Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"New-age Parenting" | What is that?

Now a days, I come across a lot of literature and buzz on "new age parenting".  Honestly, I did not understand what these words really meant - Is it parents of the new age? i.e., really about the era you are parents in? Or is it really about the "man and women" truly being equal partners at home and the workplace?

I did not find a conclusive answer till I heard these words - "New Age Parenting is about the mom and dad being able to effectively replace each other in "doing" every day stuff for the kids" - Be it changing diapers, buying stuff for the kids, cooking their meals, feeding them, sending them to school, getting homework done, monitoring their TV / digital activities, taking them to the movies, baking a cake with them, etc. Wow! I thought to myself... But how many of these parents exist? How many do you know?

As I look around me - I broadly see that there are many categories of new age parents

The New Age Mom - who can really do everything the father can on a daily basis for the kids - from ferrying kids around, to playing a sport with the kids, to being the couch potato in front of the TV! Most educated / working mothers (whose spouse is supportive and empowers his wife) fall in this category

The New Age Dads - who are the hands-on dad's and can change diapers, cook the kids meals and send them to school. A very small percentage of dad's actually fall in this category

The Traditional Mom - who defines her boundary to be confined to the 4-walls within the house, and everything outside is the man's responsibility. She does everything at home, and does not even make an attempt to know / push the envelope. A large part of the cause may be her upbringing or the marital set-up she is in.

The Traditional Dad - whose role definition is to earn and provide for the family. Once at home, he will not do anything. Many times it is because of the way he has been brought up and his belief system of what a man should do, and what a woman should do. Even the 'intent' to contribute does not exist - no matter what! And he sees nothing wrong with that because he knows no other way! If asked to help, he will say he cannot / will not do it / not interested - and walk away! When things get out of hand, he will say "I can't do it. If you don't want to do it - Hire help and get it done"

As I sign-off, I'd like to hear from you on what type of parenting do you see around you? Leave a comment to let me know..

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in India, Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Life Lessons from 5 Days of a Digital Detox Diet

A few weeks ago, unexpected circumstances coupled with personal choices compelled me to stay-away from the digital world for a day. So really what it meant was - no mails, no FaceBook, no Twitter, no Whatsapp... And really very limited mobile phone usage also.

I was unsure how I would live through the day. But at the end of the day - I felt WONDERFUL! So I thought "Why not extend this state of being for 5 days?" and the deal was sealed. There just was one hitch - Given that a lot of my professional responsibilities as a new age (digital) marketer compel me to be 'digitally connected' and the fact that I love social media and blogging - made it seem that it would be tough to honor the self-made deal.. Nevertheless, I was determined to make an attempt. And I did manage to be on a Digital Detox Diet for almost 5 days.

The whole experience was an eye-opener; and also made me realize so many things about myself, digital / social media, people, relationships, and life itself.

In this post, I am sharing the life lessons I took away at the end of this diet

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in India, Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dear Mr. Maslow – Does your “hierarchy of needs” apply to the “Working Mom”?


I think I first came across the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a teenager. The theory fascinated me a great deal as it put an over-arching framework to human motivators, behaviors and life itself!

For those who don’t know, Maslow wanted to understand what motivates people. He believed that people possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fullfil the next one, and so on. The earliest and most widespread version of Maslow's (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs includes five motivational needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramide
This five stage model can be divided into basic (or deficiency) needs (e.g. physiological, safety, love, and esteem) and growth needs (self-actualization).The deficiency, or basic needs are said to motivate people when they are unmet. Also, the need to fulfil such needs will become stronger the longer the duration they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food the more hungry they will become.

One must satisfy lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.[Src : SimplyPsychology]

Ever since I became a working mother myself, I can’t help but ponder on the application of the hierarchy of needs apply to the working mom.

As I look at all the working mothers around me, I’m fascinated by some of the observations I see –
Almost all working mothers I know compromise of one of these needs – sleep (or adequate rest), food (or eating healthy) , clothes (or personal grooming if you will) or sex! 

And based on the women at work survey I did, the key reasons for women to work is to leverage their knowledge and skills, to be productive and for financial independence.


So in an attempt to reach the "Esteem stage", these women appear to be short-circuiting / fast-tracking the "Psychological / Safety / Social" stage of life. In the long run, this is sure to have impact in their life?

What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A round-up of my best "Mummy" posts for Mother's Day!


So Mother's Day is on Sunday (10 May 2015)! According to Wikipedia, Mother's Day is a modern celebration honoring one's own mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world - most commonly in the months of March and May! Social media is abuzz on whether mother's need a special day to celebrate motherhood. Of course, NO! Once you are a mother, you will always be a mother - And no one can take that from you!

If you've read my blogs, you will know that several of my posts are related to my journey as a mother. So on the occasion of Mother's Day, I'm sharing a round-up of my best "Mummy" posts.. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as a I enjoyed writing them! And just so you know, my journey as a writer / blogger began at the same time as my journey as a mother - So both are somewhat co-related and dear to me!

The 12 Most Wonderful Moments in the 1st year of Motherhood [My 1st ever post which went viral, and was shared by Hollywood celebs :) ]

What it means to be a Mother?

Will you let "HER" fly?

My Secret Wishlist for my Girls

A 3 year old and Gandhiji's 3 Monkeys

The Ultimate pre-parenting Checklist Manifesto

P's in my life.. and Parenting

The 3 Most Difficult Lessons to teach your children

The positive changes motherhood brings

Are you ready to be a mother?

