Information & Blog Overload

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Nov 30th 2009

Have you ever tried to look up something on google, only to be returned with 35,000 search results? The one time I don't mind that is when I look myself up :) It is a different story that only 10 of those search results pertain to me, but who is counting. And the one time I absolutely hate it is when I am looking up a recipe. C'mon really how many ways can there be to make a simple daal or a sabji?

But then I can just pick the first recipe I feel reasonable and go on. But noooooooo. I have to read at least 10 to make sure I have the best recipe possible and have not missed any *secret* ingredient. Just like women, who have to check out the sarees in all the stores in the surrounding area before they come back to the very first store and pick the very first saree that caught their eye. Easier if we did that in the first place right :P But then if we did not look *thoroughly* how can we be assured that that one is the absolute best? Something men will never understand.

Back to the point, and then in the process of this recipe lookup, I stumble upon some blogs that are just amazing. I need to swoon looking at the template and in some cases the photos of the food, and in many many cases at the passion and zeal with which many of these people maintain their blogs. Preconceived notion again, when I see a simply amazing blog that is well updated, in my mind I make this excuse "This person surely must be working on this full time, and not work outside the house, maybe does not have kids, or else how come?". And how I am proved wrong again and again. Many of them are working full time with more than one kid and do this as a hobby to my wonder. The factors I sometimes use in my life as excuses, fuel these individuals to do more! It just means, 24 hrs is all everyone got - what you do with yours and what ranks high up the priority list, is your call!

Straddling the fence

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

Nov 12th 2009

This post is the result of being on one side of the fence, i.e. playing the role of a mother who works outside the house too. And of course from attending some work-life balance seminars and reading too much stuff on the net. Before I had my child I always thought that I would stay at home with my children and never work. I have valued my mother staying at home for us, though she had an MBA and I think we are what we are today to a large extent because of that. But it was not to be, due to various circumstances of course but also because of my own acceptance of the situation. Of that I have no doubt whatsoever. Today I have made peace with where I am, however I constantly think about if I would be happier any other way and also how I can make the best of what I have.

Of course I would be happier if I had more time with V, of that I have no doubt. But I also realize that I probably would not very happy if I were to only do that all the time. And not because I would feel that I am not doing justice to my degree or feel less respected but more because it is quite challenging and lonely to be with a child 24/7 and not have any other adult interaction. I would be perfectly happy being a stay at home mom if I could also have some time for my other adult interests but that is not to be when you have a child to care of, and I cannot even think of daycare or getting someone else to watch him when I would be at home. This is where the caregiver is vital for the mother’s peace of mind. When you find someone you would trust your child with, it enables you to smile a little bit more often. For me an ideal situation would be part time work where I would have more time with V and just some time to be the person who is not just his mother. This is what I feel today, who knows what will happen when the sun dawns tomorrow J

The challenge I see for a mother who works outside the house is mainly setting up some priorities out of which some have to take a backseat. Spending quality time with the child should be priority #1 for both your ‘quality’ of life. It is about making every moment spent with your child a ‘kodak’ moment. Planning and to-do lists are vital in my opinion. Sleep is a luxury and cannot be taken for granted. Some days are going to be crazy and sometimes the laundry will wait an extra day to get done but it is doable. Frankly I think the current cost of living makes a dual income more a necessity than a luxury. I am not denying that people don’t live on one income and don’t raise kids successfully, again it is a choice but one that would definitely not have been easy to make and one that would involve some sacrifices. Daycare does not work for all, and finding a good nanny is not a cheap option either. But next to family the relationship with the childcare provider is key to a mom being able to work. Another huge one is flexibility at the work place, if that is not doable then at least I would quit. Last but not the least is the role the spouse plays, being the mother sometimes and stepping up to the responsibility they share when they bring their child to this world.

The challenges in my opinion are larger for a mom who stays at home. In her own mind, she may struggle with self worth and value. Staying at home moms are not looked at fondly when they send their children to daycare part-time, or if they hire a maid are they L After all, they may like to have a life outside of caring for their child. Added to child rearing they also take on the role of a ‘housewife’, which means cooking, cleaning and everything else that is associated with running a home. Not an easy task. Where does this leave time for a life outside of the home? I would think it might lead to frustration. Again it depend on if this was a choice or a forced circumstance. Needless to say Mr. Spouse can make or break this situation too J

Bottom line whether you choose to work or stay at home, it should be a choice that you make voluntarily and one that you should change to suit your needs as time and situation demand. I think we are the person we are and each one is unique, so there can never be a right or wrong answer. But unless you think and ask yourself if you are truly happy you never will know!

P.S. The title of this post was picked because I do straddle the fence and support both sides of this issue, leaning however more to one side at this point.


Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Nov 11th 2009

Disclaimer: This article is meant for individuals over 18. If you are under that age you should be not be reading this. Please close this webpage and go back to whatever else you were doing. The author urges the audience to not spend time wondering if this a reflection of her personal life, instead to feel and experience and reminisce about the passion in their lives J

“Passion” Google dictionary defines it as follows:

- a strong feeling or emotion

- heat: the trait of being intensely emotional

- rage: something that is desired intensely; "his rage for fame destroyed him"

- mania: an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action

- a feeling of strong sexual desire

- love: any object of warm affection or devotion; "the theater was her first love"; "he has a passion for cock fighting";

- the suffering of Jesus at the Crucifixion

About a month ago when I took V out for a walk in the afternoon he was bored, and wanted some more. So I went to what is there as an excuse for a community park (just a bunch of slides really). And there I saw two teenagers sitting cuddling with each other sharing their sweet nothings. Not having the heart to interrupt them I brought my toddler home. And then as I was driving home today at around 8 pm I saw a young teenage couple completely lost in a lip lock at the corner of the street under a streetlight. What was I doing at 8 pm driving out you ask ?! Nothing spicy, just picking up our to-go order, our weekend came a bit early J

Being a parent puts a total spin on things. Off late such a sight evokes a lot of emotions in me that veer towards the future thinking what would I do if one day it was my son with his girlfriend. Would he share his feelings with me or would he say ‘Mom, please don’t interfere!’?

But today I let it go (after all it is a long way hopefully) and thought instead of that passionate feeling that makes you lose yourself. I thought about infatuation and falling in love for the first time. I reminisced about the stolen glances in each other’s direction immediately disappearing when one noticed the other. I reveled in the memory of butterflies in my stomach when I waited for him, or saw him from afar or even heard his name being mentioned by friends. When you lose all conscious thought and become so lost that you see, hear and breathe things only associated with him. When you are truly consumed with that one single emotion. When every activity you do from the time to wake up every day is a means to an end- the end being the few hours you spend with each other. When rationale and reasoning become unknown words in your vocabulary. When hours do seem like minutes and minutes of togetherness last you weeks. When mundane tasks like button sewing take special meaning when it is a button on his shirt. Sharing a drink or a bite from his plate tastes a teeny bit more special. Sneaking to spend time instead of being in class or studying, alas you are performing in a limited capacity aren’t you? You have lost yourself along with your senses. And that rage and anger at any other of the species that speaks more than what in your mind is casual and allowed, ha!

Today I have regained my senses some. And while that passion and rage is replaced some by a deep, glowing warmth in my heart, a feeling too wonderful to describe, I feel and encounter with my son the passion that his father opened my heart to experience. In a very different way but with as much intensity that I never even knew I was capable of until I met these men in my life.

Fantabulous Halloween

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Nov 2nd 2009

I really have no other words to describe this halloween at home. With a toddler who was absolutely not interested and weather that called for crawling near the heater, we ourselves had no plans to go trick or treating. Esp. since at this point the only trick V would perform would probably be to throw his costume on the ground and run over it.We have moved into this community only about 5 months ago and had no idea what to expect in terms of other kids trick or treating and were hoping maybe a few would show up. So we waited with 2 packs of Hersheys and milky bars (sorry, I ate a couple). And in the past, we have never had any kids show up, so this would be plenty in our opinion. How wrong we were :P

When we heard the doorbell ring for the first time 6 ish, we were eager and all 3 of us went and opened the door. A few kids had come - a fairy, a lion and some others I did not recognize. They were thrilled that we had Hersheys and grabbed more than a couple each. They were kids so I saw no reason for stopping them, but in retrospect I should have. Because the doorbell never stopped ringing after that. We had kids show up back to back and we ran out of chocolates within the first 1/2 half hour. And there were hordes coming. We could see them down the road, and up the street. They even came from other neighborhoods in packs in vans and parked themselves on our street. I introduced myself like an idiot to a parent with some kids thinking I should know my neighbors, only to have her tell me, she does not even live here.

Our friend KK was heading to our place so we urgently asked him to get us more candy. In the meantime I packed every eatable snack in my home, bourbon and orange cream biscuits, some full size hersheys bars, pears etc. in brown bags for these ghosts and ghouls who were at my door. It was a frenzy and so much fun! We even borrowed some candy from our neighbors to give away. It was shameful :( Luckily for us, KK arrived at the nick of time.

We gave candy easily to at least 200 kids on Halloween. Some costumes were very nice. Some of my favorites were R2-D2 from Star Wars, the usual animals, some witches and fairies, mickey, some crazy wigs, incredible and other famous cartoon characters and just the kids coming up were so adorable. There was a guy dressed as a ghost who scared the crap out of V. There were some teenagers who were so lame and came in tracks and just a cape. I am gonna kick them out next time, no candy :) So many different characteristics too if you care to notice. Some kids grabbed the candy, some took only one even when offered more, some cared to thank you, some ran amok. Some waited for their turn, some almost knocked me over. And, we had our last visitors at 8:30 pm to whom I only had a couple of pears to offer. There were thankful and said their mom would actually let them eat the fruit as opposed to candy.

We so enjoyed the evening. Our whole street was filled with all the people I have craved to see all these months. It was the closest to Diwali I have felt here in the US of A. It is a beautiful memory for me, and I am already planning what treats I will be giving my trick or treaters next year. If you are in the neighborhood do pay us a visit and I assure you, you will not be disappointed :)