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The day I felt elated to be a stay-at-home-mom…

It doesn’t happen very often! Being a SAHM is a highly frustrating venture. One in which at times you feel you have lost yourself fully before discovering yourself all over again in a new avatar. It’s not for the feeble hearted.

How many times have I wanted to go back to work, restart my career, have a life of my own? Countless times! But what stopped me? The very thought, ” Who’d take care of my baby, the way I would? And this one thought has stopped me from quitting my SAHM role. I’ve had plenty of domestic helpers come and go with no personal satisfaction towards their behaviour or their work. At one stage, even my young kids asked me to stop hiring them further.

I think we SAHMs don’t give ourselves enough credit. What we’re doing is nothing short of incredible. How many women, who have the financial means to survive, would actually leave their jobs and opt to stay at home to look after their families? Hardly 10% of them. One needs a deeper passion to cater to the physical, mental and emotional needs and well-being of the upcoming generation, to take a step forward in the said direction. It’s not easy.

We, the women of this generation have tasted both worlds. One where we have gained an identity by working, earning, being appreciated and feeling equal to our male peers. Also, the other world, where our identity slowly fades into a mist, where we are hardly recognized or appreciated and life rolls into a monotonous routine of selfless service. Now which woman would want to live in the second world after experiencing the joys of the first one? No woman would!

So recently last week my eldest was lying down with me and she suddenly blurted, “I’m so lucky to have you and dad as my mom and dad. You guys spend so much time with me, my friend says she’s sad because her parents hardly spend time with her.” Suddenly, something that felt like a mundane everyday routine became a unique bond building activity we did on a daily basis. How happy and motivated I felt at that point, I cannot explain. I finally felt it was all worth it, all the sacrifices I’ve made to be with my kids, whether they were financial or mental. I mean what’s more precious in this world, than your child running into your arms and telling you that they’re so glad you’re their parent. Folks are not wrong when they say one day it will be the little things that matter the most. They seem trivial and insignificant but they’re the building blocks of an eternal bond.

As much as possible, I will try to be available for the kids at every stage of their life. At some point in time, I may have to think of working again, but if at any point I feel my work interferes with the welfare of my children, then I wouldn’t think twice about getting back to being a SAHM.

It hasn’t been an easy journey so far. There have been a billion hiccups along the way. At times, I’ve even lost my health simply handling their menace. I’d be lying if I said I’m having a happy time. I’d be more honest if I said it’s a satisfying undertaking. Kudos to all the SAHMs who are raising tomorrow’s heroes in today’s world. Though we don’t see the fruit of our labour today, we will eventually when the right time comes.

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What a pity!

Yesterday was one of those odd days when I really missed my girls, to the point I wanted to cry. I have never been a fan of conventional schooling. I think I’ve mentioned this before. For many reasons, among which the prime being that in present days education is a mere commercial adventure in the hands of those who have wealth. I kid you not my kids’ school has proved it in more ways than one.

My kids are in a mid-range school and the fees we pay I still find exorbitant considering what we’re receiving in return, teachers quitting midway, dirty restrooms, classes not happening as per schedule, substandard teachers, not following the national curriculum. The end result is I have once again become their private teacher. As soon as I bring them home from school, I’ve gathered resources to train them in Math and English as per the curriculum. They thrive with individual attention whereas they’ve picked up hardly anything at school. The syllabus is extensive for their respective years but their teaching is literally worth nothing.

I’ve been asking my husband, who is a fan of traditional schooling, what’s the use? They’re wasting about 8 hours a day on this school venture and finally they’re learning nothing. I’ve seen my elder daughter go from brilliant to average ever since we quit Wolsey Hall Oxford on which she was homeschooled. I find it heartbreaking. We paid peanuts and we got so much back then. We’re paying through our nose now and we’re getting nothing in return at the moment.

I do not find sufficient time in the evenings to sit with them for their studies. I can only cover so much in 3 hours for 2 kids. I feel frustrated. I can’t believe parents are actually buying this whole “your child has to attend school drama”. Even the educated ones are. I for one do not believe in that piece of paper which states my child completed a year. What’s the use if they don’t have the knowledge to back it up? According to me education is gaining understanding and knowledge, in the absence of which, we are merely wasting our time.

I’m not sure when the world will see light of day. There are very few parents who are opposing the masses. Everyone wants to follow a system, be a slave, raise a slave, force kids to study what they do not understand or want to. I wonder what pleasure people are receiving out of this?

