Compartmentalise

I shall share some advice/wisdom. My brother had spoken to me about compartmentalising my thoughts while I was in Dubai earlier in the year. I thought, must be easy for men to do that. We women especially moms are multitaskers, to the point that if we don’t have more than one task at hand we will add one.

But there is a lot of power to this phenomena. There are so many thoughts rummaging in our minds, most are clashing in intensity, and positivity. I very often find myself frazzled and frustrated trying to manage all the duties, and responsibilities I have on a regular basis. Not to mention any emotional drama that may be playing in the head.

I have a tendency to actively tell my brain to delete stuff. This may seem rather weird, scary even. But it’s my coping mechanism, I tell my brain to start forgetting certain experiences, incidences, words heard and people. It gives me a great sense of control over my life and emotions. So compartmentalising to be able to focus seemed like a sane thing to venture into. And man it works. I am a visual person, I simple have figure out an image for all the many things in my brain, image code them basically and then just focus on what I want to. Like switch the lights off on the ones I don’t want to think or work on.

If you are able to compartmentalise your brain effectively you will improve the quality of life and double up productivity. Right now I have several things on my mind like, assignment submissions, school work, sunday school,blogging, vacation in dubai, and other personal distractions. But I have found that mindfulness, and a little positive approach on understanding what’s in your brain can do wonders. It gives you the faith that you can manage your shit, and manage it efficiently. Potential will be achieved in all departments if you’re focused.

Try it and let me know how it works out for you.

Would you kill the queen to crush the hive?

I work at a school. And one of the best experiences being around young human beings is, you kinda don’t grow up. You are constantly reminded of your adolescence, your childhood, your teenage issues. You are almost forced to be in that phase of your life, reminiscing constantly, some conversations get you nostalgic about your own uniform clad school days.

CAM01338And as a counselor for me it’s all about solving problems, providing clarity, support, unconditional love, a safe environment for children to just let go and express themselves. I think it’s crucial for children to know that there is always going to be someone there for them, through thick and thin. And this someone isn’t always going to be an adult, a good friend can go a long way. When I was in school, there were times of loss of clarity, a feeling of struggle to own your life, take control, choose your own path etc. And this particular song used to describe that feeling. That realisation of not just the struggle, and important of taking control, but the significance support plays in the whole drill.

I listened to music in those days not for the actual music, but lyrics. And this song has powerful lyrics. My personal favourite lines from the song are not in every version of the song.

‘Would you kill the queen to crush the hive?

And would you choose water over wine, hold the wheel and drive?’

The song is written beautifully, and the chorus signifies the importance of being there for your friend (or family, or lover), no matter what decision they make:

incubus

Have there been any songs that have had a special relevance to your life growing up?

My white and clarity

It’s really odd when you’re thinking about something and suddenly you read about the same. There’s an overwhelming feeling that takes over you. I have experienced two such situations or phenomena recently. One of which I experienced just today. But we shall go in the order of occurrence for respect.

1. I have always been the loud one, when it came to enjoying, having fun, motivating someone, but never when it came to problems that were my own. I like to solve them on my own, I like to be patient, and be supportive via space and silence. I pick up on energy very quickly, I know by just walking past a person how they’re feeling. This sense gets heightened when I know the person. This is an area of my potential, and I believe that people like me bring comfort, there’s a reason why I am able to be a good counselor and comforter for students and friends alike. I will be the quiet, patient ear. And I have been treated unjustly. And well in the midst of all the sad drama I came across this quote of Ernest Hemingway, and it was the pure expression of what I was going through. And somehow it made me feel good that a man (especially) is capable of understanding an experience women face on a regular basis, especially in family life.

ernest hemingway. suffering

2. My maternal grandfather was a spiritually blessed man, people used to come to him for all sort of ailments and he used to recite prayers for them and comfort them. I never asked him any future telling questions, I didn’t want the ‘grandparentness’ to go away from him, because no matter what he would be my nana first. Anyway, once he has asked me a question, he asked what it is that I want to see the most in life. And I responded spontaneously as it was something I had thought of previously and I knew the exact answer. I said, I want to see a lot of ice, all white around me, me in the center of white purity. I related that to ice, as I have never experienced snow. And his response was, well it was more of a nod and appreciating bafflement. He didn’t say anything, but he looked impressed. I didn’t ask ‘why?’ because that would break the ‘grandparetness’ code I had set up in my head. Today I was going through the 600 odd pics from last evenings madrasa event, and I saw this one pic and went, ‘wow! this is exactly the white purity and surrounded by whiteness I was talking about, and there’s no ice!’. And a feeling of complete beauty took over me, I smiled into the picture and tears came to my eyes. I found my white.

