Tag Archives: life

Motherhood – at 10 months

Motherhood is emotional.

The abundance of love for that little one; the amazement at how quickly they grow; the exhaustion of trying to keep up (and possibly the lack of good sleep); the fear and worry that something bad could happen and the determination to try to mitigate, foresee or prepare for any such eventuality. Need I also add the guilt when we get frustrated and lose our temper and the pressure of being the main carer for such a precious thing.

This is like no paying job I have ever heard of, seen or had. It makes no sense to "act professionally" because you are so emotionally involved, yet we need to moderate our emotions as the child will always pick that up first.

There is no gym that prepares you for the amount of shoulder, back and arm strength that is required to pick up, carry around, rock and play with a child; whom while you are thankful they get heavier each day, your body really starts to feel its age.

There is no change management tactic I know that works here. I've always prided myself on being adaptable and open to change. So it frustrates me that I keep expecting, or rather hoping, for things to work consistently. Perhaps my logic is, "Since I'm not doing anything different, things that worked before should continue to work." Rocking to sleep used to work, why won't it work now? Dummies were my fall back and now she won't take it! I have to keep reminding myself of my husband's words, "she's changing all the time, you can't expect the same things to work." It's true, I just wish my mind would keep up with that and find new solutions to ever changing situations and challenges.

And then there's Google. We all fall into the trap of googling anything and everything, and let's be honest, this started even before we became parents but probably peaked during pregnancy and the first 6 months of being a new parent. Add to that any well-intentioned advice from professionally qualified individuals and those who have been "industry tested" (friends, grandparents, other mothers, etc), parenting books and any other tidbits of information we glean from blogs, random conversations in childcare or playgroups etc and you've got a mind blowing amount of contradicting opinions. "Do what you are comfortable with" seems to come up quite often but you know what, when I have a screaming baby perhaps I need to change what I'm comfortable with in order to make a change.

That doubt is what gets me. When things are manageable, I cruise. But when they're not, I re-evaluate what I have read and reconsider my decisions and then worry that I haven't been making the right decisions to start off with, that I have started my child on some horrible practices and that the routine we had for the last 4 days are bad, and that when she is in childcare she will scream inconsolably because I haven't sleep trained her. Don't tell me to trust my instincts because that flies out the window when she is screaming and my ears and heart hurt from her cries, yet my mind refuses to back down from whatever routine I am trying to instil, and finally when she does fall asleep, I scold myself for making it so hard on both of us.

But at the end of the night when she's sleeping, I miss her and all I know is that we will be alright. Soon she will not need me as much as she does now, and I will miss that more than I can imagine.

I've said this before but I'll say it again: I have a huge amount of respect for stay home moms, more so now that I have had a taste of it. Even more respect for moms doing it alone and moms whose kids are not well. I keep you in my prayers.
To all moms, you are doing a great job, and it's okay to be frustrated or angry or confused or lost. Sometimes all you need is a listening ear and if you have someone to share the load, even better.
Partners, share the load, actively. Mothers don't have all the answers, we are also just figuring things out (at least I am).

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The origin of “Papa”

The premise of this article is my opinion and is not backed by any official, science-y research.

All babies apparently start with the same base sounds when learning to speak. One of the most common is "bababa" or "papapa" which commonly refers to "papa" I.e. Dad. In my family, my little one still has not said "mama" despite all the affection we share for each other and the fact that she only sees her dad for 2 hours a day if she's lucky.

So WHY is she not saying mamma when She probably hears that word more often? I'm not upset, just confused as it didn't align with how I understood language was learnt.

I puzzled about it again today when I finally came to the conclusion that since language is arbitrary and men are self indulgent, they must have assigned the first and most common sounds to refer to them as father. It could also be because historically women have always been seen as weaker and less than the man, so obvious a child would call for dad first right?

I'm just going to believe that my little girl means to call for me in this increasingly gender less society and not assign random meanings to her loving sounds. I mean when she's tired or upset, she stops crying only when I hold her! Come on, is there any better indication of what she means by "papa" or "baba a" or even "dada"?

