I am 39. I weigh 149 pounds.

I am 39. I weigh 149 pounds.

Repurposed Genealogy

I am 8.

I’m waiting for my mom in the Lamont’s dressing room. I hear the hum of florescent bulbs. I am only in underwear in front of the full length mirror.  My reflection blurs as tears fill my eyes.

I hear her asking the salesperson for a larger size shirt and skirt.

“Those are the largest sizes in  the children’s section.  You’ll have to try the junior’s section. I don’t know if we have anything else that will fit her here.”

I want to melt into the burgundy carpet.  Back to school shopping brings awareness of my shape and form. I am round and soft and curved. My body is one more way that I am different than the other girls my age.

My mom returns with different options. A plaid skirt.

“An all over pattern is slimming.”

A button down shirt.

“This color brings out the blue of…

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Mom, it’s my vacation!!

Vacations, the sweetest song to a child’s ear. Endless hours of playing, unlimited fun and masti, quarreling with friends and then making up because even if one is missing it feels incomplete, lot of planning, instead of mom calling out to come home and study, mom calls out to remind that you do have a home and you need to eat.

My son’s exams got over on 14th march( the last of all his friends)and he has a short summer break before school resumes. This 20 day break is such a relief for not just him but me also. When I packed his lunch that morning and set him off in his school bus, i felt like dancing there itself. My morning jog was also very refreshing since i couldn’t contain my smile and it is said that if you smile while exercising, it releases some chemical in your body which makes you feel energetic. On other days i find it difficult to do so but today i had a reason, no more early morning dabba packing, no more blackmailing my adorable son to sit with his books and study, no more bribing my sweet little daughter  so that she will let her big bro’s books intact. Ahhhhh!!! there was something magical about this morning.

It’s vacation time!!!!! yiiipeeeee!!!

But wait a minute!! vacation also means he will be home the whole day!! Which also means that the leisure i had when he was away in school will be gone!! Blistering Barnacles!!! And what about his frequent fights with his little sister?? I will be more of an agony aunt or  a referee than a mother!! And the constant hunger pangs, the insatiable desire to munch, chew and gulp!!!Billions of blue blistering barnacles!! How can i forget about this? Quickly i remember the various summer camp notifications i got in my local whats app groups and as i searched for them to find something suitable, i realized that they are all the usual ones, art and craft, dance, music, chocolate making, personality development, handwriting improvement, brain development and all the works. Pratham will never agree to any of this. According to him, he doesn’t want to be TAUGHT anything in his vacation time. He wants to do things which he likes. And it could be anything from creating art out of paper boxes or just cycling till it hurts his legs.  Summer classes are boring and it feels like school. Cant argue with that!!

So it boils down to just me and him!!I will have to think up of ways to keep him occupied and entertained so that we can co-exist the coming vacation!! But some ground rules are laid!! He has to wake up in the morning latest by 9, an hours nap after lunch and lights off in the night by 11. His meal times should be constant and if he has any special requests then it has to be told a day in advance.Quarrels with friend will have to be sorted on their own and little sister has to be included in his games if his friends are coming over to play. After some negotiation afternoon nap is traded in exchange for no chilled water,juices and no chewing gum. Looks like I am ready for this.

At the time of writing this blog, its been nearly  a week since his holiday started and so far its been good. There are a few reasons for it. The first one, I very firmly believe that vacation is the best time to introduce healthy eating habits. In everyday life, between juggling school, classes, play time and all that, somewhere nutrition gets lost. Most of the meals are packed and handed over. After that how much is eaten by the kids or it went to the friends, I don’t know. If the tiffin comes home empty, I have to be content that its been eaten. But in vacations, I have the pleasure of seeing them enjoy fresh, hot, home-cooked food and watching them take baby steps towards a healthy lifestyle.

