Why Being A Strong Mother Is So Difficult And Yet So Important

Why Being A Strong Mother Is So Difficult And Yet So Important

 

 

(This article appeared first on http://www.mycity4kids.com on 26th April 2017)

It is not easy being a strong independent opinionated woman.

Society always tells its kids (boys or girls) not to “stand out”. Spaghetti tops get more eve teasing. Cant you wear a normal top? Girls who are chatty with boys are giving out a signal that you are available. Cant you be like the other girls? Boys who wear a pink scarf will always be laughed at. Cant you just put a grey thing around your neck?

Conform, conform , conform. We are always taught to conform or else we shall be attracting unwanted attention.

It is this “not fitting into a set mould” about strong independent opinionated women that gets them such harsh treatment from the society. However there is a little caveat here. Being strong doesn’t mean bullying anybody. Being independent doesn’t mean being apathetic or nonchalant towards others people’s need. Similarly being opinionated doesn’t mean that you are always right.

A SIOW (strong independent opinionated woman) is at ease with herself. She is a great listener because it is through observation and listening that she derives the knowledge and ability to analyze situations life throws at her. She is not the one who wins all arguments or has the last laugh. She knows she is always in learning mode and is not eager to defeat anyone in anyway. She has no fear in her heart or shame in her eyes because she does no wrong to anybody. She lives by her own rules. She tries not to hurt anybody by doing so. If she makes a mistake on her way she is humble to apologize and courageous enough to do her time. She has a right to opinion because she has lived her life on her terms and not what she was told or taught to do. Yet she is accommodating and accepting of other peoples’ beliefs because she knows how important it is to live by ones’ own beliefs. She has experimented with things that she did not understand. She has questioned stuff that doesn’t seem right to her. She has abandoned baggage that she felt is unnecessary. A SIOW may be many things but what she is not is a slave. She is not a slave to anyone. Not to society. Not to any of its establishments. Not to the people in it and definitely not to all the synthetic outcomes people in the society have made up over the years like religion, rituals, societal norms etc.

Many people who read the description of a SIOW as I just described above are already painting her to be a pain in the ass, non-relenting, difficult woman who would probably be even a divorcee. Actually..not probably…SURELY a divorcee. Who will want to stay with such a woman?

And that’s why it is so difficult to be a SIOW in the first place. You get a lot of flak from society. There are miniscule amount of men who can truly love and accept a SIOW and I think even more miniscule amount of women who like a SIOW.

Yet SIOWs are what we need if we need to build a better world. Women not only give birth to the individuals who form a society they also have the power to mould a society. The way a SIOW raises a child is really healthy. The child is independent, has a thinking mind, questions things around him/ her and doesn’t give in to popular practise and beliefs just for the heck of it.

Think of all the revolutionaries you know and adore. Mahatma Gandhi, Raja RamMohun Roy, Mother Teresa,Swami Vivekanand, Suu Kyi. Name any revolutionary and you will see the traits of a strong independent and opinionated person who had the courage to question society and the will power to transform it.  Forget big names. The girls who refuse to marry where there is a dowry demand are transformers of the society too. The boys who don’t look at girls in western clothes as bait are transformers of the society too. The couple who doesn’t care about religion before falling in love are transformers of the society too. Their thinking is beyond silly things. They see people for who they are not on what they wear, eat or pray to.

A hindi proverb says “Honhaar birvaan ke hoth cheekne paat.” This means that a precious child shows his traits early in life. If you read the biography of any great revolutionary, a common trait among all is that these agents of transformation showed immense courage from childhood itself. And a lot had to do with them having strong mothers.

Hence being a SIO mother is extremely important in raising kids who can bring about a positive change in society and the world. Learn to be strong no matter what the society says. It is surely difficult. Your family and your kids will also have to hear a lot of stuff being said about you. But in the end you will have the satisfaction of living a life on your terms and also do immense service to the society by raising a strong independent kid too.

