Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Tag: women

Building inclusion from the home

As the debate on same sex marriages rages in the Indian courts, it’s not just the nation but the world that watches with baited breath, on what the outcome and the aftereffects are going to be. But more than this, what is really evident is that the world is a truly diverse place, and every individual has a right to live a life of dignity and safety, experience love, and joy. What role then can we as parents play in ensuring that our children who will come in to this world a decade or two down the line, don’t have to fight for basic rights but will thrive where there is mutual respect and love?! This thought plays in my mind every time I watch or read the news these days. Moving into a role at work that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion has only made this a more pressing need for our family – how can we raise our child to be more inclusive?

Here are some ways you can help children be more inclusive:

1. Teach them about different cultures: Children should be taught about different cultures and traditions from a young age. This will help them understand and appreciate the differences between people. Truth be spoken India is a very diverse nation, isn’t it every 50 kilometers that we get to experience a different dialect, food habits and traditions? But experience shows that we are not as tolerant as that. Judgments based on caste, coloyr, backgrounds, religion, and so much more divide us. Is it because we are made to only see ourselves as superior and reject every other reality out there? It baffles me sometimes. But judgemental we are for sure. How about we be more open and revel in our variety instead? Let our children see that diversity is to be celebrated, not resisted.

2. Encourage them to make friends with people who are different from them: Encourage your child to make friends with people who are different from them. This will help them learn about different cultures and perspectives. Thanks to the cosmopolitan society most of us live in, we do get to experience social relationships with people from different categories. But look deeper – how many Muslim people do you work with? Or live in the same apartment complex as you? Have you heard of landlords rejecting renters who are single, Trans individuals, or Muslims? I’ve heard of it much too often and moreover because of the role I play in my organization. Let’s look at the behaviors we model and allow our children to observe and be better people themselves.

3. Teach them to be kind and respectful: Children should be taught to be kind and respectful to everyone, regardless of their differences. This includes being respectful of people’s beliefs, cultures, and backgrounds. There is no debate on this. The world definitely needs more people to be kind. This behavior certainly begins at home.

4. Model inclusive behavior: Children learn by example, so it is important to model inclusive behavior. This means treating everyone with kindness and respect and being open to learning about different cultures and perspectives. We can’t play dual lives where on the one hand we treat people with judgments and unfairness and expect future world citizens I.e. our children to be better individuals than us.

5. Break the biases: Do gender biased notions come from behavior that our kids are seeing around them in the home environment. Are women still seen as caregivers/cooks? Will Alexa and Siri continue to subtly ply the message that a woman (voice) will hear your command and act on it? Hard hitting if you think about it, isn’t it?

6. Talk to them about discrimination: It is important to talk to children about discrimination and how it can hurt people. This will help them understand the importance of being inclusive and standing up against discrimination. Equip them with mechanisms to deal with bullying and unkind behavior and, most importantly, not shy away from taking a stand and backing their friends when attacked. The “My what goes?” (Mera kya Jaata hai) attitude has killed far more spirits than war, I am sure!

In conclusion, helping children be more inclusive is important for creating a more accepting and diverse society. By teaching children about different cultures, encouraging them to make friends with people who are different from them, teaching them to be kind and respectful, modeling inclusive behavior, and talking to them about discrimination, we can help create a more inclusive world for everyone.

I quite enjoyed writing this post today. And it comes from the heart. As a follow up, I’ll write about some more practical ways to build inclusivity. Do come back for more. ????

R is for Restaurants: Eating out with Toddlers

Today for the #AtoZBLoggingChallenge I chose to write about Restaurants and eating out with Toddlers. The real list. 

Why the real list? I’ve read a lot of blog posts and articles on parenting websites about eating out with kids and I am, as a parent, somewhat appalled when the lists suggest things like visit at odd hours, don’t take the kids or shove an iPad in their face and its your job to make them behave. I know kids will be kids, sometimes they will disrupt the peace but let’s not talk about them as if they were a PITA. Those lists have definitely not been made by parents, I am sure.

