A couple of weeks back, on a dull , gloomy, rainy day, I decided to organise a high tea for 4. I mean, why not? Just because we are not allowed to have guests over, doesn’t mean that we can’t have a party for ourselves.
I ordered some Samosas and sweets from a local sweet shop, as they have adapted their business to still operate in COVID times. There is nothing that makes me happier than being able to support local businesses..ok may be I lie- Samosa & chai makes me happier 😊
And as if the universe conspired to make my tea party even grander, SP’s office sent a surprise package – a box of mini- cupcakes. Sometimes all it takes to uplift your mood is a little tea party! Grab a cuppa and join in for a virtual tea party.
September is self care awareness month and I am making a conscious effort to look after myself . Here are some of the things that I have done to look after ‘Me’
One of the things I miss most when staying at home is picking out accessories each day. Last Friday, I made a conscious effort to put on one of my favourite necklaces and some earrings, dab a little kaajal & lipstick – ta da.. instant mood lift!
Finally after nearly 6 months of setting up office at the Dining table, I set up a little office nook for myself. It’s funny how we always put ourselves last .. atleast I do. When we moved to remote learning and working from home, SP already had his home office set up . I moved the hallway table to set up the kids desk & took the last available table – the dining table. That obviously took a toll on my back , neck everything. So, here’s my big step towards looking after ‘me’
And lastly, this is not a big deal or may be it is .. I ordered lunch from UberEats yesterday ! As I said it’s not a big deal , but at the same time it is. You see, I time my lunch break with MsAn’s . So most of my lunch time is spent on whipping up something quickly for us – maybe nuggets/ an omelette / sandwiches/ dosa – anything.. but that means I have just enough time to stuff my face before I get back to my desk. Or sometimes I bring my plate back to my desk. So, I gave myself a break & had a relaxed lunch .. just like I used to at work . It’s the little things that make a difference, isn’t it?
And lastly, one of the things I miss most is talking.. spitting out all my thoughts.. I miss that now, so I am trying to write more, here and offline just random scribbles.. jotting my thoughts down .. so as to clear some space in my mind , because frankly there is too much noise in there right now. 😊
If you are still here and reading my ramblings, thank you .. do leave me a comment or an emoji, to tell me what you are doing to look after yourself!
Sooo, we have managed to survive the first half of 2020. The Pandemic has tested us, pushed our boundaries and reminded us of our place in this whole wide world.. hasn’t it?
We know now that the world doesn’t revolve around us and that it’s time for us to take a step back and consider our options and our actions very carefully. The world as we knew it has changed and chances are it will never return to the way it was.
Yesterday, our Premier announced partial lockdown for Victoria and as I heard him rattle off the postcodes of the suburbs affected, my heart started to sink. No, it’s not because we are in one of those suburbs.. it’s the fact that we are going backwards. As the hour progressed, my sense on doom started to grow too and I found myself fighting back tears, just thinking about how the people in those areas must be feeling – the stress,the pressure, the worries of health, work everything.
It’s hard being an empath – it’s hard soaking in everything around you- not only are you dealing with your own worries, you also take in the feelings of others around you. The short days don’t help with the feeling of doom and gloom as well. So, I have decided to consciously change my thoughts about the Environment around me! And the first step to that is to treat the second part of the year as the better half of the year! Almost like willing it to turn out the way, we want it to be – safe and normal.
Being disconnected from the outside world has given me a chance to reconnect with old school friends and one of them asked me if I still write . And I said no. I haven’t written it in a while. And I couldn’t think of a reason why not. I have said it here so many times that writing/ blogging makes me happy , helps me clear my mind – perhaps I should make a conscious effort to do it more often and more regularly.. you know as a self-help medium ..
Sometimes all you need to do is to look out a different window to see that everything is not as dark as it seems inside.Sometimes all you need is a little nudge to look out a different window. So, I am going to make a very serious effort – everyday . I successfully finished the FatMumSlim June Photo challenge – ok there were a few days when I had to play catchup .. but I completed the challenge & have decided to continue it for July too. So on the days that I don’t have any wise words to share, I will share a photo instead.
So, on that note, I will end this post. I don’t think I have any readers left, but if you have accidentally stumbled upon this page, do stop and say hi !
