Being married to a sailor is like being in a long distance relationship for most of your life. I would be lying if I say it’s easy.
When I meet new people they have several questions; surprised/shocked at how our life functions. I get to hear things like – why did you choose to marry a sailor? It must be so difficult for you and other such questions that make me feel like I am from a different tribe altogether!
It is difficult and there is no denying that, but then no one said life would be easy!!
Way back in 80s n 90s sailors could only communicate through written letters and telegrams. Letters that would take months to reach their destination. When we started our relationship we were technologically blessed for the ship had internet access, though very limited and that too only on the computers onboard. We exchanged Emails daily, the calls were brief as those were through satellite lines and costed somewhere like 1$ a minute)
Times have changed and we are in a much better place now with Ships having their own Wi-Fi set up. We are now able to talk/ video call multiple times everyday.
Connectivity may have improved but other challenges do remain.
Challenges like not getting time to spend with spouse, having to manage everything on our own-single handedly. If that wasn’t enough, solo parenting your child most of your life tops the list of all the difficulties. From researching about baby stuff to schools, admissions to PTMs to planning school pick-up and drops, outings, birthdays all by oneself is just a glimpse of a few of the many things that we deal with.
The sign-off time approaches, there is love in the air, but hold on, all is not as good as it looks, this may not be a serious challenge, but it definitely is a challenge to get your home spick and span, shining bright, for your sailorman is not coming home, he is coming to stay in a 5star hotel and can prove to be a HWEC (handle with EXTREME care )guest, that’s a hotelier in me speaking!! I will not generalise things, but being a part of this fraternity, my interactions with shippies and their wives have reaffirmed this belief( there can always be exceptions though)
You streamline your daily schedule, you prioritise things and when your man is home all starts to revolve around him, the routine that you set just fizzles out. You thought your man would be home, two extra hands to help, but hey, he is on a holiday, isn’t he and that also means he needs sumptuous meals like those cooked on-board by his seasoned and revered Chief Cook!
Other thing that I despise about this life is not having him around festivals and important life events. However well you plan the joining and sign-off, you are bound to miss something or the else. In these 7 years of marriage, we’ve been able to celebrate only 2 Diwalis and 3 birthdays together.
No matter how long you ‘ve been into a relationship or sailed; joining gives the same jitters and sign off the same joy.
While the challenges are aplenty there are perks that you wouldn’t want to trade off with anything.
The shippies are the most hands on guys, mine is, and being married into a family where half the men are sailors I can say this for a larger population. They can be a one man army when it comes to repairs and maintenance jobs at home.
Your sailor man will love to make his life large and will treat you at the best of the places and with the best of the things; after all you are his Queen quite literally! They work hard, really hard ( I have sailed and I know how difficult their job is) and when they are with their family they want the best of everything for themselves and for others close to them.
If your man is anyone like mine then I am sure you already have a huge collection of Prada, Burberry and Versace of the world and expensive toiletries. A lot of the times these things will make an entry in your wardrobes/bathrooms much before they are launched here in India.
Luxuries of life do come at a cost and perhaps we are all paying for it in some or the other way. Those on top of the ladder in corporate jobs or running their own businesses struggle to find time for their family. 9-6 is never 9-6 for them, by the time they are home the kids are already off to bed. However, with sailors, when they are home, they are home 24/7, no running late for office, no late working hours!
If you love traveling and if you are lucky, you can get to join your spouse on-board, experience this unique life at sea and travel far and wide!
The best perk is that the spark of love neither dies nor flickers; after all, this distance keeps our hearts growing fonder with each passing year; as a couple we come to value eachother’s presence more.
Life is like a big party when he is home as we try to make the most of our times together.
So, count your blessings and when life gives you lemons- make yourself some Kamikaze, Martinis, Mojitos or simply gulp down your Tequilla shots; just don’t forget to use your duty free booze ;)!!!
It was for months we waited for the second pink line that marks so many firsts, and when it happened we were jumping with joy.
The memory of the day I first saw that faint second line is vivid in my mind and like other first-time moms I too have saved the kit for keepsakes. Nervous and excited I went to the doctor’s clinic, and from there began a series of joyful memories.
Motherhood opens the gateway to many unforgettable firsts; time flies in the blink of an eye and in wonder we look for the tiny squish that we held in our arms the very first day.
Want to know what I said when I first saw him?
