I am a perfectionist and people who know me are well aware of how badly I want things to be planned, organized and executed to a t. And how incorrigibly cranky I become if the things fail to fall in place like the way I wanted them to. So before having Shaarav I felt that “I had it all together” but then Shaarav happened and all hell broke loose. Things have changed from being relatively peaceful to suddenly being chaotic and confusing. Read my post on “The Dilemmas of Being a Working Mom.”
Parenting can be a consuming experience especially when you’re a working mom who solo parents her hyperactive toddler most of the time. Time and again I have been challenged to my capability of being overwhelmed with my tangled emotions of having it all together at one moment while losing it completely at another and struggling to maintain my sanity. Mr. Husband says I worry a lot and that I should shun sweating the small stuff.
And, of late I have realized that though motherhood is tough and unheralded way too often the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be frustratingly tough times and taxing moments except amidst those challenges you’ll experience those tiny shining moments of pure bliss which would make it worthwhile.
I am amazed at how motherhood has made me realize that life cannot be lived and appreciated in retrospect and in order to do that I need to stop sweating the small stuff to live in the moment and be at peace. And as grateful I am for as glorious a blessing motherhood is I need to embrace and cherish each day as it comes however amazing or terrible I am at it. So from now on no more sweating the small stuff and diving deeper into the beautiful and fulfilling experience motherhood has to offer.
P.S. I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.
Today I had a rather slow and peaceful day in a long time. And as I tucked Shaarav to sleep kissing his forehead, I found my thoughts meandering in the farthest reaches of my brain awakening the deepest emotions. Parenting is full of personal choices and a recent life-changing choice that I have made is joining work. I am now a full-time working mom.
I have said this time and again, yet I reiterate that nothing can fully prepare us for becoming a mother despite our best efforts and regardless of the tireless pursuit of preparing for being one. When being a mom itself is difficult considering the constant, demanding and exhausting nature of the job, let alone being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. It’s no easy feat keeping another human being happy and healthy reckoning how uniquely complicated raising these little humans is no matter how well we contemplate the minutiae of motherhood. And as much as it may sound exaggerated I have found being a working mom much of a heroic feat.
I have never been a very career-driven woman, but having been raised in a middle-class family with working parents we have been brought up to believe that the sky is the limit and that we could achieve anything we put our heart and pour our soul into. But after starting a family of my own I was kind of squandering the opportunities wanting to work in a way that could fit around my family. And just when I was about to lose hope I was presented with the golden opportunity of joining work that not only met my criteria but was also paying me well.
When I joined work I was quite sure I could handle both career and motherhood without breaking a sweat given the fact how resourceful I considered myself. But each day as I navigate through the myriad of daily struggles, juggling work and family responsibilities, I find myself overwhelmed. Life feels like a race and every day is a battle against the clock. Trying to complete household chores sticking to a schedule with a toddler and finding the strength to entertain a toddler after a long tiring day at work seems a formidable task.
I underestimated the demands of motherhood and the difficulties of combining parenting with work. And to be very honest, I constantly feel burdened with the daily grind and frazzled with a mix of complex emotions. I’m grappled with the eternal guilt of not giving enough time to my son and not being available for him. And, despite making every effort possible, finding a harmonious balance between work and home while staying all sane feels like a dauntingly difficult a task. It feels I’m getting lost in the rush.
But, do I have the option of giving up?
I indeed feel such guilt and such longing, but could I live with the guilt of giving up?
It is puzzling and suddenly I’m not so sure about it.
But, one thing I’m certainly sure about is that I definitely cannot afford regrets. Regret is one thing I can’t live with.
Today I had time on my hands to comprehend my thoughts and emotions. And suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and it dawned on me that work-life balance can mean different things to different people. To me, it would mean enjoying my motherhood to the fullest besides having a career with financial independence. Ideally, I’d love the freedom of working from home or working part-time so that I can spend more time with my little man. But I guess that’s the duality of being a working parent and that’s something I’ll have to struggle with. I may, however, be burning the candle at both ends, the fact of the matter is, I cannot have it all.
But then, wasn’t I struggling as a stay-at-home mom too? So, what makes being a working mom any different? Let’s face it, all mothers, be it a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, don’t always have it easy.
And, all this makes me realize that there will be days when it makes complete sense and there will also be days when all of this makes no sense at all. As much true it is that I could be judged and belittled for my choices, it so happens that my heart’s also going to have these moments of doubts about what could have been. And my disenchantment with integrating work into motherhood to establish a harmonious co-existence will be making it all the more confusing than it already is.
But the one thing that stood out from all this mental churning was that if I am happy on the inside, I am emphatically going to be happy on the outside.
So, now the question arises, am I happy?
Yes, indeed. I wanted a career and I have it. I am thankful for the opportunity regardless of the frequent bouts of guilt for being a working mom. But, financial independence having a job entails is what I am really happy about. I am happy that I can now contribute to the household income and have greater financial stability. I am happier with the feeling of accomplishment being a working woman brings. And I am happiest with the opportunity that being a working mom presents for making my son understand the importance and virtue of hard work and why it’s important to chase your dreams and make them a true.
Am I satisfied?
Oh, yes I am. I am truly satisfied that finally, I get to carve and shape my career. I am satisfied knowing that whether I choose to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, it is my love, attitude, faith and trust in my choices that’d help raise my child to be a kind, happy and successful adult.
Am I at peace?
Oh, hell yes. There’s no greater feeling than knowing that I played a big part in my child’s upbringing and was there for Shaarav during his early years when he needed me the most. And now that he’s beginning to get more and more independent with each passing day, I can think of me and my career aspirations which I had been putting on hold for so long. So, yes, I am at peace knowing that I have been there for all of his firsts and that our values are now his values too. And, it gives me immense peace in the belief that I am making well-thought-of choices for me and my family in the long run – the belief that it’s all worth it!
