your spare time & the real you

It is relatively easier to determine what someone else likes to do. What their personality is, or how they will react to certain situations.

On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to examine what you want your self. Mostly because you are so busy conforming to the norms of society that you sort of loose touch with your self. At least in the cases I have seen.

So I turned to good ole Google again (as I often like to do).

Leisure has been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is time spent away from business, work, job hunting, domestic chores, and education. It also excludes time spent on necessary activities such as eating and sleeping.

It is not what we do all day. It is essentially the little things we do through out the day-on the side- that define us. Like for me, I started noticing more and more that when I am on my smartphone, I like to watch makeup videos, or scroll through Insta-feed of Fashion bloggers, or make a pattern of fashion trends and guess upcoming trends. In short, it started shaping up and pointing out that I am in love with Glam! (Who isn’t?). But seriously, what you like to do in you spare time is basically what you should be doing all along.

I noticed, for example, my brother; he likes reading financial daily type magazines and he watches the stock market and he invests and he in on top of all things in financial industry. He has involved “finance” in every aspect of his life.

I for one want to leave my work behind. Don’t get me wrong, I really like my job. It is just …cumbersome for me. At the end of the day, when I am re arranging my priorities (as much as health and time allows) Office work is not exactly at the top of that list. When I am at work, I am quick n efficient. I take followups, I am self sufficient. Sometimes I do other people’s work. Because in my head, I am thinking, this is what will define ME as a person and my over all success in life. But comes 5:30 pm and Mama is OUT! I mean it is the first thing I take OFF of my plate (in a sense). My foremost priority is my son! and everything else follows.

After discussing this with my brother, he made me realize that it has not been that way all along. He has developed a consistent and deliberate habit and it was a conscious choice. Not a thing that happened by chance.

Now see, this is when I came to know:

The difference between him & I was The need. The want to be consistent. The effort you put in to make it into a habit. 

During my research I also came across a speaker called Matthew Kelly. I was instantly attracted to his P.O.V. He says:

“Everyday we make choices. Many can seem inconsequential, but one builds upon another and in the end our choices define who we become. Little choices matter because they become the foundation for bigger decisions.”

and then I read about what Jack Ma said. He says, that your time after work (after 6 to when you go to bed) is the time that truly determines your success. Not the 8 hours spent at work.

You have to be spending at least 1 hr on yourself everyday in order to grow and prosper.

So darling, What do you do in your spare time?

 

 

What it really means to have a newborn at hand.

A friend of mine had her first baby recently. When she finally got some time to herself, she texted me to ask some questions… important questions that NO ONE tells you about… and you can only begin to fathom once you yourself become a Mommy.

A snippet of conversation between my friend and I:

Me: “Hey, how are you?” 2:00 pm

Friend: “Sleepless. I have slept for a week!” (This is wen her daughter is 6 days old). This  is going to require a lot of change.” 2:34 pm

“Of course, a drastic change of lifestyle. Everything you have known or THINK you know is not going to make sense and it is like starting your life over.In this new role, with such an important responsibility.” 2:35 pm

“She wants to feed every 1 hour! I feel like I am going to die breastfeeding her…I am so sore all the time! Am I a bad mother? I think I want to consider bottle feeding…” 2:35 pm

“You can do what you think is feasible man,  bottle or no bottle; she is your daughter. You are the one staying up all night. YOU get to decide what is and is not good for her. Although I do suggest to try to stretch it a year … or at least 6-8 month of pure breastfeed as it is great for the kid’s health.” 2:36  pm

“I am so FAT. Will I ever get thin again? If I exclusively feed her? Will that work?” 2:45 pm

“It will to a certain extent. But to tone you need to work out-“2:45 pm

“HOW? I NEVER GET ANY TIME…she will ALWAYS be THERE!” 2:46 pm

“Try to make time.. after a while you will see her schedule will start shaping up and she will sleep more. You will get time to yourself” 2:47 pm

“I feel like all I do all day is change diapers and feed her. But I LOVE HER. SO it is all good” 3:05 pm

“I still feel that way. I work full time, and when I am home on the weekends I feel like that is all I am doing! And my son is Potty Trained.” 3:05 pm

