Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Do you feel different being a mom?"

Today when I went to get my nails done, a friend of mine at the salon asked me a very important question that got me thinking. I've only gone in to the nail salon a few times since I've had the baby (hard to find the time) so he hadn't seen me that much. 
This time, he asked me a very interesting but common question: "Do you feel different being a mom?"

I was totally stumped for words. I said, "'s hard to explain..." in which I was so embarrassed because I am such an descriptive explainer about things!

So, do I feel different being a mom? 
Yes and no. (as if that helps!!)

Everything is different. I am different. But I'm also the same. (Only the moms will understand this feeling)

I live and breathe being a mom. I love it so much. I feel like it has defined me as a woman, wife, and a human being. It has made me stronger in my convictions, but also more patient in many ways. In my core, I feel like I am the same, but all the qualities that make me who I am are deeper. Basically, it has made me a better version of myself. Superwoman!

So, when they say "everything changes" it is true. You love the baby more than you love yourself. You give give give to this little creature so that she will be comforted and happy and confident and know that she is loved.

It's an amazing journey. Growing your child inside you and giving birth to a child...and caring for your child minute after minute...the endless kisses and hugs and feedings and diapers and naptime and bathtime and giggles and each glance in between.

And then, if I'm tired enough, sometimes I forget that I'm a mom! (only for, like, 2 seconds!)

The biggest thing I feel different about though, is my sense of purpose. Being a mom, I feel connected to a greater purpose. Greater than me, and her, and my husband. Greater than our families. Greater than this place and this time. Some kind of inter-galactic, Earth-momma, higher power, almost god-like purpose. Just by having her, and raising her, to be her own human being, to go off in to the world someday.

So there, that's my utmost best explanation! 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Maternity leave around the world

Recently in the news, you may have heard that the UK is planning to give the option of "shared parental leave" in which the mothers and/or the fathers can take off work. This is a great option, considering how nowadays many women earn more than their husbands. Still, though, with breastfeeding, women remain the sole food sources (don't you wish husbands could breastfeed too?)

I was thrilled when I went on maternity leave - I felt so lucky that I lived in a country (Canada) that supports the parent/child bond. Plus, how can you throw them in daycare when they can't even walk yet? Here you get 52 weeks off work with 55% of your pay. Not to mention, the dads can apply for paternal leave for 35 weeks. And on top of that, every child gets a cheque of $100 a month for child-related costs AND another cheque based on your combined income (anywhere from $30 - $100).

So what does maternity leave look like around the world?

Sweden - 68 weeks off work with 80% pay, can be split between mums/dads.
Croatia & Serbia & Denmark - 52 weeks off work at FULL pay.
UK - 52 weeks off work with 90% pay.
Norway - 46 weeks off work with FULL pay and the dad is required t.o take 12 weeks off minimum.
Canada - noted above!
Albania - 52 weeks off work: 6 months with 80% pay, 6 months with 50% pay.
Cuba - 18 weeks off work at full pay, and 40 weeks at 60% pay.
France - 16 weeks off work with FULL pay, and up to 3 years off work with job protection, and money from the government for childcare, nannies, allowances.
Brazil - 4 months off work, full pay (BUT free childcare until age 6)

China - 12 weeks off work, full pay.
Malaysia - 8 weeks off work, full pay.
India - 12 weeks off work, full pay.
Japan - 14 weeks off work, 67% pay.
UAE - 5 weeks off work, full pay.
Tanzania - 11 weeks, full pay (but only once every 3 years minimum)
Papua New Guinea - 12 weeks off work, unpaid.
USA - 12 weeks off, unpaid (but only if you work in a company that has more than 50 people)

The differences are huge between the best and the worst - you can tell which countries are more family oriented. Norway has the great idea that the dads are required to take 3 months off - because mums aren't the only ones who are kept up all night! And the UAE is by far the worst - only 5 weeks? Milk production hasn't even reached proper levels at that time! The USA is truly shocking. Not only does it cost thousands of dollars to have your baby in the hospital, but then you only get 12 weeks off with NO PAY, only if you work for a big company. And don't get me started on the American health insurance...ugh! That was truly a deciding factor for us when we chose to move back to Canada, which I am so so so grateful for.