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Thank you mom and dad

Just wanted to take some time out of my already scarce amount of sleep to state firmly and boldly:

Thank you to all those parents who are now grandparents helping with the care of their grandkids – even for a while.

I know you will only do what you think is best for my baby because you love them as much as you love me. If not more. (Who am I kidding, definitely more.)
You have given me some time for myself, to think, to compose my emotions, to rest, to pretend I am a kid again and go on crazy theme park rides.
You have given us shared experiences we can all reminisce about. You now also know what is "behind the scenes" when taking care of "this cutie".
You have given me an idea of what you were like when I was little, the time I can't remember anything of. I now understand a little more of what you had to go through and how different you must have been when we were young.
You have provided us some distance so I have the luxury of perspective to renew, persevere and be better.

So thank you! Thank you for your unconditional love, your generosity and the deep well of energy you draw from (Grandmas more than Granddads specifically here). I know how hard it is and I appreciate how much more demanding it must be on you physically.

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Turning 30.

30. Are you ready?

I think the answer most of us will give is: No! (Perhaps this would be the same answer at every birthday after 21 but most definitely when we turn 30!)

Maybe because we felt that the 20s were our best years and now they are over. But from personal experience, I think there’s nothing to be afraid of but so much to look forward to!:

  • In our 20s we may have still been searching for ourselves but now we are more comfortable in our own skin;
  • In our 20s we may still be searching for a partner, but now we have found one or are clearer on the qualities we value in a partner;
  • In our 20s we probably cared more for ourselves instead of connecting with our parents, in our 30s we are able to speak to them more as adults;
  • In our 20s we probably started our careers, but in our 30s we realise what is important to us. Perhaps a hidden passion, talent or simply a change of focus;
  • In our 30s we start looking deeper into relationships, ourselves, those around us and start focusing on quality instead of quantity. We start planning / looking ahead while being introspective a little more. It’s not the end of our best years, but the start of them!

Perhaps it is the fact that we are “leaving our twenties behind” and so blatantly moving on to the next decade of our lives that causes a jolt in the form of reflection, review or even denial and disappointment at what we have and have not achieved. This probably happens every 10 years as we age another decade. But think about this…

Babies have no idea what a birthday is, or a cake, or presents or what the point of a ‘party’ is. So the birthday is more of a milestone celebration for the parents and surrounding family, a chance for everyone to get together and celebrate the joys (and exhaustion) of having a little one in the family.

Most children lucky enough to have their birthdays celebrated adore birthdays. Games. Friends. Family. Cake. Food. Fun. Essentially, being the center of attention showered with lots of love and presents.

Teenagers usually like to spend their birthdays with their friends and to do something special on that day. Usually involving going out for dinner, drinks (if they are of age) and if they are in a relationship, time with the special one.

To parents, birthdays is the day our child was born!

I have heard the sadness in my 65 year old father’s voice when he talks about things he is no longer able to do or the pains that he is having. I have seen it first hand, when he had to ask for help as he is not able to see as well as he used to. I feel older myself with every new strand of white hair and aches in places that never used to ache. No matter how much we try to delay it, our physical form ages.

But we can still try our best to cherish how every birthday feels different and it’s not about the number but about how we choose to spend our time.

Embrace life, embrace aging. I’m ready for 30, are you?

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Darn you Facebook!

I used to have a communal blog, with a group of friends close to my heart.
We shared our thoughts and organised our own little parties and stayed in touch beyond phone calls, emails and text messages.

Now they just post status updates and “events” on Facebook.

 

I used to share the most intimate conversations with friends from around the world, via a long “old-fashioned” email correspondence.
It made me feel so close to them. I really took the time to write them up and got so excited to read the long heartfelt responses. It felt like we still connected, despite the distance and I had someone I could pour out my sorrows and joys to.

Now when they post “I’m annoyed” on Facebook and receive 10 comments, I’m not so sure how to feel about that without much of a background story and random comments of “feel better soon”.

 

I used to have frequent catch-ups with friends to keep updated with all the new things in their lives. There was always so much excitement and buzz whenever they told a story for the first time.