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I hope in life we are able to find the courage to not just try to find the truth but fight for it. So many of us live under the pressure of a conformist society, just trying to get through the day that; we forget that there’s a higher purpose to achieve. I have found my white, and I have faith in those who believe in moving forward, and aren’t afraid to stand for the truth. Stand up for what’s wrong, and most importantly refuse to be silent sufferers,because we know for a fact that; not all will realise that our patience, our silence and our strength is actually meant for the change, and not acceptance of dwelling in the problems.

Happy strength mommies!

Moving forward leaving FB behind

I have been under a dark spell these couple of days. There are many decisions we make in life, and don’t regret, however over time negativity gets attached to them when we look around and get exposed to the world. Life isn’t meant to be all candy floss but we as humans always tend to want perfection. Perceived perfection of anothers life is the worst, it gives rise to unrealistic hopes which eventually take over your emotions and leave you confused and lost.

Image courtesy insidermonkey

Thinking regularly, pondering over life, trying to pick up on patterns of stupidity help us to be wiser. I am a big fan of thinking. And I realised that finding time was becoming an issue with each passing day, and my list of to-dos be it domestic or personal were just increasing. Facebook has been taking up a lot of that time. Meaningless, unfruitful browsing. I decided to quit, just to see if it makes any difference. And it did, within just an hour, when I didn’t have that tab to open anymore, I started to browse for information, read more, explored the internet, spent time with the daughter. I felt good that I didn’t get any updates on the fabulous life of the many “friends” I had on my list. It’s sad when we live our lives just to show them off on the web. We are deliberately making an effort to live the life of a show off, with good or bad intentions, doesn’t matter. We have been consumed by taking pics for the sake of posting them up, we are losing moments trying to capture them on film, and eagerly tweet/fb/instagram them. We are living moments via the net, and it’s not normal, it’s not human and it’s not fun. It’s just not.

What was bothering me was the bombardment of information that I wasn’t keen on receiving, there isn’t envy when I see fellow school mates succeed. But there’s a pinch, the question of ‘what are you doing?’ and ‘what have you accomplished?’ and I realised that I don’t deserve to scrutinize myself. Truth is my age mates don’t understand what I have accomplished because they’re only now getting married (at-least most of them). They can’t appreciate or value motherhood, the hardwork that goes into it, the level of accomplishment that it is. And I can’t blame them, and I am happy that they’re entering marriage when they’re stable, emotionally happy and ready for it. Then again, I don’t need to build issues, and then waste time trying to resolve them. It’s not practical, it’s not what I need in my life. And as adults, life is a series of constant decision making, and the older you get the more complex these decisions become, the more effect they have on others and most importantly they start defining you more.

I realised that I am way more happy to live in my bubble than be consumed by other people and their lives. I don’t have a lot of friends in Hyderabad, actually I can count them on my fingers, on one hand! But I don’t need friends sitting in a different country who can’t benefit me in anyway. We are connected via news through fb, but in reality half of us don’t give a shit. We would take maybe 2 minutes out of our lives, if we found out a fb friend died. Harsh truth, it’s bitter, it’s a reality bite. You want to surround yourself with happiness, and love, not the illusion of happiness and love that the internet provides. Anyway, my philosophical self is happier without fb.

I am moving forward, and focusing on myself, as it is being a mom takes that whole segment off your brain, it’s a whole exercise that requires warm up and appointments with your brain to think about your own happiness and life. I speak of fb as though it’s a breakup,hehe but it’s just been a weighing chapter of my life that I want to close and never revisit. I don’t have time in my life for that, I only have time for me and my family and happiness.

working it out through a work out.

These days the stress is getting to me a lot. The everyday routine, the dead lines, the responsibilities, it’s just a mixture of no break and full hard work. One of the issues that has been consistent is my weight. After Batool my weight transported me into obesity, which is not at all normal for one pregnancy to take you from 53 kilos to 85kilos. And no one bothered to make sure I was healthy, in fact I was constantly told it was normal to become this fat. I was naive enough to believe, as it is Batool was a preemie and I totally forgot I was a human being in the process of taking care of her. It’s just recently say in the past 2 years that I’ve had time to look at myself in the mirror for more than 5 seconds. And I hate that I am still overweight and that losing weight is so bloody difficult. I’ve seen my cousins get to pre-baby weight by the first birthday of their child!

