Finding ‘Inner Piece’


Each morning when I leave for work, clutching my boi who is to be dropped to playschool — I make sure that have a good look (almost appreciative) at my living room, clean wooden floors and empty table tops. “Your space is clean, Momma,” I tell myself as I exit.

Every evening, when I turn the key on my door, I know what will greet me — visibly tired looking grandparents lounging on the sofa, sipping their evening tea, a-fresh-from-nap-and-thus-a-very-active toddler who has strewn his blocks (all shapes and sizes), books and some wooden alphabets all across the living room. I can barely see the floor somedays. I get the creeps. As I scoop my boi up and do my routine kissy-huggy, all that my eyes capture and transmit to brain is ‘this cleanup will be a killer.

So each night, before I tuck myself and boi in bed, sorting the wooden blocks, magnetic ones, odd pages of boi’s favorite picture books, scooping missing pieces from under the sofa/TV cabinet have now become part of my daily ritual. I can’t go to bed when my living room or boi’s room is not organised to it’s original state. In fact, if I had my way then I would eliminate all these darned blocks from my home but sadly, they are an integral part of growing up (and a steady route to turn mommy into a mumbling hag). Arts & crafts, and construction/building play  — I’m told — are ways for children to express their creativity, encourages focus and concentration, and develops fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It is said to allow children feel proud of themselves and gain a sense of mastery after they have created something. Perhaps flinging the blocks too has some deep psychological impact — only positive I hope.

Call me crazy but everytime I see my child throwing his stuff around, I fast forward the scene to envision an adult version of my child living with his partner, and throwing his stuff about with no regards about cleaning it up. It is cringeworthy. I want to raise a happy thoughtful boi who will grow into caring and considerate man.

“If a child is old enough to get out a toy to play, she/he is old enough to put it away.”

Now this sounds logical on paper but believe me it doesn’t always work. I have tried singing songs to have my boi join me in cleaning up, tried to cajole him with “fun stuff we would do” post-cleanup, and even tried scolding. It does not work. Finding those inner pieces sitting under the sofa or cupboards is going to be my nemesis.

UPDATE: I ordered big covered stowaway bins from Groupon and they have arrived! I am taking the easier way out, hereon. Stashing the toys in one bin, favourite books in another and current favourite blocks in third one. Boi will be given one bin at a time, without overwhelming him with too many things to play at once while encouraging his creative play.


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Working moms are awesome! And I’m not the one who is saying this


How are they going to fit everything into 24 hours a day? How will they stay sane? And, most importantly, how will their decision to work affect their children? Mommy blogger Olga lists her reasons why she absolutely loves being a working mom and how it has helped her and her family.

She has some fantastic points and I believe most working moms (and readers of this blog) would nod in agreement.

1. Do what you love. My brother and I are always joking how our parents spoiled us work-wise. Both my father and my mom love their jobs and since this is all that we know, we won’t settle for anything less. I believe that everyone should have something that they love doing. This can be a job, a hobby, a passion, a dream– anything really, and it doesn’t have to be big, either. Because if we have at least one thing we love doing, our lives will be a little bit brighter.

2. Work hard. My mom was not only brilliant at her job, she also worked extremely hard at it, and made sure that everything she did was done well. And she was right, because hard work pays off for everyone. Maybe we want to be good at what we’re doing, or we work hard to support our family. But whatever it is we want to do, we should put lots of thought and effort into it.

3. Take care of your needs. My mom needed a lot of alone time and since I’ve had children, I do, too. It’s one of the reasons I send my children to daycare even though I don’t work. I don’t function very well without down time, and I can fully understand every mother who feels the same way. After all, every parent needs some time to switch off, regroup, and actually finish that cup of coffee. Our needs are just as important as the needs of our children, they’re just easier to ignore.

4. Never judge other mothers. My mother has always been the type who did her own thing and never cared what others thought of her. She just wanted to do her job, and to do it well. But she never judged other mothers whether they decided to stay at home or work. Her point is that everyone just does their best according to their circumstances, personal traits and possibilities, and that judgment never makes sense. I believe it’s a good philosophy to live by.

5. Be a role model for your children. A friend once told me one of the reasons she works is because she has daughters. It’s very important to show girls- and boys- that mothers can work, even if the whole world may tell them that they shouldn’t. I am a SAHM but I sometimes talk about gender roles with my children. Thanks to my mom, I can tell them: “Of course women can work; after all, your grandmother does too!” My mother has always stressed the importance that being independent has for women and I fully agree.


This line of Olga’s blog: “If you are a working mother, please remember that not only will your children take no harm from you having a job, but will very likely to be grateful to have such a hardworking, inspiring mother,” should soothe all working mother’s. It definitely made me feel prouder of myself and my capabilities.


