Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas & 2018 Highlights

(Christmas 2018)

We had a really quiet Christmas this year at home which was the perfect end to a busy year. I was working long hours throughout November (since we got back from Hawaii) until December 23rd, so all I really felt like doing was curling up at home in my pajamas. Luckily, everyone felt the same and we spent Christmas Day in our pajamas and watched the Home Alone series after opening our gifts in the morning.

As 2018 has officially come to a close, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on such a pivotal and changing year for our little family. Let me start by sharing the highlights (or important) moments of the year:

Finally moving to our new place!
It was agonizing waiting as long as we did because the move in date kept getting pushed back again and again. But, it taught me patience and that not everything is under my control. Towards the end of our stay at our old apartment, we were all sleeping and eating on the floor for months because I had sold all of our old furniture. We needed so many new things including a larger bed, a bed for my in-law's, a larger couch, a larger dining table....for our growing family. We spent months scouring furniture stores and carefully selected our furniture with a lot of thought, and therefore our decor in our new place looks cohesive and carefully put together. I was also grateful for the extra time we got to pack all our belongings as I was able to get rid and/or sell a lot of things that no longer served us. At our new place, our quality of life has drastically improved. We have just enough space; a beautiful view; and we are walking distance from work/school.

My new job
Starting my new job in May was exhilarating. It gives me such joy and confidence to work and earn my own money. I feel that I have a much better work/life balance and I'm able to enjoy the kids more because I have a life outside of them now. I don't have as much time as I used to, and I don't earn as much as I'd like to, but I'm really happy with my job. I'm happy to go to work, and I'm happy when I get home and the kids run to me and hug me.

Becoming financially smarter
Earning my own money has made me extremely picky and protective of how I want to spend it. This year, we were able to save an emergency fund, put money into the kids' education fund, and go on a vacation. So, overall, it was a good year for us. The saying is true that when women earn money, it improves the whole family.

Saying goodbye to postpartum depression
2017 was a difficult year for me as I suffered from debilitating postpartum depression due to the lack of sleep. There were several months where I withdrew from everything and didn't leave the house because it all just felt too stressful. Then I just ended up staring up at the ceiling for the majority of the day and feeling like a living corpse. It carried on to the beginning of 2018 and finally ceased, for good, only a few months before I started my new job. I got a lot of help for my depression including going to group therapy, individual therapy, and of course - support from husband-ji and my mother-in-law. Going through that was one of the lowest points of my life but I came out of it on the other side with a greater compassion for others, and myself. Also, my relationship with husband-ji got even stronger because I saw how he loved me unconditionally, when I was at my worst. I'm really glad to close that chapter on PPD and move on to the fresh new year.


What about you? 
What happened in your life in 2018?
Please share..

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Our trip to Hawaii

We recently went on a lovely little trip to Hawaii and although we're back home now, I'm still reminiscing about our wonderful trip. First let me say that this trip was LONG OVERDUE...we had originally planned to go last fall but then other things came up and we ended up canceling it. This year, and especially with my extra income from working my day job, I was determined to finally take our little family on a vacation...because I earned it!

Veda has never been on an airplane before and we wanted to take her on a short trip to get her used to flying, especially before she turned 2 (they fly for free under age 2!). I thought Hawaii might be a good destination because it's kid-friendly, a short non-stop flight (5 hours), and it's also a place we have taken Maya before and loved.

When we went to Hawaii before, we used to stay in my mom's friend's apartment who lived in a quiet gated community 1 hour north of Kona (on The Big Island). The gated community had a large swimming pool and a beautiful little beach, and we always thought that when we go back, we'd want to go to the exact same place. My mom's friend has since sold her condo, but luckily we found a nice vacation rental on the same lot.

My in-law's didn't come with us this time, as they went on their own vacation to China for sightseeing, which I kind of liked. We always travel together, but this time we did our own vacation and it was really nice just being the 4 of us.

For 10 days, we spent the mornings at the beach and the afternoons at the pool...and it was just amazing. We had such a wonderful time together and both of the girls loved it.

Now we are back home and we've been working like crazy for the holiday season at our stores, and also doing photoshoots for families for their annual holiday photos. I would really love to go back next year, as it was the perfect vacation to take children on.

Here's some of my favorite photos:


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Life Lately!

Dear readers,

It has been such a long time since my last post! I know a lot of you have been wondering what we've been up to...and if I had stopped my blog altogether. First let me say that I have been thinking a lot about blogging, yet not actually doing it (LOL). Somehow, by the time I get back from work and my kids go to bed, I barely have enough energy. Seriously, as I am writing this... it's past 11PM and I should probably get to bed soon. And to tell you the truth, I've really been thinking a lot about the direction that I want my blog to go in. It's something I needed some space and time to meditate on and think deeply about. I'm still thinking about it.

(Shameless glamorous selfie)

First let me fill you in on all the exciting news since my last update...

WE FINALLY MOVED IN TO OUR NEW PLACE!!! Despite moving in the blistering Summer heat, it has been everything we imagined and more. It is such a beautiful home and it's exactly the space we need (eg. my in-law's finally have their own bedroom! Yay!) I really feel like our quality of life has improved since moving here. We are both walking distance from our workplaces, which means husband-ji often comes home for lunch. Maya started a new school which is also walking distance, which means we barely use the car. I'll post some official pictures later, once we finish hanging all of our artwork (this is still pending).

(Our new living room..with a view)

My job has been going amazing and I find it so inspiring. My schedule is a bit all over the place - some weeks more, some weeks less. I truly love being out in the workforce and I especially LOVE getting paid! Even though my salary is not very high, there's something so exhilarating about making my own money - once you get a taste of it, you never can go back! I love the social aspect of my work - making friends with my co-workers (who all come from different backgrounds and walks of life) and conversing with customers. After wearing sweatpants for the past 6 years as a SAHM, it has been so enjoyable to dress up for work and experiment with my fashion and makeup. It's like I get to play dress-up! Starting work has been such a positive influence in my life and it's just opened my world up to all the new things I can achieve. It's been a domino effect of positivity and potential. As they say, one good thing always leads to another...

(One of my favorite work outfits - an olive jumpsuit!)

Husband-ji and I also started a new business! In addition to our jobs, we also opened up our own freelance photography studio! Photography has always been a passion of ours and we have talked about partnering up as a husband/wife team for years. Our company is called Studio A & M and please do follow us on Instagram. The photoshoots we have done so far have been so much fun. We are concentrating on family photojournalism with a documentary-style twist, but we are open to all kinds of photography.

So, after all of this...where does that leave my blog, Madh Mama? I'm not ready to completely give up on it, but I'm also unsure of the direction that I'd like it to evolve in.

That's where I'd like to hear from you, dear readers. Where should I go from here? What would you like to read more of? What are some of your favorite posts?


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!

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