Fly to the sky

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What I learnt from my second born

My experience of lowest lows and the highest highs with my second born.

That joy of holding your newborn and locking eyes for the first time and not knowing that it was possible to fall in love at first sight all over again. The lows of emotional breakdowns when you feel the world around you is crumbling over some fabricated reality by this restless mind. Your body recovers in 4-6 weeks, but takes a long while for you to feel like yourself again.

Everyone tells you that it is hard but I had done it before and knew that I could do it again. Besides, my company offered such a generous maternity leave of 6 months. With my first pregnancy, I had 3 months. And I always wanted 2 kids, so this was a dream come true. Well set in my career doing exactly what I wanted to do and was pretty darn good at it. A supportive family, a doting husband, an adorable 2.5 year old. And now a little person whose whole world revolves around you. Yet, this emotional turmoil.

The endless household chores. A toddler who had your undivided attention at one time now craves for the same. My husband’s work responsibilities grew around the same time which meant longer working hours for him. The 2 kid household also took a toll on him, a workday was any day preferable over home. Men go through a similar set of hormonal changes with heightened stress levels during pregnancy, my doctor empathized.

You make peace with the current situation. And just when you think you have established a manageable routine, a round of sickness strikes the household to wreck havoc in the rhythm. This flu season was particularly deadly, no matter the timely preventive flu shot. Babies are demanding as is; now imagine taking care of her when you are covered in mucus and a toddler by your side with severe diarrhea. Lots of tears and shrieks. Life was exasperating, I was beyond exhausted. Phew, we survived those 2 weeks!

I started taking long walks. Some by myself, some with the baby. Some with my Mom. So grateful to have her around! When I listen to my Mom’s stories as a mother in the 80s, I realize how lucky I am to be born in this new age. I do Yoga. Meditate. Watch plenty of fun movies, some sad ones too. Grab dinner with a couple of friends. Go to a few meet ups around the city. Take naps. Just do nothing sometimes.

My baby’s first smile, her first giggle, that first grab of a toy, first reach for my cheek, her first turn, I relished them all. She loves to listen to Lata Mangeshkar and breaks into a laugh looking at her mommy make silly faces. My -toddler soon grew out of her jealousy phase turning out to be a protective and proud big sister. She’s growing up way too fast. The pretend games we play, her make up tips for my mom, her stories about the aliens and planets, her taste in food and music, it is non stop entertainment! And ofcourse, like any parent of toddler, you exercise your patience, tolerance and negotiation skills 😊

I would login once in a while to take a peek at my work chatter. On one end, am so delighted that the team is doing great in my absence and on the other, am filled with sadness that my presence is not being missed. I remind myself that a true leader and a honest employee leaves breadcrumbs for his team to fill in if he or she disappears. All good then!

For someone in similar shoes as mine, here are a few tips to shake off any negativity build up. It helped me, you may find it useful too.

  1. Go easy on yourself. You are not going for the greatest mom race. You are doing your best, you are awesome.
  2. Pamper yourself. Have an extra piece of chocolate. Go for that flourless chocolate lava cake, you deserve it.
  3. Love your partner more than you did before. He is scared too, just like you. He may not show it, but he needs your help and reassurance as well. Laugh at your imperfections together.
  4. Remind yourself that this tough time with endless nursings and sleepless nights will pass and you will miss it later. Your baby will not be this little for long.
  5. Keep steady goals and never lose sight of those. Don’t let anyone make you believe that your career takes a hit with 2 kids to nurture at home. They are my supporting pillars. If anyone doubts your abilities and skills at work/life balance, turn around and say it to the Nay sayers - ‘Watch me!’.
  6. Stick to your planned return date of work. I love my kids to death, but I am a better human when am not with them all day.
  7. Take small vacations with family. It is hard to travel with young kids, but do it. Do it for them and more importantly, do it for yourself.
  8. Ask for help anytime you need. Ask parents, in laws, friends, neighbors, school. It really takes a village to raise a kid.
  9. Make time for yourself. Exercise and meditate. Take care of your health.
  10. Be kind at home and outside as well. Everyone parent or not is struggling, just that some people pretend better than the others.

Finally, I leave you with my favorite quote: Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but pedaling like crazy under water.


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