My husband’s COVID-19 experience has awakened many feelings that seem to be coming to my conscious mind in layers, in time. I had probably shut out everything when while undergoing the experience. With each memory, new wisdom emerges. A new level of consciousness opens up. Each reminiscence ushers in an opportunity for transformation.
Here I will try to put a few of those into words!
My husband, nor his friends and colleagues, allowed any wasted time in sympathy. They had a job to do. Their duty came first, and I am proud of the COVID-19 warriors worldwide who pledge their lives to do what they think is the right thing to do. Work is worship, for them, and may the world be more blessed by such giving souls.
They go to work every day, not thinking that it is the end of the world. For them, it is just routine. These physicians have been active healthcare workers during the bird flu, the swine flu, and many other pandemics. They feel humanity will endure and come out stronger and better. At least that is what they perennially convey to all of us – eternal hope, and loving-kindness.
If today you have an opportunity to show kindness to one soul – please do it. You may be doing much more than helping out with grocery shopping, or baking a cake, or running an errand for your friend or a stranger.
You may be touching the soul of a person in an irrevocably good way for eternity by a very simple act, and sometimes that could make all the difference between life and death.
Compassion, affection, and empathy – are the fuel that runs the world. While you are wrapped in kindness outpouring from all quarters, you can endure anything. I received only gentleness from all quarters, and perhaps that was the most important factor to ensure my sound mental health, lack of stress, and lack of worry. Not one patronizing word. No condescension. No holier than thou talk, or wise-talk, no nothing. Just pure love, care, and concern from all who knew of our situation. We also did not face a single social stigma; of course, we had the personal discipline to socially isolate as per standard health guidelines.
In the midst of everyday challenges and the pouring of wisdom from within my heart, I realized that as humans, our collective compassionate consciousness was being elevated.
Wisdom is perhaps already inherently present inside every one of us if we listen. Wisdom is what probably enables us with creativity, and intelligence, when we decide to look deeper than what our immediate current perception show us. My wish for all of us is to go beyond that tangible thought or feeling and wait, like we do, as a family, both physically and emotionally.
Let wisdom decide to enthrall us, and in that one moment of revelation, you can feel the Universe’s love, and if you continue to stay there for one extra moment, perhaps that would allow us to perceive the kindness and compassion in our immediate surrounding, from the Universe.
As humanity, we endure with some hope, some gratitude. We are always offered a choice at that one moment when we are faced with life-altering adversity – we can choose hope and gratitude and be transformed by our choices. And this perception can make all the difference in lighting the path – for ourselves and for people around us.
I remember this excerpt from Carl Sagan, inspired by an image taken by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the center of scattered light rays (a result of taking the picture so close to the Sun), Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor, and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here .
She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award .
She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page .
She also contributes to Huffington Post .
Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!
This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.
She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.
Many women nowadays have to split their time between a full time job and their kids (and their husband, and taking care of their home, and and and…). Another group of women is able to work from home, at least part of the time, or to work some at home and some in the office. If you, like me, are in this second group, some days it might seem like there are two women chatting in your head, the Professional working mom and the Homemaker. For me, a typical work day outside of the home goes more or less like this…
Professional – Oh my gosh it is so great to be able to get some work done in peace! I love to work! Homemaker – The kids are growing up so fast… soon they will be teens and won’t even want to look at you! Professional – The kids need to see their mother working and doing something she likes. Homemaker – Come on, don’t be cynical, you don’t even like your job that much! It’s just a way to escape the kids a bit! Professional (ignoring the Homemaker) – If only I could work outside of home for more days I could get sooooo much done!! My career would skyrocket! Maybe I should put the three-year old in play school next semester. Imagine, working in peace five mornings a week!? Homemaker – Oh yeah? And where would you find the extra money? What about the car pool? You can barely find rides for two to come home from school, three would be worse! And he is so little… Professional – Oh no! I can’t believe it’s time to go home already!! I didn’t do ten percent of what I needed to!! Ahhhhh! Another sleepless night awaits me!! I am so tired! I need chocolate… Sob…
On other days, a typical day at home goes like this…
Homemaker (at the park)– Oh, look at them. They are so cute and cuddly. I love being a mom. I can’t believe the youngest is already three. I will miss having little kids around. Should I have another baby? Professional – Are you out of your mind????? Homemaker (ignoring the Professional working mom) – If only I could afford to stay at home all the time… And then, when they started to grow older, I could work in what I really like. I would also have time to take better care of the house and to exercise and get in shape again. Professional – My job is stable. I can’t earn enough money to raise kids doing only what you like. That’s so naïve. Homemaker – It’s so peaceful here with them. If only I could stay at home in peace and not need to hear you worry about work and deadlines and… Professional – Oh no! That deadline! You need to drop them off at grandma’s now!! Homemaker – You know they only stay at grandma’s once a week max. Otherwise they get stressed out. You can work tonight. Professional – I need to sleep!! I already worked last night! You know I can’t work all night two days in a row! I am not twenty anymore! Homemaker – On that we agree! We get so crabby when we don’t sleep enough. It’s not good for the kids. Maybe you should stop working nights and work only during the weekend when they can stay with their father. Professional – No!!!!! I have so much to do!!!!! Weekends are not enough.
