Introspecting Mom – Am I or Am I Not a Good Mom?


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I am a bad mom.

After years of hiding it and trying to cover the fact while suffering with guilt from within, today I have the guts to say that I am not a very good mother. And, I am recounting my journey from being a bad mother to a tolerably fine one in this blog because I don’t want any other first timer mom to go through this ordeal of unknowingly troubling the baby who can’t even explain the pain he is going through.

5 things I could have done better.

Lesson #1 – Avoid Diaper Rashes With the Right Diapers

In my over enthusiastic effort to be the perfect mom and keeping the baby’s tooshy absolutely germ free I was overusing the diaper and wipes. The quality of diaper was poor and wipe contain traces of chemicals that was quite harsh on baby’s soft skin.

My baby was unnecessarily cranky and I didn’t realize initially that his skin was tearing and rashes were slowly erupting. In the first few weeks, baby’s poo a lot and a weird greenish-black colour poo that needs an extra scrub to clean. Well, my baby was in pain due to rashes and I was totally lost on what to do. I had to clean the poo as there was no alternative to it but rashes. The rash creams were too slow to impact.

On a friend’s advice I changed the diaper brand to Pampers and on my mom’s advice I used cotton balls soaked in warm water to clean the baby rather than wipes, and applied camphor mixed coconut oil after every wash. Camphor is a magical cuing and cooling agent. Within 24 hours results were seen and Attu’s crankiness level went down considerably.

I learnt my first lesson the hard way and till date I feel guilty of not knowing the trick to maintain Attu’s soft skin at the onset itself. I could have saved putting my son through this trial and error learning.

Lesson #2 Keep Away New Clothes

New parents never miss a chance to show-off their babies. New dresses, cute shoes, headgears, and what not! We want the baby to put the best foot forward because a coochie-coo looking baby is equal to good parenting and we want to have this award even if there is no contest and no one is giving the award.

In all this, baby is made to wear new and crisp dresses which often prick and rub the wrong way. We had to go for a party and that was Attu’s first social outing so I wanted us to look like a perfect family, and sure we did with matching colour and big smiles. I was swelling with pride each time someone would say, “Aww…he is so cute”, “He is a born model. How adorable he looks in this dress”. However, the party didn’t last for long. Attu was soon restless and cranky. I didn’t know how to soothe him. The same set of people were now looking at me as if trying to judge my motherly smartness. Phew! I excused myself and ran back home, kind of accusing my son of not behaving properly.

When I sat down to change him into night suit, I was appalled to see the red marks on his belly and neck. The new dress though from a premier child clothing brand was not that comfortable and had pricked him to leave redness. I had tears in my eyes. How could I do this to my son?

Since then, I always soak his new clothes in dettol overnight and wash it atleast twice. Also, I ensure that I buy good quality cotton and not fancy nylon or satin material. A cotton dress might look simple and inexpensive but nothing can match its comfort.

Lesson #3 Read The Labels Carefully

All of you will reckon with me that when a new baby comes to your home you are flooded with gifts and Johnson’s baby essential kit tops the list. So, being a practical mom and a good house-maker I don’t want to waste and I use the gifted stuff mindlessly.

This was a blunder. And, the worst thing is that the impact of this mistake was realized months later when enough damage was already done. Attu had dandruff (can you beat it dandruff at the age of 1.5 years) thanks to the so called branded shampoo. These dandruff caused rashes on his face and forehead. I attributed these rashes to seasonal changes only to be told later by a senior mom that I need to change baby cream and powder.

Now, I use organic stuff and read the labels carefully before using anything on my son’s skin. I don’t want to play around anymore with his soft skin.

Lesson #4 Don’t Follow Advices Blindly

I was told by the seniors in family that only lazy moms use diapers because they are too lazy to change nappies. Well, I took it upon me to prove it to the family that I was an efficient mom. So, I only used diaper during night time for this hypocrite mom needed some rest too.

You know how many times babies pee! I would let him pee in his nappy which would drip all the way down to his feet. Though I would clean it but this process was an impediment to my naughty son who hated being pinned down to change the nappy. As this was a frequent process it was hampering his skill to learn walking.