Another observation is that well fed and hydrated kids are easier to handle. Well, this is no discovery that I have made now, after 10 years of motherhood but what i did discover in this vacation is that well fed and hydrated mothers are better equipped to deal with kids and their hyper activeness. So while we all think about what our kids like to eat and plan our meals according to that in their vacation, it’s also a good idea to stack up on some munchies and drinks of our choice. There are times when I feel hungry but have so much on my to-do list that I wish for some quick bites to put in my mouth. Usually i would have got the fried and salty indian snacks like mathri, chakli, bhujia, banana wafers and all that to munch. But since i am on my way to changing to a healthy lifestyle, i got some nuts, dry fruits, chikki, khakhra and fresh fruits of my choice along with my kids preferences and kept them within hands reach, where i can easily just pick them and eat. This not only satiated my hunger but also kept my energy levels up to deal with two kids. Also the food you eat has a lot of effect on your mental health. Switching to a carrot instead of biscuits, helped me stay calm and keep my cool. Also, my daughter wanted to taste everything i was eating. That is an added bonus. She is introduced to healthy snacking just by watching me. I wish i had done this earlier.

Lastly,  this year I didn’t try to influence Pratham on how he should spend his day. I just let him free with his friends and they all decided themselves what they want to play, where, at what time, with whom, etc, etc. In  other words, i didn’t think of controlling his every minute of the day and that also worked wonders on how our relationship was developing. I only expected him to follow the ground rules laid by me which i think are very basic and in turn i give him the freedom to be himself and explore what he likes and what not. This was a welcome change for both of us since he is going to be a teenager soon. Although i feel he is already one.

Lets hope this vacation lays the foundation stone of a friendship between the two of us.

And inches to lose, before I am slim

Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki khwahish ki hai, ki har zarre ne hume milane ki saazish ki hai
This very popular dialogue from a very popular movie came true for me in my life. And no, it’s not about the universe conspiring to bring me and my hubby together!!! Then Mr. Manish kedia would say the conspiracy went wrong:-);-)
It holds true for me and my weight loss!!! Yes, after just thinking about it for nearly two years, finally I am treading this path now!! And the reason is that in the past few months, some incidents happening around me made me realise that nature was conspiring to make me go for it. It was a big conspiracy of a few elements who either prompted or whispered or shouted at me, “hey Neha, it’s time to get back in shape, you have kept it waiting for too long, but now we will make you do it and there’s no looking back.”

First conspirators are the shoes. I had just gone to buy some groceries at big bazaar and a big ‘SALE SALE SALE’ hoarding at Shoe store next to my destination drew me to enter the shop. I was just shopping with my eyes, scanning the big heap of discounted sandals, high heels, low heels, pumps, peep toes, wedges, etc etc when I just wandered in the fitness footgear section. From amidst the Inc5s, Rocias and catwalks suddenly Adidas, Nike, Sketchers and Puma were screaming for my attention, tempting me to just try them on once. I told the attendant there to show me something in my size. He came up with a shoe and when I was slipping it in my feet, he told me, “Madam, ye bahut accha hai, high on comfort, grip, apt for walking or exercising, anti skid……”, I interrupt him thinking “ya ya ya, they are all the same, what difference will it make?” and ask the price because buying these meant I would have to give up on the wedges and ballerinas which I had scanned earlier. “Only 8000rs madam.” Normally, the price would have boggled me but today it did not bother me. A quick calculation in my mind told me it will be around 4000rs after 50% discount, so the ballerinas and wedges will have to go. I boldly ask him,” discount ke baad kitna??” And he confidently told me,” no discount on sports shoes madam, discounted stuff is in the middle of the store. What is displayed on the walls is fresh stock.” OUCH!!!! There goes my shopping, not just for this sale but for the next one too!!! I put up a brave face, quietly remove the shoe from my feet (which I had assumed to be the owner of from then on) and told him to show me something less expensive but still high on comfort, grip, anti skid sole and best for walking!!! After a few more trials, I finalize on one which will allow me to shop in the next sale season. I bid goodbye to my other choices and head to the billing counter. The cashier there asks me,” madam, sale me se kuch nahi liya!! Bahut accha stock hai, kuch dikhaon Kya, heels, flats……” Again I interrupt him and tell him,” No thank you, next time aaongi.” His asking me that was like rubbing salt on my wounds. Looking at my purchase he continued,” agar aapko gym wear bhi lena hai, then go straight from here. The third shop has good stuff and it’s on discount!!” Why did he emphasize the word discount? Is he mocking me or genuinely trying to help? Anyway, I was too injured by this impromptu and unexpected purchase that I had made to think of anything else. I quickly finish off my grocery shopping and head home wondering why did I need sport shoes in the first place???

