What Are You Reading Currently

Hello, everyone!

How have you been? A couple of weeks ago on Instagram, I asked you all for suggestions because I was in a mood to read a really nice romantic book. I do not really enjoy the writings of popular modern Indian authors so was looking for either a classic book or a heart-warming old-school love story. I got a lot of wonderful recommendations (mostly The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks which I had already read many years ago). So, finally after much search, I decided to buy Paris for One And Other Stories by Jojo Moyes, the queen of modern day romance novels!

We all know Jojo Moyes for her bestselling book Me Before You (also a movie starring GoT Khaleesi Emilia Clark and dreamboat Sam Calfin). I chose Paris for One simply because it was a collection of 11 short stories, so I could basically experience different types of romance stories in just one book which is a win-win situation for a moody reader and a busy mom like me. This is my first Jojo Moyes book and so far I am loving her writing! Her stories are warm, funny, sometimes dreamy (especially Paris for One which is similar to the Bollywood movie Queen but just the kind of Parisian fantasy romance I love) but overall like a cosy fleece blanket in this crisp winter weather. I am already halfway through and tempted to buy more of her work.

I am also intermittently reading the first proper parenting book that I bought last month and would review it as soon as I am done. It is more like a reference book so I am taking my time with it.

That's it from me. 

What have you been reading lately? 

The Simplest Approach To Parenting

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Parenting in 21st century is a complicated affair. Not only do we have access to information and resources like never before, we also are burdened with the contrasting ‘wisdom’ of generations before us burdening us to do things their way. In this scenario, it is more than often that we find ourselves confused and clueless as to how to go about making the right choices for our child that enables their overall physical, mental and emotional growth without impeding their development in any way.

This happens with me all the time – from what food to give, how much to expose the baby to the ongoing weather, how much playtime, what toys to buy or tools to use to enhance his skills etc. Does this happen to you too?

On one of my similar days of confusion, I chanced upon a life-changing thought. I asked myself, “If I were a tiger mom, what would I do?” Or simply put, you need to ask yourself in these situations – 
“What would an animal mom/dad do?”

Would she worry about how long to breastfeed or if her cub was getting enough? Would she stress over the quantity of vitamins and minerals going into her baby on a daily basis? Would she obsess over the number of pees or the colour of poop or that her baby would contract deadly infections just because they rolled on the floor? Would a tiger cub’s mom stress over introducing tools or toys to her cub to develop any fancy skill?

The answer is no, No and a BIG NO!

The mom of a tiger, or any animal for that matter, syncs her parenting with the nature. A majority of the animal species give birth to their babies in isolation and do not have her mother/grandmother or neighbouring aunty constantly guiding her on how to handle her own child. They breastfeed as long as required not following a set time (no WHO guidelines for them you see). They provide the best available food to their babies. The animal babies play amidst the nature with whatever objects available (mostly plants, soil and stones) and develop skills more remarkable than a human baby every could.

The animals, mother on instincts. They do what they gotta do with the best that they have. And the most important skill they teach their babies is of independent survival in accordance with the nature.

So why do we make parenting so complicated for ourselves? Why do we want to micro-manage every aspect of bringing up our kids? They are children, not robots with a set programming!

So the next time you are in doubt, just ask yourself – “What would a tiger mom/tiger dad do?”

Navigating Motherhood In The Modern World : An Interview With Shubhreet Kaur

Shubhreet Kaur is a journalist, TV anchor, SMM consultant and one of the top Mom Bloggers in India. I am an ardent follower of her blog 'Raising Karma' where she talks about modern day parenting and experiences of her life raising daughter Karma (hence, the blog name!). She is one of the few social media personalities out there who I find to be authentic and is not afraid to talk about her honest, challenging and uncomfortable experiences of life and parenting as it is. I am so excited to share with you today an interview with Shubhreet where she shares interesting insights into motherhood in the modern world, equality in parenting and what makes her bare her soul on the internet.

