Comparison, You Bitch!

The other day at the grocery store, I looked over at this woman next to me, and heard her fixing a work-meeting with a client. She looked like one of those corporate high-flyers. Neatly dressed. Driving a sedan. Basically, she seems to have everything – brain, beauty, money, dressing-sense, poise.

“Ugh, you suck. You are still caught up in this silly job,” I thought to myself.

Then of course, I continued with some self-shaming:

“You’ve been working for 5-years, you should have reached X figure salary.” “Look at your unkempt hair, worn-out jean. You suck.”

You are not good enough (as compared to her).

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The other day I was talking to my cousin on phone, and she was telling me how her daughter (who is of the same age as my son) is already counting till 100. 100 already?

“OMG, we’re so behind,” I thought so.

Then of course, I continued the self-shaming:

“Am I doing it RIGHT? Everyone is so conscious about education nowadays. Look at the competition. Why am I not putting more efforts with him? I’m failing him.”

I am not a good mom (as compared to her).

*************

COMPARISON — you make me miserable!

Yes. Miserable, frustrated, discouraged, unhappy….. !

I hate myself when I do that, and still can’t seem to shake it off. This creepy crawly feeling keeps invading my peace of mind time after time. However, I also know for sure that I don’t want to live with that kind of negativity in my life. Happy people are seldom hopeless and discouraged.

After coming back from the store, I sat looking at the horizon thinking about the hopelessness of my situation. Will I ever be able to reach that level? Seems like a distant dream now that I’ve two kids. After my cousin’s call, I thought of drilling my son to count till 100, so that we can “catch up”.

See, the chain of thoughts? How it’s creating self-doubt.

If I am evaluating my worth by comparing myself to others, I will always be losing. Because in this game of life I will never reach a point where I am better than others in every possible way.

Comparison will only spin me into a tail-chasing frenzy of self-doubt.

So, trying to “catch up” to others is clearly not a solution.

Social psychologists and authors Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer believes, “we are hardwired to engage in comparisons, that is, we can’t get away from it, and we’re doing it to try to make sense of our world. Do I make enough money? Do I need to update my kitchen? Do I need a new car? Are my kids doing well? It’s almost impossible to make those assessments objectively. So instead, we turn to comparisons.”

The authors believe, comparison can be motivating, and it can and do co-exist within the same person, and neither feeling is necessarily superior. It’s learning when to use each feeling that counts.

Makes sense, isn’t it?

I especially loved this thought-provoking example that they’ve shared in their recent book.

In Olympics, silver medalists tend to be miserable because they’re comparing themselves to the gold medalists; bronze medalists, on the other hand, are comparing their outcome to those who came in fourth and beyond, and so they tend to be more pleased with themselves than the silver medalists — even though the silver-winners technically beat them.

WOW.

So next time when you find yourself comparing, seek favorable comparisons if you want to feel happier, and seek unfavorable comparisons if you want to push yourself harder.

Steve Furtick said it best, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

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Pic courtesy Google

#lifelessons #loveyourself #selflove #comparisons #lifetips #Ibetterstoppreaching

Pre-mama: Lost in Translation

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Illustration credit: Jo Gay

When I was 18, I made my initial no-marriage-ever-under-any-circumstances declaration. I would tell this to anyone who would care to listen in a self-righteousness of someone who believes she’s the first person in the history to make that statement.

The thought continued through college, however, in a twist of fate I was the first one to marry among my friends. Soon after I made another declaration no-kids-until-I-finish…blah-blah-blah, and somewhere along the years no-kids turned into when-we-have kids, and now we have two under our nook.

Now, if I met my 18-year-old self, I wouldn’t recognize me even if I dance with a pom pom in front of her. At 18, I was full of energy making plans for future. I imagined myself playing Badminton nationals, singing in a concert, or traveling around the world. I would picture myself sitting in a quaint café reading Proust or studying some language. Of course, I’d always have a bank full of money and spare time to indulge in whatever takes my fancy. They were plans after all and planning is comforting. No wonder they never lasted more than a month. Although, I do not relate to my 18-year old self anymore but I hate to think that my kids would never get to know that side of me–the carefree, rebellious side.

