Wednesday, August 29, 2012

10 Tips For Single Parents

I met a friend who was recently divorced and was raising two children on her own. Though she said it was tough, she had found great peace in being a single parent rather than having an absentee father who presumed to live under the same roof. Now the father visits often and they have a respectful relationship towards each other.

This takes a tremendous amount of maturity on both the people's part. Being a single parent is no joke. Especially for a working mother who needs to balance so much more. It's tough but it can be done. Children become more positive when you are positive rather than living in a negative environment. But do think twice or thrice before you file for divorce.

If you are a single parent you need to get a lot of help from family, friends, day care, nannies, maids, etc to help you manage a child. Do what's best for them and you even if it means spending a little more money.
Don't over indulge your child though trying to make up for the spouse's love. It will only make him rebel and keep wanting more.
Keep boundaries, routines and structure as you would if you were still married.

10 Tips For Single Parents:

1.       Balance - Realise that you’re one person and you’re doing the best you can/ Sometimes you can’t be at all places at once. You need to prioritise. If your work meeting is more important than taking the child to a birthday party, go for it. Then take the child to a special place later. If you can postpone the meeting, take our child and let him have a good time. Find the balance. Don’t think that by working continuously and earning enough to give your child everything he can buy you’re doing him a favour. He just needs more time from you rather than an extra toy.

2.       Stay Positive – If you slump into depression, think that it’s the end of the world and wallow in misery your child is going to pick up your vibes and become a different person. You need to stay positive for your child. Many families have separated parents and it’s no big deal. The children turn out to be great. You just need to be strong and instil the values in your kids as you would for yourself. Think, “What would my role model do in this situation?” Keep happy quotes all around your room. Write them on post it’s and stick them everywhere. Even on your fridge and bathroom mirror. Change them regularly. Stay motivated.

3.       Don’t expect – Your partner has moved or you have decided to leave him. Now don’t expect that person to take an interest in your life or help as much with the child. It’s your responsibility. You can’t say, “Come home and spend time with the kid” nor “Don’t you think you should be taking him for classes?” The spouse will not care. If he or she wants to be there, they will be. They know they have a child. If they want to look after him, they will. Until then, you look after your child to the best of your ability.

4.       Don’t Bad Mouth – So you have gone through a bitter break up and mudslinging has happened. This definitely does not mean you need to say awful things about your spouse to your child. You don’t need to influence your child against another parent. The marriage broke up because the both of you fell out of love and were not compatible anymore. The child had nothing to do with it. You cannot corrupt an innocent mind. Hold your tongue about your spouse in front of the child or when speaking to someone else with the child around. They are susceptible to tones and words and will pick up what you say.

5.       Encourage Bonding- When the spouse comes or chooses to take the child out but the child is unwilling because they have heard something from you, encourage different ways the father/mother can bond with the kid. It is hard but in the long run, having two separate parents who love the child and support each other even if they’re not living together makes a huge different to the child’s growth. Let the father take the child to a new 3D movie that you’ve told the child he can watch on the weekend. Or go practice a sport that he’s been participating in his classes. Encourage the bonding between them but don’t force too much. If the child just wants to be around you, let the father be around while you sit and read a book so they can eventually spend time together instead of you taking up the activity that the child wants to do.

6.       Do Not be Friend – Don’t suddenly go from parent mode to a friend mode with your child. You don’t want to confide in your child about the broken marriage and all the problems of your spouse. He is still a child. He cannot take sides and it is unfair to put the burden on him to do so. He cannot look at either of his parents with hatred because of what the other has said about them. Confide in a friend, family member or a therapist with the feelings against your spouse but never your child.

7.       Look After Your Health – After working, managing children and a full house, you feel you’re exhausted and depressed. Make some time for doing a workout and getting a massage. Look after your health. Going to the gym or doing any physical exercise is extremely important. If you cannot do it every day make sure you try to do it four times a week. Control your diet. Don’t emotionally over eat. Recognise your stress eating from your regular diet. You do not deserve an extra pastry because you’re a single mother. When you look good, you’ll feel good too.

