Learner Mother(on)Board!

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Mother’s Day passed by recently. One day in the year when everyone takes that special effort to make their mothers feel especially loved and important.

Flower greetings, dinner dates, spa surprises, handmade cards and in today’s day and age the all-important social media platform public declaration of affection to one’s Mum were the order of the day.

I made the usual mandatory greetings to all the Mothers in my family as well as among my friends too. I briefly considered online shopping, gifts for both my Mum and my Mother in law. But then that urge passed me by :-)! Instead I took to social media and made public declarations of my heartfelt respect and admiration of these two and few other inspirational women.

Said to myself I should blog about these wonderful women. Pay homage of sorts to their aspirational skills first as women and then as successful mothers too. In my head I had various snippets of incidents in particular that I would like to share with the world, which perfectly depicts their skills as successful mothers.

My mum’s grace under the toughest set of conditions that life had meted out to her, her intelligent mind, her charm, her poise, her strength of character, her faith in a higher power and her beauty has set the bar high for me to follow now not just as a woman but also as a Mother myself. From her I learnt that I must lead my children by example. I strive to try and bring them up with faith, with honesty and as a wife I also strive to learn from her the crucial ability to ‘stand by your man’ unwaveringly in the true sense of ‘through good times and bad’. I must blog and share with the world these I thought.

My mum-in-law’s strong will, her ability to take control, her no nonsense stand for mediocrity of any sorts, her absolute refusal to cut corners in any situation, her passion for cooking, her ability to rule her children with an iron hand that was guided by a soft heart (oxymoron-ish almost to hear but it’s true), her unwavering allegiance to her children and her family, her ability to make them the centre of her universe, her methods of frugality, all ambitious bars of achievement for me to aspire towards. I should pay homage to her too this Mother’s day I told myself.

My sister is another inspirational mum who always comes to my mind when I set myself goals to achieve. Her sheer grit and determination, her single minded focus, the skill with which she has brought up her girls to be individuals and not cookie cutter products moulded by peer pressures of society, her own ability stand out and achieve so much as a woman in the corporate world, I can only hope to juggle as many hats as her and not drop the ball on one or all of them! Another person to whom I should accredit as an inspirational source of learning for me, I thought.

And as I put together meaningful words, snippets of thoughts into coherent sentences in my mind, I thought of my own children. The reason I am what I am today, the primary driving forces of my life. Both of them fledglings as yet I wondered how will I lead them by example? How will I know if I am doing right by them? What is to be considered as the parameter of success? Who will truly show me the way on a more micro level with this huge responsibility of life.

Then it hit me. They themselves! It is from them that I can draw all that I need. My inhouse God gifted, teachers. Infact my children tender aged as they are, have a wealth of wisdom to impart to me already albeit unwittingly.

Watching my children grow, each one of their arrivals has offered me a new perspective on several aspects of life.

Some mornings I drag myself out of bed while others I positively leap out, however with my kids each morning is a new day a new beginning and new opportunity to do new things. I can learn to greet each day with more enthusiasm from them.

Persistence. Ever watched a two year old try to do something beyond his physical capabilities? That rarely ever stops them from trying though. They keep at it seldom giving up. Some strong life lessons on steadfast determination to be learnt there.

Questions. Are we there yet? Can I have ..? Why not? Why? Annoying questions each parent faces multiple times on a daily basis. However to think about it these are valuable questions perhaps we need ask more often ourselves too. Ask that ‘why’ when it’s most required, put myself out there with a ‘can I’, clarify with a ‘why’ or challenge with a ‘why not’. Set myself a goal and ask myself ‘are we there yet?’

Emotions. Laugh out loud more, cry when you need to, cry when you just feel like it, yell when you are pent up with untold words, say what’s on your mind, share your joy, spread your happiness to all around you, childlike behaviours which well perhaps we could as grown-ups do with expressing rather than bottling it all up to accumulate into insurmountable walls within ourselves. Here as an adult though I shall need to show some restraint with some of these emotions I am guessing. The essential essence of it all is to be more honest with my sentiments.

Enthusiasm, acceptance, the ability to move on and not dwell, opening my mind to receiving new ideas, constantly evolving, growing this never stops. It shouldn’t too!

