Webinar on expressing milk and Little’s Manual breast pump

I was very young and naïve when I had my daughter. She was a micro preemie, and I was getting a grip on not just being a mom, but also running back and forth to the NICU. She was too little to be able to suckle on her own, and that was the first time I consciously thought about pumping milk. You see, it’s ironic that for years we have been surrounded by women who have given birth, and have breastfed, but we still don’t know much about the subject. Or, at-least we don’t speak about it as much. I learned a lot along the way, the internet helped me, the doctors too. I was super glad to attend a webinar by Dr. Asavari Dongre on ‘Millennial mothers and breastfeeding challenges’

Gynecologist, Dr. Asavari Dongre started off by discussing some undeniable facts. Motherhood has forever been challenging for all moms. There are plenty struggles that I share in common with my mom, and fellow aunts. However, as moms of this generation we definitely have access to more information, not restricted to parenting, pregnancy and mommying, but also when to venture into parenthood. We have options, and many of us have the support system, or simply the guts to follow our instincts. I however was only 20 when I had my daughter, and my biggest struggle was breastfeeding, because I simply couldn’t! My daughter was a micro preemie whom I fed breast milk, but because she was tiny and weak to be able to feed on her own; I was left with no choice but to pump. Awareness on the importance of breast milk is crucial for all moms, regardless of age. The milk constitutes all the necessary nutrients in perfect quantity, which protects the baby from infections, allergies, sicknesses, cancer, diabetes etc. It’s easily digested and tastes perfect for your baby.

Breastfeeding has plenty good effects on the mother too; it helps in weight loss if diet is balanced. It also protects the mother from breast and ovarian cancer. Risk of Type 2 diabetes is also reduced. Probably the best is that the mother and baby get to bond with each other. As the choices for everything in life increase, moms are making conscious decisions and preparing to breast feed their babies. Gone is the time when you had to skip feeds because you weren’t around, or because you were out in public; you can pump in advance and take it along, or leave it with the baby sitter. This will enable the new mom to be able to get a little extra sleep, or go out to run important errands or simply just have some well-deserved ‘me time’. Dads can feel involved too by feeding their infant the expressed milk.

As the webinar proceeded, Dr. Asavari informed us about the proper way to store and use breastmilk. Breast milk should be stored at the back of the refrigerator where it is the coolest; it can be stored for a couple of hours in such a temperature. When feeding the baby, it has to be thawed in room temperature water; breast milk should never be heated in a microwave or thawed in hot water. It can however be kept in a bottle warmer which brings the milk to the right temperature without spoiling it. Expressing milk can be convenient for moms with multiple children, pumping milk helps from dealing with engorgement of the breasts, and it helps build supply if your baby is fussy or isn’t feeding on regular intervals. Babies who drink milk expressed and directly from the mother tend to accept both options readily.

In the webinar we were introduced to the Little’s Comfort Manual Breast Pump and its features. I discovered through this session the significance of having suction control on your breast pump, as it is this natural suction that not just helps in expressing the milk, but also initiates let down. The Littles Comfort Manual Breast Pump has 5 suction levels, the mother can find the one that’s most comfortable for her. This is due to the SFR technology in the pump, another stand out feature of the pump are the two modes of expressing milk i.e. stimulation and expression. The pump comes with silicon massaging pads that protect the delicate skin of the breast while using the pump. The pump is safe for the baby; all its parts are BPA free. There aren’t many tiny parts to the pump, and assembly is easy too. If you’re looking to venture into breast pumps, do give the Little’s Comfort Manual Breast Pump a go and see for yourself.

The last bit was a Q and A, Dr. Asavari was patient to answer the many questions we moms had about breastfeeding, the Little’s breast pump and other related queries. I was glad and happy to use my blog as means to share what I have learned and spread the love.

Minimalism according to me

Minimalism and the lifestyle has been catching up. Youtube is filled with videos and documentaries on the Minimalist way of life. You watch a couple of them and you kinda sorta get an idea of what they’re trying to tell you, but then it starts to seem black and white and depressing. It’s difficult to ever imagine yourself being able to maintain a balance in your life in that manner.