8.       Socialise – Just because you’re a single mother doesn’t mean you can’t socialise. Go out with some girl friends for a night out once a fortnight or month. Connect with your friends on face book and ask them out for coffees. You need interesting adult conversations that don’t revolve around work or children. Go on a date with a person to feel hot and special for that evening. You don’t need to marry the first man who is interested in you but you can definitely date for a while.

9.       Economise – Whether you have a spouse that gives you child maintenance or not, being a single parent means you need to curb your expenditure. No more buying thousands of rupees worth of sexy lingerie or splurging on a new pair of diamond earrings or even extra shoes that you just don’t need. You don’t need to splurge even on your child by getting more books, toys or clothes. You need to start keeping a track of your expenses and how much you spend on the house. Write it in your daily calendar/ journal or diary and calculate how much you spend. Don’t forget a day and don’t round off the figures. At the end of the month, calculate. If you have a little left over, save it. You never know when you will have a rainy day and need the money. So be careful with your spending.

10.   The Next One – Even if the divorce has come through you might not be ready for a new relationship until you have let go of all the baggage. So give yourself time to heal and move on. You got into a marriage because you felt it would last forever. Now that it did not you are hurt and bitter. Until you allow love to enter your life again, you should just meet friends and family members who are supportive. When you’re ready to date, keep your options open. You don’t need a father/mother for your children to take the place of the spouse. You need a companion for yourself. You need to feel complete in who you are and what kind of parent you are before you allow another person to enter your world. Remember that person must love and respect you and your children. Also, remember that no one is perfect. Learn from your previous mistakes about relationships and marriage and keep an open mind about the new one. Once you are certain about the person, introduce the children gently in a nice kid friendly restaurant or playground. Make sure the other person spends enough time with the kids with your around to feel comfortable with that person. Talk to your children about the other person. Kids are not going to like the new person immediately so let them take their time to warm up to him/her.