I feel I owe my 18-year-old self some recognition, so here you go kid’s, your mama wasn’t a born bore. There was a time when she could sit through an entire movie without snoozing off.

  • My self-righteous tone while scolding you for eating chips is a SHAM. Because while growing up I use to survive on it. There were takeaway packets in the drawers, spoons between books, and cans under the bed. However, I must mention that made mommy FAT, and she had no boyfriends when she should have.Trust me, I still rather eat nachos and watch CARS-2 on repeat with you but I want you to grow up healthy and have fun chasing the sun. So for next several years, it’s going to be like this. Sorry.
  • The other day I brought the house down because you didn’t do your homework. Did I tell you I was a backbencher all my life? I hated being under the supervision of teachers. I bunked class, flunked subjects, and was even debarred twice in college. I know you will call me a hypocrite, but God has made me responsible for teaching you the life lessons, give you a decent education and make you a better human being. Hence, please bear the banshee screaming.
  • “We grew up on books”–haven’t I used that line a million times with you? Books hah! They weren’t always children’s fiction. I started reading Mills and Boons at age 12 and I didn’t stop there— much to the chagrin of your Didun (Grand Mother).They were bad literature that did not peel a potato for me.  I am always picking books for you now, telling you what-to-read and what-not-to, but I know soon you will learn to disguise your parents, and I am dreading that secretly.
  • Family, they were always important, but there was a time when I hated them. They call it the teenage year. I was perpetually angry with the world and not listen to anybody. I am worried about you reaching that phase. Can you do me a favor; do not indulge in stupid daring or take the pressure of education. Just make it to 24, life seems much better after that.

Rest you will survive. The way Mommy did.

 

TAGS: #parenting #parentinghumor
#whilegrowingup #motherhood #lifebeforebabies

This post was also published by Women’s Web and Buzzing Bubs as my column, check it

How Do You Talk About Your Teenage Self To Your Children, The Pre-Mama Phase As I Call It?

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http://www.buzzingbubs.com/articles/5-confessions-of-a-mom-my-carefree-youth

Unsolicited Parenting Advice from Know-It-Alls

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Oh wow! You are a baby expert as well?

So David Beckham is facing the wrath of trolls for allowing their baby girl Harper to use a dummy (pacifier) even at 4. What’s new in that for a parent, I say. From the moment you turn pregnant you will find “mom experts”, “baby experts”, and “parenting expert” crawling out of the woods from all corners.

You know what I mean? All the unsolicited parenting advice that is vomited on you once you are a parent, and it doesn’t matter if it’s your first baby or 5th …these people still know more than you. And expect you to listen.

OK! So I have nothing against the well-intentioned advice; I am not the sort who will roll eyes on some good motherly tips. But if I just met you on a lift…I don’t need you to tell me what to do and what not to do with my 3 year old.

Here I’ve listed some of the common sages (unsolicited of course); all parents must have come across in their parenting days.

  1. Back in our days….

Brace yourself, mama! If you have anywhere to hide, better start running now, because when a sentence starts with THAT—you are in a sticky situation. Be prepared to be bombarded with outdated parenting tips from a generation who has never heard of Google.

How to handle?

A polite nod of head, and “Thank You”, because you cannot really argue with an old hump; you just have to grin and bear.

2. Isn’t he too old to be—?

This always makes me defensive and hurtful. My son still uses milk bottle (did I just hear you shriek). Yes, he does. He is obsessed with it and we are trying our best to wean him out. He uses his milk cup as well but when he is sleepy he prefers a bottle. I’ve faced a lot of wrath and gasp from strangers and relative but I’ve realized most of the time they may genuinely wonder if the behavior that they’re commenting on is age-appropriate.

How to handle?

Swallow the bitter pill. If they are offering an advice on what to-do than you might learn something. But if they are just boasting about their super-efficiency, put your hands over your ears and start singing..Wheels on the bus go round and round…..

