Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I’m A Work From Home Mom

This was 1st Published on Parentous

Work from home or flexi-work is comparatively new in India. Thank God it’s picking up, but unfortunately not everyone understands what working from home really means.

When I was pregnant, I knew I don’t want to quit working. Working is something that gives me satisfaction and makes me feel… well…’me’. I don’t know how many mums out there would agree… but I know I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and lots of other things… I’m myself as well… which as per me, is no less than any of the other roles I play.

When I started working from home last year, after a break of almost a year, I was asked “So… what are you doing?” When I told them I work as a parenting blogger and also am soon launching my story telling venture… I was told “that is ok, but you don’t have a job, right?” How I wish I could explain to them what working at home really meant.

When I had Zoe (my daughter), I didn’t want to restrict myself to just being at home doing chores. No offense, but that is just not me… my priorities were different. I could not leave Zoe because we didn’t have anyone to take care of her. That’s when I developed two of my hobbies blogging and storytelling into a career.

Now, I’m very happy with my decision… but it wasn’t always like this. These days, it’s become a fashion to get into your own gig after you become a mom. Home bakers, bloggers, freelancers, et al. Before you take a dip in the work from home mommy pool, one needs to do a reality check.

Is work from home really worth it?

It definitely is, if you are able to strike out the right balance. If you are able to do something you like to do from home, not missing out on the growing up years of your child and you end up making money as well… it’s a great option. We can choose our working hours, take offs, and if you run your own business… you become your own boss.

Having said that, I would like to add, there are hard times as well. You can develop your own schedule, but deadlines are something you can never miss. Once you miss a deadline and there can be a huge loss. Maintaining the correct work-life balance is tough to say the least, especially when you own a business.

Lines between personal & professional life become quite blur… which is not a good thing. Your social life (play dates, parties, dates, family dinners) go for a toss. To top it all… people around you don’t understand that you actually have deadlines and targets. Your smart phone and laptop become your best friends and they don’t leave you even when you are on a holiday.

There are many things I have given up as a work from home mom:
  • My social life is zero
  • I don’t have free time to pursue things I want to
  • Most of my social media connect is work related. I do not interact with family/friends on social media if I have work.
  • Blogging for me began when I started to keep a track of Zoe’s growing up years. Now I do not update that blog as often as I used to
  • I don’t spend as much quality time with the husband as I’d want to.
  • I don’t pray as I used to. Prayers brought peace of mind which I lack now-a-days. Guess I need to start praying to God above.
  • I missed working out, thankfully now I’m on track
  • I’m constantly sleep deprived.
Leading the life of a WFH mom for more than a year now… here are some rules I live with. I do not bend them, until and unless there isn’t any other way out:

  • I make a schedule and stick to it.
  • I keep a few hours of the day flexible, because you never know what might come up.
  • I ensure the place where I work is as clutter free as possible.
  • I try to restrict the number of laptop hours on weekends
  • When I take call, I always cut myself out and lock myself in a room till the call lasts.
  • I always ensure I keep Zoe involved and entertained. I can’t afford a meltdown in the midst of my work hours. I try to keep her happy, though I don’t give in to all her demands.
  • I do not leave Zoe in front of the TV for hours… or do anything I don’t approve of with regards to Zoe, because the last thing I don’t want lingering on my mind is mommy guilt.
  • My planner is my best friend personally and professionally.
I feel blessed as I can always count upon the husband (yes, I say this again and again).

Some people don’t understand what a WFH mom does. Some people think we are the luckiest as we get the best of both the worlds. I don’t know how lucky we are, but if you handle the situation well… the world a WFH Mom lives in is not such a bad place to be in.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Peek into Our Storytelling

Zoe and me follow this story telling ritual from the time she started walking around independently . I have been meaning to write about it for the longest time, but its become such an integral part of our lives that I forget about its being worthy of a separate post (which it indeed is).

