Postpartum massages, Necessary I say!

‘It’s been 6 years since my daughter was born. And every time I look back at the good and bad I think of the right decisions. We make many as new parents, not just for our kid but also for ourselves. For me the best decision was to get body massages post-delivery‘…..For more check out my  new post  on World of Moms.

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I have a few posts up on WOM that I shared links to on my blog. Comment, Share and Like. If you have any particular topics you want me to talk about leave suggestions in the comments below.

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Ethical education?

I have done my grad through distance education from University of Madras, and right now am enrolled in the masters prog at IGNOU. I hated the experience of the former and just am pushing myself through the masters at IGNOU.

The Indian system of distance education doesn’t satisfy the purpose nor is it as dynamic as it should be. There is no wonder that distance degrees do not hold much value, anyone and everyone can get an admission! I am specifically talking about the field of psychology. People who enter the field end up working to help other people and if their education is going to be sub-mediocre quality, we are going to have sub-mediocre quality people working in the field. Many students I know are pursuing a masters in Psychology with the plans to work with children. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to become a counselor, and sadly we have no quality control whatsoever by the government in this regard.

In the IGNOU masters we have to hand write assignments that will be a min of 50 sheets per subject. The assignments are nothing but a set of questions. I can not understand how that is practical for anyone who is opting for a distance course. Many applicants are not in the flow of writing so much, let’s face it we hardly write with our hands 1000s of words on a daily basis for anything!. They do not accept assignments that are typed. There’s something sad here. India isn’t the only country in the world providing a distance course, universities all over the world are. And they have assignments that are typed, well researched and intellectually igniting. Needless to say, many and I mean many students end up copying their assignments, or paying others to do them. I in-fact even received an sms from someone saying that they have the solved assignments and guides for IGNOU students. Now if that’s going to be the masters holder in the field of Psychology, I would be scared at the level of knowledge of the person.

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We have so many things that need development in our country, but if the education doesn’t improve the future never will. Therapists with such qualifications open their own counseling centers, and once you have a center no one really cares how qualified you truly are!. And this is the truth.

University of Madras has still not issued my degree, provisional certificate etc. I have the TC/Course completion certificate and original marksheets, but that’s about it. I have to constantly write LETTERS to the university, to do what should be in their protocol. Not being in the same city as the university causes great communication disadvantages. Which is why I opted for IGNOU this time around. A full time education, even though was mouth watering for me, didn’t seem like it would be practical, I am at a point in my life where I do not trust Indian education nor the teachers to do a decent job. Going back to college surrounded by youngsters high on life, wouldn’t serve the purpose for me. Intellectually stimulating environment is difficult to find here, even in an intellectual field like psychology.

My assignments are due this month, and so far I only got around to making one answer. And am not interested in submitting assignments that are stupid to begin with.I want to indulge in education, not do it so that I can add it to my name later. I see myself as someone who is so well versed with the subject that I can converse about every aspect of the field; particularly history. May not write exams this year either.Want to be sure of everything.

The sad truth is, there are students out there, eager to learn, but the country isn’t giving them the attention and practical approach needed for them to flourish. And then we complain about brain drain!

What have been your experiences with education in your respective countries/fields?

 

 

Essentials of success

There are quotes that inspire me, every-time I read or even think of them, one such quote is from former president of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam;

The beauty about this quote is, that it is a criteria for you to know what you’re passionate about. You won’t lose sleep over a gig or idea that you’re not interested in. It’s the things that you fantasize about, what you truly want to achieve that you can pass away your time dwelling in it.

To achieve dreams, and be successful there are several things that come into play. For me personally, it has been 1. time management and 2. facing the challenging situations/ restrictions you are in. We are living in a world where a lot of our work can be managed online and work never sleeps. People who have inspired me have been those who know when to do what. There are no timings to emails, do them early in the morning, or later at night. Make the most of the hour that is going on. That’s the major time management lesson. That’s how I understood the ‘Time is money’ idiom. Truly there’s so much that can be achieved, while people look at you and think “how you did it!”, it’s not super-power just practical thinking.

