The Only 6 Words You Need to Say to A New Mom (or All Moms For That Matter)




Everybody likes to give gyaan to a new mommy - friends, family, neighbours, maid, driver, stranger et al. We give her unsolicited advice about how to manage motherhood (which by the way had just hit her like a truck barging on an unsuspecting pedestrian), judge about her breastfeeding choices, lament her for wanting to sleep much or her baby not sleeping enough.

I so often find myself doing that too, though I try my best to limit it to only sharing the information sought.

I also don't know if it is an Indian cultural thing or is the norm everywhere else in the world too but we always like to point out what this new mom is not doing right or not doing enough or how she can do better when it comes to taking care of her child.

But have we ever taken a moment to wonder what it is that the lady in question must really want to know? 

All a new mom actually needs to hear is -

"You are doing a great job." 

Yes, as simple as that.

Even if you see her energy maxed out in old clothes reeking of baby spit, hair unwashed for the second week, eyes encircled in dark hollow hopelessness, trying to soothe her crying baby or head full of contrasting complex thoughts of despair, fear and self-doubt., even if she's falling, failing and almost giving up, let her know that she is doing a great job. Because by God, there has never been a woman who has not given her all and then some more to make it work, to keep her baby healthy and happy and alive! Because just 'being' a mother is not easy. And to try to give it her best makes her a warrior already.

So next time you see a new mom or any mom whatsoever, tell her she is doing a great job.

Because I was blessed enough to have someone say that to me and it has made a world of difference.

(Photo by Alex Pasarelu on Unsplash)

A Very Funny Weekend Incident

Hi all! Hope you had a good weekend. I had one too, except for this accidental hilarious incident that happened:

So, I have  this Whatsapp group of a special set of friends from college days who have stuck together for more than a decade now. All of us have interesting work profiles, are married with kids and settled in different parts of the globe. This is my go-to group for all the advice, support and help I need on anything related to my existence or my family's. Needless to say,  we also know how to have fun with each other.

So a couple of months ago, out of utter boredom and exhaustion our lives had become, I decided to share one shirtless photo of a male celebrity every night before bedtime (Indian Standard Time). Surprisingly (and not so surprisingly), it was enthusiastically received by all with free flow of thirst comments from all the ladies in the group . Haha! It continued for a while and everybody loved it so much so that if I ever got late in sharing a pic, they would message me that they were waiting and asking to share 'pic of the day'. ;)

But eventually, life and travel took over and I stopped sharing the pics. Until last Friday at midnight (technically Saturday) when I suddenly remembered our little ritual out of the blue, scoured this picture of Shawn Mendes and shared on the group with the caption, 

"Wassup ma ladies?!! Miss me much? :-P ).



Little did I realize that midnight in India meant morning in the US, where this Friday, my friend V was in the middle of giving a presentation where she was pitching her company’s latest mobile app to the clients and she was doing this using her own phone which she had connected to the screen.

Guess who’s whatsapp message popped up on the big screen for all to see?

Yes, yours truly.

So V happened to click on the notification by mistake and our very sexy shirtless (and pantless dare I say) Shawn Mendes shone brightly on the big presentation screen!

Everyone started to laugh out loud and the ladies in the meeting said, “Sold, we are buying this app!”.

Needless to say, I have sent across my bank details to V to deposit my commission cheque ;)

Also, she is the butt of all jokes in her office these days.

Sorry V! But I’m sure her employer (and the client) is loving it! ;)


Has anything funny happened to you lately?

x

(Picture credit: Calvin Klein. For the full length NSFW picture click here.)



Weekend Links




Hello hello! How have you all been this week? I've been good and the bub has been naughtier than ever! So our week has just been him running around and me running behind him! Haha! Anyway, here are a couple of interesting, funny, awe-inspiring links that have caught my attention this week. Hope you enjoy browsing them as well!

Sports Ministry's historic all-women list for Padma Awards. Bravo!

An eye-opening article on pregnancy.

The B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L living room of Boman Irani. That wall colour - wow!

How cute are these lipsticks!

A new way to travel after baby - child-free solo holiday. Sign me up!

Looking forward to the Prime show Modern Love. I've already been a fan of this NYT series!

This lady is giving me travel feels. Check out her recent Namibia trip.

Currently reading this book and loving it!


Have a good weekend!


