Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tentative Parenting : Dealing with Grief & Uncertainity

K2 : Ma, why does the brain suddenly bleed?
Working Mom : I don't know, sometimes it just happens. 
K2 : Ma, will he be alright?
Working Mom : Let's pray for him tonight? Is that ok?
K2 : Ma, was the ICU scary?
Working Mom : It's late...why don't we save some questions for tomorrow.

I am mentally exhausted ...I never imagined being in the pediatric ICU watching K2's 8 year old friend on life support...harder still was internalizing the grief of the parents and trying to explain the situation to K2. Based on my recent devastating loss here is my meager attempt to get K2 to understand and deal with the situation 

  1. Face Reality and let out the pain - it's OK to talk about feelings and fears. Cry, Grieve, Ask Questions and deal with reality vs. being an ostrich with it's head stuck in the sand
  2. Talk it out - I am glad K2 is asking questions and trying to understand the prognosis for his friend. 
  3. Harbor no regrets - one interesting thing K2 asked about his friend falling sick was - whose fault was it? And my answer was - sometimes K2 it isn't anyone's fault it just is
  4. Shift the focus away from sadness - it is so easy to fall into a rut...get miserable and wallow in that misery...however it is important to snap out of it
  5. There is no one way or right way - I dealt with my grief through work and exercise and my life lesson that I offer to K2 is that - that well might not work for him. He will have to find what helps him counteract that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness
  6. Most importantly remembering that grieving/dealing with uncertainty  is a personal process that has no time limit. 
  7. Pray and prayer are the vitamins of the soul
I am praying really hard ....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tentative Parenting : Respect Women

The country is making a big mistake not teaching our boys to cook & raise a garden &  do household chores.           --Loretta Lynn
For the first 23 years of my life...traditionalism stared me in the face - a father who held a job and a mother who took care of the house. I won't say it was the happiest of mergers but it worked (or they sorta made it work). I am sure those key formative years had a great deal to do with my schizophrenic personality today where I am a feminist during the day (taking my fair share of the work, performing, questioning, contributing) and a traditionalist at the night (think all house hold chores minus taking the garbage out once weekly).

The truth of the matter is we (women) can be fabulous, brilliant, creative -- have tangible impact and yet at some point there is a mental brake that we apply to our own psyche - because unlike most men women with children are still expected to work the second shift at home (and no! not all of us have the model husbands who actually do their fair share of the household chores). Just as work has expanded to require me to be present all the time, I have realized that being a good mom also requires my attention 24*7. Parenting has become a full-time job: school meetings, doctor's appointments,enrichment activities, homework and projects, organic school lunches... It's hard enough managing one 24/7 job. No one can survive two of them. 

So every time I hear talks about Women's Emancipation the one thing that sticks out for me is this one simple fact - as long as women are the ones doing more of the housework and childcare, women will be disproportionately hurt when both workplace expectations and parenting expectations requires them to be present 24*7. They'll continue to do what too many talented women already do: Just as they're on the verge of achieving workplace leadership positions, they'll start dropping out.  Beyond stats and doom & gloom, the way I am fixing this at home is I am teaching my 7 year old boy to cook, do chores and above all respect women (hard for me to fix 25 years of Socialization that went into K1 but K2 is my blank canvas).

Here's an interesting video clip that got mixed reviews in India, but in my mind it hit a home run in terms of messaging :

This week saw me at PWBC's 25th Conference - Rising Above! It was fabulous and gave me a lot of food for thought! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Au contraire mon cheri !

"Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity"
My son  broke my heart yesterday. Truth be told I was setting myself up for's how it played out

Working Mom : K2 how is your dinner?
K2  (mumbles  in a whiny voice) : Ma can I eat the cheese and garlic bread now
Working Mom : K2 the deal was you finish 3/4th of your healthy stew first.
K2 ( whiny voice going shrill ) : Don't like it
Working Mom : K2 it is good for you...its super foods - Kale, Shitake Mushrooms, Black Beans
K2  ( whiny voice) : it doesn't look good (buddy had a point there!)

Let's just say I  lost my case but forced my son to eat his bowl of the black bean stoup (stew or soup...I wasn't too sure) if he wanted the buttery garlic bread and the ricotta goat cheese he had picked up at Harley Farms . In case you were wondering it was wonderful - fragrant with cumin and cayenne pepper and the shitake mushrooms tasted like butter...but to my precocious 7 year old it probably tasted like mud!

I have been re-reading this book " Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (mostly because the health fervor of a work colleague has me suitably intimidated to lift my chocolate ganache and coffee cake eating tushy off the floor and get a little more disciplined about my eating habits). Hence, the need to create something incredibly healthy but insanely simple...try this recipe  but remember I warned you that it might not be kid friendly. You might try to brighten the one-tone color with cilantro, a splash of lemon and some chopped onions...enjoy by itself or with a crusty piece of whole grain bread.

Ingredient List

  • 2 Cups of un-soaked black beans
  • 5 cloves of Garlic
  • Homemade or Store Bought Vegetable Broth ( I used this )
  • 1/2 pound Shitake Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 3 Oz Kale (1/2 packet of the Organic Girl Baby Kale Box)
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped fine)
  • 2 Medium Sized Tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • Salt, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper powder and Cumin powder to taste
Step 1 : Take first 3 ingredients and place in the crock pot on high for 8 hours
Step 2 : In a large skillet, put 1 tsp Olive Oil, add the turmeric and cayenne pepper powder. When it sizzles add the Onion brown, add the tomatoes and brown for 3 minutes. Now add the Shitake Mushrooms and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add Salt and Cumin Powder (strictly to taste...I eyeball it)
Step 3 : Add this mixture to the Crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours.
Step 4 : Adjust Salt, Add a splash of fresh lemon juice...taste and then adjust more if needed

You get 7-8 servings of the stoup and contrary to what my darling son says it is delicious!

Especially when you know it is all of 200 calories, 2 gms of Fat, 22 gms of Carbs, 15 gms of Protein and a whopping 9 gms of fiber! Here's me with my bowl and a glass of kefir...Salut to your health!