize, “Why do I fret about tomorrow? Who has seen tomorrow? All I have is today!”
2. Forgive and forget 
The other day, my daughter came back home all upset. On inquiry, I came to know that she had fought with her friend and they said kitta to each other. For those who do not know, kitta in kids’ lingo means ‘we are not talking to each other’. However, the next day, when I took her down to the park to play, she met her friend and they both hugged as if yesterday hadn’t happened. There was no more talk of kitta, and everything was resolved with no sorries, no hard feelings or anyone’s pride or ego getting hurt. If only we can be so flexible and easy going with our own relationships!
3. Do not clutter your life
Like all parents, I like to spoil my daughter. So she has many toys, books and clothes. But, surprise of all surprises, she isn’t bothered with the numbers. She is happy wearing the same red frock that she loves, every day (that is a different story that I don’t let her). She …read more at http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/5-Lessons-I-Have-Learned-In-5-Years-Of-Parenting-That-Make-It-All-Worth-It/1175/2