#9Daysof Mommyhood – Being a Mom – A generation who knows it all

“[Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary—it’s an act of infinite optimism.” – Gilda Radne

It brings me immense pleasure to share that I, along with 24 other bloggers are celebrating #9daysofwomanhood throughout Navratri. 

Mommyhood isn’t easy! Even if one would say that it has become considerably easy for Moms in this Era, I think the Moms in the olden times had their own set of positives and challenges. There isn’t much difference, except we have

  1. more research to help us with the intricate issues we might face
  2. more information on one’s fingertips, I would say information explosion.
  3. we have lots of services and help
  4. we are well connected to a community of supportive mom


Even with this positives, we have our own demons!

  1. We have more Judgmental People around us who do not think twice before using whatever media to call each other out over choices that are too personal to even have a judgement on!
  2. Every other person has an advice for how to raise perfect kids. or how to handle picky eaters and what should be the way we handle anything and everything! SO much advice that sometimes you feel choked up because of ALL of it!
  3.  The lure of the gadgets is so so prevalent, we are the smartphone moms, we also have smartphone kids who know how to navigate the phones better than us,
  4. We are mid way between leaving the old tested methods and adopting a more research based, sciences based child rearing experience and we have so many myths to bust that it becomes overwhelming to sort through it all!

But whatever be it, if you close your doors to negativity, and close your windows to wordly whispers and open your hearts and listen to you instincts, you will know that it doesn’t take much to weed out the negatives and water the positives in the garden called Life!

And Mom Life, even though it is overwhelming and sometimes confusing is something one MUST try and ENJOYbecause we have just one chance at creating this beautiful memories with the beautiful people that we CREATED!

And here are somethings I regularly do, to keep myself positive in these times,

  1. Yoga. I am not regular but when the going gets tough, and the mind is a hurricane. Yoga helps me to slow down and empty my mind. Focusing on my BREATH, makes me feel reall good!
  2. Switch off! I switch off my WiFi and Mobile Data for a BREAK from Social Media many times in a week! I love social Media, but it like everything can get overwhelming! And it can cause a lot of negative emotions!
  3. I Say NO to comparison!  No No No! do not compare yourself with other beautiful, completely sorted mom you see somewhere. Her battles are different and yours are different. Remember *grass is always greener on the other side*
  4. Say YES to your Partner in Crime. Seriously bring him in as your confidant, your partner. No matter how lazy or non helpful he is, your need for help won’t be ignored and SHOW him the ropes of the job too
  5. I IGNORE the lovely overtly helpful people. Say no to them. And Don’t try every new thing someone tells you. If something makes you fret and unhappy, that’s not good for you <3
  6. I Let my Folks help me, if they want TO! “It takes a village to raise a child”, so it is ok, if you want to take help. And if you choose not to, that’s ok! Remember this whole journey is YOURS, and you decide what you want!
  7. Its ok to have a messy home and all that. Your kids are happy and that’s the definition of success, nothing else!
  8. Set YOUR priorities, and work on those.
  9. If you are going to be working, KUDOS! Don’t let anyone let you feel bad for your CHOICES!
  10. You are doing awesome Mama, I tell myself this daily

I would love to hear about the challenges you face!

 

I would take the opportunity to introduce Charu, who blogs at <The Mom Sagas> You can check out her <blog> on the prompt for today.

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Blog Train: My Parenting Mantra – Raising Siblings to Love each other

Parenting Mantra
Welcome aboard this blog train – My Parenting Mantra. We have some awesome bloggers who are going to drive it for over a month. We promise to bring you some enriching contents that will add to your own parenting experience.

Thank You, Syeda [Hyderabadi Mom], for introducing me! Super Happy to get aboard this train chauffeured by one Amazing Mommy Blogger Shubada (Rainbow Diaries)

Parenting Mantra
Aarya and Anjali in Lonavala

Parenting is an easy task, said no Mom ever. And like the day my babies where handed to me in little bundles, I am still clueless. Everyday for the last 7 years, I have woken up with a resolution to be a better mom, and do better than yesterday. And each day I sleep asking forgivance for the mistakes I have made, and forgiving them and me.

So what is my Parenting Mantra?