My girls have been sick since school started. Stomach aches, colds and the worst part was when I discovered head lice on my younger one’s head. In 2 years of homeschooling, we’ve never had to deal with any of the above. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate, I spent the weekend messing with the louse’s entilement issues. Almost got rid of them but then my kids say their heads are still itchy. What a sick way to live life! They have gifted all at home with their school’s blessings. We’re paying a fortune for all this, not to forget the sleepless morning madness.

I’m hoping I can go back to homeschooling my kids. At least for the next academic year. Till then the slave saga continues. Hoping I can survive this academic year without losing my mind.

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Back to school it is…

After two years of having the kids at home, they are finally back in school. Yesterday was their first day at their new school and to be honest I had an extremely anxious day. Unfortunately my memories of school are glum and rather scary. I always silently fear that my kids may end up with such a miserable experience, or that somewhere some bully will pick on my kids, or some teacher may probably hurt my kids feelings and make them feel lesser than.

One of my friends adviced me to stop assuming that my kids will undergo the same experience I did. She told me to relax and let the kids experience school for themselves. Their experience will be unique. It was such a relief when I went to pick them up and asked them how their day went and they smiled and said they were happy with their teachers, classmates and the school itself.

Parenting is tricky terrain. One moment you’re on a high and the very next moment you’re in a pit. On many days, in the last 2 years I’ve wished I could send my kids to school and be rid of all the noise and chaos they’ve caused. I’ve openly told them so. But yesterday I felt so lonely and broken and wished I could hold them for a 100 years more before setting them free. Waiting to go pick them up felt like forever. I felt so overjoyed when I searched for them among so many other kids and finally spotted them and they came running to me. Emotional moment!

As a parent there are always so many doubts. Am I being over protective? Have I chosen the right place for my kids? Will they adapt to this new life after having been sheltered in our humble home for 2 years plus? Will their teachers treat them well? Will they be allowed to use the toilet whenever they want to? Will they manage to eat what I send them within the given time? It’s crazy, the number of questions I’ve had flying around in my mind.

I’ve never sent my kids on a school bus, because I have terrible memories of my school bus journies. More often than not I came home with a splitting headache. There were bullies, weirdos and noisy brats. Not to forget the many accidents our buses met with. Nope I wasn’t going to put my kids through that. I didn’t want my kids circling the city for an hour before they reached school or home. I think God has been so so gracious to us. We found a school 10 mins away by walk. It’s been the biggest blessing ever. Their meals are on time, they’re getting enough rest and I’m there to pick them up and carry their bags and bring them back home safe and sound as soon as school is over. I am loving their school stories as well. Today’s adventure of my elder one getting stuck in a restroom, screaming for help and then someone climbing into the restroom to open the jammed door was quite interesting and weird. I did get a bit agitated as to how she might have felt in the spur of the moment. I told her to never panic in any situation and to use her mind to think of a solution as she did today.

All this in stark contrast to my own school days. No one cared what happened to me, not my mom, nor my dad. Today I was a bit jealous of my own kids. My husband came home with some stuff he wanted the kids to have in their bags and I was like why didn’t I have a parent who was so into my welfare? He asked my kids how their day went. Something my dad had never ever asked me, or maybe he thought my mom was updating him with true incidents. I’ve been bullied, mocked, hit by teachers, abused by students, fainted, vomited on my uniform and roamed around the school wearibg nothing but a petticoat, while everyone stared at me, I’ve controlled my urge to use the restroom for years just because I was so scared of the teacher. Yet no one did anything to soothe me or rectify things that weren’t going right. It puzzles me, I don’t let my kids so much as carry their school bags and yet there I was as a tiny girl with a big heavy bag to carry, with so much unpleasantness going on in my school life in addition to the heavy emotional and mental baggage I had loaded and no one found it necessary to hear me or help me out. My younger one had a few issues on the first day and I ensured I made the issues known to the school authorities. I’m always trying to make sure my kids aren’t distressed in any way. It’s a mystery how my parents, with a single child, didn’t give a damn. I wish I could hug my younger self and tell her, “you deserved so much love darling, you got nothing of what you deserved.” It’s true isn’t it? I see every child as an angel of God. They deserve every love, care and affection in the world.

I thank God for every blessing He has bestowed upon my children. I am thankful for my kids as well. What would this life be without them? I’m glad that my kids will never ever have to face the harrowing challenges and scenarios I faced as a young girl. As long as they’re happy in school I’m happy. May their school days be blessed always and may they make many lovely memories to carry along with them for life. Although I do enjoy the peace and quiet at home without the kiddos, I’d love to homeschool them again and be their teacher. It was a very enjoyable role that I had taken up for two years. Any day my kids want me to do it again, I’m ready to be their teacher. Till then, I’ll always be there to watch out for them!!

