A MOTHER’S GUILT

Guilt is the feeling that comes when you fail to meet your own expectations. Understand that the feeling is an unmet expectation of yourself and not of the world. As a mother, I have felt guilty a number of times for leaving my son back home while I go to work. It is very common for a young mother to be tempted to quit her job and be with her baby at all times. I too had that temptation a million times. Well, but as they say feeling guilty is part of being a mother. Which guilt do you wish to live with, is the question to be rightly answered.

I have seen women who have felt extremely guilty for leaving their newborns in day cares or with maids so that they could work without an interruption. I also know of a lot women who feel guilty of leaving their shining careers because kids needed the attention at that time. So, when I became a mother I knew it is not glorious to do either of things. I need to choose which guilt is less and I am ok to live with.

And I chose to live with the guilt of leaving my son at home and focusing on my work.
Summer vacations are coming up and that is always a tricky time because it is impossible to keep the kids engaged at all times. Since last year my in-laws take my son to their place and he lives with them for a month or so during summer vacations. I have such fond memories of my summer vacations which were always with my parents and I want the same for my child; so it is a difficult decision for me.

However, I know that I cannot be at home for a month or even work from home for that long – and with that thought I let him go. The thoughts like “I am a bad mother, I am a selfish mother, and he is going to miss me so much, how he will stay without me etc.” are  devilish thoughts that I deal with every day. But I must do what I must do. My son is quite happy with his grandparents and he likes to be with them. He misses me but not as much as I fear. But the feeling still kills me.

I am sure there are many such moms like me who are struggling. But remember it is the quality of time that matters not the quantity. Kids grow up as long as they have right people to take care of them. So as long as you trust your child’s caretaker – go ahead for your take on the world. And if you are the mother who feels guilty of letting your own career down for the sake of the kid – believe in your choice. You know the best for your child and you will provide the best for him/her.

Choose which guilty road you are willing to take because I have learnt that feeling guilty is part of being a woman. Mother’s guilt is only natural and is the consequence of wanting to be a good mother to your child.

 

COOKING IS MY LEGACY

I was always a foodie, even now and will be forever.

So food was not something I stayed away from. I loved being in the kitchen, be it for cooking or for eating. I always enjoyed making things, even if it might not be perfect. I enjoyed watching my mom cook. My love for cooking comes from the way my mom cooked and served everyone, I believe.  I have always seen her making everything we all loved eating and even if she never gets a bite to eat, she served everyone, enough to fill their tummies and even their heart.

The ease with which she met our demands, was tremendous, in spite of being a working mom. Even when I was mocked for being fat, my mom was never reluctant to cook and make me eat. Every time any guest came to our house, our dining table was filled with dishes. She was never tired of trying new styles, which is why I and my brother were extreme foodies.

When I was a kid, I used to dream about food always. One of the ads which were my favorite was one of those oil advertisements.

Being foodies is not a crime. 😛

I would say, that was the only reason, I never enjoyed my hostel food as such.

In the first half of my life, I would say I spent eating rather than cooking. The rest a few years went into helping my mom and even making dosa for my brother, who was too small to cook. I remember even making, sandwiches, sausages, etc. for everyone when I was in my 6th or 7nth standard. Whenever my mom was unwell, I tried my best to cook. I always felt it was magical to make all those continuous circles on dosa, making it look so adorable.

Image result for making dosa

The early morning black tea was something, I enjoyed making. The wonderful aroma of it, kick starts my day.

Ever since I got married (when I was 20+), I began all my experiments with cooking. With multiple failures, I enjoyed cooking on my own, serving my guests, my colleagues and even my family who comes to visit us. Their encouraging words were boosting my skills too.

My greatest critic is my husband though. He ensured I was informed well, that I cooked disastrous and when nice, he kept silent, but I could observe it from the way he had food.

Again being mom, changes all your tastes, rather than eating, you prefer feeding everyone. Many even thought that me being a foodie, would never share anything from my plate but little did they realize that now after being mom, I have changed.

I would try cooking, baking, grilling and much more just for my kids. As a mom, I would want to feed them the very healthy food. So I included all kinds of foods on my daily menu. Cutlets, soups, noodles, all kinds of parathas, paneer (being my daughter’s favorite) and much more.