So mommies have a thinking mind. Raise kids with thinking and questioning capacity. Remember that when you die everything dies with you. Your heart, lungs, kidney stop functioning. Your clothes remain where they were. Your bank balance also becomes just a set of numbers. But not your mind. Your ideas and your thoughts are passed down and remembered years after you are gone. They impact your kids decades after you die. So raise your mind to be strong. It shall have the maximum impact on your kids and hence the world.

MOTHER YET SINGLE!

MOTHER YET SINGLE!

This article is part of the series of “Dark Mothering” where we have decided to be brave and talk about the days of mothering that are not bright and sunny. Last post we spoke about Post Partum Depression. And this time I have picked up a topic that has been part of our lives at some point or the other- Feeling alone as a mother even after being surrounded by people!

MOTHER YET SINGLE

This is a phenomenon that starts during pregnancy. Even though our husband and family are around us, we feel alone sometimes. This state can escalate to the point where some women have to seek clinical help for their depression or anxiety!

Why is this feeling of “abandonment” so prevalent? Why do most of us go through pregnancy feeling low instead of being alive and happy?

Part of it can be sincerely attributed to hormones. As it is women are hormonally complex. Add 10 times of roller coasting hormones to the mix and you get a pregnant women! So yes the sudden bipolar moods and crying at the tip of a hat is largely our hormones playing poke-HER with us!

What about the rest? There are some genuine family scenarios where unfortunately we are at loggerheads with some members. Something as tiny as whether to swaddle the baby or not can lead to a huge controversy. We as mothers feel completely equipped to make decisions about our baby based on instincts. Those around us share fables of their experiences and declare a certain way as correct. Tempers rise. Words are exchanged. And we just feel lost, alone and almost cheated of motherhood!

What do you do when the family you depend on for support is not behaving in a trophy winning manner? And believe me, I have had enough stories pour into nirvanamaa@gmail.com urging me to write about how to handle the situation of “difficult” in-laws and husband not taking “my” side esp during pregnancy.

Well, like for most of the times when the going gets tough, my first piece of advice is to take a deep breath, relax and remove yourself from the conflictive situation. Reacting when tempers are high on either side can never be beneficial. You often end up saying mean horrible things yourself which you regret later. So best is to not say anything. Take yourself away from the scenario and think when you are cooled down.

Once you are alone, relaxed and calm from the anger bout you just had, think about your situation. More often than not you will realize that the topic of discussion was certainly mundane and doesn’t require you in your particular sensitive state of pregnancy to be involved in the battle. So my next advice to anyone who feels lack of support from family is “Choose your battles”. During pregnancy, you are in such a state that you don’t need to take more stress than you already have. So you don’t need to reply, react or retaliate to everything. Some things have to be “just let be!”

The next best thing to start off as a habit is meditate or do yoga. There are some good ante-natal classes that teach you some calming breathing techniques and meditation that just make your over-all self more relaxed and calm. Over a few months of regular meditation, you will find yourself less and less perturbed in general. I suggest making yoga/meditation a regular part of your life- pregnant or not!

If you do find yourself in a situation where you cant tear yourself away from the situation physically because you feel that you walking away will just aggravate tempers, I find the best way to end a debate is to politely agree to the other party. I am not saying to take all their suggestions into action, I am just saying that saying “Ok. I agree.” Is the best way to put any debate at rest. Whether you do that or not, is a later issue. But in the heat of the moment just agreeing with your opponent will leaver her with nothing more to say. Let me give you an example. Suppose you are in youor 7th month and your mother-in-law feels that you should have more “white” things in your diet so that the baby is fair (believe me, I have heard such stories too!) just go ahead and say “OK.” It doesn’t mean you concede to such notions or you will not love a wheatish skin baby! It just means that your peace of mind is more important to you than explaining to an already blocked mind about how scientifically and ethically wrong she is! Even if someone has come with an intent to battle it out with you, the minute you say “OK fine”, they are left at loss of words. They have come with the hope that you will rebel then they will say something, then you will retaliate and it will be a nice long hour battle. But you said “ok” in the first minute. So there is nothing more they can say. An hour long battle has been reduced to a minute! It might look like they have “won” because you conceded to their demand. But in the long run, you got your peace of mind and avoided a stress full situation. For a pregnant lady, there can’t be a more winning situation than this!

