On Postnatal Depression

Postnatal Depression is real and new mothers often fail to recognise it and reach out for help. If you are a new mother or going to be one or know someone who is, share this article  of mine on the topic. Yes, once again on Mums Write. Don’t forget to show some love by liking the article (only if you like it) 🙂

A letter to my daughter

A letter to my daughter

Dear daughter o’mine,

You laugh a lot, with gay abandon, accompanied by snorts. Don’t let anyone tell you it is unladylike.

You climb on your dad, roll on the floor and play with cars. Don’t let them tell you should have been a boy.

You run, scream, jump and talk non stop, trying to burn the seemingly inexhaustible energy I am still wondering the source of. Don’t let their disapproving stares bother you.

You play with your dolls, cooking for and feeding them. You even put them to bed. Don’t let them tell you that is how girls play.

You like ribbons and pony tails but couldn’t care less about princesses and unicorns. You sleep with a teddy bear. You like trucks, aeroplanes and skateboards. Digging in the dirt and climbing trees are some of your favourite past times. Don’t let them teach you to choose between any of those.

Don’t let anyone define who you are or what you should be. Wear blacks, reds and blues if you like and be who you want to be.

You are just a child, free and wild. And that is how it should be.

I’m on Mums Write

So, I submitted an article to Mums Write and actually got accepted. If you are a parent or are going to be one, this might be some useful information. If you aren’t a parent, then share this with others who are.

http://mumswrite.com.au/putting-yourself-first/

Published on Mums Write

Life’s lessons in the form of a toddler

I have no idea when the terrible twos are supposed to begin. Baby A is 4 months short of being 3 years old and handling her is proving to be more difficult than I had thought. She is generally an easy child. She understands what I say and follows most of my instructions. Things started changing a couple of weeks back when she started becoming more wilful. She started resisting my instructions and doing things I have asked her to please not do. Now, it has reached a point where I am finding it extremely hard  to not scream my head off at her and lose it completely. Something that I end up doing at times.

Today as she kicked and kicked and kicked her high chair before I served her lunch, despite me asking her not too do so. I had to separate myself from the situation to cool my head enough to be able to see it dispassionately. I had already screamed at her and gave two time outs since morning. I didn’t want it to become a norm that she gets used to. The morning had already taken a toll on me. Now that I am calm enough to think about it, I feel that she too must have been frayed at the edges.

It is very easy to let temper take hold of you and do something that you can later blame on it. But the damage would be done and there would be no way to take back what you have already said or done. I am a staunch believer of seeing things from all angles to arrive at a solution/conclusion as to how to handle the situation or the people involved in it. So I took my own advice and left the room. I’m sure I confused her little mind by not saying anything and disappearing from sight. I just sat there in the living room, watching the sky from the window, breathing deeply and just thinking things out, while she thought I was punishing her and started her crying routine. But I wasn’t done gathering myself.

When I dissected the situation, I understood that it wasn’t her that was sending me off the edge. She did trigger my reaction, however it wasn’t the cause. There are a lot of things going on in my life that aren’t how I want them to be and it upsets me. And I have been doing useless things that would take my mind off those things (one of which is internet). And whenever Baby A does something that I think she shouldn’t, it makes me lose it. And her constant amma* this, amma that accompanied by whining doesn’t help either.

Pretty brilliant, eh? Something that seems like you have no control over, just after a few minutes seems so completely, logically workable. It is not her fault that she is strong-willed. In fact I want her to be strong-willed, in the right way, so that she doesn’t get bogged down later in life. I don’t want her to learn to blindly follow what someone in authority says. So it isn’t fair to ask her to blindly relent to my wishes. It is her right to know why she is being asked to do something, so it is only fair to explain it to her. It isn’t easy. It will never be easy. But it is the right thing to do. I should know better than to exploit my authority as a parent. And to do that, I should first get the irritants out of my life. Those that aren’t letting me see things straight.

Thank you little child, for teaching me something wonderful, something worth learning and something important to remember throughout my life.

I will make changes in my life through this coming week, that I believe would help restoring the health of my mind and body. And it starts with “Disconnect and Detox

I plan to disconnect with internet and social media for a week (to begin with) and detox both physically and mentally. Alongside I also want to cultivate some new habits and break the old ones. Of course, I will be back to tell you how it went.

So wish me luck. And see you around later.

PS: And mums, don’t beat yourself up if you do lose it once in a while. Scream if you must at that time, but always ALWAYS apologize and talk about it when when the both of you are calmer and saner. I bet I will lose it again at-least once in the coming week.  It is going to be alright.

*amma is mom/mum is Kannada

Various facets of mommying

Children are truly wonders that we choose to have the privilege of creating. They unknowingly evoke so many strong emotions in their parents and sometimes others too, that it is simply astonishing that their little selves can have such an effect on their surroundings.

Baby A, who is 19 month old now, is growing up so fast and learning so many things at such a pace, that I find it hard to keep up. We are hitting the terrible twos already and it gets me worked up and frustrated quick. I get so angry that I snap at her and scream. But the twist is, when she does something unexpected the very next moment which has me all gooey and mushy inside and giggly outside. And she stares at me like I’m nuts.

