Love Letter from a Grateful, but Exhausted Wife

I shall forever remain grateful to you!

It was Valentine’s Day a few days ago and I so wanted to write this for Valentine’s Day. But then I decided against it and saved it for a later date. And more than anything, it was long overdue and I needed to pen it down.

Why?

Because, as an exhausted stay-at-home mom all my days are full of the daily mundane activities from which I consciously try to steal those little moments of romantic love. So in a way, all my days are special and every day is a Valentine’s Day. And it couldn’t come at an opportune time to pay tribute to the man of my life for all his earnest efforts, firm support and understanding throughout the time we have known each other.

My life, today, is all about my 15-month-old and most of the time my role as a mom gets in the way of my role as a wife. Yes, I am guilty of neglecting your needs, because often I need to choose our kid before you. Because sometimes, caring for our kid’s needs means putting his needs before yours. As a mom, this is the most difficult place to be in and as much as I hate this I find myself in the same spot again and again. And it is easier to be a mom than be a wife.

It is like snuggling into you cosily under a blanket and wanting to completely be in the moment with you enjoying it, but yet finding myself peeping over your shoulder from time to time to see if the baby is sleeping peacefully. No matter what, our baby will always be my first priority.

But it doesn’t imply that I don’t hold you up in my heart the way I once did. Oh, absolutely not. But yes, it does mean that the moment we decided to bring this innocent life on earth, it got decided by default that I am always going to choose him before you. It means putting our needs as a couple and as individuals temporarily on hold.

Bringing a baby into the world is unquestionably a life-altering decision, and no matter how much you think you are prepared you are never really prepared for it. “Because the twists and turns your life are going to get is never really mapped until you embark on the journey.” But having a companion to share the challenges and the adventure along the way truly makes it worthwhile. And my heart is forever going to remain grateful and indebted to my companion for life – to you Mr. Husband.

Being grateful

I thank you deeply for the epitome of patience you have been, since the moment we became pregnant till this day when we are raising together this super energetic, never-staying-still toddler. I thank you for holding patience all along our pregnancy and bearing my sporadic mood swings. So yes, life is pretty different from when we first started – from a carefree life as the newlyweds to the overcautious life as the new parents. And amidst all the melodrama that my life has turned into, the wife in me takes a backseat as the mom in me takes charge.

I admit it is exciting, but it is difficult too.

I agree it is fulfilling, but it is exhausting as well.

Missing “us”

This journey, so far, has been one hell of a ride, but I honestly miss those carefree days when we could do just what we wanted without having to bother about this tiny soul whose life now depends on us. I miss being able to express and reciprocate to you as much as I want to and as profoundly I feel about it. Sometimes I just want to rewind my life once again and be that slaphappy 25-year old that could live life as a freewheeler. I sincerely miss those times when we could go anywhere, just on a random whim and return home whenever we felt like, and when eating out meant enjoying a romantic elaborate dinner leisurely. I miss those long drives listening from our “curated playlist” and those “insightful conversations” over coffee. I miss indulging in those long, freewheeling shopping sprees without having to bother about the finances.

I miss “us” and our happy “us-time” together.

I try to be happy in my own skin, and yet desperately trying to fit back into my old clothes. I want my energy levels back and also my flawless skin. I know you say I still look beautiful to you, but sometimes with dishevelled milk stained, food smeared and poop sullied clothes and wild unkempt hair it is hard to be convinced. I know you say you still love me, but I find it hard to believe when most of our conversations are about our precious son which start and end with him. I am honestly grateful that you still find me attractive, yet, the c-section scar, the bulging belly, and the diminished energy levels still bother me. I miss being the athlete I once was who was able to play all types of outdoor sports.

I miss the old “me”.

Life is different. Life is good. I am happy.

But life with the baby is so different. We are busier than ever and we never seem to find time to do things that we enjoy doing. There’s always a lack of time and shortage of money. With only one earning member and three mouths to feed the budget seems only tighter. All our money is spent keeping our baby well fed and comfortably clothed. Today eating out is more trouble than it is deserved and the so-called date nights frequently involves a cranky baby and food splatters and smears on our clothes.

