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How (not) to Parent?

I’m here after a long break.

I’ve managed to switch jobs, give birth to another baby, weighed heavier than ever before, seen more grey in my hair, started taking Krav Maga lessons, and still somehow, manage to make it to the end of each day with equal parts being thankful and amazed that I survived another grueling day as a parent.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I went to pick up the almost 2, and the 7 year old from school. I always like it when I pick them up, I’m the hero. I’m greeted with so much love. It’s the best part of my day. 7 talks my ear off about her day and just when I’m ready to strap her in the car, says, “Ma, I scored badly on my Math test”.

The South Indian in me suddenly went into overdrive and asked” well, how bad is it? “. She says I can’t remember, just look at my folder with my answer sheet. I reached and gently (yanked) took out her folder and patiently reached for her answer sheet/test sheet. (Ok, who are we kidding, I rushed and pulled out her sheet and went through everything immediately). Her teachers exact remarks were ” :(., WHAT HAPPENED?”.

Lord, I gritted through the disaster of the paper, tried not to comment, but my expression immediately gave away my disappointment. She said “Amma I’m so sorry, I tried really hard but I just didn’t get it”.

Flashback to 30 odd years ago when I was in first grade and my dad patiently sat down with me through rows and rows of addition and subtraction problems, where I was just not getting it. He used art( drawing pictures of animals and birds), aides like crayons, but I just stared blankly into space thinking about what snack was my mother making in the kitchen and the time the clock struck 4 where all the kids in the neighborhood came out to play. (In my defense I was perpetually hungry, and I loved the outdoors, ok?) Maths was last on my list. That day ended in me not getting a snack nor time outside to play. I remember many days like that, because it just wasn’t happening. The worst of all was comparison. Oh look at “x”, he’s so much better, or look at “y” try to at least be half as good as her, you idiot!

This meme also came to mind:

Asian Career Options

1. Doctor

2. Engineer

3. Lawyer

4. Disgrace to the family

You would’ve thought I was completely practical and did not overreact with 7 at all. I’m sorry to disappoint, but it was the complete opposite. I think I can proudly say that yesterday, I turned into my Parents which I never thought would happen. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all. It just happens, without warning. I tried to fight it but no, I went from zero to I don’t think you can ever succeed in life because hey! Subtraction is important stuff. I also compared her to other kids in her class *hangs head in shame*

My mother’s words were ringing in my head ” remember, one day you will have children of your own, and when you are faced with their setbacks, please demonstrate your patience then”. UGH. How annoying! How are they so spot on? I was the last person who I thought would react this way. But here I was using the same tactics, words, phrases, head movements, and the comical expressions. Forget others, I disliked me yesterday.

Our times were different. Everything the kids did would somehow reflect badly on the parents, and in our case even more so because my father was in a different country and my mom had to run the ship herself. She had her reasons. If she hadn’t done what she did, I don’t know what I would’ve been.

Our parents struggled to give us a better life than they had. Somehow, the burden of that better life was also on us. I’m not judging them, I’m merely introspecting. They did what they had to, so what is my strategy here? How to do damage control?

I had to swallow my Ego, my pride, and breathe. Parenting, if you haven’t already heard me saying it a million times will tear your ego/pride to shreds and ground you. Sometimes you drown it in tears, strong coffee, or use another mechanism *cough* wine.

Parenting is a great leveler, and leaves you little choice but acknowledge those faults. We have to understand that despite said flaws we have to rise above them each day to set an example. Some days you are successful and the other days, not so.

We didn’t talk about it after my initial meltdown, even though I kept thinking about where I failed? Did I fail to teach her? I went on generous Guilt trips. Bringing up a dozen excuses for her, for myself.

I also asked my husband to not talk to her after he came back. She was still upset at me. We hung out, ate, and put her to bed.

