Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tagged: Five things motherhood/parenthood has taught me

Aparna of Adventures In Mommyland tagged me and threw this challenge in my face and others' -- to list five things we've learnt from motherhood (parenthood, I'm adding, so that dads don't feel left out). Two more friends and mommy bloggers she tagged have given enthusiastic responses:
Uma of My Musings has already posted
Aparna of Life As a Mom also has!! (enthu cutlets all)
So I must hurry up and rustle up my own and not bore you guys ;-)

There are, as all mommy bloggers point out, SO MANY things we learn. Here's hoping I can figure five out to share.

1. Your child makes sure you acknowledge so many things/people you would have otherwise ignored -- You life is divided into perspectives pre-parenthood, and post-child (PR and PC). Your eyes look at every single thing in the world, even the most simplest, in a complicated way.
I mean who would have thought that leaving a knife on the dining table casually after cutting an apple can be dangerous- in your heydays as a couple you always did it. Who would have thought little people need you to change your furniture so they don't bump their heads? Who would have thought that chatty aunt you didn't really like would turn out to be your child's best play companion? Who would have thought you will be so nanny-dependent that you want to frame their photos and pray to them? Who would have thought you would decide a vacation spot after checking if there's a swing and slide around and if they have curd-rice on offer!

2. That there can be many million kinds of mothers -- the beating kind, the yelling kind, the showering-with-love-and-food kind, the cribbing kind (me me me), the rational kind, the unreasonable kind, the very practical kind, the lost kind, the I'm-in-charge-and-everything-is-fine kind, my-kid's-the-centre-of-my-universe kind,  --  the list is endless. And very often we are all these or some of these at various challenging stages of our child. But one factor unites us all in purpose -- our child.

3. That you must make decisions for your child (you can't always leave these decisions to husband/grandparents and hope you can blame them later in life), be responsible for them, be answerable to the world about them, seem like you know everything, seek advise like you know nothing, be able to ignore advise, and hope and pray frantically that you did things right for that one being you added to this world. Even if it meant you stuck out like a sore thumb among other "better" mothers who got it right "better".

4. The acceptance that "comparison" is going to be the hallmark of your life from the day your child is born -- starting with whether your child's nose looks like your grandfather's or hubby's aunt's, to was he breast-fed or bottle-fed, to comparing your parenting styles with your parents', which school does neighbour's cousin's child go to, what are you doing for your child's birthday this year, which is your kid's favourite TV show, does he eat vegetables --ayyoo mine just doesn't etc. And this is just the BEGINNING.  

5. It has opened my eyes to my many million limitations -- your way of dealing with your child, really is a good way of figuring out your own faults -- yes, our abilities too -- but those we are far more willing to point out to, accept and bask in the glory of. It is your failings that your child holds a mirror to. And I'm not complaining about it or making it a negative mark -- but honestly, where else will you find such a good critic, who'll show you your faults, not in malice, but in all innocence, without ever pointing fingers at you, but with a warm smile and hug?

Hmm now to tag some others to join in and be challenged:
I tag
Garima (who's been tagged already, but I hope two tags means more pressure to write fast!)
Spicy Sweet (my new friend on this blog)
Crabby Mommy (whom I haven't said hello to in a while)
Naveen Bachwani (I've added a doting dad, to be fair and not make it an all-mom list) 

Friday, June 24, 2011

A celebration of my child and my motherhood

Wow! I'm inching towards 100 posts...and to think that a few days after I started this blog, I had that oh-my-God-what-will-i-write-here-everyday-moment!

I decided today I will NOT do what I always do on this blog -- crib, complain and whine.

Instead I will celebrate the reason for this blog -- Sonny Boy and motherhood -- two things that sent my life, body, being, existence into a tizzy, and have after a point become one inseparable blob.

After another month, Sonny Boy turns three. And as much as I, a mean mother, paint a picture of him as being this little terror, he's really not. Well, not always ;-) Here are things about him at this stage that I've observed, and mostly love :-)

*He's got the sweetest smile ever -- something I'd like to believe he inherited from me.

