The Most Important Family Decision I Made to Protect the Future of My Child !

There are many child-related issues that keep me awake at night. Guilt trips of leaving my son behind while on a work trip, my toddler’s hunger strikes in the evening or even failure to understand the reason why my son was too cranky on a particular day. But lately, the importance of naming a guardian for my child in my will and deciding on a prospect had been on my mind a lot.

Making a will is something that has been on the top of my to-do list since the birth of our son, but I have been putting off for more than a year.  Of course no one likes to face their own mortality. However, it is imperative that we are prepared for the unpredictable.  So finally last weekend my husband and I finished making our wills and appointing a guardian in case something were to happen to us.

My life changed when I lost my dad at 14 years of age. I have seen my mom run around for paper work, settling accounts, finding documents and figuring out everything on her own. Fortunately the entire financial bit was in place due to the proper planning of my parents and we had nothing to worry.

 

Yet, I still cannot forget my mom’s face and her words to my aunt 19 years back at our home in Mumbai “What would have happened to my children if I was also gone?”

 

The loss of a parent had taught me from a very young age that there is nothing guaranteed in life. And after becoming a parent myself I want to take all the right steps possible to ensure a secure future for my child /children.

Creating a will is crucial even if you don’t have a lot of money or property to pass along because it is where you designate a guardian for your minor child. In the absence of a will naming a guardian, a court will appoint one, and he or she could be the last person you would ever have chosen. If something were to happen to both the parents, and no official guardians have been appointed, the children could end up in foster care while the court appoints a guardian of its choosing.

Note below are the questions I had before starting the process of creating a will. I thought this might help my readers too if they plan to make their own wills. I am not a legal expert and this information is limited to my research of the country and state I live in. I encourage you to look up online or consult with an attorney in the country or state you reside to understand the legalities and your options.

What is a will?

A last will and testament is a legal document that lets you, the testator (the person making the will), designate individuals or charities to receive your property and possessions when you pass away. A last will also allows you to name a guardian to care for minor children. The main purpose of a will is to ensure that the testator’s wishes, and not the default laws of the state, will be followed upon the testator’s death

What happens if you die without a will?

Dying without making a will mean you’ll have no say over who receives your property. State laws will decide. In some states, only 1/2 of one’s assets go to the surviving spouse. Depending on your situation, the rest would go to your children, parents or close relatives. If you have minor children, a judge will decide who cares for them, and the situation may not be ideal.

Remember laws vary from state to state and not all states will automatically place children with a family member, even if they are a grandparent, aunt or uncle. Judges weigh placement based on the best interests of the children. Your kids might have a close and loving relationship with your parents, but if your parents are elderly, the court might decide they’re not up to caring for them, especially if they’re very young (LegalZoom.com).

What is the cost of making a will?

Honestly when I heard about the potential price of failing to make a will, and putting my child’s future in jeopardy, I immediately made one in a period of few days without really caring about the cost. However, the cost of any legal endeavor depends on whether you decide to handle it yourself or use the services of an attorney. You can access free templates online or pay for something more complex, or you could pay an attorney to do it all for you. Whether you use an attorney to draft your will or do it yourself, costs will depend on the complexity of your estate

How does a family pick the right guardian?

Appointing guardians who could offer our children the support and love they would need in a horrible situation is the most important decision in the will making process. It can be also be very emotional and political decision.

I and my husband used a website www.legalzoom.com to create a will. It was very effective and fast. We also consulted our family and friends for more information regarding the will making process. (not sponsored)

You can look at more detailed information here –

  1. Baby Center
  2. Wiki How

In the end I would like to say that the decision of safeguarding our children after we are gone is a crucial one, and one that I dread to think of. Who will be my child’s guardian is too important a decision to leave in the hands of someone who doesn’t know me, or my child, or the values that are important to me. We know our children better than anyone. We are in the best position to make the decisions that will affect their lives.

Arushi (2)

My 2017 Goals, Keeping it Real

It’s the dawn of a New Year and as always a few resolutions are to be made. Honestly, most of these resolutions don’t stick for a long time, and I end up breaking them by mid of the year or even as early as 2 weeks. So, I am tired of these resolutions and won’t bother making them this year.  Instead I have set up realistic specific goals for myself and look forward to achieving them.

A goal is more flexible and achievable for me. I don’t have to be ‘resolute’ in my journey to achieve it. As I got to the end of the year, I looked back and assessed how it went. I tried to categorize the year into eating habits, fitness regime, health, family, baby, finances etc and drew from there my top goals for 2017.