Life is a lot more different than what we expected it to be. I do not mean to imply I’m unhappy with my life. Oh sure, we are the happiest we have ever been. But looking back at those countless exhausted and sleep-deprived nights it reminds me how difficult it has been and still, we have managed to do it all. And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

“Of course, nobody comes out of parenthood unscathed and I am not sure if every parent is candid about it. But I am pretty sure that these are the scars I want to don. And not just don but to also flaunt it proudly.”

Because it has been a privilege to bring this tiny human into the world and I am having the best time of my life. I am the happiest I have ever been and I would not change a thing about it. Neither would I want to do it any differently. And all thanks to you for standing by my side always being this unwavering and unfaltering source of support and motivation.

Life is so good, but at the same time so consuming. But I am hopeful. I am hopeful that life won’t be like this always and one day this will all be over. One day. One fine day there will only be us, again. Yet, it won’t be the same us, as parenthood has changed us inside out. The change is undeniable. And undeniable is the love that we feel for each other which has only grown deeper as we get stronger through these challenges. Though we can’t be those naively free-spirited wanderers anymore my love for you has grown only deeper watching you in your “Dad-shoes”. It’s a treat to watch you with the baby, being so gentle and handling the baby with tenderness despite your macho persona.

Someday it will be over

Life is emphatically better with our tiny human with us. But one day it won’t remain difficult to be a wife than being a mom. One day when our little man is all grown up and busy with his life we will again find us, still standing beside each other that we once chose to overlook feeling burdened with our parenting responsibilities. One day when cleaning up the spilled milk, changing the soiled diapers and doing the laundry will be a distant past. One day there won’t be a runny nose to wipe, pounding headaches from sleepless nights and tiny hands to scatter things around. One day we will rediscover each other holding hands and be patting our backs on how well we did in raising our baby to become a kind human being.

You will always be the person I’ll keep on taking for granted. You will always be the person I will lean on when I need a shoulder to cry. You will always be the person I need to guide me through when I can’t find the light. You will always be the person who brings a smile to my face and brightens my day.

I feel lucky to be sharing my life with you. The way you have maintained your patience and calm speaks volumes about your inner strength and shows how much you love me. I feel obligated towards you for being so understanding and loving me looking past my flaws. I am horrible at expressing myself when it comes to showing my feelings for you. I’ll just say that I love you dearly and I’m glad for having you by my side. Life is uncertain and unpredictable, but with you standing by me, I am ready to take on life as it comes.

“For me, love and happiness prevail where you are.”

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

One day, there will be just us!

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5 Top Ideas on How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a New Parent

Reinventing Romance as a New Parent!

Valentine’s Day is up and you might be reminiscing those times when cupid struck you and your heart was filled with unfathomable love for your spouse. But when you thought your heart was already filled with so much love, you got hit with the cupid yet again, and this time with a breathtakingly amazing little miracle that you made. Having a baby in the picture definitely changes the whole dimension of the love that you already knew giving it a new meaning, definition, and perspective.

Valentine’s Day as a new parent is a great opportunity and the perfect excuse to pause, unwind and rekindle the lost romance. But romance might be the last thing on your mind from the exhaustion of caring for the baby and tending to their needs. But behold! This Valentine’s Day is more special because it’s not just the romantic love that you are celebrating, but also the eternal love that you feel for your little one. And only because you feel exhausted just by the thought of going out or you don’t have time to plan anything lavish, or you have a tight budget, it shouldn’t stop you from spicing up the day and putting the romance back into your relationship.

Here’s a list of Valentine’s Day ideas for new parents just like me to make this day special and memorable not just for you, but also for the baby in the comfort of your home:

Exchange Gifts

Now, who doesn’t like gifts? I’m sure all of us do. But you don’t need to go overboard to show your love and make it special. A gift need not be a very high priced stuff and cost a fortune. The idea is to remind your spouse that he is loved and cared for. So a thoughtful present instead should be more appropriate. You can be creative by involving the baby and use the baby to make some amazing gifts for both of you with minimum effort. You can try moulding dough, clay or ceramic to prepare a keepsake for both of you and commemorate the day by imprinting your baby’s handprints and footprints. It can be a fun and enjoyable experience and a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. What better way to gift each other something by your little fellow and from your little fellow?