Cooking is much more fun when you just don’t all the ingredients but a pinch of love to it. And I realized you need not be a good cook always, but someone who loves to share a piece of what they have always. The added flavor of my cooking -is love, which made everyone happy and filled.

And I still continue my legacy, that I  carry from my mom. And she is still my mentor who is teaching me much more.

The joy of cooking comes from the joy expressed while serving it with the one who is in need of food. — SoulRecitals

REFUSING THE KNOCK OF TEMPTATION

Being tempted is not just one time incident. There’s temptation when a child secretly takes a peek or teeny weeny bite from Mama’s special dish for the guests. It lies in the curiosity of reading someone’s personal letter and leaking company secrecy. It lies in stealing chalks from classroom and going for bank robbery. It lies in giving an adulterous look and in raping someone. It lies in taking diet cokes and becoming a drug addict. It lies in teen time infatuation and in cheating beloved spouse. Every now and then temptation pings you. But the remarkable thing is temptation will always appears before you in its best and stunning form to entice you (Because the devil catches most souls in a golden net – German philosopher).

Now the question is “What to do, if temptation is so committed to me?” Shall I compromise and quote like Oscar Wilde?

Or, shall I say, I can resist temptation with my will power and strong sense of right and wrong?

In one of my youth leadership development training seminar, I and my colleague observed that in our class, there is a guy who is over-caring a girl and is doing his best to convince that girl for friendship. After our lectures we called that guy and tried to know his intention for that girl. Then he disclosed us that, “no sir, there is nothing. I am attracted by her beauty and am interested to have friendship with her!” So, we both advised him that, he is going in a wrong direction and needs to correct himself. During our counseling my colleague quoted him, “fleshly desires are very obvious during young age and it is a good hormonal symptom of our good physical condition. But our fleshly desires need to be under control.”

It is just an example. Like this there are also many other temptations (failing to take diet food, allowing filthy thoughts, staring at opposite sex lustfully, taking cigars/wine, visiting unwanted webpage) that we face every day. Each time we say, this is the last time, next time I will resist myself but alas. I also face many of these temptations in my everyday life. And I resist the temptation by thinking about the consequences and the fall of self-identity if I yield to it! We cannot deny the logical out-work of every action is a reaction. Suppose I take wine with my friend and babbles, then what will be my identity before my friend and people close-by! I will spoil my repute and tag myself as drunkard!

As I am weak before temptation, I need to depend and listen to someone who is strong enough to rescue me.

Who is that?

Is he another human like me?

Is that some human knowledge?

Is that any exercise?

It’s just seeking God’s help. God doesn’t allow temptation to overwhelm us. When we feel its pull, He shows us a way-out.” He shows us the rescue path by reminding us His commandments.

The first knock of temptation comes with an offer. Accepting the offer is giving birth to sin and sin gives birth to death. But all offers cannot be entertained so, the first refusal of the enticing offer can sustain you till the end.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Avinash

HOW TO RESIST TEMPTATIONS?

I asked a question to my near and dear ones: “How do you tackle the temptations when you come across them?” It is a broad question and can not be elaborated in short. What I meant was – “What is the first shield of protection you hold to resist the temptation you face?”  In fact I went back to the same persons and asked this specific question and their replies were same.  The replies were:

“I ask myself if I really can do without it.  I take time.”

“I increase my will… If I have to lose weight, then I determine not to eat Puchka…(Crispy Indian Snack)” 😉

“Well… I give in to some and resist some…. I don’t resist all temptations… and the ones I do, I use logic to resist…”

“Depends on my will power at that point of time and my state of mind… Sometimes I just give in and when I do – I try not to feel guilty… My shield is – distraction.”

“I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself.”

“I will do just a prayer to God to help me through the situation…”

“Think of the consequences.”

“I first think what will happen to my identity.”

“Prayer – that’s the key for me. Taking it to God.”

“I will think if its really necessary for me…”

“I will rely on my sense of right and wrong…. The first thing I will remind myself that it’s not the right thing to do… And I have this very bad habit of trying to be in everyone’s good books… So I will be conscious of how will I look to others if I do this…”

The replies were commendably honest and fabulous. I appreciate all to have let their hearts open before me.

Now, let’s get into a study of the word ‘Temptation‘.

The web or Google dictionary defines it as: “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” So a temptation is always something WRONG that we fall into.