*He's right now on a "story high" -- voraciously flipping through books, telling himself stories, concocting stories for us, constantly badgering us to tell him stories (without looking in the book, he warns!), or sometimes insisting on being read to, in English, and asking for word meanings in Kannada. His hot favourite story is "The Billy Goats Gruff", (I think Ladybird reader series), which only last night he, me and my parents had to enact, with his directions! Of course I get to play the troll (Rakshasa in his understanding) because I have that laugh!

*He talks endlessly and LOUDLY (is is something to do with their generation? he almost screams, he just can't talk soft!). (I'm not cribbing, just amused)

* He's started humming and singing to himself as he plays, or talks to himself, something that amuses us all to no end.

*He's told me I talk too much!

*He's comfy staying overnight with my parents (or rather my dad), and does it every time Hubby travels, which is turning out to be pretty often. He's also Ok with travelling to Hubby's parents' town and staying there with daddy -- that's a lot of growing up he's done this year.

*He challenges my creativity -- what can we do next is constantly on his mind -- so I go back from work to dribble the ball with him in my parents' garden, put together five or six jigsaw puzzles, then off home for dinner, then more games, building blocks, colouring, read storybook "Polar bear polar bear what do you hear? in bed, and THEN, sleep! God give me strength, energy and patience to deal with him.

*My levels of patience have definitely gone up a few hundred notches, though I admit, I still have a loooong way to go.

*He loves playing "homeopathy doctor" at home, dishing out "sugar pills" to us patients and telling us the rules we must follow when taking the medicine.

*His questions these days -- how does the mosquito suck blood? , how does the fan get switched on?, where does the water in the tap come from?, where does food go after it enters our mouth....these are answers I can tell in my sleep now, because I must've told them at least 20 times over.

*He's beginning to pick up some English while talking (otherwise restricted to rhymes and starting stories with 'Once upon a time'). An the smatterings of English in between Kannada is really fun to listen to. He also sings copious amounts of rhymes in Hindi, a hot favourite being "Saari duniya gol gol" as the playschool is teaching them concepts of the circle.

*He decides what he's going to have for dinner...and of course changes his choice midway!

*He loves the story of "Hanuman: The Monkey God" as he says it, repeating it for effect, and I guess this book is from the stables of Amar Chitra Katha. He has this story read to him at least once a day.

*He stumped me by showing interest, and in actually doing and completed three pieces of coloured sand art -- you know the DIY kinds where you sprinkle this coloured sand on sticky paper with a numbered design... out emerges a colourful bee, a butterfly or snail.

*I love the cuddling and snuggling soon after he wakes up, I love the way he reminds me every night to keep  the milk coupon and bag outside, I love the way he asks if we are all "real"!!!!

*I love the way he tries to soothe me if I'm in pain, rubs my tum and tells me I'll be ok soon. I really get ok instantly with that innocent reassurance.

* I love the way he brokers deals and puts conditions -- ending most of his propositions with "Ok naa?" (Is it ok?) I love his enthusiasm for putting up the mosquito net every night.

* I love the way he's decided he can make his own decisions -- what he will wear to school, what he wants in his lunchbox (he's pretty reasonable), how much he will eat, when he wants an eggroll for dinner, that he will participate with dad in Sunday pooja and be the bell-ringer during aarti, that I must go home while he stays with my parents, I love the way he asks if the maid and nanny have been given their breakfast, Oh god...I love him.

Hmmm.....about this post celebrating my motherhood, I'll do it another time I guess. I'm exhausted now ;-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Must I be judged for being a mom who works outside?

It really hurts when you're judged as a mother, when the people judging you are your own -- friends you grew up with, spent the most beautiful years of your life with, and are fellow moms themselves.

Met up with college friends over the's s close-knit group of about eight. I took Sonny Boy to the meet since a friend had landed from the U.S. and hadn't seen him; every one wanted to see everyone else's kids. And we all hope that our kids, like us, will be friends too. Moreover three other kids were coming along. I didn't realise he would be the youngest and get bored...he did. The older kids left out this bachcha. So he got irritable and clingy.

My friends immediately started saying "It's ok, poor thing, it's probably because you are never there with him", "He rarely gets time with you, so obviously he'll cling to you", "All he wants is your attention when you ARE around"  and other variations of it! I mean, come on, he's not even three and the place was unfamiliar and so were most of the people... But my friends made it a point to tell me how it happens to kids of mums who're away at work.

