Things to do in summer holidays!

My girl goes to an IB school and while I am thrilled at her progress and overall development, the biggest challenge is the lack of summer holidays. While the rest of the country is having summer vacations, she goes to school and when the school is about to resume for others, our holidays begin. With the conventional holidays between March and June for SSC, CBSE, ICSE and even IGCSE kids, the IB board which follows the International curriculum has its annual calendar, study and schooling pattern similar to the US and UK schools. 

Her vacations begin May end and last till mid of July and while we try to plan all our outings and holidays in these months, the lack of ‘play’ partners make it a tedious job to keep her engaged on regular days. 

Here are some of the activities I plan with my daughter to keep the days engaging and fruitful:

  • Make a schedule: While me and my girl love to make charts and plan timetables for our days together, I assure you, we rarely follow it! But what it does help in is understanding how she wants me to schedule her day. I get an insight into how much time she’s willing to allocate for reading, pretend play, board games, TV time and this helps me plan my calendar accordingly! We also have a fun outing everyday during the holidays which could be anything from going for a walk (we love walks together), going to the local park, a visit to the mall or at times, just a simple visit to the local toy shop or sandwich guy. 
  • DIY stuff: I confess, I hate doing art and craft activities of any kind but as fate would have it, she loves these activities.  We have come to an acceptance where every afternoon, post lunch, we would do an art/craft together. It could be something as simple as making a card for a friend or creating a poster with a social message, scrapbook making with sticking photos, mementos and knick-knacks which matter to her. At times, we also try to replicate a painting by looking at step-by-step YouTube videos. These activities are not just a fun way to bond with your child but take up a good couple of hours without any direct screen time.
  • Pretend play: She loves to put on skits and shows and ever since, her school started Theatre workshops; every birthday and party celebration has an ‘act’ directed and acted by her. I help her write a script and get things organized for the play. Once we used an empty cardboard box, cut it out in the shape of a TV screen and she pretended to be a TV news reporter for the next hour. These forms of pretend plays are not just fun but stimulate creativity and imagination.
  • Master Chef: She loves to help out in the kitchen and while on a daily basis, that can lead to a bit of a mess- we have a ‘masterchef’ session once a week. She writes down the recipes, I get all the ingredients cut and chopped for her and remotely guide her in to cooking a fantastic recipe. This could be anything from a pasta salad to a burger, sandwiches to waffles and most of these recipes are cooked by her. Obviously, her time with the gas is supervised and she’s never left alone with the flame on. It is endearing to see her put in her best to cook a recipe and understand the nuances of tasting and experimenting with flavors to find a taste liked by all at home. We also have a Children’s Cooking book which gives us ideas on recipes with photos and steps to cook with kids.

We also have lego sessions and competitions when her father is around on weekends, football and volleyball sessions down the building. 

Hopefully some of these ideas can help you, as well!

Simplifying meals for school!

I wake up every morning with an eternal question on what to pack for my daughter’s lunch. She leaves for school at 7 am and returns back post her school and extracurricular activities by 5 pm. The fact that she’s out of my eyesight for nearly ten hours a day, five days a week; the only way I can ensure her diet and nutrition is when I pack her bags myself. 

Undoubtedly, it is not easy to wake up at 5 am every morning to plan three meal boxes and one breakfast every morning but a mother’s love, after all, has no bounds.  This is my typical morning routine.

I pack three lunch boxes and these are my usual weekly meal preps:

Fruit box: My girl loves fruits and I make it a point to include seasonal fruits in this box.  From strawberries in winter to Mango in summer, Watermelon and peach; this snack box is for eating on the bus ride to and fro or after her sports class. If you are packing fruits like Apple and Pears for the fruit box, don’t forget to wash, peel and soak the fruit in lightly salted water for a few minutes. This ensures the fruit doesn’t get brown for a few hours.

Meal box: This is the main box that is hopefully giving her the nutrients to sustain her busy, active day.  I usually avoid packing chapati/sabji and prefer giving innovative snacks such as colorful idlis, mini burgers, cheese quesadillas, spaghetti aglio with garlic bread, hummus, assorted veggies and toasted pita and at times, a simple cucumber, chutney and cheese sandwich, mayo/cheese spread and tomato sandwich. Since the food is going to be cold when she eats it, I try to make her meals as oil and mess free as possible. 