Restrictions and challenges, this is one that required me to change a bit of my personality and thought process, hence it was rather difficult. It’s a phenomenon I still struggle with, because while you will always have 24 hours in a day, you will have different issues to face each day. Unpredictable ones! As a woman, restrictions can be health, pregnancies, children etc. some of these are exclusive to us. I never had a healthy smooth sailing pregnancy so maybe that’s the reason why it was such a challenge for me, also the daughter was 28 weeks preemie! If you work from home, to get the support and understanding from the people around you s very difficult at-least initially. You will notice a lot of now accomplished YouTubers and bloggers talk about what they faced in their initial days, but as they pick momentum people around them started to understand.

I came across this video some time back, and well that’s what inspired this post really. I thought to myself, there are plenty things I want to achieve, in terms of goals. But there are some I have already achieved and am successful in, the thoughts made me ponder over what got me the success with my Sunday school, and in other things in life. And came this post, with my two findings of true success.

Criteria for me will always be to be able to sacrifice everything except your morals and family for your dream. If you’re at that level, where you can give up sleep, a meal or two, a splurge purchase, just so that you get a teeny tiny step closer to your dream, then you’re going good, and you’re going strong. What are your secrets to success?

 

 

 

Patience

I have never in my life heard anyone categorise patience as something positive. It’s always the last resort of the weak, the unfortunate. In fact even when advised, it’s said with

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a sadness, like the most hopeless thing in the world is to be patient.

Well, all this changed when I listened to this liberating lecture on YouTube by Maulana Syed Muhammad Rizvi. I had read a book on patience, which can similar content as in the lecture, however the introduction and explanation of patience by Maulana Rizvi was eye opening. There are many concepts that we taint with our human thoughts, dirty them with our little minds, and spread the notions with people around us. It’s sad, that something as beautiful as patience has been so ridiculously and openly projected as weak.

I have been maintaining a separate book where I make notes of lectures that I attend, or any other meaningful lectures. And few minutes into this lecture, I had to pause, and pull out my book and start making notes. References of such sort and very helpful to me, I also have a small notebook where I write quotes that have relevance to my life, or inspired me, or changed my thoughts. Significant things should be made note of.

It will still take time to truly believe in the power of patience, and practice it in the right manner, and know when it’s too much. But I do believe, most of us struggle with patience, we all go through hard times in life and all of us struggle in the patience period.

I am glad I came across this lecture, shared it with friends and family, and now on my blog.

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Himalaya Diaper rash cream new packaging

I had done the review for the Himalaya Diaper rash cream back in September 2015, and the company has since changed the packaging. The formula and the performance of the product remains the same, I love the mild fragrance of the product, it’s perfect for babies, and absorbs into the skin easily. A little goes a long way with this product. This post is going to focus on the differences in the product then and now, so let’s get into it:

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Let’s start with the packaging, Himalaya now is clearly marketing its baby care products under ‘BabyCare’ this is visible on the box and the tube. Previously it was under the umbrella of ‘herbal healthcare’. The product is herbal no doubt, but there seems to be more emphasis on the baby care aspects, and highlighting through simple marketing techniques via content on packaging.

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New added information on the tube is that the product is; ‘Free from parabens, Mineral oil and synthetic colours’. With the growing awareness among mothers, and consumers in general, more information is always good to compare with other products in the market before venturing out to purchase something for your baby. Previously, the box and tube said that the mildness of the product was tested for baby skin, however now; it has simple points mentioned at the bottom ‘clinically tested. Hypoallergenic’. The company is also trying to reach across to consumers about its product features by simple word tags, like the one mentioned at the bottom highlighted in the signature Himalaya purple ‘Pure.Gentle.Safe’ These are all the three things we look for in a product for our little babies.

Everything else is the same, except the price. In September the product retailed for INR 85 and now it retails for 10 rupees more i.e. INR 95 for the same 50 gm pack.

So how does this make a difference to us? Price is subjective to consumers and affordability; however no other diaper rash cream is available for the price as reasonable box 4as Himalaya. Let’s face it, as long as your child is going to be in diapers, rashes are inevitable, and catering to them shouldn’t be an issue due to price. Coming to the packaging, though crowded with content, it gives all the important information right on top, you need not read the tiny font behind/on the side of the product to get to the important information. Making the decision to purchase a product for yourself is very different from the responsibility of buying for your baby. Information is everything. The box and tube are big enough to encompass all the information, and it’s designed in a tasteful manner. I love the colour combination of the purple shades and the green.