Could you please tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an Army kid and grew up across the country. I went to around 10 different schools and frankly loved moving around growing up. My college, first job, MBA and second job however were all in Delhi but my hometown otherwise is Chandigarh. I wanted to be a journalist since I was very young so I worked towards that since school and college days. My first job was with The Economic Times. Since then, I have had multiple career breaks due to shifting but have worked with NDTV Profit and Reuters as a business news anchor, managed online and print publications in Singapore and also worked a lot in Media and PR in addition to freelance writing.

Congratulations on your second pregnancy! Firstly, I really loved that you talked on the topic of not being happy about being pregnant. In our society (and the world over I presume), we are expected to be in an eternal state of bliss as soon as the two pink lines appear on the pregnancy test or even after we have a baby. What made you share such an intimate (and taboo) aspect of your story?

Frankly, when it happened and I started feeling upset about it, I did what I always do – I researched online. And I found tons and tons of articles and blog posts by other moms who went through exactly the same thing, even in cases of planned pregnancies. I even found articles on various pregnancy, health and baby websites that addressed this issue too. While it still took me around 6 months to start feeling emotionally better, reading all these real life stories shared by others helped immensely. I felt less guilty and alone.

But most of these articles were published by moms from other countries. I couldn’t find any written by an Indian mom. And I do know for a fact that in our country, we have really high expectations from mothers and mothers-to-be. I also wanted to be brutally honest about my pregnancy when I finally announced it online instead of just posting happy pics because I wanted to share the reality of it. It wasn’t as if I didn’t want to have my child. I obviously did but at the same time, so many different things about being pregnant were making me depressed and I wasn’t entirely happy and this can be very confusing and emotionally draining for a pregnant woman.

So I wanted to be honest about it and share that just in case there were or are more moms who felt or feel the same way. I know how guilty, frustrated and alone I felt till I started reading up and if even few moms who’re going through the same thing read my blog post on it and felt less alone, then I feel the purpose of sharing those thoughts has been achieved. There is a need for open communication where we are free to share what we are going through without judgement because it is perfectly normal and one shouldn’t have to deal with it on their own. Just knowing there are more moms out there who felt the same can be a huge relief in itself.

The response on that post validated that fact for me. So many women commented and Dm-ed. Some even requested for their name not to be shared and that’s perfectly alright but it did hit home the reality that this is real, it happens to many of us and we need to talk more about it. Those chats online itself made me feel much better and I hope it made everyone who connected with me on it also feel better. There is strength in #MomTribe and the more we talk about things that affect us, the more we can help each other.

For your first pregnancy, you and your husband chose to welcome the baby on your own without any family to support you in the initial days. Why did you decide so and what was your biggest learning from this experience?

We just felt its very important for both the mother and father to be involved in initial babycare. Usually when grandparents come, fathers don’t get to do much but we wanted to manage her on our own. Yes, it was physically exhausting. But mentally, it was easier. We learned to rely on our instincts, trust each other and had less interference. We did it together and enjoyed the ups and downs of Karma’s first few months to the max.

Too many people is also too much stimulation for a new born and its easier to make a baby fall into a routine with just a primary and secondary caretaker. Plus we really do believe in equal parenting and Karan has been able to manage Karma end-to-end from the start. There were also a lot of things that are done traditionally which we didn’t want to do based on our research and information from our doctors. So we felt that would be easier too.

It wasn’t to exclude anyone. In fact, Karma is very close to both sets of grandparents but we wanted the initial time to bond with our baby and manage her as a family. I feel it was the best decision we took and we are planning the same this time around as well.

Could you please tell us a little more about why did you decide upon gender-neutral parenting for your daughter? Has it been challenging? 

In a lot of ways, it wasn’t an intentional step. We both, as individual people, believe in gender equality. So that reflected in our parenting too. Then our friends told us that we should write about this because many people would want to do it but not know how or might not realize that they're not actively practicing gender-neutral or equal parenting. So that’s when I started posting about it.

