Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Working Mother

As I mentioned in my last update, in May I was thrilled to start a new job. Since then, I have been getting acclimatized to my "new normal" of being a mom and working outside the home. Even though I have worked before since becoming a mother, it was always either back to our shop and/or on my creative projects, so it was a bit different. First, it was so flexible that I could always switch with husband-ji or work while Maya was in school. And such flexible work did not really bring in enough cash to benefit our family. Nor did it give me enough work hours to really accomplish much. Now it's a bit different because my work hours are longer and not really negotiable. It's definitely a different pace, but I'm really liking it.

First let me mention that me working would not even be possible without the support of my mother-in-law (and of course husband-ji - but mostly my mother-in-law!). She has wanted me to go out and work on my own for a long time but I was focused on the kids and I was mentally tied up with trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and trying to keep the pregnancy, breastfeeding Veda, and trying to stop breastfeeding Veda. So there went two years of my life! We women really do have to sacrifice a lot of our time when we birth these babies! After my mother-in-law returned from India, I finally felt ready to start working again and focusing on my career, for once!

I tried to work at the shop, but then I got an idea that maybe I should try to work elsewhere. Why? Well, there were a lot of reasons. I wanted to try to work for a company that I loved and I wanted to gain some more experience for my resume. And now it turns out that I really like my job and I'm going to try to stay there longer term. It's a much larger company so I have learned a lot of new skills since joining.

Without my mother-in-law here, this wouldn't even be possible. Babysitters and nannies cost $15-20 per hour, and daycare costs $1700-$2500 per month. So, uh, no. It is so wonderful that she is here and she takes such good care of the kids. It is a privilege to get the chance to think about my career, and essentially myself, and the life goals that I want to accomplish. Husband-ji has also been great at helping to pick up Maya from school when I have to work and accommodating my schedule which effects all of us, especially since I was the go-to person to drop everything of my own to make sure that the family/home life runs properly. It's a bit of a new dynamic in our relationship and it feels like he respects me just a little bit more since I started working again.

I am working part-time at the moment, which can range anywhere between 15-40 hours per week depending on how much they need me. I find that I'm enjoying my kids more since working and having a life outside the home. When I come home, I make sure to spend quality time with the kids and take them on fun outings. For literally the first time in the past 7 years, it feels like I've got a good balance.

Maya seems the most happy about my new job. I was so scared that she would be upset and think my work was taking me away from her, but she didn't. She was, after all, the one who asked me to get a job in the first place! So I guess I can thank her for the idea! She seems to be very proud of me and she has told her whole class. She especially likes it when I have to get dressed up for work with the whole production of makeup, earrings and nice clothes. Although it feels like such a chore to dress up, it's a nice change from my uniform for the past 2 years of sweatpants!

If you had asked me 6 months ago about my life goals or what I want to accomplish, I would probably say something very vague because anything outside of being a mother seemed unattainable and felt like it would never get done. It is so refreshing to have a new set of goals now, and the time and space to really get to work!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Year in Motherhood

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the mothers and soon-to-be mothers! Every year on Mother's Day, I always like to reflect on my blog about my year in motherhood. This past year was pretty hard for me because I struggled with my new demands of being a mom of two little ones, and also suffering with Postpartum Depression in the Fall. I really wanted both of my little ones to feel loved and equal and I definitely put too much pressure on myself. The PPD really shook my world because it caught me off guard. It was mainly brought on by the extreme sleep deprivation that I experienced from 6-12 months postpartum. Between the breastfeeding and the lack of sleep, there was not much time left for me. As the year comes to a close, I recall a lot of difficult and weepy times, but I'm so glad that I pushed through and have made it to the other side, thanks to the unconditional support of husband-ji and my in-law's. As Mother's Day arrived this year, I again felt so happy and proud to be a mom!

Here are some pictures from my past year in motherhood (in chronological order!):

Last year's Mother's Day photoshoot
Cutting the cake at Maya's 5th Birthday Party
Napping with Veda

My new short "mom" hair-cut!
Snuggling with Veda
We woke up like this!

