3 Tips To Stay Sane When Your Child is Sick

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A sleepless night followed by a day of attention-seeking-cries from a child can play havoc on the mind and body of a parent. An unwell child can single-handedly disturb schedules and bring life to a stand still but you know what makes the situation worse? A cranky parent. So don’t be one. Take charge from the word go and conquer the situation. Approach the day as you would handle a tough day at work or elsewhere. A little planning and attention can save you from a lot of stress and undesired situations within the family.

Here are 3 things Moms and Dads should do for their own peace of mind, on sick-baby days:

  1. Give up on social media for a few hours/ days. Yes, that’s the first and most important thing to do. Informing your WhatsApp groups about the rough night you had or updating FB with your saga is a waste of time, unless, you expect one of your friends to show up with food or aid. Spare yourself the time and energy. Be mindful of the situation at all times. You don’t want to lose sight till you have waded yourself out of this situation. If you do have the luxury of time then take a nap. Get enough rest so that you can handle the stress better. Trust me, you don’t want to pile on the guilt of snapping at a child who is looking at you for comforting words and hugs.
  2. Stock up your pantry and fridge: Food fuss is bound to increase during sickness. So be prepared to offer choices during meals. Cook and stock up food whenever you can. If your child is on medication you have to ensure that the right food is ready and available on time. Think soups, light snacks, and small meals. Cook enough and keep it ready so that others in the family can heat it up and feed everyone in case you need to be in bed with the child or run for quick errands.
  3. Be the Captain of the ship but ask for help: Parenting is easy, said no parent ever! So brace yourself and get going. Be the Captain of the ship- plan, delegate, and supervise. Keep a running list of things to be done (setting out-of-office if it was an emergency leave), chores to be done, getting things from the supermarket etc. If you think you need to personally take care of all the miscellaneous tasks then have someone sit by the sick child and check back as often as you can. Ask for help and involve other adults and kids in the family.  In a stressful situation, arguments happen, temperatures soar, and sometimes people break down but remember the Captain is in charge of the ship and it’s the Captain’s responsibility to keep the crew together in stormy situations.

Finally, don’t forget to shower your child with all the love, care, and hugs.  Be patient, this too shall pass!

Surviving-Sick-Days-

PC: https://thekennedyadventures.com

KERALA: Traveling alone? Being Stalked? Dial 1515 for help

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Kerala is and will always be a progressive state. The state’s infant and maternal mortality rates are much lower than the Indian national average. The Sex ratio is 1084 as compared to 940 for the rest of the country http://nrhm.gov.in/nrhm-in-state/state-wise-information/kerala.html. Yet, Kerala has been in news for some wrong reasons lately, especially, with regard to the safety of women.

Pink Patrol is a women’s safety initiative by Kerala police and state government to reassure Malayali women that they matter and that their safety is a concern for all. Dial 1515 if you a being stalked or feel unsafe while traveling.

Watch video Don’t be afraid to travel alone at night: Manju Warrier for Pink Patrol

 

The Haunted House- Short story for kids (4 to 7 years)

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haunted-houseZara and Jaden were holding hands and walking down the hill towards their home. It was getting late. Suddenly, Jaden looked back and started running towards the black house. He loved playing trick and treat and never got tired of it. Zara knew that he wanted to knock on the door once more to see if anybody would open it this time but she was too tired to accompany him. Her treat bag was empty and she wondered what her friends would say. As she stood there watching him run up the hill, she remembered what her mother had said to her. Zara was not supposed to leave her little brother alone, even for a minute.

She dragged her feet and started following Jaden. Together they stepped into the porch and looked around. No sign of anyone. Jaden knocked on the door…once…twice…thrice! No response. She grabbed his hand and started pulling him back. He turned around to walk away and kicked the door with the back of his foot. The door flung open and they could see the inside of the house. It was dark.

They stood at the door sticking their necks inside. THUD! Something fell and they heard a shrieking sound as if someone was in pain. Jaden gripped Zara’s hand. He always did that when he was scared. He told her he wanted to go home. She waited for another minute and decided to take him home. Just then she heard it again. The faint sound of a person seeking help.

They stepped inside and searched two rooms. The third room did not have a door. A torn curtain hung loosely. Zara had left the front door open and the wind gently swayed the curtain. She saw something on the floor.

Zara could only see the silver hair. She was scared to go in but she remembered what her teacher had told her. Never walk away from anyone who needs help. She stood there for a minute wondering what to do. The window was open and she could see the rain outside. Was the old lady trying to close the window? Did she live alone in this house? Why wasn’t anyone around to help her?

Zara walked slowly towards the lady and bent over to see her face. Blood from a small cut had covered one side of her wrinkled face and eye. Suddenly the eyes flung opened and Zara found the old woman staring at her. She screamed and moved back but the lady did not move. Jaden who was sobbing till now was calling out loudly for his mom. He wanted to get out of the place but was too scared to go without Zara. He kept calling her back.

