Author: obsessivemom

Manufacture your own happiness

Manufacture your own happiness


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Around mid December I went down with a terrible head cold. I know now exactly why they’re called ‘head colds’ – everything neck upwards seemed to have become one fused, throbbing frozen mass of pain. The dependable Mr Murphy had to mix it up with a bit of this and that just to keep things interesting. And so the weather dipped in a funny way as it does here, with a ten degree difference between day and night temperatures, making N’s nose bleed copiously while H went down with a terrible allergy that had us rushing to casualty in the middle of that same night to get him an anti-allergic injection.

However, by next afternoon the children had recovered.

Overcome with sleep and exhaustion I left them to study and made for the bed. I pulled on a soft pair of socks and snuggled down in the comforter letting the medicines take over. In that moment all the panic and stress of the past day drained away, leaving me ever so grateful at how blissfully snug and comfortable I was.

That one afternoon sums up this year for me.

There have been challenges aplenty that have left me floundering, giving up, almost, on this whole parenting thing. But then there have also been friends, acquaintances, even random strangers sometimes, who have wrapped themselves around me in the warm blanket of their affection, soothing and comforting.

For that I am immensely grateful. I cannot do without friends and family and they will always remain an inseparable of my life.

My second takeaway from 2018 was that there really is no perfect life, there never will be. Nor will we (at least I won’t) ever miraculously find ourselves in a zen state when all seems well with the world.

All we have are small moments of happiness scattered through our days and it in these that we have to find our happiness.

Find happiness in the small things, in tiny happy moments scattered through the day. Click To Tweet

And also, we need to make sure that it is these moments that take up space in our hearts and minds; that we do not let the unpleasant moments overwhelm us and pull us down.

Of course it’s easier said than done. But being mindful helps.

As I scrolled down my instagram feed, scanty as it was, it showed me moments that had made me happy over the year – a hot cup of tea, a good book, a handmade gift, a walk with the kids, a piece of good music –  those are moments that I’m going to hold on to, the ones I’ll define my year by.

Here’s wishing all of you a very happy, healthy and hopeful new year.

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle.

Life’s better with friends #GratitudeCircle

Life’s better with friends #GratitudeCircle

The irony of life is that each time one makes a rule to handle it, it goes and does something (quite on purpose, I’m certain) to make that rule completely absolutely redundant. That’s its way of keeping us on our toes. A not very nice thing to do, but that’s how life is.

If you’re one of the few sweet wonderful people who have been dropping by my blog despite the minimal activity here, you will remember I mentioned that for some time I had been feeling friendless and lonely. Anyhow, so then I went ahead and decided I’d try to make my own happiness. And I did. I took myself to lunch, went for solitary walks, crafted a little bit, did some neat bit of colouring, read, had mini binges on Netflix (Gilmore Girls which, by the way, is a fabulous series) and I was quite happy.

The kids got this beautiful colouring book as a gift. They could not truly appreciate it since it had quotes from Alice in Wonderland which they haven’t read. So I appropriated it right away and have been having fun with it.

Just when I thought I was in a good space by myself, all manner of friends, delightful ones at that, began to show up in places I’d never imagined, as if to convince me that life really was better with friends.

As I was ending my walk one morning a couple in our complex carried me off for another round. I’d known them for a while but never really interacted much with them. I have no clue what made them overrule all my ‘nos’ and drag me along.

With them I discovered this huge tract of land, barely a five-minute drive away, and had the most delightful walk. I have to admit I enjoyed their company almost as much, maybe more. Only rarely do you meet a couple so positive, so happy, so mutually appreciative of each other. I felt blessed to have been included in their little circle with a standing invitation to join them any/every morning.

Then, I bumped into another acquaintance/friend and we got talking. As we ranted about life, specifically the kids and the education system, it turned out her daughter was facing the very same issues as mine. There really is nothing more comforting than meeting someone with the same stresses as yours and trying to figure your way out together. And so we fixed a coffee date which I’m looking forward to.

Oh and the biggest biggie of all – I went to my college reunion. That should ideally have been a whole post in itself but the writing slump I’ve been in, took that away from me. When first I heard of the meet I was quite certain I wouldn’t go. And then my sister who always begins with ‘Don’t go if you don’t want to but think about it’ and then proceeds to work on me in insidious ways, did just that. Before I knew it I found myself booked to my hometown. As usual my sister-in-law stepped in to take the children for four whole days. I maintain I struck gold when I married the Husband as much for him as for his family, maybe a tad more for his family considering he’s not around too often these days and his sister is there. Always. So there I was in Lucknow revisiting the campus, interacting with teachers but most of all spending time with old friends.

Time had chipped away at the cliques of our youth, mellowing differences, easing friendships, letting us laugh at shared memories. All in all I totally root for reunions.