Anyway, recently I have been losing weight, I traced my way back to the days that I was of normal BMI, and tried to compare my past lifestyle to the one I am living now. And well, I realised I’ve been eating like I am pregnant, because I got habituated to eating larger quantities. I also don’t have as much exercise as I did then, and I don’t mean going to the gym, I mean climbing of stairs, running around the house, skating, cycling, playing table tennis and other sports. I have since the revelation decided to fill this void. Many young girls start to feel there’s a time in your life when you just don’t gain weight like when you’re in school or college but that’s rubbish. It’s not “the time” it’s how active you were. After marriage most women don’t have 2 or 3 floors of stairs to climb to classes, or sports period, or visits to the parks with parents. It’s a lifestyle issue not time. We can find endless excuses, we can live in denial but always unhappy, the jiggling fat reminding us of the person we have lost.

Anyway point being, I have finally started to make a change, and right now this is the exercise I am doing at home.


I’m not putting pressure on myself, cos the aim isn’t weight loss, it’s a lifestyle change.So the slow I am to more committed I will be after I eventually reach my target weight. I am presently 67kgs, and my end aim is 55kgs. I don’t want to be at the border of Normal-Overweight BMI, I want to be safe, I want to be able to eat candy, eat them lovely chocolate cakes and not be worried. I am not a film-star, the only expectation I have with me is a realistic one. I want to have energy and stamina to be able to play with Batool. I am only 25, I don’t need to feel  50.

Here are few thoughts that motivate me:

1. You won’t have issues looking for your size in clothing

2. You will feel younger and stronger emotionally

3. No more jiggling!

4. Just do whatever you can, whatever you can

5. It’s your body, no one can help you but yourself

6. Women across the globe have children, blaming the child for bad health choices is unfair

7. My daughter deserves a healthy mom

8. I deserve to be confident and happy

9. I will get better sleep at night

I also try to focus on the people who haven’t seen me for a long time to get proper feedback. Like mom, she travels to Hyderabad with a few months gap, if I can work enough to show ANY difference which is visually noticeable than it’s good enough. Also, the appreciation element makes you feel proud, after all exercising is hard work.

What motivates or demotivates you from being healthy?

 

A minimalistic life- Rambling away

I despise clutter. Over the years I have truly found my style, I used to be a total tomboy layering clothes, mixing and matching, this was reflected not just in my clothes but also my room, study table etc. But I have changed, Pinterest can do wonders to your taste, and add motherhood to the chaos and you know you have to cut down on everything.

Image courtesy fengshui

It’s difficult though, I have mastered the art of donating or simply getting rid of things, I try not to think too much, the more you think the more time you give yourself to change your mind. My mother has this issue, I did too, sentimental attachment to everything. Saris, broken watches, books, rusted picture frames, old fashioned bags etc. the list is endless. My mom can’t part from spoons, water classes etc as well. I hoarded too, but that was more like a habit, I wasn’t consciously keeping any of the things I did keep, there was no reason, no ‘sentimental attachment’ nothing, It was just the way I was raised I guess. But I am not like that anymore. And boy am I glad. In the end you’re not going to take all of that to grave, there will be so much confusion for your children to sort through the junk you left behind. The more you hoard the more you hoard, there’s no two ways about it.

I’ve realised the only practical way to live is to live like a minimalist, and I struggle the most in the wardrobe. Us Indian women have two wardrobes, Indian and Western. That’s a lot of wardrobe to manage, not only is it financially annoying, it is super difficult to maintain no matter how big your closet is. I hardly wear Indian ethnic wear, so I take all joy in distributing and donating it all away, but right now I’ve come to a point where it’s too much. Everything I have is either new, or I like a lot, or will definitely get a lot of wear out of. Yet the quantity is large, not to mention my mom buys me Indian wear, I don’t shop for any of it, I have no taste in that genre of clothing. Every time she comes from Dubai and reminds of a particular dress my mind goes “oh oh! I gave it away”. And with clothes you just can’t say ‘ I misplaced it’ like a freaking pen. Then it’s a big blasting from her, can you blame her? So I tried to nip it in the bid this time she came, I told her to stop buying me clothes period, unless I specifically ask her to get anything, I extended that request to Batools clothing too. She has a tendency to not just buy a set but a whole suitcase!. She didn’t take that very well, but I guess it’s the only way. I can’t be forced into hoarding, and ‘not having enough space’ is not good enough for her. To her my western wardrobe is useless, and vice versa for me!

Point being, your home, flat, bungalow, castle or whatever it is you reside in, should be clutter free. It should only contain what is necessary. You will always have money to spend on important things, plus you’ll never have to feel like you have constantly sort through junk. Hoarding usually starts when you already have a lot of junk and just don’t now where to put it, so you just let be, because it’s too much hassle to figure out what to do with it, the thought of throwing it away simply doesn’t occur, or seems very difficult to digest. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Monthly cleaning always works, especially if you’re a mom, children grow out of their clothing super fast, it’s best to only keep those things that you want to give to your child when they grow older for memory sake, everything else should get donated. You can always buy more clothes when your next baby comes, till then many many children can benefit from them.