Thanks to Google and my guts I realized that I was making a mistake. So, I knew that using diapers would give my child the freedom that is crucial to his growth but then choosing a right diaper was equally important.

I raised my query on Gurgaon Moms ( a Facebook group for mommies to connect, share and get hands-on parenting tips)and requested their help in choosing the right diaper. Overwhelming response of more than 200 comments in favour of pampers helped me choose. So many moms can’t be wrong! And, I made the right decision too. Pamper pant style diaper was easy to pull up – you have see a toddler doing cartwheels and air-cycling all at one time to know what I mean by easy pull up. The fabric was soft as cotton and most importantly the elastic was not digging into his skin.

Finally, I was inching towards being a fine mom (I still won’t call myself a good mom).

Lesson #5 Follow Your Instincts

A mom’s instincts can never be wrong. Her sub-conscious will know that there is something wrong with her baby. The only problem is quite often the sub-conscious or instinct as you would call it, is clouded with confusing advices given by people around you. Trust me in India; everyone has an advice to give especially parenting tips to a new mom. But remember only you know what is best for your child. Trust yourself. You may be wrong in your means but not in your purpose.

Well, that’s just a glimpse of my journey of motherhood. I still have a long way to go. Everyday like a mad lover I ask myself am I good mom or am I bad mom – the only difference being I don’t have time to pluck rose petals and reach a conclusion – so I would say I am just about a mom, a fine mom.

“Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton­ like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin ​and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy.”

This blog is for a contest on Blogadda.

 

Buddy Parenting, The Right Approach


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First time when Attu held my hand (he was 2 days old).

“Children are the hope of the Future, the builders of tomorrow.” How often have these words been quoted and requited! And one cannot deny that, in modern times, efforts have also been made to bring children up in the proper way and to them the right education. But most of our efforts have been gropings in the dark. We do not know what a child is. We do not understand him. We are ignorant of his deeper needs and inner movements. We are not aware of the true meaning of education.

Buddy  Parenting

I was brought up in a typical middle-class North Indian family where kids are kids and should remain so – obedient and under the tutelage of the patriarch. Not going into the details, I would say I had issues while growing up and wished for parents who understood me and had a better approach towards parenting.

I was introduced to this concept of buddy parenting during my stay in Auroville. They had a completely different take and approach on parenting which was refreshing and logical. I resolved to bring up my child with such a conscious style of parenting.

Buddy Parenting Starts Even Before You Bring The Child In This World

Yes, it starts with the conscious decision to bring the child into the world. Yes, you want to have a child and you are conscious of the responsibilities and emotionally prepared for it. Prepare yourself. Not just that you are married for a few years, you are financially sound to bear the new costs and it is a societal progression to have a child. NO, these reasons are not enough.

You are conscious, emotionally prepared and happy to welcome the child into the world. That is the ideal preparation.

Parenting During Pregnancy

A lot of people think that just eating well, taking pills on time, seeing the gynaecologist timely is the best duty to towards a healthy pregnancy. Often people forget about the emotional and spiritual growth of the being inside the woman’s womb. And, trust me, that is the most important aspect of parenting that begins from the womb itself.

The power of thought and will to conceive and create a character capable of manifesting an ideal is the real work. And do not say that we have no power to realize such a thing. There are innumerable examples of this very effective but sublime power put to use to get astonishing outputs. Getting too philosophical? Let me give you an example: It is not rare to see a woman who while pregnant had looked and admired a beautiful picture or statue, giving birth to a child after the perfect likeness of that picture. I remember meeting a little girl who resembled less with her parents but more with a famous picture painted by English artist Reynolds. One day, I made a remark to the mother, who immediately exclaimed: “ Indeed, is it not so? You will be interested to know that while I was expecting I ahd a very good reproduction of Reynold’s picture hanging right above my head which was my first and last glance everyday and in my heart hoped that my children be like faces in this picture. You see that I succeeded well!”

Imagine if we can put this into shaping the emotional and conscious being of the child – the wonders it can do.

The Real Parenting Begins After the Child’s Birth

Never make a mistake.

Never lose your temper

Always understand

The 3 Golden rules of buddy parenting.