So what happens, when I'm working on my laptop... Zoe comes to me at least 2 times in a day and says "Read it Book Mommy". Zoe pulls my hand, makes me sit on 'our' special reading place... The beanbag. Then she walks to her book box'es' and brings out books (one by one) and stacks these books besides me. The books that she always brings (now-a-days) are Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child, In a People's House - Dr. Seuss, Head to Toe by Eric Carle. Besides these she brings what she likes. Then she climbs on my lap and we start reading. She picks the book, pretend-reads the name and the authors name... She knows all the book names and most author names. I read to her–one book after another–making sounds and gestures, taking out different voices, as I read to kids her age in my class. When I finish a story I say the end, and Zoe gives me a kiss... Then she picks another book.  I read till my legs hurt with Zoe sitting on them, I keep going on and on till I need water to quench my thirst. One session usually lasts 30-40 mins.

I know before every session that I will harly read a new book, because Zoe likes listening to familiar stories and when I get a new book I take it out at the end of our reading session and she gets very excited. This is the best part of our day. Zoe has learned numbers, animals, colors, shapes etc through books. And this even when I never took that extra effort to teach her. She listened to me read when she was in my womb and now loves listening to me hugging me.

I wish this doesn't change ever.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Zoe @ 2.5 Years

Sweety... here is something I have been meaning to tell you for a long long time... but seriously you know I don't get that kind of time. So here we go... better late than never ... isn't is doll.

Dearest Darling Zoe,

You are a big girl now... and you've become very mature as well... Mash'Allah. You know mommy has been really busy with her work. I keep on cribbing about how you disturb me right when I'm in the middle of something. I have to give you credit that most of the time you keep on playing with yourself. When you need mommy, you come to me and tell me what you want. Mostly your demands are "Read this book" and I 99% of the time give in.

I have started snapping back at you a lot. I'm sorry about that sweetheart, I would mend my ways... Mommie will try, promise.

One thing that really changed in the past couple of months is the way mommie and you have started bonding (touch wood). I love going to the park with you and love seeing you enjoy (especially on the slide... Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee). Love to shop with you as well... without your Fizzy asking us to hurry up. Most of all, something the both of us LOVE is browsing books at HippoCampson (That's what you say when you visit Hippocampus and even when you see their logo)... guess you're their youngest fan.

Lots of Love and Hugs
Momma / Ammi (and for God sake stick on to one)

So sweety... 2.5 years, 30 months!!! Are you on a growing mission sweetheart. You will start school soon Insh'Allah soon, just 15 more days to go. So let's talk about you now... last update was almost 6 months back and its long due now.
  • You still don't watch Cable TV, and if we watch TV in front of you, you leave the room or continue doing stuff that's of your interest. Whenever you watch TV, its YouTube or DVD, which includes your favorite Barney, teletubbies, Pokoyo, Pingu, Curious George and BBC Gruffalo movies. You watch these for an hour or so... which is your TV viewing in a day.
  • I used to call you a chatterbox when you hardly spoke (compared to what you do now) Mash'Allah ... Kalaa Teeka. You make small sentences, repeat every word we say and your favorite phrase is "Read It Book" and "What is This". When you ask "What is This" and we give the correct answer, you say "Very Good". If I have to keep a track of what all you speak, I will have to create a journal... seriously
  • Fizzy and Momma are still trying to convince you to get your hair cut, no matter how much we love your hair, a trim will at least give some shape to your tresses. Yes, I call them tresses because you treat your hair as it is your crowning glory in the real sense of the word. You have to brush them, after momma has detangled them and then you let momma comb them for you. You love getting teal maalish and that seems to be the only thing that relaxes you a little. 
  • You have become completely lean, and mommy doesn't has a problem with that (everyone else besides me and Fizz do)... you are growing tall by the day Mash'Allah.
  • You have shown me Two's can be Terrible & Terrific. When you don't want to listen to us... you do not want to listen. Period. If you want to do something, and we don't want you to do it, you have a melt down. I have mastered in ignoring you.
  • Having said that, I must say you are pretty well behaved girl. In parks, restaurants, malls etc. you behave like a nice girl and never forget to say "Thank You Very Much", "I'm Sorry" and "Excuse Me"
  • Goldilocks is your FAVORITE bedtime story and you snooze off before I complete the story.
  • Your love for books has grown many folds, when you see mommy is busy. You open a book and pretend to read with Voice Modulation and Expressions. 
  • Barbeque Nation is your favorite eating joint, the moment we cross it or you see the logo... you start jumping Barbeque Nasson Hai.
I can go on with the list but I will keep somethings to myself. Please Please Please consider what I said... relax sweety, no need to rush and grow up like this. Mommy and Fizz love you a lot.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault.

