Category: gratitude

Striking a balance is the hardest thing to do

Striking a balance is the hardest thing to do

If you’ve been with me on the blog for a while you’ll know how I have always rued the fact that the twins seem to feel no pressure of exams while I am completely freaking out. The more I worry, the less they seem to think about it.

During their mid-terms in October last year, things got worse than ever. All through those two months (before and during the exams) I was constantly yelling at them and then feeling terribly guilty at the things I had said. We’d reach a stalemate, go through silent spells and then I’d be back trying to appease them, trying to get them to study, only to lose my temper yet again.

The worry about their marks and exams hung like a dead weight on my mind dragging me into the dumps, waking me up at night and keeping me anxious all day. I hated the entire exam system, hated that I had to handle it all alone and hated that I had to put the children through it all. It was  vicious.

All for a class 6 mid-term!

I can see how foolish that was, now. But the thing is, the reaction of a troubled mind is often far from logical. In retrospect I realise it was also partly because I had been struggling with a lot of health issues. That must have contributed to my chaotic mental state.

By the end of exam time I knew just one thing – I never wanted to be in that space again. More importantly, I never wanted to put the children through that. No marks, no awards were worth it.

We talked about it, the children and I. And we promised that at the next exam all of us would work towards keeping our cool, NO MATTER WHAT.

The children call it my Kalinga War, moment 🙂

Yeah Asoka the Great is part of their syllabus this term. So basically, that last exam was a sort of turning point. I made the keep-my-cool promise, even more fervently, to myself. I promised I’d not let the worry of their scores push me to the edge of reason, ever.

I am happy to say, this time round exam time has been relatively peaceful. Nothing much has changed – I still have to push them all the time, they still rush off the moment my attention flags, they’re still playing computer games, watching television, amusing themselves in a hundred different ways and annoying me in a thousand more.

The only thing that has changed is my attitude.

Sometimes the only way to make things better is to change your attitude. Click To Tweet

This doesn’t mean I haven’t lost my temper at all. A leopard takes time to change her spots, right? But I have definitely dissociated myself a little bit and that feeling of panic hasn’t come back.

For that I am grateful.

After years of worrying that the children do not worry enough I can finally see the benefit of it. I never thought I’d say this but here I am feeling grateful that H and N do not panic. A friend, who is a teacher, spoke of kids who threw up constantly, suffered from headaches and body aches or ran a fever throughout the exams – all due to anxiety. And these are kids from class five and six, 11, 12 year olds. I would not wish that upon any child ever.

That said, I have to admit I doubt myself all the time, specially when I see a lot of moms pushing on relentlessly. I know of moms who solve each math problem along with their child. And when I hear of things like this I cannot help but  wonder if it’s just me. If it is I who am at fault, that I don’t have it in me to handle the pressure and then I worry that H and N might suffer because of that. Am I allowing them to slide into mediocrity by letting go? Have I been too hasty in letting go?

I don’t have any answers and so for now I push all these thoughts away. I’ll wait for their results before I make up my mind about anything. If they aren’t radically different from the mid-terms I’m good, or else I’ll need to rethink their study pattern.

However, there’s one thing I’m sure of and that is that I never want to go back to the madness of those anxiety ridden days, for their sake as well as my own. I’d much rather they score less and be happy than top their class but become a bundle of nerves.

And for now I’m enjoying the sense of peace.

*********

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

 

Happily, gratefully busy this February

Happily, gratefully busy this February

February seemed to drag on and on forever but now that I’m trying to recap the month it seems to have flown past. It’s been very busy and yet uneventful. I think that’s a good thing. I like ‘busy and uneventful’. I’ve been much more relaxed this month than I’ve been in a long time.

…because health is so important

If I were to name one thing I was specially grateful for this month, it would be health. The recent passing away of well-known actor Sridevi brought home the fact ever more strongly. It breaks my heart to think what her teenaged daughters would be going through, perhaps because I imagine my children in that same situation, should anything happen to me, and the thought frightens me. It’s morbid, I know. However it does put things in perspective.

Going forward from that thought, the biggest happiness of the month was that I could finally get my tests done. I spent a good five hours at the hospital giving all kinds of samples, and standing/lying down under machines of all shapes and sizes followed by multiple visits for some more investigations and consultations. Finally, I have been pronounced reasonably healthy. Whatever little blips I have can all be corrected with supplements. The best bit was that the heart was in its place and pumping happily along. But then I always knew that :-).

The evening walks

There’s of course the old enemy, fat, to contend with. But I’m on it and I’m glad to report that I’ve managed to begin the evening walks I’d been planning for ages in addition to my morning routine. They’re short ones, just about twenty minutes, and only on weekdays. It was a bit of a shocker to realise how I’ve lost stamina. There was a time I was walking 7-8kms and now I tire in 2. The speed is pretty pathetic too. After the first few days I did away with all walking apps because the figures were just so abysmally depressing, specially when I compared them to what I could once do. Now I just have a timer and am concentrating on walking a minimum of 20 minutes everyday. The speed and the stamina will have to wait.