P.S. I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.
Early motherhood years are tough and trying. And as much as young kids act as stress busters, in an inexplicable way, they are also a kind of stress givers too. Well-meaning relatives who have managed to raise a half a dozen kids say and even I know that it’s just a phase, but at the moment it seems like an eternity. Though Shaarav has never been a picky eater and he seldom fusses about food, of late he has become an obstinate child with a violent temper. He refuses to budge if he isn’t given what he wants.
I have been that mom who has tried to handle the situation by love, persuasion, diversion, or even resorting to more uncalled for means like shouting and screaming. I’m not particularly proud of them, but sometimes things do tend to go a little out of hand calling for more serious action when nothing else works. I have spent an absurd amount of time cooking food that I know he loves only to find out that he wants entirely something else at the moment. And believe me, no amount of reasoning works with a headstrong almost three-year-old. And of late I have been talking and shouting and screaming so much that I have begun to get irritated at the sound of my own voice. Why does motherhood have to involve so much talking? Not that I’m complaining or I don’t love talking but it is insane how much talking motherhood involves every day.
I know a couple of moms with children the same age as Shaarav who are also going through the same phase, and stressing over the same things. We try to derive relief and satisfaction from knowing that we are not alone and how familiar our worries feel.
Motherhood is unlike any other job in the whole world – you never get off the clock. But then, there’s no better job than motherhood. After having legitimately worn out at work and having a frustrating episode of mothering with my unreasonable toddler in addition to having a hotchpotch of other confusing mothering feelings, when my little one snuggles into me finding comfort in my arms I feel perplexed from a feeling of contrastingly mixed emotions.
There’s no denying that parenting is tough and motherhood is indeed confusing but what’s also true is the love. So even when I’m stressed with responsibilities that come with helping this tiny human grow up the way I’d like him to, I constantly need to make a conscious choice to never give in. I constantly need to remind myself to enjoy this phase because I won’t be having these same worries once he grows up a little. And for that very reason, I need to remember to worry a teensy-weensy bit less and take in the absolute love that being a mother brings; even when at the end of the day, after being spent at work it becomes a hell lot difficult to remember this.
I consider motherhood to be a lifetime experience which is full of conscious, effortful choices that I make every day. And I want it to be coloured and shaped with the right kind of choices that I make and the right kind of attitude that I bring in with me. So I work double as hard and with as much gratitude and love I can muster. And though I am more of a ‘word person’ when being a mom becomes overly overwhelming, I try to make my love for my child known to him by kissing his booboos, answering his nonsensical questions a 100th time and sometimes giving in to his unreasonable demands.
A mother’s heart is never off duty. But, I do not want to indulge myself in over thinking about my child in a manner that’s unhealthy or obsessive, but is like a fragrance that constantly surrounds me with love and freshness. And for that, I need to keep reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things it’s really just a phase.
This post is a part of the theme “My Cup of Motherhood” on which you can read my first post “The Truth Behind My Picture Perfect Motherhood”here and the theme reveal here.
P.S. I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.
Have you wondered what picture-perfect motherhood might be like for you? I imagine it to be like the one where I am utter patient with my child, where I refrain from shouting at him out of frustration because he spilled water again and I need to clean it up or I come back home tired wanting to lie down for some time only to find a whole pile of toys scattered all over the bed. Picture-Perfect motherhood for me would be where he listens to me once for a change and does exactly what he’s being asked to do. Sigh! Wouldn’t life be so much easier and so much beautiful if we had everything our way? But the reality is entirely different from what we want and how it is.
These past three months that I have been working I have been juggling my life. I wake up at 5 am in the morning and the first thing I do is put dirty laundry in the washing machine. Then I begin to cook and clean which I try to complete by 7 am because by that time it’s already time to wake Shaarav up and get him ready for school. I completely need to be with Shaarav until 8 am at which he leaves for school. During that one hour, I need to wake him up, make him brush his teeth, bathe him, massage and change and feed him and get him ready for school. Believe me, getting through this one hour daily is the toughest and the most draining hour of my entire day. It’s a real struggle with a toddler who wants to sleep a little more and doesn’t want to wake up, or takes an eternity to brush his teeth asking for more toothpaste repeatedly, or is reluctant to take a bath or refuses to come out of the tub or wants to wear jeans and redshirt when I picked black trousers and yellow T-shirt for him to wear, or when he wants to eat bread and jam when I prepared aaloo paranthas for him after confirming with him thrice. And mind you, these are just some of the unreasonable demands that I need to entertain and honour every day.
I try to maintain my calm and not lose my patience, but going through all this daily besides solo parenting when I have a schedule to maintain because I have to catch a 9.30 am bus to office if I don’t want to get late is insane. I feel I don’t get enough time for myself anymore because after returning from work when all I want is to lie down for some time and check my Emails, Facebook or WhatsApp my son comes running up to me with his favourite storybook asking me to put my phone away and tell him the same story a 100th time.
And I have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from scolding him and consciously take a few deep breaths to curb my rising frustration before I take the storybook from him with a smile, pick him up and place him on my lap kissing him on his cheeks and begin our storytelling session.
When I thoroughly believed that my life as a stay-at-home mom was tough I am realizing that my life as a working mom has become a whole lot tougher. I constantly have to deal with a guilty conscience for not being able to make enough time for my son anymore – for not being a perfect mother to my child. I constantly find myself torn apart by the conflicting feelings of wanting some time off for myself and then ending up feeling that I wasted the time which I could have given to my son. I feel like I could go crazy dealing with this every day.
