Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tentative Parenting : Seven Life Hacks for the Busy Mom !!!

To say I was perturbed when I saw this article shared on Facebook - Women are working more everywhere, except the US,   is an understatement. The truth of the matter is the working women that I know  in the US are stretched thin - trying to make the ends meet at both work and home -- driven by ambition and a need to excel at work and driven by love and in parts guilt (of not staying home and taking care of their babies) at home.  And at some point for a number of these women,  the balancing act of  walking a tight rope of career and family snaps...sometimes it is mental exhaustion, others - the physical grind gets too much and in most cases - the cost of child care just makes it more of an economic business case for the woman to stay home) and they make a "choice"

For the others that choose to remain in the workforce - they get consumed by the relentless grind - barely taking some time to just breathe in peace and exhale out their worries. I had a mental AHA! moment about 23 months back and have been striving to get balanced- it doesn't have to be elaborate, in fact  my "me time" is really about "me" and my solitude - it's reading a book, taking a course on Coursera , taking a walk alone or with the boys, concocting a new recipe and exercising. This "me" time rejuvenates me and energizes me to perform better both at work and home.

Let me share with you some of my life hacks for surviving this relentless grind aka routine. Your list might be totally different - the key is finding your place of  Zen and peace. Some of it might seem very basic but these are the ones we find easy to forget and not follow

#1 Begin your day quietly - I begin my day with a cup of chai or Apple Cider Vinegar in Hot Water with Honey...sitting by myself contemplating my day and the things that need to get done. There is no angst just anticipation to begin the day and get stuff accomplished. If I get up early enough I spend half an hour with my Bhagvad Gita Course.

#2 Eat Well & Plan what you Eat -  I believe that what we put into our body does have an impact on who we are. I have taught my son about healthy eating and make very simple meal plans for the week on Sunday ( I plan it around my trip to the Farmer's Market). Depending on my workload, there are some days in the week when I order hot lunches for K2 ( I order hot lunches a month in advance). K1 eats lunch at work ( he prefers to ) and I brown bag it (normally Quinoa, Dal and a Bhaji)

#3 Have a well established routine & list - We have a few set meal plans that we work from - they are simple and because I do most of the cooking, grocery and prep. work (yeah so much for Women's Lib!) I prefer to keep it simple. My son and I go to the Farmer's Market on Sunday followed by a walk to make sure he isn't huddled in front of the computer. I have a weekly To-Do List (for work and home) and a daily To-Do List. I am pretty attached to my To-Do Lists and they have been a life-saver for me

#4 Outsource (when possible)- I had completely outsourced my cleaning the past 15 years but have in the past 2 months (to stop myself from unraveling!)  outsourced my laundry and food prep. The money spent bothered me for but one week -- I did see the huge difference it made to my equanimity and happiness -- so I actually consider this help priceless.

#5 Teach your kid to Fish - My son bathed himself from age 5 and now at 8 - folds his clothes, puts his dishes in the dish washer, helps me in the kitchen and makes his bed every morning. In a year's time I intend to teach him to be able to cook basic dishes and fend for himself in the kitchen. I want to bring up a child who takes on responsibility.

#6 Exercise Daily - In my life this is non-negotiable. I try to walk, do yoga or go to a Zumba Class every day. I am trying to incorporate the same discipline in my son. I make him take a 1/2 hr walk with me everyday. We both wear a FitBit  and motivate the other to move a little bit more - I have progressed from 5K steps daily to 10K to now 16K steps daily. It's not easy  but once it is a part of your routine, it is not something you will let go of.

#7 Get 7-8 hours of Shut Eye - I used to work really late in the past and get about 4-5 Hours of sleep. I wore my sleeplessness like a proud badge..."look at how awesomely productive and hard working I am"...Bull Shit :)...I was a grouch, I was not working at 100% of my capacity. In the past few years I have slowly added in at least 7 hours of sleep to my routine and it has had a huge positive impact to my health, productivity at work and as a mom.My AHA moment here was thanks to Arianna Huffington's Ted Talk on - Sleep your Way to the Top.

How has your Sunday been? We have a set routine for Sunday where I make these amazingly delicious Waffles for my two boys. It is a winner routine at our place and the nutritional profile of my Waffles are AMAZING. What you don't believe me - the analyst in me built a spreadsheet for you ;-)

115 Calories for each Waffle - 6 gms of protien and 6 gms of fiber!

What you want the recipe now?  Here you go -

Krish's Waffle for Legendary Skylander Trap Masters
  • 1 1/2 Cups Waffle mix (I use the Trade Joe’s Multigrain Pancake & Waffle Mix)
  • ½ Cup of  Wheat Bran (Organic)
  • 3 Tsp Chia Seeds (Organic)
  • 1 Cup of Dream's Blend Cashew Nut/Hazel Nut Milk (Unsweetened)
  • Egg Whites (2 Eggs - preferably cage free & Organic)
  • 1⁄4cup nuts  and dry fruits (I use walnuts and cranberries)
  • 1 Banana
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey or 2 tsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp  vanilla
  • Spectrum High Heat - Oil Spray for the Waffle Maker
  •  Blend all the items on Pulse in your blender ( I use my Blendtec)
  •  In the meantime heat up your Waffle Griddle
  • Start making your Waffles – serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup
Here's how my son's breakfast waffle looked  (picture taken by K2)

With Fresh Strawberries from the Farmer's Market and Maple Syrup

I still have to get to my Farmer's Market and then a long walk with K1 and K2. I am so excited about the Lead On Conference  and I can't wait to listen to Hilary Clinton's Key Note (did I mention my boss is a speaker at this conference too, yes I am totally rad by association :)) and definitely look forward to hanging out with all my peeps. How is your weekend playing out?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

"Let me just state that culturally we don't celebrate Valentine's Day ergo no flowers for my girlfriend" 
                                             A Young Single Indian Dude

This expansive statement was made in a business meeting this week and amidst the eye rolling from most of the others in the room and an understanding nod from me - we let the sleeping dogs lie. However, the honest truth is I never got red roses or wine on Valentine's Day -- and I didn't really expect it - it was just another day.

This valentine's has been wonderful though...K2 and I walked a mile enjoying the sights and smells of early morning...the whizzing humming birds, the graceful egret and the yipping puppy that was trying to protect it's mistress...we admired the first cherry blossom blooms...

We walked home and I made the 2K's a healthy Waffle breakfast from scratch (Multigrain Flour, Wheat Bran, Coconut Flour, Almonds, Walnuts, Cranberries,  Chia Seeds, a Banana, Egg Whites, Almond Milk & Oil) followed by a fun zumba class at the gym

Walked in an Open Farmer's Market for half an hour picking up some melons, grapefruit, strawberries and dry fruits. Came back home and gave the boys a healthy lunch : Khichidi with Lauki, Lobia Dal Subzi, Red Beets Raita and Roasted Cauliflower

We have another leisurely walk planned, chai with a friend and the dinner will be either a quiet affair at home or we might head out...who is planning that far ahead anyway ;-)

"There's a long life ahead of you and it's going to be beautiful, as long as you keep laughing, loving and hugging each other"