But I tried to ponder more, on my own, whenever possible. Started to observe my lifestyle, and that of other around me. took mental notes of what I liked and disliked, what i agreed and disagreed with with this new lifestyle. And like always I try to bring all my cluttered thoughts to religion to seek guidance in the right way. Because the base of all my beliefs is that if there’s a right way to do anything my Creator knows it, because He created me and everyone else on earth and beyond. And so I did that.

Minimalism is not out there in that term, but there’s a term that would drive you to minimalism. And it’s a simple concept, a concept many of us have come across way before minimalism itself. Extravagance, in Arabic ‘israaf’. Israaf is not just a disliked activity in Islam, it is also a greater sin (Gunah e Kabira). So, there you go, forget choosing a lifestyle, you may have very well been sinning all this while! hehe.

We have taught Israaf on a basic level to children at madrasa for years, it is part of their ‘manners’ curriculum. And while we teach it m we only discuss it on the surface. Anyway, rightly assuming I don’t know anything about the topic I started reading the chapter of Israaf in the Greater sins book. It’s amazing how we are able to relate to examples as we grow older, and observant of people around us. Their decisions and their doings and how everything makes sense on a deeper, more productive level. Needless to say, I had multiple ‘aha’ moments, and forwarded the link to few people on my whatsapp contacts.

I had never looked at israaf beyond its basic definition, honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it deep enough to realise how much of it I do on a regular, basis. And most importantly,  need to be more mindful of these things. As a parent if I practice these day to day things correctly, it won’t be as much a struggle for my children.

To sum it up Israaf can and more often happens in our time, our physical and emotional efforts, our energy, our mental abilities, our money. In fact, every breath can become a victim of extravagance. If we realise that, and work towards eradicating this leech we would not only reduce wastage, but increase efficiency by putting in efforts where they’re needed. being mindful of israaf can actually enable us to not do it in things you don’t even currently posses. That’s the beauty of this concept. And while we all need to and are ordered to live up to our standard as per our means, we are also supposed to think about those around us who are in need before spending our time, money and energy on things we don’t need, but want.

As a human ending her 29th year of life, I would like to be in a state to be able to pass on wisdom, and gain more each day. Otherwise, it’s an israaf of my intellect. This made me realise how much I have already wasted, never to regain. We don’t see how much israaf negatively impacts our everyday lives on an individual and social level. It’s not a philosophical concept, it’s a realistic concept that every child and adult can relate to. I am so glad that I have a better more clearer perspective on things, another curtain has been lifted from my intellect and I am looking forward to (more than ever before) uncovering more wisdom in the future.

 

Trying food at La Mexicana

I am not a foodie, but when I step out of the house and have planned to eat somewhere the food better be good. As a mother who is the cook of the house I take my meals outside very seriously. It is my opportunity to eat something I haven’t sweat myself into cooking, which is also why I try new cuisines whenever possible or at-least something different.

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With baby Abbas’ demanding schedules it has been rather difficult to get anything done, let alone going out for lunch or dinner. I got a good reason to break that jinx when La Mexicana invited me to taste some of their food. Going all the way to KPHB from old city was 100% worth it, the food, ambience, staff everything is just wow at the place. Here are some of the dishes I tried:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bean Fritters- They were crispy and filled with beans and cheese, just yummy.

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Nachos Rancheros with chicken- in every bite the black beans just gave a burst of flavour I have never tasted before. The crispy tortilla chips and the cheese with the pica de gallo topped with the chefs custom made sour cream is just wow. It is a must try appetizer. I must say, for an appetizer it was pretty filling even though me and the husband shared it.

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La Burrito-half of the burrito was taken home for two reasons, one; we couldn’t just manage to eat it all, and two; we had to have people at home taste it. It is my sincere advice to order a take away for family while you’re there. The burrito is basically a large flour tortilla wrap which contains the black beans, salsa, rice, Mexican cheese and chipotle ranch dressing. Ours was with chicken, there’s vegetarian option for all their dishes.