But for us, it came rather naturally, simply because I think that’s just an inherent part of our personalities and who we are as individuals.

It does take some conscious steps and explaining to your ecosystem – grandparents, family, school, daycare etc. Many might engage in gender stereotype language and behaviour not because they have any bad intentions but simply because that’s the norm and it's more of a habit. So constant communication on the same really helps.

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What have been the biggest challenge about motherhood/parenting for you?

Dealing with judgements on our decisions. That I feel is the only thing that impacts any mother the most. Moms/Parents are more than capable of handling things no matter how difficult and tackling it head on if society would just encourage instead of discouraging. But there are just so many comments and opinions that create doubts or then indirectly criticize what parents are doing instead of letting them find their own way of parenting. It starts from pregnancy and really doesn’t stop after that… are you feeding or not? If you are then why aren’t you supplementing? Why are you feeding for so long? Your weight gain is too less or too much! Child’s weight and eating habits… parenting style etc etc… It seriously is non-stop and that does get to me even though I feel I’m very thick skinned. But sometimes, you just wonder why remark at all? Let parents enjoy being parents.

What has been the biggest surprise about motherhood?

I never wanted kids. I wasn’t even very maternal during my first pregnancy. I had read articles where people said they cried when they heard the baby’s heart beat at the first scan and were emotional when baby was taking shape inside. I felt none of that! I did what I was supposed to do but I wasn’t feeling motherly.

But when I delivered Karma, the ferocity of love that hit me was crazy. One minute I was screaming in labour and the other minute, I was laughing hysterically when I saw her. It was nuts! I have just never felt that much love for anyone before and the sheer volume of it was a surprise. I never thought I would be a parent but this kid is just so amazing! Blows my mind everyday! ;)

You have lived in Singapore and your daughter was born there. What major differences do you seen when it comes to motherhood in Singapore and here in India?

Huge difference! Starting from pregnancy, there's just a lot more info given to new parents (not just the mom). The entire focus there was not just providing medical care to a pregnant woman and new baby but also to enable the couple to manage pregnancy and baby care. I remember my first check up and my doctor told Karan, “Keep her stress free. I can manage all the medical stuff but you gotta keep her happy. Happy mom, happy healthy child.”

And at every step of pregnancy to delivery, we were explained stuff. At the hospital, a class was conducted for expecting and new parents (both moms and dads) on how to bathe, massage and swaddle baby etc. They told us some babies get baby acne so don’t freak out. Its totally fine and normal. And Karma did get it! They talked about breastfeeding, colic, moms diet, dad’s role etc. A lactation consultant came and told me how to massage my breasts in case I feel milk is not coming. During pregnancy check ups, pros and cons of everything were nicely explained to both of us without any pressure.

They cared so much about my mental health and my post delivery recovery as well so they ensured weight gain is apt/recommended and not excessive or less. My doc would even tell me to dress up. She joked that, “You don’t realize it but it will help you emotionally to get ready and flaunt your pregnancy body because as you start feeling more uncomfortable due to physical changes and puking and chest burn, you start feeling low.” These small things made that care very personal!

I remember at the hospital after delivery, Karma had pooped but hadn’t peed in 16 hours. So the nurse came and said, “She hasn’t peed yet. Should we wait till 24 hours or do you want me to give formula?” I said should we wait and she replied, it’s perfectly safe to wait. At 22 hours, she came and said “Your baby peed a lot. I’ll bring her for the next feed soon.” So a parent’s view was taken into account at every step.

Based on stories from moms who delivered here, I don’t think that’s the norm here but it should be. Yes, some people have had amazing doctors and experiences but its not as widespread in terms of emotional and mental aspect of a mom-to-be plus a dad’s role also being a big focus unless there is a problem.

How do you feel parenting in today’s times differ from those of our parents or grandparents’? {You know, because every mother (new or otherwise) gets to hear this a lot when questioning her choice of parenting, "Humne bhi apne zamaane mein bahut bachche paale hain" and such.}

Every generation will have their differences. I get to hear that a lot too and my answer always is, “That while I agree you have, but we want to do things differently.” We have access to more information. Plus there might be some traditions that we don’t believe in. We might want to go a more research-based way than what’s just been always done.