It won’t be a lie, if I say I have None!

TRUE!

I don’t have one!

Every day, every situation is a learning experience. Each day is a new day and with it comes a new challenge.

Honestly Parenting Aarya was a cake-walk.He is a sweet, dedicated and amazing son. He is careless and lies sometimes but he is wonderful in his heart and loves us to the core.Parenting Mantra

But with Anjali, the parenting was a different experience all together. She is unpredictable most of the times. Sometimes needy, sometimes wonderfully independent and hence there is a “new” situation to deal with each day every day.

But like most parents of Siblings, I always want them to be there for each other. Every day, I remind them that even if I weren’t there, they had to be there for each other. Parenting for me is bringing them up together, but uniquely and to make sure that they love each other even when differences amount!

 

Parenting Mantra

 

I wake everyday, and help them nurture their bond, everyday.

I wake everyday, and help them deal with their differences!

I wake everyday, and help them love each other on our most difficult days.

I wake every day, and make them believe that their only competition is themselves and not each other.

I wake everyday, and try to love and support them more, so that they learn to do the same.

I wake everyday, with a promise to myself to be better than yesterday. Because like every adult in this adult world, I lose it more often than I would like to admit. Adulting was difficult, but Oh Boy! Parenting is just another level of crazy on most days!

 

That definitely sums up my journey in a 400 odd word tribute to my Babies who made me a Mother, to the babies who are my whole world, and to my babies for whom I want to be the best version forever. And to my babies who keep us grounded and so so loved <3

 

I would also love to introduce you to this Gorgeous Mommy friend whose Parenting Mantra will be up on her blog tomorrow <3 Read and show her some comment love too. Introducing Dipika of The Gleeful Blogger <3

Parenting Mantra

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Messy Play

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This is the norm … ALWAYS!
Shaving foam is a favorite!

I am not the awesome organized mom with a pin-worthy home! At any given point of time, I have gazillion chores to do and my house is custom designed by a 4 year old (read that line somewhere and wanted to use it for a long time!). Despite that, I get stressed thinking about the cleaning, about the house in general ( we live in an rented accommodation) if I have to do an activity which will end up being messy!  At 2 previous houses we stayed, we had a one important wall covered in bright colored swirls! I was so mortified that I did not give Aarya a sketch pen for days! Yes, I am that mama!

But as I read so many blogs, I learn.

I learn the importance of it

I learn that it is therapeutic

I see that he enjoys it.

For a while now, I have been trying out various options to *contain* the mess! I tried our plastic table cloth, which is slippery, curls up under him and not good according to him. I also tried a lot of other things, which never really contained anything until our daughter’s crib came. The box was huge and it handled the mess! And this has helped me be more *open* to the mess  too.

Here are some tips that have worked for me over time (apart from the awesome box) –

* The project is messy, it might get all over the place, there will be lot of cleaning required! Keep chanting this in my head 🙂

* Keep a bath ready (shared via Instagram by my friend @cherishedchaos) – which saves my sanity many a times. I just toss his stuff and him under the shower ( and he absolutely loves that)

* Keep the activity as close to the bathroom as possible! You have no idea, Aarya walks around leaving a trail!

* Clean-up immediately, no – matter what! Dried up stuff is never easy to clean.

* Let him wear clothes that I do not mid staining ( this is a no – brainer but I need to remind myself, always)

* Only do activities when Babe is sleeping or is in a good mood and chirping! A crying baby and a messy project is a BIG no- no!

*Steer clear of paints that stain the tiles.

*Cloud dough is super – messy (never ever allow Aarya to mix it up – it will definitely end-up with more oil than is needed – most probably the whole bottle of oil will be dumped!), do it maybe once a month :-/ And tiny alphabets and dough is not good – they just take lot of time to clean as the dough sticks in the tiny holes 🙁

*For sensory bins, create rules! And STICK to them. No bin items should come (intentionally) out of the bin, ever.

*For water-play, a towel always contains a FLOOD 🙂

* Forgive and Forget. Try again and again and again 🙂

 

Do you do messy? Would you share with me any other tips?

