Monday, December 14, 2015


Being in my forties is humbling.

I like it for this. I really do. You see because I was such a star kid. By thirty, I thought I'd have written couple books or started a successful company or produced a film or two and traveled a ton, done a lot of good for the community of humanity.

Yes, a tall order and some have done all of this. Just not me.

I have produced one rather bad film (if produced means listening to and obeying more or less blindly, the director's and investor's demands throughout the film), written one novel (ho-hum commercial success wise, lets not kid ourselves), traveled to the usual places, done a bit of good.

I'm like the person who imitates the art work or cooking or what have you on Pintrest with less than perfect results. A lot less. The souffle that didn't quite rise or did but then collapsed and stands lopsided.

But I have decided that it is ok.

Because I am a kind person. Dr. Suess said, "If you're kind, that's it."

Anything more than that I am going to take as a bonus.

We are all a little of this, a little of that. More of this, less of that. Sometimes I wish we would reveal our failures on Facebook, our fears our dilemmas. Leave the triumphs and cute, overachieving kids private. Wear our hearts on our sleeves. Tell it like it really is.

FB post for Monday December 14th:
You know what "Friends", today I feel bloated and look about 7 months pregnant and no amount of Gas-X is helping. I didn't almost nothing over the weekend except laundry and cooking. But on the bright side, I have come up with a few good ideas for my new novel.

Ok, so I will probably never do anything too earth shattering. I might write another book, start a company making some doodad or another, help more people. But I'm never going to live up to those star student expectations I gave myself in my tween and teen years, even up to my late twenties.

And I am going to start accepting that it is ok.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


It's easy to start this with I hate laundry but I won't because I don't. I mean not all the time.

I do detest how it multiples like so many rabbits.

I detest how it's never really done. It's frightening how after doing a few loads I put it all away and look inside the closet to put back the baskets only to find a pile ready there, waiting, looming in the darkness like a beast that must be tamed or else....

It is omnipresent, omnipotent, omni$%@.  Now, I mustn't lose my temper, for what's the use. Laundry is like the sun, more reliable than the sun. It will be there for me. Every single day.

I admit, I do like the meditative quality it offers. Folding for example is a simple brainless task accompanied with nice smells and a feeling of homeliness. Relaxing.

But it is thankless. It is perhaps the most thankless of thankless tasks. Close competition perhaps for dusting.

No one has thanked me for their undies or hankies or shirts. It's quite the reverse. 'Have you not done the laundry?  Really need those jeans.' Never, 'Thanks so much for this! It smells divine. I've been wanting to wear these jeans for days!'

And so I do find myself wishing it would end, go away, disappear, even though I know it won't.

Not until I'm dead.

Laundry is like the cockroach. When the world ends, it'll live on like the cockroach. And thrive. Not get done of course since no one will be left to do it.

But it'll be there, waiting for the next boatload of people to restart its relentless machinery.

Bracing myself now, for after I post this, I must go put away three baskets worth. Only this time I am prepared for I know there lies lurking in the dark recesses of the closet, two sets of sheets at least, along with who knows how much more....

Friday, December 4, 2015

Raising good little husbands and fathers

I have sons. I've always wanted daughters. I ached for one when my first son was born and so had a second, also a boy.

Now, I wouldn't exchange that for anything in the world. My boys are just super.

However, I felt pangs of sadness when I knew we were not going to have more kids.

There would be no daughters.

Sad, yes, because I would miss all the fun of having a little baby girl but mostly sad because my husband and I, with our values and outlook would've made such good parents to a girl. Girls need parents who empower them. Even today. Despite all the progress, women still have it tough and need to be told how strong and capable they are. Amidst all the pink and frills and make up and fluff, girls need to perceive just how much they can and should do. We would've done that for a daughter.

As my parents did for me. In my home, I was always the older one, my brother, the younger one. It empowered me. Completely. I tell my father, he is the one who gave me the courage to stand out, to never toe the line, to never compromise, to be myself, to go forth and conquer.

I also think this way because my husband is the way he is. The most kind, liberated man I know in every sense of the word. He's the kind of dad a girl would have loved to have.

Then I think, we need more men like that.

Men who truly don't think women should or shouldn't do something other than out of choice. Men who respect the person they work with, man or woman. Men who can be surrounded by powerful, attractive women and not feel threatened or compelled to show off their male-ness in any way. Men whom women trust as colleagues and friends, without fear of strings attached.

So that is what I must do for my sons. Raise them to be men like that. Modern in every sense of the word. Equal partners to the persons they decide to link their lot with. Supportive, encouraging, understanding, helpful.

When I tell my ten year old to put the toilet seat down, to learn to cook meals, to help around the house not for pocket money but because he is a part of the household, it is to start learning to be a good person, a supportive partner in the future. To a man or woman, I suppose. For in any marriage/partnership, someone ends up doing more of one thing than the other. The balance may tilt and as long as the one is willing to bear the burden with the other being understanding about it, the partnership works. Right now, I am the primary care giver for our family, my husband the winner of bread. But he has told me time and time again that he will willingly give it all up. If I want to take his place, he will happily take over my role.

I hope I can teach my sons to develop a willingness to change or alter roles as the need requires and to not feel threatened if their wives are in more powerful or bigger money making situations than they. To know that such a case is not cause for insecurity as much as it is cause to celebrate and be proud. Then I'll have raised good husbands and future good fathers.

My boys have never been told not to cry like a girl, throw like a girl or anything that makes them slot men and women into places that are unfair at best, cruel at worst. They wear as much pink and purple as they'll (in spite of biological and social wiring) allow me to put on them.

They will and must learn to appreciate that a woman staying home to take care of her children is doing so by making certain sacrifices. It's not just mums who do this. It's the person in the marriage who has chosen to do it. It's not just a mum's job to do this and a dad's to do that. Even though that is what they mostly see around them.

I found myself stumped when my friend with two daughters (she has a PhD and has chosen to stay home for the time being) said that she wonders sometimes how to encourage her kids to do all they can, to work hard and get an education, a career path, if at the end they must put it aside to care for their children. It is indeed a difficult question. A question of priorities. And there's no easy answer.

But here is where the man in the picture can make such a difference. Sons. Future husbands and fathers.

Yes, my sons see the stereotype. It is hard to tell them that it's more complex than what they see. They see me cooking the meals, cleaning up, doing the laundry. Right now this is how the balance tilts in our household. But they also see that I have published a book, that I am looking to get back into the business world. They see how my husband treats me. Like his best friend, his equal partner in every sense.

It is important to me for my sons to see me do more than be their mother. I believe it is important for a child to see their mother in a role beyond mothering. No matter how small, in a different role. It gives them the idea that their mother is more than mother and wife. She has different aspects to her personality and life. It gives them pride in her for a different aspect of her life than being mother. This I have seen happen.

Not that it is the answer but it goes a long way, besides always maintaining gender equality in speech, behavior and action in our boys' presence.

My mother says if a child is a good child, it means their grandparents were/are good.

She is so right. For this is a cycle, isn't it?

Good, considerate liberated fathers will probably beget sons who will then be good, considerate, liberated husbands and fathers.