Category: happiness

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.

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

 

A DIY perfect day

A DIY perfect day

If you were given the choice to put together a perfect day for yourself what would the ingredients be? 
I’m not talking about special days – weekends, holidays, birthdays, celebrations – not those. I’m talking about that regular, routine day. What would go into making it perfect? 

What are the things that make you happy everyday?

When I was working I used to buy one single rose for my hostel room everyday on my way back home and that was the perfect ending to my day. It could be something like that. It could be meeting your daily deadline at work. If work’s not really happening maybe it’s the daily lunch with office pals you look forward to. Or maybe a glimpse of your office crush :-).
Or it could be turning in a decent piece of writing, publishing a blog post, reading hundred pages of a book or watching your favourite soap at the end of the day. It could be anything that’s part of your routine and that makes you feel really happy and/or accomplished.

Of course you have to cross out things you cannot control

For instance you cannot say, ‘Not seeing that colleague I detest’ but you can include, ‘Not getting into an argument with that colleague I abhor’. Just like I cannot include ‘The kids  going off to school without an argument’. However, I can include ‘Not yelling at the kids in the morning’.
Are you getting the idea?
For me the very basic ingredients of a perfect day would be:
1. A good night’s sleep
Like I’ve said before this plays a huge role in beginning my day well.
2. An hour of exercise in the morning and another 15-30 minutes in the evening
The morning exercise gets me my endorphins for the day and those 15 – 30 minutes in the evening get me a good night’s sleep and also serve as a reminder of my continued pledge towards good health.
3. A half-hour decluttering.
I’m not obsessive about cleaning but I’m not fond of clutter either. So a half-hour clearing up makes me work better and feel happier.
4. One complete piece of writing.
..in addition to whatever assignments I have for the day. This one’s important. It adds meaning to my day.
5. Healthy eating through the day.
Well, obviously. Healthy meals are a definite check for me. For someone else it might be that single sinful chocochip cookie, and that’s fine too.
6. At least half an hour of leisure time with the children. 
This does not include the morning hours or study time or the time I spend sorting disagreements. This is the time we spend talking or reading or making something together.
So there: those are the essentials that make me feel accomplished and happy at the end of a day. If I manage to tick them all off – well then, I have my perfect day. 
That list keeps me focussed. Of course there are days I cannot get it all done – when assignments spill over or the maid decides to stay home. But even if I manage most of them most days it isn’t too bad.
It’s worth a shot to try to make each day perfect rather than living for weekends. Or hanging about, waiting for a holiday to come by. After all it is these mundane-everydays that make up most of our lives. Makes sense, then to try to make ‘everyday’ perfect, isn’t it?

What do you think? What would your perfect-everyday list look like?
Picture Credit: Pixabay.
The best sound in the world

The best sound in the world

You know what’s the best sound in the world? The sound of laughter. And if it is that of a loved one it is even more precious.
As I sat in my room working at my laptop the other day, I heard my parents laugh out loud at something they were watching on the television in the other room. It brought an unwitting smile to my face, just like the sound of H and N’s laughter does, although in the second case there is also a degree of relief :-).
I love the sound of my parents’ laughter because it transports me to my childhood, to days of endless giggles and noisy arguments. My father would complain sometimes – ‘You make enough noise for ten people’, he would tell us. ‘We’re alive, that’s why’, my mom would retort. Over the years he pretty much got used to it and came to put up with our racket cheerfully.
I love to hear them laugh because it reminds me what a boisterous family we are and that perhaps that’s where H and N get their noisiness from. It’s definitely not from the Husband’s side! It reminds me then, that I really have no business to complain, that I should be more patient with them.
My parents’ laughter speaks of the wonderful camaraderie they share despite being complete opposites. I listen to them quibbling and then settling down with their books. I hear them discussing Rekha’s biography which mum is reading. Then as the news comes on their conversation becomes even more animated and veers to Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav. They’ve come a long way since when they first met in German class. I love how their interests have merged over the years, though my mum still draws the line at cricket.
I love their laugh because it reassures me that they are happy and healthy. It speaks of their spirit that the aches and pains of age have failed to dampen. I can already see my mum raising her eyebrows at the word ‘age’ as she asks, ‘Who’s old here?’.

They left last week but I still hear their laughter ringing in my ears  and I am grateful.
Picture credit : Pixabay
Notes from a happy mom

Notes from a happy mom

This weekend has been frustrating and rewarding in equal measure. I was in the middle of penning a post on the frustrating bits when I stumbled upon this post from Kreative Mommy . It was such a happy idea that I dumped all my grumpiness and decided to go with it. I thought this was a great way to get back after my hiatus.
Despite the tussles that are characteristic of the tween years, growing kids can be a lot of fun. The conversations become more meaningful, the sharing more rewarding, the hugs more precious.
So here are some of my happy mommy moments.
When I hear the children singing and giggling together.
The songs are becoming increasingly unfamiliar but I love the sound of their togetherness – truly is the happiest sound ever.
When H smothers me in a bear hug, which he can do since he is almost as tall as I am, and then he tries to lift me off the ground, which he obviously cannot because I still win hands down in the weight category!
When N says, “You look pretty mama” in her rather woman-to-woman voice. 
Our taste in clothes are way different and I am definitely not looking forward to the arguments that the future has in store for us but for now a thumbs up from her in the fashion department is a big deal.
When they say they love my cooking.
I’m a no-good cook so the fact that they like my cooking is a constant source of amazement to me and amusement for the rest of the family.
When H does something goofy and N shakes her head in this very grown up way and exchanges a look with me that says, “Boys!!”.
When N surprises me with a cup of really good ginger tea – just the way I like it. 

When knowledge excites them and they run to share it with me like they’ve discovered something miraculous, “Did you know sloths are so slow algae grows on them.” 
For the record, No I didn’t know that.
When H does his ballerina impersonation. Of course he’ll kill me (or sue me) for revealing this one but it is the cutest ever.
Do share your happy mommy moments in the comments or, if you blog too, join the linky.
Thanks Kreative Mommy for this nudge. It made me realise how happy the twins make me – something I tend to forget when they’re driving me up the wall.
Kreativemommy.com

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 […]