Hello my dear friends, how are you today? Welcome back to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. We are rapidly approaching a major milestone here on this podcast and I am excited to share all about it with you but may be in the next episode. This week I have a lot on my mind that I want to talk about. I have been thinking about this for the longest time and had even started planning the outline for this kind of episode before but it never really happened. This is not my regular step by step style episode. This episode is more like a conversation between friends who are different but still have similar journeys, they have a lot to share and a lot to talk about. Today it is about all those jumbled up thoughts that we have in our mind but we never really speak it out publicly. It is little bit about that pinching mom guilt, little bit about that struggle to be a good mom, good wife , good person, little bit about that nudging body image, in all it is all about struggle to be “better me”. Are you ready for this deep and thought provoking episode? Of course not before happy moments of the week.
Happy moments of the week.
This week temperatures are finally getting a little better where we live. We took the complete advantage of the nice weather this weekend. We played in our backyard after such a long time. Mihir and I went on a run after months. I almost lost my rhythm and stamina to run so it took us way too long to finish a mile. But I am thinking of starting it again since the weather is slowly getting better here. I am still not sure about running but I definitely want to give it a try. But this week, even though it took me too long to finish a mile, I had the most amazing time with Mihir. We enjoyed every minute of it. As the weather is getting better, Maitreyi is already dreaming about popsicles and ice-creams, of course we are too. Spring and Summer are my favorite seasons so I am really looking forward to the warm weather. This week, I had a small glimpse of how my weekends can go in spring and summer. I love it, I love the outdoor time in nature, it is one of the best ways to make memories that stay forever with you. I wish to have many more warm days like this soon. The glimpse of warm weather was definitely my highlight of the week for me. What about you my friend? How was your week? Did you do anything fun? How’s the weather where you live? I am excited to hear all about it. I always have a post in my Facebook group, Morning Cup of Sunshine community. Come join me there and let’s have some hearty chats.
Alright, time to dive in today’s episode. Better me. When I was a small girl, we used to get the newspaper dropped at our doorstep every single day, that uncle used to shout out loud, “ newspaper” I used to run out to get our copy as soon as I heard his voice. I loved reading the newspapers, especially the additional supplements that used to come with the main newspaper. Saturday, Sunday were special, supplements on weekends were extra special. They used to have so many interesting articles. I loved reading them. I still remember cutting and filing my favorite articles. They used to come really handy while preparing for a elocution competition. There used to be a small magazine which used to be published every first Wednesday of the month and it used to be delivered as part of that day’s news paper. The name of that magazine was Chatura. It used to have interviews of successful women in a variety of fields. This magazine was my most favorite thing to read. I still remember reading an interview of Kalpana Chawala in that magazine, I was in awe of her intelligence and her humble way of putting things into perspective. She was truly an inspirational woman. I even remember reading an interview of a widow who lost everything and had 3 kids to feed, but then she started a small business of selling vegetables. She was courageous and innovative. She started cleaning and chopping the vegetables and then delivering them in pre-portioned bags. She started ground up and then built her business which then had around 100 women working for her. I remember looking at her charming and smiling face and thinking if a simple woman like her can achieve something this big, what can I who had a comparatively privileged childhood do to achieve something big. I don’t know if I even knew what that big thing I wanted. I don’t recall knowing the exact thing that I wanted to achieve but I remember getting inspired by every single story in that magazine. I still feel that inspiration somewhere in my bones. I don’t know maybe that is the reason why I am so fixated on becoming the better version of myself every single day. But for the past few days, I have been thinking about the better version and why not accept the way I am. Why this hustle to be better why not slow down and just accept the way I am right now. I get inspired very easily, I have noticed that about myself. Somehow, I am able to keep that inspiration and remain motivated most of the time but the flip side to that is I keep working on something or the other. I never rest, I hardly feel accomplished as I have something else already lined up. That is where my conflicting thoughts start flowing. Why better me? Why not as is me? Do you have these kinds of thoughts? How to keep the ambitions and aspirations in check? Is it bad to have an ambitious mind? Is it bad to want more from life? We have been taught to adjust, adapt and accommodate. But what if I want to break the barriers? What if I want to set a different path? What if I want to travel on an uncharted territory? The struggle becomes even more intense when you start having additional responsibilities as a wife or especially as a mother. Does it make me less of a mom or a wife if I start thinking about my own passions and interests? What if I want to work on improving my skills? What if I want to get better at something that I really love? But again, is it really necessary to work tirelessly to improve? Are we really trying to improve or just trying to hide our shortcomings? Why not accept yourself the way you are and take it from there?