Click Pictures

Who said Valentine’s Day couldn’t involve the baby? Valentine’s Day may seem cliché to some, but it’s the perfect opportunity to click some candid photographs with the baby and give your relationship a new boost. You can be innovative and creative with your ideas to get some amazing shots with the baby, which you can add to your collection and make memories. If you are down on ideas, taking ideas from the internet can be a good option.

Dinner Date

We all have been on dates before having the baby, but a date after the baby might seem a far-fetched idea. Rest assured, you can still make it happen with a little effort. You can elevate the fun by cooking your favourite foods together after the baby falls asleep and enjoy each other’s company. But if you do not want it to be elaborate instead of cooking you can still order some take-away from your favourite restaurant and have a candle-lit dinner. Just a change of lighting and some soothing, romantic music can set the mood for the night.

Movie Date

I am sure it must have been a while since you watched a movie together. With a baby in the picture and all the sleep deprivation the idea of a movie can seem a bit elusive and be getting a good night’s sleep can be more alluring. But it is Valentine’s Day guys and it’s your first Valentine’s Day as a new parent; give your relationship a little spice up by playing this little game. Both of you can write 5 movies each on small chits (movies can be new releases, all-time favourites, romance classics etc.). Now fold the chits and mix them up. Toss a coin to decide who gets to pick the chit. Now when you have a movie chosen, settle in for a cosy movie date snuggling under a blanket with a bowl of popcorn, piping hot coffee and maybe some chocolates.

Talk and Reconnect

Even if you don’t have the time and patience to go through a whole movie you can still add a little love and tenderness to the day by just having a heartfelt conversation with your spouse. With the endless nights of sleep deprivation the daunting new responsibilities as a new parent, it can be quite frustrating and you might end up adding stress to your relationship. You can take this day as a chance to reconnect with your spouse by getting cosy and speaking your hearts out. You can appreciate each other, talk about your future together with the baby and about your relationship and personal goals. You can also travel down the memory to your first date or even plan your next vacation. The idea is to reignite the lost spark.

So here’s my list of Valentine’s Day ideas for all the busy, sleep deprived and exhausted new parents out there. Having a baby shouldn’t come in the way of celebrating love. In fact, a baby gives you all the more reasons to celebrate than you already had. Now, I’m not going to choose from these ideas above, rather I’ll put to use all these ideas to make my day more interesting and special. What are your ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a new parent?

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

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5 Essential Newborn Tips from a Bewildered New Dad

The First Look!

How does it feel when the nurse hands you a bundle wrapped in new responsibilities? Congratulations, you’re a Dad! “Overwhelmed” couldn’t even begin to describe the mixed bag of emotions a New Dad feels. It doesn’t matter if the baby was planned or “accidental”, the truth is, the first few weeks of bringing home a newborn is daunting at both physical and emotional levels. Parenting is a daunting task and more so for the first time parents. New Dads are typically bewildered and confused, and find it difficult to process that they are actually a father, even after an eternal nine-month long wait. The news usually takes time to sink in.

Mr. Husband was in a state of utter bewilderment when our tiny human was handed to him. One can fairly get an idea of the extent of Mr. Husband’s bewilderment from the fact that each time when someone asked him how old the baby was, he would look towards me, pleadingly, asking to save him from embarrassment. Because, precisely, my man here doesn’t exactly know how old our baby is; leave alone expecting of him to remember baby’s vaccination schedule. Poor soul! How he wished the baby came with a user manual.

While to new moms parenting comes rather instinctive and intuitive since they are said to be “programmed” for this, for clueless puzzled New Dads it’s more of an on-the-job-training. Mr. Husband had to learn the basics, step-by-step.