Small examples like honey – in many Indian cultures, newborns are given honey. We know now that babies under one year of age aren’t to be given any honey at all.

So it’s just a matter of finding your own parenting style and wanting to raise your kids your way. It’s not an easy decision to have kids nor is it easy to raise them. As parents, we need to have faith in the steps we are taking so one should have the flexibility and freedom to take those steps.

Have you relied on any specific resources to expand your horizons on parenting?

The physical aspects of parenting – hospital training session and Singapore parenting book that all new parents are given was a big help. We even watched a lot of Youtube videos for colic massage. My own doctor, Karma’s paediatrician, Babycentre and What to Expect app helped me during pregnancy as well since I had some very weird side affects.

The subjective side of parenting – I think our own personal views plus our travels and seeing how kids are raised in different places has impacted our parenting style a lot. A lot of what we have seen and observed in various countries and some of it clicked with what we inherently believe in and hence incorporated in every day parenting too.

I am the types to read up a lot as well. So I do read view points, articles, research etc on various aspects. Sometimes if I feel we want to do something for Karma, then I try to find articles on both sides of the argument and then take my decision.

This is such a challenging time to be a mother – we are independent working women before the baby and hence, scared to leave that life behind. When we are at home with the baby, there is so much pressure and guilt to join back work but for moms who work at jobs, there is always this criticism (from the society) and guilt to spend more time with their children. What has been your experience regarding this and how did you deal with it?

Again, it boils down to too much pressure being put on moms to be a certain way instead of letting them be and make their own choices. Different things will work for different people and one shouldn’t force or coerce any mother into making a choice she is not comfortable with.

I took a long break as well and in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t taken such a long break from work and started daycare even earlier. For us, daycare worked since Karma was such an active toddler and wanted to go out 3 times a day. We started her at 16 months and people would say, ‘Poor kid, why are you sending her? You work from home!’… not realizing that kids need company of other kids as well and there she plays and engages etc.

Karan was always on board. In fact, he would tell me that, ‘Baby you’re so ambitious and talented. If nothing else, go volunteer but do something because you will not be happy down the line. Would you want Karma to give up her dreams if and when she became a mom? So why delay everything you have worked towards.” And then he left the final choice up to me. So I always had his support in whatever decisions I took.

So be it a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom, we should just enable and support those choices. Neither is easy! I find it easier to pull a 12 hour work day than take care of Karma for 8-10 hours at home. I have a lot of respect for SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) because even a simple thing like not being able to have an adult conversation for most of your day can be tasking with everything else going on. With working moms, balancing is tough and sometimes you have to compromise. I’m a work from home mom and sometimes I have to go to an office or travel for work and other times, its all from home where I struggle to balance between home time and work time. So no matter what category one comes in, there’s always a lot of balancing and various kinds of compromise needed and that should be respected.

Sometimes I feel that this is a scary time to bring up children, what with all the crimes, conflicts, climate change, inequality etc. How do you try to maintain positivity in the upbringing of your child? Or do you prefer to  keep her shielded from the ‘big bad world’ around her?

That’s a fear for all parents. I grew up in military cantts which were very safe so had a lot of freedom moving around as a kid. But honestly, I don’t think I can be as carefree with karma now. We in general try to work towards having a positive outlook in life. Karan and I always do try to focus on the bigger picture that we have each other and we have our kid and as long we are there for each other, we will be fine. Things might not always be okay but we will together be okay!

I don’t think we can shield our kids for too long either. Most of us have to start with ‘good touch, bad touch’ training by the time they are 2 years old. That’s the sad reality of it. We never force her to hug or kiss anyone and if that means some people at family get-togethers not understanding that, then so be it. Many do understand that we are trying to teach her to trust her instincts and teaching her that we always trust her instincts too - the few who don’t understand, I’m fine with it!

