Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nutrition Board

This one was in the draft and much as I know , I will be reprimanded for yet another post on motherhood especially after the debate the last one led to , I was forced by my neighbour to post it . But sticking my neck out, I think all of you will like having a look at this one. Its also a way of having all thats in my mind at one place and I am surely going to take a print to keep it handy.

The prime thing on our mind about our children is their health- are they being brought up in a healthy way ? Whats the right nutrition for them? The enviornment is different than the one in which we have been brought up - the air , the water and the food is all different. This become especially difficult if you are working or you have a fussy eater at home. As a young mother, I relied on information I collected from mom, mom-in-law, aunts or friends but the best one has come from two peadiatricians I discovered when my son was born. They validated some of the age old wisdom passed onto me and negated some as well. He also made me have a mental chart of how to go about providing healthy nutrition to the child. I still struggle following it but I do try. Our kids will learn how to eat breads and rice for they are our staple diets but these habits need to be inculcated at an early age.

A word of caution: The items listed below are not a daily nutritious diet for your child but its actually a solution in case you are having a bad day with your child eating habits.

1. Try and give your child one egg, one fruit and couple of nuts. Nothing provides instant energy and esssential nutrients than these. On a bay day, a boiled egg to the child can always be considered a good alternative. Munching some nuts while waiting for the bus can be a good alternative as well.

2. Soups- vegetable or daal and fruit juices are easier to give to a child but should best be avoided if you can provide same ingredients in solid form. However you make, a soup will always have more of water filling up the childs stomach with much lesser ingredients.

3. Fruits and vegetables in most situations can be interchangeble as the vitamins and minerals both provide are similar except a few. So on a bad day, substitute those vegetables with Fruits.

4. Children like to have fruits when they see fruits as part of family eating habits. So ensure you sit and have a fruit with your child. Believe me, a week later , they will eat it like family lunch or dinner

5. Green vegetables do not have many interesting options of cooking esp since most nutrients are lost by the time they are cooked. The best is to chop them ( spinach etc) and add them in the dough of paranthas and chapatis. Beetroot etc can be boiled with potatoes and you can make pink cutlets for your darling fussy daughters.

6. Milk always becomes a bone of contention. The same can be substituted by milk products. Usually a cup of milk is equivalent to one cheese slice. So the day you see kids have not had 2 glasses of milk , quickly give them a paneer sandwich or like I do, open and hand over one cheese slice rathar than fussing over milk .

Hope you found them useful.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obsession with Motherhood

Have been little laid back in writing a blog but thanks to few poking from friends decided to out fingers to keyboard ( surrogate for pen to paper). The topic I am going to touch upon can be a little controversial but a little introspection on it is worth a merit.
I have often noticed that most mothers like ourselves are getting consciously or unconsciously getting obsessed with motherhood to a very large extent. The power of social media has given ample opportunity to each one of us. Just think, most Facebook status updates from Young mothers are about their kids- be it school activities, a funny thing they said or even something to do with their eating habits. The pictures we upload are more to do with Kids than to do with the occasions. In a social party or office coffee conversations, its all around how we manage work life , maids and all things around our kids upbringing. So we not only fret and fume over our little ones all times as doting mothers, they have stepped into all our activities silently. If anyone today asks me " How was your weekend", I invariably begin with what I ended up doing with Kids ( though I might have done something else over the weekend). What makes it all the more amusing to me as I think through this that if we ask our children the same question on what they did over the weekend, I don't think time spent with mom will feature that prominently
I really don't have a reason for this . Its an observation I have been dabbling for a while. Social Media has virtually augmented it - You have mommy blogs dime a dozen capturing what their kids did or the numerous updates we see on Facebook everyday.
- Is it bad ? Absolutely not for fortunate are women who actually have the privilege of what it actually means owning a piece of yourself and grow in front of us.
- Does it over consume us ? I think yes- The superwomen we all are trying to become has somewhere forced us to make a picture of ourselves as mothers who can do anything and everything - The access to information on parenting has made us so conscious of being good mothers that we probably over do it at times.
- Were our mothers so consumed by their roles ? I don't think so. While they did spend a lot of time on us but their conversations varied about other things as well - from food prices to latest Household appliances in town to whose getting married to whom ? They probably never discussed what joke we cracked , what food we ate or for that matter what vacations we took. Somewhere they lived a more multi dimensional life than we all do.
However there is another perspective as well . We all live in a nuclear family- some of us very far from our near and dear ones. The liberated us have a " I don't care much " attitude for social obligations any which ways. The transitory life of work and place leave little time to interact with friends and neighbours . We all have acquired a lot of skills overtime - professionally and personally , we are diverse but what binds us all together is that we are mothers of some wonderful kids and we can relate to each other lives and each other stories only through this thread. The fact that some of you liked my posts is only because they somewhere touched upon your lives as mothers. In this world where real time is less and virtual connect is more, this common thread has brought us back together in a very strange fashion. To be honest, I like it when somewhere I can have a connect with a friend on something I spend most of my non working time - my children.

