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Happy and Blessed.

I am a big fan of the grey’s anatomy series. So much so that I have not missed one single episode of it. So in one of the episodes Meredith grey (the lead character) while sipping on her morning coffee and getting ready for work says that she feels really happy and blessed with her life. She sees her kids and her husband, her perfect house and her perfect job, and she feels happy and blessed.

This got me wondering, how many people do feel like that. And what makes them feel happy and blessed? Is there any definition for happiness? What makes us feel blessed? What are the things that make us happy?

For some it might be family, for some money, maybe having friends, eating food, music, books, your dream job or maybe something else. So what is in these things that give us happiness?

I think it is not the things that make us happy. It is all about us looking beyond the imperfections in these things. The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have. Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means, we have decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Happiness is a choice. Nothing will make us happy until we choose to be happy. Happiness doesn’t come to us, it comes from us. It is how much we enjoy that makes us happy, not how much and what we have.

Scientists have found that although our genes and circumstances matter, a huge proportion of the variations in happiness between us come from our choices and activities. So although we may not be able to change our inherited characteristics or the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we still have the power to change how happy we are – by the way we approach our lives.

WHAT EVER YOU DECIDE TO DO, MAKE SURE IT MAKES YOU HAPPY!

Here are few things that can make you happy:

  • Stay busy. Enjoy what you do. Whatever you decide to do, do it with all your heart. Give it everything and that will surely make you happy.
  • Live in the present. Forget what happened in the past, stop thinking about the future. Thinking about yesterday and tomorrow won’t make a difference. But today will. Get in tune with your feelings. Stop dwelling on the past and worrying about your future.
  • Our relationships with other people matter a lot to our happiness. People with strong relationships live happier, healthier and longer. Our bonds with family and friends give us love, support, strength; they give meaning to our life. Make time for people who matter, for your loved ones and your friends.
  • Don’t compare and be yourself. Stop being what others want you to be. Take care of yourself, your body. Make time for yourself. Our body and mind are connected. Be active. It keeps us healthier and happier. It uplifts our mood. Eat healthy, unplug yourself from your phones and TV and get enough sleep. Be comfortable with who you are.
  • Get organized. Organizing everything in advance keeps you away from last-minute hassles and worries. When everything is in place, it keeps you calm and tension free.
  • Think positive. Try and see the good in everything and everyone. Look beyond the negatives and imperfections. And that will definitely make you happy. Appreciate good things around you.
  • Do things for others. Helping others not only makes the other person happy but also yourself. You feel content, calm and satisfied.
  • Keep learning. Learning exposes us to new ideas. It keeps us curious and engaged. It boosts our self-confidence. Do something for the first time and see yourself beaming with joy.
  • Have goals to look forward to. Goals motivate us to work towards them. Choose meaningful and achievable goals. There is nothing else that will give you a more satisfied feeling.

Don’t look forward to a perfect life but live a happy life. Don’t exist to impress others, exist to live your life in a way that makes you happy.

 

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WM vs SAHM, The never ending fight

 

Being a mother is much more demanding and rewarding than anyone can really anticipate. And managing home and work at the same time is even more difficult. Plus we want to excel at both. Most of us would love to work part-time. But that’s not possible for all. We have to choose between being a stay at home mom and working full-time mom.  Both cases have their own pros and cons. So let’s look at the biggest and I guess the most important decision one has to make as a mom.

SAHM (stay at home mom):

Benefits/pros

I was a stay at home mom till my daughter turned 3. It was an amazing phase of my life. Watching her grow everyday was miraculous. For every first thing she did, I was a witness.  Being at home with her all day, I knew her better than anyone else, and I was around for every milestone of hers, big or small. I had all day on my hands to plan out things at home. Plus I had no deadlines. I could work at my own pace.

My daughter loved having me around all day. She rolled out of bed every morning, knowing that mine would be the first face she would see, knowing that I would always be there.  Truly speaking I loved that. I loved being the first on her list. There were no morning hassles, no separation anxieties and no inconsistency in her routine. Not that I was on the floor playing with her all the time. But just being around was very comforting for both of us.

On my husband’s front, he was always relaxed when it came to house decisions. He knew I was always there. Whenever my little one was sick, we never had to take turns to tend to her. He was at ease knowing that I was in charge. He was happy and content that his daughter was in safe and secure hands. And because all the work was already done, we both could spend some quality time together. Plus he got delicious home cooked meals to eat (well he still gets home cooked meals, but now it’s the maid cooking them).

Drawbacks/cons

Here I have to confess something. I got bored. I remember when she started her playschool I used to love her not being at home for those 2 hours. I had those 2 hours entirely to myself. I could workout, watch TV, dance, do whatever I wanted. I started catching up with friends then. I really loved it. And then I realized, I was better at being a mom then.

For my daughter, I was the only person she used to see all day. She started clinging to me in the presence of others. She was not socializing at all. She was relying on me alone. She knew she was the centre of my universe, and she liked it that way. Any change in that was not acceptable to her. And that’s how I realized that she needs to be in the company of people other than me. And that’s how playschool and my job happened.

For my relationship, it definitely started taking a toll on it. I was irritable at times for no reason at all. And that ended up in fights. As soon as my husband was back from work, my daughter used to cling to him (as he was not home all day), and I used to not like it. I used to feel jealous that after giving her all my day, she doesn’t need me when her father is there. At the same time I used to wait for him to get back from work so that he could take charge of her for some time and that I could rest or relax.

