Let me tell you; newborns are not for the faint of heart. It's also a total physical and emotional roller coaster that has high highs and very severe lows (emphasis on severe because yesterday I spent almost all day crying). Two weeks into having my life completely change, I've decided to draft a list of high level thoughts and feelings on what it's like on the other side with a newborn. This list is not going to sugar coat things my friend, and it's something that I wish I had read prior to the delivery, so that maybe I could be a bit more mentally prepared for what was to come.
A beautiful envelope has arrived at your home addressed to the family and as you open it, you realize it's a wedding invitation. Now as parents of a toddler, you may have mixed feelings about the invite. You may not be sure whether you would like to bring your toddler with you or not -- and that's perfectly natural! But if you decide to bring your little one along, keep these tips in mind.
In a time when hatred appears to be everywhere -- on Facebook and Twitter, in the suicide bombs of terrorists and the ugly politics of the United States -- I find solace in knowing we have the power to change. We have the power to erase hate, and instill understanding and acceptance, in the same way my mother did.
Shouldn't I be happy? I have three healthy children, I have a wonderful husband, I have supportive friends and family, I have a roof over my head and a vehicle to drive, yet I'm so full of anger, so much anger. Every night I am mad at myself for yelling at my children, for losing my cool for reasons that don't warrant such anger.
Growing up I saw how much my parents worked to ensure that my sister and I had everything we needed. I remember seeing the struggling times and then some better times; above all, I always saw them give to others. They had their own way of giving, and it would be subtle. "You give from your heart and no one needs to know," they would say.
With a threenager in the house, there's nothing I enjoy more than having real conversations with other mums and dads about the shitty side of parenting. Because it does exist, despite what Facebook would have you believe. There's something incredibly comforting about hearing other parents' tales of woe and seeing how they've come out the other side.
It is like a marriage. You will fall in and out of love from time to time but you stay devoted to them. You will have periods where you don't talk much, or talk enough. You will lose yourself, you will lose touch. But true friends don't drift away during those lulls. In true friendships you let resentments melt, and find ways to show kindness, you help each other find your path again. Most importantly, you make a time and space to hang out with them for the purpose of simply hanging out with them.
Before becoming a mom I didn't even know there were "mom groups." I don't mean the groups you can find on Facebook or at your local community centre. I mean the divide between stay-at-home moms (SAHM) and working moms. This got me thinking...How are my relationships with my working-mom friends? Was it different?
The truth is, no one prepared me for any of this. Yes, I read about postpartum depression and I read about the sleepless nights, but no one told me that these fears and worries are common and can happen to anyone. I thought I'd be in the clear, and thought I was a bad mother because I was scared. But so many mothers feel the way I did; they just don't talk about it.
Learning my grandmother's life stories helped me to reconnect with my own Indian-American and Indian-Canadian identity in a way that Bollywood movies never could. If you're the first-generation child of immigrant parents, you owe it to yourself to learn the language of your grandparents. Spend some time with them and ask them about their life. Go deeper than the mere sequence of events you might've never ventured beneath because of language barriers. It could just be the key to unlocking dimensions of who you are. And if history is cyclical, perhaps who you might become.
I'm on medication that works for me. I exercise and eat healthy. I check in with my doctor and family health team. I sleep regularly and experience no lingering symptoms. My support system of friends, family and neighbours are always there. I work full time. I have a spouse who loves me for better or worse. I parent two wonderful little tyrants, whom I love dearly.
Guilt and regret are the ugly Hyde to the Jekyll of sobriety, even years in. With new awareness, we relive past experiences---or in many cases bemoan what might have been. Pain and sorrow previously numbed by a drug or drink of choice is glaringly present, and strikes unpredictably---in the midst of a family gathering; alone, late at night; smack in the middle of an important work presentation, or during a particularly deep yoga class.
Growing up in Toronto, there were many things to do as a family but one of my ultimate favourite places to go to was Centre Island, or more specifically Centreville. I remember loving the ferry ride to get to the island and then spending the day on all the fun rides. Those are the moments that I remember and cherish to this day.
Everyone struggles. Some struggle more than others, but that doesn't mean we can't support other parents. If someone tells you about their problem, no matter how silly or trivial you think it is compared to your own, or what other people deal with, support them. Lift them up. Say you understand how hard it must be for them, and acknowledge their feelings.
You're processing the world around you, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. And as your mom, I'm doing my best to show you (and remind myself each day) how to bring light into this world each of those days. In the grocery store, at the park, in the classroom. We're in this together. We'll learn together. We'll fall together. We'll get up together.