My Mum is better than yours

Who is your child's anchor?

Mummies and Worries - Born Together

The Most Common Parenting Mistakes - Are you making them too?

Oh! Maternal Love - Where art thou?

What will be your parental value 50 years from now?

In some ways, we end up like our parents

Dear Mama / Papa - Please give me a good name

——————————————————————————————————————————————
Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Open Letter to anyone working with pregnant women

I’m a mother of 2 kids. So, I’ve been pregnant twice. Both the pregnancies were somewhat similar – ~9 months of ‘playing a part in (co-)creating a new life’, and yet very different in how I felt at the end of it all. Any gynecologist or woman who has 2 (or more) kids will vouch for the fact that no two pregnancies are ever really the same; and rightly so.  You are a different person – older by few years than when you experienced it the first time round. You know a lot more of babies and motherhood by virtue of first-hand experiences. Your body has changed physically. You think and feel differently. Add to it the fact that no two individuals in the world are ever similar; and by that logic - your two babies will be different, so they will have a different effect on you and hence you feel differently with each.

From personal experience, I can say that a woman’s physical health, emotional state of being, mental stress, financial standing and social support system go a long way in helping her sail through her pregnancy.

And yet, as I look back at my life – I also recognize that the role of my workplace environment played a significant role in how I felt during my pregnancies. Simply because if you are in a corporate job – Then work (including travel time) can take anywhere between 9 – 11 hours a day, i.e, ~50% of your day and ~70% of the time you are awake! So how your manager, colleagues / co-workers connect, converse and interact with you make all the difference.

In this regards too, both my pregnancies were very different. During one, my team was supportive and made an effort to help me tide through – with a joke or genuine concern or just listening and acknowledging my point of view. And in the other, my team was indifferent, cold and distant. As I look back and analyze the difference, I recognize that both were very different in terms of team composition – specifically on the phase of life the individuals were in (single, married, parent) – So instances where people were single, they just couldn't understand / look at things from my point-of-view! Before you assume I am pointing fingers at anyone, let me say – NO. That is not the intention of why I am writing this post! I am writing it because after my own journey to motherhood, I have interacted with several hundreds of working women, and a vast majority have been through some form of “unavoidable” stress / pressure at the workplace during their pregnancy tenure. And almost everyone of them said that a lot of the stress is completely "avoidable" - if people are a little sensitive and kind to her needs.

So I thought of compiling an Open letter to anyone working with pregnant women based of collective observations, insights and experiences of women who’ve been there and done that.

Do read through and keep in mind when you are interacting with any pregnant woman at work:

1)   Pregnancy is a new experience for her too , and she is learning everyday about herself, her baby, life, people, her spouse, her family, her body, her emotions. So acknowledge and accept it!

2)   During pregnancy, she is dealing with more than you can ever know or imagine (If you’ve been pregnant before, you’d know!)

3)   That somewhere deep down, she is vulnerable and goes though moment when she unsure about everything! All she needs to know at that moment is “This too shall pass”. So say it like you mean it!

4)   This is an important phase / chapter of her life. Her thoughts, emotions and choices will impact her life in ways she can never really know fully / imagine.

5)   That she is not terminally ill ; so she does not need to be treated that way

6)   That she is not mentally ill ; and again she need not be treated that way

7)   And just to lay it out on the table clearly, here are things you can do to help

a.   Respect and Accept her choice: So she is on the way to ‘motherhood’ and whether it is by choice / not, she is on that journey.
b.   Don’t comment on her appearance ; A lot is beyond her (personal) control
c.   Don’t judge her eating habits ; A lot is beyond her (personal) control
d.   Don’t make it physically more taxing for her ; she is already going through a lot physically
e.   Don’t stress her out ; mentally and emotionally – Be sensitive and kind. If you can’t do / say anything to help – keep shut! Better to do no harm even if you can’t do good!
f.    Don’t comment on her ‘yet-to-be-born’ baby. And yes, don’t call her baby “That thing”. It is not a thing. It is a baby with life. You were a baby once!
g.   Understand that there may be hormonal changes which could affect productivity, focus, concentration and effectiveness; so if you can bear it / live it temporarily, do it. If not, let her know that it is not working out and why? Whether or not she appreciates your honesty at that moment, she will be grateful for your honesty in the long run!
h.   Don’t compel her to make any commitments on her long term career plans. Honestly, she might just change her plans once she sets eyes on her baby!
i.    Don’t penalize her for her work related choices / decisions for medical reasons. For e.g.: Inability to travel
j.    And yes, When she has her delivery – It would be nice if you can wish her. You may be busy with the most important task in the world, but all you need to do is to squeeze in sometime to say “Congrats”. As a new mother, it means a lot to any woman that her workplace shares her joy as she embarks on a new phase of her life 

Most important, Don’t screw with her career – in terms of negative work performance comments / remarks just because her negotiation power is weak.  Trust me – The law of karma almost always works, and it will come back to you. Sometime. Somehow. The competitive corporate rat-race is real and makes sense if the game is between you and her, but when you play dirty games with her because of her unborn child, ask yourself if it is right?


 I can’t help with a few words my maternal grandmother told me “No matter what you do, don’t ever wrong a pregnant woman. Your deeds will come back to haunt you”.