And so it goes….
And you… Do you work from home, from an office or both? How do you find balance? Please share your storybelow.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ecoziva in Brazil. Photo credit to the author.
Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog.
Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.
Indulging in ice cream on a hot day in Krakow’s main market square
Free time. Sometimes I feel like I would give an arm and a leg for a little bit of free time. To have lunch with friends. To go to the gym. To take a nap. To read. To go to the grocery store all by myself. To do nothing.at.all. I knew when I signed up to be a stay-at-home parent that I would have little time to myself. I also knew that with my husband’s job, which has us moving to a different country every two or three years, that having a set of grandparents (or two) close by to provide some regular child-free relief was not going to happen. In our journey across the globe, we’ve been fortunate enough to find our place and develop our circles of friends. The expat communities in Thailand and Poland have been good to us, and we know that if we have an emergency, we can call on the support of our friends to help us out with the kids if need be. That is the way it works when you are abroad. You help each other out. And I am so grateful for these friends and their support.
But, still, when you are a stay-at-home parent, particularly not near close friends and family, you spend an extraordinary amount of time with your kids. This is of course exhausting, but also wonderful. You get to witness every little new thing they discover, the days their mood begins to change and they develop new facets of their personality, and watch the bond between siblings grow (yes, a time does come when they stop fighting constantly). Your life is so wrapped up in theirs that it is hard to imagine a time when it will no longer be that way. Their every little move is known to you, and yours to them.
Enjoying waffles while visiting the Easter markets in Krakow
But, one day they will go off to school – all of them (in my case, three) – and then, you will actually have free time. Think about that for a minute. You, without needing to feel guilty, will be able to do what you want to do – whether that is going back to work part-time or full-time, or taking on a new hobby or two, or just enjoying the peace and quiet for awhile. This is your time. So what will you do?
I am not going to lie. I have about 18 things on my plate that I would like to do when the kids start school. I’d like to start writing more often and for more publications, I would like to write another children’s book (and hope that it will be successfully published this time). I would like to train for and run a marathon. I would like to learn to swim and bike correctly and try my hand at a triathlon. I would like to become a good photographer. I would like to get back to writing thank you notes, planning ahead of time, and reading. I would like to cook and not be rushed. I would like to explore the city – take tours, visit the non-kid friendly museums, mosey about Krakow’s beautiful old market square.
So yea, it’s safe to say I’ve thought about what I will do when the kids go to school. But sometimes I wonder if the thrill of free time will peter out quickly. The reason I stopped working five years ago was to stay at home with the kids.
Will I be able to feel that my life is fulfilling when they are no longer at home, nor fully dependent on me? Will what I plan to do with my time be “enough?” Will it fill the void of not having them around? Will my time be useful? And if so, to whom will it be useful?
Enjoying a morning of fun at the Engineering Museum in Krakow
I have talked to other mothers who have the same concern. One friend in particular who just went through the process of sending her boys off to school for the first time (she home-schooled them previously) has struggled with feeling whether what she is doing in her free time “enough?” When your role – for years – is to raise sweet little beings into strong, confident, and loving children, and then one day the time you have to do that is cut back significantly – what will that feel like? Will it be a blow? Will it be a relief? Will it be bittersweet?
At a minimum, it will be an adjustment. And while I don’t have any answers, yet, it is just one more milestone on this path of parenthood.
Are you a stay-at-home parent? How have you adjusted, or how will you adjust, to your kids going to school?
p>This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Loren Braunohler of Poland.
Loren Braunohler is a former U.S. diplomat turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is a world traveler who avoids the cold (don't ask why she is currently in Poland). Former assignments have included Mozambique, Venezuela, Australia, Sudan, Thailand and Washington, D.C. She enjoys running, although she probably enjoys sleeping even more. Loren blogs about her family's international adventures and parenting at www.toddlejoy.com.
It’s seldom admitted but true. Lots of working, married urban women fear the effect that a new child will have on their ability for juggling spreadsheets and power point presentations at the office. Or, look upon the baby as a desirable added dimension to their lives but want to keep other areas at status quo. Depending upon the duration of maternity leave, available support systems and the new mother’s ability to cope with sleepless nights, the infant is soon handed over to the care of the grandmother, resident care-giver or the friendly neighbourhood crèche.