Veda only wants boobs...
Napping with Veda, again
With my girls
Watching Veda sleep
Me hugging Veda before going to work with my "makeup face" on!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Now Featured in: the May issue of Little India magazine

I'm so excited to share with you that we've been featured in the May 2018 issue of Little India magazine! It is the largest circulating expat publication in the USA, geared towards NRI's. I am very happy that they chose to feature us in a spotlight on multicultural masala love! I'm working on getting a digital copy, but until then, here's a peek!


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Life Lately!

After a slow start to the year, Spring time has been much more fast paced for us - so much so, that I'm still trying to catch my breath among the chaos! But, it's been a nice relief, especially since it was a terrible stagnant winter.

First, we are so excited that our home construction is FINALLY almost finished. It has been such a long journey and we can't wait to get in to our new home. However, moving comes with it's own set of challenges. We have to sell a lot of things that we don't want or need, we have to pack the things that we want to keep - it's a lot of decisions. But, I enjoy going through everything because husband-ji and I have really been re-evaluating our belongings and favoring a more minimalist approach. As a creative/visual person, I find that clutter really distracts me and causes me stress. It's really hard to say goodbye to things that have sentimental value or that someone has given us. Most of our furniture are hand-me downs and nothing that husband-ji actually picked out ourselves. Now that we are moving to a new home soon, husband-ji and I have been picking out new furniture that better reflect both of our tastes. We feel very adult! We are also saying goodbye to a lot of baby items that Veda has outgrown, now that our family is complete.

I also started a new job last week! I can't believe it. It feels great to be a working parent again, and so good to get the extra paycheck (especially since we are purchasing new furniture!). It was hard to think about working again with round-the-clock breastfeeding, not being able to find proper childcare, and my mother-in-law traveling. We tried to find a nanny for Veda but it didn't work out, so I just accepted my role as a stay-at-home parent although I was getting a bit restless internally. Sometimes stay-at-home parenting is not a choice, it's just what you have to do. 

I think the biggest "aha!" moment came to me when my 5 year old, Maya (who likes to ask me existential questions) asked me, "Mom, when are you going to get a job?" and I was speechless. I really didn't know what to say. And then I started to think that maybe I should get a job outside the home - something other than my creative pursuits - which to be honest, doesn't bring in steady money. Maya asked me, "Mom, what are you going to be when you grow up?" and I didn't really have an answer. I have been so swept up in parenting and motherhood that I haven't had a chance to think about putting myself out there.

When my mother-in-law came back from India and had no upcoming travel plans for the rest of the year, I touched base with her if it would be okay for me to start working again. She said absolutely, and was very encouraging about it. At the same time, almost to an uncanny coincidence, I noticed that a lot of places were hiring. Like, nearly every storefront I walked by! So, I hurriedly got my resume together and started applying. Within a week, I heard back from all 4 places I applied and started booking interviews. They hired me immediately at my top choice - a place that I had always wanted to work. They have hired me part-time for 2-3 days per week; and I am also helping out husband-ji at the shop for 1 day a week. I feel like this is a great balance for me because on the days that I'm off I can still take the kids to their activities. And the hours work out really well too - they have 3 different shifts per day. Working outside the home has also helped me wean Veda off of breastfeeding during the day, which I have been trying to do forever! I am still breastfeeding her at night though, mostly because we co-sleep and I'm too lazy to be bothered with sleep training.

We have been under heavy financial pressure during our whole construction and it dawned on me that I can actually help contribute financially too. Although husband-ji won't say it out loud, I think it comforts him a lot knowing that wifey is bringing home some funds too. It makes me feel good too.

Of course, I was a bit nervous about working again. But it turns out, being a mom has made me extremely efficient at work. I can multitask like a CEO, I have eyes everywhere, I have A LOT of patience, and constantly being on my feet is pretty similar to running around after an active toddler. Truth: moms get shit done!

(Veda: 15 months old)

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