Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Simple Power of One Word

Has one word ever changed things around for you? 

Have you landed a job, gained happiness, improved the way you lived, enhanced your productivity all because of one single word?

You may not realise it, but that one word can pretty much define how you spend your day. If you haven't guessed it already, that word is YES.

As a race, we thrive on acceptance and affirmation. Just look around you. You feel thrilled when a status update is 'Liked' on Facebook. You are suitably ecstatic if your achievement is recognised by your peers. You are over the moon when your book gets accepted by a publisher (yes, yes, I am practising the power of The Secret) ;) !

The point is, there is nothing WRONG with this. Yes is a powerful word. It carries heavy associations of gladness, doing the right thing, encouragement and positive vibrations every time it is uttered under the right circumstances.

Why am I saying this, you ask?

Well, it hasn't been a great month on the parenting front. Yes, I am being honest here. After 218 days, I broke my Yelling Less streak in early September. I flipped out, screamed, came this close to shaking her and let loose a choice set of angry words that were totally unwarranted. The reasons were ridiculous and petty, but I suspect the deeper, underlying reasons were many more. There was a general feeling of discontent in the way I was handling her emotions, compounded by the fact that I had a bad sprain in my shoulder/neck which left me virtually unable to write/blog for a long time. 

This unsettled me a good deal and I spent many nights tossing restlessly, worrying about how I was damaging her self-esteem beyond repair by constantly snapping at her for every little thing. This wasn't helped by the fact that she ALWAYS ended the day with a hug and kiss, saying, 'Amma, I love you so much.'

What triggered the decision

Recently, I was telling a friend that it annoyed me when Gy would not immediately respond if I asked her to do something. It was always the same response, 'One minute more, Amma. I just have two pages left to read.' It made me see red when she said that. The anger was bubbling up as I said, 'Not later. NOW!' This was inevitably followed by a sulky-faced child who would do the task, but with mutiny in her eyes.

When I was cooler, it hit me. She was doing two things that mirrored my being.

One, she was so engrossed in the book that tearing her away from it was plain torture- for her. Why, I was exactly like that, growing up! Why would the genes be any different?

Two, that was usually my response when she asked me a question, 'Give me a minute, while I finish my work here.'

We know that kids learn by observation. We acknowledge that we should lead by example. That's when the decision took shape. What I needed to do was clearer now.

What did I do?

This morning, I woke up with a resolution. It was a simple one. I decided I would say 'YES'.

As easy as that sounds, you have no idea how hard it is to practise for someone who is, in essence, a bit of a control freak. I wasn't like this. I don't think so, at least. But, parenting brings out some harsh truths about oneself.

So, to make it simple, I just told myself that my first knee-jerk response to her queries or her need to read a bit longer would not be a snappy 'NO!' Instead, I would pause and say, 'Okay, no problem. Five more minutes is okay.'

Almost magically, all her tasks today happened smoothly- her eating, her getting dressed, her homework (!), why, even her TV time limitation! Plus, she helped out with cleaning up around the house. 

The fortunate fallout of this was manifold! 

One: She was happier today than she has been in the last month. 

Two: I had a song in my heart and a spring in my step. Even my friends online noticed that I was chirpier and cheerier than usual and were worried about my mental health ;)

Three: I found little things to be happy about, like this incredible sight of two tiny butterflies perched on top of the plant outside my building!

Today was a wonderful day. I know it may not last all the time. But, I am sure going to give it a go, to ensure that my days are happier and my peace of mind more regulated.

All it takes is One Simple Word. Such a delight, don't you agree?

Monday, September 22, 2014

10 signs you may be a Blog Addict

Blog addiction is a very real phenomenon. Take it from someone who knows and who, unabashedly, is willing to admit it. I read this post by Tammy Soong over at the Blogging Betties and realised that, 'Hey, looks like I AM a Blogging Betty after all!'

As you all know, this is a parenting blog, or more appropriately, a place for me to put down my thoughts on this marvelous journey (yeah, right!) called Motherhood, together with its delightful add-ons such as tantrums, life lessons, learning to let go, yelling less and basically surviving on just the bare minimum of sleep daily.

So, to carry forward what Tammy says so eloquently, here are more signs that you may be addicted to this wonderful, enriching thing called Blogging. I mean, er.. this time-sucking, draining and insomnia-inducing thing called Blogging! Be advised that I have done NONE of the below and I will defend my stance in a court of law, until my dying breath!

  1. Your face lights up when you see an Award nomination for your blog and you just shrug and pat her on the head when your child comes home with a badge for 'Best-behaved kid at Recess'.
  2. Getting a bad comment on your post unnerves you, while a poor grade in the kid's report card is glanced at and followed by the customary 'pat-on-the-head.'
  3.  You dislike staying up nights to feed your wailing newborn but are more than willing to pull an all-nighter if it means churning out those posts every night.
  4. You are more likely to know the number of 'Likes' that your Facebook page has than the number of friends your kids make on the playground.
  5. You proudly strut the fact that you write a blog (or two or gosh, three!) and try to hide the fact that you don't know where kid # 3 is or what he's doing.
  6. You sprain a shoulder and snap irritably at kid # 2 for asking you to carry her around all day but doggedly type away with the good hand, even though it takes you thrice as long to finish that post!
  7. You feign an illness to get out of a family trip, just so you can blog about the wonderful feeling of peace at home.
  8. You flaunt a real badge that says , 'I am a blogger' and don't even realise that people are giving you funny looks when you walk down the street.
  9. You get a T-shirt made that asserts, ' I blog, therefore I am' and wonder why there is a sound of running feet and pitchforks when you step out in public.
  10. You have a coffee mug that says, I am  a Blog Addict and carry it around unashamedly.