The questions are many- the answers still vague and I am lost between the two. But as they say, its always good to discover the other side. For this, you would need to move away from where we are. To begin this, I am going to ensure that I myself start writing on other topics of interest and if I continue to have that thread with most of you, It will be worth a discovery.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Which Mother is superior?- The debate continues...

I am probably the last one but have just read the article " why Chinese mothers are superior". I have heard its become a point of major debate across the world and like lot of people, i am tempted as well to comment on the article. But just as I am never interested in other people's take on someone else's work, why would anyone of you be ? Its like the multiple critiques we read while studying Macbeth in grade 12 and hated every bit of it. I am sure some of you would remember these lines from Macbeth - " Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air "- I could never imagine how can someone analyze these lines that our English teacher made us write 15 pages of different critics views on these. Would Shakespeare ever have thought of this while writing ? I don't think so. All poor chap did was to make them rhyme. Anyhow, that's not what I wanted to write. Back to the article.How many have read it ? and how many violently agree and disagree? We can take a poll later. However there's something which I have picked up from the article - " Why did Amy chua adapt this style of parenting " and secondly which is being fiercely debated " Is it right to be like this with your child"?
This has occurred to me recently but as women, we consciously or unconsciously end up becoming mothers as we have seen our own mothers to be ( unless of course due to some strong circumstances you deliberately try not to be her ). So the way you discipline your kids, the paranoia you have for "right " kind of food or the cleanliness fetish you have is a function of how much your own mother fretted over them on you or your siblings. In my case, I am a little easy on food - In our house, food was always good , delicious but we ate to live and not live to ate. However no matter how tired i am, the house has to be spic and span. Not a thing here or there. I cannot go to sleep peacefully if the house is not in right order - pretty much an influence of my mother who ensured whether you lived in a big or a small house , its always in a presentable stage for the guests. Not sure how many of you experienced this but the best bedsheets were out when guests were home and wrapped up immediately out when they were gone. The means were limited then with a single income family and I don't go to that extent probably but I still will have 2-3 new ones kept in the closet for occasions like a house party or a Diwali.
So if Amy chua talks about pushing her child for excellence, piano lessons at the cost of no play dates , she unconsciously manifested the environment she had been brought up by her own parents ( she even referred to her mother in that article) . Most of us might not goad our children to that extent but the middle class Indian genes will always force us to push our kids for excellence - we can these days be a little liberal to allow them to choose what they want to do BUT they better excel in it . In the same breadth, some of us also push our kids to be a ballet champ, a takewando expert, a pianist at a very young age - somewhere letting them fulfill the other life we only dreamt of as we struggled through years of academic work to achieve our parents ambition and be successful - get a good job and be financially independent. After all, it's difficult to not have an impression of something you see for a good 20-25 years of our lives.

So that's probably why we do what we do . However, Is that right ? - that's the second question and a difficult one. The opinions vary 180 degrees. A friend says that as mothers, we can never think bad of our child and hence if she disciplines them in certain fashion , that's only for their better future . In the same breadth, another one believes to let them find their own wings. I really don't have one as of now. I am so busy between work and home that I have never given it a serious thought. Here's though my 3 cents on this.
1. I firmly believe that as parents you need to show the way to your children- this includes being strict and talking straight. Being strict is easy - esp in this part of the world where child rights/ child abuse etc are still not in vogue but talking straight is the most difficult part. You cannot be too harsh in your fit of an anger neither can you sugar coat things. Its an art some of us need to consciously master. . If they have made a mistake or misbehaved, you need to tell them straight that some things are non negotiable. Its difficult but if you are consistent with it, it works - It definitely has on my stubborn and rebellious 2.5 years old son when all styles of text book parenting i tried on him failed.
2.Be Honest with your child - Children today have access to so much information - be it TV, friends or the Internet. We blindly believed what our parents told us till a certain age. Today kids can easily make out you are making a fool of them so in case you wish to share some opinion, information with them, be honest. Else, let them discover things on their own like most of us did. We never had our parents sat us down explaining the vagaries of life. We all figured it out ourselves and we have all turned out to be normal human beings.
3. Allow them to live their childhood - I once met my daughter's friends parents who proudly boasted that how their 4 yr old knows everything about solar system, life cycle and all possible facts of life . Its really good to know these things but imagine the poor child who now refuses to believe in any of the fairy tales her parents tell her. everything has a time and place. These years will never come - let them live in the world of Snowhite and Cinderella and continue to believe in angels and demons.
And lastly , such debates are healthy. They stimulate some thoughts in you which in an otherwise uni dimensional life that most of us live and hence should be welcomed with open minds. We can choose to agree, disagree or indifferent and as the title states ..the debate continues so so all are welcome to contribute