I strongly feel if we do not take the time to think about our hopes and dreams and set goals and actions steps to get there – nothing will ever change. By working on each aspects of our lives that are important or we are frustrated with, we can feel better about ourselves.  In my previous post I stressed upon the taking out Me- Time, and that is more of a lifestyle change I am already working on.

But setting goals is important for us because doing so helps us change things in our lives that are not as we would like them to be.  Defining goals that pertain to both ourselves and our relationships with those who are important to us can result in changes that make our lives happier and more fulfilling.  Isn’t that what you want for 2017 and moving forward?

Below are my TOP 2017 Goals . Please do share yours.

Happy New Year Everyone !

Love Arushi

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“ME” Time – Every Mom Deserves It !


This year, my life has been wrapped around my pregnancy in the first half and with the newborn for the latter half. As a new mom, I don’t have time or energy to think about anything that does not directly impact my child’s life. I am constantly ensuring that everything runs smoothly and I am able to maintain a proper work -life balance.

If you are a busy mom like me, you know how difficult it can be to find time for yourself. We are constantly ensuring that everyone is taken care of and are left with very little time for ourselves. Feeling burned out, exhausted, and also craving things that YOU love to do most.

I honestly feel we MOMs need to pencil in some “ME” Time for ourselves. And I stress that one should not feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It’s important to schedule time for yourself on a regular basis so that you can feel refreshed and energized to be on top of our game.

The key here is to tap into things that make you feel most rejuvenated, and  yes few might need more time or may cost more. {I say to myself I deserve it 🙂 }

“Me” Time could be anything, from a decadent dinner date, to a relaxing evening at home with a good book or simply doing nothing. The biggest challenge most moms face is insisting on ‘me’ time,” says Laura Stack, author of The Exhaustion Cure. “If you wait to give yourself time until all your work is done, you’ll never get to play.”

That is why I am listing my some things that I do just for me

  1. Stay Active: These days for me it is impossible to finish work and go out for a workout. Timing everything between mine and baby’s schedule well enough to get some sun is not simple anymore. So I recommend staying active at work or home by taking regular walks throughout the day especially if there is too much stress. If I can’t walk enough in the day or have no energy to workout, I make sure to get out for at least a 30 min stroll around the neighborhood with Vir in the stroller while listening to some peppy music. It helps clear the mind.

 

  1. Take a Bubble Bath: This is truly a relaxing and rejuvenating experience if you can take out some time from mom duty. I recommend treating yourself with some aroma therapy oils, bath bombs and candles. I have been shopping for more of these lately than makeup or beauty products.

 

  1. Get your favorite drink and read up: The best time to lounge and snuggle in a comfy blanket is when your children are sleeping. I can have coffee anytime of the day and with the chill in the weather these days I am also sipping on some soup. If you know me well I don’t read too many books, but I do love flipping through articles on magazines and journals on my ipad or just happily pinning. Ever since I started the blog I am also writing down my thoughts and working on new posts for all my readers.

 

  1. Go out with your friends: A girl’s night out or grabbing a drink at a pub with your family friends can be a great way to start a weekend. You can get a sitter for sometime if you are going with your husband or put him on daddy duty for the evening- while you dress up snazzy, put some heels and mascara!! It is very important to socialize and feel good about these moments.

 

  1. Don’t forget a Spa/massage day : I got a monthly massage membership at a local spa and this has been by far my most rewarding expense. An hour of deep tissue massage can do wonders as it takes away your stress and gives relief to those aching back and neck muscles.

 

Don’t forget to check in yourself this Holiday season !! Lets Treat Ourselves too.

Please do share what are your favorite ways to pamper yourself , or how you like to spend your “Me” Time. 

How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip


In my previous emotional post I wrote about my anxiety and fears as a new mom, who was leaving behind her 5 month baby for a work trip for the very first time. It was an emotionally challenging experience and physical one too, as I am exclusively breastfeeding Vir. I couldn’t have left my house without a plan for my family and support of my husband.  As new parents we want to make sure we are doing everything right and at the same time hoping that things go smoothly.