Keep your peace of mind utmost! I cant offer better sincere advice for pregnancy. Your ego, ideals and opinion should take a backseat to your peace of mind. If sitting with your heels up as advised by your mom-in-law is helping avoid an altercation, just do it. It cant do you harm. Plus it will avoid any stressful argument. The only one thing to remember for a happy pregnancy and a resulting happy child is “Nothing supercedes my peace of mind”. If it means swallowing my pride for nine months, I shall do it. You should be above all other petty things. Only and only peace and no-stress should be your mantra! All other battles can wait, for atleast 9 months!

So next time you find yourself in a stressful situation with a loved one or otherwise, just say OMMM and remember to keep your peace above all!

 

Depressing Motherhood – “Dealing with Post Partum Depression”

Depressing Motherhood – “Dealing with Post Partum Depression”

Depressing and Motherhood are usually not used together. Its like a social taboo to use anything other than the rainbow happy adjectives with motherhood. Yes, agreed. The happiness and joy is just overwhelming. I cant think of myself a day without my daughter and I have a lot to thank motherhood too. It has made me a much better human being, it has given me meaning and of course it has given me a blog

Yet, I don’t agree with the monochrome happy color that society paints motherhood with. There are, if not more, at least 50 shades of gray that motherhood can be painted in!

As part of series of articles about “Dark mothering” where I promised my readers to talk about the darker days of motherhood that are as real as the other days, lets start with something most of us deal with- Post partum depression.

On one hand where all moms who have newly delivered are posting happy pictures with tears of joy hugging and kissing their babies, you are feeling like a mess. You hate yourself and everybody around you. Unfortunately, including your baby! And you feel horrible, guilty, inadequate and a total failure as a mom!

You cry at the drop of a hat. You hate talking to people. You don’t want to see your husband. And any guests arriving to see the baby is just the tipping point where you want to scream and run away!

Your body and mind are feeling this but your social conditioning just keeps telling you how wrong you are to feel this way. How can a mother not be happy? To top it up, your husband and loved ones also don’t understand why you are behaving like a maniac.

Oh! Only and if only, you had known about post partum depression and known that it is as real as giving birth. Its likely to be your constant companion in the early days post delivery. And you will have to live with it.

But isn’t there a way out?

Well, for starters, I always feel that knowing, understanding and accepting something is the best way to deal with it.

So here are some facts about PPD (post partum depression):

  1. It’s due to a hormonal interplay in your body. Its nothing that you are doing on purpose! (Pre-warn the Mom-in-law about this!!)
  2. It cant go away by trying or wishing. Like all other biochemical processes in your body, its something that you cant dismiss by trying very hard!
  3. Its common and happens to other women too. A survey indicates that upto 25% of post partum mothers undergo depression.

 

 

  1. However, its fairly uncommon too. Good news is that you don’t have to prepare yourself for an upcoming depressive episode for sure. Remember, 75% of the mothers DON’T get PPD. That’s a good number, isn’t it
  2. Its temporary. Like most gray clouds, the silver lining is that its temporary.

 

The most important aspect to remember and educate those living with you is that you are not causing PPD to happen to you. It just happens. You cant deal with it by “not thinking about it.” Its hormones messing with your brain. You cant think or wish for them to not!

PPD is as much a biological process as your heart pumping blood. Just like you cant make an ongoing heart attack go away just by wishing hard, you cant make PPD go away by wishing so. You need to take action

 

 

So if you happen to be in the 25% category that do fall prey to PPD, what do you do about it.

