Author: obsessivemom

Five ways to trounce the anger demon

Five ways to trounce the anger demon

If you follow me on Facebook you would have seen this update on my timeline a few days back.

 

And that was just a five-minute snippet of my entire day. Children can certainly drive you to the brink. Sometimes I think they are part of God’s master plan to teach us patience.

I yell at the twins. Multiple times a day. What follows is worse – they grow sullen and I am left with the feeling that I messed up, that I could have done better, that it really wasn’t worth it. Also, as they grow, I find yelling losing its effectiveness. If you have a tween at home you’ll know the eye-rolls and the arguing and the doors being shut. Oh! the door banging – how it provokes me!

And then it goes completely downhill.

I’ve blogged about this before . And I still remember the look on my daughter’s face after the incident I spoke about in that post. She was barely able to talk, back then.

Never had I experienced such extreme emotional outbursts as I have since the children came along. Click To Tweet

It is only a few years ago that I became aware of the necessity of keeping my cool.

Anger vitiates the home atmosphere and we say things we wish we never should have. Click To Tweet

Also, I wonder what example I’m setting for the children (yeah always, always the weight of being a role model). Besides, it is such a dreadful time waster.

So here are five ways in which I am trying to get past my anger.

Being aware of specific triggers

This has been tremendously helpful. I have learnt to recognise my triggers. There are specific times during the day when I’m most likely to lose my temper – Mornings would be the worst, then come study-time and bedtime. In fact whenever there’s a deadline to meet I know a yell is round the corner. So those are the times I plan for and remind myself to keep my cool.

Removing yourself from the scene

I’d almost forgotten this one till a friend reminded me of it on that Facebook thread. It works better for older children. For instance after I give them their breakfast in the morning, I tell them to watch the clock and get busy with other morning chores. I would have done myself a world of good had I not sat watching H wear that sock that day.

What’s the worse that can happen?

That’s a question I ask myself as I feel my patience slipping. So they’re slow in the morning, they’ll miss part of their breakfast. Or they’ll miss the bus. At night they’ll go to bed half an hour late. Is that worth yelling? Often it isn’t. Would it delay us further? In most cases it does. Oh and if they have flouted one of the unbreakable rules they have a yell coming and I do it without a twinge of guilt because I know they well deserve it.

Take a break, make yourself happy

This one is important because if I’m stressed or unhappy my patience runs dry way faster. I make time for myself. So I have a quiet cup of tea before I wake them in the morning. Or I try to meet up with friends in the evening – that’s absolutely therapeutic.

Partner up with your children

Long back when the children were really small we had the concept of an Angel Day when everyone would try to be good. That still works sometimes. Also, when I’m expecting a stressful day, if I have a work deadline or we’re having visitors for instance, I warn them off. It helps immensely that they’re older and understand me more. On good days not only do they tone down their squabbling, they also lend a hand with the chores.

That said, there still are days, many more of them than what I’d like, when I forget and give way to impatience. But I’m trying and getting better at it most certainly.

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Linking up with  Kreative Mommy for her #MondayMommyMoments. Do drop by to check out suggestions from other moms.
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The trouble with being a good girl

The trouble with being a good girl

Dear daughter,

These last few years I have watched you grow into a wonderful young girl. A good girl – I’ve heard people call you that and I’ve seen how you glow with happiness each time someone says it. You deserve it too. However, there’s a danger hidden away in the midst of all the compliments and I write to you today, to tell you about it.

Many times over you will hear people (including me, sometimes) praising you for, or pushing you to be – a good girl.
In the middle of a fight you’ll hear – “Let him have the toy N, you’re a good girl, no?”
Or at school – “Be a good girl and sit quietly.”
Or at home – “Good girl, run and get my phone, please.”

Interestingly enough, you will hear it much more than your brother. And that is rather ironic because I see you trying harder than he ever does. He really doesn’t seem to care much for what people think of him. But you do. Which is why the danger is greater for you.

The thing is, the more people praise you, the harder you try to fit into their image of a good girl. As you grow you make that image your own. It becomes your yardstick for measuring your worth. And that’s a little crazy for many reasons.

To begin with, being ‘good’ is a rather vague idea. So when you set out to be a ‘good girl’ you set up unclear, unrealistic expectations for yourself. Obviously, you cannot meet all of them, and then you end up feeling guilty or incompetent or not-good-enough your whole life.

If you are always striving to be a ‘good girl’ you set yourself up for failure and unhappiness. Click To Tweet

Sounds weird coming from me? Yes I know. And no that does not mean you have the license to be rude or irresponsible, inconsiderate or unkind. What that does mean is that you do not always need to do what you think is expected of you.