So I think every parent in their own starts trying to ready their child for what the world entails. For us, equal and neutral parenting is also a part of the same process too.

Are you able to take time out for self-care? What do you like to do in your me-time?

Like I said, Karan has been a hands-on dad from day one so I have always been able to take some time out for myself. In the initial few months, feeds were super frequent. But even then, once she was 4 weeks old, every weekend Karan would take care of Karma while I went out for shopping or lunch with friends to just get that break. I would leave expressed milk in the fridge. Now it’s even easier – I travel with my friends for a few days and she easily stays with him. We don’t leave her alone with maids so once a week he heads out with his friends while I’m on duty and once a week I go out with my friends while he’s on duty. So we have our system in place! LOL!

Sometimes, its as simple as heading out for a pedicure or lunch or have him take Karma out so I have the house to myself and order some junk food and watch some shows on my laptop.

If you could give just one advice to all the mothers out there, what would it be?

You are the mother! You make the world! It is your baby and your instinct matters most. Don’t worry about taking a stand.

If people resist, let them know why and how you are planning to do things. Keep them involved but maintain your independence. Everyone will not just get over it, they will eventually be proud of you.

But trust yourself and don’t forget yourself! A happy mom will raise a happy child so your happiness and life matters as much as your child's.

Thank you so much Shubhreet for sharing your thoughts with us!

To read more of Shubhreet's insights on life and parenting, please follow her blog Raising Karma and Instagram account.  

An Interesting Relationship Question

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You might already know what an ardent fan of Downton Abbey I am now. In addition to the engaging storyline, the historical theme and the wonderful costumes (not to forget the characters), what I loved the most about the show was the tiny flashes of lifelessons thrown in through the dialogues - sometimes funny, sometimes insightful but always thought-provoking. And it was one of such dialogues between the key leads Lady Mary Crawley and her maid in waiting Anna Bates. This is what they spoke while discussing a potential romantic suitor of Lady Mary who seemed very different from what she'd normally expect:

Anna: They say opposites attract.
Mary: Yes, they do, but do they live happily ever after?

And well, in all of the debates of 'happily ever after' I have ever heard, read or discussed about, surprisingly this question never figured! We always talk about whether opposites attract or not but we rarely ever look around to see if people who did get attracted in the first place lived happily later on or not.

My husband and I are opposites of each other. He is a classic extrovert - loves socializing, the life of a party, surrounded by people, always smiling, the one to carry on a conversation as long as it is required, whereas I, a classic introvert, am a homebody who rarely likes to step out of the house and in a party can be found quietly sipping my coke in a corner hoping nobody would notice me. Initiating a conversation for me is a task tougher than asking me to climb Mt Everest (at least in my imagination). He is a music fanatic whereas my taste in music was limited to a couple of indie songs or trending Bollywood numbers. He is a devout Marvel movie fan whereas the first such movie I ever watched was after marriage and I fall asleep at these movies till date. I could go on with many more such examples.

But we have managed to make it work in the last five years that we’ve been together. Sometimes it’s surprising even to us, but yes, it’s pretty much true and hasn’t felt like an effort. I think it comes with the fact that we went into this marriage with 100% of our hearts and the willingness to be accepting of each other the way we were. That is why, at every differing personality trait, it was never ‘I won’t tolerate it’ but more like, ‘This is something unlike me and how do we work around that.’ So yes, that is what we have done and been doing – enjoying traits we like and working around traits we find in contrast to our own personalities. Working around always doesn’t mean avoiding the situation but also being open, adaptable and mostly consciously being a part of the other’s experience. Like I now listen to classic English oldies while I have make the husband dance to Bollywood numbers at parties and we actually enjoy both the activities. We are also not afraid to do our own thing when it comes to it, so sometimes when he goes out with his friends, I would happily curl up in my bed with a book.