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How to Find Fun Activities for Kids at Home – Guest Post #kidstoday

With Summer Holidays in FULL swing right now, I am sure, like me, each of you fabulous Moms are looking for ways to cut down on TV and find fun activities to do with kids! Here again Jan from Surf Excel, India has an insightful and awesome article which she so generously is sharing with my blog friends! At the end uou will find 2 of my favorite videos of he 6 shared via Surf Excel!

How to Find Fun Activities for Kids at Home

As parents, we’re always looking for new ways to entertain the kids – but sometimes it’s difficult to know what they really want to be doing. While we’re aware that children’s day-to-day activities can impact their development into adults, finding the balance between fun and educational is important; otherwise we’re left doing the activity alone while our kids run off to do more interesting things. Campaigns like the Surf excel Kids Today Project, which used clever head cameras to film all kinds of activities for kids from a child’s perspective, show that while modern kids have busy lives, they still love to play and learn as we did when we were kids. So it’s important to explore and experiment to find new, fun things for kids to do that will help engage both their minds and sense of adventure. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, however – here are some tips you might find useful on your hunt!

When you have kids to look after, finding time for yourself is often a rare thing. However, when you do manage to grab a spare minute (and don’t fall straight to sleep!) try booting up the computer and scrolling through Pinterest. If you’re not already familiar with this website, it’s basically an online scrapbook where you can search for pretty much anything – It’s full of ideas and inspiration for things to do. And when it comes to putting those ideas into action, there are plenty of websites to help you follow through, from brand sites dedicated to sharing fun things to do with kids – like Surf excel – to home-grown blogs like this one. The only problem with these sites is dragging yourself away from the screen, as they can be very addictive!

One thing us moms can often forget is how much the world has changed since we were kids – as the Kids Today Project makes very clear, modern childhood can be hectic! Our children will grow up in a very different environment to the one we were raised in. With so much technology at their fingertips, many of us are understandably concerned about letting them use gadgets while still ensuring their childhoods have the same freedom and creativity. Try giving your kids some dressing up clothes or props and just letting them use their imaginations: Unstructured play is an essential part of bolstering creativity! If your kids are still too young to play make-believe, reading books to children has always been one of the best ways to bond with our kids and set their minds off on adventures of their own.

Another stimulating activity for kids is board games. Playing board games with young children can be challenging, but it’s a great way to teach them to follow rules and understand instructions. A fun game to play together is called Kids Act. It’s much like charades, with a twist – you’ll love watching your kids act out the various animals and daily activities.

Inside or outside, making time to play and engage with your child is always a rewarding experience. Hide and seek is brilliant fun when you’ve got other children round to play and, if you’re feeling a little tired, a game of sleeping lions never fails to keep them quiet for a good ten minutes at least! One idea that’s been shared a lot on Pinterest lately is junk modelling. All you do is collect up your old toilet rolls, cereal boxes, plastic containers and clean trash and give them to your children to turn into weird and wacky creations! You will need to provide scissors and glue – so this activity does need to be supervised – but you will be endlessly surprised at what your child can create from a load of old rubbish.

Hopefully, these tips have given you something to think about with your own little ones – whether you’re looking for something to help them learn away from school, or just hoping to entertain them for a few hours. Just remember: The important thing is to have fun!

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Thank you, Jan for this wonderful article! There are 6 awesome videos shared by Surf Excel on there website and here are 2 of my absolute favorite!

Did you know by 2020, half of the world kids will live in cities. What do your kids have to say, share it with #kidstoday! Mine wants more playgrounds with no restrictions!

Give your child a headstart, make him happy! Research shows unstructured play is really important for your child of today! So let them be… let them get messy and let them have loads of fun!

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Guest Post: How to Prepare your Child for a New Baby

Sometime readers of this blog will know that I am expecting our 2nd bundle of joy soon and I just can’t wait for it to happen as soon as is possible (last month blues). But along with that comes a huge concern about how Aarya will take to the newest member, who will most likely become the center of attention for ALL in the family. I have been reading up a lot about this and was so happy to read this article sent to me by Charlotte of Surf Excel. This is a guest post, and a very relevant one for us at this point of time, I hope this helps you some too. 