Leave them. Leave the kids free to blossom. Simply give them the opportunity to see many things, to touch many things, to do as many things as possible. It is great fun. And, above all, don’t try to impose on them what you think you know. Never interfere unless it is absolutely necessary

Never scold them. Always understand and if the child is ready then explain.

They learn by seeing so never make a mistake if you want to bring them up the right way. Don’t be hypocrite and expect your kids to be honest if you use small lies to prevent a situation.

Let the child learn everywhere and always.

Children have everything to learn and that should be their main preoccupation in order to prepare themselves for a useful and productive life.

Instil the love for learning in them and then you don’t need to do anything they will simply learn.

Teach them the importance of work

Assign them small tasks from a very young age. Make them realise the true value of work. Make it an enthusiastic activity. Appreciate them when the task is done.

Keep a positive environment

Children flourish in a positive and happy environment. Make your home a safe haven for them. No fear, no guilt. Keep the approach balanced. Don’t go overboard with anything; not even with parenting.

That’s how I strive to bring up my child. I have my failures and slips but I constantly keep trying, keeping these as parenting benchmarks. As a parent it is important that you lead by intuition.

Give him the right environment to enjoy a khula bachpan and then every moment will be a khushi ka pal.

This story is written for a contest hosted by Kelloggs Chocos in their initiative towards Khuljaye bachpan

A Bold Step Towards My Dream


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No, No, No. You will not go out of Lucknow to study and there will be no further discussion on this.

My father’s diktat was reeling inside my mind like a movie – Forward, Rewind, Play | Forward, Rewind, Play – Not pausing even for a second.

I wanted to see the world, explore, live in a hostel, study in the best college and pursue my dreams – which was impossible to do in the conservative and male chauvinist colleges of Lucknow. Also, there was no comparison to Delhi, whatsoever.

Delhi was my dream destination for my higher education. I had been planning and thinking about it for past three years of graduation. But now everything was getting washed away in my tears.

No, I won’t cry any more. I won’t let it go. I have to do something. I decided to sit for the entrance exam of JNU not only to test my academic competence but also to test my luck and faith in God. I wasn’t demanding anything wrong, then why should I be denied this.

This was going to be tough as all this had to been done without letting my father know about this. My mom and sister would be of no help for it was a direct challenge against my dad. I was all alone in this.

From where will I get money to buy books to prepare for entrance and money for form filling?

Well, as Shahrukh Khan famously said, “Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho … to puri kainath usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”. A friend of mine, Akansha, decided to give away her books to me. My resolve found strength now.

My final year graduation exam dates were overlapping with entrance exam. I couldn’t afford to foil any one of it. I somehow had to manage both. I would study for final year exam till 12 in the night and from 12 to 3 or 4 in the morning, I would study for entrance exams.

“You are studying for long hours these days”; dad asked one day.

I skipped a beat. Did he somehow find out that I am preparing for entrance exams?

“I want to do really good in final year exams so I have to study hard”, I replied and thankfully he seemed convinced.


Entrance exam day was declared. The problem now was on what pretext to get out of the house for a few hours.My friend Swati  and her fake birthday came to my rescue.

After hours of dialogue practice, Swati finally managed to call my dad. With trembling voice she said, “Uncle, I am throwing my birthday party at my house tomorrow noon. Can Gitanjali come? My brother will drop her back safely.”

My dad agreed.

I was set for the exams.


I passed the entrance exam. I approached my dad with the results.

“I knew you were upto something. I was testing you. Had I not put this challenge, you would have never got the push to study so hard. I am proud of you”, dad said.

What, are you serious? Will you let me study in Delhi?

Yes, I will.


This is my story of taking a bold step towards pursuing my dream, against all odds. I am a proud pass-out of JNU which I will cherish all through my life.

You too, take a bold step and follow our dreams.

This story was inspired by Start a New Life  initiative by Indiblogger.

A Cup Of Coffee With A Stranger


Nothing seemed to be working. All the plans were just falling apart.

I wanted to have a baby but I had hit a medical roadblock.

I wanted to go back to work again but I wasn’t confident enough.

I wanted to have cordial relation with people around but my temperamental behavior had pushed everyone far away from me.

Well, life looked messy and totally out of control.

I felt lonely and wanted to get lost.

I wasn’t thinking.

I started walking. Aimlessly.