Next conspirator is my local milk man. Usually my mom-in-law buys everyday milk but that day, there was none in the house. So after packing off my son in his school bus at 6:40 am, I headed to the shop to buy milk. The milk van had not arrived. I asked the shopkeeper,” Bhaiya, dhoodh kab aayega?? Baad me aaon kya??” “Nahi, nahi, bhabhiji, abhi dus minute me aa jayega. Aap tab tak Ek walk le lijiye, sub aisa hi karte hai.” OMG!!! What in the world did he tell me to do?? Did I hear him correct??? Did he advise me to take a walk?? Another conspiracy by nature!!! Well, what he said actually made sense. Instead of just waiting outside his shop, staring at the distant road for a slight glimpse of the milk van, it was better that I go for a stroll. It’s just a stroll, couldn’t hurt much. And I started off. After a few steps, the calmness of the morning started whispering in my cold ears as if welcoming me. Contrary to that, The cold winter chill had its arms wide open taking me in its embrace as if asking me to give up. I tugged at my sweater, buried my bare palms under my arms and kept walking. After two rounds, I saw the van coming. When i went to grab hold of my requirements, suddenly I noticed that I was feeling a little warm and the same me,who was digging my palms in my sweater to prevent them from getting cold, had already rolled up my sleeve to let some air inside. I thought if I had taken one more round, maybe I would even remove my sweater!!!The winter chill had lost this fight or rather I defeated her. Next morning I was wearing my ‘impromptu, unexpected purchase’ on my feet and I told my mom-in-law that from now on I will get milk everyday after being done with my MORNING WALK.

Next party to the conspiracy is cricket. Yes, cricket. The sport cricket, the national craze cricket, my son’s first love cricket. I live in a society with many buildings, row houses, bungalows and shops. One of the residents, a cricket lover, thought of bringing this sport to life and having our own small version of the IPL. He named it Empire Premier League after the name of our society. In the winter edition of this tournament, When the notice was put out, I read it quickly, just scanning it for major details like the dates, teams, etc etc. Then my eyes chanced upon something. I wondered if I had read it correctly and started scanning it again. There it was, written very clearly, Women are also invited to play. Suddenly a thousand things run through my mind, Cricket….a chance to make new friends….an opportunity to bond with my cricket loving son…brand new, used less sneakers …..running after the ball…..fitness…weight loss…..that’s it, I have my reasons to be a part of this sporting extravaganza and I am going to learn to play. There were two aspects to this conspiracy. First one,the participants in my team were aged 15-20 years apart!!! (Not to mention, I was in the senior category) and second, I had never participated in any sporting events before in my life. The youth, the energy, the zeal in these young girls motivated me to do better and playing a sport made me realise that this is the best form of workout. Participating in this event gave me the much needed push to go after my aim and not give up.

After a few weeks of walking, getting milk and playing cricket, I started losing interest in my little fitness routine and Just when I was starting to get bored of my new schedule, and about to give up on my weight loss thing, nature was ready with another conspiracy, organizing free health check up camps in our society. I went there for my mom-in-law’s check up and ended up getting mine also done.
A body analysis instrument marked me ‘Obese’ after the analysis. Wake up call no.1. The check up revealed a few minor hitches in my health which were mainly related to my weight, sedentary lifestyle and mental health. A minus mark in the bone density and blood pressure column. Wake up call no.2.
The various flex boards put up on display propagating the eight principles of healthy living namely nutrition, water, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, rest, temperance and trust in good karma. I couldn’t say a yes to following even 2 out of these 8. Wake up call no.3.
I walked out of the camp with a form that said at 35 years, my health age was in the middle 40s and in the suggestions it was written, LOSE WEIGHT.
I started my routine again with added enthusiasm and determination.

And now for the final culprits, the innocent souls who I call my friends. Knowingly or unknowingly, even they were a party to this conspiracy. The absolutely fab figures of most of them, their amazing pics in the most flattering dresses, their being active socially or excelling in their jobs and many other things made me want to be one among them. But you can only flaunt what you have!! And it will not be long before I do that.
My childhood bestie, Mona shah Bhalavat, settled in the states, watsapped me to start a weight loss program together. She will follow it there and I will follow it here and we will keep motivating each other to stick to it. Didn’t work for too long, but we are still trying. Another classmate, added me to a Facebook group where women from all around the world share their experiences on their journey from being fat to fit, workout schedules, healthy recipes and ‘Before And After’ pics which are really motivating. She even gave me many tips about incorporating healthy eating habits in my diet which are quite easy to follow. Thank you Mansi. Hugs to you!!