How to Prepare your Child for a New Baby

When there’s a new baby on the way, it’s time of great excitement for everyone in the family. But for your firstborn child, it may be difficult to grasp what’s happening and deal with all the changes involved. Many parents worry that their child may feel displaced or resentful towards their little brother or sister, and it’s only natural for this to occur; after all, they’re no longer the baby of the family!

Preparation and understanding are essential in dealing with potential sibling jealousy, and the earlier you tackle the issue head-on, the easier it will be. You may not be able to avert your child’s negative feelings completely, but you can help them minimize them by including them in the pregnancy process, talking to them about the birth, and reassuring them that they are no-less special in your eyes. Here are a few good parenting tips on how to prepare your child for the new arrival.

Waiting for the big day: how to involve your child in the pregnancy 

It’s important to explain – in an age-appropriate way – exactly what having a new baby will mean for your first child. Though it’s hard to speak about the future with a pre-school tot, you can describe the event in relative terms, telling them that the baby will be here ‘by the wintertime’, or ‘after Divali’.

Your child may be curious about where babies come from, so try to explain how their new sibling will grow in Mommy’s tummy until they’re ready to come out and meet everyone. Older children may ask more in-depth questions, so consider buying books that are suitable for their age, and try to answer their questions appropriately.

If your child is in a transitional stage – perhaps about to start potty-training or move up to a big kid’s bed – it’s better to do this way in advance. This is especially important if you will need to relocate your first child to a different room to make room for the baby. Your child might otherwise associate these changes with the arrival and misinterpret them as signs you no longer love them in the same way.

Even before the birth, it’s vital to reinforce your relationship with your elder son or daughter. Get out their own baby photo albums and look through them together. Talk about the baby in personal terms, such as ‘our baby’ or ‘your new brother’ to foster that connection early on. Include your child in as many decisions as you can, like picking out baby clothes and discussing names, and take them with you to see the doctor.

The birth: how to make sure your child doesn’t feel left out 

As your due date gets nearer, make a plan of action and decide who will take care of your child when you have to go to hospital. Talk about this as a nice treat, rather than a way of getting rid of them: ‘you get to go see Granny while I’m at the hospital!’

Once the new baby has arrived, try to get your child to be one of the first visitors – preferably while no one else is around – so that they feel part of the occasion – and involved as a family member. It’s a good idea to encourage your child to hold the baby, as this is an excellent bonding opportunity. Don’t worry if your child is nervous or disinterested towards their sibling at first: sometimes they need time to adjust and it’s not really something that should be pushed.

Your house will probably be flooded with family and friends in those first few days, but be sure to encourage them to give due attention to your older child, as well as to the new arrival. Arrange to have a few presents on hand to give to the big brother or sister, so that they don’t feel they are being over-looked.

Growing up together: how to minimise sibling rivalry 

As the days and weeks go by, your child may exhibit signs of resentment or jealousy towards the baby. It is to be expected and you should try not to blame or punish them.

Children may sometimes play up and act naughtily in order to receive attention, or display regressive signs such as ‘baby talk’. While you shouldn’t tolerate bad behaviour, try to deal with the root cause, rather than just telling them off. Make it clear that they are older now; praise them when they show their independence; and reinforce their big brother or sister role.

You can also encourage your older child to interact with the new family member in positive ways, like helping you to change the baby’s nappy, or give them a bath. But, you should also set aside quality time for just you and your firstborn, perhaps during the baby’s naptime.

Remember that even if your child express negative or hostile feelings towards the baby, it’s better to allow your child to be honest. If this starts to manifest itself in pinching or physical harm, calmly remind your child that ‘our baby’ needs to be treated with care. Encourage bonding by being consistent in voicing the message that the baby needs to be protected and looked after by their older sibling – both now and in the years to come.

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Thank you Charlotte for some really great tips! I would also love to read tips from you (my mom-friends of siblings) who have gone through these stages. What are your tips for preparing 3-4 year olds for a new baby and how do you make sure they don’t feel left out and eventually deal with rivalry? Thanks for sharing your views!