Every mom has to leave the nest sooner or later and to get through this difficult time, I am sharing the list of things I did before getting on the plane:

  1. Introduce care giver ahead of time: I am working from home and of course to be most productive I need to be able to focus without distractions. After my family left, we got a nanny to manage Vir during my work hours. This worked well for us, as by the time I left for work to another city, Vir and my nanny had gotten used to each other. It is hard to trust someone else with your baby other than family, but having a good caregiver can be very comforting.
  2. Enlist a Trusted Relative or Friend: Thankfully my husband could take an off on one of the days in my absence at home and manage Vir. However, I am thankful to have a close set of friends whom I can trust Vir with. It is ideal to have someone living close to your home, just in case.
  3. Maintain sufficient supply of milk in the freezer: Vir is being exclusively breast fed and my biggest worry was running out of the frozen milk. I was short of 7-8 bags as per my calculation and so I made a plan to start pumping after every feeding to increase supply in 1 breast. I pumped only one side, so that I don’t run out of milk on the other. This worked perfectly and I was able to store milk and also give Vir his full feed. Also, I was eating more food that helped in lactation and drinking lots of water.
  4. Leaving behind Mom’s scent: I wore my husband’s T-shirt to bed for 3 days before I left, so that my scent could be transferred to it. In my absence Deep wore the same T shirt to soothe Vir and put him to sleep every night.This strategy also worked for us very well while we were crib training Vir and making him sleep in his nursery. I would leave my t-shirt on the side of his crib, so that he felt that I was around. Note: this might work for younger babies only.
  5. Setting up security cameras or a nanny cam: We bought a security camera for the house through which I could see Vir when I wanted. I could monitor the daily activities live on my cell phone from anywhere. Not only did it give me a sense of relief but I also felt involved. These days baby monitors and security cameras have great features. Ours has a mic function through which I could talk to Deep if he needed something and also see the entire day’s recording. (We have the new Logitech Circle camera)
  6. Make a List of Things related to the baby: A list with all information that is essential for the baby like feeding and nap routines, allergies , medication, place for baby gear and supplies, important phone numbers ,etc etc. This can be very handy for the care giver or your husband. I had emailed it and also printed it and left it on the refrigerator.
  7. Packing your Pumping bag: Even though you might have a temporary break from the baby but that doesn’t mean you get a break from breastfeeding. Our body continues to prepare the milk and that means you can’t forget to carry the breast pump, nursing pads, bottles and the freezing pack. I was pumping daily in the morning and at night, at the restaurants and at the airports. I can do an entire blog post on it, and honestly I hadn’t realized it would be such a complicated affair until this trip. I was able to bring back only 2 bottles of milk from the trip as I had to dump the rest. (TIP: If you don’t have an ice pack, take zip lock bags and put the bottles in it with ice to keep the milk chilled. Also if you have a milk bank close enough to where you are and if time allows you can donate it there. Sadly I couldn’t. Try to carry a manual breast pump too if you want to pump anywhere and not be stuck to a plug.)

I hope these tips come in handy if and when you plan to travel without your baby. There are a lot of things about Motherhood I am still discovering and I hope to share my experiences with all my readers.

Planning ahead of time is key to our sanity!

You can also check my post Tips on Travelling with the baby. (Our short trip to New York)

 

 

 

 

When I had to leave my 5 month baby for a Business trip. 

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The Snuggle is Real 

My head was hurting, my heart was racing. I felt I couldn’t breathe and all of this was happening exactly at the same time while I was waving goodbye to Vir from the window of my cab. Leaving the baby for the first time is not easy and even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time snuggling him and kissing him beforehand, the moment of panic at the door was not going away. I still can’t tell whether at that moment I was feeling guilty of leaving him for 2 days or if I was terrified of the thought of how will he survive without me. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life and is very hard to describe in words. It felt like I was carrying an extra bag that day – A bag of Guilt.

Inside this extra baggage was the guilt of leaving Vir at home while I traveled, guilt of not rocking him to sleep those 2 nights, guilt of leaving my husband on his own to manage an infant and taking leave from work. From the moment I sat in the cab till I reached the airport, I was stuck to my phone the entire 40 minute drive, watching Vir play with his Nanny while I kept taking heavy breaths with moist eyes.

Honestly I am so blessed to be a full time work from home mom. I can see my child whenever I want, have the flexibility to manage my work and calls, apart from adding income to the household and doing what I love most. Having a house with an office space I am able to get so much done effectively on a daily basis. And with the help of my nanny I don’t have to worry about Vir either. It’s the best scenario I could have asked for. However being a Sr. Account Manager and handling a huge pool of clients across the country, travel in my job role is inevitable. Honestly, I have always looked forward to my work trips as I not only get to reconnect with my colleagues but also get a break from my routine.