 

  1. Support from family: Its always best to have a family and spouse you can expect support from. You can get your gynae brief your spouse about a futuristic possibility of PPD during your last few pre-natal visits. Hearing it from a doc will probably help in expressing the seriousness and reality of the situation.
  2. Don’t blame yourself: We all wish for a happy post partum picture where its all smiles and joy. However, its ok if its not. I was not up for a selfie the minute I delivered. And its perfectly fine if you are not. If you are feeling emotions contrary to the ones you were hoping and expecting, don’t punch yourself about it. They are emotions. They are hormone controlled. And right now, hormones have a black magic kind of hold on you. So let yourself be.
  3. Curb unnecessary visits: We all hate the random strangers who come up to see your baby post delivery. And you are expected to sit up and greet and smile and make small chat each time the doorbell rings. It can be exhausting, right? If you have an understanding set of people around you, its best to tell them clearly that you need your rest and probably fix a time. Say, if anyone visits between 2pm-6pm, they should not be allowed in your room as you want to nap. The baby can be taken out to be showered with blessings. But not you!
  4. Breastfeed: Though there is no medical evidence on it, breastfeeding your baby at short intervals just helps uplift your mood. Make eye contact with her. Talk to her. Watch the magic you have delivered! Its all a mood pumper!

Also, you can talk whatever it is you are really feeling with your baby. Believe me, a 2 day old wont know head or tail when you say ,”Mommy feels like crying all the time! And I don’t want to! Coz I love you so much!” but you saying it out loud will just make you feel better. Also, breastfeeding is the best way to get out of meeting unwanted visitors. “Oh she is feeding the baby” is enough to stop any visitor from coming to you! Hehehe…evil laughter!

  1. Call over positive people: In the West there are many care groups and support groups for PPD moms. However, I am yet to find one in India. But don’t worry! Your best pals can do the same for you right in the convenience of your home. One of my besties was there with me when I delivered. She visited me during my early mommy days. I think I owe a lot of my post partum happiness to her. You laugh, reminiscence those college days and best of all- talk about what you are really going through. And if your bestie was as non-judgemental and eager to just listen to you without offering any advice as mine was, half the PPD battle is won!
  2. Massage: As modern women, we don’t like to follow some old wives’ therapies. But I am a standing testimony that they do help. Getting regular massages just makes you feel so happy! Wearing a scarf on your head, not going out for 40 days, tying a tight belt around your waist, eating those “Gond” ke ladoo, having the yummy Panjiri…..i don’t know if they work. But it surely does uplift your mood.
  3. Ask for help: Though we all want to be epitomes of super moms who have everything in control, asking for ask much help without feeling guilty is the mantra during the early motherhood days. Getting your mother, in-laws, friends, husband, nanny, maids to help you out on a daily basis is a good idea, especially during the first 1-2 months of new mothering! It just makes the pressure go away from your head. And after 2 months, you can do all you want to be the super mom!
  4. Shed the Damsel in distress look: Get up and do your eye make-up if you want, walk around a little bit, get chatty with your friends, pick up a good wardrobe to wear post delivery- do whatever makes you happy. Being a new mom doesn’t mean having a haggard look and a miserable life! Motherhood doesn’t make you weak or vulnerable. If anything, it gives you the key to strengths that you never knew you had! You are a tigress for your baby! Feel empowered!

These are the thoughts that I could put together to help my friends who have or are undergoing PPD. As a Nirvanama, I would love to hear you out and know more about your experience with PPD. Your comment might help another mom overcome her battle!

Leave your comment below or email me at nirvanamaa@gmail.com

Come join and help me build a HAppy MOthers Gang #hamoga

Dark Mothering

Dark Mothering

Motherhood is such an amazing experience. Its life changing. Its joyous. Its unparallel. Its empowering. Its emotional. Its flabbergasting.

I could go on with the adjectives and yet not be able to encompass the entire journey that motherhood is.

However, there are some adjectives that are as much a reality of motherhood but are much less spoken or talked about- painful, exhausting, (post partum) depressing, helplessness etc.