2. Purchase only what’s essential for your kids, we are made to believe kids require a load of clothes, when they don’t. Wash the clothes frequently buy good quality clothes or clothes on sale. The child won’t complain, and when they grow up look back and complain it’s going to be too late anyway 😉

3. Don’t buy anything for the purpose of storing it, like books unless you already have plenty space available and know exactly what you’re planning to do with them few years down the line. Donating books to your local school library is great. Even your childs books, they grow out of their books too. It will be a while before your kids have books they can store too.

4. Manage your space, look at how much space you already have in your house before deciding to keep things. You have space of one shoe rack but you want to keep 20 pairs, it’s going to make you mad.

Image courtesy kouhl

5. Buy only what you can store. don’t buy clothes before buying hangers to hang them, don’t buy shoes without making space to keep them etc.

6. If there are things you haven’t used for over a year, even if it’s a knife, chances are you didn’t need it in the first place, GIVE IT AWAY.

image courtesy kveller

7. Get used to giving things away, in the end they are just things. non-living things.

I am trying to get my daughter to be minimalist. If you only need one box of crayons, then she will get only one and be responsible for it, I will of course keep in hiding a spare box. But the child should learn to value what she/he has. Toys too, most kids have too much toys, too much of left overs from many games, get rid of the half missing pieces, they just add clutter. The child too gets confused about what to do with random pieces of toys from various kits.

8. Teach them to organise their toys after play, not just put them in one place organise them. All toys should first go into their respective bags/boxes/cans/ etc before they are thrown into the main toy box or room. This is HW for you, make sure there are different boxes for each toy set. The kitchen set shouldn’t mingle with the animals, there’s no logic to it. Jigsaw puzzles should always go into a box or (I love) zip lock bags. The boxes in which toys actually come in are useless, they break apart in two seconds. Unless they’re the ones with the screw on tops or containers, keep those. Don’t expect the kid to manage random cardboard boxes, it’s not going to happen. Plastic is the best, a trip to your local ‘china bazar’ should do it, get cheap ones, nothing expensive or airtight required 😉

Image courtesy organisemyspace

The earlier in life we teach our kids about a minimalistic life the better more self sufficient they will be. There’s not doubt about there will always be things we will have when we don’t need, as long as we have the strength to let go of them when need be it’s fine.

 

The back burner life

When you just hear the confirming news of pregnancy, everything in life takes a back seat. We as women, let me correct that Indian or Hyderabadi women tend to shift everything to the back burner, surround ourselves with baby thoughts, baby shopping, baby everything even before it’s born. We throw ourselves out of the window like we never existed.

And years later…..many many years later when the kids are off to college or married and settled, we wonder who we are. I’ve noticed younger moms tend to get these thoughts way earlier than moms of past. We leave everything, abandon our identities, our to-do list of life becomes a mere wishlist. But why?, why do we assume defeat so easily? Why do we not pause between the nappy changes and think. Why do we not think about our lives, because lets face it, a happy mom, a content mom is a great emotional support for any child. We don’t realise that by giving up our lifes goals we become bitter inside, we change, we are resentful, frustrated. Not to the mention the unsolicited spice of the extended family, friends or cousins that adds to our misery and negative thoughts.

The bottom line is, there are two burners in the front, try to balance, try to give yourself priority once in a while. Try to balance, be happy, be content, be stable, be YOU. Our kids are living a different life, they will ask us why we made the choices we did in life, they will be bombarded with thoughts from their peers of what does your mom do, or what did your mom give up. Lets make sacrifice very clear from accepting defeat. There’s no need to give up every single dream, and goal in the name of ‘sacrifice’. Children grow up and within a couple of years are independent. They don’t need the amount of crazy that you are willing to ‘sacrifice’ and provide for them. The more independent you make your kid the better off they will be.

The best mother is the one who is a good support no matter where in the world the child is, no matter where in the world she herself is. We live in a world where modes of communication are abundantly available. We live in a world that demands us to look beyond our society, beyond our unchanging mind set, beyond the negativity we surround ourselves with. If you can’t do exactly what you want to, there are always bridges you can cross slowly till the children are ready for you to go full time with your passion. And this isn’t about a job, it’s about anything you like, reading a book, meditating,studying, doing crafts, decorating the house, volunteer work, doing social work anything. You are liberated as a mom, not a slave of the tag. Do what you like.

My point is that there’s no excuse. The world is already sad place and we don’t need sad moms to add to that. We need happy moms, satisfied moms, emotionally stable moms, moms who are role models and an inspiration to others; not a sad story based on sacrifice. You control your decisions, you control your happiness, your control your life. Control the amount of giving and taking, take control of you.