So while Mr. Husband was uninformed and unsure about the whole parenting thing, it actually helps to make a difference by being a know-it-all-Dad. Here I’m listing 5 pieces of the solved puzzle from the firsthand experience of fatherhood from a New Dad.

The First Hold!

New Dad Puzzle No. 1: Why don’t I feel love for my newborn?

It’s said that motherly love is mostly instinctive whereas fatherly love is a learned behaviour. Mothers feel instant love for their newborns since they have been growing and nurturing them in their womb for nine months. But a New Dad may not feel the connection instantly. Though it’s common, to some New Dads it doesn’t come naturally. They find it difficult to admit and comprehend the lack of emotion and find themselves wondering if something’s wrong with them. Some New Dads even find themselves drowned in guilt and self-pity for not doing it right. But there’s no shame in admitting if a New Dad has problems bonding with the baby.

The Story:

For us, Mr. Husband felt that instant connection with our baby when he first saw Shaarav. They hit it off instantly. His bond to Shaarav is even stronger than mine. All thanks to me that I kept asking him to talk and sing to the baby bump throughout the pregnancy. He felt the connection built for the first time when he felt Shaarav kick in the womb. Shaarav had been responding to his Papa’s voice ever since. He would respond with an immediate kick or nudge whenever his Papa talked to him. Mr. Husband couldn’t thank me enough for this. But still, at times I could see hesitancy and puzzled expressions on his face which he needed little guidance with.

New Dad Tip No. 1:

Don’t despair if that instant love doesn’t happen. You can totally give a rest to the societal pressure of immediately falling in love with the baby as soon as you look at or hold the baby. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. In order to foster bonding with your little one, the physical touch and skin-to-skin contact is the most important. Talking and singing to the baby making eye contacts, particularly helps in a good bonding experience. The love gradually develops as you become an involved father engaging yourself in burping the baby, changing diapers, and rocking the baby to sleep. You are eventually, very certainly, going to fall for their cute angelic face, those bright, twinkling eyes and, boy oh boy, those perfect toothless smiles. And it won’t be late when you will find yourself basking in the glory of your own “masterpiece”.

Mastering the art of holding a newborn!

New Dad Puzzle No. 2: How to hold these tiny creatures?

Holding these tiny human beings can be utterly terrifying and extremely intimidating. They are so tiny when they are born and in a couple of days, they shrink even more, and more so when the baby has a low birth weight baby or is born prematurely. Newborns have a soft and delicate head with no control on their neck whatsoever and need constant support to avoid injury.

The Story:

Though Shaarav was a big baby compared to others, in spite of it, Mr. Husband was petrified to hold him. When the nurse tried to hand over the baby to Mr. Husband, he froze and just stood there for some good 10-15 seconds gaping at the nurse with his mouth wide open. I believe his jaws could have touched the floor had he not come to his senses in another 5 seconds or so. He had this bewildered look on his face as if saying they were committing a sin by asking him to hold this fragile thing. How could they? It was quite a scene and though my stitches hurt, I still had a hearty laugh. It was hilarious. I remember he had difficulty picking up the baby. And when the baby was handed to him, he would first take positions (deciding which side he wanted the baby’s the head to be) but after that, he would be just fine. Once he mastered the art, rest is history.

New Dad Tip No. 2:

The most important thing in holding a newborn is to cradle the neck and head in a comfortable position to give them support. Just don’t shake, throw or drop the baby. Put your common sense to use. Rest you must be fine and live to see another day and tell another story!

Their tenderly talking sessions!

New Dad Puzzle No. 3: How to soothe a crying baby?

Newborns can cry for various reasons and crying is the only way they know of to communicate and express them. So if they are hungry, or feel sleepy, or need to be changed or are tired or are sick, they are going to communicate by crying (read howling). Small babies can be quite a howler.

