Good Afternoon Dear Readers,
It’s 1.30 pm now and I am sure most of you might have had your scrumptious meal or a healthy bowl of salad. Maybe, few of you have already satiated your sweet cravings too! Well, for a change I had my lunch too – without my baby crying for feed or signaling to clean his poo or without the elder one asking me to feed him too and most importantly ‘my food being still warm and edible.’
Lately, as I returned to the world of blogging after taking a break for the last 2 months, my inbox got flooded with a lot of messages on Instagram from my followers asking me how am I managing my time with a newborn baby, a five year old and working on content creation, all at the same time? I was also asked whether I had any postpartum depression? And if yes, how am I nailing it?
My Mommy Life
So, firstly let me tell you it’s not easy, ‘I am exhausted most of the times and often in a hurry to catch up with my chores, or finish up reading the book before baby wakes up, or trying to take a nap as both the kids sleep, or gulping up my food hot and quick like I did today!’
There are times when I am lost, confused and feel extremely disappointed with myself and the people around me, but then I keep reminding myself to focus on the present, think about my happiness jar, look at the lovely faces of my children and most importantly I talk to my mom or husband and vent it out completely.
When I became a mom for the first time, I realized that Motherhood is rewarding, yet challenging and it is less about how to parent, and more about how to find balance in your day-to-day life. As a mother caring for my son was easy and came naturally, however, caring for myself proved to be a difficult task. Only then, I realized that I can’t give my all to anyone especially when I’m not fulfilled and taken care of first.
So, the second time I got pregnant, I vowed to myself that I shall put my needs as a priority alongwith the baby. And trust me, this thought has kept me up and running till now. I focus on the things I love including my children. I have taken up Reading Challenges, started a new hobby, enrolled for a new language course and get ready daily despite being indoors.
This year, my motto is ‘I grow, You grow and We all Grow’. So, me, my husband and Ayaansh will be trying new things that challenges us, things that we fear the most, and things that we love and want to do as a family. So, this is year is going to be more of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ moments.
Now, in this post let me share with you moms on how not to go insane, stay happy and alive, ace the motherhood journey like a pro.
Tips To Be A Happy Mother
Stop Beating Yourself Up
During my first pregnancy, I envisioned myself to be a perfect mom – the one who will always be hands-on mother, predicting every move and requirement of my child, maybe say like Jaya Bachchan from K3G. But, few days into being a first time mom, I couldn’t even accurately predict why my child cried, forget being Mrs Bachchan. I tried to ‘push through’ but failed gloriously. It was hard to accept that I wasn’t the perfect mom, but it was also very important to allow myself to heal and grow as a person.
Now with the two kids, I try to be patient and kind, but there are times that I loose my temper or have a break down from exhaustion. But now the difference is ‘I allow myself to feel it, understand it and accept it’. So, always remember ‘You can’t control how you feel, it’s just not possible. So stop beating yourself up. Allow the mind and body to feel and accept it. Heal yourself before healing others. It will work wonders for you and your family.’
Accept your are exhausted and ask for help
I can distinctly remember the moment when I saw those two pink for the first time in my life. I was elated beyond words and with each passing months I eagerly waited to cuddle my baby in my arms. But when I became mom for the first time, all I wanted to do was sleep – undisturbed and I am not guilty of it. Instead I became a mombie (mom + zombie) who was afraid to sleep as various thoughts about the safety of my baby crept in my brains. The result was I was tired, depressed and seriously dull in almost all the pictures. One might ask if my husband assisted me or not, the answer is he did, in fact, he was (still is) a hands-on dad.
So my learning here was ‘To Let Go, Accepting That A Mom Can Feel Exhausted Too and Ask For Assistance Whenever Needed or Possible.’ So this time, I am asking for help, asking my parents and husband to take care of both the kids whenever I feel the need of it. My father helps me with Ayaansh’s online classes, taking him to play every evening, reading books for him while I attend to Hridaan, read a book or finish my household or professional work. At night, when I am really tired, my husband stays awake taking care of the baby while I take a nap.
Remember, they actually say that ‘it takes a village to raise a baby’ so ask for the help of your spouse, your parents and in-laws, and let them handle your baby for a while. Catch up your sleep, your body needs it. And do not forget that you all are one family!
Go with the flow!