Now we read everything first hand, from Facebook and in person, it just feels like I’ve heard it all before. 

 

Darn you Facebook for taking my place among my friends. They can now talk to you instead of me and I  get the trickles of information. It’s as if my social life has been taken to the virtual world and jumbled up with all the lives of everyone who has added me as a “friend” and thrown back at me as random “news feeds”.

I do enough reading at work thank you very much…

 

p/s: I’m not sure why but the word “communal” never feels very clean…

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The Longest 3 Months

I still can’t believe it was only 3 months. I swear it was longer than that. It’s like being in a new relationship and not realizing that you’ve passed the 6 month mark when it feels like you’ve just gotten to know each other. No wait, that’s a good thing. This, isn’t.

Well, kinda isn’t. 

I found a place where I got the opportunity to stretch my abilities and learn, so that’s good; I realized where my interests and strengths seemed to lie and a way to put them to some use, so that’s good. 

On the flipside, the team is not what I thought it was, I’m spending some weekends doing work I couldn’t get done during the week, I feel like I haven’t had a weekend in months. In 3 months to be exact. Things are chaotic, messy, exciting because it’s a time of change, but the team doesn’t have ownership of that change and most of them just feel they are there for the ride and leaves the driving seat empty. Things are  unnecessarily complicated with overdrawn discussions that lead nowhere and my initial enthusiasm is quickly draining like the rapidly depleting natural resources.

So…. as you can tell, I’ve been busy. Unfortunately not busy blogging. Not that I don’t think about you, dear readers and the flailing life of my blog itself, but these darn ideas just come at the weirdest times – when I’m in the shower; on the porcelain throne; when I’m lying in bed at 1am at night, and up till now I have not found the discipline to stop whatever I was doing to write a note.

And honestly, I’m just dead tired. Hats off to all of you who do such great posts so consistently. I aspire to do so. It might be the only way to keep my sanity, although I do hate a post about “work”.

Don’t ruin this perfect world of mine.

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Glass half full

I was reading a book the other day, “Brain Rules”, you might have heard of it. It’s a great read by John Medina and while I highly recommend it, it’s not what I want to write about today.

There was a short introduction on the concept of “learned helplessness”, where the subject is conditioned to stay in an inescapable situation and have no hope or control over the situation. The subject then resigns itself to its “fate” in a sense, and even though an escape is made available, does not go in search of it. Reading it made me quite upset and made me think of various things – depression, religion, hope, faith, fate, destiny and life in general.

I realized this could relate to many situations in our lives when we feel a lack of control, an inability to change things and a depressing realization that things will never change. I know of people close to me who stay in their jobs even though they hated it because they feel they have no other alternative; of people who consistently found it hard to do well at school and believe that they are less well-endowed intellectually while the issue may just be the methods they have been employing to study or the teaching methods used in the current system.

In those situations, I’m less confident in the effectiveness of an external encouragement compared to the power of internal motivation and awareness. In those situations, the person has to come to their own realization to snap out of that learned helplessness yet it is somewhat a chicken and egg relationship. Yet, like most addictions, I believe it can be overcome.

  1. Awareness is the first step we can take to bring ourselves out of that low
  2. Making a choice – do we want to stay in it or get out of it? Sometimes not making a decision is a decision in itself, which doesn’t make things better. If we want to stay in it, make the most of it and ensure we’re not being miserable staying in it.
  3. Knowing which are the areas we have control over – the world, no; my room, yes; other people’s opinions, no; my own thoughts and behavior, yes
  4. Taking small steps to make changes in those areas we have control over
  5. Optimism and a glass half full psyche – this is where I think faith and hope crosses paths just because while some people garner hope from things around them, others look towards religion and faith and somehow perhaps realizing that someone out there, whoever it is, is looking over us, adds a little booster to the hope meter.
  6. Recognizing the changes and its impact, however small – this is where external encouragement starts to make a difference.

