What makes us who we are?

Here’s a thought that always occurs in my head. As human beings we are constantly evolving, and with the increased influence of media we have become even more susceptible to change. Our experiences, our beliefs our values make up who we are. But how do you know what the future holds for you?

I am not the person I was when I was 18, in fact I see more change in me every other day. I can’t make out if it’s because I am willing to adapt, willing to absorb what’s around me and mold myself into that shape. I can’t make out if I was truly meant to be who I am today also. This is where I ask myself, really what is it that makes us who we are?

From my self-observation it has been the people around me. I am an extrovert, and opinions of people, their body language, their sense of interaction is not negligent to me. I am observant and being in the field of psychology, I people watch too. This year I decided to take control over what I become. Because I can’t control what’s around me, living or non-living. But I can try to keep a list of traits that I want to acquire and a list of those I want to let go of. And along the way if I find something interesting that adds to me, I shall grab it. That’s my motto now when it comes to personal growth.

It gets difficult with our mommy lives to be able to think about the ‘you’ that has been pushed aside, everything else comes before ‘you’ to the point that we start to become nonexistent to ourselves. That’s when the society, the people and ideologies around us attack our personalities, and take away some goodness from it. The areas that needed to grow, tend to get stuck, you become weak as a person. And that’s not good.

As a mother I have learned a lesson from all these floating thoughts about what really makes us who we are. And I am going to make sure Batool asks herself this question. Because that will force her to bring things into perspective, what am I and where should I be and how can I get there. The beauty of inner soul is that only you can control it, if you let go of being the boss of who you are, others will grab it, and then you”ll be like a puppet on strings.

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.

 

Where have I been?

I wish I could say hibernation, but no mom will have that wish fulfilled!

988780_548032251956615_778208176_nTime has been flying by, real fast. I mean it’s already February!!!. I have been busy in the past few months with my exams. I have just written my third and final year exams of B.Sc Psychology, and man am I glad!. The exams were in December, my mother had come in from Dubai so that I could study. So once they got over I had a long list of to-dos to accomplish, frankly I don’t even remember what was on them. One thing I am sure of was “me time” which hasn’t happened!.

I had made mental resolutions for the new year, and well I should be honest, I am not really cut out for this stuff. Going with the flow is the only mantra I can follow and that works pretty good for me. However this year I have given a title of exploration of myself and whatever is around me. People, places, things, books, movies etc. Just going to focus on gaining knowledge and pushing myself to do more. This ‘push’ factor is what’s majorly missing in the life of a mom, truth be told, no matter if you’re single or married or with kids, the inner motivation and ‘push’ has to come from you. It’s the only reliable source of motivation you will have, people come and go, thought provoking proverbs are read and forgotten, but the inner zeal to accomplish more in life should always come from ourselves.

The school I am currently volunteering at as a student counselor has been keeping me very busy as well, I had taken a break from it in Dec to concentrate on my exams and got into full swing after the they got over. Got my daughters admission done there too, I am officially going to be a mommy of a school going child! Am I happy or am I happy?!!
Taking admission in a school is a massive deal, so much to consider I guess it deserves a post on its own.

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My daughter who is 3.5 now goes to the sunday school I run. It’s a bit challenging to be in the same premises as your child, they somehow want you to always be with them.It’s a struggle I shall admit, but I am hopeful. This is a major problem with only borns and also preemies. They’re so used to being around their mothers, that it’s a bigger task for them to let go.

I have also been looking into some social work. I am very passionate about education. And truly prefer giving my time and skill to people who need it.

So that’s the update now, I was also facing a lazy writers block, which I am hoping I have now recovered from hehe.

See you soon……

 

It’s not about being pessimistic, it’s about being realistic.

7am wake up time for a mommy, a mommy who wants to make sure that not only do her household responsibilities are taken care of but also her own life exists. That’s right, exists, in the sway of life not only does everyone else forget that we moms are human beings, but they forget to appreciate us.

Then the society wonders how so many women are joining the workforce, well, it’s simple isn’t it, a human being unlike an animal looks for appreciation, motivation, and intellectual healing to move forward each day and do the endless lists of chores for another 24 hours cycle. Moms fall through the cracks. They don’t get appreciated, at work they do because that’s work culture. You motivate your colleagues and you get the same in return. Why has this humanistic value been lost in the household, where the work is the hardest, most unpredictable, and ever so exhausting with no pay or vacation?

So the mom starts to think about herself, some start early on in their mommy hood, some lucky ones know beforehand that they need to maintain sanity via investment in self. Some new fools struggle, struggle for years till they finally figure out that no one cares, and no one’s going to make anything happen for them in return for the slaving she does. It’s not about being pessimistic, it’s about being realistic. And for many the realization comes in a form of regret. A regret they live with in their final few years of life wondering what the hell went wrong, and when. How did life pass by? The kids are old and on their own, lives of many have moved on while you sit saddened by the open nest syndrome, alone in your psychological mess. You’re alone, you always were, and it’s just that you realize it now without the camaraderie of kids around. You, always existed, but you didn’t stop to give yourself respect.

The worst is today’s culture, the compulsion of comparison. The Facebook statuses, tweets, fabulous Instagram’s, the facade of the educated. The desperate need to feel and appear like a celebrity, not wanting attention just trying to deliver a fake story to the world. And while all do this, the moms sit looking at their unwed, still in great shape friends and wonder. They wonder many things, many thoughts; many feelings pass through their overly sensitive mommy hearts. Then they breathe a sigh. A sigh that is often confusing, and then right when they try to figure it out “mommy” yells the kid.

It’s very difficult being a mother, be it a single parent or one with husband. What you do, is phenomenal. It can’t be expressed in words, and you better know that. Know also, that you have more to deliver to the world than kids. Take that aptitude test, continue that education, revisit that craft, and take control of what was first yours-YOUR LIFE.