People who know me well, know that, I am a little obsessive around doing the things my way. I have fixed plan, I love listing things in my planner (again, obsessive about books and despise the digital way) and have a hard time when things go off track. While I like to follow the routine, I realized having a baby changes it all. You got to feed him when he is hungry and put the other things aside.
After my elder son was born, it became obvious to me that schedules just don’t always work out and that freaked me out. However, hard I tried to twist things to stick to my routine, I failed and it just got me stressed. Gradually, I realized that there is no way I can control what my child may be feeling on a given day, and I have to be willing to change plans at the drop of a hat. It’s a hard thing to get used to but it’s worth it.
So now, I just plan my day and not worry about the timings. This has not only relieved my stress but also has made me calm and I now feel in control of my emotions. Going with the flow has helped me clear my head and get ahead with my day with full of zeal and enthusiasm.
Skin Care is the first step towards self-care
People who know me, especially my close friends and family know that I am not a person who follows any skin care regime. I apply moisturizer when I feel my skin is dry, I seldom use the toner and forget all the masks, serums and scrubs, it’s all done once in a blue moon. I know that this is something I should not be proud of, but that’s how it has been from the start. I have always believed that coconut oil is the best for everything and only apply them on my face whenever time permits and my mood approves. But when I became pregnant for the first time, all raging hormones, nutrient – rich diet, and medical supplements brought a glow to my chubby face. But soon after I delivered Ayaansh, the glow in my face kept diminishing plus the sleepless nights gave me puffy eyes with dark circles. Remember, I was turning into a Mombie!
So, this time I promised myself that I shall be the better version of me. I wanted to hold back some of the pregnancy glow and I decided to stick to a skin-care regime. Trust me, it is working good till now. Everyday when I look myself in the mirror I feel happy and content. This time motherhood seems wonderful. I bet, that if not a Santoor mom, I am definitely going to be young and radiant in the eyes of the world.
Dress Up and Step Out
Earlier when I delivered Ayaansh, I used to stay home wearing my feeding gown or pajamas babysitting him for the entire day. I absolutely loved every minute of it (still do), but spending my day with my hair tied in a bun, wearing the same set of feeding gowns and pajamas made me depressed for sure. Saturdays/ Sundays we stepped out for our weekly purchases, so I used to wait for the weekends where I got to wear my favorite jeans or leave my hair open and feel the breeze. I used to feel so good and accomplished on the weekends.
This time however, throughout my pregnancy, Covid-19 bound us all inside our houses and life went completely online. But now that things are coming back to normal, I do dress up, take adequate precautions and step out for necessary things. I also dress up in my comfy clothes, maintain my hair, apply my lip balm everyday to feel good about myself and look beautiful. Trust me, dressing up is a therapy and for a mom it just elevates the mood and keeps her going!
Cuddle, Play, talk and Cherish the moments as they last
Isn’t it joyful to watch a baby coo and smile at you? Even before I became a mother, I was fond of babies and loved having them around. My sister, whom I have seen growing up right in front of my eyes is eight years younger to me, was the first baby that I held in my hands. Holding your own baby is fulfilling. So hold them in your arms before they grow up. Cuddle them as much as possible, play with them and cherish all those happy moments in your heart.
Generally at home, when I read a book or two for Ayaansh, I ensure the little one is awake too listening to the stories and conversations. Since the last two weeks, we have seen him responding to our talks and story sessions by making various sounds like ‘aa’ and ‘gaa’. As a mother, I get so nostalgic by remembering these moments with Ayaansh when he was a baby. Five years have gone by and he is a complete chatterbox, but his memories with us as a baby is still afresh in our hearts.
Re-kindle the spark with your hubby!
Well, when I say re-kindle the spark with your hubby, I know it is tough after the delivery. Our mind and body goes through so much changes and pain, that it just drains our energy emotionally and physically. But remember, our husbands also go through an emotional phase right from the moment we announce our pregnancy. While the labour pain is borne by us – women, men feel our pain emotionally. It is very important for both to re-coup and heal as a couple too.
When Ayaansh was born, I had my own share of emotional problems that I kept venting out on my husband which he bore silently. Mistaking his silence for indifference, I started poking him. Eventually, with all his built-up and unshared feelings plus me venting out, we broke into a fight, which only got resolved after we spoke our hearts out. I realized he missed the wife in me as much as I missed the husband in him.