I would recommend trying this product to see if it works on your babies rashes, Himalaya makes products for the Indian consumers, at a price point that is affordable, and the best part is that it’s all herbal. There’s no doubt you will find Himalaya baby care products in general in ‘best seller’ list on websites!

Himalaya Refreshing baby soap Review

The essential ingredient for a bath- Soap! Himalaya sent the refreshing baby soap for oily skin to me, and I have been super late on this post as confessed before, so without further delay, we shall acquaint ourselves with the product.

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The soap is meant for oily skin, however I do not understand if babies or even children have a skin type that early. I guess they’re trying to target skin that needs moisture without any oil ingredients. This soap contains watermelon, khus-khus and neem. It has been clinically tested and is hypoallergenic. They describe the soap on the package in three terms ‘pure, mild and safe’. All of these are very important for babies. The soap is also free from parabens, animal fats and synthetic colours.

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Packaging wise it’s the same as any Himalaya baby soap, inside the card box, the soap is safe in a plastic cover. The soap itself is white in colour, but as soon as you unwrap it, you can smell the fragrance. I like this because my daughter isn’t a baby, and for a 6 year old, a soap that smells refreshing, yet not perfumed is great. As babies turn into toddlers and into little children, the soap requires a little more than just cleaning.  On the package the soap is described as follows:‘Mild and soothing soap that helps the baby’s skin cool and fresh while cleansing it gently. Enriched with: Watermelon, helps cool and condition the skin; Khus-Khus, helps keep the skin fresh, and Neem helps provide skin protection.’

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I like how Himalaya educates the parents on what exactly is the effect of each of the ingredient on their baby’s skin. It is very important for educated parents to not just know the contents but also how they help their child. Since they have a variety of soaps, one can make a sound decision on what their baby’s skin needs.

The directions for use are as any soap, this soap lathers well, and it’s not a soapy lather rather a creamy lather. This soap can safely be used on the face as well. Usually baby soaps tend to melt away even when not used, just in the moisture of the air. But this one stays put. It’s creamy when applying but doesn’t melt away as other soaps do. The package that was sent to me was of 125g, and retails for Rs.55. The 75 gm pack is also available, however the prices seem to be higher than the MRP online, so you may want to keep that in check. The product is safe to use within 3 years of manufacturing.

So what is the verdict? The soap is great; it can be used for children as well because the smell is nice and refreshing and yet not overpowering. I would recommend purchasing the 125g pack, as there is no fear of soap melting. The only downside of the product or rather the packaging of the product is that; there are too many important facts on there. One side the content is vertical and on the other it’s horizontal, even then it looks cluttered, as someone who would be out in the supermarket buying; I’d get a little confused. I understand all of these facts are important, but probably the display or design could change. I love the purple and the little baby in the Himalaya Baby Care logo. A simpler, bullet design would maybe serve the purpose of noting the clinical facts, ingredients, the purpose etc. But then again that’s just my opinion; maybe most people don’t even bother with staring at the packaging, just rip and get the product out 🙂 Overall I liked the product and would give it a 5/5 based on its quality and fulfilling all that it’s meant to.

Have you tried this soap? What has been your experience?

A little inspiration

Gobble down some coffee after opening your fast and YouTube one of your favourite subscribers to chill. I have a tonne of work to do, I have two teacher training workshops coming up, the madrasa starts on 3rd July, my uni classes start on 2nd July and have a pending post of Himalaya, the product stares me everyday. Story telling sessions lined up for my internship, and while I contemplate the to-do list in my head, I went on to Fleurs YouTube channel after a very long time to just chill.

And after watching a couple of videos I stumbled upon this one. And even though she’s basically just talking about herself, and working as a full time YouTuber, I found some inspiration to focus on the tasks I have at hand (Which as I enlisted are MANY).

I admire people who are freelancers, or their own bosses. There’s something more demanding about a job like that, you have to be super organised and constantly prove to yourself that you are just as inspired as you were in the beginning.