Two years as ‘mommy’

Our Guest Blogger & fellow working mommy, Mansi Taneja recently completed two WHOLE years as a Mommy

*Big Congrats, Mommy*


Mansi, I know this “mommy guilt.” After my maiden journey away from my son, I realised that my toddler didn’t exactly notice my absence, which was both comforting and a little sad. I missed being his crazy mommy!


After what I feel was a successful completion of two years of motherhood, I thought it was time to gift myself some treat instead of my son. Was it strange that I took some attention off the apple of my eye, his diapers, food, cartoons and the messy home? May be it was but I got past it and for the first time embarked upon an all-girls weekend trip to the Neemrana Fort Palace.


It was also for the very first time that was to leave my son alone in the care of his father. It took us four hours to drive down from Delhi to the Fort, my much awaited break. But as the sun began setting, I started missing my son and worrying how will he manage the whole night without me. I guess I hadn’t really “got past” my guilt.


I don’t know if I was more happy or sad that he was enjoying without me at home. He even went out for an outing and slept non-stop for 9 straight hours that night. I was shocked. In the last two years there hasn’t been a night when he didn’t get up two or three times making sure I don’t get a sound sleep.


He seemed more considerate towards his father, making sure in his own little way that he didn’t have any troubles during the night. I cajoled myself thinking that may be it is not so much for the love towards his dad but that he realised that there was no point getting up as the dear Dad won’t be able to manage his tantrums.


No I didn’t mope away my entire weekend. I had a great time. How couldn’t I — with the whole bed to myself, waking up whenever I wanted and doing nothing and lazing. No running around after the kid to eat something, forcing him to get ready so that I can get to work and all the other daily chores at home. Phew!


And then it was back to my own little world, back to the short stretches of sleep at night. It feels like a tight rope walk – balancing home and office with a kid who never seems to be tired. The credit goes to my family and my husband, who have been there at every step to help me out.


But, never mind. A day off was worth it. For all the mothers out there, I would say that pack your guilt in some bag and keep it aside for few days. Take that pleasure trip, nobody would mind, not even your little one.




For the very first time…

Cal Closets travel business trips

…I am going to be travelling for a couple of nights without my toddler. In other words, I am finally getting my TRUE time out (first ever in more than 20 months) but I am not exactly jumping in joy. So weird this motherhood is! 

When I went back to work, early this year, I was fully aware that it would eventually take me away from home, for those extra important meetings. So, here I am. And even though my husband and paternal grandparents will be more than enough number of guardians for a single toddler for a couple of nights, it is me that needs some pampering & coaxing. I need someone to tell me that I will be fine. 

I like travelling, and have always appreciated the few hours that I get while traveling all by myself. But this time, this business trip away from my child is guilt-ridden — with me fretting about leaving my lil bun, worrying some more about how my absence may (or may not) negatively impact my family.

You may roll your eyes at this point since I am totally overthinking this situation. I have even thought of extreme cases that could happen in my absence and had some really bad nightmares about the same.

I then went on and read a zillion blogs, news articles and reports about traveling moms. All of these tell me that I need to give up some of the motherly control and accept that that my boi will be just fine. “Whatever you do, try to keep the guilt in check and remember the reasons that you are working in the first place. Is it to better the lives of your children by being able to provide for them? Whatever your reasons, keep them in the front of your mind when the mommy-guilt rears her ugly head,” tells me one parenting website. 

Yet, it is very very very difficult to turn off the ever-present maternal instinct and hand over the responsibility I feel towards my boi to another caregiver while away – be it the nanny, Grandma or even my husband. My logic says that only I know the best when it comes to my boi.    


The slow & steady journey to eat – cook healthy food

dailyAs my son has grown from a baby to a toddler, his food habits have changed greatly. They change practically every day. And it’s frustrating for me, as a working mom, to keep my refrigerator & larder stocked with items that he ‘may’ like one day.

He’s all of 19-months and I still cook his food separately ensuring the spices are controlled, ingredients are organic and vegetables are washed & cleaned to my satisfaction level. If cooking food was my big problem now there’s a newer issue — just getting him to sit in his chair (let alone eating a full meal). And he’s no longer satisfied with eating his ‘special’ food. His taste buds are beginning to get influenced by the snacks that his caregivers (grandparents) or treats that I share with him on weekends.

What’s clear to me is that my ‘boi’ wants to experiment with his tastes and I have to adjust my cooking accordingly. There’s not much that I can do when he shows clear inclination to try newer flavours and newer ingredients, textures and forgets what he liked the very next day. So that I have to start exploring all over again as to what would appeal to him now. [EXHAUSTING, but a fact that will be now a new constant in my life as a mother]

These are my new rules that I am sticking above my cooking stove area to help me deal with my frustrations.