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Likely, most of you are not gasping in horror at the thought of leaving a 5 month baby with his daddy, while mom goes on a business trip. Business travel is fact of life for few moms far sooner than 5 months and many 5 month old babies are not exclusively breast fed. But this is a very big deal for me, as I never left Vir for more than few hours a handful of times until this unexpected work related travel. The very thought of getting on an airplane without Vir had been giving me heart palpitations. I was having anxiety of what might happen when I would be away. Will he be all right , will Deep be able to manage the baby, what if Vir doesn’t take the bottle , what if I miss my return flight, what if things falls apart…..I was losing my sleep. The angst of leaving a kid behind is natural and biological; it is out of concern for our children or even out of the fear of leaving our comfort zone as a new mom. The fact that we control our household makes leaving the responsibility on someone else more difficult.

But having a supportive and understanding husband and a loving and hands on dad can make a mom’s life more manageable. I am so blessed to have a husband like Deep. He is a great dad and I knew in case of any urgency I can count on him to manage Vir. This trip was a huge learning experience for me and Deep on dealing with our fears and anxiety as first time parents. While Deep is now more confident in handling Vir, I am more comfortable in leaving the responsibility on daddy at unplanned situations.

But then there are other situations out of our control, like my nanny was not able to make it the next day while I was out and the ordeal on the date I was flying back….

After a very productive meeting, I was looking forward to getting home from LA and snuggle with my baby. To avoid the crazy LA traffic I reached the airport early only to learn that my flight was delayed by an hour. I immediately rushed to the airlines counter to see if I could reschedule my flight to an earlier time, and I was lucky to get one. But, that luck was short-lived; I was put in another frustrating situation where my rescheduled flight was delayed by 4 hours due to maintenance!! Wow !! That is exactly what I needed on my first trip away from Vir. (Screaming in my brain) It almost felt like my nightmare was coming true. But honestly, there was no point getting mad at that time…  Rather, I actually felt blessed, as the flight I was supposed to initially take got cancelled!

After speaking to Deep and knowing that all was good at home, I finally found the time to get something to eat and make most of the delay with a pumping session.  (If you follow me on instagram , you must have been pretty amused with the instastories I made that day.)I pumped at the ladies room standing for an hour splitting the pumping session on each side while watching Vir and Deep play on the camera, as the nursing room at the airport was occupied. While pumping I was able to speak with Deep through the house camera mic function, it gave me so much relief and I almost felt I was with them. Apart from that, I was glad to take the express milk home, unlike the last few pumping sessions where I had to pump and dump. (I hate throwing away breast milk, it makes me feel terrible)

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After an exhausting 10 hour wait time from LA to Houston between flight delays, traffic and flying time, I was finally home at 11 pm holding Vir tightly in my arms, with a heart full of joy and a needy dog liking my face and asking for equal attention.

Even though we might be connected with rapid transit and wireless technology, the emotional distance while traveling is challenging. I wish I could handle everything at once, but motherhood has taught me the unfortunate rule of being a human: I can’t. We have to make hard choices and cope up with the real world. And as a working mom I have to act like one and deal with my lifestyle changes while coming up with strategies that work for my family.

Yes ! The Struggle is Real !!

…In  my next post I will be sharing with you how I prepared to leave my baby overnight for work  and what I discovered about being a mom when I was off the clock.

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VIR’s First Diwali !

In my last post I wrote about how much I missed celebrating Diwali at home in India. And this year I long for it even more as its a very special one, since we have our beloved son Vir celebrating it with us .

The entire week I was face timing with my mom and brother and hearing their daily activity updates, shopping sprees, reminiscing old days and getting to share the real Gharwali Diwali experience with them. My mom got Vir a really cute ethnic outfit which she will be sending with my cousin sister and even though its is arriving post Diwali, I am super excited to dress him up in it. There is a charm in wearing vibrant desi/ Indian clothes, they make the festival so much more authentic.

Vir is 5 months old this month and loves being around people, he enjoys getting all the attention and lately has been putting his entire fist in the mouth and babbling. He has also started to flip over on his tummy and is in awe of Rio. Rio too has also started warming up to Vir and its a great feeling to see both my boys finally  show some love towards each other.

I am glad to share with you all, Vir’s first Diwali story  at our home in Houston  with these pictures.We celebrated it with our loving friends with great home cooked food,  Coconut ladoos ,Rasgullas,music, lots of cheer , laughter and a long game of Flush. I hope you enjoy looking at them .