So, “That’s all folks.” like bugs bunny would say. That’s my story of experiencing how sometimes, if you really really wish for something dearly, whole-heartedly, then He makes sure that you get it. Thank you God, for being the master mind of this entire conspiracy. You have shown me the path, in your own little signs but now it’s up to me to prove myself worthy of your kindness. I know it’s going to be difficult, but I hope I don’t stumble upon the obstacles and even if I do, I am able to stand up again, brush off the dust and continue my journey, at the end of which, I can see the real me, pretty me.
On a back note, I need to mention here that my team won the cricket tournament and we are etched in history as the first ever Women’s EPL Champions!!!! Yaaaaaaaaay!!!!!

To dadaji, with love

I don’t think of my dadaji too much but recently some things kept happening in my life that just made me instantly reminiscent of him. Some pics, some incidents, otherwise very trivial, but off late it made me draw a connection to him and I would just start thinking of him.

My sis, Prerna Bagaria, laid her hands on a tiny glass case while helping her dad clean his cupboard. When she saw it closely, she noticed that it had six rice grains in it. On a more closer look, she was amazed to see that it had names of all of us six cousins engraved on it. When I saw the pic, almost instantly I knew that this was made on one of our trips to Nathdwara or Srinathji, as we all used to call it. My dadaji and dadiji lived in Bombay and would visit us in Ahmedabad very often. And Srinathji would always be on their agenda. I have some very faint memories of these trips. What I distinctly remember was that I used to dread going in the temple for darshan fearing I would be crushed in the crowd or that I won’t be able to hold on to my mom’s hand and would be separated from her for life. Then one day, things changed. We were heading to the temple but something was different today. We were being leaded by a man in a white dhoti towards the backdoor of the temple. All the security people would salute him, some even bent down to touch his feet. And before I could realise what was happening, we were all standing in front of the idol of Sri Srinathji. My dadaji had met the temple mahant and arranged for a special darshan for us before the curtains open for the people at large. From that day, my dadaji was a different person for me. I thought of him as someone very influential.

Another aspect which I noticed was that whenever they would visit us, things used to change in the house. Their room would be cleaned throughly leaving not even a single particle of visible dust. Crisp and clean bed sheets would be spread and the small table would be cleared of all articles to make a makeshift temple for them. My mom and chachi would start covering their heads. They would enter or exit the house from a side door if my dadaji was sitting in the hall. They would not sit to watch tv with us. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, every meal was cooked after asking my dadi’s preferences. We were not allowed to play in the house coz we might disturb their sleep. Every possible effort was made by my mom and chichi so that they don’t feel like visitors.

I don’t remember my dadaji buying us any gifts but instead he would give us 10 rs or sometimes 20 and would say, “chocolate, goli, le aana, tujhe pasand hai wo”. If I remember correctly the boys got more than the girls!! And he was always dressed in the same attire. If he is at home, he will wear a white dhoti and half sleeve banian. If he went out, it was always a light grey safari suit. I haven’t seen him in any other colours except these.

If I am talking about my dadaji, I can’t forget to mention HAJMOLA!!! He was very fond of this khatta churan and all of us cousins have inherited this from him. I would ask him for these and he would give me one. But not being satisfied, I would sneak into his room and remove two three golis, without making a noise. I think he knew I am doing this but never stopped me. And this craze for HAJMOLA is not limited to my dadaji and his grandchildren but has passed onto his great grandchildren too!!! Smaira, Diaa and Pratham are living proofs of how much we love our hajmola!!

My dadi is a foodie but my dadaji knew how to control his temptations and would always eat in fixed proportions. He had a very sensitive throat and wanted everything to be served warm to him, even dahi, chaas or fruit salad. My mom would very carefully and skillfully heat every item on his plate and then tell me,” jaldi se thali dadaji ke paas le ja, thanda hone se pehle, nahi to wapas bhej denge” and my dadaji would touch everything to ensure that it is warm, just the way he likes it. He also wanted us to serve him food with a lot of agrah or manuhar. It means insisting the person to have some more even after he says he is full. I didn’t know this art when I was small. One day, while serving him lunch, I took a second chapati for him and he refused it thinking I will insist on giving it to him and then he will take it. But I started going back to the kitchen when he stopped me and said, “Chori, dubara puchh liya kar, Ek baar me wapas nahi le jate…..” Lesson learnt dadaji.