Vocabulary.com explains it as: “Temptation is something you want to have or to do, even though you know you shouldn’t.” So a temptation is wrong and we KNOW it while falling prey to it.

Wikipedia describes it as: “Temptation is a desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals. It is the inclination to sin.” So a temptation can CAPTIVATE it’s prey.

There’s one Christiananswers.net which defines it as: “Temptation is common to all.” So a temptation is UNAVOIDABLE in life.

WOW!

We got to know some facts about the word Temptation  which I have mentioned above in CAPITAL case.

Now the question arises, “how to resist the temptations?”

  1. Fleeing Away from it: I loved a reply which goes like this, “I take time”. It is always safe when we take ourselves away from the temptations… from the place… from the object of temptations etc. Another reply was, “Distraction”. That is also a similar kind of strategy that keeps us away from the direct effects of temptation. The Bible instructs us: “flee from the youthful lusts”, “flee for lives…” etc. So sometimes FLEEING AWAY from the area of temptation helps us to resist it because it is not very easy to resist it.
  2. Practice on a Daily Basis: Another reply was, “I increase my will or have a strong will power…”. Having a strong determination or will power really helps us to resist the temptations, but it is not at all easy as temptations are plenty and unavoidable in life. So how to increase our will power? It’s a daily affair… we need to consider many such things in our life that are weakening our will power. Recognizing them and getting rid of them are important in our practice of being determined. So how to do that? Avoid pornographic contents, jokes, talks, erotica etc., if you are being tempted to sexual stuffs. Instead make a habit of reading good contents, studying scriptures, staying in safe places, watching good movies etc. Another thing we need to consider is that with whom do we associate on a daily basis…? Who are our friends…? Peer pressure and friend circle are the biggest reasons behind our being led into different kinds of temptations. They totter our will power… so it is better to change our friend circles if they are not helping us to resist the temptations. The Bible instructs, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” That helps a great deal for sure in strengthening our mind and will power.
  3. Be Accountable to Someone close: Sometime ago I asked one of my sisters to be a person whom I will report everything that I do… It is not that she will instruct me or keep a check on me but that helps. It reminded me that if I have to tell her the truth about myself then I need to do what is right… It is not easy to do that but why not give it a try. One of the replies above was, “I ask my loved ones to stop me from getting tempted. They remind me why at the first place I tried to stay away from that temptation itself”.
  4. Relying on a Greater Strength: Two of the above replies were about “Praying to God” which is really very essential. The carnal desires are very natural and defeating them with carnal strength is daunting and sometimes impossible. So divine intervention always makes things easier for us. Prayer is the way we stay connected to our Creator God. Another reply was about relying on our conscience, on our sense of right and wrong… Staying connected to the divinity sharpens our conscience. We become sensitive to the wrong and right things in life… It becomes easier for us to differentiate between a right thing and a wrong thing. I remember one more scripture portion where it says, “…when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. Wow! That’s amazing! Our loving God is always ready to help us and show us a way out whenever we call on to Him.

Concluding my article I would like to say that, temptation is like an apple kept in front of you after you are starving for hours without eating anything. Before you think about your identity, about the consequences, about using our logic to resist you fall flat in the trap of temptations… It is not so easy to resist the temptations of life but take heart it is not impossible either. Somebody very close to my heart says,

There have been times in which I have yielded to temptations too, even after knowing God’s standards fully well. Then the only way out is to confess and seek HIS forgiveness. As a reflection, I have always come to the conclusion that whenever I have given in to temptation, I have placed someone/something over and above God.

Let’s gather ourselves today, tighten our belt on the waist and stand firm to RESIST the temptation by considering all above.

Stay Blessed!!!

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?

Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?”

THE TEMPTER’S DART

I made this presentation keeping in mind the spiritual implication of temptation according to what I understand from the Bible. I am sure this can be a great help in our practical life as well. 

TEMPTED TO TAUNT

We’ve all known that nosy kid in school who loved to tease and taunt us for having a broken shoe, or funny hair, or being on the heavier side. Yes, we all hated him. Many of us have also know adults who taunt out of habit, maybe not because they mean harm, but because taunting is a part of their behavior now. If you are one of them, this post is especially for you!

Two days back I was at a friend’s son’s Birthday party.  She stays with her in-laws and her parents were going to come to the event as well. Both sets of parents are generally very kind-hearted and good-natured people. But occasionally there comes an awkward statement or two.