There are moments when she is mad at me because I didn’t let her climb on the chair and jump from there or that I put her on the potty ‘right now’ than play ‘come here’ because she would pee on the carpet otherwise. Oh yes, potty training and sleep training going on in parallel which must tell you why I’m so irritated in the first place. *hint* *hint* sleerrr…ep  depriwell…vation.

And then there are moments when I am so happy just to be with her at home and witness all the little things she learns. It just fills my heart and my eyes brim sometimes. Like that time when she unexpectedly said ‘aaneena’ for ‘anjaneya*’, her first three letter word. Or when she learnt to dance to ‘twinkle twinkle little star’. I feel lucky to have had the choice to stay home and be with her. I realize now that not many have the same privilege. I know I sound like a fond mother who loves whatever her child does, but trust me that’s not the case. I’m just in awe of nature, at how children are created, born and grow up. And seeing it firsthand just makes me feel the things I do.

Then just like that I’m thrown back to earth when she refuses to listen to me or hangs like a dead-weight when I try to carry her or that time when she says she wants to poop on the potty but refuses to when she’s taken there. Is she already playing me? Can’t wait for her to hit the teens.

Did you know disciplining a child this age is very difficult. She doesn’t understand the concept of time-outs so it is useless. Right now she knows if I say “no” then she’s doing something she shouldn’t be. But I’m not sure if the screaming that accompanies the “no” gets the message across as well. But she does respond to raised voice when she doesn’t to polite asking or cooing. I know she will just take the example and start screaming in a few days but I just can’t control the reflex when she fails to comply after my repeated requests. Wish there was a handbook on parenting. Oh but there will be, only it will not be the ultimate truth or solution to every situation.

*anjaneya is a Hindu deity which is also known as monkey god, who is a mythological character in the story of Ramayana.

Parental expectations and disappointment

Over the time, man has evolved and so have everything related to him. But I guess relationships were still sleeping when the wheel of evolution was turning, so they woke up to find that they are still the same. Well mostly. And now it is difficult for people to accept the changes in equations of relationships and thoughts that go into them.

I’ll talk about the differences between parents and children, which I have often witnessed, either in person or in second person.

During a casual discussion about how witty and quick learners new age kids are, we discussed about what to and what not to do/say to the kid. Before we knew the topic veered to the much debated parent-child arguments over morals. Though my friend didn’t literally mention it, but I got it from the gist of her statement that children are always in debt of their parents and hence they should try as much not to disobey them. That is putting it mildly, which is very unlike me.

I didn’t take up her time to tell her that this shouldn’t be the equation between parent and children, because it is her belief and it works for her. Good for her. But what happens when it doesn’t? What happens when a parent thinks it is their son/daughter’s duty to take care of them because they have taken care of him/her ever since their childhood? Is it right to think that way? Is this expectation right?

My view is, the expectations of parents can be honored by a child until a certain extent. Because you gave them life, doesn’t mean you will decide how they are going to live it. If they are capable enough, children should start deciding things for themselves. Which I think should be the ultimate goal of a parent: to make their kids self-dependent, to be able to make decisions, to be able to lead their lives without asking for anybody’s support. That is what parents’ duty is.

Then what is a child’s duty? Return the favor by doing whatever the parent wants? To give in when emotionally weakened? Have they no wishes, dreams, desires for their own life? Can’t they decide how they want to live?

In Indian society, the major milestone decisions in a child’s life is mostly taken by parents regardless of their social and financial situation. Like which field to pursue in education, to go out of the city to study or not, to go out of the city to work or not, whom to get married to, when to have kids, how many kids etc. You get the drift. If life deviates from this pattern, because the child decided what he wants, they are devastated and disappointed. He suddenly becomes the bad egg, even though he had been a Sharavana kumar’s avatar before going out about his wishes. Everyone in the parents’ circle talk about the kid as if he’s done a heinous crime. If he is mild natured, he might even be lectured about how it is not good for the children to go against parents.

I say, have kids if you have the heart to let them have their life, if you have the guts to let them go, because at some point you’d have to let them go on their own. Have them if you can see them oppose you and learn from their mistakes. Have kids if you can teach them how to learn from their mistakes. Have them if you can make them see life from their own eyes, stand on their own feet, make decisions for themselves and be responsible for them. Everybody is bound to make mistakes, nobody is perfect and if someone was, we could all have delegated our decision-making to that person. But that person doesn’t exist. So we all have to live our lives and decide for ourselves. We have to be responsible for our actions, take risks and learn from mistakes. That is how life is supposed to teach us. That is what builds experience.

Do you want your kids to be cheated of that learning experience? Do you want to see them dependent on someone or the other to lead their lives? I don’t. Do you agree?

Relationships don’t come with a set of rules of codes of conduct, that if we follow them the relationship will be successful. It is ultimately our understanding of the other person involved, that helps us smoothen the ride. I read somewhere that relationship is like a thread whose ends are held by the two people involved, if there is a knot in it, both should make the effort to very gently remove it, if even one tries to tug at it, the thread will break. Such is the fragility of it.

Do express your thoughts.