Fun box: This is a small bento box with 2-3 compartments which she can eat whenever she wants a ‘perk me up’ in her day. One has assorted dry fruits i.e. almonds, cashews and some raisins or sunflower seeds. The other compartment has cookies and the third compartment has a junk snack i.e. pretzels, mini waffles, nutella crepe or kurkure/peppy/lays/pringles.

She’s used to eating a heavy breakfast before leaving for school every morning and we usually rotate between stir fried noddles (yes, really!), pancakes with maple syrup, sunny side up, left over pav bhaji (again, yes, she can eat this at 6 am and 10 pm), dosa/idli sambar and dal puris (made with leftover green/yellow/black dal).

The preparations for her lunch boxes take close to 45 minutes every morning but that is only if I keep stuff ready and prepared the previous night. For instance, if I am to make burgers the next morning, I boil the veggies and keep the burger patty ready to cook the next morning. The idli batter is ready with chopped veggies and cheese. The veggies needed are always washed, cut and stored in tupperware in the refrigerator.  The chutney ingredients are chopped and kept in the grinder container, in the refrigerator so that I simply grind it and use it fresh the next morning. These small preps are tedious and exhausting but are a prerequisite to keep the weekday mornings stress-free. 

For additional time saving, you can also pack the fruit box and keep it in the refrigerator, the previous night and the fun box can be packed in advance too. 

My girl doesn’t like milkshakes and juices, else, one of these boxes can be replaced for a glass of juice or fruit smoothies. 

I hope these small tips help and make snack and lunch box time an easier process for you, as well!

Dietary changes in growing girls

My girl loves sprouts and pulses of all sorts. I know they are not necessarily healthy but she is more than happy to eat a sprout salad, chana, rajma, sprout sabzi over the regular veggies. We are avid travelers and on our latest travels, she discovered a new love for black bean burgers and falafel-hummus.

While I am thrilled, she loves these healthy alternatives to nuggets and fries, unfortunately for her, she has a weak digestive system. Now, this is not something we discovered through tests but a hypothesis we derived based on how she would always complain of feeling bloated, heavy in her stomach and constant tummy aches. 

There came a time when we alternated every weekend between black bean burgers, tacos and falafel-hummus. And whenever she had the hummus and falafel wraps, the next day would go in tummy aches and discomfort. The food we make at home is always fresh so I don’t doubt the quality of the ingredients or the freshness of the food. We observed this pattern whenever she had any food made out of chickpeas and even milk.

Hence, in the past two months, I have made a lot of dietary changes for her. 

  • She used to start and end her day with a glass of warm milk with turmeric but now that has stopped. Instead, I have incorporated more cheese, paneer, soy and oats in her meals to balance the nutrients that she’s missing out on from stopping milk. 
  • I have replaced chickpeas with fava beans, broad beans, moth beans and green beans and while obviously, her favorite chickpea sandwiches and falafel/hummus do taste different- most importantly, her stomach aches and heaviness have considerably reduced.
  • Initially, I used to be obsessive about her eating a minimum number of rotis or food to keep her ‘full’ but I have learnt to withdraw from this ‘mom’ habit. I have learnt to accept that she’s old enough to understand her body and hunger, and I cannot force feed her. This acceptance itself made a world of difference as I find her demeanor to food and meal time more positive and accepting now.
  • It is okay to replace meals at times with fruits, salads and even occasionally waffles and chocolate sandwiches. These sudden ‘surprise’ meals keep her excited and raring to discover ‘when’ and ‘what’ is the next surprise.

We tried a lot of over the counter medications, home remedies and hacks to ensure she doesn’t compromise on her favorite foods but with her constant pain and discomfort; it just didn’t seem worth it.

Honestly, I haven’t told her about these changes in her diets and the alterations in her favorite recipes. She has thankfully not noticed the subtle changes in tastes and textures too. For her, if the food looks and tastes good, the subtle change and differences are something she can make-do with!