Also, he was born with a sweet tooth. Everyday he just had to eat sweets, after lunch and dinner. If nothing was available, he would take jaggery or his favourite chocolate, mango bite, but his meal ended with a sweet dish. He used to take so many spoonfuls of sugar in his tea, soup or rice that when my mom told me,” Chawal me Shakkar de aa dadaji ko” I would joke and say,” Chawal me Shakkar nahi, Shakkar me Chawal Lete hai dadaji!!!”

Today when I sat down to write about him, I didn’t know I will have so much on my mind. Every memory that I have of him is leading me to a new one and I am just too overwhelmed that I remember him so distinctly even today. I don’t have too many memories of him after my marriage. I just remember that he had slipped in the bathroom once and after that his health kept on deteriorating. My dadaji who used to travel alone, on his own, to Chidava( our native place in Rajasthan) to Vrindavan to Ahmedabad to Bombay and lot of other places was now afraid to even go to the bathroom on his own. He had once come to Ahmedabad and when he wanted to return, he choose to go by plane so that the journey would be short. My pappa took him to the airport well ahead of his flight time so that he can arrange for a wheelchair and anything else that may be needed. But the moment they reached there, word spread that “bagadiaji aaye hai” and within minutes he was surrounded by the staff eagerly willing to escort him to his plane. Such was his goodwill and reputation!!!!

Even today I don’t know what my dadaji did to earn a living for his family and it doesn’t matter anymore but I do know that he earned a lot of respect and good name. If people did any favors for him, whether it is the special darshan at Srinathji or the attention at the airport, it was because he gave them love, kindness and help when they needed it. As I grew up I realised that my dadaji, who I once thought to be very influential, was a simple man with limited needs, who with his simple gestures touched many lives!!! Even today if I am introduced to someone as his grand daughter, the immediate reaction is, “ohhh!!! Bagadiaji ki poti hai!!!” and I swell up with pride.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s my dadaji from my eyes…..
That’s Shri Radheshyamji Bagadia for all of you.

Benefit of doubt

I first came across this term in my early childhood while watching a cricket match. I had just been bit by the cricket bug and was very eager to understand the various terminologies associated with the game. Obviously, my ignorance of the same was reason of amusement for my cricket crazy brothers. Hat trick is, I was told by them, the umpire fishing out something from his hat for the player with 3 wickets. And maiden over is a girl coming out to bowl. Every time the commentators mentioned a maiden over I used to wonder, “when did the girl come and go and how come I didn’t see her and everyone else did??”

After having pulled my leg left and right, they gave me the correct explanations. On one such day, the term benefit of doubt came to my ears and there was something about the way it sounds which intrigued me. They told me, if there is situation when the umpire is not able to decide whether the batsman is out or not, then he gives the decision in the favor of the batsman thinking that maybe he just made it or missed it (depending on the situation) giving him the benefit of his doubt. Ahhhhhhh!!!! Such a nice thing!!!!! Something inside me was very happy about learning this new phrase. I was totally taken over by it. At that time I was too naive to understand that what is making me relate to this phrase is actually my own nature and slowly, slowly, it became dominant trait in me.

Benefit of doubt in our everyday life means giving things a second chance, assuming that something must have missed my eyes and is an important link in the chain of the unfavorable events. Because I give people a benefit of doubt, I found myself swallowing my anger and frustration effortlessly. It made me very patient and tolerant and helped me deal with a lot of stressful and not so stressful events in my life with much ease. Like,
The teacher told me to get her water and later scolded me for taking so long. But I wasn’t upset about it because I gave her the benefit of doubt. Maybe she is very tired, maybe she got it from the principal, maybe……

Someone has left the lift open at the 5th floor, maybe he/she had his/her hands full and thought let me keep the stuff first and then I will close it. But then he/she forgot. Just maybe…

A car is honking like mad behind me, maybe he/she has an emergency to attend and is running very late. Maybe…..