Today, I tried not to be preachy. I went over her mistakes and we agreed to keep trying to learn and agreed to ask more questions when she doesn’t understand a concept. I caught myself giving her pop-quizzes (I know, I’ll stop, I’m trying). PARENTING IS HARD OK?

Parents, non parents–how have to you dealt with something like this? What has your reaction been? I’m sure we are all trying to do better. I’m sure there is a lesson here somewhere. Comments, notes, suggestions are greatly appreciated! Till next time. Ciao.


Moving On..

We’ve all been in situations which we’ve wanted to run from, but we chose to stay instead. 

Remember the first time you were aware of a power cut, and then came the thunder? wasn’t that scary? My feet felt like jelly. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t move.
Also, that time when a cow or a stray dog chased you? ( happened a lot back home!). Don’t you wish you could fly in such cases?
After a certain while, adulthood creeps in and sitting tight becomes the norm. Whether it’s getting out of a crappy friendship, a situation, or a relationship.
It’s always about “a little longer wouldn’t hurt”, “maybe things will change this time”, or “benefit of doubt, ftw”. 
When do we stop loving ourselves that we let everything else take over? When do we start taking a backseat in our own lives? Why do we do it? Is it because we’re too afraid to be happy? Or is it because we think this is it, this is as happy as I’ll ever be?
I’ve been there, camped there, and never left. Most of the time it was about “what will others think?”, “I can’t do this, I don’t have it in me”. At one point I let myself be surrounded by people who said this was it, I wasn’t going anywhere. 
They were right. Jelly in my legs again.
Most of us wouldn’t dare to get up, take charge. It’s just easier to complain, beat ourselves up, talk about everything that’s wrong in our lives, and keep running around in circles.
I was in a terrible job earlier this year. I was probably terrible for the job, I don’t know. I kept telling myself that it was me. I complained, worried, stressed out, and lost a lot of sleep over what others might think. In fact the last couple of years I’ve felt that way. I couldn’t find the strength to keep it together. I let it affect my time with my family.
Over a chat I was telling my almost 5 year old about how I’m unhappy with my bad job. She just turned around and said ” amma, so just find a good job okay?”. 
Simple enough, right? I was laughing with her, at her, saying child what do you know about life and such. But then, it just hit me. Why not? We adults have this habit of making everything so complex. Kids keep it simple, unadulterated.
In a couple of weeks I resigned and walked out. It felt powerful.
With that move, I’ve realized that putting myself first isn’t a bad thing. Complaining is cathartic but getting up and actually doing something about it is life changing. I’ve started working at a new place and I feel very positive about it.
Next time your (inner) child is saying something, listen. Who knows it might just change your life. 

Turning 4

4. This is what it feels like.

I’ve been one of those lucky moms who got a chance to spend every moment with you the last few years. It has been challenging, but also humbling in every way.

This year I had to go back to work. Even though I work from home mostly, we made a trip to India on work. I had the most grueling schedule, which directly affected you. I wasn’t around you much, physically for months.

There were many tears shed by both you, and me. There was not a single day when you went to bed before I got back home, however late it was. You were with your grandparents, who cared for you the same way I would.

And one day, you just said ” Amma needs to go to work”, instead of the usual ” Amma, please don’t go to work”. I must’ve cried the hardest that day. Was I losing you? Was I doing this okay? I felt like the world’s worst mom, but yet you were always smiling, always welcoming, and so so loving. I still have so much to learn from you.

S3-59 S3 edit-5

You talk complete coherent sentences now. “Amma, I’m upset”, or ”  I’m hungry, I need to eat”, ” look, I farted”, “Will you come and play with us ?”. (I’m thinking us are all the imaginary friends you have.) You make sure you’re heard, and always speak your mind. I can’t say the same about many adults I know.

I might complain sometimes about how tough it gets, or about how many times you’ve watched ‘frozen’ the movie. You remain blissfully unaware, and love me to the maximum. I’m yet to learn to just love, keeping everything else aside.