Being a good girl is important but being real is even more important. Click To Tweet

Get that? Being the real ‘you’ is important for there will come a day when you will realise that fulfilling every one’s expectations isn’t really making you happy from the inside. Then you will try to figure out what you truly want. And that will be difficult because you’ve been so busy listening to everyone else you’ve never listened to your own heart. You’ve lost touch with yourself. And if you don’t know what truly makes you happy how can you ever hope to be happy at all?

Besides, being a good girl 24X7 is exhausting. You can never relax because you’re always on guard lest the real you slip out of the mask that you wear all the time.

Worse still, you never make real friends – the pukka kinds who know you inside out, share your deepest darkest secrets and still love you. Because you’re always scared the real you isn’t good enough, that they won’t love you enough if they know the real you. But then it isn’t necessary to be liked by everyone, to fit in all the time. It is worth losing a hundred superficial friends for a handful of real ones.

It takes courage, of course and a lot of practice. That is weird, isn’t it? Being yourself should be the easiest thing on earth. Unfortunately, putting only our best versions out for others, comes way more naturally to us. Being real needs practice. But do it. Do it even if you find it hard. Do it because in the end it is the most liberating feeling ever.

It is important to be yourself because there’s only one of you in this whole world :-). Click To Tweet

So look inwards. Get to know yourself independent from people and happenings around you. Speak your mind – be kind, be polite but be honest too. People will love you and respect you for that.

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Linking up with #Chatty Blogs from Shanaya Tales

Random acts of kindness

Random acts of kindness

For a few years I lived in a small town of Central India. We had a house on top of a picturesque hill with a lake at the bottom of it. The downside, however, was that the area was deserted. A half a kilometre walk got you to one of the most famous heritage hotels of the city and that’s where you could hope for any kind of public transport.

I rarely minded the walk except during the summer when the sun beat down relentlessly and the sweat ran down your face and back in incessant rivulets making a ragamuffin of you no matter how much care you’d taken to dress up.

One such summer day as I was walking down the deserted path a car stopped by me. The windows rolled down and I found a bunch of AfroAmerican girls staring out. ‘Do you want a lift?’ asked one of them.

I have to stop here to explain that a ‘lift’ was unheard of those days and all my mom’s warnings about talking to strangers rang out loud and clear in my head. However the sun was so very hot that, apprehensive as I was, I got into the car. I think the girls sensed my apprehension and one of them remarked – I hope you’re not thinking we’re going to kidnap you or anything.

That completely freaked me out. I poised myself to spring out of the car at the slightest hint of danger. As it turned out they were simply doing me a good turn, they dropped me off at the hotel and drove away. I was so relieved I couldn’t even thank them properly.

It’s been almost two decades and I have not forgotten either their kindness or my fear.

Each time an unexpected act of kindness visits us, we look upon it with suspicion. Click To Tweet

Sad, isn’t it?

And then another time..

My sister and I had to catch a local train in Bombay. We heard the whistle of the train even as we were struggling down a rather steep flight of stairs with a huge bag which we held between us. Along came a man in a checked lungi and a vest. Before we knew it he had taken the bag from us and was almost running down the steps, his slippers flapping on the ground. We ran after him worried and apprehensive, but all he did was put the bag down on the platform. Then he disappeared into the crowd. He didn’t wait for any kind of acknowledgement, no thank yous, nothing. Just walked off.

Random acts of kindness, such as this one can make someone’s day.

Then again..

The other day I was coming home staggering under the weight of multiple shopping bags with all my monthly shopping when an old lady offered to help. She took some bags from my hand and walked with me to the lift. A small act I know, but the strange bit was that up until that moment I had always dismissed her as a rather unpleasant old woman going by the way she yelled at the children for making a noise in the building lobby.

The man who stops his car on the road to let you cross, the person in the supermarket queue who gives you his place because you had just one thing to buy, the young girl who gives up her seat for you on the bus – small, simple acts of kindness can bring a smile. It really doesn’t take much  – a word, a smile, two minutes of your life – can make a difference.

Kindness is one of the most underrated virtues - the easiest to give and receive. Click To Tweet

All we need to do is open our eyes and hearts and be ready for it.

Have you ever received kindness from strangers? Would love to hear from you.

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Linking up with Amrita for #ThankfulThursdays.

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Welcome vanity

Welcome vanity

When I go home for the summer the one thing I do is take a mental break from being a parent and reconnect with the person I used to be. There are enough people around to pull me back the moment they see the mom-in-me taking over me-the-person.

And so it was that my sister pointed out a change that had happened so slowly, so unobtrusively, that I had barely noticed it. Since I gave up full time office I stopped bothering about the way I look.

That doesn’t mean I have become sloppy or untidy or that I lounge around in my night clothes all day. In fact, I like the routine of sitting down at my work table neatly dressed and ready to take on the day.