So as you see I am learning that Motherhood is not just about imparting wisdom, or setting an example for my children to follow, it is also about learning valuable life lessons from these little teachers God put into my life. It is a two way street where although I give and invest immeasurably into, I also receive infinitely back.

So this Mother’s Day I dedicated my reverence to not just the inspirational mothers I know but to also the unwittingly astute little teachers I know.

I look forward to a lifetime of learning from these mentors in my life!

Fragapanophobia

 

Fear of Birthdays.

Fragapanophobia – The fear of celebrating a birthday- one who does not wish for anyone, including family and friends, to acknowledge or celebrate their birthday.

As a child the most exciting day of the year would always be my birthday. You get cake, you get presents, you stand out in the sea of uniforms at school in your brand new spanking colourful outfit, you get to generously distribute treats amongst your friends and for that one day you are ever so ‘popular’!

As one grows older however, the excitement surrounding becoming one year older somehow began to diminish. The day just did not seem just as exciting as it did to me once upon a time.

I found that I was torn between remnant emotions of ‘cake anticipation joy’ and an underlying sense of dread. Dread that another year had been added to my credit, another whorl to my tree as it were.  Have I indeed grown any wiser, have I indeed achieved any of the goals that I had set for myself during this past year? Have I earned the additional stripe? What achievement do I have to announce or share with friends and family who call me on the day? “Hey thank you for the wishes….oh yes yes all is well……hmmm what’s that now… what’s new you ask? Well, I’ve gained about 10pounds since last year. Besides that not much else, quite frankly!” That’s a conversation halter if any!

Invariably the dread would magnify in intensity as I approached the day and I would dig myself into a dark hole of depression most birthdays of late. The day would come, with friends and family reaching out in their own ways to make the day special for me. Gifts, calls, flowers, wishes and all I could think of while receiving all this positive love was ‘I don’t deserve any of this. I am a total imposter! I have done nothing all year and now all I have are several could haves and should haves.’

Then on the boxing day of a birthday (can you call any annual event+1 day that?), the cloud begins to slowly lift. I begin to get hopeful, excited even about the year ahead. This would be the age when I get my act together and make some long overdue tweaks to my life. This would be the year that will change me as a person entirely. Or so I would think. Days become night, routine becomes mundane and before you know it another birthday is round the corner. Once again my biggest achievement would be nothing.

Well, this year magically all that’s changed! I am positively hurtling at high speed towards another birthday once again and this time, surprisingly the black hole has a lid on it! I bet you did not see that curve ball in this story now did you? J

The past  year or two have been momentous and action packed. I gained a child, I gained a new job, I gained oodles of weight and I gained a sense of direction quite literally. I mean this in its literal sense and not metaphorically. I am no longer always lost on the roads driving around in circles. All of a sudden my brain no longer freezes and I manage to recollect roads or actually find my way around town. I don’t have an unhealthy dependence on my GPS anymore. Strange as it may seem, this is actually an achievement for me. I have figuratively grown a spine and discovered courage too.

I suddenly find that I am increasingly becoming impervious to negative comments and have now learnt to switch off from toxic people. Perhaps it’s the added layers of experience or just the added layers to my hide! Maybe that peak once crossed in my mind I have begun to care less and less about keeping up with perceptions and accepting wholeheartedly my realities.

Perhaps my brain needed to reach a certain level of usage and maturity for me to discover a “who gives a f*&^k” attitude.

This year I am positively looking forward to my birthday. Bring it on new age! Grey hair? More weight? Slower metabolism? More work? More challenges? Bring it on! Challenges accepted!

Because I have finally figured out the fact that I have another birthday in itself, is a cause for celebration. For many lose this privilege abruptly and much too soon. The unpredictability of life is such that life deals you with sometimes a cruel hand when you least expect it. So many I love and so many whom I respect each carry their own individual crosses and my insignificant insecurities at each birthday seem to fade away as negligent in comparison.

So this year for those who decide to actually wish me, be warned you are going to be greeted by an alarmingly chirpy and upbeat person.  I haven’t lost my mind, I am not intoxicated and neither am I faking it!

My joy is merely down to the fact that I am just grateful for the prospect of one more year to try and get it right this time!

CHANGE

CHANGE

 

“The Secret of Change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the New” – Socrates

Metathesiophobia – A Morbid fear of change.

Fear of change is one of the biggest characteristics in a person and also one of the biggest challenges presented to a person.

