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

Saturday, 10 November 2018

FB , FB on the wall, who is the fairest of all?


The festival of Diwali came, saw, and conquered not only the atria and the ventricles but also, OUR BODY. Resplendent in all glory, we ditched our inhibition and shopped like there was no tomorrow, sparkled like diamonds and moissanites and posted like an octopus with many hands; all of them working synchronously. Yes, this festival makes you feel like a whole enchilada and satiated. The 'oohs ' and 'aah' of friends and frenemies over the 'Sabyasachi' in all of us ensured we have enough in our pantry to last a year, until next Diwali. Facebook was on a rampage and I loved the overflowing 'likes' and 'hearts' moving around. At age 35, neither too young nor too old, just in the middle, these 'likes and hearts' matter. Even more if you are a MUM.That’s important because the world is cautious about a woman's age and the tag ‘MUM’ changes the way people look and perceive you.

People don't compliment me often, courtesy- ME. I wonder what part of my oddity reflects that I am not a 'compliment to be given' type and on the Diwali day, by some stroke of luck, I was the one who was getting it all.


“Yummy Mummy, wow, look at you, you don’t look like a mum.”

“Age is reversing for you. No one can say you have a kid.”

“You are back to 16.Wow. Tell us how to go back to 16.”

I was flummoxed. Are they joking? Really? Shit! No! Ouch! Why? How come?
With so many question marks, I responded meekly-'Thank you' wondering what was so grossly wrong with me? 

Startled? 

Yes, even I was.

You see, it's been 4 years that I gave birth to this ‘joy’ and officially joined the ‘mum’s community’. And guess what? Considering it an all-women community, compliments are vital, desired and omnipresent. :) ;)




Why is everyone so fixated on 16?


While I don't know how a 35-year-old mum should look like, I know for sure that I am a mum and I am comfortable looking like one, feeling like one and behaving like one. For sure, I do not want to jump around like a teenager, giggling at a boy who looks chocolaty enough to be licked right away.Facebook could be a ramp walk but my life isn't and I TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. NO COGNITIVE DISSONANCE WHATSOEVER.

And why shouldn't  I? Am I not proud to be a mum? Is looking like a mum a concern, a crime?These compliments circulate like the quintessential flu virus in September-October, and the more they do,the better it gets on the ones who are looking like mum and the ones who look like teenage mums :). The former hides her belly bulge behind the pallu of saree and the latter moves around with her flat tummy like a Filmfare award.
The problem doesn’t cease here. It’s the mind that gets affected and the self-esteem which gets injured. This heart work that one engages in is sheer HARD-WORK and one with no rewards. It is futile. The present loses its worth and meaning and the ‘past’ yearns to be re-lived.

Hey Mums (of all kinds of belly and bust),




It’s important to be peaceful in your present. Motherhood brings some long-lasting changes in the body, the mind and the soul. Let’s carry those changes with pride; if not pride then at the very least, some peace. 
Don’t pull your breath while you are getting clicked.
Don’t hide thunder things behind those overflowing oversize hip length tees. It’s OKAY.
You don’t get ‘Likes’ on your pics -It’s Okay. You were born to live your authentic life and not to get 'LIKES.'

Stretch marks on belly- Check. Great!
Sagging breasts- Check- Great!
Wider Hips-Check. Great!
Belly Bulge-Check-Great
Flabby Arms-Check-Great
Tires around Waist-Check-Great.
If you don’t have these. Great. If you have these. Great.


Live your age ,Live your looks and whatever it has to offer. You lived the past, why do you want to live it again?Come what may, the fact is that you cannot go back to Chapter 16. Nor can you feel 16.How am I supposed to feel Chapter 16 when I have reached Chapter 35? And why would I want to? And why is looking young so important? Haven't you looked, felt and lived the so-called  ‘youth’... You did...right?
Now feel age 35 and move on. Being fit and healthy is a sustainable choice for the body but doing so to look and feel 16 is an unsustainable choice for the mind and the soul.
So, the next time someone hurls that backhanded compliment, I shall run for cover.  I value my present...in my thoughts, my feelings and my action. That may not necessarily make me happy (the way the world views happiness) but that definitely provides peace.