But the most important aspect of our relationship is, that, even though we have opposite personalities, we have shared values. Our views on marriage, morality, raising children and humankind in general is pretty much the same. E.g. we both believe in monogamy, we both tend to prioritize family over other things, we both can be strict parents when it comes to it and believe in raising our child to be self-dependent as soon as possible. And that is why, even though our approach to live our lives might be a little different due to our different personalities, we both are always aligned towards a common goal and hence, always a team.

Here's what I think - Opposites attract and can stay together, if both are flexible, do not let their ego get to their head and are willing to be adaptable to each other instead of trying to change the other. But most importantly, have shared values. That would help greatly. 

Do you think opposites attract and stay together? 

3 New Moms On Motherhood

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If I could summarize my first few months of motherhood in one line, it would be, “WTF, why did nobody warn me about this?” You know, motherhood in general and especially when a woman gets pregnant, is painted to be such a rosy role of life – baby cooing, you feeling the highest ever heavenly bliss you could ever feel because you are holding a gift from God, that once you become a mother you will be elated with joy, your family will be complete and your marriage will be stronger than ever! Unfortunately, it is rarely true. When you actually become a mom, families start disintegrating and there is a serious dent in your marriage if you do not take care to tread beyond your ego and . Worst of all, in navigating all of this process, you lose yourself – you forget who you are or who you once were (before you had the baby), you don’t know what are you doing on this planet or what do you want from life. You have this tiny little human being dependent on you for their survival and the only thing he knows is – YOU! Yet, you feel inadequate, you feel not good enough or strong enough or worthy enough to take care of this beautiful creature. To put it plainly, motherhood is hard! It takes time and a lot of learning to get going and find a comfortable, safe and happy space between you, your baby and your family. But unfortunately, when you become a mother, and before you become a mother, and anytime every in your life – NOBODY talks to you about it!

So I decided to ask three new moms to share their raw, unfiltered, thoughts, feelings and emotions on motherhood to let you know what having a baby is REALLY like. Because trust me, it’s more common than you think. I have been there. Each mother I know has been there. So here it is:

“When Shilpa asked me how I was feeling, I was at a loss of words really! It’s too much, I’m feeling too much! I didn’t want to say, I’m exhausted of feeling this much and don’t think I can find the words. I sat on it a few days and I’m still not sure I know all of the words but here - I’m tired. All. The. Time. Not just physically, mentally too! I’m thinking all the time and making mental lists I’m too tired to make physically! I’m in pain. Physical, killer pain! I’m angry at the people who say, “Oh Cesarean , you’ve had an easy way out!” Yes! Be poked for a spinal 4 times, undergo an open surgery and then all of a sudden, be responsible for a newborn who’s completely dependent on you for survival. Then while you’re in acute physical pain and sleep deprived, deal with a baby who won’t stop crying and be judged on the very first day of having him to be a bad mother who doesn’t even understand her kid. Die of shame, die a little of anger, a whole lot of guilt and actually, because this is way harder than you could imagine in any world! Realize that as an Army wife, you’ll physically be the only one doing this, freak out, a lot! Get frustrated with myself for freaking out. Get frustrated with the baby for not latching, for not nursing and not sleeping at all! Get annoyed at myself for getting frustrated with a small, innocent baby! Feel the guilt of not lactating enough, for being too tired to want to hold the baby. Feel the guilt of my baby not being fed enough and not regaining his birth weight in 2 weeks! Feel guilty of the jaundice relapse and more poking in my newborn! Feel massive guilt for not being able to do all that I did for my first born who just happens to be a puppy! Feel tired and not being able to sleep. Finally finding time to sleep and all thoughts of guilt rushing in. Finally falling asleep, only to be woken up minutes later by a crying baby. But sometimes, when I put my face in front of his, he stops crying and screaming and just smiles at me! And in that moment, everything feels worth it! Times when both my babies snuggle against me and sleep blissfully, even if just for a few minutes, all pain is forgotten! Only thanks is given. Have you ever felt so happy, so grateful, so much in love, that it tires you? Haha that happens too! (Ikya, mother to a 4 month old baby boy)