Motherhood has been painted in such vivid bright and loving colors by society, media and bizhouses that its almost taboo to disucss the “DARK SIDE OF MOTHERING”

As a Nirvanama, you should be clear to know the downsides of mothering so that you can enjoy the upsides even more. Its always best to know the whole deal to be able to enjoy the whole deal and not be taken by surprise! Believe me, even our mothers don’t pass on the “downs” of mothering to us. Its all about bright sunny happy days!

However, not talking about it doesn’t mean its not there.

So lets be strong gals! Lets be brave and talk our heart out about Dark Mothering

The issues I shall be covering the coming articles are listed. Please feel free to leave any topic I might have missed out in the comment box or email me at nirvanamaa@gmail.com

  1. Post partum depression
  2. Lack of family support
  3. Emotional and physical exhaustion
  4. Dealing with too much advice/suggestions/criticism
  5. Living in constant fear about the well being of our kids
  6. Having a differently abled child
  7. Those horrible days of sickenss and hospitals
  8. Having siblings that hate each other
  9. Having kids who are unappreciative of you

We all go through one or more of these issues during our journey as a mother. And its best to talk about these and what we can do to overcome those painful moments.

Coz motherhood is not always about tears of joy. Its also about real, painful tears running down our cheeks so many times.

An ode to those latter tears that are too taboo to be talked about which makes them even more miserable!

Nirvanamas- lets talk about and support our sisters in pain. And let them know that its real, its there- but the pain of motherhood is too small in front of the gain of motherhood.

Before I start my series of “Dark mothering” articles over the next few days, lets start by saying:

Cheers to moms!

No place for negative emotions !

No place for negative emotions !

As a mother we are molding a life form into an individual daily. Our little one looks up to us for reactions and explanations about everything he encounters. Be it how to deal with being pushed in the park or to understand how he came into this world- he rushes to us for explanation.

It’s such a joy to be part of somebody’s life journey so closely. You sometimes hold his hand, sometimes lift him on your shoulder and sometimes let him run free on the path called life.

But as a mother we also know that not all days are bright and sunny. There are the gloomy clouds of crying, screaming, stubbornness and what not!

How do you deal with this “negative” behaviour that your angel sometimes exhibits. What do you do when your Dr Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde?

Of course there are numerous ways of rewarding good behaviour and not punishing bad behaviour that can help you slowly curb the bad traits in your young one. But I would like to start even before that.

Why label any emotion as good or bad?”

Try to erase all the social conditioning in you and think from a blank blueprint. Why is crying bad? Why is not crying good? Why is screaming bad? Why is keeping quiet good?

Who told you so? And why is it so important?

When you ask yourself these questions from a child’s point of view (ie with a blank blueprint of a mind) you will realize that there is actually no monster in your baby.

A child cries when frustrated, angry or sad. An elder sister feels jealous when she feels threatened by a new born sibling. A toddler screams in a restaurant when he is denied ice cream as his main course dinner.

We also feel the same emotions under these similar circumstances. It’s just that we, as a society, have been trained to control these negative emotions. If there were no rules of social conduct been ingrained in my mind, I would also love to scream when not heard! Wouldn’t you too?

So here is a child who doesn’t know what societal rules are. And his mom is shunning him for screaming in a restaurant. He doesn’t even understand why he shouldn’t scream! Society doesn’t mean much to him right now. And I suggest you don’t drill the point so soon either.

Yes there are certain etiquettes which all children have to learn at some age. However being a gypsy at heart, I advocate delaying the process as much as possible.

The best way to deal with negative behaviour is not to label it as bad in the first place. Never tell your toddler that whatever she is feeling is “wrong”. Because its not. She is feeling something genuine and she is expressing it. Let her.

What I usually do when my kid feels jealous, angry, sad or overwhelmed is quite simple and effective. I call it “The 3 step key to your kid’s heart”

Step 1: State that you know what your child is feeling.