Do you have any areas in your life where you think you want to get better at but are there any areas where you feel at ease and would love to stay where you are right now? I feel we judge ourselves the most. I feel we are always running some kind of a race. Sometimes that race is against some invisible person who we think has done it all and we want to be like that person. Sometimes the race is against time, we want to do so many things in a very small time frame. We feel that rush to achieve something. Sometimes that race is against the past ourselves, we try to go back in time and change something that has completely transformed. I don’t know why we run these kinds of races all the time. It becomes second nature, sometimes we realize it and sometimes, we don’t even realize that we are running. We never rest, we never look back upon our own journey. It is all about moving forward, isn’t it. But today, I want you to pause while you listen to this episode. Just sit down and reflect on how long you have come. Try to remember those sleepless nights you might have spent studying for your exams, those unending battles to get to where you are right now. You don’t have to be a monument of success to feel proud about yourself. See how well you are raising your kids, see how well you are taking care of your family. See how well you are balancing your work and your family life. Aren’t those simple things worth mentioning? Why are you so hard on yourself? I know I talk a lot about being a better version of yourself every single day. But I really want to reflect on those words. It is not about being better at everything or rather try to be better at everything at the expense of your own mental sanity. It is about better at the things that you love and want to grow. It is about nurturing your raw talent and not about forcing you into some kind of disciplined plan.
When I came to the USA, I felt lost. I did not have many friends around. I did not have my family around. It was just Rushi, me and Mihir. Mihir was hardly 7-8 months. I was a new mom, who was struggling to find her identity in this new country. I felt stuck, lost and most importantly I felt alone. It was hard to adjust to new surroundings. I know so many of us go through similar experiences but there are very few who talk about it. We have been taught for years not to talk about struggles and rather put on a brave and happy face in front of others. I don’t know why this is considered the norm. Why do you hide your struggles? Won’t you get help if you ask for it? I am saying this all after 8 years, but when I was going through that hard phase, I also did not speak up. I struggled in silence. Everybody thought I had a perfect life, but only I knew how hard it was to get through each day. Those days definitely made me strong, those days made me value what I have now. Those days definitely made me realize what I want and what I don’t want in my life. When I reflect on those days now, I feel how I can help other moms who might have similar struggles. I know everything changes after you become a mom. Society paints such a rosy picture of motherhood but only mom herself knows her own struggles. You put on a happy and enthusiastic face for your kids even on that hardest day. Every single mom goes through those hard days and still instead of supporting each other unconditionally, we divide us between a working and stay at home mom, a mom with house help and the one with not, so many different divides. Trust me, nobody has it easier. It does not matter if you are working or not, if you have help or not, the struggle is there. Why not come together as a community and support each other unconditionally? Why all those judgements ? Why struggle in silence? Why a hidden competition to be a better mom? No, there is no comparison. There is no better mom. I have said it multiple times but let me repeat you are the best mom for your kids. Trust that forever. Don’t fall in a trap to be a better mom. Why better mom, why better me? Let’s just accept the way we are, let’s love the way we are right now. You are unique, amazing in your own way. That uniqueness, that realness will be far more authentic than a rush of winning some invisible race. I understand it is not that easy as the world is full of things that sometimes make you feel short. You are beautiful only if you are of certain size or height or color. If you don’t fit this norm, then forget about society even you don’t love yourself. I don’t know who made these norms and why? But we have been trapped in those norms without even realizing it. I don’t know how many times I have cried because I could not lose my weight. I don’t know how many times I thought of myself as a failure because I could not stick to my workout or diet plan. I don’t know how many years I have been making the same resolution year after year. I don’t know when all this madness started, definitely it’s been quite a few years. I feel trapped in that circle, you lose weight, you get comfortable and then you gain weight and the wheel never stops turning. I know, there are a lot like me. I know, I am not alone. This is not something that is too uncommon but somehow, we never talk about it. We shy away from speaking about it. This perfect body image that everyone has in their mind needs to be shattered once and for all. You take care of your body because you love it and not because you want it to be a certain way. You don’t take care of your body because you want to look better instead love it, take care of it because you want to feel better. Not just better looking me, it is about feeling better about me.
I know, this episode is completely free form, but I had all these things on my mind for days. I know each of these topics, ambitions, mom guilt, body image can be separate episodes. But I did not want to wait for each episode to talk about those topics. I am seeing so many women around me who are working so hard to be a better version of themselves, be it in their job or as a mom. They are working so hard just to fit in the norms that society made for them. I wanted to talk to all those women today and assure them to break those norms. You are an incredible person the way you are. You sacrifice so much for your family, your loved ones, your job, your kids that you are already the best version of yourself. Just take a break and appreciate all the things that you are already doing. First of all accept yourself the way you are. Life is all about experiencing a full spectrum of emotions. Life is never all rainbows and unicorns and it is also not about suffering in silence. Life is about all sorts of experiences and learning through those experiences. It is about making some hard decisions, making some difficult choices. Sometimes it is better to let go of something rather than holding on to them wishing they will stay with you forever. It always comes down to choices. It should be your choice to focus on things that you love. It should be your choice whether to work or stay at home with your kids. It should be your choice whether to follow a routine, known path or create your own path. Be brave enough to believe in your chosen path. There might be some obstacles but if you believe in your own journey, you will just see those obstacles as challenges and not as the end of your journey. I want you to reflect on your wish to be a better version of yourself. See if you really want to be better at something, is it for your own sake or just because you are part of some kind of a race? Self compassion will take you farther than just some harsh self discipline. Be gentle, be focused and be you !! You are in competition with no one. You are not in any kind of a race. Don’t keep the desire to be better than anyone else in any shape or form. Just focus on you, love yourself, set yourself free of all those barriers which are holding you back from reaching your true potential, then and only then you will be a “better you”.!!!