(Photo by guy stevens on Unsplash)

Our Kashmir Trip : A Photo Diary


In middle of June, the bub and I left for Kashmir to spend time with the Soldier. We had to take two flights to reach Srinagar - the first one was horrible as the bub was active and super cranky while the second was a breeze as he slept through the journey (Quick tip - Try to plan flight bookings around your baby's sleep schedule!).



We finally reached Srinagar on a balmy, rainy afternoon and immediately took a cab to our destination where we were reunited with the Soldier and some old friends!



After a couple of days of rest and recoup, we started exploring the neighbourhood whenever the weather would allow it.


 


Despite it being so-called peak summer, the sun would be out just a couple of hours in the morning while the rest of the day would be mostly rainy and cold with frequent hailstorms, confining us mostly to indoor play!





We were out in the sun every chance we could get!




The pool table in the Mess was the bub's firm favourite...



...closely followed by the dining area.




A few weeks in, my parents visited us and we went to see Pahalgam and Srinagar with them.

pahalgam aru valley kashmir


We visited Chandanwadi which is where the Amarnath Yatra starts from, Pahalgam (and the famous Betaab Valley), Ashmuqam and the beautiful Aru Valley where I wish to go again but I don't really have pictures from that day because I was sick whole day and rarely wanted to get out of the cab. :(

The next day we went to Srinagar where our first stop was the famous Nishat Bagh.


My parents, the garden aficionado they are, decided to take a tour around while I just lazed with the bub under a tree!



Next on our list was boating in the famous Dal Lake and if you follow me on Instagram, you know my mom made me do this -



The bub though, loved playing with the water throughout the tour.



The same day, we travelled to Gulmarg, Bollywood's favourite destination in Kashmir! After a rest day, we went to experience the famous Gulmarg Gondola to Mt. Apharwat which happens to be one of the world' highest cable car rides! That's the Gulmarg 'bowl' you see from high up.





And this is how the top of the mountain Apharwat looked like. Of course, I don't have any pictures here because as soon as we reached, the bub decided to breastfeed and go to sleep the whole time we were there!




Rest of the days were spent just chilling around and soaking up all that nature had to offer, something not found in the city life.










And then after about two months, we returned home.




We got stuck here because of the incessant rains and then a major bout of cough and cold for both the bub and me. We are doing fine now but still not adjusted completely and miss the Soldier big time. We loved our time with him and the beauty of the place and hope and pray for all good things for everyone there. Kashmir will forever have a special place in our hearts.




Where have you traveled lately?

My Three Best Travel Shoes


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Since the last couple of years, I have been looking to pare my travel baggage as much as possible to the bare minimum. I’ve been on the lookout for clothes that require least maintenance and space as well as multipurpose beauty options. One item that I’ve always struggled with is shoes.

See, before marriage, I could go backpacking to a whole country in just one pair of sneakers. But age and being married to an Army officer means I have to cater to the ‘lady’ occasions and having a baby results in an altogether different ballgame wherein I have to not only find something decent looking but which also check  the boxes of comfort (gotta run behind the toddler ALL the time), ease of wear (no time for complicated buckles and laces!) and low maintenance (you never know when the baby will puke/pee/poop on it) and requiring less space (because now baby items occupy more space in your bag).

I think I have finally figured out a solution to this complex mom problem and the following are the three shoes I am travelling with currently and super-duper happy with. I think this I what I am going to stick to for a while:

Reebok Sneakers: My husband bought these as the exercise/walking shoes for me when I got pregnant two years ago. They are extremely comfortable, comparatively lightweight and of course, quality shoes, so last long. The mesh outer layer makes it breathable and hence, comfortable even in the summer months. I always wear these when I undertake travel that requires long-distance walking with a baby (esp. airports) and now that I am in a hilly area, I wear them when we go for walks/hikes. (Linked similar one).

Vans Palisades SF Sneakers: Ah, Vans! My forever favourite!  I have loved Vans shoes since even before they had launched in India a few years ago. I had bought my first classic Vans about 4 years ago when I was recovering from a fractured foot and needed something sturdy yet stylish for everyday wear. I knew I had made the right choice when I overcame the tiny limp I had in my walk which the doctor said I would never recover from. I have been a Vans loyal every since. But here’ the thing - Vans are pricey. So
, always, always be on the lookout for sale. These particular model are the perfect mom shoes – slip on, washable, good rubber sole and so so sturdy and still so chic!. I literally wear them like all the time – on jeans, on trousers, dresses and kurti-leggings – everything. These are my wardrobe staple and a must buy. If you are not too much into black, they also come in some cute pastels.