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Girl Gang

Many couples wish for a boy child, they try and try and they get disappointed when they end up with a line of girls. Now my disappointment was quite the opposite, I was a bit upset that I didn’t end up with an all girls team. But I feel awfully lucky to have 2 girls to cherish. When I had just started blogging in 2012, I made a post on why I love girl babies. It still holds true today.

On 5th July, our flight journey back to Dubai was very memorable. For the first time we girls all got to sit together. It was lovely to watch the scenes outside through the window as the flight took off. Now that the girls are a bit bigger, they understand things I try to teach them, stuff about aircrafts and airports and what all goes on there. These were all stuff I had learnt from my dad.

I feel my eldest baby is growing up way too soon. This time she hardly needed my assistance on anything. She was a bit upset that she didn’t get the window seat. She did some colouring, watched TV, ate her meal and then slept all on her own.

I reminisce the time she was needy, on a flight, as a toddler. She was fidgeting and I got extremely upset as I had her younger sister to manage. I remember giving her a smack to get her to calm down. I can’t believe time flew by so fast. She can manage most things on her own now. She also stands to almost half my height. It’s true what they say, hug your child for as long as you can, you never know when it’s the last time.

Looking out through the window of the aircraft, I get amazed every time at how something so heavy can fly. As Chennai slowly became a distant, golden, glitter show, we got busy eating and watching stuff on TV. There’s something nice about flying Emirates, because there’s a way to keep the kids engaged. After about 2 hours everyone was knocked out. The kids had an exciting time at the airport. Loads of running and exploring. That made them extremely tired on the flight.

It was fun to watch the plane land as well. Slowly Dubai’s intricate infrastructure became visible and the lovely, long lines of golden lights really caught my fancy. A place so familiar, where my dad had worked for 28 years. It was nostalgic and at the same time I was happy to be there with my own family.

We were surprised by having to go down a flight of stairs instead of walking down a boring areobridge. Then we had a 15 minute bus journey. It was awesome, just to pass by so many parked aircrafts proudly displaying their grandeur and glory. Wow!!

Once we arrived at the terminal we moved slowly, probably at snail’s pace, so much so, that by the time we reached the baggage carousel our baggages were the only one going around on that carousel. We were that tired, packing and travelling with little ones. It’s no joke travelling with little kids! But definitely fun to watch them have a nice time.

It was great to be back home. Our home. The kids were elated. They kept looking around and picked up some familiar toys to play with for a bit before finally heading to bed. Home sweet home, where the heart always is.

I love my girls. Although we have some petty cat fights, we always stand up for each other. They always help support me. They’re the first ones to hug me when I’m upset. There are times we burst out laughing and the room just fills up with so much noise. We sing, we do funny dances, we pull each others’ legs, we cook, we clean. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to do all these with boys. But I’m loving my life with the girls! Looking forward to making many more memories with my babies.

P.S. Don’t grow up too soon girls, I want to get as much time with you as I can. Love you always – mom. 😍

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Busy Bodies

This trip to India has made me realize one thing, humans have been successfully isolated from one another and made unstable and each one is so preoccupied with their own stuff, they hardly have time for others. Most people who work outside come back home only past 9 PM. Those who work from home don’t come out of their rooms before 7 PM. In return for this huge sacrifice, one gets a decent lump of money deposited to their bank account. Pretty neat huh? The current situation is equivalent to watching a tree’s complex root system being chopped off slowly but surely. The tree seems to stand tall and strong but we all know that its fall headlong is inevitable, considering it has no root to hold it in place. This is the current state of man.

Slowly but surely, the evil one has succeeded in splitting humans and leaving them powerless. No, the devil doesn’t come with two red horns, a tail and an evil grin, but he’s already in those devices people are staring into for 12 plus hours each day. The damn thing has entered the bedroom, the restroom and refuses to keep quiet. Suddenly offices need you on call 24×7, emails need to be responded to even after office hours, people have become a slave to God knows what!

I’ve felt this in my own home to be honest. Back in 2014 when we had just got married WhatsApp was starting to catch up as the most used social media platform to stay in touch. Fast forward to 2022 and everything happens on it, relationships, school assignments, sales, customer care, work assigning, you name it! My husband has often stated that WhatsApp is a curse in disguise. And he is absolutely right. Yet he needs to be available on it even post office hours and even while on vacation.

But after coming to India I’ve realized that India is a million times more worse. The workforce is always working. The new concept of working from home is even more preposterous. We’re there but we’re not really there. Back in my school days they used to make fun of the day dreaming kids saying that they’re physically present but mentally absent. That’s exactly how it is in our homes these days. What’s worse is both parents work. Both are mentally and emotionally switched off. By the time they switch back on they’re too drained for anything. The only relaxing thing they have energy left for is aimlessly scrolling on the phone.

