Your children become you…

Let that sink in for a minute. Your children become you…

Is that a scary thought or a pleasant one?

Late last year I went to a parenting talk by Swaminiji Supriyananda who heads the Chinmaya Mission in Hong Kong. And the first thing she said was “Your children become you…” It’s quite an easy statement to make until you start to consider the implications of it.

Our children basically repeat what they hear and copy what they see. Yesterday S was riding his bike around outside before we set off to nursery when we saw our neighbour leave home with her two sons. She was trying to get her bike out the door and lock up when her son shouted “Come on mum, chop chop.” I wander where he got that from? If S is doing something he’s not supposed to he he almost hurts himself or falls, he’ll say “See?” I def. know where he got that from! *guilty*

Our children pick up what we give value to very easily. Do you sometimes find your children know which buttons to push and you find yourself getting frustrated because they do the exact thing they know bugs you? I hate to be the bearer of bad news mama’s but they pick up on what bugs us because they know that is what we give energy to or place value on. While our children imbibe what they love and respect about us, they will do the same with what frustrates us as well.

So with that in mind, the question is, would you be happy if your child became you? And if not, then what are you going to do about it?

Parenting is a journey – it’s hard and treacherous at times but also filled with so much wonder and joy. It’s a constant work in progress! There are no perfect parents but everyone just doing the best they can given their version of the world. I’m certainly not the parent I set out to be but one of the things I try my best to practice (and sometimes fail miserably!) is to be the type of parent I’d want my son to grow up to be.

While parenting is no easy task, I think it’s a privilege. Our children are our masterpieces, they are the culmination of all our sweat and tears, our doubts, our fears and our mistakes. But they are also the product of our love, joy, positivity and time. I think we owe it to them to be the best version of ourselves so in turn they become the best versions of us.

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The secret to staying young

I had a delightful conversation with a 75 year old French woman when I was getting my nails done on Friday. She was chatting to her 85 year old friend and then turned to me and said: “Oh the two of us, we were beautiful around 40 years ago, parading about with our big hats and our hair.” So of course I told her she was still beautiful and from there our conversation carried on.

She was from Paris and had in fact just gotten back to London an hour before and come straight to do her nails. She told me how Stella (the 85 year old) was stunning back in the day (she still was!) and she had amazing hair.

“I love wearing wigs and I buy a lot of them” she said. “I have about 12. And why not? You youngsters, you wear hair extensions, so why shouldn’t I wear wigs? You know that girl…hmm…Rhianna and the other one…(Jennifer Lopez I offered)…Yes, her too but there’s another one..hmm…Cheryl Cole! That’s it…she wears extensions.”

We got chatting more about how she looked after herself. Having just spent a couple of weeks with one of my grandmothers (who just turned 80) and comparing her to these 75 and 85 year old women, I wanted to know what kept them so young and agile. “I go spinning once a week at the gym here” she said. “And I also try and look after myself. If you google Kim Kardashian make up, you’ll find a link that shows you how to do your make up so you look like this (she pushes her cheeks up) and I follow that sometimes and ooh I look so glamourous.”

A few more minutes of chatting and she had to leave (not before telling me I should go with a bright pink nail colour for Spring). It got me thinking about how important it is to look after ourselves. Not just getting our nails done but working out, staying active and making an effort to look good so in turn we feel good. I know when I have my nails and hair done, even if I’m in yoga pants, I feel better about myself. Making an effort gives us a sense of confidence, a little spring in our step. We don’t need to have the perfect body or slap on tonnes of make up to be beautiful. When we’re happy with ourselves, the beauty shines through :)

Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk

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“A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Fresh coconut water,  straight from the source. Nothing added :)

Incredible India

I’ve spent the last 3 1/2 weeks visiting India and although I spent 3 school years here and have visited almost every year since I was 14, India still leaves me with culture shock.

If you’ve visited India you’ll see what a magnificent country it is with so much potential but it’s completely mismanaged and there is a desperate need for a change in the mind set of the people. Within one day of arriving in Pune, I was almost spat on, I saw a man’s penis as he urinated in a pile of rubbish on the side of the street and I watched as people wound down their windows and threw garbage out of their cars. And this is all perfectly “normal” by the way. The citizens seem to have no sense of pride in their country.

When I arrived in Mumbai, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister was visiting Colaba where I was headed for some work. The streets had been cleaned, there were extra police on the roads and things felt more orderly. When I got to Pune I noticed certain streets had better road signs and road markings. I was told the Prime Minister visited Pune a few months previously, hence the clean up. Last night my cousin was telling me how 2,000 CCTV camera’s were installed when Barrack Obama was visiting and then taken down as soon as he left. I just don’t understand it. If the resources are available, why aren’t these changes slowly being made permanent?

Earlier today I started reading a book I picked up last week by Adbul Kalam called Ignited Minds. He too writes about the potential he sees in India and suggests ways to change the mind set of the people and motivate them to want a better India. He believes the people of India have an inferiority complex. They don’t believe they can be better or deserve to have more and so the opportunities don’t present themselves.

It was the Indians who invented the number system (in fact they had the world’s best mathematicians), most call centres are based in India these days, they are tech savvy, fashionable, great cricketers and their women are beautiful and yet the vast majority of people live in abject poverty, using the roads as their personal toilets and spitting like there are drains built into the ground.