Eg, if your baby is crying because she feels jealous of you lifting your new born baby say it out loud and clear to her, “I know you are feeling bad that I lifted the baby in my arms.”

By spelling it out for her, you have got your toddler in your zone of trust and belief in one shot.

Step 2: Tell her that you understand why she is feeling so. And that she is not wrong to feel that way.

I understand that having the new baby around is making you feel that mommy is not spending enough time with you. And I agree that it is enough to make you unhappy.”

She now is happy that you know what she is feeling. She likes you instantly and wants to listen to what you have to say next! (She wishes that your next sentence is that I will dunk the baby into a dustbin and play with you only! But if you play out the next steps properly, you will soon have her agreeing to your solution!)

Step 3: Tell her why the situation is such and come up with a solution that involves her in a major role.

I have to be with your baby sister because she is so tiny that she cant walk or talk on her own like you can. But I have an idea! Let her learn from her big sister about everything! So next time I am feeding her, why don’t you sit with me and tell her a story to calm her down. When I am changing her diaper, why don’t you help me with choosing which diaper to put on her next. And next time she is crying, you should come and tell me. You are the commander-in-chief now!”

 

Yes, this technique takes longer than saying, “No don’t cry. Its wrong to cry!” and shut your baby up.

But it has longer lessons and impressions engraved in it. And that’s why its such a powerful tool.

Shunning your baby takes 10 minutes but it means that every day for the next few years you will be spending those 10 frustrated minutes while getting no results actually.

Toiling a few extra days on your kid when he is a toddler will pave your path for a much more hands-free mothering for the rest of your life- that’s Nirvanama 101.

Now the choice is clear. You just need to make it!

A “Cause” Mother Vs an “Effect” Mother

A “Cause” Mother Vs an “Effect” Mother

We, as mothers, want to bring out the best in our children. We use a combination of techniques to mould the little being into a fine person with a healthy mind and heart.

Active” parenting starts at around 2 (the terrible terrible twos). This is the time when the innocent little infant starts absorbing and processing information. Some information is processed the way you would like it to be. While some is just the opposite of what you were expecting.

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Handling a toddler needs you to be quick in wits, on your feet and fast to reply/react. Coz you are not always prepared. Its like your throat is on the line. One wrong reaction can lay down a meandering path of distress for you.

Example: You notice that your baby has started crying a lot recently. She whimpers on almost everything. Is irritable and is always cranky. She can shed tears at the drop of a hat. It was fine for a day or two. But now it has become so irritating, that you just snub her, threat her or even punish her each time she starts whimpering. You end up with not only a more howling baby but also feel guilty! You almost giving up on the “best mommy” tag your infant used to give you each day with that glorious smile while you used to breastfeed her!

This is just one example of the many trials and tribulations you are put through while handling a toddler. So I wont discuss how you should react in that one particular situation. I will give you the sutra of how to overcome all the trials in general. You can extrapolate this principle to any of your toddler situations. It will help you emerge peaceful out of all of them.

One of the most glaring differences I see in mommy techniques is whether a mom focuses on the cause of the problem or the effect. A crying kid can be consoled in three ways-

  1. you soothe the crying with some peaceful calming happy words and if the child stops crying you award him with his favourite snack.
  2. You snub the kid and lock her in the bathroom.
  3. You try to figure out the “Cause” of his meltdown and attack that.

Hopefully by now you have read enough Nirvanama articles that option B doesn’t cross your peaceful mind!

Though option “A” sounds nice too, it really is option C that is going to give you a long-term solution to the meltdown.

Finding a “cause” is not as straightforward as it sounds. Like most other positive mothering techniques, it requires patience, effort and perseverance. However, the implications are so long lasting and thorough that it seems worth the struggle soon!

I would define a “cause” as something that is the root event or emotion that is making your kid behave a certain way.

Lets demarcate “cause” “effect” and “event” from the following example:

Your baby cries each time you or your partner leaves for work.”