My maternity leave ends this June, and since it started, I have christened this "the year of fun" where I get to just enjoy my baby. Every day I try to do something fun with her and just live in the moment, to take it all in. Life with a baby moves so quickly and if you blink you'll miss a big milestone. I'm also using this year to focus on my health - eating right, getting outside - because there's nothing more scary than feeling physically handicapped for 9 months as I was during my pregnancy. I've also been using this time to reflect about the future, about what I'll do after - whether it is to return to work part-time or just continue to stay at home. Who knows? I'm just living in the moment, until next June!
The 52 weeks off is crucial for reflection - everything changes when you have a baby. You can't decide anything in a few weeks with such a major life shift. Plus, it is so important to get to know your baby - their rhythms - and not to mention, so special as a parent/child bond.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Celebrating Diwali

This year was Maya's first Diwali, which is a very important Hindu holiday. 
It is celebrated as largely as Christmas in the West. Sometimes it is called "the festival of lights" as many diyas and firecrackers are lit. The lights symbolize the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness. For an individual, it also represents choosing knowledge (inner light) over ignorance.
That is why I love this holiday - the meaning of celebrating is so poignant. It is said that when you choose awareness over ignorance, your true spirit is able to break through and one obtains inner peace.

This year we celebrated at the Mahalakshmi Temple in Vancouver. This is the temple we were married in & had Maya's 21st day punyajanam. This temple has always been very kind to us and it is run by a family from Bangalore. There were a handful of foreigners there, but mostly Indians. They were doing a beautiful Lakshmi puja when we arrived. It was wonderful to see everyone dressed up in their traditional wear. My husband said you could tell which of the women were South Indian because they were the ones wearing silk sarees. We dressed Maya in her outfit that my husband had brought from Hyderabad. It was supposed to be for a 1 year old baby but it fit perfectly! We wanted to match her orange dress so we wore our matching outfits from our wedding reception in Hyderabad.

Next year we are aiming to celebrate either Diwali or Dussehra in Hyderabad. This will be mine & baby's first Diwali in India. Even though I've been 3x, we always miss Diwali! As I remember from celebrating Holi in Delhi, Indians are fabulous at celebrating these holidays, so I can't wait! And Diwali is the biggest one of them all...

Happy Diwali
தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துகள்
దీపావళి శుభాకా౦క్షలు
दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 months old!