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TV

Aarya watches too much TV. There, I said it. When I am tired ( which is often nowadays, I have 4 more weeks to go), I have to study (not much just for exams) or in general when I am just too lazy, I switch on the TV and let him watch. When my husband comes back from work all tired and doesn’t have the energy to give him much time, he lets him play on his mobile or watch videos of Ben 10, Thomas the Train and such. We both are guilty. But when we saw an attitude shift in Aarya – is when we stopped and noticed the bad effects it was having on our energetic child. He wanted us to entertain him in some way or the other ALL THE TIME. TV does that,

“I need to be entertained, play with me, do this for me and just keep playing with me”

” I will not play by myself”

” I cannot be bored”

” I will not use my imagination for pretend play”

” I do not want sensory bins”

“I want to sit and want to be entertained by some format of media”.

This was not the case earlier though. Aarya could play with his cars/trains and use his imagination in one way or the other. Play with the sensory bins for more than 30 minutes at a stretch… and he could entertain himself for sometime. But nowadays, “Bas ho gaya” (Enough, I am done) is the phrase that comes out of his mouth easily and much too fast for my liking.

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This January, my husband and me decided that we are going to be intentional about limiting (not completely ending) his TV time. Videos on youtube were a strict no-no. He can watch movies with us though (Iron-man, Cars and all that). He can play educational games on my phone too, but there was a time-limit for everything. But one of the major things we have decided on, is to not intentionally entertain him all the time, we are letting him figure out on his own what he wants to do. We are letting him get bored and NOT helping him. There is more outdoor play too – which he loves.

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How do I plan to do it?

Being intentional and planning a little ahead of time and sometimes a spur of the moment activity. Somethings that he has loved for a long time, and some new things. Many sensory activities and some quiet play. And lots of open-ended toys, for him to use his imagination around. –> These are my plans. I will set things up and let him go at it, the way he wants. I am not going to CRINGE at the messes, untidy house and such things – I am going to move out and do my own stuff while he explores. Here are somethings we did recently (Note – we did have screen time on some of the said days, but very very little and there are no pictures, mostly because I try to be invisible lol!) –

1) Dump a little of shaving cream on windows and let him go at it. While he is at it, peek in and ask him if he can write his letters (which he already knows). Later on add some wet sponge (or wet cloth) and let him “clean” it.

2) A tiny bit of shampoo in a some water – some cars and stuff that need LOTs of cleaning.

3) When he spends time on his own, I spend sometime with him doing things he wants too. This include – playing his favorite games – Memory Game, Buzz the Bear game etc.

4) Colored rice in a bin (things hidden inside this is an added bonus!) – he loves this. Giving him some utensils, spoons – leads him to *cook*. Adding cars and stuff- that’s another level of pretend play.

5) Doing chores with me. He helps me with loading the washing machine and adding soap powder, making dosas (yep! he LOVES making pancakes), putting food in the microwave to heat ( he never takes it out, he understands stuff is hot), cleaning spills ( sometimes he makes a bigger mess, but that’s ok – I am sometimes in a total-Zen state), making rotis (tortillas) – LOVES!

6) Playdough has not been a success here. I keep it available and sometimes ask him to play with it… trying out variety of pins seen on Pinterest, nothing has helped him play on his own. Still waiting for something to Click there.

7) Adding water to maida (plain flour)- really WHAT is the fun in this? But you can see him do it and mix it and do it again!

8) Puzzles – Eichhorn Cars Wooden Frame Puzzle has been a great investment. I bought a similar looking one and got 6 puzzles (Mater and Lightening McQueen included). Wooden train puzzle from Skillofun was a HUGE hit as well.

9) Lego duplo – Though initially he did not warm upto it, he now stacks it up to make his swords and guns. If we play with him, he keeps going at it.

10) Blocks – I have a set of blocks from Classic toys, Anindita toys, Zenga blocks and City Blocks as well. We have kept them out and he loves making things with his Dad with these. This is still not an independent play item.

He loves me doing craft work with him, loves painting and doodling with me as well – These things we do as often as I can.

I will keep updating you all about my failures and successes. I am glad I am working on my goals (this was my #1 goal) and tackling them gives me a sense of achievement. How do you limit screen-time at your place, have you written a post, I would LOVE it if you share.

Here are some posts that are my absolute favorites for truck-load of ideas –

75 everyday activities for 3-yr olds from No Time for Flascards

Screen-free play ideas from NurtureStore

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