3. My kids never did that…

I bet you have chanced upon that “middle-aged Mrs-know-it-all” with kids in college witnessing your child throwing a tantrum, and uttering that golden line.

Excuse me! But I barely remember what I did last week let alone what I did 20 years ago, Mam. What’s the secret of your super-memory?

How to handle?

Defuse your anger with a pinch of humor. Congratulate her on raising wonderful robots. Ask her if you can call her next time the child throws a fit.

The world is full of critics. There is always going to be information coming from parent, non parent, and everyone in between. Filter out what advice to listen to and what to blow off. Eventually, a funny thing happens—you become a “baby expert” in the process, and when your best friend has a baby, you will know exactly what to tell her.

This post is also published in Women’s Web as my article, go check it

http://www.womensweb.in/2015/09/deal-unsolicited-parenting-advice/

Things I Swore I Will Never Do as a Parent—But Did!

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Long before I had a baby or even had a reckoning for it, I made a list of things I swore I will never do as a parent. Needless to say I did not keep them, and “not keep them” has to be the greatest understatement, because there were times when I had bent backwards and crawled to the things I swore I will never do.

1. I swore I will never use TV/Mobile/IPad as a babysitter:

While growing up we had cable connection when I passed the 10th board, my elder sister was in 1st year Engineering at that time. All my friends use to harp about Disney Hour, Tara, Hip Hip Hurray, and stuffs, but not us—books were our entertainment. We did resent our parents for doing that to us, but later realized they did us a favour, if not we would never have developed this fondness for books.

So TV became this evil idiot box that I never much respected.

Fast forward today, my about-to-turn three year old knows the likes of Mother Goose Club, Chuggington, Mickey Mouse Club House, Masha and the Bear, and what not!

Long before the child happened, I always pictured myself laying down creative activities for him every evening. TV as a pastime – that’s not my style!

After popping out the peanut I’ve realized that he is simply not interested in anything I am not doing. So if I am tossing a salad, he wants to cook up a storm. If I am dusting the shelf, he wants to take over while knocking half of the book off the shelf.

So guess what comes to the rescue—Nanny TV!

2. No Bribing The Baby (KinderJoys, Car rides in Market, Cold Drinks, Red Cars)

I swore I won’t play such tricks on my baby! My bachelor self use to look down upon people who use to bribe their kids into doing things.

Nah, never me!

I would always offer a proper explanation. Oh yes, I would enlighten him and he would understand right away, of course. What’s so tough about making a 3-year old understand?

Fast forward today, after telling him not to empty his school bag in the bathroom for the 100th time!

My only tactics is:

Aurko stop doing that if you want an orange Tang. Period

3. When Motherhood Fails

Last week was crazy, so crazy that every morning getting him ready for school was like a Warzone at home.

Baby, today is a blue day in your school. You want to wear the Mickey Mouse tee?

Nooooo! Wailing and howling… I want to wear yellow TEE, Mama!

Ok! Stop crying; let’s get you a bath first (he loves taking a bath)!

Nooooo! Still wailing and howling…I don’t want to take a bath!

See I’ve put these nice trucks in the tub?

Noooooooo! Why did you put my trucks in the tubs?

Blah! Blah! Blah!

What does mama do in situations like that? She scoops him out of the tub, drags him to the bedroom, force him to wear his school dress, and literally wish that she could bundle this child to Mars—while wiping those tears off her face!

Yes, that has happened a lot (lately)!

My child-less self always considered myself to be way classier and composed to let a three-year old run amock her neatly organized mind space!

Obviously, I’ve had the rudest awakening of my life!

But I’m clear now. I don’t roll my eyes and put on my headphones when I see a child sitting next to me on the plane. I am done commenting on somebody’s loud child in the supermarket. I don’t judge people when they bring their small child in the movie halls.

Because, in Jennifer Salaiz word:

That whore, karma, had finally made her way around, and had just bitch-slapped me right across the face.

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A version of this blog post is published in Buzzing Bubs as my column, check it here http://www.buzzingbubs.com/articles/3-things-i-swore-id-never-do-as-a-parent