Monday, October 24, 2016

Why I will continue to push my kids to study

I come from a family of teachers - my father, mother, sister, aunt, uncle are all professors, teachers, principals. Academics have always been placed at a premium.

My grand mum would say:
Padhoge likhoge banoge nawab, 
kheloge kudoge toh hoge kharab.
(Study hard and you’ll be a nawab, 
fool around and you’ll go bad).
That translation isn’t too accurate, but you get the idea I hope.

Over the years we have recognised the value of khel kood. We have learnt to place peace of mind, emotional well-being and self confidence over pure academics.

And I’m glad.

With exams going on, the word success has been thrown at the kids rather liberally and that prompted N to ask me the other day, ‘What does ‘being successful’ mean?’ 

So what is success? Ideally success would mean getting to do what you love and making some money along the way. Neither one of those two things is any less important, to me at least.

However, life isn’t perfect and not many of us are fortunate enough to get to do exactly what we love and get paid as much as we would like for it. So we strike a compromise - choosing work which we like most of the time and making enough money too. The money bit is complicated. How much is enough is something the children will have to decide for themselves and I hope they do a sensible job of it when the time comes.

But I’m digressing. 

The thing is, no matter what they decide to do, academics remain the single most certain ticket to a good life for the average Indian. Unless the child is a prodigy, academics offer that most important Plan B.

Besides, there’s a more important lesson to be learnt. Their current scores might be of no importance, nor an indication of what they will make of themselves and their lives, but the habits they form now are. Habits of hard work, of recognising and using their full potential, of  focussing on a target, of giving up inane momentary pleasures for a greater goal. They learn all of that when they sit down with their books every day, day after day, and aim to do well.

Those are habits they will need, no matter what they do or where they go. Whether they decide to be engineers, artists, web designers, actors, zumba instructors.. whatever. 

Not all children are born with these qualities but all are born with the capacity to cultivate them. As a parent it is my job to see that they do. That I do it with compassion and consideration and with their individual capacities in mind is what I have to remember.

The only spoke in the wheel is that I have to do it within the framework of our unimaginative, one-mould-for-all education system. But that is a rant for another day. For now I’m off to celebrate. Exams are done.

Picture credit PIXABAY.

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Three weight loss tips for WFHMs/SAHMs

If you are a stay-at-home-mum struggling with weighty issues this one is for you. I have been fighting to get back to my fitness routine for the past two years (and failing miserably, I might add). But I’m not giving up just yet. As I start off yet again here are three ideas I am finding useful.

Get rid of food
This one took me by surprise because I was never the kind to eat the kids’ left-overs. But what do I do with that cream-roll they refused to eat (I got it for them because it reminded me of my childhood!) or that muffin they found ‘too chocolatey’? (Seriously, how can that even be a problem?) But kids can be temperamental, mine are. And then that sweet, creamy, buttery delight sits in the fridge beckoning me as I go about my chores. Then comes a point when I’ve wrapped up everything, I’m happily tired and I pick up my book and reach out for that treat. And Bam! my best laid plans go up in smoke. That is why I say get rid of food, fast! Dump it or give it away to your maid. Her kids will probably enjoy it way more than yours and definitely more than you.

Get out of the house
As a stay-at-home-mum/work-from-home-mum there are days when I don’t step out of the house at all other than for small chores around the apartment complex or for the gym. I end up living in my comfort-wear for days - tracks or tights and tees. And I don’t realise how much weight I’ve put on till one day when I decide to pull on my favourite jeans or shirt. Also I forget how much happiness I get from dressing up and looking good. In fact that was/is the one thing I miss most about going to work. So get out of the house. Dress up, pick up your laptop and go sit in a coffee shop if you have to but get out.

Sneak in exercise time
This is another toughie because household chores have a way of never ending. There is always that bit of ironing to be done or a cupboard to be sorted. There always will be. You have to look for small 20-minute windows (less than that doesn’t make an impact for me) and sneak in exercise time - a short walk, a few situps, some suryanamaskars, a few rope-skips - anything that you love.