Why I picked it and what was my Reaction: The book is one of the favorite with the toddler and me. We love the alphabets running up the tree the colors and the text. It is a favorite with Preschoolers, where they can have fun with Alphabets & Phonics. The fun rhyming words are sure to get a lot of giggles.

The Toddler's take: Zoe loves the book. She sings with me as we read through the pages of the book.

How We Read it - We have made a kind of a rap song and it's lot of fun to sing with a lot of actions. Initially Zoe used to sit and enjoy the book, now she joins in and it's all the more FUN.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Best Dad!

This post first appeared on Parentous

Happy Birthday Best Dad!
Today is the husband’s birthday. He hates being reminded that it is his big day, because he hates getting old. I, on the other hand, leave no stone un-turned to make sure I make a big deal about it (as you can see). Today, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to one of the best dad I’ve known.
He’s that kind of dad, with whom you can leave the child alone and you can be confident that everything would be just fine. Not just that, Zoe is happier when she’s left with her daddy dearest. Zoe loves spending time with her dad and she loves doing all sorts of fun things with him. Just seeing both of them together makes me feel so happy and blessed. So, here is something I want to say to the husband on his special day.

Dear Husband,
You’ve been a great dad and continue to do so… and the best part is you know you’re good. I thought my dad was the coolest in the world. That was till the time you became one and now you’re a close second.
I love seeing the both of you together… and here are just a couple of things which you and Zoe do together, and I just love seeing you bond:
  • Usually I’m the one who reads to her, and considering the fact that I’m a story-teller I do my best job when Zoe’s around. Still I think when it comes to Zoe you’re the best storyteller. You make it a point to read to her at least once a day, and I love the way Zoe gets totally engrossed in your tales. I love the way you make up tales, like you tell her your version of The Frog Prince – where our daughter is the princess and in the end she refuses to leave her dad and go with her Prince.·         
  • The way you never miss giving her morning Splash-Splash bath. You might be getting really late for work but till you take Zoe for a bath you don’t get ready. That brings me to point the next point…
  • You’ve completely messed up your office hours. You leave late in the morning, as you get a few hours with Zoe before heading for work. And you reach home late at night. You literally make sure you spend quality time with your daughter. And when you’re around I can blindly ignore both of you and do my work.
  • Weekends are meant for Her Z-ness, and I love the way you take her to the park and play with her. You encourage her to do all sort of acrobats and she loves when you clap after she’s through
  • Though you don’t know how to sing at all… You don’t shy away from singing Barney Songs and Nursery Rhymes with her. She ends up correcting you ALWAYS. Actually right now as I type, you’re saying ‘Humpty Dumpty’(No I can’t call it singing :P )
  • Whenever we’re out shopping you tell me “No more clothes for Zoe today”… Still you’re the first one to go and buy something new for her. 
  • You have all the time to make Zoe a special treat. Though she’s a picky eater, she never says no to something you’ve made
  • I hate it when two of you go out to a cafe to grab a bite, leaving me at home ALONE.
  • Your shoulders are always there to give Zoe a ride, no matter how tiring the day at work was.
  • The moment you ring the bell in the evening, Zoe runs to the door calling your name. As soon as you enter, it’s just the both of you… I don’t exist.
I can go on and on… but these are just a few moments that make me feel blessed every single day of my life.

Happy Birthday Hon! You’re the best dad and the best husband. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Momma...

Mothers Day is always special, not because I'm content with just 1 day kept for mommas... I feel a day cannot be enough for moms, dads, or anyone for that matter. It's just the little things these kids do, and when they are younger...the things which they are forced to do :-P

Check this Video which Fizz made... this was made en-route to the florist when they went to pick up flowers for me. That is the reason why she is so distracted.

A report on my cat (Q&A)

Q: What is his name? A: His name is Coffee A.K.A Puglu. Q:What are his characteristics’? A:At dawn he starts scratchin...