Going for work is an Event. Because that’s what triggered your baby to start crying. It’s the immediate thing that preceded the crying episode. However, its not the “Cause”

Baby crying is obviously the Effect.

The Cause in this case is insecurity. The only person who understood him completely is leaving him! Imagine his plight! That’s why he expresses his unrest by doing what he knows best to get your attention- howl and cry!

What you do next will define you as the “cause” mom or the “Effects” mom.

If you target the “Event” (which was you leaving for work)….what you will do is leave quietly when the baby is not looking. The caregiver (ie the person looking after the baby when you are away) distracts the baby while you quietly sneak out.

This will surely make sure you avoid the howling episode when you leave for work. It might make you feel good also for a few days as no mom loves to leave a crying baby at home!

However in a few days you will notice how your baby starts crying for every reason in a few days. Even if you step out to the market for 5 minutes, it raises an alarm in the mind of your baby. The baby starts feeling that you will sneak out when he is not looking. So he clings onto you even more!

Try resolving the “Cause” and you will get tangentially opposite results. The cause of your baby crying is that he feels unsecure without his mom around. So instead of sneaking out, take out 10 minutes before leaving for work to sit with your baby. Tell him that you are leaving for work and will be back soon. Your baby will cry louder and make leaving difficult for you for a few days. But don’t give up on the policy of telling your child each time you plan to leave him for a few hours or minutes.

The first few days will have you cursing me for suggesting this technique to you. However in some time you will see that your toddler seems okay about you leaving him for work. Now he knows that you are leaving but you do come back in the evening- just like you promised.

Slowly over the next few days his insecurities are put to rest. He will still show he doesn’t like you leaving for work. But he will not be insecure about your absence. The howling episodes will be for lesser duration and intensity. And that just means bliss for you, doesn’t it?

See, how by knowing what is the real cause and resolving that you get a diametrically different child? An insecure stubborn child Vs a secure happy convinced kid – such a stark difference in the same kid …just by knowing the right technique.

So next time you need to tackle a behavior that catches your attention, take a minute to thread out the “Cause” and “Effect” in the situation.

And go on to Become a happy nirvanama with a happy nirvana kid!

IF ONLY THINGS HAD TURNED OUT THAT WAY!

IF ONLY THINGS HAD TURNED OUT THAT WAY!

We all have at one point or the other cribbed about how life is different as moms.

If only X had happened, then Y would be the outcome! We think about our past a lot. We think about the alternate choices we could have made all the time!

If and wish situations”. They consume a lot more of our conscious and subconscious thinking than they should.

We are the person we are because of our past experiences- small or big. We are a result of how our life unfolded, how (badly or well) we reacted to situations and people, how (good or bad) we chose from the options that were there.

IF ONLY THINGS HAD TURNED OUT THAT WAY!

We are a product of our past.”

And thats how our kids are going to shape up too.

(Disclaimer: this post is about to go on the tangent of philosophy and spirituality so say OMMMM and get your “open mind and heart” hats on!)

There are certain philosophies that just change the way your perceive life. “Butterfly effect” was the one for me.

It’s a simple yet powerful thought.

I quote from the ultimate pedestal of knowledge, Wikipedia!!

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”

Yes, it didn’t make much sense to me either the first time I read about it. Its as difficult to understand as Anupama Chopra’s bollywood movie reviews!

Pardon me for the length of this post but I cant continue without giving a little history of this theory. Butterfly effect (or chaos theory) was initially used for weather predictions. The term was coined due to the metaphorical example of how a tornado was caused by the flapping of a butterfly’s wing in some other part of the world.

Though metaphorical, what this theory imbibes is that the smallest of the events have such a linear and cascading effect that they can influence how an important and major part of your personality and your life turns out to be.

