Sunday, December 14, 2014

Five Maxims my Mom Friends Taught Me

 December is here. It's the end of another year, winding down with all the bottled up emotions, feelings, resolutions and promises of the year gone by. We have kept some promises, we have broken a few, renewed others and plan to do it all afresh once 2015 hits us in under a fortnight.

But, here's the thing.Unless we learn from our errors, the past has no value. It is just going to be a repetitive train wreck where we crash into our mistakes, pick up, dust ourselves off and go careening down that same track all over again.

However, what if we had someone to help us out? What if that person talks you down from a cliff of indecision? What if she reaches out and gives you a hug to say that things may look bleak now, but they are certain to look up very soon?

How many of us can say that we have that one person? I am not talking about your spouse or your significant other. In no way am I discounting the presence and importance of that person in your life. But, sometimes, we just need our girlfriends , don't you agree?

It gives me a specially warm feeling to admit that I have not one or two such persons, but nearly 50 women I can reach out to, on any given day. Sounds surprising, I know. A very close-knit online community that I moderate has some incredible mom friends, those who will jump to the rescue of every other member on that group. The most interesting part of this is the fact that less than half of us have met face to face and just once in the last 6 months!

What, then, are the lessons that these incredible Mom Friends taught me?

We are all alike:

We may come from different backgrounds, hold varying political opinions, not concur on certain parenting practices, but underneath it all, that same heartbeat called Motherhood beats. It is that pulse which says, 'Hey, I know what you're going through and it sucks. BIG TIME! Do you want to grab a cup of coffee and let your hair down with me?'

We shouldn't Judge another:

Do you know how incredibly hard this one is to follow? The minute you see a toddler throw a raging tantrum in the middle of a supermarket floor, don't you grit your teeth and feel annoyed? Oh yeah!
When our group came into being, we laid down three simple guidelines:


  • Be Frank and Open
  • Be Supportive of Another
  • Be Non-Judgmental always
http://nothingbutaquote.blogspot.in/2012/08/dont-judge.html

Simple maxims. And all it took was a conscious mindset to start following these guidelines. So, the minute someone vented about how her child was being defiant or how another spoke about the frustration that comes with every single thing about the daily routine, 45 other voices would jump in and say, 'Hey, I get where you're coming from. Breathe. Let it go.' 

That's it. No finger-pointing, no shaking of the head in a superior manner and definitely no shaming or criticism happen on this group. Ever. Suffice to say, that has extended to circles outside our group as well now.

Let Go of Guilt:

Parenting is hard. Let's not even begin to mask that under the pretence of happy Facebook photos and cheery status updates. As a friend of mine said to me, 'What you see on Facebook or Pinterest is what I like to call 'Curated Parenting.' The implication is that if you steer clear of talking about your guilt, your anger,your depression and keep focusing on the joys of life and the beauty that is motherhood, then you're set for life.

Um, no...Sorry. That doesn't work for me. I am human, like everyone else. I have yelled, screamed, thrown a tantrum, even as recently as a few weeks ago. I shouldn't be made to feel guilty. What I need is support, empathy and cartloads of love. With time, I have come out of that crushing burden of guilt and learnt to accept that it is okay to feel anything under the sun. For that, my mom friends are whom I need to thank.

Be Nice and if you can't do that, Say nothing!

We are all so ready and easy with our advice and opinions these days. Or maybe that is a human mindset, to give advice or criticise even when it is not sought? Every single day, I now start with my mantra from my guide: WATCH- Watch your Words, Actions, Thoughts, Character and Heart.



It is very tempting to jump in and be mean to someone because they disagree with you. But, it just takes a pinch of effort to hold back and say nothing at all. Try it, if you haven't already. It's worth it.


Do a kind deed for another:

Without going into the discussion about altruism and the motives behind it, let me just say that doing something nice for another human being is one of the most wonderful things you can do. I was in a pretty bad state a couple of months ago. Worry, stress and tension had caught up with me, spiralling me downwards into this infested pit of sadness. Absolute desperation made me share this on my group. Every single person there reached out to me. 

Two days later, although I felt marginally better, I was still feeling blue. There was a knock on the door and I opened it to see this delicious bouquet of pink roses, sent specifically to cheer me up. 



Did you know this fact about pink roses?

 Light pink roses are associated with gentleness and admiration
 and can also be used as an expression of sympathy.