But a growing realization that I had not so long ago is that in my pursuit of being an ideal mother I had stopped being a real one. But now I have understood that it’s not wrong to idealize motherhood, but the kind of mother that I have been idealizing isn’t the mother that lives the same life as me. Reality is that there’s no perfect motherhood and there’s no perfect, one-size-fits-all love. When I first met Mr. Husband, I remember having the feeling that I couldn’t love another human more until I met my son. I look at him and it feels he’s enough and more I could have ever asked for. My life derives its very meaning from his existence. And I might not be a perfect mother or I might not even don picture-perfect motherhood, but one thing I’m very sure of is that I can love my son perfectly despite my lack of perfection.
And for that I need to be kind – kind not just to my innocent child but kind to me as well, for I have been harsh on myself for way too long. I need to choose kindness over harsh judgement because if there’s one thing I ever want to do perfectly is to make my son feel free and safe by my love. And love can feel safe only when there’s acceptance – acceptance that the real motherhood is as beautiful as or even more beautiful than picture-perfect motherhood, and that I might never be a perfect mother but I can be the perfect me.
Do you remember the month of April when I participated in the crazy BlogchatterA2Z blogging challenge? Yeah, it’s the same one where I had to put up 26 posts with 26 alphabets in 26 days. So you must remember how fun, exciting and full of madness it was. So, Blogchatter hosts another blogging challenge which is called #MyFriendAlexa and this year they are running its 4th season. I had been waiting to participate in it since last year when I came to know about it but was too late to register myself for it. But my wait is finally over. #MyFriendAlexa is here with its fourth season and I am all set to participate in this one of a kind blogging campaign.
#MyFriendAlexa Blogging Challenge
If you are wondering what #MyFriendAlexa challenge is, let me tell you it is an annual blogging campaign hosted by Team Blogchatter which aims to raise the Alexa ranking of one’s blog. Alexa ranking is a measure of one’s website’s popularity which takes into account the number of visitors and the amount of engagement one gets on their blog over a while. Depending on the same the lesser the Alexa number is the more popular the blog is.
So each year Team Blogchatter comes up with a unique plan to help fellow bloggers not just to increase their online presence by providing motivation to write for their own blogs that would aid in raising their Alexa ranks, but to also boost engagements by prompting to read, comment and share posts from other fellow bloggers as well.
So as part of the #MyFriendAlexa campaign, I’d need to write 8 compulsory blog posts spread over 4 weeks in September. Besides, I’d also need to read around 10-12 blogs each day throughout the challenge which would help me discover new blogs and new people to interact with. Had I mentioned aching eyes, cramped fingers and burning the midnight oil during BlogchatterA2Z challenge? It’s going to be a similar environment with all-day work at the office struggling to meet the deadlines and then coming home fulfill your passion. Mind you, just like BlogchatterA2Z #MyFriendAlexa too is not for the faint-hearted since it would require you to push your limits. It’s crazy, right? Well, I’m crazier and I’m hell-bent to complete it and give my writing inertia a little push to gain momentum. My writing hashtag would be #CloudndSunshineWrites and my reading hashtag would be #CloudandSunshineReads.
So, with that being said just like BlogchatterA2Z challenge I have decided to stick to a theme for myself to give a feel, connect and solidarity to my posts, something that my readers can look forward to reading throughout the month. And now, it’s time for the “Theme Reveal” and I can already sense the adrenaline gushing in me, that’s the kind of excitement all Blogchatter campaigns and challenges entail and is raved about. Excited much?
Theme Reveal for #MyFriendAlexa
The theme that I have chosen for the challenge is “My Cup of Motherhood”. Yes, that’s the theme I choose for #MyFreindAlexa. Not many of you know that I started working some three months back and it has been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride not so much for Shaarav but definitely for me. It has not just been a physically and emotionally draining three months but at the same time, it has also been an accomplished and fulfilling three months too. With time to manage, life to juggle and duties to fulfill, motherhood has become a lot more complicated than it already was. So these 8 posts are going to be about my recent tryst with motherhood and parenting with my little man. So join me as #cloudandsunshinewrites about #MyCupOfMotherhood for the #MyFriendAlexa challenge. Exciting, right?
So are you up for some serious fun? Keep watching this space for the whole month of September as I share My Cup of Motherhood with you all. Feel free to join me and share your views on the same.
P.S. I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.
I am a stay-at-home mother and trust me it is extremely difficult to be one. It can get overly lonely, isolating and depressing at times. Being a stay-at-home mom is difficult and the never-ending responsibilities can feel like growing on you. There are high expectations of being a stay-at-home mom. Not just from the little human dependent on me, but also from Mr. Husband and people around me, but mostly the expectations are self-inflicted by my skewed views of myself and how I dreamt and envisioned my life to be. And being a Virgo I have a habit of being overcritical of things and in particular myself. I tend to over-analyze stuff and get worried needlessly. There was once a point in my life when I had lost all sense of self-worth and didn’t value myself. I constantly sought acceptance and approval of somebody for the most trivial things. I was at my lowest best and I had begun to harbour negative emotions, not for anybody else but for myself.
And then I came across this very inspiring song by Meghan Trainor “I Love Me.” There never have been more self-empowering words than these.
I’m sure I loved myself. But did I actually?
It hit me where it hurt the most. But before I could truly love myself I needed to discover the real me. I needed to identify who the real me was. When I started introspecting I became very vulnerable to my own thoughts and feelings. The guards which I had been putting up for so long were suddenly brought down. It made me confront with my own unknown and unfathomed emotions enlightening those uncharted regions of my heart. And I had to face my own deepest fears and apprehensions. But, when I came to acknowledge those unsounded emotions, I felt the power to transform those fears into something more positive and more creative. It helped me to contemplate and express myself without any reservation leaving me feeling empowered.
It was then I found a world of freedom – freedom of thoughts, freedom of expression and freedom of personality. I discovered a sense of liberation from hypocrisy. I found my individuality – letting me make mistakes, letting me learn from them and giving me the gift of experience. I could believe in myself and my dreams – to be myself. Not only did the song inspired me to stand for the values and beliefs that I hold true, but it also helped me discover the real me – the “me” that was lost somewhere. And then it finally happened! I was in love – with me!