I’m not saying working hard is bad, ofcourse the Bible itself says one must work hard to earn his bread. If he doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat. But what’s happening now is insane. We don’t have time to look at each others’ faces. We don’t have time to talk and have a casual conversation. We don’t have time for our own kids to unwind with us and share their daily stories. We don’t have time to visit relatives the way we used to back in the day. Homes are actually the quietest they’ve been in ages. Majority of the old people we visited on this trip are sad and lonely, sad because their kids are too busy to visit them frequently. If they do visit, they come with their wretched laptops, tabs and mobile phones and are busy on it. I see such a contrast between my childhood days and the childhood days of my kids. The noise of kids playing is not even heard. Like why? Why are we working so hard? Yes we need money, we need to eat, dress up and live, but does that mean we have to work ourselves to death? Dont we need boundaries in place to decide what is and is not acceptable?

The Bible was right. We can’t serve God and mammon. Yet that’s who we’re serving today – mammon. We were forced to sell our farming lands, give up growing our own organic produce, made to live in bird cages with hopes of a better future and look at where it has lead us! I always tell my husband our city life will eventually kill us long before we’re actually meant to leave the earth. The kind of stress and loneliness it instills in each home is too hard to put into words.

And then the agony is that most married couples stop with a single child to make their own lives manageable. The child’s mental and emotional well being is secondary. Ask them why and they’ll say, oh but we can’t afford two given the current circumstances and lifestyle. But they’ll probably be having the latest iPhone in hand which will keep getting uograded as frequently as possible. Even kids are wearing smart watches. Like seriously, what’s even wrong with this generation? I was the only child and I can tell you what hell my life has been. When my dad died, I was emotionally and mentally shipwrecked. No one called family to hug and share my grief with. Of course my husband immensely supported me but we both were drained because his father had just passed away a month before mine and so I couldn’t dump more onto him. My mom never cared. I was all alone on that journey when he was sick and suffered and when he died. Humans need a support system, they weren’t built to survive alone. That’s why the Bible says be fruitful and multiply, it doesn’t instruct us to plan our family and do a surgery. The very reason we can’t raise more than one or two kids is because we have separated from our tribe, our community, our support system. We have isolated ourselves to despair. Renowned psychologist Dr. Ramani says that humans were never made to live alone in a nuclear family set up. We were born to live and thrive as a community among our own tribe of family and relatives. That’s why the previous generation folks easily raised a dozen kids.

It doesn’t matter if siblings don’t talk to each other when they’re older (the most lamest excuse people will have up their sleeve) but their presence in the childhood years itself is so important to teach them vital life lessons. True life is not always about self and selfies but about being selfless.

The heartwrenching part is that this one child that folks manage to have is sent to day care or left with a nanny for about 11 hours each day. Gone are the days when grandparents pitched in. They’re already down with their own health issues by the time they touch their late 50s. So it’s time to rely on 3rd party folks, maids, nannies and creche staff. How does one feel confident to leave their own flesh and blood under some stranger’s care? I still haven’t gained that confidence. I’ve experienced nannies feed dangerous stuff to children right under my nose and here these people are leaving their kids for hours together over days, months and years. Most of the domestic helpers I’ve come across, come from very brutal backgrounds of hurt, hatred and abuse and in turn they have the least bit of empathy left in them. They’re alive only for money and they will get to any level to amass wealth. I see so many complaints on FB support groups about how domestic helpers have behaved badly and absconded, yet we entrust our most precious kids to their care. Horrible, simply horrible! But ask folks who rely on them and they’ll say oh but we’ve installed cameras. The truth is abuse isn’t always physical. It can be verbal, emotional or mental. The 5 or 10 minutes one logs into a live video isn’t going to be sufficient to identify that.

Some folks have even dared to leave their kids completely alone in their homes with zero adult supervision, while they are at work. This is completely crazy. Adult supervision is so important.

Then there’s the other set of folks with slightly older children. These children are enrolled in multiple activities each month. They go from karate to swimming to abacus to dance to music to gymnastic classes and the prime focus is to keep them away from home and keep the nuisance at bay. Ask the kids if they’re really interested in doing all of these. Invariably the answer will be NO.