After a lot of research and experimentation to salvage her eternally favorite recipes, I have finally found a winner in falafel with a combination of fava beans and green moong beans, and a black bean burger replaced with sprouts. 

The key thing to remember is you don’t need to play by the book and the rules. What works for your friends or even your parents, don’t need to work for you and your child. It is okay to stumble on your own problems, discover challenges and issues and resolve them in a way that is unique and suitable to you.

Too much worrying is worrying too!

With the changing weather, intermittent bouts of cold and heat waves, both grown ups and little ones are falling sick. We live in Mumbai and for a city that is used to a yearlong humid weather with three months of monsoon, the previous month long winter and now, alarmingly high summer temperatures for March; our Mumbai-bodies are clueless on which weather to prepare for!

Seriously though,  the amount of jackets and hoodies we wore in January and February and now since the past week, layers of sunscreen, caps and shorts- the sudden weather change first caught me with a bout of flu, then my husband and now, unfortunately, my little girl too. The doctor says, it’s a heat stroke, essentially, her body’s burning up with fever even though its extremely hot outside.

While we can do nothing about the weather change, here are some tried and tested tips to survive this ever changing climate without losing your sanity and cool:

  • Drink Up:  The major cause of any illness is dehydration and when your body is fighting a cough, cold or fever; your body stops craving food and water. It is important to drink lots of water, fresh juices and soups. For your child, I kept giving her Glucon D and Orange juice, even if it was just 10 sips every hour. The external sugar is needed to give some strength to your weak body.
  • Rest: For a person, who hates sleeping in and whose child hates sleeping in even more than me; any sickness is the worst period for us as we have to spend a lot of time resting.  Do not give in to your primal urges of sitting and watching TV or reading a book or playing a simple card game; when you’re sick, rest! Rest and sleep, whether you like it or not as that is the need of the hour and the rest will help your body heal faster.
  • Don’t Overworry: As a mom, trust me, this is easier than done! When I got a call from my daughter’s school to take her back home as she developed a fever, my mind went into overdrive and I am paranoid with worry, every time she coughs.  However, when the doctor told me this is a seasonal illness and only time and rest will heal her; I tried and honestly I am still trying to ease my worries. Being an over worrier will not help the cause and situation in any way, in fact, you will pass on this stress to your child.

If you are part of a family whose member or child is sick, please give that person some space. While I love my family to bits and I am truly fortunate to have such loving members who want nothing more than to be with me and help me take care of my girl, please don’t overdo it. At times, a mother needs to do what she needs to do and she doesn’t want to be questioned or judged or convinced otherwise about it.

I know my family loves my daughter but honestly, I haven’t spent a single moment alone with her from the moment she fell sick and I just want to take care of her my way. While this could be construed as rude or insensitive, at times, even the most thankful moms need some space.  

So next time you are sick or you know someone’s sick, don’t overdo with worries and concern, let nature take its course, give the parents and the sick person some space and shower them with love, and let them heal by themselves.

Don’t overdo the worry,

Don’t overdo the concern,

Don’t overdo the advice,

Honestly, as too much of anything is bad, even the good things!

How to raise Grateful and Thankful children!

When you go visiting a family which has children, the primary instinct is to buy a toy or chocolates for the kid. After all, if the child is happy, the family is happy and it leaves you the  effort of buying something for the other family members. That’s exactly what I did too, until I had a child and everytime relatives and visitors came, my daughter would get a box of chocolates, a soft toy and more. After observing this pattern silently for a couple of months, I had to intervene and tell my family members and relatives visiting us to please stop with the formalities.

It had become a habit where my daughter would expect something for her every time someone came visiting and I knew I had to put an end to this. I know this can be construed by many as rude and arrogant behavior but the truth is, when it comes to laying the rules for my daughter, I am and will always be the decisive maker. 

I have had countless arguments with my husband and other family members as everyone believed I was overreacting a bit too much on small matters like gifts. While I tried making my point clear that it was not the gesture that bothered me but the expectations building in my daughter that I wanted to curb. Instead of appreciating the gifts, it had become a matter-of-fact, obvious ‘ritual’ in greeting people at home and this ‘thankless’ behavior had to be put to a stop. 