In a straight line. In search of an end.

Sometimes when there are too many thoughts on your mind then it becomes a big hazy ball of greyish colours and if you look closely there is actually nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I couldn’t concentrate. Actually it was such a dichotomy, I was thinking yet unable to think anything.

I was sitting on the edge of a rock overlooking a vast lake.

As far as I could see there was nothing but aqua water shimmering under evening haze.

A tap on my shoulders. I didn’t want to respond.

“Excuse Me”, a harder tap and a heavy voice broke my already failing concentration.

I turned and saw a man in his sixties yet a bit younger for his age. Rebook shoes, Addidas t-shirt and black track pant. A mobile phone discreetly looking out of his top left pocket.

“Yes”, I said in my usual irritated and condescending tone.

“Sorry to have bothered you but can I have a cup of coffee with you”, he said with a slight smile.

“Are you insane? Did you see your age? Tharki buddha (stupid old man), I mumbled.”

He stepped back a few steps and sat on the rock parapet, sitting angular to me. He carefully kept his tote bag besides him and took out a thermos. Then he opened the cap of the thermos from which he pressed out two cups. A small, roundish Tupperware bowl was placed next to it. Cookies were mischievously sneaking out from the semi-transparent bowl.

Whether it was out of curiosity at such a forthcoming request made by this old man or the fact that I was too depressed to do anything else, I don’t know but I couldn’t help but look at him.

He gazed at the evening sun and water rippling for a few minutes and then looked at me. Our eyes locked. I was caught seeing him. I felt guilty and to save my honor had to say something, “Kya tamasha bana rakha hai, uff!”

I turned away my eyes.

“I and my girlfriend meet here once every year and enjoy our cup of coffee.” The old man kept talking, looking away from me but in an intentionally loud tone.

I loved her since we were in college but couldn’t marry her. She was married to another man. I was married to another woman. We met here once a year and shared a cup of coffee. She just wanted to be listened to and I just wanted to hear her speaking. It was this few hours in a year that we both looked forward to. This kept us going. We had a platonic relation which was the true anchor of our life.

I don’t know when my body got dragged towards the old man. I was sitting beside him now.

She didn’t come today and I couldn’t gather strength to have coffee alone. I can’t bear to be alone. There were tears filling the corner of his eyes.

“Maybe she is late. She is on her way. Why don’t you wait for some time?” I was genuinely concerned.

She won’t come today. She is breathing her last and will be dead soon.

Exasperated, I had no words.

Tears were rolling down my cheeks.  I opened the thermos, poured coffee in the two cups and handed one cup to him. He took the cup of coffee and stared at it, for long. With trembling hands he took one sip.

“I will miss her but I will come here this day every year till I die. This place breathes of her. This is our little heaven”.

I drank coffee. Gave him a hug and walked back to my home.

I was thinking of my hubby and how troubled he might be searching for me. I was thinking of my parents who called everyday even if I shouted at them and banged the phone down saying, “I am busy, I can’t talk”. I was thinking of all the ladies who had written to me in the past saying that my stories motivated them.

I was back home.

(Inspired by We Are Together In This Journey Theme on Indiblogger)

Who is Your Best Friend in Winters?


I used to love winter till I didn’t become a mom. Once I was reborn as a mom my likes and dislikes changed dramatically. Now I hate winters.

Winters bring with it ill-health for kids. Cough, cold, fever, viral become a common phenomena.  No matter how many layers of clothing you wrap the child into the winter sickness seems to creep in anyhow. Then the child will be in distress and so will I.

The worst scenario is even if I take lots of care of my child still it isn’t enough to protect him from the winter illnesses. The moment he step out of the house and comes in contact with any other child who is suffering from cough or cold, the virus spreads and he catches cold too.

Now, I can’t stop him from going out. I can’t stop him from living his life.

This time around, I took all the precautions – layers of warm clothing, heaters on all the time, warm food but I again failed to protect him.

It was Christmas and I had to visit a relative for they had arranged a Christmas party at their home. However, reluctant I was to go, I had to go. It was a fun party – good food, lots of masti and even gifts.