20 is madness and so is 35 and so would be 70. It’s just the nature of madness that differs.








Getting poetic-
An autumn leaf which broke away from the branch and lies on the grass will soon be shrouded in snow.  But can it say that it feels like a new green leaf? Should it still revel thinking about its green charm?It was but once a green leaf… and now it's brown…green was beautiful then,brown is beautiful now, green or brown… the color is not important…The question is how well it lived green and how well it lives brown…and how well it gets buried under the icy snow.





Image courtesy-Pixabay



Sunday, 28 October 2018

My NEST is empty; I am not DEAD!

"Moms, don't miss the opportunity to make the most of your time with the little ones while they are still little. Cuddle them, squish them, smell the top of their heads, shower them with a hundred kisses! Let your clothes soak up their tears and let their grubby fingers ruin your hair as they fling their arms around you. Etch each moment in your memory because no pictures will ever do them justice.
Trust me, time flies. Soon, these days will seem like a distant dream and you will wish for them all over again!"


These lines have not been written by me.It's been pretty viral on Facebook and it made me think. Literally pause and think.

Undoubtedly, beautiful words, heartfelt emotions and just so TRUE.

Then what's the discomfort?
It's painful and unfortunately unavoidable. The nest one day will be empty.

Can you prepare for it? NO.
Can you ensure it doesn’t pain? NO.
What can you do? Make the best use of your time RIGHT NOW and know that every phase of LIFE (and not only MOTHERHOOD) brings itself two companions- a longing for the past and worry for the future.  Seeing our teenagers, we will yearn for our babies, seeing the adult we will miss our teenagers, once they get married, we will miss all the years they spent with us. WE ARE GOING TO MISS come what may. I have often heard my mother in law get nostalgic over the days when all her three teenage sons ensured her 24 hours were utilized well in cooking, cleaning, caring, how much she loved/hated it then and misses it now. J

Just the way we miss our school days and college days, as we progress through our age, these two companions steal from us the beauty of living in the present. The past keeps pulling you back to how good it was and the future towards fear and worry. 

It's difficult but that doesn’t change the truth. The nest will get empty no matter how many times you kiss your child right now. What you can warrant is that the nest is never empty of emotions. You can ensure that when you look at the nest you don’t feel regret about anything. The empty nest should give you satisfaction for all that you could manage to do, forgiveness for all that you couldn’t and peace by seeing the abundant emotions residing peacefully. 

Every phase of life has something to offer and something to take away. Try to accept with gratitude and let go in peace. When you look back you will smile at the thought of giving birth to a child and raising him to become his own person in this world. 


Let's come down to some business- Why does the world cease to exist when the child has flown? Why do we, as parents, feel the need to draw the curtains and not let sunshine in? A child is the source of life's chock-full joy and occupies not only the entire of the house, the home , but every artery, every vein, every nerve and every ticking second of life;so much so that there is no room for anything else. Herein we start the journey of subjecting ourselves to the suffering of empty nest syndrome. Didn't we also give the same dolor to our parents? Our priorities changed; the time we had for them at age 2 has shrunk considerable at 32. Why do we then find it so difficult to let our children go? You were not bringing them up to stay back. You would not like it either. Stagnation at any age or stage creates the same stench that a water does when stagnated and not allowed to flow. Try not to lean on your child for all your emotional needs. To do that is to become  a parasite.  Attachment is inevitable but dependence can be and should be managed. 

Most importantly, engage yourself in productive work that adds meaning to your life beyond your child. You can be gainfully employed or voluntarily working ; spending your time wisely and efficaciously will make you look beyond your motherhood and help you cope with your empty nest. When you fuse your identity around the 6 alphabets--------M-O-T-H-E-R, define yourself by activities of a mother, there is bound to be affliction. Not the best choice.