So this Friend’s parents arrived, and the moment they came, they sought to meet with my Friend’s In-laws, who greeted them warmly and asked after their health. All was hunky-dory up until the moment the MIL said to my Friend’s Mother,

‘Isn’t this the same sari you wore to our Gudi Padhwa function? I thought today you’ll wear something different…’

Okay, so awkward moment right there. Everyone ignored it. The poor Mother said something like it’s my favorite and changed tactics by complimenting the MIL’s sari.

But throughout the evening, the MIL was heard taunting someone or the other –

What a beautiful neck-piece! (Thanks from the Mother and a beatific smile spread on her face) But how clever of you not to gift this to X (my Friend)? Keeping all the good stuff to yourself, eh? (She jokingly patted her Samdhan’s arm)

The rest of the evening my Friend’s Mother wore a sombre look, and later I heard the MIL ask my Friend what had happened to her mother. Really?

Oh, you guys are eating this (my Friend was eating a plate of pani-puri with me)? You shouldn’t! Look how heavy you two are. When I was your age, my waist was still as slim as ever, even after two kids.

My poor friend immediately stopped eating and I felt guilty hogging it all by myself.

O Pradita, you’re a sweetheart. Thank you for gifting him (my Friend’s Son) these books, even though….he has so many already (made faces while she turned away from me but I still saw it, at which point I told my Friend that I had no intention of being anywhere near her MIL for the rest of the evening).

After having caused so much drama, I was told by my friend later (I had already left the party by then) that as her parents were leaving, the MIL was overheard apologizing profusely to my Friend’s Mother for her bad behavior. Thank God, good sense prevailed!

So as you can see, in some cases, the MIL didn’t really mean to hurt her audience. She was just making observations and airing her thoughts. In one case at least, I think she meant us good by asking us not to binge. She even apologized later for her conduct. So the realization was there that she had done wrong, but she wasn’t able to control the temptation to taunt.

Such people are the kind who are always tempted to make a comment or other gesture to tease or upset those around them, even if they mean it only as a joke, or as a harmless thing. They do this because it’s become a part of their nature. It helps them exert their power or influence over others, or because they have an inherent insecurity that they want to hide by deflecting attention to someone else’s flaws. Their urge to make a point or have themselves heard is strong, and they give in to it each time, only to look like fools, and maybe even apologize later.

You may not be one of them, or you may be doing it unknowingly, without meaning any harm to anyone, but as tempting as it sounds, as fun as it may look, do not give in to the temptation of teasing people habitually! An occasional banter is alright between friends and family, but know your limits. 

Why am ‘I’ saying this to you? What right do ‘I’ have to preach on this topic?

Because I’ve done it in the past.

Throughout college I was known as a motor-mouth, who would taunt, tease and humiliate others just for the fun of it. I wasn’t always like this though. And to be sure I’ve been bullied a lot too. But in college I decided to be a bully!

Much later I realized that I did this to hide my own insecurities, because I felt alone, the odd man out or just clumsy sometimes, but that wasn’t any excuse for the way I behaved. Of course, it came at a huge cost. I was rewarded by a loss of friends and trust. It hurt to see so many of my friends walk away from me because I made an unchecked remark on their attire, their behavior or their choices. Things that I could have easily avoided… but didn’t!

So what should you do when the temptation to taunt strikes? Here are some pointers for you –

  1. Resist – That’s the only, sure-shot way to overcome this temptation. With other kinds of temptations maybe you can avoid the source of temptation, but with this you cannot because the source is mostly within your social circle. You can’t avoid that!
  2. Check your Speech and Tone – Often taunters have a peculiar way of saying things, like a ‘taunting voice’. You know when it’s bubbling over your tongue to spew forth. The moment it happens, hold your tongue, shut your mouth, and mull over the words you’re going to say. Do they sound caustic, sharp, teasing? Ask yourself how would you feel if someone said this to you. Ask yourself why you need to make that comment at all. It’ll give you a chance to calm yourself down  and besides, chances are, that by the time you’re done with this internal tête-à-tête, your urge to taunt would have evaporated. Problem solved!
  3. Ignore – So you see someone ill-dressed and you want to tell them it does not suit them at all? Who died and made you King? Unless you see someone doing themselves great harm, ignore the source, keep your comments and suggestions to yourself, and let someone else do the pointing out.
  4. Rephrase – Okay, so you have to make that comment. Rehash it in your head, and then reword it. Ensure that it sounds like a suggestion or a compliment, not as a taunt.
  5. Apologize – So you gave in and taunted someone?! Apologize… ASAP, if you don’t want to lose your friends or family. An apology will not belittle you, it’ll only show the strength of your character. Never let an unchecked comment go without repairing the harm you’ve caused. It’ll always come back and bite you in the a*%!