What makes us fear change so much?

In reality, fear of change is one of the main reasons that hold us back, stopping us from taking that much required step towards something new.

Fear of change convinces us that the change is bad for you and convinces people to resist the change with all their might.

The high levels of anxiety created by this fear of change can be brought about by false rumours, unnecessary gossip, not knowing what to expect and sometimes sadly purely by malicious vested outside influences. All these can be crippling and could well completely deter us from taking that one essential step towards accepting something new, something which perhaps may well in the long term prove to be a positive change for us.

Not knowing what to expect and the fear that stems from it, is natural, but quite often this fear comes from a sheer lack of knowledge or lack of information.

As humans we are naturally creatures of habit. Routine becomes automatic, becomes second nature and any occurrence that threatens the safety of this routine immediately makes one wary.

The apprehension caused by the prospect of change, something new, the possible loss of control even transitional or worse still the possibility of the change bringing about more work makes us dig our heels in and resist change just for the sake of it.

This is exactly why many people do not like sudden surprises even if they are meant to be pleasant ones. We resent the messengers of change, we suspect their motives, we invest ourselves mentally and physically to finding ways and methods to hold off the change permanently. To retain what is familiar, to retain the existing for fear of the unknown becomes of paramount importance to us.

This is not to say that all change in always good. There are cases in which perhaps the change may not have always been for the best. However what is the parameter by which we decide what is best in life? Is there a tangible quantity or state of things to which we can assign the term “this is the best”. I’m not sure there is.

I question our ability to accept change or to adapt to new situations of late purely because of recent events globally. Unexpected electoral results, unexpected Governmental moves so on and so forth have truly brought out the inner beast in all of us. In some the beast has heartily accepted the new path shown and is willing to tread it trustingly. In some the best accepts the new set of circumstances warily, in some grudgingly while in some the best has reared its ugly second head and is intent upon creating a bubble of discord, distrust and a general climate of unbridled fear among all around them.  Preying upon the latent fears of the innocent igniting them with flames of malice, creating discord with their words, with their negative soothsaying. Majority of these double headed beasts are steaming ahead in their righteous beliefs with little or no view of anything beyond their own myopic blinkered visions of what they want to see. Or rather what they want to hear.

I am angered with the juvenile displays of disrespect shown by such fractions, thinly veiled as humour. I am angered by those wolves in sheep’s clothing who claim to care but their words sadly give them away. I am angered that while the changes that are being brought about certainly come with their own fair share of uncertainties and concerns, we lack the faith, patience or open-mindedness to allow some time for the results to show themselves. Our natural biases prejudiced our good judgement.

At a time when ideally we should be reaching out as communities as humans to each other helping one and other traverse the trying times we instead devote our energies into bringing one and another down.

There are no guarantees of the future, few years down the line we may well look back upon today and wish we had not spent quite so much time resisting rather than accepting. While in life some changes may well be within your control to accept or decline, with some changes there is no way around it. The only way is through it.

So surely the journey can only seem easier if we decide to travel as one in harmony. Surely the need for an individual to prove themselves right cannot be more important than the proposed greater good of many.

change

MOTHERHOOD

So clichéd I know, Mothers day and I decide to blog on exactly this topic. But hey! Here goes.. Personally the past few months have been tumultuous to say the least. Emotionally, physically and psy…

Source: MOTHERHOOD

MOTHERHOOD

So clichéd I know, Mothers day and I decide to blog on exactly this topic. But hey! Here goes..

Personally the past few months have been tumultuous to say the least. Emotionally, physically and psychologically all strings have been pulled to the maximum over the past six months.

I lost a parent abruptly, without warning and the after effects of the loss are still felt by all of us. Time heals no wounds, it merely teaches you to cope with life despite the ache.

However while looking at the glass as half full, I must acknowledge our sincere and deepest gratitude to all the powers for the fact that we still have my Mother with us. Graceful, intelligent, strong (you have no idea how strong), beautiful, witty, sophisticated, elegant, charming and the list of adjectives could go on endlessly while referring to my Mum. She has shown us what it means to be a true woman of courage and determination in more ways than one by leading her life with such dignified aplomb. I am honoured to have been born unto her.