Unfortunately, as an only child, my daughter is used to getting everything she wanted. I love to fulfill her small whims and wishes and honestly, like every parent, I want nothing more than making all her dreams come true.  While she was younger, it was still easier to keep a tab on things we purchased for her as she was happy playing with kitchen vessels and a ball pool. 

Now, as she’s growing older and more assertive in her demands, there have been several occasions where I have been swayed by her ‘cute faces’ and ‘please mumma’ and ‘she has it, i don’t have it’ reasons to buy her things which I know she may not use much but wants it momentarily. The eternal parental guilt to try and meet all your child’s expectations is a big problem!

At times, like my husband says, I just don’t know to stop. I try and portray this image of being a strict and tough mother but honestly speaking, I spend the most money on her. I spend all my spare time, planning to buy things for her, have small surprises for her and buy clothes and gifts for her. As a mother, I am a sucker for seeing her smile and her eyes light up when she sees the surprises I plan for her.

However, like every mother, I also want my daughter to be grateful for the things she receives, the life she has and be appreciative for the smaller pleasures in life.  Unlike the life we grew up in, this is a very materialistic world and our kids are never going to be finding pleasure in playing down the society building and eating home made food and cutting a small cake for the birthdays. 

With the changing times, we need to evolve and if that means finding pleasure with children in watching 4D movies in multiplexes and shopping for overpriced toys, then so be it. It is easier to compare, compete and complain wistfully saying  “while we were growing up, we had none of this and now you have so much” but that is just growth that comes with changing times. 

Here are some things I do and we all can do to raise thankful and grateful children:

  • Charity: The monthly closet cleanse always flushes out old clothes, worn down shoes, accessories and toys that they have outgrown or got bored of. I make it a point to wash the clothes, toys and shoes and pack it neatly. We then either go to our local children’s orphanage and donate these things or we give to our maids who will always be thankful for our hand-me-downs.
  • Cost of Living: For every Rs.1000 spent on frivolous items like toys and accessories, I donate an old item. For every new item in the house, an old item/toy/accessory is replaced.
  • Fixed Budget: While I literally would love to buy her the world, I know I don’t want to raise a spoilt brat for a child. When we go shopping for her, I keep a fixed budget and let her make the decision on whatever she would like to buy as long as it fits in that price range. I refuse to spend even Rs.10 over that budget and make it clear that we will never cross that predetermined budget. 
  • Thank You Notes: My wardrobe is adorned with notes and cards from my daughter and I absolutely cherish each and every one of them. Every fifteen days, we write letters to each other. It could be something as simple as ‘I love you, my baby girl. I am thankful for you in my life.’ or it could be being thankful for finally getting that new gift or something that you had been wanting for a long time. This makes her think, recollect and appreciate the efforts taken by everyone around her and makes her be grateful for the ‘newest’ thing in her life.

For me, these small things have made a visible change in the way my daughter perceives everything around her. After all, when it is your child, you cannot always say NO to them but the secret to raising healthy children lies in how to make them appreciative and grateful even as you’re saying YES.

Buy gifts which actually matter to kids!

Lately, we seem to be having a super busy social life with not just work and regular commitments but a pretty active social life. Every weekend, the whole family has been partying and I mean, PARTY with dance monkey playing loud on the speakers and people bobbing up and down to it for hours. 

After two years of covid and lockdowns, schools and parties have started in earnest, kids and adults are both socializing to their heart’s content and this means, the era of play dates and birthday parties have started again. A kids birthday party is the perfect excuse to show your social standing, have a merry time and stand tall in your social circle. 

While I was growing up in the 90’s, birthday parties meant Monginis cake, potato wafers and delicacies cooked by mom. The paper hats and colorful party streamers were about the only decorations available and now when I think about it, it was so much easier back then.  It did not matter how the house looked or how elaborate a party it was as long as you had these simple prerequisites in order.