(If you follow me on Instagram , you must have seen some of our celebration pictures and videos on my Instastories too)

Thanks to our friend Abhishek for these lovely clicks.

My Anarkali dress : Meena Bazaar

Vir’s Cardi Set from : Amy Collier Designs

 

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Home made coconut ladoos

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Our wonderful friends !!

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Diwali cannot end without some sparkles.

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The focus of this pic was on our fur baby Rio who was waiting to eat mom’s coconut ladoos.

 

Missing Home This Diwali !

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Hi Everyone!! Hope you are welcoming Autumn with high spirits as this is the season of festivals and celebrations. Festivals are a huge part of anyone’s culture and ‘Diwali’ – The Festival of Lights,  is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by me and my family.

This year we are celebrating Diwali on October 30th and although it is almost 2 weeks away, I just don’t feel the same excitement and fanfare around me as it was back home in India…..

The bright decorations at the mall, the shiny packaging on the sweets,

 the aroma in the meals, the sparkle on the clothes,

the buzz at home, the lamps on the floor, the gifts galore,

the shiny lights on the street, the new Bollywood beat,

the hymn of the prayer, the agarbatti smell in the air,

the colorful rangoli, the diya  and roli on the pooja thali ,

the ladoos and  the burfi , the win in teen pati,

I miss it all …..I feel the absence of my family.

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Image: Pinterest

Of course it is hard to find the same cultural experience here in United States and I know it is silly of me to even expect it. But hey! At least I can long for it. The other day I was in Michael’s to get some supplies for Vir’s Halloween costume which I intend to DIY, and as I stepped into the store, the buzz and hullabaloo reminded me of the scene at the firecracker store in my hometown in Rajasthan, where we would go when we were kids. How we loved going through all the different colored sparkles, amused ourselves looking at the creative names on the new rocket and chakri boxes and searched for that new cracker which our neighbor wouldn’t have, while making sure all of them were within our budget.

As a kid, Diwali for me was about new clothes, firecrackers, chocolate covered dry fruits, decorating the balcony with lights, meeting my cousins and enjoying the break from school. Chores like cleaning the house, shopping for gifts, selecting that dress, seeking for more pocket money were the little things we looked forward to every year as Diwali got closer. As I got back from Michael’s the first thing I did was to create a Diwali wreath with the help of my cousin sister and my dear husband. I just wanted to get a whiff of that the Diwali spirit which has been lost in modern times.

Today, I am so thankful for all the cultural traditions that I grew up with. With every passing year, I have learnt to appreciate the meaning of each of these traditions even more. They constantly remind me of who I am and where I come from. These festivities also make me reflect on the literal importance of the holiness of each occasion. Staying away from home has made me preserve these traditions even more…..my culture, religion and language are the essence of my Indian Heritage and as a new mom I feel it is my responsibility to introduce my child to them and maintain their essence in our lives.

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Image: Rang Decor

Even though I have been visiting India every year since I moved to Houston 6 years back, I sometimes get nostalgic. Especially during the festival season! On our trips to India, we would travel between 3 states to visit our homes and squeeze in as much as we could within the 2 to 3 week vacation. Lately, these trips have been planned around marriages in the family. A perfect opportunity to meet all our cousins and family members at the same place and the same time, dancing off to latest Honey Singh’s songs, while wearing  elegant desi outfits and enjoying the incredible food.

However, right now, at this moment , I wish I was home preparing besan ke ladoos with my mom , making  rangoli with my brother, choosing the color for this year’s salwar suit, packing the gifts for my friends and practicing my skills for teen pati. And even though there is time to book my tickets and head off to India, there are work and life commitments that I cannot get out of. Celebrating Diwali at home will have to wait again.

Yet!! I believe, it’s more the reason for me to celebrate my ‘Gharwali Diwali’ with similar emotion and joy at my home in Houston, because this Diwali is SPECIAL !! We were blessed with our son ‘Vir’, our bundle of joy this May !!  And even though it will be difficult to recreate the same sentiment, I aspire towards sparkling my home with happiness, decorating it with shades of love , preparing the food with more joy and stand in the light with my husband and son beside !! My hope is not to lose my texture as an Indian in a foreign land with time, but to celebrate its elements and authenticity as much as I can.

A Happy Diwali to you and your loved ones!! May the divine light of Diwali spread peace , prosperity , pleasure and good health into your lives.

Do share with us on how  you are planning to celebrate Diwali and what is missing this time.

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Happy Diwali !! Acrylic Rangoli perfect for wooden flooring.