Bata Ballerina: I bought these shoes while transiting from Delhi and boy, I’m glad! These are ballet flat with a suede outer body and tiny studded stones in same black colour meaning a perfect balance of bling but not too obvious, making it the ideal understated party wear for a busy mom. Easy to maintain and how we all know black goes with everything! In fact, all 3 of my above shoes are black!

Just these three shoes get me through a lot of walking, running behind a toddler (all the time!), hiking, parties, sightseeing, date evenings and everything in between! In all, these shoes have been one of my best travel finds so far and unless I am going on an occasion-specific trip (like weddings) I am pretty much going to stick to them.



What are your favourite travel shoes?


3 Things To Blindly Buy If Your Baby Is 6 Months Or Older


Reaching the age of 6 months is a major milestone in a baby’s life. That is when they (usually) start eating solid food and drinking water. Here are the top three must-have baby items that changed the solids game for my son and I and have made our lives so much simpler. I had bought these three items after much consideration, deliberation and research, so you don’t need to put in any further thought or time and can just buy the exact following things once your child is about age:





  1. Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup (for liquids): I just cannot stop raving about this item to any new mom I meet and it's surprising how so few of them know about it! MM is basically a spoutless sippy cup which imitates the action of drinking water from a tumbler, hence, safe for dental development of babies unlike bottles and sippers. It is absolutely spill-proof (we've been using it since several months), break-proof (not a single scratch after all this time) and easy to use and clean. It comes in different sizes and variants (with or without handle). Well, for small babies, a small cup (7 oz) with handle is the best choice as it is light and easy to hold for them. This also makes for a perfect gift for another mom you know!

  2. Booster seat (for meals): A life saviour. esp if you have a hyper-active child like mine who ust wont sit at one place!. I decided to go for a booster seat instead of a high chair because it can be just put on the floor and safe for smaller babies (no danger of falling or slipping) and because booster seat is portable, hence, can be carried on travels or to restaurants (as a lot of Indian food joints still do not provide high chairs). The booster seat that we have is foldable (easy to carry), has 3 point harness belt for babies, 2 different adjustable belt for fitting it on chair and also has adjustable height so can be used for good number of years. A booster seat also encourages a child to explore different foodand eat on her/his own and is easy to clean too! Best used when baby starts to sit with support.
  3. Potty Training Seat (for bathroom habits): My son has been potty trained since he was 8 months old, thanks to a tiny bit of effort and this training pot!  After much research, I bought this pot as it comes from a quality brand, is sturdy, travel friendly and multi-purpose (convertible potty seat cum chair and stool, hence no need to buy 3 different things for the bathroom!). Initially, when he couldn't sit properly on his own, I'd hold the bub on it. Now that he is independent, every morning when we wake up, I plop him on the pot while I go about my morning routine. When I have to travel, I just pop the seat cover in my suitcase and we’re good to go! For our current Kashmir vacation, as it more than a month long, I’ve carried the whole pot with me. The bub, even at just one year of age knows that he has to poop in the pot and won't do it anywhere else, in fact, even holding it when we're outside!



These are the exact three items that I use daily for my son and have been like a blessing in my life. they have also made my the bub more independent, self-reliant and helped him develop a healthy relationship with food and his body. if you have any doubts about any of these items, please let me know in the comments below.

What are your must-have baby items?


Weekend Links




How are you doing this weekend? I am enjoying the last of the winter days. There is hardly any spring season where I live. It's either hot, very hot or less hot. Less hot for me now, so it's A-OK. Here are some interesting links from around the web:


Let us talk about the divorce settlement of World's richest woman.

Kumbh mela in pictures. Wow!

An interesting take on the #10yearchallenge.

Unfair and Lovely

On letting a child just 'be'.

But, VICKY KAUSHAL!

THE Youtube channel for the millenial lady.


A cutesy cosy winter cardigan
 
Such cute baby socks!


Have a good weekend!




How To Choose The Man You Marry




The simplest way to decide whether you should marry the person in question is to ask yourself,

"If you had a son, would you like him to be a man like this?"

If your answer is yes, marry him. If your answer is no, don't.



(Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Unsplash)


My Pregnancy Story




If you know of my relationship with God, you would know that I never ask for anything when I visit temples. I always thank God for everything in this world and leave as it is. I actually visit temples just to experience the good vibes or sometimes because they are a historical or architectural marvel. However, today is different.