So, hopefully if I ever find myself in a state of “learned helplessness”, I am able to recognize it and take action. Otherwise, maybe a little nudge from the Universe to perhaps allow me to stumble upon my own post or a similar post would point me in the right direction.

Thanks Universe, in advance.

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The Stubborn Fighter

Irrational, Unkempt

Full of non-conformance

Actions and emotions

Hurled from the dark depths

Stemming from the most ill

Parts of ourselves

We never acknowledged

 

Not sexy, not ruffled

Just a fully blown kerfuffle

A brawl like no other

Where thoughts manifest

Through our sword made of flesh

Slicing loudly through

The frail innocent air

 

Crack, Clomp, Thump

Unnatural sounds

Of anger and rage

Avoiding, Clashing, Retreating, Advancing

We give our worst

And receive in turn

The stench of a wound inflicted

 

The walls close in

It’s hard to breathe

Mind and feet shuffle around

The cloggy space

What was dealt before

What stroke should be returned

It’s not over yet

 

Not when I know

I did no wrong

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The Art of Procrastination

The Art of Procrastination. I think I’ve perfected it.

 

1. Before starting on my work, check all email accounts. I’m sure there’s an email I need to respond to or haven’t read properly.

2. Read my favorite blogs on WordPress and then just explore those Freshly Pressed. Add new blogs to those I’m following. I should start on my work but,

3. I should update myself on real-world happenings first! So, I read the news. While reading, Google the tangential issues that peaked my interest. 40 minutes later…

4. Check my email again. Maybe something came in when I wasn’t looking. I’ll start doing stuff in a few minutes, I promise.

5. Oooh an email notification from Facebook. Login to Facebook to find out more, read my news feed for a dose of gossip.

6. Finally pull myself together to write a list of what I aim to do today before realizing that it is already 5pm.

7. Since its close to dinner time, I psyche myself into a state of potential hunger and keep my mind occupied with thoughts of food, or dinner-time TV.

8. Say something motivating and purposeful like, “That’s it, I’m knuckling down to do all these things on this list after dinner and the new episode of The Mentalist which starts at 8:30pm.

9. I follow step 8 through and at 9:30pm, after Mentalist, the warm bed looks real attractive.

10. The cycle willingly repeats itself.

Kids, don’t try this at home.

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Flipside

Actually going to work for a few weeks really put a different spin on working life. All the things I used to hate, didn’t seem so bad! Things like:

1. Getting out of bed before 8am

I love my sleep-ins, but I have to admit this forced me to grab a proper breakfast before heading to work; and since health experts always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day…

+ 5 health points
+ 2 mood points for getting out of the house to take in some of the early morning fresh air

2. Catching public transport with all the other people who seem to be going somewhere important

Public transport always makes for an interesting ride, as soliloquized in my previous post “Mind the Gap“, but more than that, I think it really allowed me to see a different perspective of the city.

+ 5 knowledge points
+ 2 mood points for the opportunity to enjoy the sunset scene without having to drive

3. Having to work to survive

Should we work to enable us to do what we like or should we strive to enjoy our work? In my current situation, seeing my bank balance go up instead of down for once took those thoughts out of my mind, at least for now.

+ 10 financial points
+ 5 mood points for being able to buy the desserts I was craving for
– 5 financial points for spending more on “wants”

4. Five-day work-weeks

I used to think they were too much and ardently fought on the side of legalizing four-day work-weeks instead. Hmm..actually, no change of opinion there. However, it did make me realize how hard it was to plan what to cook for dinner and work issues at the same time. 

+ 5 knowledge points – now I know what my mom has to go through
– 5 mood points due to increased stress levels

5. Having to send a million (pointless) emails a day

I think the nature of a temporary job is to fill a temporary need, so in this case, the emails weren’t completely pointless. Or maybe I was just enjoying the illusion that I was actually doing “work”.

+ 5 self-affirmation points

My evaluation:
Work in small doses increases knowledge of our surroundings, improves our overall health and mood and aids in self affirmation as well as a general boost of our financial situation (if managed properly). I guess it was a positive experience overall!

Next test: Work in larger doses.
Sky streaked with orange

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