The Exhausting Reality of Children

I woke up this morning like I wake up every morning: ready to go, planning the things we would do through the day, excited to try to make my (and our) day a good one.

Then it happened.

“Mooooom, carry me!!!”

“Moooom, she’s playing with my car!”

Mooooom, I need you!”

This all took place within the first 15 minutes of coming downstairs. The conflicting yells for me and for me to give the kids breakfast always hit me hard because it’s not humanly possible to make breakfast in the kitchen if I’m sitting next to the kids at the dining table!!”

But make them understand that. Make them understand that I only have 2 arms and hands and not 8. I do frequently joke to my older child that I could do everything she asks for in the minute she asks if I was an octopus.

This means though that this great, exciting, fun-filled day we were going to have is over as my mood goes south by the end of breakfast time. Then, I’m playing catch up all day to feel like I actually have control of something, anything.

I know these are 2 little humans with their set of needs and wants and incapable of completely regulating their emotional well-being. I know they depend on me for a lot of things (although I do try to make them as independent for certain tasks as quickly as I can). But all of this knowledge disappears when I end up arguing with them over which shirt they want to wear or which plate they get to use.

Oh my gosh, it is exhausting. It’s mentally draining. It’s emotionally draining. And even though I have now been a parent for over 5 years, I have no idea on how to thrive. I’m surviving sure. I will never be a Pinterest mom and I have long accepted that. But I’d like to be better. I’d like to at least be a Berenstein Bear Mom.

I’m not, though. Unfortunately, I get rude and sarcastic and mean. My goodwill melts away into impatience. My requests become orders. Honestly, I’m just trying to get through the day.

Is it possible? Is it possible to not be so exhausted by these little humans?

Or is it just reality?

Couples and Communication

So I’m going to tell you the truth about my new year’s eve. My husband and I had a fight. It sucked. We were both tired and we had been dealing with illnesses traveling around our family for a few weeks. There came a point where stuff we had been thinking about and not saying just all came out. It wasn’t the greatest way to start off a new year but we figured it out.

We try to both be understanding of each other but sometimes, that leads to resentment. Holding stuff in doesn’t really help resolve anything and then, one of us ends up really angry at the other.

The problem with this situation is that constructive communication is something we both had to learn. Putting our ego aside for the benefit of our relationship is something we both had to learn. Talking to each other with the common end goal of moving forward is something we had to learn.

Unfortunately, these aren’t lessons that are readily available in the Indian culture. We don’t know that we need to continuously evolve in ourselves and in our relationships. The end goal is usually to get married. No one explains that you have to keep working on your relationship after the wedding. It’s just assumed that you will stay together regardless of anything else. We are taught that we just need do what we need to do and that’s it.

But that isn’t it. Awareness and improvement are a relatively new concept in the Indian community. Happiness and emotional needs are also new concepts as well. So we have to realize ourselves that we need to be able to look at our lives and analyze it so we can make it better. As a couple, we need to be able to talk to each other and figure out a way to move forward that is beneficial to both people.

Marriage is something that should be fun. Sometimes, there are occasions where it isn’t so much. But as long as we talk and try to understand each other, it should be a short-lived situation. Then, we go back to having fun.

My husband and I sure did.

How To Chase Your Passions While Being a Mom

Today, I was really missing dancing and performing. I’ve spent a good part over the last 16 years dancing on various teams and in shows. It’s definitely slowed down since I had my first kid. I have had a few opportunities to dance in between being pregnant and having baby #1 and baby #2 but it’s not as frequently as I would like.

I posted on Facebook about this longing I had for dance and a few opportunities popped up. I’m really excited to get started and do this.

But I can’t just jump into things the way I used to.

I have to remember that my first responsibility is my family. My kids’ lives and needs come first. They have their schedules that are more important that anything else.

So how does it work if my needs come second?