First of June marks the official start of winter,Down Under. The days get shorter and nights longer, temperature drops and as the chill creeps into our homes,an unexplained gloom starts to fill our hearts as well. Yes, winter blues are real! The good news is that we can chase these blues away,with small pick-me-ups and sail through the cold weather cheerfully.
The first year,that we moved out of India,we lived in Canada.Our arrival in Toronto was ill-timed as it co-incided with the start of winter.Every evening,as I looked out the window and watched the sky darken at 4 pm,my heart sinked.10 years,and 3 countries later,I have started to pick up on the warning signs and have mastered the tricks to cheer myself up.Here are a few of my favorite pick-me-ups:
1) Comfort food: When you are down in the dumps,nothing works,except comfort food.One-pot winter warmers are a win-win.There is something about wolfing down steaming hot food,that warms up your spirits.Hearty soups,Pulavs,Khichdi,Mac anc cheese,casseroles are great options for winter dinners.Baking is a good idea too, as the lovely aroma and heat from the oven,warms up your home too.
2) Vitamin D& C : Yes you read it right. Vitamin D is a natural anti-depressant.So,every opportunity you get rug up , go outside and soak in the sunshine.Additionally,take a Vitamin D supplement and keep up your Vit.D levels. And while you are at it,don’t forget to dose up on some Vit.C as well.Just a glass of Orange juice every day,will boost your immunity and keep the sickness at bay.
3) Rug up: When you are feeling cold,its easy to feel sorry for yourself.Dress up warm,when you are feeling warm and toasty,the world looks a whole lot better.
4) Candles and lights: Light up candles,safely,of course and use dim-lights around the house,so as to not run up the electricity bills but at the same time,the glow of candles and lights makes you feel hopeful.
5) Meet some friends: One of the biggest challenges,I faced in winters was home-sickness and that made me miserable.Make conscious plans to meet friends for a coffee or invite someone over.That way you dress up yourself and the house and instantly your mood uplifts too. In the current COVID climate, when physical meetings are difficult, virtual meetings are the ‘New Normal’
6) Laugh a little: Stock up on comedies and popcorn or hot chocolate.Snuggle up with your kids and/or partner and start a laugh riot.
7) Pick up a hobby: If you have something to do after dark,you won’t resent it so much.My winter hobby is knitting and I look forward to the time,when dinner is finished,kids are in bed so I can get to my knitting.My husband likes playing games on his PS3.Just pick whatever makes you happy.
8) Excercise: Excercise is a great mood enhancer.Even if you can’t get to the gym,an exercise video or treadmill in front of the TV-just anything to get the adrenalin flowing.
9) And lastly,relax,accept the weather and enjoy it-Our lives are so busy,with work-meeting deadlines,running after the kids,keeping up with all the commitments. Why not just take the colder months,to relax..and rejuvenate yourself,mentally and physically.
Give yourself or your partner that foot rub that’s long overdue, read that book that you’ve been wanting to read forever, create some winter rituals-when I was growing up,one of our favorite activity was shelling the peas, sitting around the dining table,as a family,with everyone talking about their day. My kids look forward to their cup of hot cocoa after school,when we sit around the table, drink our cocoa and share the tales from the day.
And when all else fails,try to remember that day in the summer,when it was scorching hot and all you wished for was for it to be winter soon.. Good luck on beating those blues.
How are you holding up? How are you adjusting to the ‘New Normal’ ? It’s strange, isn’t it? Who would’ve thought 3- 4 months back that things would get so out of hand ? I keep asking myself the same thing again and again.
Our little household is doing ok – actually we are doing pretty alright – we have a home to stay safe in. SP & I are working from home & the girls have been homeschooling after the Easter break. Their school holidays were brought forward by a week and we had made the decision to keep them home since the week before. So, we have been at home for the last 8 weeks, going out only for solitary walks or essential shopping every two weeks , sometime every 3 or 4 weeks.
Mr Mowgli is loving the extra attention and long walks. Although I have to say, that when we first started staying home, he seemed a little confused.. like he didn’t know what was going on. First few days he was happy, then he started acting nervous, whether he was picking up on our anxiety or reacting to the changed conditions, I’ll never know. Although when we went to the vets for his yearly checkup & shots, the vet told us that a lot of dogs were feeling anxious at the moment.
He has calmed down now & looks forward to his walks. He knows that we finish work around 4:30-5:00 and he starts pacing around us, as if reminding us that it’s time for a walk.
