Smoke & Coffee Breaks v/s Maternity

“If you were to choose one resource for your team, who would you choose & why?”

Habits & hobbies make us, what we are.

While we were discussing what should be given preference for being hired, came across the thought that the amount of smoke/coffee breaks a person takes in a couple of years (approx), sums up to the days an employee will take for one maternity leave. It’s only ‘penny wise and pound foolish‘ to have the policies for gender sensitisation and not encourage hiring more females as part of your teams. While maternity is a temporary phase, smoking/ frequent coffee/ tea breaks are habits which have longer implications.

Don’t mistake me for a being a tyrant, or someone who doesn’t follow ergonomics. Long sitting hours may cause health hazards, shouldn’t we motivate each other to pick up healthy options for these small breaks? Most offices nowadays have recreational weeks/ months or similar events because we all need to address the stress @ work. But shouldn’t the breaks that cause more harm than good be dropped?

While self-destructive habits should be discouraged, life situations such as maternity should be seen more positively. A colleague, who goes away for six months- a year, on a self-exploration / adventure trip is considered to be cool, but the thought of “maternity leaves”makes us jittery to hire someone. Maybe this was just one off the case, but it clearly reflects the mindsets, and that’s what is required to be changed, now to the next level.

As a community, shouldn’t we be more compassionate by supporting each other and by making our approaches more humble?

Shouldn’t maternity breaks also be accepted as easily & positively as these short breaks?

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Be The Wind Beneath Their Wings !!

One cloudy Sunday morning, while watching a large group of ants trying to lift a somewhat bigger chunk of bread, my 6 years old announced “I had shared my breakfast with that tini-tiny ant, now they are taking it away from her. I am going to take my bread back!” “Don’t!!”, said the older one. ” That tini-tiny ant is just copying you; you shared with her & now she is sharing with her family”.

This conversation between the two, made my believe ‘Observation is the Best Learning Tool’, much more stronger. Now it is absolutely up to us to decide what we want them to observe.

Parenting is getting trickier day by day, it’s very difficult to say what will influence your child. Families are getting smaller, parents have professional commitments to keep; the homemakers have a long list of errands to finish, not all families are blessed with grand parents. As a result, the child ends up either with the nanny or in the daycare or with the peer. And so we don’t know what they do during their free time. We address this, by sending the child to attend the after school skill/ sports classes. We want to make sure they are exposed to all those activities/ skills which will add to their personality and their resumes later.

Sometimes we take too much pressure upon ourselves to teach them the best (as per our standards) and later transfer that pressure on our child, consciously or unconsciously. And in the process, we tend to miss out on what I call the luxury of a FREE HOUR/ DETOX HOUR. Free Hour doesn’t just mean that you are free to do whatever you want to do, it also means you are detoxing your mind from digital devices, from people, from pressures, from expectations and just being with yourself.

This is my tool to work on my mental wellbeing…which gives me a fresh perspective towards life, in general.

Set them free, if possible close to nature let them observe the sound of the breeze, the birds, the rain. Let them breath nature, live the silence. Let them develop a relationship with themselves.

When a child is born, s/he comes with some “sanchit karma” from its “prarabadh”. Every life has its path predefined, so be the facilitator. The most that we can do is to create the environment so they are able to explore and find their reason for existence, their purpose in their lives. Enjoy the journey called LIFE!!

The counter argue that comes to our mind is that “the World outside is so fierce that they need to be equipped to survive & come out as a winner, else they will be finished”. But just because we became the medium to bring them to the world doesn’t mean we own their lives too. Today, there are more people with depression, with bad mental health than ever in the history of mankind. Every day a new suicide note from a youngster who succumbed to the pressure leaves us shaken. As parents, we don’t want this to happen to any child.

So let’s BE THE WIND UNDER THEIR WINGS, support them in understanding themselves and they will soar the heights with happy & healthy minds. Let them BE!!

Happy Parenting to You !!

Why these rules, Maa?

While I was driving her back from a friend’s house after a playdate late in the evening, my 9-year-old who was agitated as to why we had to leave early and why she couldn’t stay over at her new friends’ house, asked me “Why do you have these rules, Maa?” in a tone indicating that it’s crappie to have rules !!

As I mentioned in my previous post, women can multitask😉, my mind went in full throttle, looking for a response while I was heading towards the red light.