I might be a “work in progress” learning to celebrate myself appreciating and honouring “me” for my gifts and talents along with all my flaws and shortcomings but I still, “I love me.”
I might be a “work in progress” growing in confidence and as a person and even when it does seem daunting and confusing at the same time figuring out my truest essence but still, “I love me.”
I might be a “work in progress” identifying, exploring and expressing my individuality and uniqueness. But I believe in my authenticity and originality. I represent my own style, character, and opinion and “I love me” for it.
I might be a “work in progress” still trying to come to terms with the true perception of who I am and testing my newfound courage and freedom but still, “I love me” for it.
And I have realized that loving me is the best I can do at loving others. I mean, how I could love someone else before loving myself. Today I feel closer to myself I have ever been. Because I not only love me when everybody does, but I also love me when nobody does.
And amidst all the chaos of finding and getting found, it suddenly dawned on me that there might be all these ideals about what is perfect and what is beautiful and what is smart, but the most appealing thing is, that which is “me” is nobody else. I am “special” indeed in my own way and I am going to live that way. I am happy loving me because it has made my life more enlightening, meaningful and fulfilling. And this blog, my friends, is the result of discovering my true self, where I truly embody my truest essence, setting myself free, feeling liberated, loving myself and spreading the word.
Ever since “I love me” more each day and this song has become my go-to motto and even now whenever I feel blue or need self-esteem boost I simply put the song on the speaker to get my groove back!
This post is a part of the #UnapologeticGirlz Blogathon Train hosted by Preetjyot, Jasmeet, and Charu. It brings me immense pleasure to share that I, along with 30 other bloggers are celebrating Women’s Day with a twist. I would like to thank Ravijot Kaur for introducing me. Ravijot is a strong single mother who is courageously raising her daughter. She shares the journey of her life with multifarious interests at Shining Shower. Read her take on the prompt “Self-love” here. I would like to introduce Revati Bhushan. A fellow stay-at-home mom she was a Soft Skills Trainer in the corporate world when motherhood happened. She now shares her parenting journey at Mommy Musings. I’m sure you will enjoy reading her take on the prompt here. Please check out other wonderful posts on the theme by other boarders as well. Here comes the train! Choo Choo!
A “happy” stay-at-home mom might come as a myth to many. Why you ask? Because statistically speaking, the stay-at-home moms are the ones prone to boredom, anxiety, depression, and aggression owing to their demanding, exhausting and isolating nature of work that can be too taxing on their mental wellbeing.
I’m a doctoral degree holder and I have been a meritorious student all my student life. But presently I’m “just” a stay-at-home mom. Did you get offended when I said “just” a stay-at-home mom? Yeah! Even I was among those who didn’t feel proud of my “not-so-job-like job” as a stay-at-home mom. And trust me; the pride that I am taking today in being one didn’t come overnight. It has gradually grown with time simultaneously with my son. And today, after more than two years into it, I cannot emphasize enough how proud and thankful I feel for the opportunity.
So, does it even cross my mind even for a second that I’m wasting my hard earned education?
Never! Never ever!
My education is being put to good use. It’s just that having a career is not one of them at the moment. So what if I don’t get accolades and recognition for what I do. So what if I don’t draw a handsome paycheque for the time and energy I invest in my little man. Instead of leaves I get unannounced wet kisses, smothered all over my face. No employer can be so generous I’m sure. Instead of appraisals, I get plenty of “I love you, mommy” in a single day. How about that? Instead of health coverage I am asked, “What’s wrong or All OK?” several times during the day. Can any job in the whole wide world be so satisfying? It’s surreal!
True happiness comes from satisfaction, right? And being happy is what I choose every day. So how exactly I’m a “happy” stay-at-home mom?
1) I’m happy by making sense out of nonsense
It was sleep time for my son. My toddler doesn’t go to sleep without his favourite blanket. And I have to wash it and get it dried in a single day for it to be available for him. So on one such day when he asked me about it, I said, “It’s right there. Let me bring it.” And I went and brought it to him. But he started to cry saying he wants to bring it. So I went and kept it back for him to bring. But again, he started to cry, saying, “Mummy will bring.” I brought it again, but he again wanted to bring it by himself. This continued for a good 15 minutes in a loop when I finally gave up and yelled at him for being so unreasonable. The poor soul started to cry again, yet, he came up to me, climbed on my lap and snuggled into my arms only to fall asleep within minutes even when I was the one at fault to hurt his feelings. And it was then that it perfectly made sense. Sometimes you derive happiness from the most nonsensical and illogical things. I will always be his happy place and that makes me so happy. No matter what, he will come to me for both comfort when he’s in distress and for rejoicing when he’s happy. So does it matter if just a second before I was scratching my head in complete confusion, unable to comprehend his behaviour? My toddler is unpredictable and his actions unexplainable but with him, I’m learning to make sense out of the nonsense.
2) I am happy by finding music in noise
Even if you have read several books on parenting I’m sure you would have been confronted with occasions when none of the parenting mantras work. At some point or the other, you must have felt clueless without a sense of direction. Are you nodding in approval? Because children come with all sorts of hues and shades of moods and which shade becomes their current favourite is very difficult to guess. And, there’s no such thing as universal parenting, which can suit every child. So even when Shaarav’s terrible twos have barely begun I still get meltdowns every now and then. There are screaming and howling directed towards me for literally no reason. But when I pick him up and hold him close he hugs me tightly. And in the moments for which the hug lasts, I feel his heart-beat in sync with mine that beat together in unison. When I am about to lose it all I rather choose to stay calm. I am learning to find music in noise because if I cannot tame my own temper how am I going to help him in expressing his feelings and emotions? This way I’m better in rhythm with his moods and feelings.