The old lady looked tired and weak. Zara reached out and tried to lift her. She was frail and light. The old lady let Zara help her into a chair. She plonked in it and did not move. The children offered her water from their bottle. She stared at them but never uttered a word. Just as Zara bent down to take her stuff, the lady moved her little finger and pointed towards a bag in the corner of the room. Zara reached out and opened it. It was a treat bag with a note… For Zara and Jaden!

HAPPINESS IS…

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I am and will always be a materialistic person. However, my life is beautiful because of the small moments- those intangible day to day experiences that bring joy and peace. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Here’s what makes my world go round:

  1. Waking up my daughter and staying in bed with her. The hugs and kisses make me feel blessed and most loved.
  2. Yoga with the morning view. Nothing makes me happier than this. I wish I was more regular.
  3. Weekend movie nights with husband. It’s the best time and we both look forward to it. We spend a lot of time discussing movies and even deciding what to watch next.
  4. 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading before bed time. I read multiple books at a time. A motivational book is always reserved for night reading.
  5. Listening to radio and singing along…LOUDLY! I like the suspense of what’s coming next.
  6. Travelling with family. Ditching the fixed routines and taking things slow. As a parent, vacations are no longer easy but getting to see the world again from a child’s eyes, is such a blessing.
  7. Knowing that a friend is just a phone call away. The freewheeling conversations always help me offload my worries. I am lucky to have friends who let me drop my guard and be myself. My friends also show me how to be a better person every day.
  8. Writing and finishing a post at one go. It doesn’t happen to me often but I try.
  9. Waking up on a Saturday morning and realizing it’s just the start of the weekend family time!

Some of these moments have made me realize that life is extraordinary and wonderful because of the people who made it so for me. I thank God for their presence in my life.

happiness-is

Thanks for stopping by

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“Don’t judge people, you never know what kind of battle they are fighting…”

I often say this to myself. Especially when I am being judgmental about someone I don’t know too well. I feel, this simple mental check spreads kindness and improves our social interactions.

Today I was at the receiving end of this kind gesture.

It wasn’t the best start to my day but I had to drag myself around the house doing stuff. My mind was not at ease but I managed to get out of the house, on time, with little one in toe. On the way to her school, I tried focusing on what she wanted me to say and do. I dropped her off and decided to spend some me-time thinking about what was worrying me.

At the coffee shop, just as I was settling down, I noticed another mum sitting alone in the corner. Her daughter goes to the same school as mine. I was in no mood to socialize so I kept to myself. At one point, we did make eye-contact but I looked away! How rude. What’s wrong with me today? I am having a bad day so it’s ok to ignore the world, I told myself. Besides, look at that diva sitting pretty all by herself. Saying hi would only mean i am disturbing her and piling on. No, just stay here and focus on the food. I did exactly that. A little later, when i got up to pay for my food, I was suddenly staring at the same lady and she smiled at me. I smiled back…

She: Your child goes to abc school, right?

Me: Yes..

She: I knew I had seen you before. Why don’t you join us over there. I am catching up with another mum from the same school

Me: Yea, sure. Would love to (Really??)

And just like that, this stranger slowly got me talking and in less than ten minutes I was laughing with her. It was a free-wheeling conversation about kids, parenting, the city, and our families. About an hour later, we walked back to the school. On the way, we exchanged numbers and decided to meet again tomorrow.

When I got into the car, I could feel the difference in me. Suddenly, I was thinking more about the good time I had and I felt I could now deal with my own issues better. I felt much lighter and happier. My problems and worries were still looming in the dark but someone made my day, inspite of my initial indifference.

I decided to text her.

Me: Thank you for stopping by and saying hello 🙂 It was great meeting you guys.

She: It was lovely meeting you too…glad I stopped!!!

IMAGE: http://spiritualcleansing.org/

3 Effective Note Taking Strategies for You

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This article is for those who love to write notes- at meetings, in class, to others, and to themselves.

I am one among you and over the years, I have got better at taking notes. When I say better, I mean faster, accurate, and most importantly efficient. To become faster, you need to practice more and more. To become accurate, you need to listen carefully before beginning to write. For efficiency, you need to be prepared, alert, and a little methodical in your approach. Consider these 3 simple points:

WHAT TO WRITE

Your writing should not be a trade-off for listening. Listen carefully. Be a sponge and absorb every word. Write down only what is essential such as, your action items, queries, points for further research etc. It is easy to skim through notes before a class or meeting if it is short and to the point.

HOW TO WRITE

If you use a note- taking program such as Evernote, OneNote, Word, etc. always add the latest note on top, by date. Usually, the practice is to scroll down and add the latest note at the bottom (in continuation). It’s time to break the habit. Start fresh and start on top. Your previous note is right below in case you need to refer it.

HOW TO MAKE IT EFFECTIVE

Unless you are writing a personal diary, no note to self is complete without a list of action items. In a work scenario, your notes will mostly comprise of points that require you to act upon. The action could vary from research to organizing a follow-up meeting. Spend an additional five to ten minutes after a meeting/ class to review and organize your notes. Do not procrastinate. You might end up spending more time synthesizing and trying to recollect bits of information. Do it when the information is fresh in your mind. This process of reviewing your notes right after a class/meeting also aids in memory retention.