I have seen simple situations like these acting as triggers to set off one’s anger. My husband, manish kedia, would react just the opposite in the same situations. He can’t bear it if someone honks him and thinks it’s okay for him to honk uncontrollably while driving and no one should mind. He doesn’t approve of my benefit of doubt theory. He often tells me,”you never think someone else could also be wrong and always ask me to calm down”. My reply is, ” if it wasn’t my nature to give others a benefit of doubt, I would have had a million fights with you over a zillion petty issues, like your continuous honking, you forgot to bring a cake on my bday, you took me to an absolutely shabby dhaba for valentines, you didn’t let me choose a green kitchen over your favourite red, you don’t lower the tv volume when I am sleeping, and so on…..” Ok. That stops the honking for a few minutes. And I don’t mean the car here. I know he must have said a silent prayer for being given a second chance!!!

Giving other’s a benefit of doubt is often mistaken with having a casual approach and not taking things seriously. Like my husband tells me,”you are too soft with everyone and they often take advantage of your soft nature.” Honestly, I am aware of this. I know that people know that I would give them a second chance and often give me excuses and lies. As long as it doesn’t have any harsh repercussions, I let go. And more often than not, they have eventually walked up to me and told me the truth themself. Their own guilt makes them do it.
As for me, I am in a happy zone with my ability to give the benefit of doubt. Will my husband approve?? Maybe, just maybe…….

Kidxcuse me please

Don’t let your kids become your excuse for being lazy.

Let’s go shopping
No, I am a mother of two

Did you read the new chetan bhagat novel
No, I am a mother of two

I went to this new spa yesterday. It’s having a discount. Should I take an appointment for you
No, I am a mother of two

You seem to have become more plump
Yes, I am a mother of two

Did you hear this new singer
No, I am a mother of two

Your house is a mess
Yes, I am a mother of two

Old school friends are catching up over the weekend,
No, I am a mother of two

How’s your weight loss thing going
Not good, I am a mother of two

How about movie and dinner tonite
No, I am a mother of two

Mom, will you play carrom with me
No, I am a mother of two

Seriously??? Hello, Neha Kedia, wake up, are you really so tied up with your kids or are they becoming your excuse for getting lazy day by day……

My son, Pratham, my first born, as he likes to call himself, turns 10 years today. And if I look back at his infant and toddler years, I feel that those were difficult times, considering that he was one super duper hyper active kid with lots of unused potential energy waiting to just blow like a volcano. With him around me, my antaenna was always up searching to catch any danger signals which were very frequent. But I managed to sail through it. A lot of it I owe to my mother-in-law who made things very easy for me. Of course, there were many lifestyle changes that took place like sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps, work-when-the-baby-sleeps, bath-when-the-baby-sleeps, eat-when-the-baby-sleeps and so on but that is okay. It’s only a matter of time, till we got used to each other and fell in love eventually!!!
Uhhh, yes, it took me some time to fall in love with Pratham. It’s not that I hated him from the moment I saw him. The saying that you forget all about the pain of delivering your baby when you hear their voice (which is actually crying) and when you touch and feel them for the first time, is so true. It was one magical moment when I held his teeny weeny hands in the labor room. I cannot forget that moment even as he turns 10 years old today. I was very cautious and alert about what was being done to him, whether it was the vitamin drops, the temperature of his bath water, the way his nappies were washed, but it was more out of concern than love. It was more of possessiveness than affection. There were times when I thought,” am I being a good mother to him? How can I put myself before him? Mothers don’t do that!!What are OTHERS going to think about me?” But as he grew older, I realised that only if I am at peace with my inner self, I will be able to bring him up with love and confidence, cherishing every moment that he is awake, rather than just waiting for his nap times, feeling relieved when he sleeps. By the time he was three months, we had grown as a mother and son, we warmed up to each other and I started enjoying his company, clicking candid pictures, making notes about his firsts( first smile, first eye contact, first word), dressing him up, taking him to the park and talking endlessly about his playful antics with other mothers at the park. Somewhere I had realised that the sleepless nights, colic bouts, umpteen trips to the doctor, all of these are only temporary and it’s not right of me to blame him for putting me through this. As one of the mothers at the park rightly said,” what did you expect?? Will he start walking and talking the day he was born?? You have to bond with him to be able to understand him and slowly he will communicate with you about his needs.” I don’t remember this mother’s name who really shook me up and made me face the reality but I will be ever grateful to her for doing that otherwise I wouldn’t share the same relationship with my son as today. From that day, it just got better and better and once he started going to school, I always had the time to do things which can be done in some peace and quiet, away from someone who is constantly dependent on you.