In life we may find inspiration from and in people, places, a simple quote, an image just about anything, but the real challenge is always to maintain that level of passion. Especially if you do multiple things, and have multiple responsibilities, it gets rather difficult. Not because the to-do list is longer, but because you have to constantly prioritise everything on that to-do list.

Here’s where my struggle usually lies. Should I first finish work, or blog? should I cook now and then do laundry? Shall I take a nap or stay up and finish the reading work. Add to that parenting and well you’re set for a busy busy schedule.

I liked from this video that she decided to show the side of life of a YouTuber that isn’t all glam. That isn’t as materialistic, and makes you appreciate the efforts that go into any job. The  most successful and richest, people in the world struggle, it’s just that their struggles are not what are photographed and talked about. We only see the greener grass, or rather are shown the greener part of the grass.

What I have learned from expereince is that it is important for us to take time out and ask ourselves every few months if we really truly want the things that we are working toward?, are we really getting there or getting side-tracked? Because as we evolve we may not want the same things from life, and it’s better to know sooner rather than later. It is important for all of us to maintain a balance in personal and professional life, just what our goals in general are, and stick to our decisions. Being aimless is the most disastrous thing a human can do for himself.

It’s always good to hear, watch success stories. And it makes me genuinely happy that people are open to share about their experiences, and inspire others.

 

The sheep in the herd

One amongst many, all doing their degrees and masters and just the same. While this first sentence may resonate with you on many levels, I am talking about the field of Psychology, mainly counseling.

India doesn’t have quality control in this regard, in Hyderabad alone there’s a school pooping up every month, all wanting a school counselor to complete the over all services of the school. It is mandatory for schools to have a counselor, it is important that the students get that kind of support, not just for remedial help, but for emotional health.

But where do we get ourselves registered? Who should a counselor go to for quality check? We do not have a counseling Association, that can license therapists in the field. Anyone who is interested in psychology is able to and allowed to pursue a full masters degree in the field, but no quality control. Passion, and inner wants drive people into the field, some come into it for money (just like in any other field). You will also find courses in counseling taught by people who may have been in the field but do not hold the qualification to be organising such courses. Who is to stop them? Who asks what their PhD is in? we are merely impressed by the ‘Dr.’ in front of their name and presume they may have attained it in counseling, or child psychology…

I have a belief. Just because you have been in a particular field for xyz years doesn’t make you a professional in it. Yes, it’s partly the fault of the country that we do not have a council to keep track and license our counselors, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.I wish to be recognized for my efforts, I wish to me known because I am valuable everywhere in the world not in one country or city. I believe it is important for us to try to reach that level of [proficiency if we want ourselves to be called a part of a field. Right now counselors have it easy in India, I can speak more about Hyderabad, it’s all about generating good clientele. What the client expects from the therapist, what he gets from the therapist is upto the client to decide, but the client has no clue how to pick a reliable one in the first place, they do not even know what to expect from a counseling session! This is even more dangerous when people deal with children and don’t even know the basic skills of counseling children. The intention may have been good, but many children get scarred for life by poor counseling, they lose hope, and trust in adults all together.

Point being? I rather not be in the field till the field decides to give importance to those who are not just passionate about helping people, but hold the qualification and skills needed for the job. I rather do something else in the field, or try to get recognition in another country. Universal recognition. Quality control, not money making.

 

 

Himalaya Prickly heat baby powder Review

Another product that will help your baby from Himalaya Baby Care! The heat is at peak and while we wait and pray for the monsoons to shed some rain, Himalaya brings a soothing product for your baby to battle the heat.

 

The Prickly heat baby powder was sent to me by the Himalaya team, a generous 200gm pack at that. Before I give you a review and overall rating let’s acquaint ourselves with what’s on the products packaging; the prickly heat powder is described as ‘ A gentle formulation that relieves prickly heat and keeps the baby’s skin cool and fresh’ There are several herbal contents in the powder that enable it to fulfill the purpose of the powder.

Yashada bhasma is the anti-inflammatory which helps reduce excess sweat and soothes irritated skin. Karanja helps reduce the itching sensation, Khus grass refreshes the skin and finally neem helps in protecting the skin from infection through antimicrobial action. Usage is simple as any powder just sprinkle on the baby’s skin liberally after baby’s bath, or during nappy change or before bedtime. Powder has to be kept away from nose, eyes and mouth of the baby.