However, all the merry and fun came ended the next morning. Attu got up in the morning cranky. When I held him in my arms, I realized he was a little warm. Kids are usually arm when they get up but today was unusual and within a few hours coughing and sneezing began. We called up the doctor and he messaged a regular medicine, asked us t wait for three days and come back if he wasn’t feeling well.

Those three days were bad. He was not eating well, he was not sleeping well and he wasn’t himself. He was sleeping too much under the influence of medication. And don’t even ask about how cranky he was.

After three days we took him to the doctor who told us that on an average one child is falling sick within 20-25 days. Such is the bad weather and nature of viral which is infectious. He asked us to stay from crowded places like malls and theatres and not to take the child close to an infected person.

Attu was put on nebulizer treatment for a week. He slowly recovered. I vouched not to take him out till winters are here. I can’t see him sick. Seeing my over cautious behaviour my friend asked me be prepared beforehand.

Prepared for winters? How? I wanted to know all about it.

So, it is about building your child’s immunity. If your child is strong from inside then he won’t catch infections easily. Dabur Chyawanprash is one thing that should be given every day in winters. That sounded logical, easy and trust me, works like a magic!

I vouch by it anytime. Now Dabur Chyawanprash is my best winter friend. My child also loves it for it tastes yum.

The Teddy Travelogue – Travelling with Kids


One emotion that is prominent in a new parent besides happiness is confusion. They are confused about everything right from what to feed, how much to feed, what to dress, what not to dress…Ah! The list is endless. To add to the woes is the question of whether or not to travel with an infant baby.

When Athin, my son took birth last year and we like a typical fauji couple had to relocate (lovingly known as Army posting), I started to have sleepless nights. Even the thought of travelling with an infant was nerve wrecking. Today on his first birthday, I decided to assess our travel quotient and it turns out that Athin is a born traveller and has “Chakkar ghinni” (itching to travel) in his feet. Athin travelled approximately 6000 Kilometres, crossed 4 states, lived in 8 cities, used all modes of transport (flight, train and road drive) and went to geographically diverse places from Bikaner(desert) to Uttarkashi (hills), and all this within his first year of life. Woah! Quite a journey!

The good thing is that both of us enjoyed all the trips. Yes, this article is about busting travel myths which every new mother has.

When is the right time to travel with my infant?

Actually there is no right or wrong time to travel with your infant. Athin’s first trip was when he was 15 days old. We took a flight from Delhi to Lucknow. Indian airlines said they accept a 15 days old baby on their flight. So, we said fine, let’s go on the 15th day. It was a safe and smooth trip.

How to prepare for a flight travel?

  • Speak to the airlines and tell them you are travelling with an infant. They have a special seat for the same. On the flight connect with the Air hostess and they will provide you with bassinet and pillows. In fact, in our case Indian Airlines staff was quite cooperative and shifted a co-passenger to provide comfort to the nursing mother.
  • Nurse your infant especially during takeoff and landing. This helps with the ear vibration and soothes the baby.
  • Choose flight timing wisely. It should be in accordance to your baby’s sleep time. Thus 3/4th of the travel time goes hassle free.

How do I pack when travelling with a baby?

Good packing skill is the key to a hassle free journey with an infant. Take your time to think through what to carry and most importantly where to keep what. Like wipes, milk, diaper, a rattle should be handy while one extra dress (just in case it gets soiled) should be easily accessible.

How much distance should one ideally travel in a day?

I would strongly recommend go slow and take breaks. From my experience I found syncing travel with my baby’s sleep time works best. I would feed the baby and then start my road drive. Within half an hour Athin would fall asleep thereafter I ensured that there is no disturbance and we cover as much distance as possible. I would have a fair idea of how much he sleeps during that time of the day (kids usually sleep longer while travelling). Once he is awake I would take a break, play with him, feed him and then restart the journey.

Plan meticulously. Prepare for the worst scenario and hope for the best.

Which is better mode of travel – flight or train?

We had a big debate on this issue. Everyone had a different opinion and a horror story to share. One person said his baby developed an ear infection on his first flight journey while someone said that train is the most unhygienic place and infants are susceptible to infection owing to low immunity so it is best to avoid trains. Some said road drive is better but then others said infants get cranky in a car.