Anyone who knows my Mum will understand as to why a short blog post can do no justice to the persona that is my Mum. She is incomparable in my eyes. Therefore, my post today is not going to be just about my Mum. I would rather like to pick your brains over your interpretation of this thing called ‘motherhood’.

I was fortunate enough to grow up watching one of the best do her thing and she has set the bar so high that I can only strive to be as good at motherhood as she has been.

Recently though watching one of my weekly sitcoms (ok so I admit it was Grey’s Anatomy), a sentence the protagonist uttered “Motherhood didn’t just fall into my lap…I chose it”. So true, for so many women I thought. They struggle and strive to achieve the status of motherhood. Perhaps it is also so untrue for so many women too? Sometimes, it just happens so that the woman is forced to decide if she wants to opt to make this role permanent when she finds herself unexpectedly at such crossroads. Would she have otherwise ever imagined herself having to take this path at that stage in her life? But when she does and decides to do so positively then I suppose here too, the motherhood role has ultimately been opted for by these women too, wouldn’t you say?

Who is a Mother? That is my first question. Anyone who cares for a child in his or her lifespan are they considered as parents? A Foster mum, A nanny, An adoptive mum, A teacher, A caretaker, are they all not just different mother figures in a child’s life? It does not have to be a biological connection does it?

Motherhood is this huge steep uphill learning curve. You go through an entire range of emotions as your child grows and develops his/her own personality. Ranging from weepy blubbering joy to blinding pride to sometimes white hot anger too!

Is there ever an opt out button from this tumultuous emotionally charged role? Can one unsubscribe ever? Would you want to unsubscribe from this role if at all possible is my second question? Having had the privilege twice over myself, I personally if asked during a rational moment will reply within a heart beat a big resounding NO to this. I would never swap my role as a mother for anything else in the world. I say rational since there are days when I feel my heart will burst with love for the little munchkins and then there are days when I wish I could keep driving on past home never to stop!

Do all Mums share similar experiences? Sheryl Sandberg in her most recent post touched upon the sacrifices made daily by a mother and more importantly the greater struggles and sacrifices being made by single mums all over the world. Surely they have several such days when they wished they were footloose and fancy free. No shame in admitting to those emotions, the perception is usually that one should only admit to euphoric feelings of joy at being a mother. But then it is perfectly natural to have days when the euphoria is slightly less exhilarating than expected. No love lost, as these are but merely fleeting hypothetical desires. Since the minute you see those little faces all is usually forgiven and forgotten.

When is one to be accused of overmothering (if there exists such a word) is my third query. Amy Chua Tiger Mom types, is that over mothering? Or where are you now, where will you be going to, who with, when, why, what…… is this overmothering? I wouldn’t mind being the reason my kids are super successful and for that if I need to nag them for the next decade or so …then so be it! I would like my kids to be safe and for that if I need to semi stalk them …. then so be it! I keep reading and hearing of let the children make their own mistakes and find their path etc. Is this the antithesis of overmothering? Letting your children find their own way or not completing their education is complete sacrilege where I come from. So borderline overmothering is the way to go for me then. I promise to show restrain with this though.

Every book and every related article will talk endlessly on the various aspects of motherhood and challenges faced, ways to rise to the occasion, ways to prepare for motherhood and so on and so forth. However what I failed to see or gain from any of these articles is the fact that motherhood actually strips you of all your personal identity. Nobody told me this! You are now somebody’s mother. Your taste in music, food, television, hobbies will all be attuned to those of your child. No longer will you care if ‘people are looking’, dancing to a nursery rhyme in public will be perfectly acceptable. You will ache for silence and alone time, but when you do achieve it, you will spend a majority of that time either worrying about them or missing them!

You are no longer the center of your universe. You have relinquished that post to your children. Discovering strengths you never knew you had. This is definitely an all consuming role, which once chosen will transform your life irrevocably forever.
This is a 24×7 job with payment in kind only.

Is this how everyone looks at motherhood or do you have a differing take on it. I would love to hear from you do share your thoughts.

With that  I leave you with these words
“(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

Being-a-Mom-is-Hard-Quotes-3

And unto us a child is born…..

I had lost my literary voice for a while. My mojo as it were was in hiding. Hadn’t been able to put words to paper in over 4months. But now it seems to be coming back. The loss of one of my most avid readers had affected me in more ways than I had ever envisaged.

Although daily life progressed, the deep sense of loss and shock lingered beneath the surface constantly.