And so life started becoming a mess. And that’s when I decided that I wanted to work. I wanted to get my house and my kid out of my mind for some time. I realized I needed something else on my mind as well, as just home and kid was becoming monotonous for me. I love my daughter a lot, but that doesn’t make me love my work any less. I started applying for jobs everywhere. I was ready to work even for a couple of hours for minimum salary. I was desperate. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew it would improve things. And finally after a duration of 6 months. I got my first job (I was pregnant while doing my pg, and then I was at home with her for 2 years).  Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.

 

(WM)Working mom:

Benefits/pros

It is satisfying to know that your kid loves you and so does your boss. I cherished my family, but at the same time I was happy that not everything in life revolved around them. I was happy to start my career, to connect to the world, my colleagues and most of all stimulating my brain. This was something I was doing for myself, and it gave me immense satisfaction. Plus it was a part-time job and so I could give enough quality time to my daughter to strengthen our bond. I started staying happy, less irritable and open to any changes. I was happy that I had something else consuming my brain and not just my family. I remember a very close friend mine pointing out to me, that I was much more fun now and was way happier than earlier. Also I started to care about my looks, the way I dressed. I started taking care of myself. And that’s when I realized I needed this.

Initially my daughter didn’t understand the benefits of it. She always made sure to make me feel guilty about leaving her away from me for a few hours of the day. She made sure to make me realize everyday that she didn’t like it and she wanted it to stop.  But on the brighter side, she started doing things on her own. She learned new things in school. And most importantly she didn’t need me all the time. Eventually she was happy being in the company of others, especially her school friends and teachers. It was not like she didn’t need me anymore, but it was ok if I was not in the same room or if I was doing my work.

My husband was happy that I had something else to talk about other than the baby and household chores. I was not taken for granted every time and so emotionally it was good for the both of us. We loved to discuss our work day. The spark in my marriage was back that too with very less effort, because this new me resembled the me that he married. Plus you get a lot more respect and importance when you are a working. You have a say in the house and people look up to this superwoman who balances her house and work so well.

Drawbacks/cons

First and foremost the guilt. The guilt of leaving your child with someone else, in day care, with a nanny. You start hating the morning routine, when your little one holds on to your leg begging you not to go to work. And hearing the things she did in my absence was bittersweet. But for me I didn’t have to worry much on this front as I had my own mother looking after my daughter. Shuttling between work and home becomes tedious at times. Plus squeezing in quality time with your kid before and after work hours becomes exhausting, especially when they are sick. Sometimes you miss having the whole day to yourself.

I knew my kid missed me. She started complaining of me not being around all the time. But i was happy that she was bonding with others who loved and cared for her, and clinging to me was a lot less than before. Be assured, they understand it later and adapt to it well.

For my husband, he took his own time to adjust to it. He dreaded that I was not available all the time (emotionally even). Because after a long day at work, all I wanted was a cup of coffee and some me time. We couldn’t go out every time he wanted, because sometimes I had my commitments. My unavailability was not something he signed up for so it was not so easy for both of us on that front. But then he understood my point of view and then everything was fine.

 

So all said and done, both scenarios have their own positives and negatives. It is your decision. And yes you don’t have to feel guilty about anything. You know what’s best for you and your family, and so go ahead and take the call.

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Being a parent

Mostly everyone decides to be a parent at some point or the other in their life (i say mostly, because i know people who do not want to be parents). It is a full-time job/commitment that we are very happy to make. It teaches us many things like patience (I guess that is the important part of being a parent), unconditional love and responsibility (also a very important aspect of being a parent). According to me the most important fact is your will and readiness to be a parent. One has to be emotionally prepared to be a parent. Like I for example was not prepared for it, when I had my daughter. I was still studying, I had different things on my mind. But then I embraced it. Eventually I started to enjoy being pregnant and then I couldn’t wait for my little one to be in my arms.

Once you are prepared to have a child, then what? Is that enough? Does giving birth to a child make you a parent? Or is there more to it? Of course there is more to it(I remember the movie paa, where auro’s mom lashes back at his father saying, just by lending me your sperms doesn’t make you a father).

It’s about sleepless nights, diapers, potty training, Food habits, teaching them values, reading them stories, playing, helping them with their school work(that includes art and crafts and projects) and many more(trust me there is much more). Things that you never ever think that you will do or rather you can do. Well I had my mom do all my projects for me till 11th grade.

So basically your life goes for a roller coaster ride. It is an ultimate long-term investment. The life as a couple nosedive, getting worse before it gets any better. But in spite of all this, we take that call. Those two lines on your pregnancy kit give you happiness that has no bounds. Because all said and done, it is the most rewarding job of your life (well you can trust me on that as well).

Parenting is actually bringing up your child physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and financially. We, as parents have an immense influence on our kids. They learn everything from us (good or bad). We till a certain age are their ideals (and then we get replaced by movie stars, superheroes and what not). As they say every coin has two sides. So the other side of it that we should keep in mind is that, kids have their own temperaments and egos. We as parents need to give them the perfect platform to channeling their energies and develop their independence.

I read somewhere on the internet: “parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do”. I for example remember, commenting on the parenting skills of random people I saw at the malls or restaurants, unable to handle their child’s behavior or tantrums. But now that I am in the same situations a lot of times, I realize, how stupid I was. I myself am clueless a lot many times as to what should be done. So basically there is no recipe for parenting. You have to learn all along the way.

So to sum it all, you never stop being a parent. It is a never-ending process. Our child’s whole and soul development depends on us. And yes, we all try our level best to excel at it.