Somehow, I have to manage balancing my responsibilities with chasing my passions. I know I could just ignore my own needs and concentrate on my kids but if I did that, then I wouldn’t be giving them my best self. The only answer to this is to find a way to do both.

I find sections of my day to focus on the things I do for me. I wake up early to write (or write during a movie that I’m watching with my kid like I’m doing now). I work out during nap times. In order to be able to dance, I need the support of my husband.

He’s a great guy and we both believe in allowing space so that the other is able to do the things that will make us happy. We believe that if we are happy, our kids will be happy. So I have the ability to dance while my husband handles our responsibilities.

It isn’t easy to be able to chase your passions while being a mom. But if I want it bad enough, I’ll find a way to do it.

Relationships: Be Lame or Have Fun

Relationships are hard. Even the best relationships take some work. But, it’s possible to make a relationship easier if you just know how.

The hardest part about any relationship between 2 people is that you are going to have 2 sets of personalities and opinions. And if you’re lucky, those personalities and opinions really make the relationship a lot of fun and exciting.

But occasionally, there will be clashes. Here’s the bottom line: you can either let those differences hurt your relationship or you can help make it stronger.

When I was younger and in a relationship, I held onto things every time there was a fight. I would stew in my anger about things not going my way or if it seemed like my wants and needs were being ignored. I grew up with that image in my head that my significant other was supposed to create my every happiness (I’m sure every Bollywood movie I saw and every fairy tale I read helped grow this expectation). How surprised was I to realize that that expectation didn’t translate into real life.

Somewhere, between all of my relationships, I learned how to be responsible for my own happiness. I learned that if my significant other was happy, I was happy. I learned that sometimes, in a relationship, you’ve got to swallow your pride so that you and your significant other can move forward together.

Now, I’m in a relationship where we encourage each other to do things that make us happy and give each other the space to do so. When we fight, we take some time out and then address the issue and move on. We realize it doesn’t help either of us to be mad over something just to keep our pride and, in that, lose time enjoying each other.

My husband told me one thing while we were dating that has stuck with me throughout our relationship: “You can either be lame or you can have fun.”

I choose to have fun every time.

 

Taking On Too Much Responsibility

Being a good Indian kid means that you’re responsible for everything, right? If the family needs something, you’re the one who will handle it. If your friends needs something, you’re the one who goes out of their way. If your work needs something, well, we’ll live at the office, right?

Hold on. This life sounds stressful and very unfulfilling. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to help others out. I think it’s a great thing. But what if it gets to the point where it’s just unrealistic? What if it gets to the point where you resent the people asking you for things and don’t even want to talk to them anymore?

What if it gets to the point where you don’t recognize yourself and you don’t know how to make yourself happy anymore?

I think there are a lot of people who take on too much responsibility. We sit there and try to do things because we feel like we should. We feel guilty putting ourselves and our health first. We need to learn to let things go and let others take care of themselves.

I used to get stressed out because a friend of mine had a lot of problems with his own family. I used to take that stress onto myself and try to find a solution to help him. The end result would be that nothing would change because he himself didn’t want to change anything. I had to learn to step away from that situation. I could be there as a friend and listen and offer my advice but that was it. It was not my responsibility to fix his relationships. It was my responsibility to be a good friend and be there when he needed me.

It’s hard to let go sometimes because we feel like we should be helping when someone needs it. But what if they don’t need it? What if they just choose not to do it and that leaves you feeling like you should be taking care of what they are responsible for? My sister just came to me and asked me to take a look at her resume so she can start looking for jobs. I accept that as something I would want to do for her. But if she needs to find a job and expects me to find it for her, then it’s a sign that I need to step away from the situation. It is clearly her responsibility and while I have no problem helping, I do not want to baby her and handle it for her.

This is just one example (and she just asked me to take a look at her resume; she wouldn’t ask me to find her a job) but I see similar occurrences in different places.

We need to learn where our responsibility and willingness to help starts and stops. Otherwise, we’ll drive ourselves crazy. Who would we be able to help then?