I don’t pretend to have the answers to these issues but from what I’ve read of Abdul Kalam’s book so far, I think he’s on to a winner when he says the youth need to make the change. I also think his book should be a mandatory read at schools and the government should invest in teachers who are going to inspire the youth to think differently.

India is home to some of the most beautiful temples, the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple and even Victoria Terminus (VT) Station which was built by the British in Mumbai. A few days ago a fellow mummy blogger posted a picture to her Instagram showing the Colosseum in Rome surrounded by scaffolding as it was being worked on. VT station, a beautiful Victorian piece of architecture is surrounded by faeces, urine and garbage.

It’s sad to see a country with so much potential not realising it. There needs to be a change in the mind set of the people…an uplifting of the people to take pride in their country (not just in their words but in their actions as well), to dream and to believe that India deserves better!

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Threenager

I’ve heard the term “threenager” before but never fully got it until S turned 3. He’s always been a clockwork baby/toddler and this change was no different. When he turned 3 it’s like someone whispered “game over mama”!! To say it’s a difficult phase is an understatement. Not so much because his behaviour can be challenging (it really can!) but because it’s like dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Just before lunch we were lying down and I was doing silly dance moves which had him laughing hysterically (my favourite sound in the world) and this evening I had him screaming, hitting and being downright strong-willed. Even when on holiday I try to keep him routine because a tired child is a cranky child and often I can put his behaviour down to him being tired but at other times it comes out of no where.

The other thing I’ve noticed is it’s only really with me *should I be offended?* If I leave S with my mom for the afternoon, he’s an angel but he feels the need to test his boundaries with me. I suppose as his mama I am his main care taker and he looks to me for guidance/limits.

We’re in India at the moment and I can tell you that the heat makes me a lot less patient (I think it’s time to go home now!!) and I was questioning how to handle my strong willed boy when my cousin put this link up on Facebook:

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Parenting-Strong-Willed-Child

One of the things I’ve always tried to bare in mind with S is that it’s a good thing he knows what he wants. I truly believe those that know what they want, get what they want and so I don’t tend to push him if he says he doesn’t want something.

I also try to judge if he’s tried and put him down for a nap before he gets over-tired. Although he cut his naps out completely back in November, I guess the heats been getting to him too because we’ve been in India and Sri Lanka for the last couple of weeks and he’s napped almost everyday.

As I was saying to a friend just the other day, parenting is a work in progress. Just when we think we’ve found our parenting groove, our protégé’s grow, develop and change, forcing us to do the same.

Have you gone through the “threenager” phase yet?? Any pearls of wisdom?

Only child syndrome?

It’s no secret that S is thoroughly pampered. He’s the first child, the first grandchild, the first (and sixth) great grand child and generally commands everyone’s attention…even those he has just met. But I didn’t realise just how much my attention meant to him until another baby came into the picture. No, I haven’t had another baby, I’m talking about my gorgeous niece Aura. S met her last year when she was 3 months old and immediately fell for her. Every time we went over to my cousin’s house, even if she was sleeping, he’d run in and give her a kiss on the cheek. And this year when he found out we were coming to India, he remembered Aura and started asking about her. That is until he actually met her…

IMG-20150330-WA0008

A week into our trip, my whole family were flying to Sri Lanka for my cousin’s wedding and Aura and her mom were on the same flight as us. I was having a great time re-living the baby years (she just turned 1) by holding her and playing with her until I noticed S getting a little stroppy. After I handed her back to her mom for take off, S looks at me, then looks at her, points at me and says “That’s NOT Aura’s mummy, that’s my mummy!” It was cute until later in the trip when he tried to exert his authority over her. Such toddler envy…who knew?!

He’s no doubt very fond of her, as long as his mummy isn’t giving her too much attention! I guess it’s a good thing I have no plans to have any more children in the near future.

Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat

**possible spoiler alert**

As with all Chetan Bhagat’s books, this one was very easy to read. However, like his other books which I felt had more substance, I was sad to see this one didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it but I’m a die hard romantic and even this one was a bit far fetched for me.

Madhav Jha is a poor Bihari prince who is studying at the reputable St. Stephen’s College in Delhi where he meets and falls in love with the rich and affluent Riya Somani. She breaks his heart, reappears in his life a few years later and breaks it again but he never gives up – I’m still trying to decide if that’s true love or if he was just crazy! The book is divided into several parts and the last part has Madhav visiting and calling over 1000 bars in New York searching for his one true love. Like with all Bollywood movies, it has a happy ending and this is what I take issue with. Not the happy ending but the fact that it feels like Chetan Bhagat has written this to be turned into a blockbuster (like 3 idiots and 2 states).

Although I like his writing style and enjoy all the political and historical statements he makes, I was let down by this book because I expected more from him. 3 idiots had people sitting up and thinking about the way they are taught in India…half girlfriend is just your typical Bollywood rom com.

If you fancy a light beach read then pick this up.

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“A portrait of my son,  once a week, every week,  in 2015.”

My little stud at my cousin’s wedding in Sri Lanka. #styledbymummy