I’m trying to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. Today educated men and women face the highest rates of unemployment. So rest assured education doesn’t guarantee a solid income. Many kids are stressed out in life, something we may never have heard of in the previous generation. Kids are allowed to spend time with mobile phones and tabs just because the education system demands it. When it’s crystal clear that such devices are not beneficial in any way for their emotional and mental development, why are we as parents allowing worldly systems to decide our children’s activities and course of life? Would we allow our 7 year old to try alcohol? Or drive a car maybe? When there is an age restriction for these activities why are similar restrictions not in place for technology usage and gadgets since we know that it is equally detrimental at the wrong age? Did you know France has completely banned the use of mobile devices in schools for kids aged 15 and under? What are we as parents failing to see? We need to get our work done so we don’t care what our kids are doing? Why are we so busy?

Busy, busy, busy. I have started to loathe hearing this word. Are we going to carry along with us all these things we’re working so hard towards after we die? We go empty handed! Only the love and kindness we have sown lives on. Then why are we constantly killing ourselves with all these heavy burdens? We torture our children as well by harassing them to study and perform or learn multiple arts when they are least interested. For heaven’s sake let’s give them a break. Just because we want them out of the home, doesn’t mean they need to go learn something, unless of course they’re personally interested. Let the little kids live, breathe and relax. There’s a stressful journey ahead in their adulthood, do we need to kill their childhood too?

We are literally accelerating our death by living the way we are. Unfortunately this is the bitter truth. Kids as young as 5 years old have health issues like SIBO, constipation, asthma, eczema etc., all thanks to our lifestyle! Kids don’t get a chance to be physically active on a daily basis so their bodies start acting up. The healthy food habits that our ancestors had incorporated in their daily lives has been buried along with their mortal remains. They grew their own organic produce and consumed only those food items that they managed to grow. Today we have given up on farming and have adopted an easier lifestyle physically, we are extremely lazy and are mentally overloaded and we barely make it past 50 years. The money we work so hard to earn, we effortlessly handover to hospitals to treat all the modern diseases that thrive so well. How often have I read on FB support groups that some kids are constantly living with a cold. No natural remedies or allopathic medicines are able to give them relief. They’re loaded with antibiotics from well meaning doctors to never recover from the cold. Why? Because those tiny bodies are so overworked and stressed that they can’t even develop proper immunity. They need rest. Instead we wake them up at 5 AM to get them ready for school, and they leave by 6 AM without even eating proper breakfast. Because school routine is hard, we opt for packaged foods which have zero nutritional value. How many parents actually read through the labels of packaged foods? Traditional dishes are not welcomed at schools either. We live in cities that are densely populated which aid in propagating diseases at lightning speed. We raise single children, we don’t spend time talking to them and instead we offer them gadgets, then they end up with speech delays. Then we sit and worry and spend years of our life in agony instead of enjoying this beautiful life God has blessed us with. We were never ever meant to live this way. We have drastically reduced our life expectancy by adopting the Western culture. We will deeply regret this when it’s our time to leave. I’m yet to meet a single person who feels the way I do. The rest of the world is busy buying the latest technology and gadgets or binge watching Netflix or stuffing themselves with unhealthy food from restaurants. They’re not bothered one teensy-weensy bit.

My child’s nursery teacher once told me that the children of today’s world are heading towards a huge mental health crisis by the time they hit their teenage years just because they have no family member beside them to hold their hand and guide them. 80% of them are left to figure out stuff on their own. She said parents are not even around to nurture their children and teach them moral values and hence children are growing up like brats and most of them are single children. She said she has to earn so she could never be there if she had a child, hence she decided not to get married and have kids. A much more wiser decision in my opinion.

I’m not sure why I wrote this blog but it had1q been on my mind for a very long time. Seeing where the world is heading I think it’s a much needed topic. I remember before I got married, when I was speaking to prospects, they all openly stated that they were willing to have only one ot two kids. It sounded crazy to me. But God brought someone who had the same thinking I had. I am so thankful to God for that blessing. My dream now is to move outside the city, own a parcel of land with a small home and loads of space outside to grow my own produce. I hope to teach my kids useful life skills like cooking, gardening, managing the home and things that will actually help them to live an independent and healthy life. Education till date has been the least of my concerns, because the system only raises close-minded people who more or less think alike and do not question the system itself. I remeber my elder daughter’s computer teacher stating that the printer is a part of the computer, when I questioned this, I was told to accept this incorrect teaching. Mainstream education strips children of their inborn creativity. It makes them device dependant and they all end up slogging 13 hours a day as adults which is not my dream for my kids. I always guide my children to take the path that leads to good health and contentment.

Ending with this chapter from the Bible which summarises everything I had to say. I hope that every true Christian changes their perception of this earthly journey and prioritises what’s truly important, family, health, love and kindness.

Psalm 127 KJV

1 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.