We love eating out at restaurants and there was a time (yes, was) when we would try out every new restaurant in town. Post baby, we haven’t gotten around to doing so much of that, because we play by babyT’s sleep and nap schedules. But we did holiday when he was around 8 months old and now we are back to eating out often (even dinners, hurray)

So here is my list.  Continue reading

G is for Granny: the one I wish babyT knew

Hi Granny (Mamama as I used to call you)

Do you see me from up above? Do you see my little boy? How I wish I could place him in your arms and feel the warmth of your breath on his newborn baby head. I wish I could just for once, show you his cherub like face, eyes shut and fist clenched tight. The pink of his skin, the delicate feel of his tiny feet in your wise palms. I really wish you had stayed to see my baby boy.

Me in stripes with my granny and mom and baby bro. 🙂

Continue reading

This Women’s Day can we not…

This Women’s Day can we judge a little less and accept a little more?

After spending close to a decade in corporate HR, and being forced to organize employee engagement activities, most festivals and “days” have become another tick mark on the to-do list for me. I still have very fresh memories of my last organization where Women’s Day would mean we would plan elaborate surprises for all our women team members and even get each one a gift. Exhausting really, but satisfying and fun.

Over the years and bring on one year of mommyhood, I have come to realize that women are indeed such complex creatures. And truly it is the women who can make or mar another woman. I really did not want to make a post on Women’s day with a negative sense to it, but I have just come off a Facebook support group for mothers, where a poor new mommy has poured out her soul about how everyone right from her best friend, to her MIL (sigh), to her maid question and ridicule her choices. No it doesn’t end there, I even saw some respondents on the group tell her to ‘man up’ and ‘bear it.’

This got me thinking as to why is it that women are their own worst enemies? Why do women constantly pull each other down? Why do women fall into the trap of transferring their own life’s miseries onto the younger lot? Why don’t women just accept and not judge size/ shape/ colour/ length/ breadth/ personalities/ upbringing? I have NEVER seen a man do all this to other men.  Some men do make women’s lives miserable, but no, they will never do that to their own tribe folk – other men. Nope. Then why do women?

I have been guilty of it too.. Oh no, I have not come here at 100 am to say I am perfect. Far from it. I enjoy a good gossip session with my girlies as much as that couch on Koffee with Karan. I have vivid memories of college life, where my gang of girls and I would judge almost every girl for what she wore and how she behaved.  I am appalled now, really head in hands kind of appalled.

So why do women do it? Is it pure biology – you know the mating game and survival of the fittest, evolution and all that? Possibly. Somethings are genetically hardwired and there’s little you can do to change that. Heck, research shows that women become fiercely competitive and vengeful when they are ovulating. (It is always the periods fault isn’t it?) But ideally, evolved brains, the power of knowledge and social maturity should weigh over whatever pull comes from the genes, no?

A large part is also to do with centuries of living under patriarchal terms… if a woman’s worth comes from her man be it father/ husband or son (picturing a MIL making sure her new DIL is serving her husband well) then for sure women will see each other as competition and try their best to bring that threat down. Women are forever trying to fit into norms about looks and conduct, which have been culturally and socially ingrained in us. We don’t really stop to think and ask why should I be that way? But we just continue to blindly follow some invisible code and when we do that it stresses us, puts pressure on us. And when that happens we look for the nearest weakling to transfer our stressors on to. Read: The MIL who was tortured by her own MIL, now makes sure the newly wed daughter in law is having a hard time too. It is so easy to rip apart another woman’s soul than to look within and see her for what she is or hell, just let her be and do her own thing.

And then there is the woman who is smarter, brighter, more beautiful and more everything nice. Yes more than you. And what do you do? Judge her. Judge her looks – “oh layers and layers of makeup. Or hey even a nose job maybe?”, Judge her brains – “She is just a pretty face”,  judge her success – “Oh we all know how she got there.” Yes, we especially love to pull such women down. What ensues is a full on catfight or a totally destroyed woman on the other end? I personally have been at the receiving end of that. Its horrible ladies, its black and its scary what this judgement does to the judged. Just stop.

This is why I am in awe of those women who facilitated and did wonderful things for other women – Women centric organizations, online support groups, non-profit networks, coaches, teachers, family and friends. If you have been at the receiving end of a happy, generous and encouraging woman (don’t count your mom. She’ll do it selflessly. 🙂 ) count your blessings. Firstly, it is rare and secondly, maybe it bodes well for a brighter future.

So this Women’s Day, this exHR specialist isn’t giving you some ol’ fun and games, but wishing ardently that we love more, accept more, understand more and give a better experience to fellow women than we ourselves may have encountered. Because great things happen when we women stand up for each other. And the world better watch out!

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