An Interesting Relationship Question


best indian blog, relationship advice, opposites attract, marriage tips, newlyweds


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


motherhood, mom blog india


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!

xoxo!

If You Could Give Only One Advice On Motherhood, What Would It Be?



When we become a mother, we are bombarded with advice, suggestions, recommendations and solutions to problems we didn’t even know existed by moms, non-moms and non-females alike! Though a lot of that advice might be useful, most of it is just people projecting their own experiences on you which might not always be relevant to you. I personally believe, the least amount of advice we can give a mom, the better it is. I asked seven moms if there was only one advice about motherhood they could give, what would it be and here are their replies:

“Don’t be too harsh on yourself and the kids as well. I mean, don’t be a finicky mom – you are not the first mother and your baby is not the first baby in the world. If you’re too protective about your baby, he/she will not bloom into a beautiful flower as they are meant to be – Navneeta

Do your job of parenting with compassionate non-attachment, knowing that your children are born with their own destiny which you might not have much influence over. Also, accept that you will make mistakes. – Debasmita

Never feel guilty about inevitable things or situations you put your kid through. If your friend is a stay at home mom and devotes her entire time to the child, super! At the same time, if you have to put your child through day-care or a creche because you have a job, that’s super too! You are doing your best in the given situation and don’t allow anything to say no to that fact. All these will form the child’s identity. So as long as they are safe and aren’t exposed to a harmful environment, be assured – whether you spend 48 hours a day with them or just 6, what matters is the quality of time spent. And how we ensure they see what we do in the remaining time. – Divya

Our responsibility is to take care of our children but not to expect anything in return. They are to make their decisions and life choices once they are of age. – Priya

Stick to your ground – I didn’t introduce my daughter some processed foods (like chocolates, soft drinks, biscuits and most of outside food) until she turned three. Many taunted me for my choice but I stood firm. Even now I prefer giving her home food and have replaced fast food with healthier home-made choices. When it comes to your child, you know best! - Manasa

In my experience, I would say, self-discipline is the key. Children often copy parents. A disciplined mom and dad, a well balanced family environment definitely influences the child’s psychology. - Divyanka

Be real and be you! Always, every time. Don’t fake patience, don’t fake values because you cannot change overnight and you shouldn’t. When you are yourself, you are happy and that translates into your child being happy.- Radhika

Thank you, ladies!


Moms reading this, if you could give only one advice on motherhood, what would it be?



My Weird Skincare Habit




This is me, with my bare face – no makeup, no filter. A little bit of natural light. And a little bit of natural glow, if I may say so. I haven’t always been here and to be honest, having a baby just threw me off the rails. It is only lately that I have got my skincare routine in order (I will write about it soon!). However, I have a very peculiar habit that I can’t seem to let go of – I don’t like to wash my face.

Yes, you heard it right. I do not like to wash my face. It has been many years since I last bought a face wash. So how do I get by, you ask? Well, in the morning while in shower, I just scrub my face with a DIY face powder and at night I oil cleanse, which is basically massaging my face with oil and pressing a hot towel against it to soak up all the impurities. That's it. I don’t wash my face anytime in between and if I’m feeling particularly grubby I just spray some rose water.

Ever since I have entered my 30s and especially after delivery, I have had a super dry skin and this system seems to work fine for me. Also, because I am so lazy.

I have a healthy skin (which could get better if I stop watching Downton Abbey and get some more sleep at night, well!) and I don’t use any fancy products as yet. I get by fine. What about you?

Do you have any weird skincare habit?

Weekend Links



Hello!

What are your plans for the weekend? The bub & I are at my parents' place now and our plan is mostly to rest and chill (and Downton Abbey for me!). Here are a few interesting links I've found this week if you'd like a good read:


Now that Lilly Singh is on air - Late night rules for female hosts.

25 mothers around the world. So beautiful!

These beautiful handwoven towels that are taking the world by storm.

90s kids, hear, hear! Rola-cola is making a comeback! Other candies that made our childhood sweeter.

Deciding screen time for parents.

The most beautiful words written by a husband on his wife's post-partum body.

3 reasons you aren't doing what you say you will do.

This post makes me want to go hiking rightaway!

Got our first parenting book this week.

Happy Weekend!

xoxo

(Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash)

Who's Your Fictional Character Crush?





A couple of weeks ago, I started watching Downton Abbey and I wondered, how did I not know of this show ever before??? I mean, I had heard its name in passing during various awards seasons, but I never actually bothered to look up, despite the fact that it is available in India on Amazon Prime. Last month, I heard of its name again because a movie based on this show released and since I am always on the lookout for good TV shows to watch, I decided to give it a go again. Well, midway into Episode 1, I was hooked! The show depicts the lives of English aristocracy and their staff in early 1910-20s coinciding with famous events in British history. Specially striking was Season 2 which happens during World War I and beautifully portrays how the Great War affected every person in the country irrespective of their socio-economic status.

Other than its beautiful storyline, very apt and able cast and a healthy dose of historical events, what keeps me totally glued to this series is one Mr Tom Branson. Branson, the character starts as a chauffeur at Downton Abbey, the house of the Earl of Grantham. He is Irish, of revolutionary political views and an outcast in the house. But he is also proud of his heritage, is hardworking, has belief in himself and his values and has a lot of integrity. He gradually falls in love with the youngest daughter of the Earl – Lady Sybil, which is obviously opposed by every single person. How he comes around to being from just one of the staff to a brother/son like figure to the main characters of the show and how he embodies his new aristrocratic way of life with his intrinsic political and moral views is a treat to watch. It doesn't harm that he is a treat to the eyes as well!



But here is the funny thing. Though the actor potraying Branson – Allen Leech – is a good looking man and a very good actor, I do not fancy him in general (as a celebrity crush) or other characters he has portrayed on screen. It is very well the enigma of his portrayal of the character in Downton Abbey that has had me enamoured.

About a year ago, I remember, having a similar tiny, cute crush on guy-next-door Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) from The Office. He seemed like the perfect boyfriend, perfect husband and perfect man. Who can forget the impromptu Niagra Falls wedding he surprises his wife with?



And then, me and my friend have had a (probably inappropriate) crush on Peter Kavinsky (Hey! Noah Centineo!) for several months.



Of course, last but not the least, my first such crush probably was Milind Soman as Capt Vyom!



But then, don't we all love Milind Soman in any way, real or not? ;)


Who is your fictional character crush?