“How will I POTTY TRAIN? I don’t know how to do that” 3:08 pm

“In good time things will come to you. All mothers manage to learn somehow”.3:08 pm

“I want to watch a movie, and relaxxxxx” 3:09 pm

“Relaxxx … remember you can’t pour from an empty cup..Do not be shy of asking for help, from your hubby or in laws or your mother or sis.. get some sleep when the baby sleeps. That way you will be up and ready to go next time she is up! You deserve it.”3:10 pm

” This is SO HARD. No one told me anything like this was gonna happen.” 3:11pm

“Yup. Welcome to Motherhood.”3:11pm

“I got to go. She pooped.”  3:23 pm

“Sure babe.” 3:23 pm 

2 days Later:

“Heyyyyy how are youuuu? hows the lil one?”

Last Seen 3:23pm

To be continued…

 

 

Kids & Social Anxiety

I have lately been noticing that my son gets uneasy around a large gathering of people. Maybe it is just me, but I could swear that he has developed social anxiety. As a first time mom, I was totally confused how to tackle it.

So I turned to the good ole Google. This is the definition it gave me:

Children and teens with social anxiety disorder have an excessive and persistent fear of social and/or performance situations such as school, parties, athletic activities, and more.

It involved intense self-consciousness and fear of embarrassment… Mostly what i got from google was what my husband kept telling me: “It is all in your head.” In addition, google kept giving lists and lists of symptoms that would go to show that a child really does have social anxiety.

I feel bad for using these terms without actually understanding the depth of them. So I have completely stopped saying it. I can’t imagine people actually having these feelings, and I hope my son or any ones child for that matter, goes through such a horrible ordeal. We use these words so lightly and deliver our diagnosis with no real knowledge of Psychology. It is normal if a child has fear of performing in public. And it is okay if they are fearful of an interaction. We all learn from our mistakes and we as mothers should encourage our kids to move forward and MAKE mistakes… just so we can look back and measure the extent of our learning.

Try not to instill fear of negative evaluation in your child. Always explain the child what they are doing wrong instead of yelling and screaming at them. Trust me they do understand, and if not at first, eventually do respond.

Long story short, I suppose he doesn’t sweat or shake or gets scared… but he does get irritable. WHICH is super irritating for me as well sometimes when I am trying to have an adult conversation with a friend or relative. After a lot of random researching, and discussions with hubby, I was constantly pointed towards the fact that a lot of “Only children” have these symptoms. They are so used to being alone, they prefer to avoid large gatherings, or weddings or play-dates that involve too many kids. Even when I take him to the Play Area at McDonald’s or the mall, he wants me to be within sight range. I guess the children without siblings are not used to the concept of sharing so much. I just hope he grows out of it with age as a lot of mothers have said he will.

*fingers crossed*

Chicken Pox in spite of Vaccination

So I have been absent for some time. Sadly, my son got Chicken Pox.

I am the kind of mom that is always ON TOP of things. I make sure I have alarms set for any up coming doctor’s appointments, I have school events scheduled on my phone, I have a calculated method of when the powder milk will run out, and regardless of having a full time job, I ensure I get him ready for school in the morning.

So you can imagine my shock, when despite ensuring that all the vaccinations have been completed as per age requirements-calling the hospital a gazillionnnnn times to confirm the ones that are not- he got Chicken Pox.

Initially I thought it was just a regular allergic reaction. Yea, I thought that. AND APPARENTLY so do a lot of moms. But luckily just the next day I noticed that the blisters were starting to form.  I immediately took him to see a Dermatologist at one of the biggest hospitals available in our city.

What was shocking for me was the following:

a) Chicken Pox isn’t just triggered, it is usually caught from someone. My poor baby unfortunately got it from his PlayGroup. So when the Dr. said there is a 90% chance he got it from school IF no one at HOME as it, I called the Montessori.

b) When I contacted the school, they immediately checked the students in his class. Turns out a student HAD it and had been coming to school regardless. I was so surprised to know that. I was a little bit furious also. I mean the FIRST thing I did was isolate him. I guess a lot of 1st time mothers really have no clue about it.