“Giving birth to a child simultaneously gives birth to a mom. Like how the baby initially suffers to adjust to a new environment, I too suffered getting accustomed. My journey with my daughter in the past two months was not a cake walk, it was quite challenging. I suffered for 16 hours in pushing my baby naturally but I could not and ended up with C-section. After giving birth I could not hold her till 5 days. After coming home, I ended up having extremely painful breastfeeding where me and my daughter both suffered a lot. The haunting questions - "Did I already fail at being a mom?"- could not sleep at nights. I was just pushing days meeting many many doctors on why a healthy me couldn't fullfill my daughter’s hunger. I literally pushed days, even hours and did not know what to do. Moreover, the people surrounding me scared me, I even got scoldings from my mom starting from holding my baby to feeding her. The baby blues, post partum ups and downs just toiled me. I just told myself after 5 weeks that my daughter is growing up and I won't get these days back ever so I started patting myself and said, Yes, you are doing well,” and I'm learning to live my days rather than pushing days. As new mommies, we all want to hear ' Yes, you are doing great!' but believe me you’ve got to be extremely lucky to hear them because no one gives you any medal for doing good but small disagreements on handling your baby will make you hear harsh words." (Anjana, mom to a 2 month old baby girl)

"Honestly speaking I didn’t know anything about motherhood until I became one myself. Nobody will tell you the cons about it - neither your mother nor family members. They will be like “Beta, ho jayega.. humne bhi toh paale hai bacche, it’s not that difficult, sab ho jaata hai. Tum pehli maa nahi ho iss duniya ki.” But it’s such an emotional, mental & physical roller coaster ride I tell you! My baby girl just turned 2 months old few days ago. And trust me, these last two months, I must have cried a zillion times, got frustrated & what not. And postpartum depression is a real thing until I started facing myself but thanks to my husband who was there with me though only for 15 days (being a Fauji), he anyhow didn’t let it surpass me & helped me coming out of it. Basically adjusting to this new tiny human living in your home is a seriously challenging transition that occurs when you have a new born. You are permanently exhausted no matter how much sleep you get, you wonder if your baby is eating enough, eating too much, sleeping enough, if you’re producing enough milk, if you should supplement with formula etc etc etc. Becoming a mother makes you realize that you can do almost anything one handed (literally), haha! At the end, when you see ur child smiling & giggling at you, you realize that everything you went through or are currently going through is all worth it and as I read somewhere that the best advice you can give to a new mother is that ‘ Everything is a phase‘. So just enjoy the phase you are currently having because this time won’t be back and neither their childhood." (Priya, mom to a 2 month old baby girl)

Thank you ladies!

Do you remember your new mom days? What was it like?

What's In My Travel Bag

A few days ago when I asked on Instagram what should I blog about next, some of you had suggested that I should do some posts on my travels – what I pack, travelling with a baby and related hacks. So today, I will be doing the first post on this theme, where I will tell you everything that I carry in my purse while I’m travelling.

The purse: This is a Caprese sling bag originally belonging to my sister and I got it from her when I was visiting her a few months ago. This is a neutral tan brown coloured bag (hence goes with everything), perfectly sized – not too big nor too small, I can stuff everything I need hands-on while I travel including baby food, bottle, clothes and other items I need.The quality is good, the built is strong and it is so user-friendly with multiple compartments and pockets. Even though it has started to tear off the edges (I have traveled extensively with it now), I am still using it unless I find something equally good or better.

Things I carry:

Firstly, obviously, is my wallet (and phone + charger). Given I carry too much stuff (esp since baby), I prefer a wallet which is lighter and smaller and possibly locally made, so instead of a traditional PU/leather wallet we find in malls, I carry a small Kashmiri embroidered suede purse to keep money and cards and a similar one in bigger size to keep additional documents - I haven’t changed my surname after marriage, so my son and I happen to have different surnames now, so I always carry his birth certificate with me (because India!).