Small steps go a long way in the fight with fat. And now as the sun comes up I’m off for a walk. I’d love to hear from you. What worked for you in your fitness journey?
Linking up Mackenzie at Reflections from Me. She talks of her fears and vulnerabilities as a mum and the hundred small things that lurk in our heads all the time.

And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

A less than perfect role-model

You know the trickiest part of parenting? The part where you become a role model for a tiny human, or two in my case, whether you like it or not.

Never in my life have I striven to be a better person -- with better habits and a better attitude --- as hard as I did since I had the kids. That, without even being aware of it.

The idea that someone thinks (at least for the first decade of his/her life) that you are the epitome of perfection, aims to be ‘just like you’ and is watching you all the time and copying you too is unnerving to say the least.

Years in the hostel and then with just the two of us - The Husband and I - at home made us lose touch with many ‘good’ childhood habits. When the twins came along they sprung right back up with a vengeance.

To begin with we got into a proper schedule. No lounging in bed till 10 am on weekends or staying up late watching movies endlessly. First it was because unexpected changes made the kids cranky and then later simply because that was what suited all of us best.

Next we purged swear words from our vocabulary - no shits, no craps, no damns. Two tiny toddlers lisping them out at us was more than we could handle.

That was just the start. I realised it was easier to get them to do things if I did them first. If I wanted to them to eat at the table (and not in front of the TV) I had to do that myself too, if I wanted them to not go barefoot I had to wear slippers too, if I wanted them to speak a language well I had to give up the mish mash I often slipped into.

They even made me challenge the non confrontationist in me. I learnt to speak out when they were wronged not only because I was way too angry to let it go but also because I didn’t want them to sit back and accept bad behaviour or unfair treatment.

I changed. A lot. However, it’s been ten years since they were born and it does get exhausting. Much as I would want to be this other person permanently, all the time, I realised I simply could not — even though she was a far better version of me.

Some of my childhood habits came back and stuck for good but some I gave up along the way.

Mercifully the children are growing out of the ‘mama is perfect’ mode. And that is a relief, at least for now. I know I'll be regretting it soon enough as they move to the 'You don't know anything, You don't understand' phase. But until then I am glad I can let them see that I am not perfect and that they don't need to be either. And yet that doesn't mean I'll stop bugging them or that they don't need to keep trying their darndest.

I won't obsesses about it, though. As long as the basic values are in place - honesty, loyalty, empathy, chivalry - the rest shall follow in good time.

Picture credit: Pixabay

Monday, October 10, 2016

Forecast for the day

I believe in astrology. Actually, I’m a convert - a relatively new one - since yesterday to be precise. Here’s how that happened. I woke up yesterday morning in a fairly happy frame of mind. Today the kids have their math paper and we were almost done with the portion. Then I happened to glance at my forecast for the day. Here’s what it said.

(The atmosphere and vibes at home are peaceful, and even if an argument takes you by surprise, your manner of reacting will soothe and heal.)

It only confirmed what I thought the day was going to be like. What could go wrong? The kids’ portion was done and we had the whole day ahead of us to revise.

Or so I thought!

I forgot how very fickle Math can be. Maybe the children were distracted or overconfident or simply had had enough, they just wouldn't get their sums right. It seemed like all the practise of the day before had been wiped clean. After a point they refused to do any more. I was loath to give up because I knew they could do it. However the more I pushed the more they resisted.

That's the point where things would have gone downhill had I not read that forecast. But however much an oxymoron it might seem, I was prepared to handle the ‘surprise arguments’ - to soothe and heal. :-) :-). So I let go for a while and by afternoon things were beginning to fall into place once more.

That is how the day’s prophesy for me came true and I turned into a believer. 

On a serious note I think the magic of astrology lies in believing as does the magic of success and achievement. Had my forecast said, something like Arguments-at-home-will-mess-your-day I would have probably believed that as well and despaired. But I didn’t. I hung onto my impatience because I knew I was supposed to be having a peaceful day.

This, I figured, was quite a neat little trick - one we could use with the children. All we have to do is to make them believe they are awesome and they’ll really make themselves awesome.

I’ll be looking up my forecast everyday now and making it come true, subject to the fact that it says something good. If it doesn't, I’ll be writing my own to make sure I have a good day everyday.

You can write yours too. Have a happy week.

and with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.



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