The Story:

Shaarav was a howler when he needed a change and Mr. Husband would wake up from sleep with a pounding headache all confused and annoyed. God bless him! But Shaarav has always been a very calm and happy baby and he seldom cried even as a baby. But on occasions that he did, he was difficult to calm and Mr. Husband, unable to comfort him, would just hand him to me to soothe. You see babies are intelligent creatures. They are brilliant at picking up emotions and sensing your fear. Babies are able to “mirror you” as they spend a large amount of the little time that they are awake in studying faces and expressions, especially their parents’. Babies use all their senses to identify and differentiate other people from their caregivers.

New Dad Tip No. 3:

Don’t take it personally when your baby begins to cry just looking at you or the instant you hold him.  While it’s a good idea if you want to hoard on earplugs, it’s even better to know the tips and tricks of calming a cranky and crying baby. You need to show them that you’re confident, even when you’re not. Babies particularly begin to relax once they begin to feel your growing confidence. You might as well try rocking them gently as most babies love motion. Shaarav would also feel comfort from tenderly talking and enjoy the “one-sided” conversations.

I so love my boys!

New Dad Puzzle No. 4: How to change those dirty diapers?

For the first three months, there will be poop, lots and lots of it – in different colours, in different textures, in different smells, also in different quantities and probably in different sizes too. It’s always good to be prepared and stock up on diapers if that’s what you are going to use. Now changing diapers or even nappies for that matter can be really tricky when you have a squirmy and wriggly baby in hand. It might get messy if you are not careful. They can sweep their hands whenever and wherever they like.

The Story:

Since I had a c-section and was on analgesic I could not move. Each time the baby pooped Mr. Husband would run to call the nurse on the charge to clean him up. Alas! The nurse had enough and gave him a good scold (giggle)! She challenged his fatherhood and he took that as a challenge to master the messy art. There was once this very famous incident when as soon as Mr. Husband opened Shaarav’s diapers for changing him, Shaarav let out a massive poop-explosion and Mr. Husband was all covered in poop. That was epic! I’m sure he has lots of poop stories to share with Shaarav when he grows up!

New Dad Tip No. 4:

So to avoid all the mess, before changing the diaper don’t forget to place a changing mat beneath as you never know just when you are busy cleaning up the puddles you can get a downpour. Give your baby something sensory to hold, such as a musical toy, lighting toy or pacifier so that his hands are busy while you change without messing up. Trust me on this.

I live for moments like these!

New Dad Puzzle No. 5: How to make a newborn sleep?

Newborns spend about 16-18 hours sleeping. But yet it can be quite an uphill task to get an over-stimulated baby to sleep. Babies can both be heavy and light sleepers. Babies are used to living in close and dark quarters of the womb, and imitating the same helps them to relax and aid in making them sleep.

The Story:

I don’t understand what it is with Shaarav and Mr. Husband that they enjoy each other’s company a lot. I mean “a lot”. Although Shaarav is a light sleeper and tends to wake up at the slightest noise, he still manages to sleep peacefully beside Mr. Husband despite him being a heavy snorer. Take note, when I say a heavy snorer I really mean a really heavy one. I have countless pictures of them sleeping skin-on-skin on his chest. Shaarav loved being rocked though, but hated being swaddled and wanted his hands free at all times.

New Dad Tip No. 5:

Shaarav typically found comfort in the warmth and closeness and motion. He snuggled up cozily as he relaxed. So it would be a good idea to gently rock the baby to sleep while cuddling them as close to yourself as possible. Swaddling the right way can also come handy for those babies who like being swaddled. Creating white noise also helps as babies are used to hearing the humdrum of the heart and other organs working during their stay in the womb.

Basking in the glory!

The Takeaway:

Gear up guys! Fathering a newborn is definitely the most gruelling, demanding and messiest task you will ever do. You can only find solace from the fact that the adventure of fatherhood has just begun and the best is yet to come. Just remember, everyone has some bad days and that shouldn’t stop you from being the amazing dad that you are. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent and there’s something wrong with your parenting. You are the Best Dad your child could ever have and nobody else can do this any better for your kid. Be proud! The time you spend with your little one enduring sleepless nights, changing smelly diapers, and rocking them to sleep truly defines and demonstrates a Dad’s love at its best. Be prepared to fall only to rise stronger. And enjoy every moment you can, including the bad ones, because whatever you do, you can never bring back this time once they are gone! And if this comforts you any, just so you know, you are not alone!