My mom had a way of dealing with her children- She ensured we did not take precedence over her husband- her life partner. Guess she knew we would leave the nest one day. She had left it too. Later, when it happened, she was in deep agony but both my parents chose not to suffer. They had each other. Nurture your bond, your relationship with your life partner. A child has come from the bond you share with your husband, he cannot be the reason for your relationship. You and him exist, love, thrive independently.
Another strong, parallel voice doing the rounds these days is- YOU ARE A COMPLETE AND WHOLE PERSON. There is no other half somewhere to be found and fitted in to make you complete and happy. While this does have a pragmatic, hard-boiled and reasonable amount of truth, I choose to go with my mum right now.


Easier said than done? YES
Do you have a better choice? 


Image courtesy-Pixabay


Saturday, 30 June 2018

Of course I am happy.....till I FIND SOMETHING BETTER. Till...


I GET USED TO WHAT I HAVE!!!





And this is what the biggest human frailty is all about. Isn't it? The itch, the hunger, the thirst with which we pursue, chase our 'happiness goals' and manage to realize them, why does it cease to provide the happiness which was the very goal we started the quest.

To me, it is our biggest weakness that ails us, psychology calls it the habituation-a form of learning in which an organism decreases or ceases to respond to a stimulus after repeated presentations. 

From a TV to a long-awaited promotion to a Green card to 10000 likes, WE GET USED TO IT ONCE WE HAVE IT AND IT NO MORE MAKES US HAPPY? The acquisition of one leads to a momentary feeling of happiness and then what? WHOOSH!



Happiness is an abstract concept which we have come to define in terms of material acquisitions, coveted degrees, SAT scores, salary, good-looking spouse and the list is infinite. So, we acquire these possessions and try to make ourselves happy only to discern that this CHASE IS NEVER ENDING. Courtesy- HABITUATION. It is this 'get used to' which is the final nail in the coffin. It seals our sense of happiness forever. With this 'used to' one can keep adding more and yet feel empty.



"Once upon a time I desired a fancy life, then I got one and then I got used to it. I craved for a fancier life and I managed to secure it for myself, and then I got used to it.

From fancy to fancier to fanciest, my human nature of 'getting used to' tarnished every happiness that came my way.I started again- the relentless, perpetual, ceaseless persuasion to acquire that other thing which will make me happy. Soon,I am standing at the doorsteps of old age,  and wondering ..."




So, are degrees not important? Yes, they are.

Should you flush your money into the drain? No, Of course not. You must be insane to do that.

Is achievement, recognition, a good house, a cool car and a comfortable life nonessential? NO. 
Then?
Either you be mindful of the value they bring or don't attach your happiness around it and your sorrows around their absence.
Try, if you can, to not float high with joy if you get through the Ivy league college or earn the envious 8 figure salary. Much the same way, to make failures, challenges your personal funeral. If that looks difficult and problematic, try the other one- practice valuing what you have, what you have accomplished, what you craved for, worked for, and got and JUST DON'T GET USED TO IT.
I prefer the former option. I have a tendency of ‘getting used to’ J

The problem with happiness is that it is fleeting ...fleeting till you keep changing its destination from a modular kitchen to a deluxe bathtub to Louis Vuitton handbag. Place it within you and you shall be happy forever irrespective of the circumstances.

Coming to my own parenting and my son, to raise him to be a lifetime hunter is not on my agenda.
To have him value what he has and to try not compare. The comparison makes ‘getting used to’ the easiest thing on planet Earth. I don't want my child to be rich. I want him to have 'just enough'. The strange part is that no material acquisition ever guarantees happiness.

Neither does money. Can money buy happiness? Yes, only if it can pay your bills, it is fair in comparison to what your peers/friends are earning and you get to spend it on others. Others? Really? Why? That is not why I earned money in the first place. Note that we need research to confirm it, but it does: It is better to give than to receive. People report higher levels of happiness when they spend money on others than when they spend it on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with spending on yourself, but when you reach out to others, the feeling is SOLID GOLD, MATCHLESS, ETHEREAL, UNRIVALED. Try it for once. The day you feel the worst, go, and help someone else out. I can bet, you will feel the heaviness of your own heart disappear.