Did I not know these lessons already? Did I need my friends to teach me any of this? Let's just say it doesn't hurt to have daily reminders of the things that matter. At the end of the day, you and I, we're just the same and we are on the same journey. It's just that our paths to get there, may be slightly different.

~~~


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shell it out! A fun game for the family!

Growing up, I remember our family would always be spending time together playing games of various kinds. It was the best way to bond as well as a great way to while away long, sleep-inducing weekend afternoons!

If you are from my generation or before, you would be familiar with games such as Pallankuzhi (Mancala) , Daayakattai or Tic-Tac-Toe. This blogger has done a lovely black and white post on the topic.

On our way back from Mysore last week, we stopped at a highway restaurant at Maddur to have lunch. Post that, as we strolled about, we came across this quaint shop that was selling lovely wares right from herbal oils and essences to handmade wooden games and toys. It was a veritable wonderland for us as well as Gy.

That's when I spotted them! Those lovely shells or Chozhi as we call them in Tamil were calling out my name!

Picture 1

I immediately convinced my husband that we should pick up this as they reminded me of a childhood game I would play with my parents and sister. We plunged our hands into the shell basket and fished out twelve shiny, smooth-backed beauties to carry home with us.

Once home, I decided to teach Gy how to play the game. Here are the steps, for you to play as well:

Picture 2

  • Hold four shells in the palm of one hand. (Let kids use two hands initially to get comfortable)
  • Flip the shells upwards and quickly invert your hand to catch the shells on the back of your palm (as seen below)
Picture 3

  • Drop the shells gently on the ground to make them all fall facing one way (smooth side up as seen in picture 1 above). . .
    Picture 4

  • . . . or open side up as shown in Picture 4.
Shells that fall as shown in picture 5 can be scored by hitting the open shell with a closed one. 
Picture 5

If the shells fall as shown in picture 6, the player has to pass the shells on to the next player.

Picture 6


SCORING:

1. All shells fall with shiny backs on top- 4 points.
2. All shells fall with open ends up (Pic 4)- 8 points. * This is a fun thing, because the 8 points are literally up for grabs. All players can try and grab the shells if they fall in this position. Each shell gives you two points.
3. An open shell can be hit with a closed one (Pic 5) to score 1 point.
4. A closed shell can be hit with another closed one (Pic 5) to score 1 point.
5.  If three shells are open (Pic 6) the player gets no points. Game passes to the next player.
6. The first person to reach 20 points is the winner!

Here is a short video I tried to shoot showing a couple of key points from the game. I was so excited about the game, the video and my first-ever YouTube editing that I did a hurried job. I promise to make a better one next time !

Have fun, everyone!




Friday, November 21, 2014

Today, I watched you

Today, I watched you


Today, I watched you

As you lay in slumber
cocooned in the warmth of sleep;
Unfettered by care, worry or stress,
your lips broke into a dreamy smile.
That smile made my tired shoulders lift in love.

Today, I watched you

As you took the stage
Confident, poised and full of grace;
Singing a song with the confidence that
Can only come from the innocence that is childhood.
That song made me shed a few tears of joy.

Today, I watched you

As you spoke of a girl
Who needed to be shielded 
Photo from Pixabay
From the curious eyes of the world;
You described how you and your friends formed a circle
So nobody would see her as she changed her attire.
That action made my heart swell with pride.

Today, I watched you

As you spoke ceaselessly of books
The ones that adorn your shelves, every corner and all the nooks;
You labeled the racks to know which was where
All on orange post-its to display your treasured wares.
That deed made me hug you with love.

Today, I watched you

As I watch you every day
blossom into a young girl
So different from that toddler at play;

The tomorrows are coming too soon for my liking
Just once, just today, can we slow down the clock?
Can I gaze at your cheeky grin, that warm glance 
That tells me how special you are?

Today, I want to watch you
Cuddle by my side
Eating ice-cream, giggling at cartoons, 
Exchanging tickles and kisses by the dozen;
Today, I want you to fall asleep in my arms
And I want to feel the nuzzle, the snuggle and the hugs
as I drift off into sleep's warm embrace.

- To my Daughter, Gy



We all need a little moonshine in our lives

Monday, November 17, 2014

Relish the Moment- #MicroblogMondays

Mr. Mundane and I, quite often on this page, have crossed paths with gratitude and warmth.

Remember how Urgency and Importance don't mean the same thing,or why letting the laundry pile up on some days is the best thing possible and what about the last time you did something that you loved?

Yes, the common thread in it all is the idea that relishing this moment, this present moment, comes with a great deal of practice.

This was brought home to me, in a different way, early this morning. Gy has always been a relatively strong child, constitutionally. Today, my strong child fell ill with a severely upset tummy and the protective Mama Bear in me emerged, telling her to stay home and ride out the problem with rest and fluids. To my surprise, she refused as she had an important day at school- one with a full  rehearsal for an upcoming event- and she put her foot down, saying she MUST go. I was speechless and to be honest, a little annoyed.

Just as I was about to throw a fit, asking her to listen, she put her hand on mine and said, 'I promise I will call you if I don't feel well.'

In the next few minutes, she was aboard the bus and I was standing there, wondering when the parent and the child had reversed roles. I even came home and confided in a couple of friends that I was sitting by the phone all morning, biting my nails, hoping that the phone would NOT ring, asking me to dash over to school.

The day ended and she returned. Nothing untoward had happened.

Sometimes, we just need to let go. We gain so much more from that, than in all our illusions of control.

Relish the Moment. It is here for a reason.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

~~~
Linking up with the Stirrup Queen for #MicroblogMondays

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