I know this is turning out to be one long rambling post but I have to mention this last incident. Early last month my site was hacked. In complete panic I reached out to my service provider and to their credit they sorted me out in a jiffy but at a bit of a cost. Later I found out a lot of other bloggers had faced the same issue and unlike me they reached out to other blogger friends for help and managed it with much little stress and at a lower cost too.

Sigh!

It didn’t even occur to me to ask for help. I wonder why, in times of crisis, I only tend to draw up on all of my own reserves and can think of no one at all. That’s something I need to remember. In the words of JK Rowling:

Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.

Replace ‘Hogwarts’ with ‘life’ and I have my November lesson.

I’ll end with a great sense of gratitude for friends and acquaintances this November. Without them it would have been a dull dull month.

PS: Thank you all of you for helping me with N’s pen-paper Vs Tab decision. I’ve decided to stick with pen and paper for now and give her the tab during the holidays when she would probably/hopefully be doing more writing. She’s also writing in her journal so that’s something.

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle.

Giving thanks for October #GratitudeCircle

Giving thanks for October #GratitudeCircle

I’m late again, as always for the gratitude post. But since that’s all I seem to be writing about these days I’m grateful I do get to them. October was a good month, apart from a few hiccups. Without dwelling upon the hiccups, let me just get to the good bits, for there were quite a few.

Exams ended for the children around mid-October and I loved the relaxed pace of the days that followed. We watched films together and listened to music. They always protest when I put on music from the 60s and 70s, my favourites from RD Burman, Kishore Kumar and Shammi Kapoor as also The Beatles and Cliff Richards. On the other hand I struggle to enjoy theirs which seems noisy to my old (y)ears. This time round we struck a happy compromise. They were patient as I introduced them to the beauty of the lyrics and the melody that I loved. It was rewarding to hear them humming ‘Jab zero diya mere bharat ne’, a personal favourite. I too found I enjoyed some of ‘their’ songs and many of them now have a permanent place on my walking playlist.

I became more mindful

The music went well with the mindfulness month initiated by Modern Gypsy.. Though I couldn’t keep up with posting daily pictures, I did become more conscious of the small bits of time, of togetherness as well of alone-time and I learnt to enjoy them both. I chatted with the kids while we walked to their classes rather than hurrying there and back. We took impromptu breaks together and stopped at roadside restaurants for nachos or fries.

 

A surprise breakfast

The children decided to surprise me one weekend by cooking up breakfast. They made out a rather elaborate (and unusual) menu card. N handled the kitchen and H played the maitre d with frequent prompting from her. The tea was too strong and the tomatoes in the omelette cut too large, yet it was the best breakfast ever.

More happy surprises

My reading slowed down a bit but no regrets there. On a happy note I won not one, not two but three giveaways – that’s two books and a gorgeous tumbler set from Harper Collins. I’ve already put the tumblers to good use and am hoping to have the reviews of the books up on my other blog soon.

Genghis Khan proved to be a very engaging read. Still to begin on The Invincible Weapon.

 

Aren’t these gorgeous?

The Diwali break began

The children are on a two-week break and it’s good to have them home without the pressure of having to push them to study.

H is a borderline gaming addict, which is a constant source of struggle between us. Our daily arguments notwithstanding, he is now planning to start a YouTube channel on gaming tips and tricks and wants my help. I’m wondering whether that is wise at all, even if I had the tech savviness to help him, which I don’t. I do think that making those videos would be better than the actual gaming – at least it will involve a degree of creativity.

What do you think? Is it a good idea?

N dabbles in a hundred things. Currently she seems to be enjoying writing. I love finding creative prompts for her. To see her sitting at the table scribbling away makes my day.

Also, since I mentioned this, there’s something I’d like your advice on. She currently writes with pen and paper. However, I was wondering if I should get her to switch to a tab. Editing and correcting on paper is tedious for me and she hates to re-write. Besides, the tab is certainly going to be the future of writing, of that I’m certain. However, I’m a little conflicted about her giving up the traditional pen and paper. So help me here, should I get her to switch at least for leisure writing? Or is it too early?

That’s it from me. November is treating me well and my gratitude list is already pretty long.

PS: I took to an adult colouring book and that post header backdrop was done by me. It made me quite happy.

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle.

 

Jumbled mythological ramblings

Jumbled mythological ramblings


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

The maid was on leave. I was dusting, sweeping and mopping while trying to keep an eye on the children studying for their geography exam. I glanced at the two of them. N was bent over her book while H lay sprawled on the floor, writing.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked him.
‘I’m making a soil chart – alluvial, black, red, laterite,….’

I tuned out rushing to switch off the tap as water overflowed from the mop bucket.

‘…… loamy, clayey’, the tail end of what he was saying brought me back to their massive Geography portion. I glanced at N struggling through the jungle of vegetations and soils and I remarked rather absentmindedly, ‘Whatever it is, share it with N after you finish, okay?’