I am at the Siachen Glacier Base Camp. THE fricking SIACHEN. I had never ever imagined I would be here. I had come on an impromptu trip to Ladakh to surprise my younger sister who was getting posted out shortly. We had initially not planned to go anywhere. I was okay with just resting in a room for the next one week as this trip was about spending time with her and not about crossing the touristy checklist. I had planned to do that sometime later on another trip with my husband. 

However, here we were, after a very sudden last-minute plan and 6 hours of breathtaking mountain ride (in a very comfortable car). A couple of miles from where we stand is the snout where the legendary glacier begins. I am standing in the legendary 'OP Baba temple' where a special aarti is being conducted as today is the 'Bhandara day', an auspicious day on which the designated soldiers begin their treacherous journey to various posts in the 70 km long unforgiving glacier. As hundreds of bells chime ryhtmically in the icy wind, soldiers take the blessings one by one and leave for their duty, some never to return back.

As I take in the beauty of the razor-sharp summits of mostly naked mountains around, I take a few seconds to close my eyes to the deity ahead and say my typical prayer, "Thank you for these soldiers. Thank you for my husband. Thank for my family. Thank you for everything. A baby, maybe?" I am surprised by my own admission. It had always been somewhere at the back of my mind but it suddenly flashing in my prayer was a shock to myself.

Our visit goes smoothly except for the dance in my belly lately which I had accredited to high-altitude acclimatization. I am so mesmerized by the beauty and sorcery of this place that on my flight back home I message my sister, "If I ever have a daughter, I am naming her Siachen." If only I had known...


I wish we were one of those annoyingly sweet couple who had a cute story of how they made their baby. Unfortunately, we don't remember. Except, that the only possibility it could have happened was the brief window we got just before I proceeded on a trip to Ladakh.

We had decided to try for kids at the beginning of the year, except, by twist of fate and ever changing plans, we barely were together throughout the year - I had been constantly travelling and when I was home, it would be my husband who would have to be away on a course or training etc.

So when the two pink lines appeared on my pregnancy test kit a few days after my birthday, it came as a pleasant surprise. Also, a feeling of, "F**k, this is it!". I faintly remember having a similar feeling a day before my wedding - excited about something yet knowing it has the power to change your life entirely.

I was happy, but mostly freaked out, "How would I ever go through this? Am I able enough to carry safely a child? What if something goes wrong? I've never been a baby person - will I make a good mother?" The first trimester went by in a weird mix of excitement and fear. And A LOT of medical tests. Few weeks in, I had my first ultrasound scan - which, because I was in such a hurry to pee - couldn't focus myself to see (also because of the weird position of the screen). Just an answer in affirmative to All ok? and  I rushed out like a Shatabdi.

I started taking care of my diet and having more fruits and milk than I had since I left school. I was really really anxious to get through smoothly and safely. It helped that I had quit my job and  joined in a PhD program just a couple of months ago so at least I didn't have the pressure to balance my life with work.

At the end of  my first trimester, I moved to Mhow for the next three months to be with my husband who was on a course there. He had already been there for a couple of weeks and as we received our accommodation late, I travelled alone in the train. The three months there were very pleasant. I loved living the small town life in our two room house, with friends all around and so many options to eat! We tried everything for classy restaurants to roadside panipuri to poha on a thela

I cannot thank God enough that I had an incredibly smooth pregnancy. Like I didn't even puke once, duh! I did not display any other pregnancy symptom as well - no nausea, no cravings, no paon bhari hona - in ALL THE  9 MONTHS! I had already had a round chips-and-cola belly before I conceived so till the fifth month, I didn't even get to see that 'baby belly'. Heck, I kept on doubting if I was pregnant AT ALL! But the ultrasound had been showing a baby inside, so decided to have a little more faith. It did eventually appear and the baby ensured to make his presence felt through regular kicks.

Somewhere around the beginning of my third trimester, we moved back to Jammu. It had been just a couple of days in when terrorists attacked our station. We could  cruise through the incident safely and while in the coming weeks the husband left for his field tenure, I started preparing for childbirth. My in-laws moved in with  me in my 8th month and on a regular hospital visit my gynaec informed that my baby would be arriving at least two weeks earlier than my due date because of my higher sugar levels, freaking me out!

Nothing could prepare me for what was about to come...

Weekend Links




What are you upto this week? Living right now in a little township, we have nothing but the winter sun to sustain us through the weekend. Nothing else to do here. My son has recently started singing and his continuous musical performances keep us entertained. If you're like me, inside your quilt wanting to read some good stuff around on the internet, here's my pick for you:


Firstly, all hail Gita Gopinath, the first woman Chief Economist at IMF!