Hence when I announced to the world at large my plans for quitting my job for Full Time Parenting (FTP), I was prepared for goggle-eyed reactions. What I didn’t expect was the constant need to justify this decision to friends, relatives and the third cousin of the neighbour’s aunt-in-law! Objections ranged from the mundane (“You will be thoroughly bored after a while) to doom’s-day prophecies (“This will be a professional suicide.). Interspersed were a few whacko ones (“It’s irresponsible to waste yourself”) and a few, exasperated, “let’s put some sense into her head” type of reactions.
What was everybody dreading on my behalf? The loss of the status of a “working woman”? The giving up of that tiny perch on the huge mountain of the corporate world, that announced to the world “This is who I am”?
No, it was about “liberation”, the kind that is often equated with a job, any job, at long as it pays. To female friends and colleagues, I was suddenly the betrayer of a system, a traitor to the cause of emancipation. Instead of becoming a new member in the circle of working moms, alternating between the adrenaline of economic independence and the niggling anxieties of part-time parenting, here I was, stubbornly choosing to go the whole hog with parenting.
Sour grapes? Nein…
Was the job no good? Au contraire, it was a dream job, won by sheer dint of hard work after a gruelling two-year MBA. Then why did I quit? Because, once having decided to bring in a little soul into the world, I wanted to be a 24/7 mother for a good, long while, living the roller-coaster ride of joys, hopes, worries and triumphs. Because for me, “a meaningful life” had always meant a basket of activities, pursuits and callings. Because what works for another may not suit me at all.
Because true liberation is about making those choices that bring happiness. Not about living up to other’s expectations of what a female, well-educated, working mother ought to be. And about respecting that inner voice that refuses to be shushed and is not afraid to walk off the beaten track.
Idealism can be practical too:
Because, like a child in a candy store, my wants know no limits – I want to be a woman, wife, mother, writer and professor, all at the same time. Because I want to shape my life exactly the way I likenot in a de facto, “patchwork quilt” manner dictated by an increasingly demanding corporate world. Because my curiosity and naïve optimism make me plunge thoroughly and completely into whatever I decide to do; there’s no holding back, no half-hearted measures. Because I am a foolish, idealistic woman in the era of plastic, recyclable ‘values’. Because I like to live out that hoary old adage: ”If anything is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well”
Office versus home:
At work, I revelled in the thrill of new challenges and the fancy designation. But this certainly wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing for the rest of my life. Then why use it as the ostensible reason for not changing priorities? I’d rather use my training of my corporate stint to reach and influence people differently, as I do now. The idea of doling out measured minutes of “quality time” to my child, after I reached home bone-tired from work every evening, never fully satisfied me. To my mind, quantity is also important. And I prefer family values to those of the paid-by-the-hour surrogates.
Yes, the pay cheques were initially slimme. But the grey cells are ticking, the mind and heart are raring to go, and it’s delightful being one’s own boss. On a particularly bad day, when my toddler drives me up the wall, I do get nostalgic about the super-charged office that I once inhabited. But then, it’s exhilarating to do one’s own thing. And the balance between work, creativity and family is oh so delightful! All things considered, I should probably thank the little tyke – he was the right reason at the right time.
“Ma, the candy floss got over too quickly!”
All about priorities:
Each mother has her own world view, her own list of priorities. And while every mother loves her child with all her heart, the manifestation of that love would be unique for each woman. Hence there can be no “one size fits all” kind of rule. What works for one might not do, for another. As long as we can remember to say, “To each, her own”, the world will be a teensier bit better!
What worked best for you as a mother?
This is an original post written by Piya Mukherjee for World Moms Blog.
Our family has gone through some serious upheaval over the past two years. We’re talking big city to small town relocation, major job changes, the birth of our youngest, and the final resignation of my job as I officially became a stay at home mom (SAHM) for an indefinite period to deal with our children’s special needs. Whew! I can feel my stress level rising just thinking about it.
Our family embraces change with the best of them, and we tend to take many things in stride. Dealing with two children with complex needs is just something we do. Homeschooling to support serious academic needs? Done. Countless medical appointments and therapist visits? You got it. An active and healthy life style? It’s even better, now that we’re relocated to a small town surrounded by forest and farmland.
The kids are happy, my husband’s happy, and I’m happy. So what’s the freak out about?
*gulp* I’m turning forty. Like really soon. (more…)
Angela is a Special Education teacher who blogs about her super-powered special needs family. She has a 3 year old with Prader-Willi Syndrome and a 5 year old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Processing Disorder. The odds of these random genetic events occurring at the same time are astronomical. "When you add our typically developing one year old baby boy to the mix, you have a very busy household!", she explains.
Angela admits to having too many appointments, too many school problems, and being generally too busy as she tries to live life to the fullest. Please visit her family at Half Past Normal for more of their adventures! If you want to connect to chat, you can find her on Twitter @specialneedmom2
If you are interested in Special Education policies and procedures in Ontario – or just some excellent strategies and accommodations – please check out Angela's other site at Special Ed on the Bell Curve.