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The 200gm container retails at Rs.125, the product is available in 50gm and 100gm sizes too. Manufacturing date is very clearly mentioned at the bottom of the package and the product can be used within 2 years from the date of manufacture.

On to the Review:

The powder finely milled, and makes the skin extremely soft, and has a cooling effect. The good thing is that it can be applied multiple times a day as mentioned, in the ‘directions of use’. Adult prickly heat powders tend to give a tingling effect which can cause irritation if too much product is applied, but this product doesn’t have that problem. This is a plus point for new moms or just in general for caregivers who may tend to reapply a baby product several times a day. Himalaya has tested the product for baby skin; however it’s good to go small steps with any new product on your baby for safety reasons. Apart from the actual performance of the product one stand out factor I must say is the strong Khus smell, now I am not a fan of Khus in general, and was rather taken aback by how strong the smell was, especially considering that its purpose as per packaging is only to ‘refresh the skin’.  I sneezed a couple of times too, and I have dust allergy, if your baby has any dust allergy you may want to try a small quantity on yourself and see how he/she reacts to the powder. In fact purchase a small 50gm pack and see, if this product is for you. While it says to use it liberally, I wouldn’t suggest so because the smell is very strong. I love the fresh smell of their regular baby powder, so for a company that makes fresh, light products with pleasant smell, I was surprised.

I would myself not use it as liberally, but just to serve the purpose, my husband liked it too. So adults could get mild usage out of the product as well. But it does the job, and if you’re a fan of Khus you will thoroughly enjoy this! Overall I would give it a 4/5.

Times running out!

That’s what I have been telling myself since I can remember. Since my marriage actually. 2008. All I could think of was how much I was missing out on what my peers were doing. Well they were studying, working hard on their education. And while I started my graduation in 2010 after Batool was born, I still felt bad that I was behind my peers.

It took me some time to realise that ‘better late than never’ is a good philosophy to adapt. Now while I pursue my masters, many of my friends have stopped at their graduation and are working. Working away, working hard. While many of them may have an ultimate direction, most of them are just caught up in the job circle. Where I wish to not be stuck for the rest of my life.

I have constantly found myself asking “what have you accomplished?” that question haunts me, while I do genuinely keep moving forward, there seems to always get lost, seem to always never be satisfied. I have realised that is because I do not want to do the ordinary. I keep myself busy and involved enough to be able to update my CV every month at-least with some professional development, I am constantly thinking about the next opportunity to do a course, or attend a workshop to broaden my horizon of possibilities. Few minutes ago I came across this article which talks about the true hard-work required during your twenties.

‘Once you become an Actual Rich Person, with a business drowning in opportunities but short on talent and you deal regularly in financial figures that contain more than one comma, you start to see how this works. It’s easy to have a successful business if you can find really smart people who are willing to do really hard work for you, in exchange for a high salary. But all these younger people seem to just want to sit around and network and have cocktails. All the hard workers already run their own company.’

Reading the above lines of the article made me realise that I have been wanting results way faster than it’s humanly possible. I have certain limitations and challenges that are exclusive to me. Life is difficult, and while I am still in my twenties it’s a safe enough zone to focus on hard-work and aim for results maybe in the 30s. I will turn 27 this July. The problem is to find that pause button, the ‘take a deep breath’ zone so that I am able to recharge and get back into the drift of things.

I think part of my understanding has to now be the fact that I can’t resist adding more and more responsibilities, and expectations on myself. It’s just how I am wired. I work very hard, exhaust myself and crave for a break, and then get back into the cycle of madness. But maybe this time the goals have to be clearer. Maybe now a timeline of achievement has to be marked. No matter what, Multi-tasking is a skill I have command over, the more I do, the more time I am able to make for more things, the more I become organised. The more stationery I have an excuse to buy 😉

Somewhere we all live under expectations from ourselves that are beyond our capacity. These could be related to our family responsibilities, work, education, everyday chores etc. The point is to master the art to edit out, be patient and be human in all of it. I guess this is something that will always be a part of my life, maybe I will never find a place in my life where I would be doing only one or two things without craving for more. At this point I believe accepting it as a positive thing is the only way to be happy about it.

Let there be sanity!!