The First Thing To Go Out The Door

Self-care.

As a mother, I think this is the first thing that we abandon when we have kids. Our priorities shift enough that the order of important is the following: kids #1-however many and our partner, work, home, extended family, the world, everything else, ourselves.

We forget we exist until we run ourselves down enough that there is only a shell of our former selves left. Then, all of a sudden, we are locked in a bathroom, crying our eyes out because this isn’t the life we imagined.

We have to take care of ourselves. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, then how can we be a good example for our kids?

I’m not only talking about the physical stuff like showering, grooming, exercising. We have to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally. We have to take that time in the day where we can focus on ourselves.

Doing all of this other stuff is wearing. It’s tiring. It’s hard to refocus on yourself. When I finally get a few minutes of quiet, I just sit there and stare into the abyss. Okay, the abyss in reality is the tv. It’s like I forget how to function. I can’t even think of what I’d want to do for myself. If I do figure it out, I don’t have the energy.

It’s easy to get caught up in resentment and anger when you get used to putting yourself last. As a South Asian Indian mom, I’m programmed to put myself last. I’m supposed to put my kids and husband first. And every time I feel neglected, I end up feeling a mixture of sadness and anger.

The thing is that you have to find the solution. Your kids are never going to put you first and your partner can only help so much. You have to find the time and energy to do things for yourself. You have to be okay with putting yourself first sometimes. You have to find ways to take care of yourself.

If you have any self-care tips, I’d love to hear them. I am always looking for new ways to take care of myself.

Last Priority

The hardest thing about being a mom is that you’re last. For example, I’m sitting here typing out this post at 9:30 pm after my kids are asleep. If I want to do this for myself, it happens when I can find time in between everything else that takes priority.

I don’t think I knew what sacrifice meant until I had kids. Sure, I had to compromise with my significant other. I had to figure out how to live with other people. But I never had to put what I wanted absolutely last.

It takes a lot out of you. Physically, mentally, emotionally. If you’re lucky, you get time to eat and shower (and go to the bathroom by yourself). If you’re lucky, you get an hour to yourself at least once a day. If you’re lucky, you get to take a night off.

Kids are amazing. Watching them grow is crazy. One day, they are babies and the next, they are actual people.

But it’s tiring. Kids don’t have a clock. They need you when they need you and they want you when they want you. You can’t hide or ask them to wait. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) And if you do ask them to wait, they hang off of your legs and “Mom, Mom, Mom”. Or they throw the longest, loudest tantrum known to mankind.

I’m late posting this today because we had a bunch of kid stuff to do first. It sits on my mind that I want to post on my blog every day but I have to wait to find time to do it. It isn’t a priority by any means.

I love hanging out with my kids. It can be so much fun. I just wish I could take a sick day every now and then.

I Hate The Way I Look Post-Baby

I hate the way I look right now.

Granted, I had a baby 6 weeks ago. I was literally only cleared by the doctor to start working out yesterday. I don’t have as much time to do my hair or makeup with 2 kids running around.

But, in this world of social media, I see these women (and I’m talking about women I know or that are friends of friends) who look awesome and thin and wear the prettiest dresses. (Side note: I don’t compare myself to actresses or models. Their jobs required them to look good all the time so they have to make the time to work out.)

And it makes me feel really bad about myself.

I know it’ll take time before I feel good about myself physically again. It takes time, patience, and dedication, all of which I had and will commit to because my self-esteem relies a lot on how I look as well as who I am.

I know that I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. Our bodies go through so much to bring a life in this world and our most of our time afterwards goes into taking care of that life. It would be nice if we could feel great about ourselves after right away.

Normally, I’d try to find a solution to the problem in my post, solutions such as write in a journal or try to find ways to boost your self-esteem emotionally and mentally to make up for the physical for the moment. But it’s hard right now because sometimes, when you feel bad about how you look, you just feel bad about how you look.

It’ll just take time (and exercise) to change that feeling.

All we can do is be patient and work hard to achieve our goals.

Yeah, It’s Out Of My Control

We, Indians, are perfect. No, really, we are. We are all intelligent, beautiful, and successful.

Ok, let’s talk reality. No one is perfect. Yes, we might have a lot going for us.

However, there is a lot of us have things that we don’t talk about much, things that are out of our control. Many of us have a weakness that we don’t advertise. But it’s there.

My weakness is epilepsy. Unless you’ve seen me popping my medication or have actually seen me drop into a seizure randomly, you probably don’t know that I have epilepsy.

