The Phd Mama joins us on In Conversation With this week. I have been following the wonderful Suchitra for a while now and love her blog. She is mum to two beautiful kids, an infant and a toddler. Suchitra writes about her adventures in parenting and living a multiracial life with her family. She is a a former Communications Studies Professor who is now a stay at home mum, reluctantly! Remember to check out her blog and to say hi to her on social media. Bloggers will want to know that Suchitra now runs a Linky called #BloggerBeatz. The linky runs from the 25th to the 27th of the month, so be sure to check it out!
How would your parents have described you?
This is a tough one simply because I left India over 16 years ago and even though my parents and I are really close and we visit each other when time and money permits, I spent all my 20s and now my 30s in the U.S. so I do believe I have changed in the time that I have lived apart from them. Still, I would think my parents would describe me as an ambitious go-getter, fiercely independent and loyal, passionate, and opinionated but large-hearted. They would definitely also say that I need to work on my patience and mindfulness around other people.
What family tradition do you cherish the most?
We are a young family still working on building our traditions and enjoying the practice and process along the way. For example, we recently started doing hot chocolate drinks following jumps in muddy puddles for which my son has recently declared his love. Starting in October, as a multiracial, international family, we get to celebrate a lot of different things. We start with celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween, then move on to the Hindu festival of Diwali, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, and finally, Christmas. There are a lot of traditions internal to these celebrations that I appreciate doing with my family. As to which one I cherish the most, I’ll get back to you on that in a few years 🙂
Did you enjoy being pregnant?
I did. I really did. Both my pregnancies were without any major health issues so I enjoyed them. I jogged a 5k race when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. With my second one, we did a coast to coast, cross country road trip from Chicago to San Jose (U.S.), a journey of over 2000 miles (over 3218 kilometers) in my first trimester, and flew international – 14 hours non-stop and then some more one way, and another 12 hours non-stop and then some on the way back, in my third trimester. I loved celebrating a growing belly every month with pictures, being the star of a baby shower my friends and husband had for me for our first child, organizing a gender reveal for my second child, making the OB appointments, watching my babies in my womb on the ultrasound…everything was memorable and very, very beautiful.
Of course, there were some not-so-beautiful moments with physical pain and such, but I took it all in stride as the side effects of growing human beings.
What was the hardest part about being pregnant?
The weight gain. I am still carrying 10 pounds from each pregnancy, so 20 pounds more than before I got pregnant, add another 5 and that makes it 25 pounds more from when I met my husband and I am NOT happy about that. I shed many a tears seeing my beautiful clothes just sitting in my closet, unable to part with them. One day when I am ready and have truly accepted my new body, I will donate them.
What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a parent?
I am still learning how to parent but I do wish I could be a calmer, a more patient mom. My kids are young so I do have time. Still, I really do envy people who seem to have their parenting act together, unless of course, it is actually only an act.
What is the one thing you never had that you want for your kids?
I can’t think of anything, really. I had a very good childhood and my parents did the best they could to raise my sisters and me. However, one thing I never had was the love of a grandfather. Both my grandfathers passed away at very, very young ages. That is why, I especially love the relationships my kids have with their grandfathers. That is something really special and I am so glad for them to have this love in their lives.
What do you miss about your life before you had kids?
Spontaneity. Just picking up and leaving and going wherever and doing whatever. I guess I miss that about my single life too. Haha.. More seriously though, I feel more complete now than I ever did, single or married. I sometimes marvel at the surreality of my life. I pause to sometimes reflect on my own individual self from a third perspective and I see this girl morph into this wife and mother, a grown up 30-something, a woman of whom I am proud. Where I am today is exactly where I have always wanted to be but with two caveats: (a) I do wish I had a career outside raising my kids, even a part-time one; and (b) I wish I had more serenity and calm in my life to benefit my kids and husband.
Other than the two points I mention above, I don’t miss anything. I am excited for my life with my young family. Touchwood.
What is the best thing about being a parent?
Learning and looking at the world from my kids’ perspectives. This feeling manifests itself in various ways; like when my toddler son learns a new word or my baby achieves a new milestone. Being there to witness these joyous moments is one of the best things about being a parent. I am sure these joys will change organically as the kids get older.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I am defining my younger self as when I was in my late-teens/20-year-old leading a single self living in India, attending University, and working as a journalist, loving every bit of everything I did – Develop patience NOW any way humanly possible! Take up yoga, meditation, mindfulness (although no such conscious thing existed back then), Vipassana…do them NOW, today, because, you are going to need it OH SO MUCH once you have kids…so, so much…stop doing whatever it is you are doing, and just go make patience happen for you in your life.
I know, I talk of patience like a commodity I could buy somewhere but if there is one thing I have learned as a parent, it is that you cannot deal with this parenting thing sufficiently well and with your sanity safe unless you are a very, very, very patient person.
You’re in the store with a full cart and your baby starts crying frantically…what do you do?
I am not sure. Thankfully, this hasn’t happened yet and my baby is kind enough to allow me to calm her down within a few minutes so I’d perhaps just stick it out and go through with my cart and finish my shopping. I try not to let other people bother me. It’s not easy but if I know I am doing the best I can for my kids under any given circumstance, I make my peace with the resulting consequences too. I have learned that, that is the best rationale to help me keep trying this parenting thing every day.
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