Of course, a bigger house, a comfortable car, right salary can give the happiness kick which you can revel in and enjoy. But there is a catch--------------Researchers have discovered that the less money you have, the more it can impact your happiness when you get more of it. Logical? Yes. If you make $20,000 and you quadruple your income to $80,000, your life satisfaction will improve significantly. But beyond $80,000(good enough amount of money) life satisfaction increases only slightly with increases in income.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue making more money, just know there is a barricade beyond which your money and happiness are not necessarily friends. Be rich if that is what you desire, but do not attach your happiness around the richness. One can get used to richness. And when life defies your expectations, provokes you in painful ways, and threatens your so-called 'happiness' know for sure that you can still be peaceful from within and live a meaningful life. The way I have understood life and this delicate, tender, creamy emotion of happiness is that it has the potential to stay without profit & loss. It’s a myth to say that happiness expresses itself in chest thumping, grand parties, platinum jewellery, twitter followers or a post going viral. Some of the loneliest and unhappy people throng to these parties burdened with their own richness, seeking happiness.
I have a deep sense of appreciation, respect, appetite and longing for a meaningful life. Parenting cannot guarantee happiness to the child every time. What it can assure is 'meaning' so that the child feels worthwhile and purposeful, both in falling and flying high. And done meaningfully, it ensures that you as a parent know that your role is not to make your child reach a happy destination but to be part of the journey. And while the child has come through you, he is not YOU...and all you can do is to help him become HIM in meaningful ways.


I subscribed to the myths for 34 long years and realized late (thankfully it isn’t too late) that this path takes you - NOWHERE. 

I now steer my life differently.I have learnt to segment my need, wants and desires. I care a lot about the money I earn, the house and the comfort and the car I drive. I have not renounced the world or the worldly things. But I have learnt to hold back my chase, my desperation for better, bigger, flashier, newer.
To me, parents should make it their first priority to debunk the myths of happiness on which they largely place their life and teach children to realize it as a state of your mind, your being and not emanating from material acquisitions or pleasing people and seeking approval.

While it's the best feeling in the world to see your child happy, I wonder if it is  going to happen if he sees you chasing and you teach him how to keep hunting.
Good Luck!

HAPPINESS IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. IF YOU WANT TO FIND ONE/FEEL ONE- TRAVEL INWARDS...into yourself and your soul, for out there, in the external world, there is only COMPETITION for MORE and MORE and MORE. 
THE PROBLEM IS - THIS MORE IS NOT THE PLACE WHERE HAPPINESS RESIDES.

Image courtesy-Pixabay


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Wife and Husband


So I was asked this question today by one of my readers who also happens to be one of my friends “Why did you change your name after marriage?  Nobody does this nowadays. Why should we women do this all the time? We are equal and not need to change our surnames or our identity. You went ahead and included his name and surname too.Phew!

I looked at her in bewilderment, because I had never thought of this and said rather meekly- " Our name together sounds really nice to me. It has a melody to it which makes me ...smile." That's all.


Sometimes it's really not about empowerment, equality, and identity. Beyond the frontiers of man vs woman, lies a sweet spot where I feel nice to be married to my husband, feel fortunate to have him in my life, cradle him to sleep when he is tired, serve him warm food because I know he likes it, dust his shoes when he is running late to work, try to keep his tea ready once he is back from work and stand by him at all times. I do it not because he asks me to, or commands or expects. I do, because I like to do it for him. He may not return in equal measure in the same proportion or in similar nature, but he does what he can with love, and commitment and I respect that. He doesn't fall off the cliff of manliness and respect when he washes the dirty plates in the sink  or changes diapers of our son, nor do I start floating  because I earn more than him.  


Sometimes... it's only love, care, companionship..whatever you call it.