What have I read today? One newspaper, 3 articles on LinkedIn, many tweets, and a few posts on Fashion

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Pregnancy and early parenting days left me with little time to read books. Secretly, I wished I could steal some me time and fly away to a world of dubious characters, happy plots, and romantic drama. That time never came.

Luxuriate

During this phase, I kept adding and removing books from my wishlists on Amazon and Flipkart so after 1.5 years when I finally decided to give myself that me time, I didn’t know which book to pick. I decided to ask my cousin AG (bookworm) for a recommendation. I messaged her on Whatsapp and her response was…

“I don’t read fiction (anymore)…grew out of it”

What?? How could that be?? There were too many questions in my mind, but I didn’t ask her any. I ended our conversation with a family joke. What could she be reading other than fiction? Is she reading self-help books? Maybe she is reading books related to her work. I concluded that way and moved on to thoughts about my own day-to-day reading list.

Like I said, I didn’t have the time to read a book from start to finish BUT ..THAT DIDN’T MEAN I WASN’T READING AT ALL… How come I never paid attention to this little detail? I had spent months feeling bad about not being able to read a book and now I realize that the reading never stopped, but  somewhere down the line my interests had shifted. Maybe I didn’t pick a book because I was still getting my daily dose of information and escapism from somewhere else (yes, that’s what a good read means to me).

Armed with this sudden realization, I decided to delve further into it and put it on paper. So here it is.

I start my day by skimming through the local newspaper and end it with a quick glance of my favorite fashion blog. In between, I read articles and posts related to work, parenting, relationships etc.

LinkedIn is my one-stop shop for everything concerning work and professional life. On an average, I read at least 3 to 4 LinkedIn articles a day- contributions by my connections, shared articles, featured articles, and posts written by InFluencers. I love reading articles by Jeff Haden. He has DEEPLY influenced my perspective on many aspects of professional and personal life.

Twitter is my lifeline. It’s my live-wire for news, views, and even for snooping around (go figure!). Facebook is not on my list and it comes as a surprise to many people when I say “I love social media minus Facebook”. To be seen and heard you need to be on FB, but if you just want to listen in and speak then Twitter is your oasis.

Last and my favorite read is the High heel Confidential blog. Like the blog owners describe it, “Your Fashion Fix, Guilt-Free!” I have shared this blog with many friends because that’s how much I have loved it over the years. It’s a fashion blog on Indian celebs and their sartorial hits and misses. Whenever I need a break from work or just a change in mood this is where I like to be- the world of Louboutins, Birkins, and Elie Saabs.

There it was, my Alternative Reading List, which I didn’t even realize existed!

5 questions I wish all Day care centers / Play schools would answer honestly

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  1. What is the “actual” teacher-child ratio?
  2. How is my child adjusting to the routine?
  3. What do you do differently when a child does not settle down easily?
  4. Does my child enjoy the time spent in the new environment?
  5. If you were the parent, what would you do differently to help the child settle?

Can’t cook? Too bad!

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Far too many Indian men take pride in saying that they can’t cook. Lines like these are very common:

I can boil water…
I can try making tea…
I can just about fry eggs…

Let me begin by saying this…SHAME ON YOU!

I really hope you have hired a cook. Else, some partner/ wife/ mother must be shouldering this burden for no fault of hers. Many women enjoy cooking for their family, BUT an equally large number of them don’t fancy it. So make sure you are not subjecting her to TORTURE. Yes, you heard me right. Watch out the next time you place an order! Someday she might just hurl the pan at you!

What can you do about it now? For starters, offer to help in the kitchen. Do the dishes or lay the table. Once in a while surprise her with a cup of bed tea/ coffee. Next, look up the internet, find a good/ detailed recipe for a simple weekend meal and offer to cook for her. It’s not rocket science.

Lastly, remember to tell your son that cooking is a life skill. Plus, learning to cook will always earn him brownie points with women.

Do you really need to delegate every task? Ask yourself.

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Whether you are a born leader or a trained one you will agree that to be successful, one must know the art of task delegation. Delegation, therefore, is an important lesson taught as part of Leadership and Management programs.

‘What’ you delegate, ‘when’ and ‘to who’ determines the success of the task. So your choices here are decisive. But what’s even more crucial to you is the career point at which u start delegating work. When and why did you start delegating tasks? What did u achieve out of a successful delegation? Did you lose anything? Look back and try answering some of these questions.

Delegation by definition means authorizing somebody else to take on a task that you have absolute control over. It could be a learning opportunity for you or one that allows you to exhibit your talent and contribute significantly to the goal. If you start delegating early on in your career you might miss out on opportunities to fine tune your own strengths. Think about it, as a Team Leader you still have the bandwidth to learn a new tool but if you delegate it merely because you think it is not your job anymore then you might miss out on an opportunity to learn something new. Remember, your next natural career progression as a Manager might not provide you with such opportunities.

Balancing is key here and so is prioritization. So the next time you draw up a task list for your team, make sure you identify tasks that you can contribute to and see them through to completion irrespective of all your other commitments. By accepting and owning a challenging task, you will improve your skill set and also lead by example. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to work under a leader who doesn’t mind getting his/her own hands dirty, when required.