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.

Emotional Awareness- Yes, It’s A Real Thing

Have you ever met people who have no idea why they are acting the way they are acting? They don’t seem to understand that actions have a cause and effect. They act and react according to instinct but never take the time to really think about the why.

I touched on this a little bit in Emotional Abuse…Let’s Talk About It. Emotional awareness isn’t something common among South Asian Indians. We haven’t been raised with the idea of mental health.

For those of us who have finally figured out that mental health is as important as physical health, it took a long time to get to that realization. For me, in particular, it took a lot of going through problems and changes to understand that this was an important aspect that I needed to address if I really wanted to be happy. I had to face that this was a real thing. My mental health was something I had to take care of continuously.

Because I finally faced myself, I started self-analyzing so that I could understand why I acted a certain why at certain times. For example, I used to be super jealous in my previous relationships. I just reacted to the things that would happen. After the end of one of my relationships, I finally took a look at how I was acting because being jealous is seriously no fun. I realized that it had to do with my personal insecurities. I had (and still have) a hard time believing I’m worth anything to anyone. The only difference is now I understand that this is something I need to work on as opposed to my partner. I understand now that I should not be putting this on someone else. It helped my relationships that followed after.

I take the way I feel about myself very seriously. It’s easy to blame unhappiness and a lack of satisfaction on the world around you because it’s difficult to look inward. But most of the time, we can control how we feel and be able to change it if we just took the time to understand where our feelings came from. We can have a better understanding of ourselves and how we react to the world around us and give ourselves a chance to really feel good about our lives.

Even if it feels like you are on top of the world, being emotionally self-aware is a good thing. It’s always good to know why you act the way you act. Maintaining your mental health should be as important as maintaining your physical health. Give it a try sometime.

 

 

Why Can’t You Vaccinate Your Child Again?

I can’t think of anything better to discuss considering we are in the middle of a measles outbreak. I’m not going to sit here and report every fact and figure that is already out there. I’m just going to state my opinion on the whole situation.

It sucks. It really does. There have been reported cases of the measles with 20 miles of where we live. Our kid is still below the age where she can be vaccinated for the measles. Which means she is at risk every time we go out somewhere because someone else didn’t vaccinate their child.

My husband and I aren’t overprotective. We took our 6 month old to India and just tried to keep her protected. She made it through the trip fine. We are the types who believe exposure will build up her immunity to a lot of things. When other outbreaks have happened, we speak with our pediatrician and see what the reality is of the situation.

The reality of this situation is that our child does go to locations and events that involve other young children who can’t be vaccinated yet. And none of us has any way of knowing if any of these children has been exposed to someone who has the measles.

Here’s my question. Why? Obviously, the idea that measles vaccination causes other diseases or developmental problems has already been proven wrong. Even if it did cause problems, the chances are so low that is it really worth taking the risk of having your child catch something that they could have been protected against?

I asked the following question of one of my mommy groups. If the risk of having problems with the vaccine is lower than the chances of your child being in a car accident (especially in Southern California), then why would you continuously put your child in a car but not get the vaccine? It doesn’t make sense to me.

We all want what’s best for our child. We want to protect them against as much as we can. I hate when she cries for anything. So why are we ignoring something that has obviously worked over so much time?

I’m so frustrated that I have to be careful of where I can take my baby to right now because a few people decided to ignore years of progress. And this question will come up again and again when we decide to put her in school and activities.

I come from a family where half of the people are doctors. My family comes from a country that would love to have all the vaccinations the US has for their children. Why do these parents take these vaccines for granted?

I don’t know what the solution to easily resolved problem is. How can you convince people who refuse to vaccinate their kids? I see the posts in my mommy groups and the debate goes on and on and on. The only thing I can think is that if it’s just one simple shot, why doesn’t everyone do it? If it’s shown to work, why is there so much of a fight? Why do we all run to believe people who aren’t qualified to give their opinions?

How can I protect my child against other people’s decisions?

Are You Ambitious Too?

Ambition. It’s something that isn’t inherently in all of us. Well, at least, not in the same way. Some of us are ambitious about our careers, some of us are ambitious about our hobbies, some of us are ambitious about something else entirely. So how do it work when two people aren’t ambitious about the same thing?

Being a first generation raised in America Indian, most of us are taught to be ambitious about our careers. After all, most of our parents came over here and worked extremely hard so that we would get the opportunities to achieve whatever we wanted. So, of course, we should be taking advantage of that and do the best we can to take their successes a step further. Most of the people I have been raised with all have that same mindset.

Here’s the interesting part for me: not EVERYONE believes that as well. There are a few people I do know who haven’t achieved as much as they are capable of. I don’t know why they haven’t. I don’t know if it’s a lack of ambition or if there are other reasons. I don’t know if it’s something that’s inherited or if it’s just a personality thing.

I’ll be honest. I do judge people based on what is perceived as a lack of ambition. I can’t understand it because most of the people I know do have some sort of drive. And when I say ambition, I don’t just mean education-wise. It could be ambition in that person’s career or the way they raise their kids or their hobbies. I see interests that don’t just involve being social but to better themselves and the people around them in some way. But if I meet someone who doesn’t seem to want to do anything, I have a hard time understanding that person. I don’t think that too many people like this do exist though. Most people do have interests and want to accomplish something in life.