“Ohh my God- he has so much hair”. Well, I was groggy from the induced pain, several hours of labour and was too exhausted to feel any emotions and those were the exact words I said, because he actually was a very hairy baby. It looks like yesterday that he was put on my chest for the first feed and how like a pro he suckled.
From the colostrum to the meconium (first baby poop), from the first bath to massage to the very first outing everything is fondly etched in our memories.
The products that we carefully selected for our to be born baby were well researched, we got the best we could. One of the things that I did not have then was Mother Sparsh Water-wipes. Sometimes the rashes on the delicate baby skin can get worse with the highly fragranced wipes we use, but being Water based the Mother Sparsh wipes are pure and do no harm. They give you convenience of cleaning without having to prepare cloth and sterilised water solution. Another good thing about these is that they are bio-degradable unlike most of the wipes available in the market. I recently happened to try these water wipes and I love how soft they feel. You can check the detailed product review here.
No matter how much you prepare, you can never be prepared enough for motherhood, I clearly recall the first time we took our son to the doctor and how complicated holding a baby looked to me. I was uncomfortable, but as he has grown, so have I as a parent.
Out of all his firsts, his words have been the most precious ones, and I have compiled his first words in this blog post.
The first movements in the womb to the milestones in first two years, to going to school is all so precious.
Sharing here some lines that I wrote for my son on his second birthday-
” You are a part of me yet you are not me,
You came through me yet you will carve your own destiny.
Not too long before, you were me;
we were one, our hearts beat together creating a beautiful symphony.
You are a part of me, but no, you are not me.
You are “YOU” a little boy, trying to learn, explore and understand the world around. when you crack a joke and laugh (you just turned 2), I know you are going to keep me laughing all through!
You have a style of your own, but like your dad you want things perfectly done.
When you wave at people, smile and extend your hand, I know you are growing up as a friendly being, and then there are times you hide behind me telling me that you are still my little boy.
When you demand for a certain song to be played and dance to its tunes or run to see an aeroplane or a Truck, I see you grow as a discerning individual, in love with sounds, music and everything fun, but then the pressure-cooker whistles and you run to me for a hug ( saying mumma hug, mumma hug) telling me you are still my little boy, still afraid of the noises too loud.
Let me hug you a little longer, let me kiss you one more time, for sooner than I know my child, you’ll be all set to take on the world!!
From cradle and rocker to gyro-swing-car and the four wheel rides to moving to his first tri-cycle, the transition talks a lot about our lives in this fast forward mode. I am sure all parents would agree on this.
Hold them, hug them and give them the best you can.
This post is sponsored by Mother Sparsh India’s First water- wipes. #firsttimemom #firsttimewaterwipes
“First time experience with first-time water wipes. “
Baby Shower Gifting ideas
Confused what to gift to your friend for baby shower?
Gifting is a special art, it is an extension of ones personality.
Choosing gifts can be a very tricky and confusing task, esp. for a to-be mom or a new born baby.
Most of the times on baby shower,people tend to gift things for the baby. The easiest things to buy are baby clothes and accessories that the baby soon outgrows without even wearing or using. In my opinion, it is the mother who deserves some pampering because the new born has minimal needs, the new born only needs a lot of milk, sleep, someone to clean pee/poop and lots of love and cuddles. I would rather leave the parents and close relatives to buy clothes and other important things for the baby, after all it’s a delight for parents to buy baby stuff.
So, when it comes to baby shower, I therefore choose to buy things for the mom instead, here is a short list that you can choose from-
1. One or two books of the what to expect book series. This is my first choice always. Even with all the information available online, I would prefer a book. If your friend is a book lover, do consider gifting one from this series.
2. Nursing gown- Nursing gowns come in as a blessings for new moms. They make feeding convenient, especially if you are out of home.
3. Nursing wrap/poncho- Your friend will love you for this, when out nursing in public draws a lot of attention, a stylish nursing poncho/scarf can make NIP simple and comfortable.
4. New born cloth diaper kit- introducing cloth diapers to your friend is perhaps the best gift, take it a step ahead by gifting her the diapers.
Bumberry Starters kit is designed for new moms begining their cloth diapering journey. The NEWBORN pack is for babies of ages 0-6 months.
5. DIY Hand and foot impression kit- New parents want to cherish all things that the baby brings along. We were gifted a DIY kit that preserves the foot/hand imprints. One gift that we truly loved.
6. A diaper bag with changing mat- A diaper bag can last with a new mom for over 2 years, choose an elegant diaper bag that she can carry anywhere and even after the baby is diaper free. Back pack style Diaper bag is my first choice for diaper bags, they are convenient and look stylish.