Baby items: I have grouped all the baby items (of immediate requirement) in tiny cloth pouches (the free ones that you get with wooden toys/cloth diapers etc.) and keep them inside my purse. I carry a small wet bag from Superbottoms (to store his dirty diaper/clothes if required). So when I leave on travel, what I generally do is keep a clean diaper, a small towel and a couple of baby wipes) inside the wet bag itself so that all the things required in case of a diaper change is found in one place.
I also always carry a set of pant, shirt and a pair of socks in my purse (folded in the KonMarie method) because with a baby, you just never know when you would need to change their clothes because of spilling or puke esp in an aircraft when you only have the purse with you and your carry on bag is in the overhead cabin (and impossible to reach with a tiny baby or active toddler in hand). Ever since the bub has started eating normal food, I’ve also carried a bib and a cotton cap for sunny/cooler times esp in flights.

I also carry two of these very soft tiny Babyhug hankys (one in outer packet for immediate use and one inside the bag). Of course, I carry bub’s Munchkin Miracle cup for water and some snacks in a small steel box (like a fruit or home-made mathri) because kids can get hungry ANY time, even just five minutes after a full meal (lesson learnt the hard way).

I also make a small pouch of his play things – like a tiny board book, couple of teethers or rattlers, just small random things to distract him or engage him as required. Even though I’ve not habituated the bub to a pacifier, I have always carried one with me while flying so that he can suck on it while taking off/landing if he doesn’t want to breastfeed, it helps with regulating ear pressure.

If you're travelling with a baby, carrying a baby-friendly insect/mosquito repellant fabric roll-on is essential (even at the airports these days!). I also pack this Biotique baby sunscreen which I use for myself as well.

Items for self: I always carry a tiny pouch of self-care items in my purse - things which I may need to look put together esp during the long transit hours at the airport. I carry this Sugar Cosmetics Kajal which I really like, a multi-purpose Berkowits Anytime Hydration multi-purpose cream which smells amazing ( and which I may have bought just for its beautiful packaging..lol but handy esp for dry patches on face/hands) and this Miss Claire Soft Matte Lip Cream in shade 55 – it’s a really affordable, wonderful mauvish nude colour which makes my lips look natural, but better (I am NC 42). I also use the same lipstick on my cheeks like blush to bring some natural colour. However, it is not long-lasting and I would really like to buy a better lip cream in exact same shade, but I am vary of shopping online for lipsticks and really havent been able to visit a store in person (it looks like a far off dream with the baby). Anyway, if y’all know in what brand I can find this shade in, please let me know! 

I also used to carry the Kama Ayurveda Pure Rose Water Face Mist in my purse always and any time I’d feel parched or tired, I ‘d just spray some on my face for that instant boost of freshness. However, I lost it recently and looking to try another mist – probably the Forest Essentials or the Plum one (suggestions welcome!). I also carry this teeny tiny sample bottle of ForestEssentials Body Mist in Nargis which smells divine for times I want to smell good on the go.

I also carry a couple of spare hair-ties, few safety pins and my pocket diary and pen. I always ensure that when it comes to my purse I do not carry any sharp/restricted object like a scissor or nail cutter etc because emptying your bag at the security with a baby is painful.

So this is all I pack in that tiny bag world of mine.

What do you like to carry in your travel purse?

Weekend Links

Hello everyone!

What are your plans this weekend? I have been working on a couple of exciting blog posts that I can't wait to share with you all! Your suggestions on what I should be writing next are always welcome and help me so much to navigate this blog towards a better course. 

Meanwhile, here are few links from around the web that I have found interesting this week:

Did you know that women also helped draft the Indian Constitution? Why did they never teach me this in school!?

Gender-neutral barbies are here! Thoughts?

Have you watched the movie Joker yet? One week into its release and it is already being touted as one of the best movies ever made! Here are 31 interesting facts.

This door!

This looks like a fun movie!

Every 90s Indian household ever. Lol! Also, I am glad that so many women are coming up in the stand-up comedy scene.

Hope you have a great weekend!