Meanwhile on the other hand, events we were working towards achieving, my husband and I, were also finally coming to bear fruit.

Life was hurtling towards a new chapter a new phase at such speed that we had no choice but to be carried along on the surf of its powerful waves.
Looking back I was pulled between wanting to continue to lament the loss so fresh in my mind and also feeling the urge to anticipate with excitement our possible upcoming gains.

Years ago the ice breaker in the conversation between my now hubby and I, the shared common ideal among many others for us that nudged our friendship into committed love was the mutual desire to adopt a child. We had always intended to do so and it was always part of the bigger picture in our minds.

Life progressed, landmark occasions were celebrated, a child was blessed upon us, we traveled, we relocated, we grew older. All this with us yet to achieve that initial dream we had shared.

We wondered if we had left it till too late, we were faced with several odds, the so called experts warned us not to get our hopes up too high. All the same we thought nothing to lose and everything to gain so let’s give it our best shot. And so we did.

I said to the Lord “if you take me down this path give me the strength to face whatever you have intended for me”.

Just like that then miracles occurred, the universe conspired to make things happen just so that we happened to be at the right place, at the right time. Unexpectedly we were offered a child, whom we accepted with glee.

Our families supported us with restrained caution but with positive support too. They feared for us, if we would be left disappointed, they feared of possible emotional repercussions. It all seemed too far-fetched and unbelievable. We went ahead anyway.

All that while I now realize, that I had only opened my mind to the entire process of adoption. My heart was yet to be opened. I had not yet anticipated the emotional roller coaster ride we were set to embark upon. No forum or website can prepare you for the onslaught of the entire range of emotions you shall go through.

In the sea of legal documentation and processes to be filed, rules to be adhered to we swam upstream simply following the instructions given to us and thought increasingly to ourselves ‘wow this may actually happen for us after all’.

All through this our baby kept growing kept achieving landmarks happy in his ignorant bliss of the mountain we were scaling to get to him.

Then the day dawned. Anticlimactic to say the least! Not sure what we expected, but our heads were so full of so many feelings that I think we were by then beyond comprehensible thought processes. In our minds we naively expected a cute baby to crawl into our arms and curl up feeling our love automatically. Realistically we were well warned by all concerned to be prepared for both the emotional and physical demands this child will be making upon us.

Cute he certainly was, curl into our arms he certainly did not. We had uprooted him from all that was safe and familiar to him. He wept for his familiarity. But our love he did feel and he clung to us inherently sensing it.

That day as we made the journey home, images of the children watching us leave with one of their own all of them round eyed and watching us wondrously flashed through my mind. Watching the little bundle sleep trustingly in my arms, a veritable stranger for all matters to him, my heart opened to the true profundity of it all only then.

My heart swelled with love, with pride, with a sheer admiration at all the forces for having made this day a reality. Something we had only dreamt of. I felt fiercely protective (infact I still do of both my kids) and hated on sight anyone who had anything but the best to say about my baby.

Now one month later I am calmer. We can now say he has settled effectively into his new life, new routine and new family. We have been successfully accepted by him. This was essential. He is happy, he is mischievous, he is loving, he is smart, he is active, he is the epicenter of our lives now.

Still relatively in the fledgling stages of my relationship with my son, I admit I am the insecure one between the two of us! Each smile from him each show of affection soars me high, every dismissal from him holds intense importance to me. I am immediately plunged into insecure worries if perhaps I am not doing the right thing, will he never love me as his true mother. Unfounded what ifs and what not scenarios.

This is what I meant by the roller coaster ride of emotions …from fierce protectiveness, to heart melting love to worry to fear to intense possessiveness. We are experiencing it all.

But predominantly among it all, the emotion that rises up often to the surface with the maximum force is that of absolute gratitude. Not just your ordinary run of the mill “thank you” gratitude, but instead the miraculous kind that brings you to your knees and forces you to acknowledge the marvels of a higher power.

I don’t know what we did to deserve this blessing, I don’t know how we were chosen to be the recipients of such a divine reward but we were and we did. It’s as simple as that.

Twice over at that too.

So as Julie Andrews famously sang I can only assume that ‘somewhere in my youth or childhood there must have been a moment of truth.’For there can be no other explanation for this child that although not our creation has been born unto us by His design.