So are you a Blogging Addict or a Devoted Mum?

If you're the former, I empathise.

If you're the latter, I only have one question for you: 


Disclaimer: This post was written in jest. Any resemblance to anyone may be interpreted at the reader's risk. Hey, you are free to have your opinion. I won't judge you ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When was the last time. . .

. . .you did something that you loved?

I am not talking about bungee jumping or para-sailing. Although, to be honest, those could be the things that you really love, of course.

No, I am talking about the more mundane things, the ones we take for granted, every single day. We are so caught up in this rat race of a life that we very rarely savour and relish the ordinary. When I woke up this morning, I made a resolve. I told myself I was going to enjoy everything that I did today.

This could include 

...just standing by the stove and waiting for my tea to come to a rolling boil, while I basked in the warmth that it gave off at 5 a.m. on a chilly morning.

...sitting and watching the sun rise slowly over the horizon, as I sipped and savoured my beverage.

... cuddling my daughter while she lay twisted up in the blanket that kept her comforted all night long.

...laughing ridiculously at a seemingly un-funny joke that she cracked whilst brushing her teeth.

...watching her blow gently on the hot chocolate milk so that she wouldn't scald her tongue and marveling at the fact that she is old enough to do that now!

And the day had just begun! But I already had a huge smile on my face!

This is the essence of our existence and children show us how to do it every single day. Live in the moment, enjoy it to the fullest and see how much happier you can be. If we made that our motivating force every morning, wouldn't your life be more cheery, positive and uplifting?

Because, believe it or not, these are the extraordinary moments of our lives. When we are old, tired and reminiscing, it is the memory of such precious seconds that will sustain us, for many hours to come.

How do you savour Life's little moments?

Care to share?

❤  Thank you for being here. 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Urgency, Importance and a couple of Milestones

Parenting is challenging on so many levels that it sometimes becomes difficult to put into words exactly what you want to say and how you say it. No, I am not referring to Writer's Block. Instead, I am talking about the fact that you're brimming over with ideas, but you want to wait and weave the post with care, a pinch of strictness and oodles of love.

One sunny afternoon as I sat and mulled over the distinction between the words 'Urgent' and 'Important', it struck me that there is far more meaning in both those words than what they appear to say on first glance. You would probably think they are interchangeable. I mean, isn't everything that is urgent also important?

 Not necessarily. Let me show you a simple syllogism.

All Prime numbers are Odd numbers

But all odd numbers are not prime numbers.

Picture Source
The only exception to the first statement is the number '2', which is even.

That's simple, right?

Ok, to get back to the subject, why are Urgent and Important not interchangeable? Here are more examples:

A deadline is urgent but the love your child showers on you is important.

Rushing to the hospital when you're ill is something that's born out of urgency; but, taking good care of your health in the long-term is important.

Finishing that blog post before the clock strikes midnight is urgent; savouring the words that find their way on to the page is important, even if it means you publish it an hour after the deadline.

So, you get it now, don't you? Things that are urgent can generally be described in the physical, material sense. But, far more beautiful are those things that stem from an emotional place like the heart, for they are truly important.

But, what about that exception? That even number which is also a prime number? Oh, we have that too.

For instance, getting a medical service like an ambulance when someone who is dear to you is fighting for their life, is both urgent and important.

In her own inimitable way, Gy has managed to help me understand the implication of this statement.

I want her to grow up, firm in the knowledge that her importance in my life will never be superseded by the urgency of the routine tasks of a mundane existence.

I've learnt I will always have time to slow down and smell the roses, even when we are dashing off to catch the school bus.

I've learnt to let her tell me every minute detail of her school day, even if it means she goes to bed half an hour later than her bedtime.

I've learnt to shed the rules about nurturing independence at this age and gladly stepped in to help her with her chores, because of the smiles and hugs that she generously bestows upon me.

Am I doing the right thing? Choosing the important over the urgent? The best part is I don't know. And the even better part is, it doesn't matter. For one thing, there is no standard book of rules for parenting. We make up our rules as we go along. We tweak them to allow for discrepancies. We live, love, laugh and relish every single second that we can. Because, this will all be over way too soon.

Then, all that you're left with is the pile marked 'Urgent'. Funnily though, once the child leaves the nest, even that pile doesn't seem important enough anymore.


Picture Credit: Pixabay

Today, I am proud to share a double milestone in the blogging world:

  • For one,  I have now published 200 posts on this blog of mine. 

  • Also, on the 21st of August, 2014, my blog baby officially turned 7 years old.
Thank you to all my wonderful readers and fellow bloggers, who keep me motivated to write what I feel. Between you lot and my darling Gy, there really isn't much more that a person can ask for.

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