So, this time we are prepared. We both know what we expect out of each other. A little hug, or a kiss on the cheek, complimenting each other on looks and on dressing up, chatting at length about our favorite things just keeps us going. It reminds us that we are husband-wife first and then parents. And trust me, mommas having that spark in the relationship not only makes you a happy wife, but also, a happy mom too.
Find Your mamma-Tribe
Remember how excited you were to head out with your friends before you became a mother? Did the memories make you happy and a little sad that, you can’t be doing more? But wait, who said you can’t do it? Dress up, call your friends home if you can’t leave your baby home for few hours and chill out. You still can watch your favorite shows in Netflix, grab the comfortable seats, gossip and attend to your baby all simultaneously. Isn’t that wonderful?
And don’t worry, if that doesn’t happen. You will find your mamma-tribe from your pre-natal classes, your vicinity, parenting forums, etc. Talk to other moms who have delivered a baby recently as you, maybe invite them for a playdate at any of your place. While the babies feed, burp, sleep and have their tummy time or play with their rattles, we moms can gossip all about parenting – busting the myths, clearing our heads out.
You can also go on a shopping spree with your tribe, finding those cute matching or twinning outfits, choosing the perfect brand of crib or diapers, clicking pictures of your kids together and so on.
Finding your tribe, hanging out with them will definitely upift your mood, reassure that, you are not alone and get you going.
Get over the mom guilt and accept you will be judged
As I write this blog, I know there would be many who would disprove the tips written in this blog. As a mom we live in forever guilt, for every action we do or undo there are going to be multiple eyes glaring at us pronouncing their verdict on whether we are good mothers or not.
I breastfed Ayaansh for upto two years and there were times that my family would disprove of it for the simple reason that Ayaansh used to sleep beside me and not with others. I used to cringe at their words, stress myself out and vent it out all on my poor husband. The consequence was a complete cacophony in my relationship with my husband. I was also told to give porridges when Ayaansh was 2 months old to increase his weight (btw, he was in the category of more than the 50 percentile in the growth chart), which I out rightly refused. Immediately, I was a termed as an adamant, know-it-all and arrogant mother. Back then, I had felt bad, cried a lot but luckily had a very supportive and affectionate husband.
Recently as Hridaan completed a month, I was told again by the family that I should be giving him porridges along with breastmilk, which I refused. This time, however, I don’t care about the nasty comments, or frowny faces. I have accepted that some people can never be satisfied and love to judge others. So, I have left them just outside my brain and now there is no more wreckage or havoc in there.
- If you are a working mother – You will be called selfish and ambitious
- If you are a stay at home mother – You will be judged for all the inexperience at hand, for the messy house, for the scattered laundary, etc.
- If you are a single-divorced mom – You will be judged for the inability to adjust and live with a man and so on.
So, remember mommies whenever you are judged upon, accept it and move on. I know it will hurt us at times, but the key here is we need to remember that, ‘People who really care about us, love us and are truly our close ones would never find a reason to judge you. They will be there for you whenever you need them, with their shoulders to support you with, with patient listening skills. These are the people who should matter to you.’ So mommies, ‘stop feeling guilty. You know the best for you child. God has blessed you with maternal instinct which is accurate than all the artificial intelligence put together. Trust yourself and love yourself. Enjoy your motherhood journey.’
Eat, Pray, Love
Eat! I can’t tell you how happy I was today to eat my food piping hot, during the lunch hours without any interruptions. Eating the food at right time, at right temperature is a comfort after you become a mother. But try to establish a routine here by seeking help from your family to babysit your baby. Only if the baby is hungry, feeding him/her should be our priority.
Pray! I can’t emphasize how therapeutic it is! Praying brings in lots of positive attitude, calms our heart and clears the clutter from the mind. A happy and positive mom is what our children need. Babies do pick up the vibrations from their surroundings and tend to get influenced as they grow up. So, as a mother, it becomes our duty to provide them with a happy and positive environment and isn’t praying one of the best ways to do so?
Love! Mommies, it is extremely important to do things that you love. Try to bring your routine gradually, the things that you loved doing before motherhood. It will definitely raise your spirits and motivate you to be a better version of yourself, thereby setting an example to your child.