Books and Friendships

This month a few blogger friends decided to exchange pre-owned books from their personal collections – a fabulous idea conceived and coordinated by Shalini who blogs at www.shalzmojo.in. I received Big Little Lies from fellow bibliophile, Lata and although I still have to review it on my other blog, I will reiterate that it turned out a wonderful read. A good book stays with you for a long long time and this one shall too. If you haven’t read it, do pick it up.

And then of course there are the children

Sometimes I worry that most of my moods, my happiness and my stress, stem from the children. It’s not healthy, I know. I am depending on time to change that. Or perhaps once the Husband is around more often the pressure shall ease off.

Early this month they went on a day-trip to an amusement park out of town. I’m grateful they came back safe and sound and also that I could take this small step towards letting go.

Much as I enjoy my alone time, the happy moments with them are absolutely priceless. I organised a surprise lunch for them on Valentine’s Day and their excitement was a treat to watch. N made some very mushy cards for me while H had a huge hug to offer.

A week later, we went out for dinner. That was a bit of an event because with the Husband away we keep putting off going out for when ‘papa is here’ and things tend to turn a little dull. But one Saturday we all dressed up and went out and it was great fun. I must remember to do it more often.

Apart from the lunches and dinners their everyday laughter and total goofiness never fails to lift my spirits. The other day, the maid went on uninformed leave and as I was getting dinner together bubbling with annoyance H walked into the kitchen, a tulip clutched between his teeth (not a rose and not even a real tulip, for that matter) doing the classic MJ pelvis shake. It would have been absolutely gross had it not been so very ridiculous. And every shed of my annoyance was chased away by the riot of laughter.

It is moments like these that keep me going.

*****

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Also linking up with Shirley’s Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 06
#Gratitude this January

#Gratitude this January

If you read my New Year post you’ll know I intended to make fitness a priority this year. Looking back this month I did manage to make a start and that’s the first thing I’m grateful for.

I finally seem to have found a decent exercise routine

It includes three days of yoga, one day of Zumba and one of Pilates. I’ve grown to like the mix, though I am finding it hard to pick up the Zumba steps because by the time I go back next week I’ve forgotten much of what I learnt. But then that’s fine, after all Zumba is more about having fun than getting it right. Besides, I raise a laugh or two each time I go out of sync or stop midway to puzzle out a step and that’s wonderful because more laughs mean more endorphins for everyone around. Right? We always come away smiling after the sessions.

That’s something to be grateful for.

I’m enjoying Pilates too

..and I’m happy to report that I can more than keep up with the others. I’ve totally maxed it with my plank (not the shoulder plank, just the regular one) at which I’m the best in the class. I cannot tell how very good that feels considering I’ve never been ‘best in the class’ at anything at all! (I have to confess that we’re just three of us, but still best is best) all thanks to being consistent with yoga. ‘You have a strong ‘core’ pronounced the instructor,’ making me glance at it right away only to bring home the fact that I had too much of it!

My maids are my new partners in fitness

They have taken turns to go on leave, the cook’s been away for almost 20 days now. However, that meant I was more active and that the house was cleaner (yeah I’m better at it than my maid). Also since I was forced to spend more time in the kitchen I’ve been making healthier meals. I tried a simply delicious mushroom soup prompted by my sister. I shall share the recipe one of these days.

In other happy news

The twins’ school opened

early this month, which meant I had more free time and could get started on editing a brand new manuscript. It’s turning out to be a lot of fun. There really is happiness in finding fault with other people’s work, specially if it earns you money along the way!

The kids made me proud

N brought home a bronze medal in handball. I was there to watch the match and it was a pleasure to see her shoot not one or two but three goals. Oh I was proud!


H got home positive diary notes. I didn’t even know teachers did that these days. I got notes on two occasions saying he’s doing exceptionally well in a particular subject. That was gratifying.

My parents came over

… from Lucknow bearing boxes of laddoos and other goodies. The icing on the happiness cake this month was that I had 10 days of adult conversation within easy reach. It’s a luxury, you know. With the Husband away and my work from home status if I do not make the effort to seek out a friend, sometimes days go by without a heart to heart conversation with an adult. Oh of course I call the Husband and my sister or mum pretty regularly (everyday, actually) but it’s not the same.

Also having a nag of a mum who is super fit herself (an hour of yoga and an hour of walk every single day, seven days a week) meant my fitness stayed right on track.

So that’s what my January looked like. A satisfactory start, I’d say. Though I still have to work more on my diet and that darned evening walk which I’m just not able to make a start with.