I think what’s important to understand is that two people won’t necessarily have the same ambitions. My husband knows I like to be involved in a lot of things. In the past, I have simultaneously worked, gone to school, and been involved in dance. But now, as a stay at home mom, that isn’t all possible. When we talked yesterday, he apologized to me for not being able to pursue my ambitions. The thing is that I can’t have the same goals when my role in life has changed. But what I can do is change my goals. While he follows his ambition to grow his career and business, I am following mine to raise my daughter and to develop other parts of my life (such as this blog) so that I feel fulfilled. And we both support each other. In the end, both of us should be able to positively influence my daughter’s life because she can see that even though we don’t necessarily share the same ambitions, we both will work hard to achieve something regardless of what it is. As long as we can figure out what we want to accomplish together as a couple and as parents, we can figure out how to get there with the other as support.

Boundaries

Ahhh. The family life. Have many of you have heard that phrase “when you marry the person, you marry the family”? In the Indian culture, this is so true. There is no separation for the couple from the family. The couple becomes an extension of the family instead.

Now, this isn’t such a bad thing. I really like having a big family so having another group of relatives to hang out with is great.

But what happens when the family gets demanding on your time? What happens when they expect you to follow their rules of when, where, and what you should be doing? What happens when they call the shots without even considering what you need or are available for?

I’m pretty lucky in the sense that both sets of parents for me are really understanding about us having our own lives and knowing that we will make time for them as much as we can.

But I definitely am aware that, in this culture, this is rare. There are a lot of parents who expect a lot more than that from their children and their spouse. I don’t know if it’s worse if you are the son-in-law or the daughter-in-law. I think it probably depends on the situation and the relationship the child has with their parents to start with.

Let’s add one more complication. The expectation that we grow up with to be the perfect daughter-/son-in-law.

I think I was supposed to be able to cook everything, clean to perfection, have children, raise them, look perfect, have multiple talents, all while holding down a full time job after achieving a degree or two. I totally failed. I think I’ve accomplished maybe 2 or 3 of that long list. Maybe.

It weighs on me that I don’t fit the idea of perfection when it comes to being the daughter-in-law. But I know that I try my best and I keep going. And luckily, I don’t hear any problems about what I can or cannot do.

Unfortunately, some people do.

The solution to this is to set boundaries. It’s not easy by any means. It’s the only thing though that will keep you from going crazy. And if you have the support of your spouse, it will at least make it that much easier to be able to do this. Boundaries are meant to draw a line with regards to what is acceptable and what isn’t. If your parents or in-laws drop in whenever they want and expect you to drop everything to entertain them, then maybe you need to ask them about calling a day before they plan on coming over to check your schedule.

It won’t be easy. And honestly, it might be a battle on its own.

But, hopefully, in the end, it’s worth it.

When There is Only 1 Person in a Couple

I’ve noticed something that keeps occurring over and over again and I wanted to bring it up. I don’t think it’s just me who has noticed it because I’ve heard comments about it coming from others. 

Have you ever noticed that sometimes there is only 1 person in a couple when they are in public? I honestly have no idea about any couple’s private life so I don’t want to assume anything. I was just wondering when a couple goes out, all you see is one person whom the focus completely seems to be on. 

I think the times that this really seems obvious to most people who have mentioned this to me are at weddings. You see the bride and groom separated for most of the night. You would think that out of all the days in time, this would be the one day to be with your new spouse. But then again, this would refer back to one of my previous posts about some people being more interested in the wedding than the marriage. 

Why is this? Why is it that we seem to forget that the other person exists when it comes to being out with others. I understand that we spend a lot of time with our significant others and so when there are other people, we want to socialize with them. But why does it seem that it’s to the point where you don’t even see the couple interact at all? 

I honestly can’t make a judgment on this because I think, in order to make a fair assessment, you would have to know the couple’s dynamics and really know why and how they function. Maybe it’s a completely functional and good relationship and this is just how they work when they go out. 

It is curious to me though. So, if anyone has an explanation, I’d love to hear it. 

I’m Over Being Called a Ball and Chain

A couple of days ago, I walked into a golf shop with my husband. The salesperson he had previously consulted decided to tell me in the first few minutes that we met that my husband was really good at golf and I should let him get out to play more. 

Excuse me? I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that, as the wife, I was responsible for holding him back from doing something he loved. In our relationship, we support each other in our passions rather than hold the other person back. So where does this guy get off telling me to let him play golf more? Why would he make that assumption? And even if he doesn’t believe what he said and was just teasing, it’s still completely insulting. 

This has been going on for ages. You hear one spouse teasing or joking that they have to ask the other spouse for permission to go do something fun. When did relationships become about permission? I thought you entered a 50/50 partnership, not adopted a new parent.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be considerate of your significant other. Yes, there is more joint decision making as a couple. You have to respect each other’s time and plan things together. Fact of life. But blaming (even jokingly) the other person is seriously not cool. 

We’ve grown up with the term “ball and chain”, traditionally referring to the wife. Maybe at one point, it was accurate. But in this day and age, most of us do what we want and we are supported while doing it. So why does this phrase still come up? If someone (husband or wife) is holding you back, then it’s probably best you discuss it with that person. Teasing that person in public or behind their back is disrespectful and really just immature. 

Another idea in connection to this is when people tell you your life is going to end when you get married. If you really think that, don’t get married. And I know people say this as a joke and to be funny but it’s not. The last thing I want to hear is someone teasing my husband that his life ended because he married me. Am I really that bad? Or is marriage? 

I’m over hearing these “jokes”. They aren’t funny. They really are insulting to the idea of marriage. Marriage should be a thing of beauty and love and friendship. So for those of you still referring to your spouse as a ball and chain or marriage as a life-ending event, take it somewhere else because I don’t want to hear it anymore.