3) I’m happy by hearing what’s not spoken
My child is my best critic. I mean he’s the only one who gives me feedbacks that are unbiased and far from being formal. I ask him, “Did you eat your tiffin?” and he’d say, “Finished” and I check his lunch box only to find it untouched. And I take a mental note for not sending sautéed French beans for his tiffin again. I ask him, “I’m preparing oats for dinner. Is it OK?” and he’d say, “No” only to find him finishing off his plate within minutes. And I again take a mental note that he likes oats. Some days he says stuff he means it, while on other days he says one thing but means entirely the other thing. But the mommy in me is learning to hear what’s not spoken and I feel happy when I ace it.
4) I’m happy by taking what’s not given
My toddler finds immense happiness in dancing in my arms, jumping on my back, pulling my hair and tickling me, which I find extremely annoying. But I understand that this is his way of reminding me that all he wants is me – to be beside me and explore the world with me. I understand that even if I have no chance at winning myself “the best employee of the year award” I’ll still have my son as my biggest true fan. And while I don’t get to throw parties for big success at work I’m happy to celebrate my little accomplishments with Pizza party. I’m still learning to take what’s not given.
5) I’m happy by staying fixed even when I’m broken
And for all the above-mentioned reasons, even when I struggle through the day to not get upset and unleash my temper on my toddler because he unfolded the laundry the eighth time I folded it back, I still prepare his favourite Soyabean chilly for lunch. Because I’m happy to watch that spark in his eyes and that big grin on his face when he sees his favourite food on the plate. I’m learning to keep it together even when I’m on the verge of breaking loose.
True womanhood is about identifying the real you. It is about chasing your dreams and making them come true. It is about empowerment and what makes you happy. Motherhood is a truly empowering spirit and I have realized that if you’re unhappy with the choices you’ve made you can never really enjoy the exceptionally rewarding experience and joy that motherhood has to offer. And happiness comes from the satisfaction.
A “happy” stay-at-home mom is not a myth. Actually, the reality is far from it and I’m a living example. Because when being a mom itself is hard, being a working mom or a stay-at-home mom is definitely harder. But happiness is a choice that I choose every day despite all sorts of challenges and setbacks that I face time and again. Because it is not happy people who are thankful but it is thankful people who are happy. And I’m thankfully happy to be blessed with the opportunity and privilege to pour and invest myself and my time in raising my son. Even though it is exhausting and I’m left feeling burned out I am happy watching my son grow into an intelligent, kind and compassionate little man. And I have immense satisfaction in knowing that being a “happy” stay-at-home mom, I have the privilege to be a part of my child’s life and to be happily present for him physically and emotionally, be it tending or toiling.
This post is a part of the #MomsSpeakUp Blog Train hosted by Prisha and Nayantara. I would like to thank Ravijot Kaur for introducing me. Read their take on the prompt here. I would like to introduce Anoushka Singhal. I’m sure you will enjoy reading her take on the prompt here. Please check out other wonderful posts on the theme by other boarders as well. Here comes the train! Choo Choo!
Have you wondered what prevents you from being a happier mom and enjoying the enriching motherhood experience? Motherhood fills your days and nights with countless moments of sheer pleasure, utter happiness and pure bliss. But apart from a thanklessly rewarding experience that motherhood is it also comes with its fair share of discontentment, frustrations, anger and bickering. Though most of the times the joyous ride of motherhood overtakes the chaos which motherhood brings with it, there are times when ‘unhappiness and despair’ hidden in those dreamy moments can pop its head outweighing the happiness and can rob you of the otherwise rich and rewarding experience. The stress of responsibilities and obligations might start to rob you of the joy of motherhood and a big chunk of your happiness as a parent and a mother might go missing. But, happiness is an elusive state which is more than the simple fleeting positive emotions and a smiley face. Rather, happiness is a state of well-being which encompasses a good, satisfying life with a deeper meaning and purpose making it worthwhile.
My kid gives me the greatest pleasures of my life, but raising a happy kid entails a lot of chaos and drama along with a heap of laundry and other responsibilities. But I want to keep it real; I have been that mom where I was losing the joy of motherhood in the shuffle of the obligations and the jumble of stress. I was beginning to lose my calm and poise due to being worn out both physically and emotionally. And an irritable and impatient ‘me’ was taking over an otherwise calm and composed ‘me’. But don’t we all know that only a happy mother can raise a happy baby and I do not want my relationship with my kid to suffer because I am not happy. The innocent smile on my child’s face gives me more happiness goals than anything or even anyone else for that matter could ever give. And that is why I make conscious efforts not to let some pointless unhappy moments to take away my happiness and ruin my motherhood journey.
So here are some tips and learning which have helped me maintain my happy, become a happy person and an even happier mom and make motherhood more enjoyable and enriching:
1) Learn to value yourself and your motherhood
The responsibilities that come along with raising a baby can sometimes feel like drudgery. Doing heaps of laundry, wiping noses and bums and cleaning after the baby day in and day out was feeling a lot like drudgery to me and was getting to wear me out. And so the first and foremost step that I took towards becoming a happier mom was to learn my value and the value of what I was doing. It is very important to understand that whatever you do for your child today, whether it is cooking a meal, kissing boo-boos, reading stories or playing hide and seek, goes a long way. It has a deep impact on the connection that you have with your child. It not only adds up to develop a strong, healthy bond between the two of you but also helps you become a happier and effective mother. Being positive with motherhood brought meaning to my life and gave it a new dimension. I just had to believe that even when I wear pyjamas or yoga pants I was still amazing for my kid and family who couldn’t do without me. Each little thing I do for them, which may seem insignificant and invaluable is in fact very crucial to bring me closer and make them feel secure and happy.