Monday, August 27, 2012

10 Time Management Tips For Working Mothers

Ever since my child started going to an early morning school, I've had to wake her up early and get her to class on time. This has been quite some effort since she has been waking up for the last four years of her life at a leisurly time of 9am! So I've finally figured out how to balance it out as I'm a working mother and can't afford to be lackadaisical about TIME!
Here are a few tips I'd like to share with fellow mothers:
Time Management Tips:
1.       Food planning – if you buy your groceries once a week nad stock your fridge, plan a menu for the week for your cook or yourself with healthy snacks, and mini indulgences, you are 50% sorted with your life. What you eat and your family eats can be more time consuming than you think. If your children and staff know what to eat through the day, then even if you’re outside or at work, they will not be too fussed and neither will you on whether they are eating correctly.
2.       Structure your day – Make lists of what is a) Top Priority and b) Can be done later c) Can be postponed. Example  - Stay at home moms need to get a leaking faucet fixed as priority A. Giving a baby a bath can be postponed by a few hours if there are too many things to do. And dropping clothes to a dry cleaner can be postponed till when you’re ready. Working mothers can do the same with their work.
3.       Delegating – You can’t do everything by yourself. You need help. Everyone agrees you’re superwoman. Now give yourself a break. Hire a nanny, cook, driver, maid, get a family member to help, request your spouse, join a support group, find other mothers, babysitters, etc. There are plenty of ways to make your life a little easier. It might mean spending a little extra money but it will give you tremendous peace and help you relax. Your peace of mind is more important than those extra hundreds of rupees that you will shell out for help. It will keep you positive and make your child a better person as well.
4.       Say No – Refuse to attend parties, family functions, lunches, dinners, extra meetings, etc if you’re already stressed. Someone’s cousin’s cousin is getting married and they’e sent you a card doesn’t mean you need to attend. They’ll understand that you’re trying to manage a child and work. You don’t owe anyone anything. Send a gift later if they’re close to you.
5.       Car ready – Keep an extra set of things in your car. Keep handy healthy bars for children, packets of biscuits, bananas, and other food items that are not perishable in a few days in your car. Don’t keep water bottles. Water needs to be kept fresh every day. An extra diaper bag with baby’s clothes, pampers, bibs, bottles, etc can be kept in the car. Or a children’s extra set of clothes, shoes, wet wipes, a packet of biscuits, books, colouring paper and pencils. Also keep an umbrella. Keep a set of formal clothes for yourself as well. That way if your kids are in the car or you’re going to work but have forgotten something in the morning in the mad rush, you have an extra supply and are not worried about returning home to collect it. Make sure you replenish the items used in the evening when you get home.
6.       Night Baths – If you have a late rising child who takes forever to get ready before school, bathe the children at night and put them in clean, fresh clothes to sleep. In the morning, you can busrh their teeth, wash their faces, put some powder and send them to school if it’s too early in the morning. This way they have taken a bath at the end of the day when they’ve sweat and got grimy from playing outside and you save some time in the morning from this chore.
7.       Switch off electronics – There are mails coming in, bbms, chats, twitter, facebook updates, etc that are continuously happening every day. You need to put your phone on silent while you finish getting ready and getting your child ready. If you start answering to everything in the morning, your stress level will rise and you will definitely forget something. Keep it on silent till you’ve got a little free time after your kid has gone to do your work.
8.       Make it Fun – Put on your favourite music while waking up. Get your child to groove to a familiar beat when she’s getting ready. Currently my child is listening to Cocktail songs and loves to get up and dance a bit before she has her glass of milk. I give her that extra five minutes so she’s happy doing what she wanted to and I don’t need to push her to do something.
9.       Leave the Mess – By hanging all the towels, putting the clothes back in the cupboard, aligning shoes, rearranging books you’re not going to do yourself a favour. If your house looks like a mess in the morning, let it be. You’re not having visitors drop in and assess you for cleanliness. You have a job to do. So focus on that. Clear the mess later.
10. Work the Internet – Pay your bills online. Figure out if there are any services that can deliver things or pick up items. Try to do as much shopping as you can online. The remainder you should keep for the weekend. Bank work, doctor appointments, etc that need to be done personally can be done on a Saturday while someone is looking after your children.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Love Guru Advice: Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Dear Love Guru,
I have been married for 8 years and my husband has never bought me any jewelry. At the time of wedding, I got one small ring from his side and a thin gold necklace. Now that he is earning, shouldn’t he get me something?
Dear Kaaya,
What? You didn’t get any sets from your husband? No polki, diamonds, kundan or emeralds? This is just shocking! I’m kidding of course! An austere wedding is a beautiful and rare one. But now, that your husband is earning well and you’ve dedicated 8 years of your life being a devoted wife, you deserve some pretty pieces! Please go ahead and ask politely, remind him of your love and use any ploy you can to get what you want. You can also save some money and buy something nice for yourself. The pleasure you will get in buying your own jewelry matches nothing that a man can give you. It offers you a sense of liberation and independence. Also remember that if your husband is the only earning member of your house, maybe most of the income is going in household expenditure, children’s schooling and maybe even vacations with probably just a little kept for life savings. If there is sufficient after all expenses, use your prudence to ask at a convenient time when he is most happy and calm. At the end of the day, you have a man who loves you. That in itself is worth tons of gold!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Asian Age Column: Husband Cheated On Me

Dear Love Guru,
My husband cheated on me and now that it’s over with the other woman, he wants to come back to me. Should I take him back?

Dear Anita,
Forgiveness is the most divine virtue. But I can understand you’re outraged and upset. I would recommend you don’t go with your heart on this problem. Use your head instead. Is he a good husband? Does he provide for you? Is he a good father? Are you both loving and caring towards each other? If you feel this indiscretion was just a one-night affair, let him back into your home with a condition that you both will go seek a marriage counselor to make it work. If it was an emotional affair that lasted many months/years, let him see a therapist and then both of you see a counselor together. He has to respect you not to do it again. Communicate to each other and don’t keep bringing the topic up if you see he’s trying to make a difference. Start from scratch and woo each other again. Value each other! If nothing works, separate and find a new life rid of guilt and unhappiness. If both of you have tried everything to save the marriage and you’re still unhappy, it’s better to find peace separately than waste a life. Each of you deserves to be loved wholeheartedly and maybe some distance will put perspective not to take each other for granted again.

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...