And now, I cannot imagine hosting such parties for my daughter. Even when she was still in pre-k, I had hired a party planner to decorate the houses and arrange activities appropriate and fun for the toddlers. The final price tag was still a shocker for hosting a party for 10 toddlers at our home. But, that’s how birthdays are now- we need to plan activities, have perfect return gifts, cut designer cakes and make a child’s birthday an event worth remembering for months to come.

Now, let’s face one factual truth- we like gifts! Actually, we love gifts and the gifts that we give symbolize the image you want to create for yourself. If you set the bar by gifting something very expensive, that is the price range you will have to follow every time. Similarly, if you buy something cheap, that is a reflection on you, as well.

As an earning member and a mother whose child attends a birthday party nearly every weekend, these are some of the best gifts I have received and given till date:

Gift vouchers:  Yes, it sounds painfully boring and kids will not understand how something that comes in an envelope can be of any relevance or fun. But gift vouchers from Amazon, Hamleys, Toys R Us, Crosswords are actually life changing as you are paying for something that the owner actually wants to buy is and is relevant to them. I thoroughly cherish thoughtful vouchers of Rs.1000 rather than spending Rs.2000 on toys and gifts that could be repetitive and not relevant and useful.

Books: From picture books to younger kids, activity books and story books for older kids; books are a thoughtful gift and as an avid reader and writer myself, I doubt books can ever be a waste of money. For gifts for kids under 10 years old, I usually stick to the Dog Man series, Captain Underpant series, Harry Potter and Enid Blyton.

Night Clothes: This is not just a highly personalized and thoughtful gift but extremely useful, as well. Since kids outgrow clothes and their pj’s especially pretty fast, buying clothes a size bigger and gifting them can never be a waste of money.

Art Supplies: If you want to play it safe, the safest bet is buying art boxes, water colors, sketchpens, neon colors, the works which are not just relevant but something kids of all ages need all the time. 

Lunch Boxes: From fancy water bottles to bento boxes, the choices are abundant and you can also opt for a smart and affordable set of bottle and lunch box as per the age group you’re buying for. This paired with insulated lunch bags make a perfect go-to school accessory that will actually be used every single day.

Amusement Park Vouchers: A day pass with a 6 month or 1 year validity to your local amusement park, play area, planetarium and arcade area can also be a great and fun gift for the entire family. 

If you are gifting to somebody close to you or your children, you can also opt for personalized stationery labels, stamp pads, stationery pouches amongst others. They also make for great return gifts when you are catering to a small group of people.

At the end of the day, no matter the price tag behind the gift, the efforts behind choosing the gift reflect your thoughts on them. It doesn’t matter whether you buy something big or small, it is the thought which makes all the difference in the world.

How fast they grow up!

I always heard that girls grow up at a blink of an eye. I mean, I am sure boys do too but girls do tend to get more mature, responsible and have a feisty side much sooner than their boy counterparts. 

As I look at my daughter’s old pictures, I realise how much she matures and grows every few months. One day, she told me, “Mumma, I have deduced that parents are not as grown up as they are shown to be.” Yes, she actually used the word deduced in a sentence but her vocabulary has always been impeccable but what I really wanted to know was what drew her to the conclusion that grown ups are not actually grown up.  She went on to explain that from her astute observation of the grown ups around her, at school, at home and the society in general; our behaviours are generally unpredictable and moody.

As I listened without passing my personal judgment, she believes, the children are much more reliable and predictable. Their needs are driven by security and hunger and are relatively ‘less demanding’ in comparison to the grown ups. This, coming from my 8 year old, who has been loudly hinting out an expensive doll house that cost close to Rs.30,000 for her upcoming birthday!

When I have such conversations with my girl, I realise how observant and street smart kids are these days from a pretty young age. During her toddler years, it was easier to distract her by simply switching on YouTube for her and now, even if her friends are around and the TV is on, a simple shift in my mood or ‘atmosphere’ at home will be met with hundreds of questions. 

It is amazing that even before she turns ten, she is more synced with me than my spouse or my parents. This is probably what a mother-daughter relationship is. And, I never knew what I was missing in life until my daughter was born.

We have always wanted a girl child and I was often told that my daughter will grow up to look like her father and be my ‘mini-me’.  This is the aptest thing I have been told! Undeniably, she looks a lot like my husband but her mannerisms, attitude and personality are a lot similar to me and she amazes and shocks me everyday. 