2) Label your feelings and admit when stressed
Labelling my emotions and feelings and admitting when I was stressed actually solved half of the problem. When I started to label my feelings and describe in a word how I was feeling it not only helped me to identify my emotions but helped me to also deal with it better. Stress, frustration and anger are common emotions that go hand in hand with motherhood. It would be a big fat lie to say motherhood is all fuzzy and rosy the entire time. But it becomes easier when you accept the reality. It will be a lot easier if you know that it is perfectly normal to feel stressed, or frustrated or angry. The feelings these emotions doesn’t make you a bad mother. Rather, when you accept and label them it helps you to overcome them easily.
3) Sort your priorities
Being a mother is not easy. From the instant you open your eyes in the morning and to the moment you close your eyes at night there are endless tasks and chores you need to get done in the limited hours you have. Most days I found the time insufficient to complete all the chores and they just keep on piling. That’s a pretty common picture of any household with small kids and mine is no different. But despite knowing that it can become easily daunting and get you overwhelmed. So in order to become a happier mom, what came handy for me in this scenario was prioritizing my chores. Some things need immediate attention while others can wait for the next day or even two. Also, how much of each work needs to done can also be prioritized. Don’t let the surmounting work come in the way of watching and enjoying your little miniatures grow and turn into amazing human beings. Because the time that you spend with your children is the one that’s going to matter and not the time you spend doing laundry and dishes. At the end of the day it is how you spend your time with your family making memories that is going to count.
4) Appreciate and savour the moment
Motherhood is a thankless job, but its beauty lies not in being a nitpicker, but in appreciating the things as they are and savouring those moments. Believe me when I say you can save a lot of your sanity by just doing that and inch a little closer to become a happier mom. When you have small kids, those toothless or toothy smiles, those wet kisses and those soft cuddles are the sort of thank yous you’re going to get. Rejoice in the beauty of the moment. Savouring those little moments and creating beautiful memories out of them is what you will look back and cherish. The life of a mother is difficult, I totally agree. But finding your perfect moments in those imperfect moments is the art that you need to master to keep your happy. Life will give you lemons, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to cringe on them or prepare lemonades. It’s not always easy to nourish and propagate positive emotions, but a little effort towards it goes a long way. And don’t you think it’s all worth it?
5) Feel grateful
Gratitude is a habit we all need to cultivate in ourselves. Why do I say this? Because gratitude forms the basis of my journey towards being a happier mom. There are going to be tough days, that’s true, but finding good in even the worst harbours positive feelings and opens doors to happiness and satisfaction. Appreciating and being grateful for the riches you have not only lets you live a fulfilling life, but also helps you maintain your equilibrium and sanity. When you have optimism embedded in your habit, you are less likely to get dazed and have a setback. Feeling grateful and acknowledging others for their good not only act as great mood busters but practicing gratitude also prevents the bad days from getting the best of you. Happiness then becomes a journey rather than a destination.
6) Don’t be harsh on yourself
Perfection is a myth and the sooner you kept abreast with this reality the sooner you reclaimed your happy. We all want the best for our kids and strive very hard to achieve that. And in the process, we set the standards so high that we become too harsh on ourselves. I can understand how much you love cleanliness, but sometimes it’s perfectly OK to let things remain messy if you are too much exhausted. I personally sometimes get exhausted to the bone and still have things that need immediate attention. But I let it go. I don’t push myself too hard and just let it go. But I have learned along the way not to get too obsessed and stress over it unnecessarily. So if you sometimes find my bedroom messy and laundry is undone, that’s because I have decided to go easy on myself. And I don’t find anything wrong with that if I can steal some happiness out of it. So whatever you might find causing you stress, you should let it go. I know it’s easier said than done, but you need to be reasonable with yourself just as you need to be reasonable with others. And this is what will take you closer to being a happier mom.
7) Reconnect with your spouse
My marriage and my relationship with Mr. Husband started taking a backseat since the moment we conceived. Because from that moment onwards anything and everything has been about the baby. And as a consequence our own love story became usurped by our baby love. But one thing I learned before my obsession with my baby could make a permanent dent on my relationship with Mr. Husband was to reconnect with him and keep strengthening the connection with small and simple gestures of love. It’s understandable that the early years of parenthood can be stressing for both the spouses, but it should also be kept in mind that to remain happier you need to keep working on your relationship with your spouse just as you need with the baby. Do not keep your relationship for some tomorrow and also do not let your relationship with your spouse suffer because of your relationship with your baby. Read more about how we kept our relationship alive after the baby as we started looking at our relationship in a new light in my earlier post “Are you ready for a new perspective in relationship goals?”
8) Find friends and ask for help
Motherhood takes up so much time and space of a mother in raising a baby that it begins to feel lonely and burdened at times. A mother needs help not only physically, but also emotionally. And who could better understand a mom’s problems than a fellow mom herself. Getting to share the mixed feelings and emotions that a mother feels, be acknowledged and truly understood requires a fellow mother who has gone or going through the same ordeal helps so much. The hustle and bustle of motherhood and be really overwhelming and a little help doesn’t hurt anyone. To become a happier mom you shouldn’t feel shy or guilty to reach out and ask for help and you will be surprised how good it can feel – to be connected and be happy.
9) Set up a routine and hack your sleep
I have said this before and I am saying it yet again, sleep is the first thing a mother sacrifices for her child. But it’s also true that a sleep-deprived mom is hard to be happy. Having a good sleep can absolutely make a huge difference in the way you feel. You must have got lots of advice from well-meaning people to sleep when the child sleeps, but I know it’s easier said than done. And being a mother you would rather choose to get some work done when your child sleeps. But believe me, if you are missing out on your sleep you are depriving yourself of enjoying motherhood to the fullest. This is where getting a routine in place helps. I feel setting up a routine gives me a sense of feeling organized, gets my work done on time and also helps me squeeze time to catch up on my sleep. Setting up a routine for the day not only makes you know what to expect from your day, but also makes it easier for my family and baby. Don’t let sleep stand in your way to become a happier mom, find the hack that works best to catch-up some sleep and recharge your batteries to be the supermom that your kid knows.