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

The adventure has just begun!

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If this isn’t bliss, then I’m not sure what is!

Motherhood is bliss!

Motherhood fills your days and night with magical moments of utter bliss, leaving you feeling astounded and thinking how did you ever lived so ignorant and missed the eyes for the beauty of life’s little big moments – so precious, so lovely!

For me bliss is:

That moment when the first time my baby boy was brought to me and I couldn’t help crying and smiling at the same time looking at his cute little angelic face.

That moment when he held on to my finger almost like we had known each other since long before we first-in-person met as if we had known each other for time immemorial. I knew instantly there was no other place I’d rather be.

That incredibly dreamy moment when he latched right on, and suckled happily without any hesitation whatsoever and kept snuggling into me as if he too had completely accepted me just as I had accepted him.

That defining moment when I was both exhilarated and overwhelmed with my new-found motherly feeling that I never knew existed within me.

Those moments of sheer delight when he used to go all berserk during the feeding sessions just looking at the breasts.

That hilarious instance, when Mr. Husband became the perfect victim of one of his poop explosions and was covered all over poop. Poor soul!

That moment when I first watched his elusive smile and totally got lost in it.

All those moments when I would smile brighter because he did.

All those times when I went gaga over his cuteness and just couldn’t take my eyes off him.

That first time when he began cooing and making all sorts of gurgling noises and how enchanting it was to hear that sweet sound.

Those times when he would spend hours together just watching and studying his newly-discovered hands and tiny fingers.

That moment when I witnessed his first laughter while he unknowingly played with his own reflection in the mirror.

Those precious moments when Mr. Husband looks at him like he put the stars in the sky.

Those moments when he kept amazing us each day by adding new sounds to his repertoire.

Those moments when he generously gave away his goggling beaming smiles on seeing someone he recognized.

That moment when he learned to blow bubbles by putting his tongue between his lips and kept practicing it tirelessly.

That moment when he gave the most triumphant of smiles as he figured out how to roll after umpteen failed attempts at it.

Those moments when I would be content just to watch him sleep peacefully and swell feeling proud of the magic I have created.

That first time when he learned to crawl after all the countless wiggling and bum-shuffling sequences.

That look of determination and a will so strong which I could see in his eyes the first time he stood with support and without it.

The first time he said “Papa” and I was filled with mixed emotions of happiness and jealousy all at the same time.

The unfathomable love and pride I felt hearing the first time he said “Mummy”. I’m sure my heart skipped a beat.

The first time he took his baby steps all by himself and I could watch my heart walking out of my body.

The way his face lights up to see me after a short time when I’m away and the look that he has as if saying, “Where were you all this time, I missed you so much,” and come running up to me to give me the biggest bear hug.

The mischievous look in his eyes when he is up to doing the thing which I asked him not to do a 100th time.

The innocence of him waking in the middle of the night searching for me and keep snuggling closer to me.

The look of wisdom in his eyes that is still unsullied by the world.

Having him look at me at my ugly best and still feel I’m the most beautiful woman in the whole universe.

Watching both my boys play together, whispering god knows what into each other’s ears and giggling away merrily.

Gazing at him in amazement and getting those fleeting glimpses of what an incredible human being he will become.

Those moments of tickling him playfully until he can hardly breathe from laughing so hard.

The moments when he looks at me for approval while he is up to something mischievous.

The way I love him, insanely, just almost irrationally, without any reservation.

Watching him soundly asleep at night in some weird position in a tumble of bedding and messy hair.

The relentless smiles that he gives away when we lock looks and exchange glances.

“If this isn’t bliss, then I’m not sure what is!”

It is those moments that exude pure love, transcending any other kind I’ve ever known, that I so wish I could turn into gems, freeze them in time and keep them for eternity. I’m looking forward to more of such uncounted moments together to have and to cherish – that only motherhood is capable of giving!

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

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