It talks of mystical, yet interesting things like- An asthmatic adult was a result of the day his mother reached late to pick him from school (Please remember this is just to illustrate the butterfly effect theory and doesn’t mean if you reach late to pick your child on a single day will result in him getting asthma as an adult!). It so happened that when this child was just 3, his mother got stuck in a traffic jam and reached school an hour late. All kids and teachers had left and the child was sitting with the security guard. He was sobbing quietly and felt breathless for the first time after having sobbed for an hour. However when his mother came, he forgot all about it and happily hugged her and went home. Each day when the bell rang declaring the school timing was over, the child started getting that familiar breathlessness bout. He started correlating the bell with his anxiety. He was anxious if his mother would be again stuck in traffic and reach late. This manifested in quicker breathlessness bouts that as an adult became permanent as asthma.

That’s an example how a small event cascades into a major life event eventually.

Its too heavy duty (and sometime depressing) theory at first. It kind of questions the need of your efforts. But when you understand, practice and imbibe this theory- it’s a catalyst for your Nirvanama journey!

It has a three fold impact when it comes to mothering:

  1. You realize how important and long lasting your actions are in shaping your child: Your mothering becomes more proactive and pro-child. That’s a given and direct outcome. Obviously. But its not this outcome that is important coz being a proactive mother is anyway part of your mothering plan.

 

  1. You realize that certain things will unfold the way they will no matter what you do. You take notice of the fact that despite your 100% effort towards a happy and positive parenting, your child will have some traits and experiences that you wish you could have avoided.

Like I said earlier, its not about giving up on parenting. Its about realizing that beyond a certain point, you no longer have control. The butterfly’s mom of course didn’t know that the flapping of her baby’s wing was shaping a tornado somewhere in the future. She would have stopped her otherwise. Wont she?

So there are some things you will never know or have control over. And that’s fine!

 

  1. You stop categorizing experiences as good and bad. Experiences are just that- experiences. They should not be given a tag of being good or bad. We never know what experience will have what kind of an outcome in the long run.

As per the butterfly theory, let me give you an example. Suppose at a birthday party, your daughter wanted french fries from her friend but the friend refused. Not only did she refuse, she pushed your kid away and your kid starts crying inconsolably. At that moment, it seems like a bad experience for your kid. But in view of the butterfly effect the cascading effect that this experience had was that your kid decided never to ask for fries. She infact stopped liking fries. She never wanted to go to a Mc Donald store and started disliking junk food in general. Which, in the long run, finally spelt out that she loved her home food and avoided becoming unhealthy. As an adult she might not even know why she doesn’t like fries. Its just that she doesn’t!

Since butterfly effect talks of alternate outcome lets do that too. Suppose the friend had shared her fries, and both your kid and that girl got along so well that they cemented their friendship by going to Mc Donalds everyday after school and sharing their fries. That translated into a love for burgers eventually. And as a teenager all your kid wanted was fries and burgers. That ended up for a strong dislike for her veggies at home and a small event like sharing ones’ fries ended up giving you an obese unhealthy daughter!

A experience we tagged as “good” ended up with a “bad” outcome!

This is just an imaginary example. Let’s come closer to the truth-

To state the impact of what a huge probability we live in, entertain this thought-

There are about 5 million sperms in each ejaculation and only one of those 5 million fertilise an egg, right? IMAGINE- If any one of the OTHER 5 million sperms had fertilized your egg than the one that did, you would not have that wonderful little person without whom you cant imagine your life now! You would have had a child entirely different from what you have now!” Equally dear, but entirely different!!

That’s the kind of probability and dependence on chance we live on!

We need to understand that our baby will be a result of the millions of experiences and events she witnesses in her life. You might not have control over them. But you learn to accept that just like you, your baby is also a result of each moment that she lived and how each moment turned out to be.

 

Its best to do your best as a mother and accept however your child turns out after that.

Stop consciously trying to eliminate “bad” experiences or exposures.

Stop worrying about how your kid will turn out to be.

Know that she is having those experiences because they have been reserved for ONLY her in the universe!

Because remember,

 

You cant and neither are you meant to control the fluttering of each butterfly in the world!”