10) Make time to pursue your own interests
Making time to pursue your hobby is probably the best thing you could do to become happier. Being a mother does take up a major amount of your time, but it does not ask you to give up on things that you love and enjoy doing. It never asks you to give up your sense of self. You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself away from the baby. This would only bring you closer to being you and being happy without ripping you off your motherhood. Only recently I have come to this realization and you can read all about it in my earlier post “Motherhood might be my religion, but I am more than just a mother.”
Motherhood is a blessing, but it’s hard not to get consumed and lose yourself in fulfilling responsibilities. But there shouldn’t be any room for discontentment and motherhood should be enjoyed with a true motherhood spirit. This is the time to soak up these moments before they become memories and get your mom-groove back with these effective pointers.
Now that Mother’s Day is just around the corner this post perfectly sums up my one-and-a-half-year journey as a mother so far. Earlier I used to celebrate Mother’s Day as a daughter, but after becoming a mother myself celebrating Mother’s day as a mother has been quite something. Being a mother to my little man is perhaps the greatest thing I’ll ever do in my entire life. Motherhood has changed me inside out.
But did you hear the news?
Motherhood is the new religion.
And I am a follower. Yes for me motherhood is not just a feeling, a sentiment or an emotion, but a religion, a calling.
Why do I say it’s a religion?
Of course, motherhood can’t be a hobby since we don’t collect babies because we find them cute or we are bored. But motherhood for me is definitely a religion because the amount of faith, belief, and sanctity that goes in it is comparable to any other religion of the world. Motherhood holds a distinct sacred place in a person’s life and influences and shapes her personality. This religion called motherhood is mostly moulded by the beliefs our own mothers followed and those that we have faith in. And just like any religion, though motherhood is extremely personal and mothers differ in their style of parenting, it amazes me how motherhood forms a common belief, a common faith that ties and unites all mothers across the globe.
I love being a mother and there’s no doubt about that. Since the day I became a mother, I have been striving to provide the best in my ability for my baby and to be the best mother for him that I could ever be. But not long ago I started noticing that in my attempt to wing this entire ‘mom-role’ I somehow started to lose myself along the way. I was beginning to lose my identity. And the feeling of not being able to recognize myself was awful. But I am happy that it didn’t take me long to come to this realization and I was spared from being trapped in the dreadful feeling of lost identity. Because I have realized that the deeper and longer I let myself into the situation the harder it would have been recovering from it.
I have spent my entire time as a mother thinking, searching and creating ways to make a perfect world for my baby to live and grow in. I have been putting great thought, effort and time in choosing the right kind of toy and activity for him that could aid the most in his development along with the fun and enjoyment. There have been countless hours spent with my toddler enacting rhymes and poems, calling and talking to animals and plants, dancing our butts out on some random commercial on the television and telling him instantly woven imaginary stories. Though the activities I do with him are never planned but yes the effort that goes in devising them are definitely careful and deliberate.
It’s true that being a mother takes up most of my time, but it’s not just that. This wonderfully gracious title given by my baby goes beyond just my time, it spans my space as well – space in my mind, space in my heart and space in my life. It has been so consuming that I had almost forgotten that before being a mother I was a good athlete, an avid reader, occasional diary writer, music lover, hobby singer and an art and craft enthusiast. My friends envied me for having such diverse talent and that Shaarav could learn so much from me. But since his birth, I’ve rarely had the time to follow my passion and pursue my hobbies. My time is so full and my schedule so jam-packed in creating a perfect world for my kid that I have forgotten about the things that once made my world bright.
Just a few days back, suddenly my eyes wandered over to my old diary that sat there on one corner of my desk. It once used to be an old friend back in the days and has seen through my every thick and thin. A little dust had settled on it since it had gone without being used for so long. As I began dusting it off so many memories attached to it came flashing back. A smile lit up my face and a sense of satisfaction rippled through my body as I began turning through the yellow-turned pages. At that moment I rediscovered myself and I made a promise to myself that I will introduce my son to all those shades of my personality which enriched me but was long forgotten. I made a promise that I will rediscover myself again, but this time with my son. Because my son needs to know who I am, not just as his mother, but also as a human who walks on the face of this earth with many other shades of her personality.
Yet I questioned myself. Should I feel guilty for taking my time away from my baby and wanting more from my life? Don’t I have the right to find more satisfaction from my life just because I am a mother now? As of now, my entire existence revolves around my baby and my entire being is wrapped around him. But should I let that be the reason why I can’t feed my passions? I love my baby with every piece of my heart and though motherhood might be my religion, I am ‘more than just a mother’. And just as I am not a blind follower of any other religion, I am going to keep my eyes open for motherhood as well. I don’t want to get so consumed, besotted or obsessed with motherhood and my baby that there’s no space in my life for anything else. I don’t want to hold any regrets later in my life just because in my constant focus on my baby I lowered my sight for myself and let my aspirations slip away. I don’t want to let the dreams and visions I’m passionate about getting lulled and lost because I dimmed in my own mind what I thought I was capable of. Instead, I want to be that mother for my kid who inspires him to do more out of his life and to be more, despite the hardships.
It’s difficult to juggle different roles and find a balance between being a mother, being a wife and being an individual person with my own identity. But it’s important that I hold onto these different roles not just to have my sanity but also to make my son remember me not ‘just as a mother’ but also as a person who has passion, purpose, and personality. I want him to know me as a person who enjoys other things too just as she enjoys being a mother, and teaches him to do the same. I want him to know how he helped my heart to grow and make me a better person. And wanting to rediscover my own self and my own identity isn’t going to change my love for my son and the fact that I am his mother.