शादी है, कोई प्रतोयोगिता नहीं जहाँ हार जीत, नफा नुक्सान का हिसाब किताब रखा जाये. दो कदम वह चल लें, चार हम, फिर कुछ कदम वह चल ले और हम थोड़ा आराम कर लें। 




Sunday, 27 May 2018

How many classes have you enrolled you child for? 'Comparison - Part 3'.










A mom of a 5-year-old talking in a group of moms- "I keep her very busy. She is enrolled for Ballet, Bollywood dance, Jazz, swimming and gymnastics' and of course her regular coaching class for English and Math."

I quipped wondering about her heroic child- " Why so many classes? How does she manage? And why a coaching class? Isn't it too early. She goes to regular school?"
"Common Yaa, haven't you seen everybody goes and it will give her an edge", pat came the reply.

"Edge over?" I asked.


"Edge over others in alphabets, numbers, shapes ...it will make her faster and better and she will get into the habit of 'regular study hours'. And extracurricular activities are so much needed nowadays. Everyone is into so much. Isn't it? Have a look at Facebook and you will know what other children are up to?"

I was ready to faint, but I managed a croak - "But you can teach her these and make her get into regular study hours. Are you working? (understandably she doesn't get enough time on her hand to sit with her child."

She chirped animatedly- “No. I don't work. It's just that 'she doesn't listen to me. When the homework comes from the coaching class, she is more organized."


And everybody nodded in unison. Clap clap clap .

I walked away surprised, sad and anxious with questions bombarding in my mind.

A child doesn't listen to her parents and that parent needs an external institution to help her listen and regularize her life, introduce schedule and make her sit. Is it a parent's success or failure? I wondered.

That child is a normal child with no special needs. Her mother is a well educated SAHM. Where is the disconnect and is that disconnect the right one? Today it a coaching institute, what about tomorrow. Giving a listening ear to one’s parent is the most basic that every child should be taught.

Are we so short of time, energy and willingness or parental control that 'external coaching institutions' have become a need at the age of 3,4 and 5? Don't we know our alphabets, shapes, and numbers? What is the missing link? Is it our own ambitiousness which we are transferring on our children? I am in for all kinds of coaching when needed. I took math tuition in 9th grade too. But preschool?

Pondering over these, my thoughts shifted to my own child.

“Should I put my 3-year-old for the coaching class?”. What about ‘his edge'?”

“Should I enroll him for hip hop, gymnastics, and Taekwondo? Am I missing out on something if I am not able to post his glories on Facebook?"

By the time, I came home, I was sorted in my mind-
“it's not the children who are competing. It's their parents who are competing...  garbed in fancy Barbie frocks and Superman T-shirts."


I was sure that YES, I WILL enroll him but will ask a few questions before. I shall not jump the bandwagon because everyone is doing so. Today if I jumped, tomorrow my son would be jumping on every bandwagon because 'everyone else’ is and that is not what I want. I want him to think for himself and his choices.

· Why am I enrolling him for that violin class? Am I enrolling him because I never got to do it and he will make my dreams come true? Is it because everyone else is or we as a family feel that violin is the opportunity we want him to expose? Is it my dream after all?

· Will he be able to sustain this for a long period of time?Every skill needs patience, perseverance and focus to be mastered. Will I or he drop out in the middle?

· Will all these classes leave him drained or trained for something wonderful that he actually enjoys doing?

Studies have constantly shown that mastery of a skill musical or physical requires extended focused attention and a child's active participation. If they are learning music, they must practice regularly, exhibit long periods of focus, memorize lengthy musical passages, master technical skills and understand diverse musical structure. The same amount of energy and attention goes for dance or sport. Is it possible for a child to master a skill when he is engaged in 3 or 4 forms of different skills along with the pressure of academics? More importantly- is it fair?

Is it good to start early- Yes! Such kind of learning experiences tends to foster cognitive processing, particularly during childhood when the neural connection is forming rapidly. But how early is an answer every parent has to find for their own family considering the interest of their own child?