So, in the light of that, here is a list of things you should DO and you should NOT do when you feel your child has weird itchy rashes/blisters/varicella:

  1. DO Not. I repeat, Do not send your kid to any public place i.e School, Playground, malls etc. where other kids might have a danger of catching it.
  2. See a Doctor immediately. So you know exactly what your child has and can medicate him accordingly.
  3. Do not give them a shower until you consult a doctor. It would just spread the germs and may even dry out the skin therefore making it itchier.
  4. Spread Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica) leaves all over the sleeping/chilling area of your kid and throw a sheet over it. Neem has antiseptic qualities …plus all the grandmas suggest it so there must be a method to it.
  5. Use Calamine lotion as per Dr’s instructions… do not over do it… again… it may over dry the skin and make it worse…
  6. and the famous.. DO NOT SCRATCH===> It will scar.
  7. Do isolate your kid, keep them in a separate room preferably… clean the room/bathroom regularly… change sheets daily until they Chicken pox is completely gone.

Other than that.. please consult and follow what your dr. has prescribed for your child. Keep him/her safe.. along with other kids. And read a little bit.. it will enhance your common sense!

xo

Choosing the right school for your child

As a parent, I understand that no one school is ever perfect enough for you to leave your child alone in. There will always be that one little thing you don’t agree with regarding the school policy.

I personally feel I have been super obsessive about choosing schools. As all parents in Karachi (or anywhere else for that matter) know, there is a real struggle involved in selecting the right school for your child …and secondly, having the school accept your child. There are very few “good” schools that provide a balance of quality education and extra curricular activities. Little toddlers are burdened with interviews and tests that judge and analyze their ability to perform as a student. It is worst for the parents. Once you decide the school you want to send your child… you have to hope and pray your child performs well in the test/interview.

So, in search of the perfect school, I started my research. Interviewing parents and kids…going on websites, checking alumni of schools to get a gist of where they are in life post school era and in addition joined a couple Facebook pages/groups with equally stressed parents. Yesterday, on one of these groups, I came across this individual who had posted a list of 4-5 schools and made a plea for help regarding WHICH school is the best?

I was so content that I had finally figured out the answer to that question just a couple days ago. So in short this is what I told them…

In order to choose the “Best” school for your child, and to make the best decision, you first need to understand your requirements. All parents have different set of prerequisites and all children have different needs. Make a list of all the things you look for in a school. Go to different shortlisted schools and ask the management/principle/staff. As personally experienced, there may be some schools who won’t entertain you as much because they are rigid in their methodology and they believe in their own system. You as a parent need to be the same way.

Believe in your checklist and what you require from a school and what you think is beneficial for your child.

After you ask the schools the questions, tick off the checklist. The school that matches your list the most is the one most suitable for you and your child. Simple as that.

There is no need to rely on other parent’s opinions of a school. Every school offers different things and every parental unit has different checklists/goals for their child. Know what you want from the school and base it on your research; not just other’s opinions. I am not saying that you shouldn’t question the parents at ALL. It is Okay to ask regarding the school; to better understand the academic system and other such policies. But do not choose a school because a parent says “it is the BEST SCHOOL”. Because its all subjective. What is best for them, may not be best for you.

Wish me luck with my decision making! I really hope I make the right decision.

xox

 

 

Dear Parents of Sons

My last post was triggered when I met a this girl who is looking to get married ASAP. The mother of this poor girl kept telling me to advise her regarding marriage, and how she needs to change her self if she wants to “land a suitable match” and  all the Do’s and Don’ts of living with the in-laws etc etc. I thought to myself, all this effort in molding your daughter; why can’t people put like 20% of that effort in their boys.

Here are the Top 4 things that should be said to the Guys

  1. Always respect women

    Treat them like you would want your mom/sister to be treated.

  2. Women are sentimental and compassionate beings

    They may yell at you one second but the next she will be in the kitchen making you a delicious meal. So when she is cranky, just lend her an ear. She may not have anyone else to talk to. She spends all day taking care of your home and family. It is the only thing that gets her through her day.

  3. Learn the art of BALANCE

    It is the key to a happy life. Balance can be about anything. E.g. Don’t take unnecessary sides of either your family (specially moms) or your wife, she understands you love your family and there is no woman who can take that place. But it is YOUR job that the woman you CHOSE to bring in to your life, is never reminded of that.