I would say that each mode has its challenges. We travelled in all three modes and found that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. You are the best judge. So you have to assess your situation and decide. Like it was extremely cold and foggy in Delhi so we choose to travel by flight and Delhi to Lucknow is just one hour flight. However, while travelling from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi there was no other option but car drive on the hills.

When we had to travel from Bikaner to Delhi we choose a day train because there are no flights on this route and with trains you have comfortable seats to lie down. Train is much easier when it comes to nursing the baby and it has lot of space to move around too.

Well, don’t follow anyone and don’t listen to any horror stories. Choose wisely and stay careful. Most importantly enjoy your trip.

Some of you reading this blog must be thinking that I am crazy to have travelled so much but the truth is this is regular for an Army personnel’s family. Most of the journey undertaken was not out of choice but necessity. And, I know there are lot of mothers who have to travel. In that case I would say it is best not to panic and spoil the journey. Enjoy the journey and remember to trust your infant and your instinct. Think positively and you will have a memorable trip.

Well, today Athin turns one year old. He is a born traveller and I am proud of the fact that in none of these crazy trips did anything go wrong though there were a few hiccups.

And all those new parents there don’t stop living just because you had a baby. Babies are quite adaptive. They learn and adjust faster than you imagine.

This blog was also published in my personal website, Travel By Karma.

#RiseAboveFear


When I got this topic #RiseAboveFear to write, the first thing that intuitively came to my mind was my dad’s near death escape. This is his story of rising above fear and coming back alive to us. This is a story of a teenager who rose above fear of losing her dad and being with her mom. This is a story of a woman who rose above fear of losing her husband and remained stoic in front of her kids telling them dad will be back soon.

The year was 1996, I was studying in class 11th and my baby sister was too young. Dad, a die-hard religious traveller had left for Amarnath Yatra with a friend. Everything was normal until a neighbour aunty came panting to our house and huddled my mom to come with her. Mom switched off the gas hurriedly, asked me to keep studying and said she will be back in a few minutes. She came back but didn’t utter a word and resumed her cooking. I stood at the kitchen door observing her. It had been almost half an hour she was stirring the vegetable in the pan but the gas wasn’t switched on. She was blankly looking out of the window and tears were rolling down her cheeks. “Mom, what happened?” I asked. She wiped her tears hurriedly before turning her face towards me and said everything is fine.

The next morning on my way to school I came to know from a friend that a big landslide has stalled Amarnath Yatra and Zee TV was continuously showing pictures of dead people and devastation. Back in those days only the privileged few in the neighbourhood had Cable TV and ZEE News was the pioneering news channel. There was no mobile and even landline phone was a luxury. My dad was not carrying a phone so there was no news about his well being. Though he always jokingly said, “No news is good news”, but this time it was different. Zee TV kept on showing images of dead people which horrified us beyong imagination. Relatives started dropping in the house with a long face. Mom was sobbing at every corner wall of the house. I was in a social science class when my teacher loudly scolded me, “Gitanjali where are you looking. I am at chapter 9 and you have opened chapter 16. Where is your attention?” I couldn’t control myself and started crying. My teacher was taken aback for I was not a problem student. She sensed something was terribly wrong. She took me out of the class. I hugged her tight and said, “I think my dad is dead”. 15 days passed by but there was no news about my dad. And, the feeling that we have lost him was about to set in. You know what is worse than death. The fact that you don’t know whether the person is dead or alive. The missing of a person is the worst. You keep dwindling between hope and despair. Your mind says seeing the entire situation he is dead. Your heart says, no he will come back. Finally one evening, around a month later, a tempo halted at our gate shuddering. Bell rang. Mom slowly got up and opened the door. There was a lean bearded man standing. She was transfixed. And then a voice, “Arre mithu (my pet name) pick my bag and take it inside”. It was dad and he was totally unrecognizable. A pot bellied, clean shaven man was transformed into a mere skeleton. But he was alive and back. He was a survivor. I will tell his survival story in my next post for it is a long one. All he said was “I had to come back for you three and every time I felt I was dying I closed my eyes and could see your faces. I would instantly open my eyes and keep moving on”. This was our family’ story of rising above fear for everyone in the family fought with their fear in their own ways. We knew that nothing is stronger than family and no one is stronger than my parents.