I asked Ms An what her most favourite part of the isolation was and she said spending more time with Mowgli- they are literally inseparable. Her least favourite part of isolation is being separated from her class and teacher and understandably so. MsA’s coping mechanism is watching Harry Potter movies over and over again, night after night over the holidays and now that school’s on , over the weekends. That and FaceTime with her friends . I swear, it’s almost like we have another teen living in our house. Sometimes I join in their conversations 😀 other times they roll their eyes at me . Whatever work, yeah?
SP copes by playing his games on the iPad and talking to friends and me ? I cook – cooking is my stress buster or and have Zoom calls with my friends every now and again. All we have to do is get through each day, One day at a time and before we know it, this will be over.. maybe we will go back to what it was, may be this new normal will be the normal. Who knows? We just have to wait and watch.
999 pieces 😀 I completed this 1000 piece puzzle but managed to lose one piece 😥 but that’s ok.
I think this puzzle is much like our lives right now.. we have everything, yet something is missing.
We are safe in our homes, with our little families, but miss our extended families. I love staying home but miss the rush of going out; I miss people – my friends, coworkers, other familiar faces.
I also miss emotionally blackmailing my dad to come visit me because it’s been so long since his last visit – I don’t know when he will be able to visit next 🙁 Yes, this is a sooky post & I am going to share it – because – it’s ok to not be ok.
I miss the conversations – you know the ones you have with the barista while you wait for your coffee or the checkout staff while you pay for your groceries, the quick chat with a friend in aisle 6 of the supermarket or dropping in at a friend’s after a crappy day and asking that she make chai .. that’s what I miss..
This week has been a hard one – both with work and homeschooling. I have to say that the kids’ school is fantastic and have made the whole remote learning so much easier for us,but still as a parent, you can’t not feel the pressure.
I feel like I am currently trying to balance three jobs – my own full-time job-currently working from home, homeschooling MsAn ( keeping up with her timetable, coaxing her give things a go, coming up with fun things to keep her engaged) & housekeeping . When I was working out of home & came home after a 10 hour day , the things on my agenda were after school activities, dinner, homework, quick tidy up & bed. Oh! And I used to cook only once each day, at night – enough food for dinner & leftovers for lunch.
Now with work from home, we are eating all three meals at home – cooking three times , even if it’s 2 minute noodles or fried eggs for some meals. The house and the laundry keeps staring at me, as if accusing me of not doing enough.
This constant pressure, this mental load was starting to bog me down. It felt like I had an elastic band around my head that was getting tighter and tighter. So, I decided to give myself a break today. My company has recently started the concept of well-being leave ( 3 days in a year for your wellbeing) . Today I used one of my well-being days. I slept in, woke the kids up for their classes, still had to remind MsAn about her classes, but if she didn’t want to do anything, I asked her to give it a go once & left it at that.
She had to do an exercise video & she refused to do it as it’s not fun for her. I didn’t push it, but she asked me if we could go for a walk instead. So, that’s what we did. We went for a long walk- exploring our neighbourhood, admiring flowers in the front yards, talking about life, skip counting and discovering that all the house numbers on one side of the street are odd numbers and on the other side are even numbers! She didn’t complain even once and before we knew it 40 minutes had passed.
The week has ended and hopefully the next week will be kinder to us .. but to everyone out there, hang in there.. this too shall pass.. I started writing this post feeling so sad and miserable, but I am feeling a little bit better after writing here. I hope reading this helps you feel a little better too, because, we are in this together!!
I received this message today and it instantly raised my happiness quotient to 100% .
My Nanya, I have always said she has such a caring, giving soul – she really does. And I am not saying this just because I am her mum.
I remember when she was a toddler and we were invited to a SuperHero birthday party. All the kids were excited to see Captain America. Lil MsAn, found my friend’s brother-in-law, sitting alone in the second lounge room – checking something on his phone. She planted herself next to him, babbling away, until he finally joined the rest of the party.
At childcare, kinder, every time I ran into another parent, they’d tell me how loving she is. At school this year, I don’t have the luxury of leisurely drop offs & pickups, but when I do meet other parents, they always tell me how delightful she is.
This message came at the right time- a time when I was worried and thinking about the things that worry her.
What does an 8 year old worry about you ask ? Friends mostly. Friendship problems, she worries about fitting in – she is a person on her own but she also knows that she is different- different because she likes things that other girls don’t usually like.
She likes playing games that boys do, but boys don’t always want to play with girls. And she doesn’t want to always play with the boys.