All this while I had let myself lose amidst my endeavour to provide a perfect world for my son. I had forgotten about the little pleasures and relishes that I found in life before he was born. I had let myself get lost in the shuffle of life. But now it’s time to step back and have my own identity. It’s time to reclaim my passions that I had set aside for some tomorrow. It’s time for me to remember I am so much ‘more than just a mother’. It’s time to re-learn and rediscover ‘myself’.
“Because though motherhood might be my religion, but I am more than just a mother!’
It was 24th March of the year 2016. It was Holi – the Indian festival of colours and this time I was to celebrate the festival with Mr. Husband after 2 years. But I wasn’t sure if I was keen for the celebrations because, since past few days I had not quite been feeling normal with fuller achy breasts, bloated tummy and the urge to urinate frequently. These are the typical pregnancy symptoms, right? But these symptoms had long ceased to interest me over the years of countless failed attempts to get pregnant.
Very early in the morning, when Mr. Husband was still sound asleep, I sat up and mechanically taking a home pregnancy test from the drawer I sneaked my way into the toilet. I very distinctly remember that historic day. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet. There was just the pink sky before the sunrise and the morning birds had only begun to chirp. For the years that I had been trying, I had watched the urine reach the other end without batting an eyelid, waiting eagerly for the result – each time more hopeful and excited than the previous. But this time, as I sat on the toilet pan, unmindful of the process, the last 4 years of struggle, hope and faith started to unfold and flash before my eyes.
For the past 4 years, it had become a routine that whenever we were together and I missed my periods, even for 2 days, I would religiously take a home pregnancy test in the hope that this time it comes positive. I would keep looking at the test with my eyes wide open until the test completed only to see the white evaporation line each time, and that solid pink control line mocking me. But unfortunately in our 4 years of marriage, and amidst I don’t know how many pregnancy tests (I had lost count of), I hadn’t had one single test positive. It wasn’t that we were trying throughout, but we weren’t “not trying” either. Initially, my mother would just give hidden cues, but now even she had started to talk about it openly and directly. It had been so long now that not only people, but even I had begun to question my fertility and almost convinced that something was definitely wrong with me. Many a time even the thought of adopting a child had crossed my mind.
I had watched close friends who married after we did become parents. Some of them became parents even before they celebrated their first marriage anniversary. Nobody had ever pressurized me about the matter, not even my in-laws. Mr. Husband had also been understanding and supportive throughout, but his silence spoke volumes about his desire and disappointment. It had all begun to grow on me and I was becoming desperate. So much so, that I spent most of my time endlessly reading pregnancy related articles on the internet, obsessively tracking my cycles keeping tabs of my fertile window and active days, and absently wishing to be pregnant. And the pressure inside me kept building.
Being a Virgo I have a habit of planning everything beforehand, and even before I got married, I already had a list of names of babies with me. I had even thought about the innovative ways I would break the news with family, friends and Mr. Husband, of course – a different way for each one. I had planned it all. Now all I needed was to be pregnant, and that was the one thing that wasn’t happening for us. Pregnancy still remained a lost dream.
My periods have always been irregular so tracking didn’t help much; but still, I kept on tracking it to maintain my sanity intact and in the hope that I might be lucky to get one cycle right. So, though I was more than a week late and was feeling a bit off I did not suspect a thing. And looking at my past record of several negatives how could I? It had now become more of a routine.
Suddenly, with a thud sound, I was brought back to the present. As I came to my senses I realized it was the newspaper boy throwing the newspaper roll in the balcony. Without much interest, I carelessly looked back at the test that lay there at my foot waiting to be read. And as I looked at the test my eyes started to widen in amazement and I could feel my nervous heartbeats thumping hard against my chest. I rubbed my eyes to get a clearer look at it as I stood there with trembling hands and legs, gaping at the pale faint pink line, shimmering and dancing beside the dark pink of the control in front of my eyes. For an instant I was numb. I don’t know how long I stood there staring at it in surprise or shock (I still don’t recall). I was totally bewildered at the unexpected and unbelievable result. The sight of those “two pink lines” which seemed to smile at me exhilarated me to the core. I felt so alive on the spur of the moment that it couldn’t be described in words.
I was so thrilled that I remember even pinching myself to be sure if it was for real or I was having a dream. I wouldn’t have been shocked if it were a dream because getting pregnant had become so consuming that it had begun to haunt me. But not this time. I was so used to seeing the white nothingness of an evaporated line that those “two pink lines” amused me immeasurably. My happiness knew no bounds and it was getting difficult for me to control my emotions. After all those sleepless nights of wetting the pillow with silent tears and I don’t know after how many earnest prayers God had finally decided to shower us with His blessings.
I quickly gathered myself, washed my hands and joyously went to wake Mr. Husband up who was blissfully asleep, snoring away, still unaware of how our lives were going to change course. I had always imagined for this moment, devising several ways to surprise Mr. Husband with the “good news” and all I could do was wake him up to show him those “two pink lines” and say “Hey!You’re going to become a Dad!” (How cliché! I know). But in that glorious moment words did not matter, only feelings did. And it was overwhelmingly emotional. We hugged and rejoiced. Our lives were going to change forever, we knew it, only yet to discover it how.
And all of a sudden I was eager to celebrate Holi – the festival of colours because we got our “bundle of joy” as Holi gift. And as colourful this beautiful festival of colours is, we knew instantly that in a similar manner he is going to colour our lives with his amazing baby colours and give our lives a new meaning. And since that instant, our life canvas has been getting painted with the prettiest colours there could ever be.
This piece of writing marks the beginning and is the first in the series of pregnancy-related posts where I am going to share my pregnancy journey. Keep watching the space for more updates and interesting pieces.