And BAM! Right there I knew how Kunti got Draupadi in the five-husband mess. When Arjun won her (Draupadi) in a Swayamvar and entered the house saying, ‘Ma look what I got!’ her obvious response was, ‘Whatever it is share it with your brothers’. And so Draupadi landed up with five husbands.

I have always felt truly sorry for that poor woman, and I mean Kunti. Imagine having three boys and then a pair of twins; boys again! What’s worse, she lived in a joint family with her sons and their one hundred cousins, all boys again. I feel faint each time I think of that much testosterone packed under a single roof. Oh and her sister-in-law would have been little help with eyes permanently blindfolded.

You see now how her patience must have been tried? That sharing line was the most natural thing for her to say.

The thought of the brothers squabbling over whatever Arjun had brought must have freaked her out even before she knew what it was. And she said the obvious pre-emptive thing any mom with multiple children would say, ‘Share it’. Thank goodness they were in exile and the cousins weren’t around. Small mercies.

It’s been twelve whole years – take a few months off for when the twins were infants – but since then, with every living breath of mine I’ve been trying to teach them to SHARE and they still don’t get it. It has been one of my most epic fails as a parent. And yet I persevere, reminding them to share share share till it has become a reflex, I say it without thinking.

Just like Kunti.

H goes to a birthday party and comes home with cupcakes – share it, I say.
N wins a goody bag at a school contest – share it, I tell her.
Her friend gives her a chocolate – give half to your brother, I tell her.
He wheedles a computer game from us – okay we say, but share it with N.

I can completely imagine being absentminded enough to say the exact same thing as I work at my laptop.

Am I being fair? Perhaps not. Definitely not in the kids’ minds. After all, as N tells me, ‘When I win something it is mine alone, and it should be my decision to share or not’.

Right? I’m sure Draupadi would agree and Arjun too.

However, as a mom there comes a point in one’s life when all one wants is peace at any cost and fairness be damned.

I have to add that all said and done, this new age funda of I-for-myself doesn’t quite gel. It’s more than just about keeping the peace – I do genuinely prefer the old Indian way of sharing – sharing willingly and with love. And till the kids get that, they can whine and complain but share they shall.

 

 

Note to self: When your child says, ‘Look what I’ve got’ – check what the ‘what’ is before asking him/her to share.

Finding Peace this September #GratitudeCircle #MondayMusings

Finding Peace this September #GratitudeCircle #MondayMusings

While August seemed inordinately long, September seems to have rushed past in a blur. August was about struggling to find mental peace, fighting off loneliness and coming to terms with the absence of friends – real as well as virtual. September, happily enough, has been about getting comfortable with myself, learning to look inwards and finding my own peace while being grateful for friends as and when we cross paths.

It wasn’t as if I had a great epiphany. Rather, it was just about lowering my expectations and learning to manage my moods, aided by long chats with my sister and spontaneous meet ups with my SIL.

Oh and also, long long walks.

If August was about finding an indoor exercising routine, September has been about stepping out. An hour spent outdoors walking hard, with the breeze in my face, wiped away all my moodiness. As the weather has become drier, I’ve been stepping out most mornings. Moms standing by the roadside holding onto toddlers, then waving them goodbye as they climbed on their buses, the greenery along the way, groups of morning walkers and the happy sound of senior citizens clapping and practicing laughter therapy have brightened up my day.

Tracking my progress on Google Fit has given me as much happiness as Shylock got counting his gold. Very satisfying, indeed.

September has been a kinder month despite the kids’ exams kicking off, or perhaps because the exams are here. I spent the first half of the month feeling weirdly detached and guilty by turns, that I wasn’t pushing them enough and then I had no time to think at all. Sometimes that is what works best.

The Husband was home for almost a week right before the exams and that helped. I cannot begin to explain how his very presence takes the stress off me. The feeling that I and I alone am not responsible for the children, is one of the most relaxing thoughts.

Also, he is way more of a Tiger Dad than the Tiger Mom I can ever hope to be. When he is around we argue all the time because I feel he pushes the children a little too hard. Our parenting styles are very different. However, the more he is away the more I realise the importance of at least one parent pushing the kids. I don’t need to push myself to push them. When I’m alone, I have a thousand things on my mind, along with their studies, and I feel they tend to slack off.

I realise the husband and I set each other off well, we are a good team. And I’m grateful for his presence as much as there is of it.

October promises to be relaxed and festive.

***********

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle and with Corinne’s #MondayMusings.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

The Forest of Enchantments – A #Review

The Forest of Enchantments – A #Review

Mythology tells timeless tales. Which is perhaps why, we never tire of listening to these stories from our childhood. Or perhaps the charm lies in the voice of the storyteller who brings something new, something unexpected to the tale; a new perspective perhaps or a poetic narration – something that makes the same old story […]