In mom years, I turned four too. I’m still juggling, learning as I go. While some things have become simpler, other things keep turning complex. You remind me that it’s okay, and everything will be just fine. You’ve taught me to try the hardest and never give up. You try learning new things every day, and don’t realize what failing means. For you, Failure is just a means of taking another route, and doesn’t mean the end of the road. It seems so simple, it must be.

Enough with the sappy mom, you might say, soon enough. Right now you’re busy sleeping and I’m laying next to you and marveling at you. Gosh, something must’ve gone into my eye.

Happy 4th Stuti.


Finding a balance between kids and friends

(This article first appeared on Masalamommas, an Online Magazine for Moms with a South Asian Connection. You can also read it here)

“Life will never be the same, once you become a mother”– this is something you keep hearing all your adult life, yet, you never really pay attention to it until you actually become one. I don’t know if “wake up call” is the right term, because you aren’t getting any sleep; but yes everything changes, overnight. As if pregnancy and delivery weren’t hard enough to deal with, once the baby comes you are inundated with hurdles, and it never seems to stop.

After my little one was born, I realized that I didn’t have enough “mommy friends”. Most of my friends were either single, or married without kids. As any new mom, I was overwhelmed and seemed to talk more about the baby than I realized. Due to a new schedule, I wasn’t always able to reach out to my friends or my social circle. When I did reach out, all my conversations began and ended with her.

When I tried to reach out to my single friends to talk about my insecurities in my new role, I probably set out with an expectation for them to understand and sympathize with me. For starters, I had gained close to sixty pounds with my pregnancy, definitely looked and felt like a cow (you know why!), none of my clothes fit, and my social life was almost non-existent. For the most part, they did tell me it would get better–but really who were they kidding. I needed a fellow mom to divulge the real deal; the weight was here to stay for a few more years. Ha! Gradually I realized that not all my single friends shared my enthusiasm with my child’s growth, because of the simple fact that they were not in that phase of their lives, just yet. I was there too, a few years back, phasing out as common friends/family spoke about their children.

Most of my insecurities and woes as a mother started transforming itself as tweets and Facebook posts, to which I got some hilarious responses and support from mostly mothers themselves. I slowly started connecting with other mothers, who were going through the same set of challenges as me, and suddenly it wasn’t that bad anymore. Whenever I took the baby to the park, I made it a point to talk to other mothers and get their emails/numbers Facebook/twitter information to stay connected. (If you’re not of the talkative type–you will slowly become one for your child!).

Not hearing from my single friends didn’t really bother me as much. I wasn’t bitter when they didn’t share my views or enthusiasm about all things baby and was less conspicuous of their absence. I was slowly bonding with some really cool and dynamic mothers, who supported each other and me along the way. I could ask a stupid question in the middle of the night (how much Vicks is too much Vicks) and I would always get a response, from my fellow mommy friends. It was a blessing to have that kind of support.

Another person who I got really close to during this whole process was my own mother. It was a wonderful feeling to find a new friend in her. She gave me a lot of support, insight, and taught me to trust my intuition with the child. It also gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about my own childhood through her. The experience of bonding with my mother through my child has been really beautiful. We need all categories of friends to complete us. Even though I don’t call my single friends often, I do enjoy conversing with them about all other things apart from my child. (I’ve learned to keep child talk at minimum now).

We do need to remember our roots, and our friends keep us rooted. When we take our jobs as mothers very seriously, we need these friends to remind us the importance of mundane things and learn how to keep things simple. I don’t cringe at “Oh let’s talk soon”, or ‘Lets hang out soon” anymore because god knows I need that break at regular intervals. I’m sure once my single friends are mothers-to-be, or mothers themselves they will see the other side of the spectrum. When they do reach out to me for support, I will always be here.








Life, Love and Laughter

I used to be the one who talked incessantly. I am now slowly transitioning into someone who wants to write. This is my first blog post. Took me almost five years to get here. No more stopping now. Life and Love. Love and laughter. Laughter and life.


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