It's difficult I understand for a parent to not feel competitive when other parent’s post pictures of their children with awards and trophies on Facebook and social media platform. While that is a big life question in itself as to why parents do so and what do they get out of showcasing their child as mini celebrities, a parallel question is - how can the parent at the receiving end handle it or stay away from this race?

I understand a child needs high test scores to gain access to the best academic opportunities and extracurricular activities to widen his horizons. If we want the best learning environment for our child for the many years he is in school and after, test scores and trophies matter. With stakes this high, we have to help our kids prepare well whether or not we believe that the skills they are learning now are the skills that are going to make them successful in life.

I UNDERSTAND, but can there be a slightly healthier way of going about it so that we do less damage? A less stressful way?

How difficult it is to jump out of this vicious circle of comparison and help the child discover himself and his talents and work on them rather than discover the other child, his talents and try to become like him.
Is it so difficult to RESPECT and APPRECIATE our child?

Compare if you must but don't judge. Compare for inspiration and not for aspiration.


Try it out - "You know son, I met your friend the other day at piano class. He really plays well and he has learnt it in a short period of time. What I have seen is that he focuses a lot, has kept few hours every day in his schedule for practice and sticks to it. It's a thing to learn from him."

or

Try this one out - "Did you see him? How well he plays the piano. He got a trophy again. Why don't you ever learn from him? Don't you feel like getting that trophy?"

Which one is appropriate for your child? And I rest my case here.


Jack of all...master of none.......I compared and judged...but where is ‘MY SON’?

Click on the link to read Part 1
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/11/meaningful-parenting-comparing-your.html

Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like, follow and share. Drop in your feedback if any.

For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.


Image Courtesy-Pixabay

Did you offload your baggage to your child? Is it heavy ? 'Comparison Part 2'

Are you carrying an excess baggage and offloading it to your child?




The burden of your unfulfilled dreams, the blame for your failures, the strain of your unmet expectations, and anxiety of your poor self-esteem ...is it fair to put them all on your child and label it - I am an ambitious parent.

 OR

The grandeur of your success, the magnificence of your achievements the loftiness of your fame and glory, the constant praise of your hard work and intellect- Is it fair to assume and expect a similar destiny for him?



You couldn't do it, so you want your child to do it now. Fair or Unfair?
or
You did it and so you want your child to do it. Fair/Unfair?

We all have big expectations from our children. Haven't we heard conversations like-

I couldn’t do much in my life. My circumstances were such. But I want my son to do now.”

or

“I have earned this success and fame for myself. I want my son to do the same.”

or

“I couldn’t learn music when I was a child. I wanted to do so many things. I will ensure my son gets everything that he wants and does all that I didn’t get to do.”

or

“I was fortunate to get opportunities to explore my musical talent and rest is history. My hard work paid off. I want to give all kinds of opportunities to my son too. I wish he follows my line.”

How difficult it is to let your child do what he chooses for himself and not what you choose for him?

How will he know what to choose?
Guide not instruct, discipline not repress and direct not control.

“See son, I know your love for sports. My experience tells me that academics are equally important. While I may like to see you excel in academics and get good grades, I also want you to pursue what interests you the most. It's 'being the best of whatever you can be' that matters. Can we both together work out a way where you are able to manage academics and sports together? We can talk to your teacher and understand how she can help while you are away for your soccer classes. Also, let's work out a schedule which will help you better manage your time."

These are just few words spoken at one point in time. Conversation with your child is an everyday affair and building trust and open channels of communication is a constant work. That way the child is more open in listening to you, understanding your perspective because he sees you understanding his.

RESPECT DEVELOPS MUTUALLY, not when you say- "I have seen life more than you. You have no idea about the competition out there. You better get your act together and do well in your studies. I don't understand why you keep running behind that ball?


Click on the link to read Part 3. How many classes have you enrolled your child for?
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/12/meaningful-parenting-how-many-classes.html
Click on the link to read Part 1 of the Comparisons series.
http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2016/11/meaningful-parenting-comparing-your.html

Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like, follow and share. Drop in your feedback if any.

For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.

Image courtesy-Pixabay

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