  4. Hug her & Say Thank YOU

    You have no idea how far this one goes. Do you know what it is like to slave away all day without a salary? To do night shifts and morning shifts in a row? To be available at all times regardless of your own health/mood/plans? Just a little acknowledgment can lift up her spirits. When she cooks or buys gifts for your family…acknowledge her generosity and buy her something pretty.  Do not treat her as if that is her primary Goal in life. It is not. YOU are her primary goal. Your children are her primary objective. NOT your entire family.

 

I also previously I wrote an open letter Dear Parents of Daughters. Do check it out!

Why are you stuck in this career? You should be somewhere else…

Has anyone ever asked you that? or told you that you would be so much better at XYZ. I think this question is triggered because of the clash/contrast between personality and the job that you do.

I was asked once.. and then again many times..by different people;

Why are you stuck in this field?

In normal circumstances I just avoid or ignore the question. If I scratch through the surface and go deeper into the question I ask myself:

Why is ANYONE stuck in a job they don’t like/enjoy/admire/are-passionate-about?

It is because people are too afraid. They feel obligated to follow a decision that was made FOR them maybe 10 years ago. I don’t get it. What is up with the system? Why are 18 year old children forced to make a decision on what they want to do for the NEXT 40 YEARS of their lives? I mean who knows what they want to do at 18? very few. And more often than not (after graduation) people immediately start to regret their decisions.

sdf

Very few are lucky enough to know exactly what they want.

Even fewer are bold enough to accept it and go for it.

…and EVEN fewer are willing to go against the current for it.

It is much much easier to do the norm. To adopt a cookie-cutter career choice.

Any one from the Desi community would relate to this:

“Son, you can either be an Engineer or Lawyer.” yea no other options.

“Daughter, you will be a doctor.” Period. No more discussion. Any other occupation and you don’t qualify to be on the Goody List of the Khaandan (extended family).

As a mother, I pray that one day I can be as supportive of my son’s dreams and passions as I wish someone would have done for me. I pray that he finds what he is passionate about and does it with honesty and integrity. And I wish all the success to him in all endeavors of life.

 

 

Disclaimer.

Surviving a Flight with the Toddler

Traveling with a toddler can be a real challenge. I was so terrified by the thought that I avoided traveling until my baby was 2 years old! I salute all the parents who dare to bring their newborns in a confined place with so many strangers and so little room to move around.

On my first vacay trip as a mommy, I read as many blogs I could and talked to as many friends as I could to ensure that I was fully prepared and NOTHING was left uncovered.

I made lists and lists …completed them and rechecked them like 1 week before my flight! I was prepared for ALL things that could go wrong from Juice spills to Tantrums.

2b80753d899b04f055bb446e7337cd24So, here are the Top 9 things you should do to make sure you and your baby have a comfortable and soothing flight experience.