How did January treat you?

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Also linking up to Shirley’s Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 06

 

A loaf of bread and a lesson on ‘receiving’

A loaf of bread and a lesson on ‘receiving’

The other day a friend of mine, who is taking baby steps in baking, got me a freshly baked loaf of bread. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am exceptionally fortunate when it comes to friends.

I’d have been fine with a slice or two, but she insisted I keep the entire loaf, ‘I baked it specially for the children,’ said she. I felt a little awkward but she insisted. After a bit of a back and forth and a promise that she’d charge me for it I accepted, with a heartfelt thank you. ‘I hope the children enjoy it,’ she added giving me a hug.

We are all a little awkward when it comes to receiving, aren’t we? I know I am. It’s like an obligation which, I feel, I have to repay. That’s the way I was brought up. The idea was ‘If you cannot repay a favour, don’t accept it.’

I grew up meticulously keeping hisaab, refusing favours and always remembering to give back if I did accept something. Receiving made me uncomfortable, a little smaller, perhaps.

We talk of giving all the time and I’m all for it, but isn’t receiving an equally important aspect? There has to be a balance of come kind, I presume. After all there can be no giving without receiving.

Five ways receiving enriches your life Click To Tweet

Here are five ways receiving enriches your life

  • You form an instant connection. Accept a favour and see how quickly you form a bond with the giver.
  • You give the other person the chance to feel good about themselves. Isn’t that just wonderful? That you’re bringing happiness to someone?
  • Oh and conversely, you feel good about yourself too. The fact that someone wants to give you something reinforces your sense of self. After all who would want to give something to someone they don’t quite like?
  • You learn humility because you’re accepting a favour.
  • And you learn gratitude.

 

As moms, parents, adults we are used to giving all the time. It would do us good to sit back and receive for a change. So all of you out there:

  • Receive help. Ask for it and accept it with gratitude.
  • Receive compliments. A simple thank you without putting yourself down does it.
  • Receive gifts, yeah why not?

Accept, without any thought of paying back, simply with an open heart full of gratitude and nothing else.

PS: In case you were wondering, the bread was absolutely scrumptious – soft, flavourful and ‘cinnamony’ with a mild sweetness and nuts and raisins that sprung a delicious surprise in each bite.

Perfect!

 

and with #ChattyBlogs from Shanaya Tales

Blogging challenges and a gratitude post

Blogging challenges and a gratitude post

I began blogging last month with a gratitude post and that seemed like a lucky omen. September turned out much better than August for the blog as well as for me. So here I am beginning a new month with another gratitude post hoping October will be even better.

Going through my last month’s post I realised how much more at peace I am now than I was then. I’m in a much better space – happier and more relaxed. What’s interesting is that there hasn’t really been any major change to make things better. In fact, since we’re in the middle of the children’s exams, I expected stress levels to rise. That that hasn’t happened is a small miracle in itself and it reinforces my faith in my favourite quote, Happiness is an Inside Job – that happiness often, has little to do with the things around us.

I’m not much for self-indulgent, psychoanalytical posts so without boring you to death with details of my weird flip-flop mental state, let me just say that while I still haven’t achieved the zen state I aspire to, I am just happier and so very grateful for that.

The uplifting of my spirits might be in part due to the love showered on my blog this past month. I had way more visitors than I normally do thanks to the My Friend Alexa Challenge which I was a part of. The first few days of the challenge I felt a little self-conscious, like someone who knew her house wasn’t in as good shape as she would have liked it to be and was expecting a deluge of visitors.

I wished I had the time to put up better posts, smarter stories and more creative pictures on the blog. I wished I could have tinkered with the layout, made it neater, more inviting. However, once I realised that wasn’t likely to happen with my crazy schedule and decided to go ahead and write just like I always do, things fell into place.

I focussed on my original aim of bringing discipline to my blogging, which I did. I managed to write nine posts in the month which is almost two times what I normally do. So I did complete the challenge successfully. That felt good. And, this might make sense to my blogger friends only, my Alexa Rank fell from 2,244,955 to 1,126,045, a drop of over a million!

I read scores of blogs as part of the challenge and discovered some fantastic ones which I shall be going back to. Huge thanks to the Blogchatter team for their tireless efforts to see us all to the finish line.

Encouraged by this success I jumped right into another one – The Write tribe pro-Blogger challenge. All of October, I shall be joining over a hundred Write Tribers and blogging twice a week, again. Sending out a note of thanks to Shilpa who egged me on to do this, over-riding all of my apprehensions. I remain grateful for friends who always come to my rescue when a blogging slump seems around the corner.

And dear reader, as always, your presence here is much cherished. Wish me luck and do drop by every Monday and Friday for a fresh post. The twins have been keeping me busy with their shenanigans and I have lots to tell.

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

 

and also with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

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