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Quesadillas- This has to be my favourite dish served at La Mexicana (Although I haven’t tasted the whole menu). The flour tortilla is grilled and gives a slight crispiness and the  grilled peppers give it a rustic flavour even though they retain their juiciness.

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The next two were tried with a purpose, I could not have left without exploring their salad. It looked super appetizing in the pics on their facebook page. hence the Southwest Chipotle Salad was dug into. It is difficult to find salads that don’t make you feel like you’re missing out on flavour and good ingredients, this was obviously with chicken. And I loved every bite of it, till the end I could taste every ingredient, all of them were in balance. It was a good filling portion as well. The crispy Tortilla chips took the salad to another level!

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Enchiladas I was told the chilli in these were imported from Mexico, how could I deny not tasting then? I am not a chilli person but this dish wasn’t going to kill you. I have eaten some really dangerous food in Hyderabad when it comes to red chilli involvement. It was served with a generous portion rice and black beans.

And for dessert the Sopapilla, I loved it because it was the ideal dessert after eating all that food. It was light and sweet but not too sweet, the cinnamon powder and icing sugar gave it a melting texture in the mouth. This dessert should definitely be eaten fresh at the restaurant.

They have an open kitchen and the ambience is creative, there’s plenty Mexican inspired decoration on the walls, even some humor. It kind of transfers you into another place. This is the only quick service Mexican restaurant in Hyderabad and they’re good at what they do. The only problem is that it’s super far. I have been told that they are going to open up more branches in the city, hoping for one in Banjara Hills area (Fingers crossed).

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Totally recommend it, they have a kids menu as well, so if you’re a mom like me, take your kids to La Mexicana and have them experience a different cuisine as well. The good thing is even though it’s fast food, it’s healthy. They make their dishes from fresh ingredients and everything is made to order. Everything I have eaten was just bang on, I am looking forward to tasting their guacamole, they make it only when the avocados are in season, I respect that about La Mexicana, they definitely are focused on providing fresh ingredients to their customers, otherwise frozen avocados could very well be used like other restaurants.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried anything at La Mexicana, and what have your favourites been…

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?

 

 

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!

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Something different happened this year on my birthday. I am no longer afraid to grow old. The feeling is totally gone. I used to always joke and wish anyone on their birthday saying “Congrats you’re one year closer to death!” And while I wished myself the same, I realised that I should be grateful for the year that has gone by, no matter how it went, I am alive, and I have survived the downs and stayed humble during the ups.

Another conscious move that I am making it to think in terms of destiny. What has God planned for me this year, and be excited each day, and be thankful each day of the people and happenings. For surely I do not control everything and I need to be able to focus on the day and make sure if my Birthday didn’t bring me a whole year closer to death, I at least made the most of the few days/weeks/months!

Been thinking of death more often as well, as a reminder of the inevitable returning to your creator.I fantasize more about heaven now, and think seriously about life after death. Not focusing on long term stressful goals, even if it is my education, because you just can’t plan anything.I am going to make an effort to make the most of the present.

How did my Bday go?

Well it was a busy day just like last year, I had a training to do at SAFA. After which the hubby and I had lunch at Spice 6, picked up my red velvet cheese cake from Eclaire and headed home. It was a busy day, the cake was yummy as usual.

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I have to say the packaging of the cakes at Eclaire is beautiful. Eclaire is my go-to place for baked goodness, I love their chocolate cupcakes, and triple chocolate brownie cake, it’s very heavy but if you’re a chocolate lover, you’ve got to taste it!

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I had been told by cousin to visit Spice 6 but I only could get around to doing that recently, and I am in love with their Arabic platter, takes me back to Dubai, it’s so filling and delicious. They are known for their lebanese food, I have been there twice already and ordered the same platter! It’s just yum!spice 6

The hubby couldn’t make up his mind on the birthday present, so I asked him to buy me a stationery obsession I was having, this pen has been in my wishlist since forever, I didn’t want to buy ANOTHER pen without having a good enough excuse. And what better excuse than your birthday!

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It’s a matte black Parker. Lovely!

I am looking forward to life. And not concerned about growing older, going to take each day, one step at a time. 🙂

 

 

 

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?

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.

 

 

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.

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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.