What a beautiful house!

This movie has me excited!

These World Heritage Sites in India. Wow!

On skipping all the traditional ceremonies for your baby.

Real-life Swades.

Just ordered this riveting book for my sister.

I wish I could dance as fluidly as this. Playing on loop.

Zero-waste wedding. Yes, pelase!

Beautiful tote bags! Planning to buy one. Help me select one!


Hope you have a good weekend!

xoxo


What Are You Reading Currently?



I must tell you that I am a sporadic reader. Sometimes you might find me reading days on end and sometimes not once (like I did all of last year). Also, I also like to read multiple books at a time - different books for different times of the day depending on my mood - so you'll always find at least 3-4 books on my bedside table In an effort to read more this year, I picked up the following three books that have caught my attention lately:


The Shooting Star by Shivya Nath - I absolutely love reading good travel stories especially when it is by a woman on a journey of her own. This book exceeds my expectations in its sheer honesty, genuineness and simplicity. The best thing about Shivya is that she is one of us and it is so easy to relate to a normal middle-class Indian girl wanting to travel just cause as compared to a wealthy New Yorker on the brink of divorce (though I 've liked this book as well!). Broken down into small breezy chapters narrating episodes from her various travels across the world, this book feels less of a narration and more of a friendly chat with your long lost friend, an admirable feat of writing given this is Shivya's first book. Definitely recommended!

Notes for Healthy Kids by Rujuta Diwekar - I have been a fan of the food philosophy of Rujuta since her first book and while reading her book on pregnancy when I got to know that she is writing a book for children, I had to have it at the earliest - so, this book is the first one I'd ever pre-ordered in my life! However, I do wish she had gone a little bit more into the details of food for kids under 2 years of age, because that is what I am dealing with right now. It would make a great read for anyone looking to get back to basics of healthy eating and living of kids, especially those aged between 5 to 15 years.

The Art of the Good Life by Rolf Dobelli - I originally bought this book as a gift for my sister while visiting her last month. I got to read it this week and it has been a warm experience till now. Through 52 simple and thought-provoking chapters, Dobelli simplifies the foundations of a good life. I am liking the non-preachy tone of this book and that it genuinely aims for you to strive for a better life by making you re-think your attitude towards daily life philosophies. This book also makes for a lovely and thoughtful gift.

So, these are my three books for now. 

What have you been reading lately? Would you recommend me any book that I could follow up with?


Looking at 2019




Two days before 2019, my grandmother (Nani) left for heavenly abode. She was staying here at my parents's place for a while and even though the previous night was like any other routine one where we talked, had dinner and played with the little one, except, the next morning, she didn't wake up.

So 2019, for me, began with an unexpected harsh jolt of reality. She was the last living member of her generation in my family, and other than the fact that I had seen death for the first time up so close, the suddenness of it shook me to the core - How could she go just like that?  She wasn't unwell. She didn't even give a clue. We didn't even get to say goodbye!

Even though life looks pretty much normal again, the truth is, I haven't been able to process her death completely yet. I feel like she has just gone away on a holiday and will be back again.

Except, she won't.

So, yeah, 2019 for me has begun with a mixed feeling of conflict and contentment - the drive to pursue passions I've always left on backburner while 'life' took over while also wondering how much of it all does it even matter in the end.

For now, I do know that motherhood continues to keep my hands, legs and brain full and I would really like to share a lot of it here. Raising a child has also resulted in me reconsidering my lifestyle and this year I would make an effort to incorporate the concepts of minimalism, eco-friendly and low waste living into our lives. My exploration of helpful sustainable products will continue and may be I could review them for you if you'd like so.

I have also strived to make this blog a happy, positive and safe space for women to talk, share and learn freely. Building upon the same, I look forward to bringing the stories and experiences of a lot more women from different walks of life under the various sub-categories of motherhood, beauty, career, health and design.

Very importantly, in 2019, I intend to get back to reading. Yes, I can pretty much say that I never managed to finish a single book (fiction/non-fiction) in 2018. If you have any good book recommendation,please let me know. For now, this wonderful travelogue is keeping me hooked.
On travel front, the Bub & I look forward to joining the Soldier in Kashmir over summer and day dreaming about the same is going to keep me busy for the next couple of months.

In a nutshell, all I intend on doing thisyear is - Connect more.

So yes, these are pretty much my (tiny) hopes from 2019. What are yours?

xoxo