While at the age of eight, I was not even aware of traveling outside my city and shopping for a new dress beyond Diwali and Birthdays, my girl has traveled extensively across 3 continents and has over 20 pairs of jeans and growing!  This makes me realise how much of a generation change there is even though I am not even 30 years older than she is!

With every new generation that comes, the changes are stark and more prominent than ever before. And while the older generations may pass judgment on whether we are spoiling them, pampering them or giving them too much but  change is imminent and a part of our life.

The lesson to be learnt for us here is that instead of questioning and remarking on the changes that are going to happen with time, let us enjoy the time we have, live each moment to the fullest and simply make the most of the time we have with the people we love. 

There is no harm done in letting your kid eat that extra piece of cake, buying a toy when they want, getting them a dress ‘just because’ as honestly, they grow up at the blink of an eye, we will no longer be in charge of their fashion or lifestyle choices. Let us live our life and dreams through them while we can because honestly, children grow up but parents don’t.

BeingAGirlMom is in Top 25 Indian Parenting Blogs

Being a writer, while I have always been good with words, the struggle to connect as a writer who is a parent is what pushed me to start this blog. It’s been nearly eight years of being a mother now and there are no exaggerations when I say that it is a learning experience, every singe day.

Fortunately, being blessed by a supportive family and flexible work hours helped me make the most of my experience as a mother. Fortunately, for me and my husband, we always wanted a girl child and I count every single moment of raising Kayra, my daughter as my biggest blessing in life.

While raising boys comes with its own set of struggles, I feel or probably I am biased when I say this that being a girl mom is a hands-on, constant learning job every single minute. The purpose of this blog was simply to put my struggles, my learnings, my experiences of raising my daughter into words and I am grateful to be recognised for it.

Click here for checking out which other blogs are a part of this informative list of parenting blogs in India.

How to talk to your daughter about Periods

For some reason, be it in the western world or India, the topic of puberty has always been a touchy one.  When it came to boys becoming men or girls becoming women, the occasions are commemorated in India through festivals. There are villages in the country where these monumental occasions are celebrated as grand as weddings yet the words ‘puberty’, ‘menstruation’, ‘periods’ are never said out loud.

While growing up, I remember I received all my knowledge on menstruation and periods through the sex education class in school and the secret conversations with friends. Despite having two super cool siblings, I don’t remember ever discussing this with them. My parents, already in their 50’s then, belonged to a different generation and never discussed these things with me. 

When I became a parent myself, I knew for certain, I would be as open and free as I could in every aspect of life. I wanted to be the mother who would be approached for every big and small worry, fear and thought in my child’s life.

Probably why, when my three year old pointing at a packet of tampons in our supermarket trolley asked me why was I purchasing diapers for her, I told her the truth. I have never felt embarrassed or ashamed or the need to hide my sanitary napkins in a ‘brown’ bag and I told my daughter that these are napkins which look like diapers and are worn my women like her mother as they become older.

I told her that life was funny that babies have to wear diapers when they are born, women have to wear it every month as they grow up and men and women both wear it sometimes when they get older.  

Obviously, my daughter was pretty clear that she would never need to wear ‘mom diapers’ as she’s toilet trained. Now, at 8, she has a pretty decent understanding of what periods are and she is aware that in a few short years she could start bleeding, it could happen anytime and it is not a reason to panic and worry. 

When I discussed that I had ‘this’ talk with my daughter, my friends were a bit appalled at my progressive behavior.  For some reason, even in 2022, our thinking in these topics seem to be as old fashioned as back in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Even today, the sanitary napkins and tampons are covered with a newspaper or packed in a brown bag before being handed over to you.  The modern men aren’t as modern as we make them out to be.

They can buy a condom with ease but send them out to buy a sanitary napkin, their face turns red. While I can’t do much in changing this regressive behavior, what I could ensure was that my daughter wouldn’t partake in these thoughts.

The times have changed and just as how parenting relations have changed, the way we and our children approach the world have changed too.  My daughter should have full understanding on how her own body works.  It really didn’t make sense to spend lacs on a world-class international education but lying and hiding facts about how her own body works.  Periods, sex, hormones and puberty are a natural human phenomena and every person should have a complete understanding of their own body. 

While she’s too young to understand reproduction and sex, I will definitely educate her on that when she grows older.  No topic is too big or small, embarrassing or not important enough to be discussed with me. 

I always tell my daughter, if a question or a doubt arises in your mind, do not dismiss it. Every seemingly ‘silly’ question matters. 

Let’s practice what we preach. Let’s change with the changing times. And be parents, who set the right message to our kids and the coming generations. 

Being an angry mom

The wafer thin line of juggling parenting and oneself..

The pressure to deliver, to achieve, to be perfect at all times, in all walks of life is so daunting for a woman that cracks are bound to develop with time. As if being a daughter, sister, wife and a career woman is not hard enough, we also have expectations of becoming a mother and then being the best mother to our little one.

I might be the most collected person at work but at home, the slightest thing can irk me. In fact, I am a completely different person at home. The Zen vibe that I pride to carry with me disappears the moment I am at home. Does that mean I am not at peace at home? Or does my family possess the unusual ability to tick me off on the wrong foot, most of the times?

When I became a mother, I had vowed to myself to not be a ‘typical’ mom. I didn’t want to be the mother yelling at her child, losing her cool, chasing behind the park with a snack box in hand. Eight years of motherhood later, besides the chasing with the snack box, I have pretty much ticked everything else off the box.

Before being a parent, it is easy to dish off advice and words of wisdom on how to manage your household, work and family. But honestly, nothing prepares you for the transition in your body, mind and life. The fact that parenting and motherhood consumes you as an individual is not something which anyone tells you. 

Motherhood is way harder than anyone tells you. The reality of motherhood versus the expectations and rosy images that are often depicted in movies and books can be quite unnerving . Honestly, for me, the first few months of motherhood was downright difficult, tiresome and depressing. Nobody had prepared me for the constant physical and emotional exhaustion, body aches and the fact that the woman before motherhood ceases to exist after her child’s birth.  The easy-go transition that I had planned post-motherhood was nothing like the reality that was my life.

I find no shame in admitting that it took me close to a year to gain some control back in my life and understanding and accepting the changes that come with motherhood. I learnt to compartmentalise, channelise and chalk out a day that gave me time as a mother, writer, wife and woman.

There are certain things that I consciously worked on to calm myself down when I am angry, which helped me connect with myself and get a better grip of my emotions:

  • Being a writer and a diary writer from childhood, I started writing down my emotions, the highs and lows of the day.  This helped me understand what were the points which triggered my anger and I could then consciously work on being collected at those times.
  • While I had names for all the anger phases of my child: hangry (hunger which leads to anger), tangry (tiredness that lead to anger), slangry (lack of sleep causing anger) and general irritability and mood swings which result in short temper. I forgot to realise that I could be dealing with irritability and mood swings for those same reasons too. I learnt to eat at regular intervals irrespective of how my day is going and get at least 6 hours of sleep everyday. An hour of Netflix post my daughter’s bedtime didn’t hurt either!
  • When things just didn’t seem to be going my way, I learnt to take time-outs. I read some good old thrillers and detective series novels. I enjoyed venturing into the fictional world and getting a respite from the reality of mundane living. 
  • I also find going for long walks with my playlist on every morning helps tremendously in uplifting my mood for the day. I have made it a point to see-off my daughter at her bus stop and go for a hour long walk with my music at least a couple of times a week. 

While these might not work for everybody, these things definitely help me feel like the ‘old pre-mom’ me is still there and make me calmer, happier and having a lot more control in my daily life. 

Over the years I have made peace with the fact that nobody ever tells you, your pre-mom life is over. The impulsive decisions, reckless behaviour, lazy long weekends and unplanned moments are over. And, while the changes that come initially with motherhood is hard, very, very hard; the rewards are extremely fruitful. The joy in seeing your child grow makes up for all the long hours, trying times, crazy, angry mom moments and that smile of theirs can clear up any self-doubt that is bound to arise on the way.