  1. Snacks: Those long lines at the airport and the waiting before the Boarding can be a monotonous experience even for adults. Make sure that your carry-on bag is filled with chips/juices/cereal bars/fruits/trail mixes/donut-holes and any such munchies you & your little one likes.Get a couple zip lock bags and make small snack size portions. Every time you feel your baby is getting cranky, you whip one out, and it’s ready to be devoured. (For different Mixes I made read Healthy Snackin’ Ideas). For additional Trail Mixes Ideas go here.
  2. Disposable Bottles: Of course you can’t forget your child’s bottles! I would suggest to keep extra or get the disposable ones if you can as I really do not like to wash bottles in the washroom of the plane :S yukhI did once have to give it to the flight attendant to wash cause I did not have the disposable ones… they were very nice about it and I told them to rinse with warm water, and they did that but seriously I would never do that again…. I just don’t trust anyone with bottles & sanitation.
  3. Diapers: If your child is not potty trained make sure you keep extra extra diapers. So normally if your child uses 6 a day and you have a 24 hr journey;keep 15! You will thank me. I don’t know whether it is the constant drinking juices and water, snacking on dried fruits, the change in sleep pattern or the cabin pressure 😛 when I was traveling, my baby went through diapers like Kleenex.
  4. A change of clothes for you and extra for the baby: Nothings makes a journey more difficult than the fact that you have vomit/leaked diaper/spilled food allover your pretty blouse. Make sure you at least keep a spare shirt. That way you can be fresh when you land!For the baby, I went extra cautious and kept 3 pants and 5 tops  (I had 1 stop over/flight change at Turkey, and then a 12 hr flight from Turkey to Florida).Also, makes sure your baby is warm.. they tend to cry more when uncomfortable and cold..layer them up in soft cottons and comfy bottoms along with sweatshirts. They are kids; no one’s judging.
  5. A toiletries Pouch: The cabin pressure tends to make my skin dry and patchy. So I like to keep my fav moisturizer, hand sanitizer and lip balm handy with me.Make sure you keep your self and the baby moisturized throughout the flight. Also, have a packet of baby wipes; they are very handy and multipurpose (from cleaning hands to makeup removal).Also, since flights don’t tend to give toddler toothbrushes/pastes I suggest you keep one of your own so your little one has clean teeth even after all the munching.
  6. Medicine: I like to travel with my own meds that I know work on me. So I kept a pack of my favorite anti-allergy and Panadol. Also, for the baby I kept Infant Panadol, his cough syrup and his anti-allergy syrup JUST in CASE.(Seal all liquids in a clear zip-lock bag). Thank God did not need any thing during the flight but it is best to keep it handy.
    flying-with-a-toddler-packing_thumb
  7. Entertainment: Although there is in-flight entertainment, many airlines give out coloring books and toys etc. But I wouldn’t rely on that. Kids tend to be more comfortable with toys they recognize. So make sure your carry-on has some of his/her toys… I also went ahead and bought a few new hot wheels cars that I wouldn’t mind loosing on the plane/airport… I also got some coloring books and colors.I wasn’t big on electronic entertainment, but before my flight my sister suggested I get him hooked on the iPad or something other wise such a long flight would be even more difficult…so I downloaded some educational Apps by FisherPrice and it kept him happy (in moderation).
  8. Ear-poppin’ (MOST IMPORTANT): We all know that feeling, luckily being adults we can yawn or chew gum to instantly feel better. Such is not the case with a baby.To avoid any ear pain keep some hard candy for the baby to suck on during Take-offs and Landings. Since I’m not too BIG on candy all the time…. I opted for the bottle route. Give your baby his bottle right before take-off/Landing…either milk/juice/honey-water. I alternated between the 3 and it worked like a charm.My flight schedule was Pakistan to Turkey to USA and every time I did this he did not cry, Thank GOD. I am so glad I found this out when I did.
  9. The Chill Pill:Although I felt I was over prepared; I had read all the blogs and interviewed all my friends, the one thing NO ONE can predict is the Toddler Tantrum . It’s like the Hunger Games. You go in not knowing what will happen …no matter how prepared you are :PSo basically the worst nightmare came true at the Turkish Airport. Not because he was hungry, not because his ears were hurting, not because his clothes were uncomfortable… he cried cause he wanted to go into US immigration with those fancy shopping carts they have at the Turkey Duty free.
    Yes. He cried and cried and yellledddd.. it was horrible.
    photo-1421789857760-8aa3e7a1fbc6
    Although it was a blessing in disguise cause the immigration officers made sure our boarding went smoothly and quickly (we were the 1st ones on the plane!).And when he still wouldn’t stop crying, I took the Chill Pill… took him to the restroom and had a long talk with him. I was on the verge of tears my self but I kept my cool and we got through it. You really need to be calm with the babies.They do not know what they are doing and they can NOT control it. No matter how difficult that is to understand, we as adults need to comprehend that our brains are much more complex than those of a child. So cut them some slack. Let them cry. All kids do it.

    I remember making eye contact with 1 2 mothers and they were all giving me the all knowing look of “it is okay, I have been there”… no need to be embarrassed!

Also, on my desperate Pinterest-ing spree I found some ready made Check Lists that are also very helpful. Here is a sample. checklist-baby-toddler-plane-list

There it is! The things I learned/experienced on my first flight with my baby.  Hope that was helpful and I hope you have a comfortable 1st trip with your baby!

xox

P.S. MAMAWIFEYME claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted.