ORGANIZED WORKING HOMEMAKER

I was a working professional earlier but 10 years ago due to personal reasons I quit and became a full-time homemaker. Last year I tried doing some work from home assignments but it didn’t work out satisfactorily. Now after a huge gap of 10 years I started working at a school.

And I tell you my confidence in myself was very low. All sorts of apprehensions were there in my mind both on the work front and the home front. And my biggest worry was “How will I manage both together? Both the fronts being equally demanding.”

Let me share whatever little I learnt.

  • Compartmentalize:

This is the first thing I learnt when I started working again. My work life and personal life are two compartments in my head. When I am at work I leave all my worries about home in the other compartment. And at home, I don’t worry about my school work, students etc because I think if you have to give your hundred per cent to something then all your thoughts should be centred on that. This has come naturally to me. As in school we teachers are away from our phones most of the time, its only after the students leave that we can use our phones so the distraction is not there. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule like if someone in the family is not well at home then you need to check on that person from time to time. Or vice versa, being a pre-primary teacher there is a lot of craft work to be done and at times I need to bring craft work home to complete. But still, I try that they remain the exceptions and not become a practice.

  • Plan Ahead:

This I tell you is the most important rule. And most difficult for me to implement. I have always been a last minute person. I could never make timetables and plans and if I made I wouldn’t be able to stick to them. But I realised the importance of this when I joined the school. Here we have weekly plans for all subject and all topics are divided so that we are able to cover them through the week. I realised how easy life becomes when you plan the whole week. Life is sorted, everyday morning we just need to check the work for the day and move ahead. Every time need not worry about the big picture. I am trying to implement this kind of planning at home also. If the menu etc is set for the week then groceries can be bought at one go during the weekend and last minute rushing to the supermarket can be avoided. Saves a lot of time and headaches. This project of mine is still work in progress but I have met a few homemakers who plan menus etc in advance and it really works for them.

  • Build a support system

If you are a working professional and have children at home you need a support system. I have two teenaged kids ideally they should have been pretty independent by now. But maybe me being at home has made them quiet dependent on me. Now I am working on making them responsible for their own work as I am not always around to help them. I am blessed to have my parents-in-laws staying with me who help in making my house run like clockwork even in my absence. Your husband, other members of your family, your friends and your maid they are all part of your support system. Build a strong connection with them. A strong support system is very necessary for a worry-free work life.

I am sure all the other working mothers would be able to add a lot more to my list I am still learning and discovering new rules of being a working homemaker. It is tough at times but still at the end of the day makes me feel satisfied that I am known by my name also not only as mother of so and so or wife of so and so.

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PARENTING – LOVING SANS DISCIPLINING, NOT DONE!

I think it was in the month of October,  and one of the Saturdays, after dropping our son at swimming pool we took our daughter to park as we had to anyways wait for an hour for him to return. We went to the park and my daughter was having a good time there and it was time to go. So she hardly spent half an hour there and was very reluctant to go for obvious reasons. She was adamant, holding her feet back and we literally had to force her out of the park. She was screaming loudly which was embarrassing. And this situation led to heated arguments between parents (inevitable), I can laugh it off now but that moment was something different. I doubted my parenting, where am I going wrong in bringing up my children”, “why she behaved that way”, “Am I a bad mother that my kids don’t pay attention to my words and many questions followed making me introspect myself and my ways. I felt broken, down and out. I must tell you that she normally abides by what I say but that day it was a different ball game, every parent experiences such incidents I guess.

As they say, sharing helps to mellow down the pain and burden, I confided to my dear friend about the situation and one thing she said really stuck me making a deep impact and that’s what I wanted to share with you all when the topic of “Discipline ” was tossed up for this week. She said “I don’t understand when parents say kids don’t listen to us. It’s really important to make them understand that WE are the parents and they cannot boss around with us, period!”

It made sense, not just “a lot of but wholly“. We all love our kids but loving them without disciplining them, without infusing any sense of responsibility, without morals is as good as a blind leading a bunch of ignorant minds. That would only lead them to fall deep down.

Though parenting is not a definite science with set rules as every kid and every parent is different but I would like to put forth my observation, rather this is what I practice (I do falter sometimes 😔):

A No Is A No:  Well this holds good for kids too. When my kids put forth unreasonable demands, I say NO straightaway. But sticking to it is a rather difficult feat to do. They may cry, bring in recommendations 😁, cling on to you and much more. And if you succumb then they know the trick to get you every time. For instance, my son for whom it is difficult to comprehend a “No” because of his Autism would just throw an agitated tantrum every time I say No. But I try to remain unfazed by anything he does and at the end he would return to normalcy. Actually, this was what proposed by his teachers too, I am following it as religiously as I could.

A timetable is important: Following timelines, having a schedule is of paramount importance when it comes to disciplining kids. And I believe in adhering to it strictly. Be it for how long they are going to watch television when they will have dinner, time to go to bed – everything is fixed. It sets an order and decorum. They should know “Early to bed, early to rise” isn’t just a rhyme 😁.

Parents should be on the same page: It’s a normal tendency that one parent is in charge of disciplining kids at home while the other significant one takes a comparative backseat. It was my mother in past and now I am the captain of the ship 😎.  So whenever a call has to be taken I insist that I and my partner remain on the same page (at least apparently in front of kids). The difference of opinion can be discussed in private. Kids should identify the authority and definitely shouldn’t get a chance to “Divide and Rule“😂.

Carrot And Stick: Ah! This is one of the management/leadership style that I learnt in college is proving to be handy now. I surely don’t believe in the thought process of “spare the stick and spoil the child but it is important to emphasise on Rewards (Carrot) and Consequences (Stick) theory for kids. It would make them responsible in the long run, to say the least. The excitement of a reward and fear of a punishment is very important in moulding up a child’s attitude. That would help them mark the difference between a “Good Behaviour” and a “Bad Behaviour”. A very recent example from Facebook though – a father made his daughter walk to school (5 miles spread over two or three days) in reaction to her inappropriate behaviour of bullying someone. And this is what I exactly meant.

Involve them in chores: Not sure how far this would go in disciplining a child but this would ensure more interaction with them, the autonomy of a greater level in kids infusing confidence. And the goal of parenting definitely includes shaping up a confident independent child. I try to include my kids as much as I can.

NOTE:  These are my observations (to a greater extent practice too) only.  I do fail many times as a parent. But I shall not stop because my kids are my responsibility. I hold responsibility towards them as a parent and towards society too, to give it a socially aware human being and the process is on. And this holds true for every parent. Remember, you are doing great for parenting is not easy and doesn’t come with a manual.  You might have a different approach, do share with me 😊.

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR WORK LIFE BETTER

Strange, that I am writing this article now when my work-life is so much of a mess. There are emails to be sent, clarifications to be made, multiple releases to be closed, issues to be fixed, customer complaints to be handles, plan for 2019 to be done and much more. This is usually the case every year end because there are just too many things to close for the current year. And the show stopper question is “Did we meet our year end targets?” Things that were ignored and postponed all through the year need to be closed before the magic date – 31st Dec (For us, it is 24th Dec because last week of the year is work shutdown).  

Well, how to organize the work-life? I am not talking about work-life balance here because that is a different story all-together. I am only talking about managing work within working hours.

I am fortunate enough to work for an organization that has amazing work-culture. We can avail enough opportunities to manage our work life balance. Targets are flexible, negotiations are easy and deadlines are strict but are not insane. Something amazing happens when the organization gives its employees the ownership to manage their own work – employees are empowered and motivated to do the work and never really take advantage of a flexible work culture. That is what happens with me and my team. We have the option to work from home and take unlimited sick leaves. However, I hardly see people take undue advantage of it.

1. Ownership

Ownership is the key ingredient to manage your work life well. If you are not given ownership or you are not willing to take ownership – you cannot climb the ladder. Go beyond what is expected out of you. Take control of your career. Like one of my mentors always says – “Do not ask your manager, what is the next role for me. Figure it out yourself and if nothing existing invites you, then create a new role”. The very obvious question comes, “How can I create a role in an already established organization”. The answer is very simple, there are always problems. Identify the problems of your customers, peers, managers, subordinates and pick one and start solving it – in no time you have created a role for yourself. If you really create value, people around will see it and appreciate it.

So ownership is the key. Not just in your current role but go beyond what is expected out of you. See ahead what is next for you and create your own roles.

2. Time- management

Find a tool for time-management that works the best for you – it could even be a simple To-do list, need not be complicated tool. But have something that works and motivates you. If you do not have such a tool, you would invariably always end up working on wrong things. And if you really want to be able to spend no more than 8 hours at your work – time management tool is a must.

I am a Product Owner and one of the key responsibilities of my role is to set the priorities for my team members. Indirectly, I am sort of doing time management for my team which is 6-7 people. Sometimes, it drives me crazy. If I don’t do my job properly, the whole team will end up working on something that nobody needs, which is indeed a big disaster.

3. Urgent work vs. Important work

This is an important matrix that can help you decide what the right thing to work on is.

First quadrant shows work that is urgent and important. While working on these we are usually in the fire-fighting mode. If you spend too much time in this quadrant – you will end up stressed out.

Second quadrant is the place where ideally you must spend most of your time.

Third quadrant is the work that is urgent but not important. This is the kind of work that you should be able to delegate or decline.

Fourth quadrant is the work that is not urgent or important. Try to eliminate this kind of work as much possible.

4. Communication

It is very true that human beings are experts in partial listening. We listen/read only what we want to listen or read. This creates a huge barrier called miscommunication. Multiple options can be used to resolve this problem – always summarize the agreements at the end of each meeting, send out minutes of meetings at the end, when in doubt ask and ask more and keep the emails limited to the people who really need to know things. There are a lot of other ways also.

The key here is that when you listen, listen clearly. Do not already start thinking of your own response. When you speak, speak clearly. Ask and ask again, summarize to ensure that communication has happened like it should have.

5. Think win-win

Like every other relationship, trust and respect forms the foundation of your work relationships as well. The key to succeed to think win-win. If you want to step over somebody to get to higher position, then chances are that you too will get stepped upon. Think of making your team win and think of ways to make each person that you work with get to higher and better position. This would help create a healthy work culture in the organization or the team, which works for everybody in the long run.

There are many more that can be listed down. But these are the primary ones that each person working in a professional environment must keep in mind.

All the best for your endeavors!

ORGANIZED STUDENT LIFE: STRIVING FOR GOOD MARKS AMIDST FUN

People say student life is the best. Being a student was never a hard time for me. I have had enjoyed my academic life always. During school life, I managed to have a good student image but that doesn’t mean I never had fun. People say a student’s life should be organized and student should make the best of it. This is because student life is the phase where we grasp things quickly. Parents always ask their children to focus on their studies and to befriend the intelligent ones in their classes. At times it may happen that we get envious of intelligent children and would try to compete them. In that case we might end up getting our routine upside down. So how can we achieve an organized student life?

If I talk about myself, for me my academic life was always organized. I knew my caliber and strengths. Instead of being envious of toppers I used to work on my interest areas and tried to improve my grey areas. When I was in school my routine was fixed. It was my habit to wake up early, get fresh and start my day. I would go to school and there I would engage myself in whatever was being taught. However, I was never a studious girl. I just studied to learn new things and not more than that. Apart from studies, I used to participate in some of the extra-curricular activities but that was limited. When exams approached I would turn into a book worm and fortunately I got good marks. During college life too I was never so studious. I would attend classes and would study to learn what was being taught.

After I have passed out from college I feel I should have been more studious. It’s not that I slept late, woke up late and didn’t study appropriately. I mean to say the way I was organized during my school life was way better than my college life. Though I was a fun loving girl in college, I knew study is what I have to do on regular basis. During my entire student life, one formula that helped me a lot is- setting up goals. I remember when I was in my 10th standard, the short term goal was to work hard for final exams. I used to study for long hours. I did this, not because of the fear of exam but because I knew this is the only way that will help me to study for my exams. Despite of studying for hours I never forgot to enjoy my days and take rest. I had made a schedule and I followed it. In college, few more things got added up to the study schedule, they were: study buddies, watching short movies and taking up the notes. Every morning I would wake up and would start my day. No matter what happened I ensured I read atleast a page, not just for the sake of reading. This helped me in learning so many things. However I was never a topper. Honestly speaking, I never studied for getting good marks.

I enjoyed every single day. I went for partying with my friends but I ensured that study and party never gets mixed up. I feel proud that I never had an issue of low attendance. A good student is the one who knows what they have to do and plans accordingly. Whether you are in school or college, your focus should be on grasping things, utilizing the resources provided to you. Setting short term goals and striding towards the long term goals can really help us in making the best of our student life. When we study in groups then we learn things quickly. Apart from this, one must focus on keeping student life away from other things. I am not saying we should not get indulged in some other activities but having a balance between everything can really be helpful in making the best of our student life.

ORGANIZING HOME – WITH AN EVOLVING ME

Image result for balancing home quotes

Balancing life is a meagre excuse, for living and dedicating your full time to your family. My all perspective is bound to keep myself happier and fuller till I lay on my deathbed -with no regrets no missing bits and pieces that will leave me hanging between life and death.

Growing up watching a mom, who has an excellent pace in managing work and a home was a quite a motivational stir to me ever since I became a mom.  I always admired to be more like my mom, though it gave me heart-attacks when I have to deal with a mountain of patience and I just a small hump of it, which was indeed not helping.

An organized home is somewhere you find things right in every place it deserves to be. But yea, my home is never like that other than a few requisite items, everything else is misplaced ever since I am the homemaker and worst ever since I am a mom of two.

But over the front of making everything read on time from managing home, cooking, and getting kids on time for school – I have a not so bad scorecard.

As a daughter who follows her mother’s I have few valid points, which I feel one should adapt to get things organized.  Ever since I became a second-time mom, things changed, and literally, I had to juggle with responsibilities. Managing kids school, a baby and work as well as taking care of husband and home – it was never easy.

Accepting that nothing is easy -is the first realisation that helps me cope well with my everchanging world. The very easy way to adapt to changes is by accepting that it is like this nothing can be magical. (pinch me- its real)

Secondly – Never expect your work to be done by anyone else. ( a better piece of advice to carry on in life) .  Expectations, keep your level of procrastination a little higher. The best way is to evade all those false thoughts and just keep doing until you are banged with surprises. ( don’t you like those) .

Third  – Planning – Yes it helps in running away from stress. With kids, it is better you have a minimal planning done. Like keep the milk boiled and ready to be fed when your baby is asleep as meanwhile, you can spend a great deal of time with your elder one. Even planning your weekly groceries and menu for the days would be perfect when you have to pack your kid’s lunch (warning: Else spend your time wasting in front of your fridge, who gives you no positive reply other than the cold waves )

Fourth: Take occasional breaks, it gives you a recovery time and helps you relieve a lot of stress and helps you wake up fresh. The more you stress, the less organized you are. You need not just sleep – a book, a favourite movie or even a chit-chat with your best friend is good.

The happier you – the best-organized home you will be having – That is the key finding I did all along. These always helped me, as I moved from a homemaker to a freelance professional too.

(by Chiradeep Patra)

Mom’s Gyan: Always ensure you do everything on time “

This is the first thing that helped me to keep my home organised. Make sure you wake up, cook and keep your self-organized – as we are the pillars of the homes.

The better we – the better homes we bring in. 

ORGANISED WAY OF KEEPING FRIENDSHIPS AND RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships and friendships are the integral part of human life because man is a social living being. Without fruitful relationships of any kind it is really very difficult for us to live on in life. But sometimes we suffer for the relationships or for the friendships that we keep either because of those whom we once valued a lot in life or because of our mismanagement.

One of my friends always reminds me of not overdoing things in regards to relationships as according to her, being an empathetic person I always over do in all my relationships or I tend to over invest on them. I have my day to day colleagues as friends, I have real life friends, I have friends from different Social Medias like – Candles Online, Facebook, YourQuote, Instagram and so on. Above that I have my family members and relatives to deal with. I once had a lot of problem to keep track of my own life while chatting, talking with all of my friends as and when required. There were friends and relatives who used to share their hearts out and I just stay quiet and listen. There were friends and relatives who used to demand ‘a ping’ as compulsory every day. There were friends who used to ask for suggestions and advices from me. There were people who used to feel bad when I don’t reply. And moreover, there were my writer friends who needed my constant attention in regards to Candles Online. Here, in this list, I am excluding my family members, my close relatives and friends with whom I deliberately want to keep in touch. The pressure was high. At times, I felt there were friends surging out from all around and literally was suffocating me. When I felt things were going out of my hands and stressing me down, I decided, I will have to manage all my friends by categorizing them differently like – ‘when to talk’, ‘whom to talk’ and ‘how to talk’ etc…

Trust me, telling someone, ‘NO’ was very difficult for a person like me. The Bible verse – “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. The calling of my life is, to lay my life for all these people around me like my Saviour did for me once and for all. Laying my life doesn’t mean dying for them but also living for them. So saying, ‘NO’ was contrary to my call. But I had no options left. I felt I will suffer mental paralysis if I don’t organise my dealings with all of these people around me. Organising and disciplining myself in regards to my relationships and friendships are not saying, NO but it is enabling myself to handle them more efficiently without feeling pressurized.

The first thing I did was that I STOPPED all the sources of INCOMING MESSAGES – important and unimportant and simply stayed quiet for few days… no Whatsapp, no Facebook and nothing at all that could attract my attention in those few days. That helped me to get back to my real jovial self after being stressed out so much.

Secondly, I sat down and made a PRIORITY list as –

1. Can’t be avoided (example: Official, Candles Online and family)
2. Can be for a short time
3. Can be at a specified time
4. Can be attended if I am free

Lastly, I COMMUNICATED CLEARLY about how I should be interacting with each one of them. It is not at all an easy task but I managed to communicate that with love and care. Some might have felt hurt for sure but I know if they love me and respect me they would definitely understand why did I organise and make such stringent rules to my interacting with them.

Friends, relationships and friendships are the most beautiful things that can happen to us in life but if they become pain in the neck then it will be very difficult for us. Organising our interactions with all our friends and with the people we get in touch with and following a certain discipline is beneficial for both us and them.

Be disciplined and organising in regards to your interactions with people and friends…

Stay Blessed!

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: MAKE AMENDS AND CONTINUE IN LOVE

Looking around me, all I can see brokenness everywhere. When I see my friends, my family members and how all of them are going through difficult times my heart sinks down. And in that background writing an article on reconcilliation seems very articfial. But being called to be peaceloving person and a peacemaker, I am always up for reconciliation even when I don’t see a glimpse of hope in a strained relationship.

Let’s get back to the topic.

When psychologist Ryan Howes was asked in a given situation whether a person can forgive and reconcile, his response was – “You can still forgive. Reconciliation is a separate issue“. And he was absolutely right.

He also quotes famous author Lewis Benedictus Smedes who said in his book ‘Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve’ that – “It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.”

All the last SIX factors of reconciliation that we all read till now in this current week can be carried out one sidedly by a person who feels the need of reconciling with his/her loved one but the last factor needs TWO persons to join hands and move ahead to stay reconciled. And history says at this point, many go back to ground zero losing the battle of reconciliation or restoring a broken relationship.

Let’s analyse the phrase ‘making amends‘. The synonym for making amends is Restitution. The legal meaning of restitution isan order given by a judge to a convicted criminal to make amends for the crime where the judges often order people to pay restitution for the damage they cause. But to mend a broken relationship there’s no need of judiciary system but a system of heart and of love which inspire partners, family members, friends to make amends, restitute and cling to each other thereby, reconciling.

The system of love is as the Bible defines it, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The above concept of love is completely different from what the world teaches us today. Restitution or making amends is not possible unless we have this kind of love. The new law of a reconciled relationship demands me to make amends with my loved one by being patient with him or her which I lacked a lot previously; by being compassionate to my loved one which I failed often in the past; I have to make amends by not being envious, not being boastful or proud or dishonour or be selfish. I have to make amends with my loved one by compensating something which I lacked previously.

Many couples gather strength to reconcile and complete all 6 factors but they step back when they are asked to compensate their wrong, make amends and continue in love. Many times, I myself have lost the battles of making amends with my loved ones, with my wife and continue in love further. I pretend that I am happy and in love yet, I feel empty and deceived. There are many I know that are suffering with pretension and live their lives… They somehow live together but their hearts stay far apart from each other. They try to make amends and reconcile truthfully but they fail.

Friends! Trust me, it is not at all easy. Fogiving and moving ahead seems much easier than making amends and staying in love after reconciling a broken relationship. But the source of love, the creator God always helps us to understand LOVE and its effectiveness in any of our earthly relationships.

At the end, I can just give a simple advice of making a list of the things that can help us to make amends and try one after the other daily, trusting the Almighty and prayerfully staying in love in a reconciled relationship.

Stay blessed!