  1. There isn’t any food my boi HAS to eat. If he doesn’t like something, I can’t force it. Instead, I will have to find an alternative from the same food group that may work.
  2. If he hasn’t finished his food, then clear it and don’t give him any special attention for not eating. It is said that forcing children to carry on eating when they have had enough leads to overeating.
  3. My larder has to be now stocked some fresh and variety of ingredients but in smaller quantities. No point wasting organic ingredients that may not appeal to my little one.
  4. Although he chews and manages most solids + meat very well, but unless the taste & texture is to his liking, he wont swallow and spit them out watching my reaction. I have to control my frustration as I CANNOT force him to like what I want him to like.
  5. Remember to stay calm when your baby coughs or chokes a little when a new food or texture is introduced — it will happen. If I freak out he will freak out more.
  6. Nothing makes my boi want a food item more than seeing me or his dad enjoy it. Hence, make sure we eat fruits and veggies with a big smile on our face!
  7. I nearly always use whole wheat or whole grain for boi’s food. Be it noodles, crackers, or bread. Now, I need to set the trend for the whole house so that boi will not know any different. [Okay, so I won’t lecture on the benefits of whole grains here.]
  8. I read on some site that toddlers have many more taste buds than adults (we lose them as we age). So, something that may not be too spicy or salty for me may be too much for my boi. Goes for bitter-tasting foods like spinach and broccoli, hence make sure to watch their initial reactions on tasting these and so adjust flavours with a dash of lime or some cheese or butter.
  9. Soups are mommy’s best friends. So, adding carrots, celery, broccoli and potatoes to any soup is the healthiest meal I can serve my boi. [Bring out the mixer, mommy]
  10. Remember to give variety in textures! I will have to invest time in varying my cooking methods. Somedays it should be grilled and on others, fried or stir-fried, or stewed & steamed to serve along with some raw salads or finger foods. [Remember, a portion of food for a toddler is what they can fit in their hand]

[SPECIAL NOTE] Spend a few minutes each day cutting fruit and vegetables in bite sized squares so that they are ready to serve when desired.


Terrible Toddler-hood


Just as I thought of patting my back for having made it through the sleepless nights of infancy, all those milestones of crawling and first steps with even a nap schedule in place, this toddler stage has come to bit me in my a**!

And this irrational creature living (or a toddler) in your house has the power to make you laugh & cry in an instant. They can destroy your weekends or simply make them memorable. They shove one tiny toe in your mouth, while asleep, & kick the other in your intestines. They own your iPhone, iPad or laptop just as they own your TV remote. There’s no grey — only white or black. Get it?

In my house, this soon-to-be 17-month old toddler has ultimate powers. He can swing elderly grandparents, not-so-energetic dad and always-on-her-toes mom off-track with a single whine, syllable or a head shake. Some basic samples of how my life, at present, looks, feels & smells like as mommy to a toddler.

  1. My little man has become very inquisitive as he quickly learns how gadgets around him are operated by adults. So, his favourite thing nowadays is putting his fingers on every button that he sees. He can now switch on the washing machine (has already run it twice, empty!), can capably use the Home button on iPad to exit out of boring rhymes, use the button on the remote to switch channels (accidentally mostly) and can even click “selfies” on my phone as camera function is just a button away.
  2. The living room floor, which at most hours bears remnants of a toy explosion, orchestrated by my toddler is my next battleground. Knowing that one can hide the evidence beneath the sofa, under the TV or dining table, my toddler works hard to ensure his toys, blocks and playballs are never easily retrievable. This should also explain my backaches.
  3.  I can’t name the recent song on any music charts because of the silly nursery rhyme tunes that are constantly looping in my head.
  4. This scene happens every night. I’m headed toward the kitchen/bathroom and step on something that either starts playing music, lights up or says It’s ABC time. Pick and put it back in its place fully aware I will be tripping on it again in morning.
  5. His perseverance, trying things over and over again, and sheer determination to master new skills is simply a pleasure to watch. But not when it is your costly makeup (fancy wrinkle cream) bottle cap or that super expensive shoe kept stashed away in a cloth bag. I almost had a heart attack when I saw my Dior perfume cap in his hands and the bottle rolling under the bed. *shudders*
  6. It is becoming impossible to talk to anyone on phone when my toddler is in front of me. It’s either I put the phone on speaker mode or put the phone on to his ears (which he will promptly want to hold in his hands instead), stare & smile while caller & me try desperately to get one word out of him.
  7. Noisy toys are my greatest friends. Why? Put a load of noisy, beeping, musical toys in-front of your toddler and these will amuse him for several minutes. You might even get a chance to brush your teeth, de-tangle your hair, even get to drink that elusive mug of coffee while it’s still hot. By the way, you need to see your toddler get down and boogie to the sound of these noisy toys. Try it, you’ll be peeing yourself by the end and feel ten times better about toddler-hood.

Do you have some tips or tricks to taming the wild bear? Please share.