7. A customised hamper to pamper the to be mom – You can get a readymade hamper or curate one by yourself for your special friend. The hamper can include, a cream or oil for stretch marks , pregnancy safe natural body butter, moisturiser, massage oil or face packs. You could include lactation tea, cookies etc too.
8. Baby milestone cards- This will go a long way and your friend will remember you every time she takes a picture of her baby. There are fancy milestone cards available online.
9. A baby journal- New parents want to document every small or big milestone if their baby a pregnancy and new born baby journal makes a perfect baby shower gift.
10. Amazon voucher
Well, if you still can’t decide what to gift then there is nothing better than an Amazon voucher. New parents tend to buy a lot of things and this will be a great gift for them.
Have more ideas? Do comment below.
Can you believe your money is making your kids unhealthy?
money gives us access to cleaner spaces, comfortable lifestyles and much more, but we get trapped in a vicious circle of choosing quick fixes and what can commonly be called consumerism and conspicuous consumption; as a result we consume food that is highly processed, sugar loaded, high in calorie and low in nutrition.
Processed food and fast food available in the restaurants contains lots of salt, sugar and saturated unhealthy fats. Regular consumption of such food can make us prone to many diseases.
Several studies in India have shown that the percentage of unhealthy and obese kids in middle and upper income group is way higher than in lower socio-economic group- the reason is quite obvious!
You don’t have to look at older kids (6-13yrs); I have seen parents offering *imported*( read expensive) packaged munchies to their 11-12 months old babies. We happily give fancy, packaged things that are marketed to us as healthy, tasty baby food, what we don’t realise is that it is the beginning of introducing your baby to the world of JUNK. Soon your baby will start fancying anything and everything that comes packed in plastic.
An article “hold your nuggets” by Guardian talks about children and nutrition in the UK, but it holds equally true for India too.
Over the last 20 years, kids in India are seeing what kids in the UK went through 50 years back – consuming food that is designed for children like fries, chips, pizza, burgers and what not. Other food that does big damage is the packaged food that we start offering as early as few months is biscuits, cerelac, instant porridge mixes. Why would we let our kids/babies have things that even our mature body system fails to digest?
The best way is to start well.
To start your weaning journey on a positive note.
How to help your child establish a positive relationship with healthy food?
1. The key is to eat healthy as a family- Often the family itself thrives on JUNK and packaged food (we did too), we are now trying to make conscious changes after the birth of our child. When adults eat unhealthy it passes on to the kids as well.
2. Move to family meals for your baby as soon as you can- After ascertaining that your baby can sit on her own and has lost tongue thrust and is fine with the solid food that you have given in first 1 or 2 months of starting solids, you can move to less spicy family meals (mostly at around 8- 9 months of age) Moving to family meals will save you a lot of hassle of cooking separately and then coaxing your child to eat the baby food that he/she despises. Grass on the other side is always greener, children prefer things that adults in the family eat.
3. Eat together- Eating together will help them move to self feeding sooner. When they see everyone around them eating on their own, they would want to do that too.
4. Offer finger foods- finger foods help them improve the pincer grip, fine motor skills, hand and eye coordination and finally while playing with the food they learn about different textures. Kids who self feed end up eating well and just as much as their body needs because they are aware of how much they are eating. Finger foods may include- strips of chapati/paranthas, cut fruits (watermelon, thin slices of steamed Apple, grapes and strawberries, papaya etc) sliced idli, makhana, vegetable tikkis, sautèd paneer, flash cooked vegetables.
Make sure that you are around and alert while your baby eats.
5. Never force your baby to eat. There could be days when they are just not hungry, let them be, skipping a meal or two is fine. Forcing food down your baby’s mouth will have them develop aversion to it.
6. Substituting meals with JUNK food just so they eat and stuff their tummy is going to have long term impact. I feel guilty of doing that and I am sure many of you do that too. Starving them is better than giving them food that is unhealthy and root cause for many deceases.
You could check my detailed post on Starting Solids for babies.
Do share your views and tips on raising happy and healthy eaters!
This Post was originally written for Janini, a closed Mothers community on Facebook; Janini is a platform conceptualised to share & exchange ideas, seeking solutions & resolving issues through interaction in the areas of Personal Growth, Healthcare & Childcare. Rolly of Rolly’s Yoga Art is the founder of Janini, helping expecting and new moms in prenatal, postnatal and childcare.