After six and a half years, I had my second child, Diaa. I was back to those old days, sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps, work-when-the-baby-sleeps, bath-when-the-baby-sleeps, eat-when-the-baby-sleeps and so on but this time I had Pratham beside me, my pillar of strength. With my daughter, it was love at first sight, because my son had already prepared me about what to expect. There were days when I used to feel I have gone back in time instead of moving ahead and whether it was wise to have a baby after so many years but the sensibility shown by my son in handling his mother and sister put all my doubts to rest. In fact now I feel I couldn’t have given him a sibling at a better age.

Coming back to where I started, are my kids my excuse for being lazy?? Well, I don’t like admitting it but yes, somewhere my own lazy ways have started pilling up on me. I have gotten so used to being at home and doing just as much as is absolutely necessary. The thought of stepping out of the house doesn’t excite me unless it has some connection with my kids. I am not bothered about my clothes, my appearance, my hobbies, my life. And whenever someone tries to get me out of this zone, my excuse is that I am a mother of two, I don’t have the time for all this and very conveniently everyone believes me. No arguements, no forcing, no coaxing, nothing. I am happy being in my own cocoon. It’s only recently I have realised that I could have always done all of the above listed things if I wanted to, my kids never came in my way. That its not my kids who have changed things for me but it’s my own procrastinating nature which is beginning to dominate me. That my kids have never deprived me of any pleasures which I used to have earlier, before their birth.

I am a stay-at-home mom. And I know many stay-at-home moms who are absolute stunners, always well dressed, have an impeccable house and are raising up their kids brilliantly. In fact, I know some working moms also who are doing just that. Earlier I used to think that we are different individuals. She is doing it, doesn’t mean I have to do it too. But now I feel, if she can do it why can’t I?? It’s all about managing your time, getting used to the changes happening in your life and multi-tasking. I want to say this today to all the moms who feel that motherhood has taken away your freedom, that being a mom of one or two or three is eating up your ME time, think again. Maybe things are not as difficult as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, even you are using motherhood as an excuse for your own laziness. I totally and completely agree that being a mother brings many changes in your life but so does marriage or the loss of a loved one or moving in to a new house or city or even country. Even if you have a new boss in your office, or a guest at your house for a few days, things change. But we make every possible effort to adjust to these new changes and sooner or later accept the pros and cons of it. Just because parenting is more permanent in nature, given that it affects our lives for a longer period, doesn’t mean that we crib about its after effects. Give motherhood also the same chance and you will definitely find it very fulfilling and self satisfying. After all, there cannot be a greater reward for parenting than to see your children grow up to be good natured, sensitive and confident adults ready to face the world, making their own mistakes and learning from it and eventually become loving spouses and great parents themselves.

To all those moms who are actually struggling with their kids, just relax and give yourself a break. It’s ok if the house is a little untidy once in a while, it’s ok if you feed cerelac to your baby to catch up on some sleep. But once this phase is over, take your life back in your hands. Don’t make the messy house or packed food a way of living. It will have a snowball effect on other aspects of your life. Because as time passes, your kids will grow up leaving you with lots of time to yourself, but the laid back attitude, that slowly and quietly creeps inside you, will also try to find a permanent residence within you. Once it sets its roots deep, it will get more difficult to uproot. I came to know this when recently my daughter asked me to take her to the society park and I was finding it so hard to just get up from the couch. That’s when it hit me that What was once an adjustment, has become a habit. What was once temporary, has become permanent. What was once a reason, has become an excuse. My unwillingness to do a few things because my kids needed more of my time was slowly spilling over my willingness to spend time with them. I didn’t come to know when it happened to me. You may not too. So, once your kids are old enough, probably when they start going to daycare or school, the messy house should start bothering you. The unironed clothes, the milk spill, the movie that you want to watch, the book you want to read, the missed spa appointment, the missed trip to the park, the dress that fitted you six months back but is now a tad too tight, everything should bother you. It should bother you if you are lazy and your excuse is,” I am a mother of two.”

On my son’s 10th birthday, I hope I can gift my kids a more active and full of life mother minus the laziness.
Happy birthday Pratham!!!!