The difference is – it’s all done mechanically. I don’t give a thought to what I wear. I wear what I always wear. When I was going out to work, I dressed with care. If I was out on an assignment I’d be even more careful, dressing up according to where I was going or who I was meeting. I enjoyed that. It was part of the happiness of going to work. Clothes, pretty clothes, cheered me up. They do still, but somewhere along the way I stopped indulging myself.

If you are a stay-at-home-parent or a work-from-home-person you might comprehend how that happens.

Comfort takes over fashion completely. Not that I was ever ‘fashionable’ but I did own at least one pair of heels which I would fish out when the occasion demanded, I’d visit the parlour regularly and I’d wear a sari to work somedays just for fun.

Now, I find I come up with all kinds of reasons to not dress up – the sari is too cumbersome, heels too uncomfortable, skirts make me look fat, salwar suits are too difficult to maintain and so on.

So I pull on a pair of tights or my jeans and a tee and I’m good to go just about anywhere, a dressy shirt when I’m going out, a plain one when I’m home. As for the sneakers – I practically live in them. Formal events, specially those where I need to wear traditional clothes, are few and far between and always lead to panic (WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR!) so much that I look for ways to avoid them. This really needs to change.

Watching my mom is an inspiration. She religiously sticks to her nightly self-care routine, never steps out for her evening walk without changing into a starched and ironed salwar kurta and spends hours at weavers’ exhibitions picking out the most gorgeous saris.

So here it is – my resolution for the rest of the year, rest of my life hopefully: I will have more fun with the way I look.

With the children a little grown up I do have the time. Also, the change might not be huge in the physical sense of it. All one might notice is an extra dash of lip colour, the occasional eyeliner, painted toe-nails, open toed sandals or a bit of heel. Flamboyance was never my thing. Besides, this transformation is more from the inside, more about trying new things, about taking an interest in and enjoying the way I look.

The weight is there of course, it’s going to be there for sometime, maybe longer, maybe forever. However, that really shouldn’t stop me, right?

Some amount of vanity cannot hurt.

This piece here argues that vanity can be an effective motivator. So if I start enjoying the way I look I might actually be motivated to lose weight and look better and get further motivated and so on in a delightful cycle.

Sounds good, huh?

Linking up with Linking up with Nabanita’s Mommy Talks

A normal birthday

A normal birthday

Amidst the crazy cheers of some twenty children ranging from the ages of 8 to 15 crammed in one small living room, H and N turned eleven this weekend.

This year they were very clear in that they wanted a ‘normal’ birthday party which, according to them, they had ‘never ever had’. The Husband and I were quite lost and if, like us, you are wondering what a normal party is here’s how they explained it to us: It should be at home (groan!). They should be allowed to invite all their friends (double groan!). It should have music and dancing and games, gifts and return gifts – the whole deal. Seriously, I see no signs of these two growing up soon.

Even the Husband, who is exceptionally good at bargaining, couldn’t sway them this time round. The only deal he could strike was that this would be the last of its kind and that at twelve they would really be too grown up to be found playing passing the parcel at their birthday party.

That is how, come Saturday, we pulled out every single birthday cliché to put up a normal party. And it turned out to be as crazy, noisy, chaotic an affair as they come.

While the children and their friends had the time of their lives here’s what I did through those two hours..

Separated bunches of younger ones as they wrestled on the floor
Yelled at the top of my voice to explain the rules of the games
Yelled again to get them organised into teams
Handled charges of cheating from the losing team
Yelled some more to reiterate that my decision was final
Pacified one of the girls when someone shot party snow all over her face
Ran out to get the candles because I had assumed the cake guy would put them in and he didn’t
Lighted the candles on the cake more than once because someone blew them before the birthday girl and boy could get to them
Nipped the cream smearing ceremony in the bud
Made sure the plates were piled with cake, pizza and noodles.

I couldn’t have done it without my ever supportive sis-in-law and my dearest niece. Whew!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to have the children’s friends over and every weekend we have a bunch of them huddled together in their room. That was one reason I started the book club too. However twenty of them together, each in a rowdier frame of mind than the next, is a little beyond me.

Maybe I am just getting old even as the twins show no signs whatsoever of growing up. Oh while on growing up I have to add they did help with the party. They handled the invitations all on their own, from designing to printing and distributing them. During the party, H conducted the games and helped maintain order (when he remembered that he was the host, that is). N gave her inherent diva a rest and played the perfect hostess, passing out the food like a pro and making sure the younger ones were well looked after.

The two of them finally got their heart’s desire – the post party hugs and thank yous were proof enough and that made it all quite worthwhile. Doesn’t it always? As I hugged them close, glad that they were in my life, a part of me was praying they would remember to keep their deal next year.

Linking up with #Chatty Blogs from Shanaya Tales

And with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me