It is super frustrating for me because while I know the triggers, I hate having to change my life to cater to my condition. I do take care of myself though because I don’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean I don’t slip every so often.

My most recent seizure happened during my sister’s wedding weekend. I was lucky that one of my sister’s friends knew what to do. I woke up, got ready, and went to my sister’s wedding rehearsal.

My other sister asked me why it didn’t bother me that it happened. I told her later that it did. But I had 2 choices at the time. I could sit and dwell on it and be upset it happened or I could move on and enjoy the weekend.

We all have something or we will have something at some point in our life. And we can curse our bad luck or we can accept that this is our reality. We can figure out how to live with it. We can ask for help if we need to.

There is no shame in anything that affects your health, whether it be physical or mental. We are human.  There is a lot we have to deal with. And absolutely everyone has something that they can’t control. Everyone has something that takes work, that we have to adjust to. Dealing with epilepsy didn’t just take a neurologist. It took a therapist as well.

Yes, it sucks. I’ve felt that over and over again. I probably will be taking medication to control the seizures for a long time. But since I don’t have an option in the matter, I can only learn to have a good attitude about it. I can be upset or I can have fun.

And I choose to have fun.

 

Yes I’m Vain….But It Keeps Me Healthy

When I was 15, my metabolism quit. Like it got up and said “F*** you” and left. Prior to that, I was a super skinny kid and didn’t really worry about what I ate. After that, it’s like everything I ate just stayed on me. I ended up at around 130 pounds at the time. For a 5’2″ girl, there’s nowhere for that weight to really go that will look attractive. I wasn’t consistently athletic at the time so it wasn’t even muscle weight.

Now take a look around you. Take a look at yourself. Are you in shape? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you being healthy?

If the answer (the honest answer) is no, join the club. There are way too many of us out there that aren’t taking care of ourselves. The American Heart Association recommends walking around 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day. This is hard. I bought myself a Fitbit because I thought I must be easily hitting this number daily chasing my kid around plus working out once a day but nope. I still have to take another walk and really push my activity levels to hit this number. I rarely ever reach 5 miles. It’s frustrating.

After my metabolism quit, it took me another 6 years to come out of denial that I couldn’t just eat what I want and not work out and look like how I wanted. I always wanted to have the perfect body. I’ve always been a perfectionist. And somehow I thought that it would just come to me without me having to work for it.

One day, I looked at a picture of myself and saw how I looked in a shirt I really liked. It felt awful. I realized that I wasn’t just going to magically get into shape. It was, at the moment, I decided that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I joined a gym and started counting calories. I lost a ton of weight and not only was working out regularly but had joined a professional dance team so I was dancing regularly. I felt stronger and healthier.

I’m writing this because when I look around me and see so many people who don’t seem care, it’s frustrating and scary to me. My metabolism quit early and it took me 6 years to figure out what to do about it. But, mine quit earlier than it does for a lot of others. For those of us who are entering our 30s and inching towards our 40s, there are things that won’t work as well as they did before. We are at higher risk for health problems if we don’t start taking care of ourselves as soon as possible.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that you like the way you look or you’ve accepted your bodies for what it is. I applaud that. Here’s the thing. We don’t have to have the perfect bodies but we shouldn’t be treating our bodies like trash cans either. We don’t have to not enjoy food but we shouldn’t ignore the consequences of what we are eating as well. The point is that we aren’t eating healthier and exercising to look like supermodels. We are doing it so we feel better about ourselves. We are doing it so we can be there in the future to take care of our children. We are doing it so we don’t miss out on something just because we thought it was too much work when we were younger and couldn’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, I see way more people around me who don’t care than do. I hope they realize that change starts when you take the action to change. I’m hoping that most people understand that those who are physically fit really work hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even for those people who are naturally thin, they have to watch what they eat and work out so they don’t end up with other health issues. In the end, we should all feel better about ourselves not only physically but emotionally.

Exercising and eating right does wonders for your mind and soul as much as your physical body. For me, it’s a coping mechanism. It helps my stress levels stay down and for me to deal with whatever problems happen in my life. It also boosts my confidence levels regardless of what I look like or how I’m feeling at the moment. There are plenty of times I’ve gone into a dance practice or work out feeling down or mad and 3o minutes later, I will feel really good about everything because I just needed to take a break from my mind and focus on my physical activity instead.