There are some girls that she wants to play with but she doesn’t like the games they play. And then there are others that seek her out, but she is chasing other friends. Sometimes, she tells me, walking around by herself is more fun and it breaks my heart into a million pieces, just like that.
It’s complicated, you see.
That’s why messages like these make me happy. They give me hope.. that it will be ok. They make me feel happy because she made someone’s day better. And not to forget, all that good karma that she is cashing in.
Speaking of Cash – On Halloween, the last house that we knocked on, belonged to a set of new parents. Their little Bub is probably a couple of months old and Halloween was probably the last thing on their mind. Anyway, the guy quickly grabbed his wallet and pulled out 2 $20 notes and gave it to the kids .
There were 3 of them and he only had 2 notes. We said No, but he insisted and apologised that he only had two notes. The girls said thank you & moved on. But the little girl that didn’t get the money was sad. MsAn didn’t even hesitate for a second before offering her friend the money . It’s beyond me how someone so little can be so selfless.
We were eating lunch at the food court, the other day and SP had to make a phone call. While we were waiting, Ms An decided to teach me the lyrics of a song from this video game she plays. She was so patient too. When we I got tired of that, she put up an impromptu performance for me.
Just watching doing her own thing- singing and dancing – and I had this overwhelming wave of love hit me – I hope she continues singing, shining her way through whatever life throws her way, spreading joy and cheer as she goes.
She is a hugger, like her mumma. She goes about spreading joy, one hug at a time.
If MsA was my first true love, MsAn is my soulmate – she literally came into my life and took control – completely!
As some of my friends say, she has me wrapped around her little pinkie finger 🙂🙂
I leave you with a picture of my precious at her favourite spot .. making music
Being a mum is responding to a whiny, long drawn “Mummmm/ Mummmyyyy / Mummma” with a Yessss( and a mental eye roll) to turn around and realise that it’s not your child.
Being a mum, means you can still hear and recognise her child’s voice in the chorus or a cacophony of little voices and smile despite the noise.
Being a mum means your heart can swell with pride and break at the same time – Pride because your little munchkin recognises what is upsetting her & is ready to face it. Heartbreak- because your little love is being so brave and doing a great job of holding her tears.
Being a mum is a great balancing act – between being tough & loving , soft & stern, being fun & setting boundaries.
It’s a constant juggle between wanting to spend more time with them and wanting to send them to bed.
It’s a constant struggle between wanting to be at home with them and wanting to be at work, because I do love being at both places.
Motherhood – this overwhelming feeling that consumes you, takes over your mind, heart and soul but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Ms A and I were talking about teen troubles, life in general.
And as she was feeling rather bummed, I came up with an idea. I told her we should write down the names of all the people that care about her . She laughed it off at first but then, I am her mother and I persisted and we came up with a list of people that she thinks,care. We called this list – the support group.
For isn’t a Support group a group of people that are there for you- people you can talk to when you are happy or sad, people who won’t judge you, people who care enough.
This led to us talking about blogging and this bunch of kick-ass blogger friends that are my support system. These woman that I met through my blog, when I was a young first time mum to be, alone in a foreign land, with hardly any real world friends in the same city and a workaholic husband .
But even before I started blogging, I met this wonderful group of girls through online support forums . What started as a big group, slowly whittled down to a group of 7 . They were the ones that helped me get over dark days of Canadian & American winter blues. We chatted for hours over cups of teas, exchanged recipes, housekeeping tips, and everything else under the sun. We met in person and have formed long lasting friendships. They were the first few people that I shared my blog with. Some of us are still in touch.. we reach out to each other to share happy news, kids achievements 🙂 – sad news & worries too .
The blogger friends – we haven’t all met, but that doesn’t dull the friendship or the bond. We all rejoice over the blog-babies- I call them babies, most are teens now; we virtually hold each other’s hands as we face our demons as mums and/or women .. that’s what counts. And when we do meet, even if it’s for the first time, it’s like meeting an old friend and picking up the strings from where we last left off.
I don’t know where this post is going.. but I do know that even when I was alone in a place where I didn’t know anyone, I never felt lonely, because I had all these lovely people to support me through the transition- cross country moves, inter- continental moves, house hunting, difficult pregnancies, everything!
Maybe it’s time to pick up the strings… maybe it’s time to make time for conscious blogging.. maybe..