“So what do you say, should I jump the red light?”, I asked her. For a moment, my daughter thought I had gone crazy; she looked at me and realised that I was serious.

“No!” came the reply.

“Okay, how about if I remove the seat belt?”, I suggested.

“NO!!” came the reply again.

“Fine, let me quickly make a phone call while we are on our way back home?”, I tried one more time.

By then, my daughter had lost it !!! “What’s wrong with you, Maa?” she said. “Why would you do any of these things while you are driving? You know it’s not safe!!

I looked into her eyes and smiled. It took her a moment to understand where this was going. And, she smiled back.😊😊

My 2 cents…

The news of a 10th grader committing suicide gave shivers to my spine; it left my brain numb for quite some time. Reading the excerpts from her suicidal note, a 3-page note that was crying loud, of suffocation and helplessness. One can only imagine the tremendous pressure she would have gone through both from her family & peer. Not pointing fingers or shifting blames, but we as a community, (each one of us) are responsible for all such lives who lose hope, who lose trust in themselves and also in us. May her soul rests in peace !!!

Come to think of it; teenage brings immense biological, hormonal as therefore psychological challenges. We have all gone through that stage of feeling a tad bit awkward about our bodies, being more conscious of our selves, some of us even spend more time checking out themselves in the mirror. We were more attracted to others than about understanding & accepting ourselves. Puberty was hitting us !!

Only a few of us, we’re fortunate to have someone as our significant other to confide in. Most of us, were left to learn by hit & trial. And learning from our mistakes was only possible if at all, we realized that the approach we used was probably not the correct/ right thing to do. That’s where the peer & family have a role to play of support, of understanding & if nothing else just by being there for each other.

In our lives, all of us are moving towards the ultimate path that had been pre-designed for us (that’s what I believe) the only choice that we have, is to choose our reaction to the situations. In this episode, where the young girl had no support from her significant others & sadly zero confidence or faith in her self, she did what we all hope and wish, should not have happened. Was it possible to have avoided?

Maybe, YES!!

I am not a subject matter expert, but I am a Mother, so here are my 2 cents…

1. Sense & Sensibility !!
Be sensitive towards the early signs of withdrawal in your teenager, even in the name of privacy. Please don’t mistake me; personal space is different from retreat.

2. Know the peer/ the friends !!
It’s important to know the kind of habits & likings the peer has. It’s a clear reflection of the choices your child has made & it will influence his/ her decision-making while addressing any challenging situation.

3. Support and not Discourage !!
Your child is living in a world which has very different challenges to be handled outwardly, but trust me inside nothing has changed. You were in the same boat some decades ago.

4. Hobbies as Therapies !!
Health mind resides in a healthy body. Encourage (not force) your child to select a hobby of his/her choice. Something that allows them to loosen up & takes the stress off. Use hobbies as relaxing therapies.

5. Share your Wrongs !!
Let them know you are not perfect; nobody is. Share the mistakes that you have made while exploring this journey called LIFE & also share the consequences you had to face. Let them make their own mistakes but be there to hold if they need you.

Life is not a race; it’s your very own unique journey with your child of growing up together. So enjoy it !! Start your day with the same joy, the sheer bliss on your face when you first held “your tiny bundle of joy” in your arms.

It’s always easier said than done, but it’s not that difficult also to look at the world through your child’s eyes. And I can bet, they have a much better & brighter vision of the world than most of us.

We all may have our own pressure situations to handle, financial commitment to keep & need for achievements to satisfy, but we as grown-ups also have this responsibility towards the next generations & towards the community. Parent or not, we all are part of the larger family, a larger community (Vasudhev Kutumbakam– the world is my family) !!

From One Woman to Another!!!

So motherhood teaches you innumerable skills….most importantly, it teaches you to be Live in The Moment…..Making the Most of NOW, who can ever know it better than a mother…who is catching up on her sleep while the baby is taking the feed, trying to gobble up her meals in between her baby’s performance in the diaper or restrooms( which happens perpetually every time she decides to sit & have her food )🙃..giving up on her night’s sleep when the baby is unwell…& the ultimate is MULTITASKING!!!

By no means I am trying to portray a picture of a poor, helpless & misearble mother to evoke sympathy. This is the new age Mum !! (Remember the picture of a woman having 10 hands that pops up every 8th March !!)