There are plenty of groups and articles to help you learn how to take care of yourself if that is where you are stuck. This is something I really believe in (even if I slip up every so often and eat a bag of jelly beans myself or have more alcohol than I probably should have). I hope you will be inspired to take the step to treat yourself with the respect you deserve.

Why Do Indians Try To Change The Way Our Babies Look?

I’ve mentioned that I’m a part of a few different mommy groups on Facebook, one of them being an Indian mommy group. There are so many great things about being a part of that group because you get to share ideas and things you’ve done and get help from others when you have questions.

But there is one big thing that drives me crazy every time I see it posted. There are Indian moms who ask how they can change the appearance of their child.

Here are examples of what I’m talking about (my version of examples since I don’t want to copy and paste things that are confidential to the group):

–My child was born with curly hair. If I shave it, will it come back straight? How can I      make it look better?

–My child in a month old and has hair on her face. How can I get rid of it?

–Will an oil massage help lighten my child’s skin?

And this goes on and on and on.

Why? Why are we trying to change the way our babies look? We criticize and try to change these children that are born after everything we go through to have them. We go through so much to get pregnant and then the stress of the pregnancy itself. These child are born perfect. Every single one of them. How can we judge the looks of someone so small and innocent?

And why do we think certain qualities are bad? Why is darker skin bad? Why is curly hair bad? I have curly hair and I love it. I know a girl who has darker skin than I do and she is one of the most beautiful, talented, and smarter girls I know.

Our goal in raising our child is so they grow up with great values and culture and become amazing adults. And yet, as newborns, we sit and criticize how they look. How are these kids supposed to develop good self-esteem and confidence with this type of parental attitude?

We are trying to get our babies to fit society’s standards of beauty. But here’s the problem. Society’s standards of beauty are wrong. Beauty shouldn’t be judged on one or two different physical characteristics. So if we try to change our children, what are we telling them? The only way to change what society considers beautiful is to believe that our children are beautiful just the way they are and teach them that.

I know I want my child to be confident in who she is as a person. I personally went through an ugly duckling phase when I was in school but I made it through. I think it actually made me a more grounded person because I haven’t relied on my looks at any point in my life. I had to learn to be social and to be able to relate to people around me.

I hope mothers will start appreciating their children for who they are and not what they look like. I hope they will start focusing more on how to raise their children and not how to improve their looks. I hope that these children will learn that your physical appearance has nothing to do with how beautiful you really are.

We Indians Need To Learn How To Be More Compassionate

I had a hard time writing about this topic: compassion. I just wasn’t sure what I could write about. I wasn’t even sure if I knew anything about this topic at all. I even looked up what compassion means so I could figure out what to write about. The problem is I tend to be more empathetic and can see that more clearly. But Webster’s said that empathy was not the same as compassion.

So, 3 days after the deadline, I finally realized what I could write about.

I’m a South Asian Indian born and raised in America. I come from a background where we tend to judge each other quicker than we show compassion. If something doesn’t go right or something bad happens, it somehow had to be that person’s fault. They did something that caused that bad thing to happen. I had a friend once tell me that when she told her mother about her miscarriage, her mother’s first words to her were “What did you do?”.

We, as a community, also don’t speak about so much that is happening around us. Things that require compassion are being hidden and causing emotional havoc in our lives, things like broken engagements, broken marriages, emotional abuse, physical abuse, miscarriages, infertility, depression, suicidal thoughts.

It upsets me that these are things that so many of us have gone through but yet, we still worry about telling the person next to us in fear that they will judge us. We aren’t able to share what we have really been through.

I have personally been through a few of these things. When I had, I completely disappeared from our community’s social scene. The only time I felt I deserved to be back in it is when I had done something indisputably good to make up for a few of the “bad” things I had done or been through. I couldn’t hold my head up around them until I had finally achieved something that our community could be proud of and say “Yes, I know that woman”.

Why should I feel ashamed for my circumstances in life? Why should I feel like everyone is talking about me behind my back? Why should I have to worry about being judged for making decisions to make my life better?

So my call is to the South Asian Indian community today. Be compassionate. Stop letting others feel like they will be judged for going through hard times in life. Not a single one of us is better than another. We will be stronger as a community if we help each other instead of tearing each other down. Share what you personally have gone through because I can guarantee you that the person next to you has gone through something that’s been life changing and difficult as well.

I was inspired to write this by #1000Speak. Compassion is something that I believe in but don’t see often enough.

Check out the other stories of compassion.