Please excuse my delayed write-up - this month went by way too fast! Usually I’m very conscious about the 7th approaching - mentally planning out her birthday outfit, and looking at the calendar each day saying, “it’s almost here!” This month, the 7th crept up on me and I looked at the calendar and said “Oh crap, are you kidding me? 5 months already?!”
Hmmm…maybe it was the rolling over, the crawling, the squealing, the solid-feeding…or the all around non-stop beautiful chaos that is infant-hood. Yes, that’s right… she’s not a newborn, she’s an infant! This month in a nutshell is one word: LIVELY!
The biggest event that happened after her 4 month birthday was the big roll over. This was very monumental. I had her on her play mat and I went to the washroom and came back and she was on her tummy. I almost had a heart attack! And then once she did it, she wouldn't stop doing it! Every time she’s on her back, she swings around to her tummy, even when she’s on the changing table (which I really have to watch out for!) 
Once that started, she couldn't wait to get going places. She’s kind of in the pre-crawling stage. She does little push-ups and wriggles around and shouts out, and moves herself very slowly towards her target (a toy, of course) She is figuring out the coordination of using her arms and legs at the same time to move herself.
We started her on solids early, under the advice of our doctor, because she had already doubled her birth weight and seemed curious about food. We feed her pablum in the evenings and she just loves it. It took her a few days how to figure out eating with a spoon, but then she learned. Now she gulps it so fast and opens her mouth and lunges forward when she sees the spoon coming. Now, when we take her out to dinner (if she’s not napping) she likes to sit on my lap at the table like the little lady that she is!
This month she had her first Halloween, which was so much fun. We dressed her as a little pink elephant and she loved all the attention! We did all the activities with her - pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating, etc. Last year I was too nauseous with morning sickness to enjoy any candies and I was dreaming about this year, having a little one to dress up. Next year, she will be walking on her own and probably picking out her own costume!
Just recently, she had her first day over with Grammy & Grampy Robinson, away from Mummy and Daddy (we took our first official date away from her, by going to see James Bond. I think I remember the last 30 minutes of the movie, since it took me the first hour and a half just to calm down!) They said she was on her best behavior and that Ziggy loved stealing a lick of her toes.
We are just waiting with anticipation for the arrival of her first teeth. She has been teething for a few months now, and it feels very sharp, especially on the top. She’s drooling like crazy, with slobber constantly coming down like string cheese! We have to have a few bibs on hand at all times.
Her schedule is very predictable now. She sleeps for 12 hours at night from 8pm to 8am (although I still check on her every few hours!), and then feeds every 3.5 hours, and in between each feeding she has a 30 minute nap.
She loves her jolly jumper so much - she squeals and shouts and kicks herself so high up in the air. Her legs are getting really strong now, that I have so many bruises on my thighs and tummy. Her favorite part of the day is when Daddy gives her a bath. Sometimes she surprises him with a big pee in the baby tub right before he starts (hey, at least that’s better than peeing ON him, en route to the bath, as she did on me a few times!) Before, her massage, he gives her a big tickle on her neck and tummy with his mustache and she just laughs so hard. She is very ticklish on her little tummy!
As always, she loves going out for walks. I have a rain cover that I put on her stroller and she looks at the rain droplets and tries to grab them.
Until next month,
A & M & M


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Maya's first Halloween

Halloween is totally one of my favorite times of the year. 
The beautiful fall colors, the scary decorations, the candy, the creative costumes, pumpkin carving, and of course my annual tradition of watching a horror movie.

This year was Maya's first Halloween, so of course I jumped at the chance of celebrating it all together. Hey, I don't care if she doesn't know what Halloween is...she's going in a costume and we're taking her trick-or-treating!

Like we do every year, my husband did the Halloween decorations for our house, complete with 3 fog machines, motion-activated hanging ghosts, mummified rats in the yard, and dismembered body parts coming out of the soil. Ours was definitely the best house on the block!

This year we went to the pumpkin patch at Richmond Country Farms, which I hadn't been to since I was little. They had farm animals, a singing corn-on-the-cob, mini donuts and hot chocolate, and a tractor hay ride to 2 large pumpkin patch fields. 

You get one bag per adult and you can fill it with as many pumpkins as you like. If you want extra bags it costs $3/bag, which is way cheaper than the $8 pumpkin I got from Safeway! The only thing is that you have to carry the pumpkins back yourself, which didn't really make a difference to me since I've become quite a bodybuilder carrying around my 19lb baby all the time!

On the tractor hay ride there were lots of sing-songs which Maya loved. Luckily we went on a sunny day, but it was very muddy due to the heavy rains the week before. There were tons of pumpkins to choose from, of all shapes and sizes. Some parents brought their strollers but I put Maya in hr carrier so the stroller wouldn't get muddy. 

We came back and carved the pumpkins over the next few days - challenging to find the time while watching the baby. Sometimes we carved them after she went to sleep for the night. We usually do 6 pumpkins but this year we only did 4.

Halloween day came and it just poured pounding rain the whole evening! We got Maya dressed up in her costume, which husband got from NYC. It was soooooo cute!!! My parents came over and we all had pizza and played with the baby. Then they watched the house while we took her to a few neighbors' houses for trick-or-treating. There are tons of kids in our area but due to the heavy rain we only got about 5 trick-or-treaters.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Madh Mama. All rights reserved.