Today’s Mums have a very chilled out temperament, or at least that’s what She wants to believe, she has. She is better equipped (mentally, academically & may be rationally too) than her previous generations. How learning of one area gets translated to the execution of another !!

Ironic as it may sound, despite being better equipped this generation of Mothers are under tremendous stress, unlike their predecessors. While writing a paper on “Emotional Intelligence & Mental Well-being of Women” for my research work, I came across over 300 women from various socio-economic backgrounds, full-time Woking Mum’s to full-time Home Makers to Working from Home Mothers to Singletons to single Mums. Some I met, some chatted online, some were courageous to share their details others wanted to remain anonymous. When asked how they handle stress@ work or home, other than the usual response of yoga, meditation, work out came the unique response like creating a ME TIME, be it while socializing with friends in kitty party or pubs, or killing calories in Zumba/Aerobics or hitting gym or doing long distance runs/pedaling or going on a solo trip or just building a new hobby.

Interestingly, there was one thing common amongst each one of us, each one was or should I say, is constantly & consciously or unconsciously practising what Yogi’s call HathYoga…testing your limits…Seeing how far you can have control of mind on body. It’s very encouraging to see how today’s Woman is working to strike a balance between what she wants from her life & what is expected out of her role.

While trying to prove ourselves in front of people around us, we are creating a whirlpool for ourselves….trying to cope with it all, & excelling in everything that we do because basically, you are a woman & WOMEN CAN MULTITASK !!

Don’t!!! You don’t have to do everything perfectly. You are not perfect; nobody is!! So relax, breath, let your hair loose girl…take a walk on the beach…climb the mountain…solo or with a mate..you will be fine…just sing the song that life taught you & with a beautiful smile on your face, carry on…

Each one of you, reading & resonating – YOU are My Hero…You are a Wonder Woman !!! You have the power to choose today & write the fate of generations to come.

With Love,
From one Woman to Another !!!

PS: I take this opportunity to thank all those women who participated & shared their formulae of mental well-being while I was writing the paper.

The 7 years Itch !!

The 7 years Itch !!

Is it a writer’s block or my mental block that I am not able to pick something up & run?

It’s been quite some time that the idea of doing something professionally, has been brewing…bubbling…& churning inside me but it has not led me anywhere yet, or so to say till about a little while ago.

Am I scared to take a plunge after 7 years of becoming a full time Mum & a Home Maker? Or is it that I am doubting my capabilities to take up a challenge or is it the fear of failure that has stopped me?

The decision of quitting my job wasn’t much of my choice. One fine day (come to think of it that treacherous, hideous day…the memories are still so vivid) when my so called support system collapsed, the baby sitter decided to elope, leaving my 30 month old toddler in my arms. As if this was not enough, my baby’s health took a nasty turn…acute bronchitis & wheezing.. (thanks to the supremely high levels of pollution in NCR)..I had to QUIT !!!

Some of the working Mums had their mothers or mother-in-laws (MIL 🙂) to extend their presence & to keep an eye on the Nanny…but the thought never occurred to me. My parents did a decent job of raising me & now it’s my turn to do the same for my girl…so I resigned.

And then I was sitting with my baby looking at me with eyes wide open having an even bigger question in them- “where do we start?”

Of course I knew my 3 years old !! Like any other caring Mum, I would know how many bottles of water & NAN, the portions of fruits, daal- chawal, diapers she would need on a regular day, I knew it all. But what I didn’t know was, what does she do in her awake hours? What story books she likes more than the others? Most importantly how does she take her afternoon nap? I was utterly clueless !!

For those who are going to curse me for being such an ass, let me defend myself by saying that I had a 6 days work week… Of course I used to spend time with my family on Sunday but that was after a long list of errands to run on that one day. Socializing, fun outings even salon ( those days there were no House Joys/ Urban Claps/ YLGs ) was nowhere on the cards..plus there was no time to regret also.

In between feeding her, changing diapers, singing lullaby I had often compared my life with my contemporaries, my friends who have climbed higher, reached much much ahead of me in the corporate ladder but the sound of my darling telling me about her day @ school would bring me back to reality…this was my new reality…

Today, a dotting Mum of two, when I look back at those years filled with millions of memories I am certain that I don’t want to disturb this beautiful harmony @ home but still this damn thought of what am I doing with my life, keeps lifting it’s head like “Mahishasur” every now and then. What’s going to be my big finish? What’s the ultimate design for me?

This hatching seems to be taking forever…