I left the get together depressed and came home almost in tears. It's like you can never do anything right if you're a mom who goes to work. You must be made to feel guilty for it. One of them asked me "Looks like you're really enjoying your job," making it sound like an accusation. Like she almost wanted me to admit that I was working because I had to, not because I wanted...

On returning home, I put Sonny to sleep and spent the afternoon furiously digging mud, re-potting and doing some gardening simply to work off my anger and frustration in a constructive way. All the while, I sat wondering what it was about the noon that really pissed me off.

I love my friends. We've been in touch 12 bloody years, which is a difficult thing, and we do form a good supportive network for each other  -- whether it's during a divorce, death or birth in the family. They are people I look to for help/advise/fun.

What struck me later while I was thinking, as I sat breaking down hard mud was that all of the moms in our group are stay-at-home-mums. I have nothing against SAHMs or my friends who are SAHMs. But I thought it was unfair of them to kind of pity me and my child -- Sonny for not having mum around, and me, for not being around. I even considered their statements in the light that at least three of them had tried to kickstart their career after having children and hadn't really gotten far successfully for various reasons. I'm not trying to be mean here; I appreciate the efforts they have made, but were they holding it against me that I was working while they were not? Yeah, now I sound like the mean b****, but then that thought did occur, frankly.

They asked me why I fed him first and ate later; a bad idea, they pointed out. They asked me if I travel with him a lot and when I said no, they described how they were so often on the road with their kids, and how I shouldn't worry about food and such things etc. I guess they were trying to egg me on, encourage me, but somehow I ended up feeling belittled, I don't know why.

Like I didn't have enough people around me --  starting with old people in my apartment to random aunts who I meet at "family gatherings" -- who judge me for how my child behaves, eats, pulls up his t-shirt to reveal his tummy etc, now I had my friends looking at me with a magnifying glass.

I've never been so uncomfortable at a gathering with friends and never felt more like getting out of there fast as I did yesterday. Maybe I need to take some time to think deep about this, look at myself more objectively...maybe all that I'm saying here is an instant reaction to the whole incident. I don't know. But it's left me shaken and questioning myself.

I also had a mom who worked and I didn't turn out too bad. Ok, so I was and am an attention-seeking person, but maybe that's my personality type. I don't think I should blame my mum for it....I don't know...but damn! Being a mom is not easy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I had one of THOSE days. It was beautiful

I watched a French movie last night about four Jewish women trying to find love in Paris.
I slept like a log (touch wood) and woke up at 8 a.m.
I woke up to a terribly quiet house today.
I read the whole newspaper (almost) on the potty today
I actually did yoga for almost 45 mins with no interruptions (except when the dhobi came to pick up clothes).
I actually gardened for about 20 mins flat!
I lugged in the new cooking gas cylinder the delivery man had left at the door!
I paid the newspaper delivery man
I didn't cook breakfast, lunch or dinner...just ate some toasted bread
I cleaned the drawing hall, changed the diwan covers
I listened to songs on the radio while working around the house (here's a pix of one of my latest projects -- trying to pair my gardening attempts with refurbishing and revamping my great-grandfather's old hat stand/coat hanger)

I spotted two red-whiskered bulbuls on the neighbour's coconut tree
I actually had a hairwash without anyone knocking on the bathroom door
I picked up lunch on the way to work from my mom's.
WOW I loved my day till this far...afterwards it was work as usual.....

I relished my morning ....yes, that would describe it so perfectly.
Sonny Boy is really growing up. Sometimes i feel sad that he's probably "growing away" also pretty soon. I missed him so much since last night. It was too quiet...but still, it was  quietness I miss from my earlier days.
With the hubby travelling and Sonny deciding to stay with grandpa yet again last night, it was MY day.
Yeah, I'm sounding selfish, all over again.
Yeah, I know, there are many raised eyebrows that I'm getting "too much time" for myself these days (any guesses who's raising the eyebrow?! ;-)
But there's no such thing as too much time for yourself.
Because when we women do get time for "ourselves" we don't run to have a massage or pedicure. We clean the home, prep it up, do things for family.
That's how we are. Because when we go to a salon or parlour, we'll feel GUILTY that we spent so much time on ourselves. The irony of our lives!