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!

Is it Safe to Exercise during Pregnancy?

exercise convonix.jpg

Image: flickr.com

In most cases, some exercises during pregnancy are safe. It is very important to stay fit and have a healthy lifestyle when you are pregnant. Doing some pregnancy exercises will help you maintain weight and prepare for childbirth. Moreover, if you were physically fit and active before pregnancy, it might be safe to stay physically active during pregnancy too. Exercising will also help you overcome mood-swings and sleep well. Here are the answers to some common exercise-related questions running through the minds of most pregnant women.

Will exercising harm my baby?

Contrary to the popular belief, exercising will neither harm your baby nor cause miscarriage. Although heavy exercise will not harm your baby, you will be quickly exhausted. This is because the amount of blood in your body increases by about 50 percent when you are pregnant, and your heart works harder to circulate blood all around, including to the placenta. Therefore the pressure on your heart will be 50 percent higher for the same exercise that you used to do before pregnancy.

What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?

Not all exercises for pregnant women are safe. Some of the exercises and activities you should avoid during pregnancy are as follows:
• Activities in which you’re likely to fall, such as skiing
• Holding your breath during any activity
• Exercising in humid or hot weather
• Full sit-ups, deep knee bends, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches
• Twisting your waist while standing
• Playing sports, such as football, basketball, and volleyball.
• Any exercise that may lead to abdominal trauma, including activities that require speedy changes in direction
• Activities that involve extensive hopping, jumping, skipping, running, or bouncing
• Bouncing while stretching
• Heavy exercise followed by long duration of no activity

What are the advantages of exercising?

Here are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy.
• Better sleep. Know more about best sleeping positions during pregnancy
• Lower the risk of some complications related to pregnancy
• Reduced discomfort
• Boost in energy and reduced stress
• Improved self-image
• Prepares you for childbirth
• Helps you quickly get in shape after delivery

You would be pleased to know that there are some pregnancy exercises for normal delivery. However, consult your doctor to know which exercise best suits your body.

When should I stop exercising during pregnancy?

It is advisable to stop exercising and consult your doctor if you go through the following symptoms while exercising:
• Abdominal cramping
• Severe nausea
• Vaginal bleeding
• Light-headedness
• Extreme headaches

From yoga to Pilates to swimming during pregnancy, exercising enhances your spirits and prepares you for labour. Pregnancy isn’t the time to your limits, and it’s important to be cautious while working out. Pampers India will be your best friend during and after pregnancy. Read through the expert tips and get answers to all your queries from Pampers India.

10 Essential Items for Diapering your Baby On-The-Go

Travelling with your baby needs a lot of preparation. Diapering your baby while on the move can be quite a tedious task. You need to ensure that you pack your diaper bag with all the necessary items.

Are you worried that you may forget something important? Keep the following checklist handy, and let go of all your packing woes:

1. Disposable diapers
The most important item in your bag is, quite obviously, the diapers! You will be required to change your baby’s nappies every few hours. Carry disposable diapers in sufficient quantities, depending on the duration you will remain out of the house.

2. Disposable bags
Carry separate disposable bags to dump used diapers. These bags will ensure that the soiled diapers do not create any mess or foul smell in your diaper bag.

3. Reusable diapers
If you are on a long trip, and think that reusing diapers is easier than carrying a bulk of disposable ones, then go for reusable diapers. These diapers will help make your bag light.

4. Wipes
Wipes are necessary while diapering your baby. They will keep your hands and your child clean and dry.

5. Sanitizer
A hand sanitizer will help you maintain proper hygiene after diapering your baby. It is a must as you may not get a chance to wash your hands every time you change your baby’s diapers.

6. Cream
Keep a travel-sized tube cream in your bag. You will need it for your baby every time you change the diaper.

7. Air freshener
Travelling with poop smell will be very unpleasant. Use an air freshener so that you and your co-passengers may have a stink-free journey.

8. Napkin
There’s no such thing as too many napkins. You will always require more napkins than you think. You will need one every time you feed the baby or when you need to clean dripping saliva or an accidental spill. Napkins are your best friends, and you’ll find plenty of uses for them.

9. Baby clothes
Always keep an extra pair of baby clothes ready. Spits, spills, or diaper leakages may be severe enough to require a change of clothes, so you had better have some on hand.

10. Bottle
Breastfeeding while travelling will be difficult. Keep your baby’s milk bottle ready, and ensure that you carry warm milk during all your journeys.

Be prepared for anything while you’re travelling with your little one. Carry these items while keeping your bag as light as possible.

For the right tips on pregnancy and early parenting, check the Pampers India website. Pampers also provides expert tips on newborn baby diapers, easing pregnancy and post-pregnancy symptoms too.

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.

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.