I hope you’re not one to taunt, but if you are, then I really hope you take these pointers and help yourself resist the temptation. Not all temptations are bad, but this one only ensures that you become an unwelcome person in your circle. So, unless you plan to be a hermit and live in social isolation, repeat this mantra whenever you’re tempted to taunt,

Thou shalt not taunt,

Thou shalt not tease.

Thou shalt not say anything,

That does not the heart please. 

Pradita Kapahi

thepraditachronicles.com

 

YUMMY TEMPTATIONS AND MY MONKEY!

It was 6 pm and she was standing in a queue, waiting for her turn to order sprouts salad. Cafeteria was as usual crowded at this hour and she was in a hurry to get home since it was Friday evening and she was very much looking forward to the weekend. Just one more person ahead of her and she saw another person walk away with yummy red pasta topped with cheese. “Oh god, I wish I could eat this! Just 6 more kgs to go – once I am my ideal weight, I will eat it”. But her mind kept going back to that beautifully decorated dish of red pasta with a portion of garlic bread.

Her turn came to place order and determined to have that sprouts salad she said “How much is the red pasta for?” The waiter replied something that did not really matter to her. “Ok, I will have a red pasta with topped cheese – TO GO please”.

As soon as she turned her face away, she said almost aloud “What the hell is wrong with me?” Then there was an inner voice telling her “It’s ok, it is Friday anyways. I can restart my dieting on Monday again. Monday is always a good day to start such things. And I had a tough week with those crazy deadlines, I do deserve a treat. Or maybe I should make it a deal to have something good every Friday evening.”

Well, this is my story. I struggle with my cravings for fried junk food. I have found myself in this situation innumerable times. No matter how determined I am to have something healthy – I change my mind as soon as my eyes fall upon that yummy cheesy burger, doughnut, maggi, kurkure or potato chips.

I have read books on controlling your diet. In the past, I have even hired a dietician. But what really happened was that I ended up paying her every month only to avoid talking to her. She would ask me for updates on my diet chart and I really cannot put pasta in there – she will kill me. And I cannot lie to her, right? I am paying her for this and then if I lie to her – what’s the point? So, the only way was to find some excuse to not update the diet chart and to not take her calls.

I am about 13 kgs overweight as per my BMI and it bothers me. I don’t mind working out in gym in fact working out is the best stress buster for me, but all my sweating out in gym goes down the drain because of my eating habits. Almost every morning I go on a diet and by evening I am off it and cycle repeats it over and over again. It just leaves me frustrated and unhappy. “You just need determination to do this” people say. Yeah, well – it isn’t simple to have this demon named determination.

Recently, I was reading a book and that had nothing at all to do with diet or food – but somehow it inspired me a lot because it said “It is all in the brain. Your mind has power to make this world change”. Well, how difficult can it be to control your mind? Mind if let loose is like a monkey that keeps jumping around aimlessly. It doesn’t stay still. It keeps thinking and it keeps getting attracted to all the temptations around. It takes immense practice and patience to control this monkey. Even a bit of carelessness – this monkey will jump onto the next temptation it sees around and will get stuck to it.

My practice is on and my patience has been tested a million times. But am I here to give up on my monkey? No, not definitely.

The same books and same dietician is helping me now. The knowledge is the same and it is coming from the same sources. Balanced diets, eat regularly every 2-3 hours, keep food with you all the time, do not step into cafeteria at 6 pm – these some of the best practices that I am now following to keep my cravings in control.

I learnt an important lesson in life. It is not just about food, it could be anything – alcohol, drugs, sex, smoking, shopping, gambling etc. It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with is, knowledge is all there in the world, people have written books and have multiple research on resisting temptations. There are a plenty of rehabs for people who are addicts. But none of this will work unless you learn to tame this monkey in your head. YOU and only YOU can have control over YOUR monkey.