A development journalist who writes mostly on health, women, and children related issues, Azera started her career a decade ago with the India Today group. Seeking greater flexibility (she needed it in ample amounts thanks to her husband’s job—he’s in the defence forces—and now an active one-year-old bundle of joy); she switched to freelancing, and now writes for multiple publications like TOI, Hindu, IANS, WFS, Third Pole; does some editing for publishing houses like Penguin; and also works as a consultant for UNICEF.
She has also been awarded two national media awards and a fellowship in the past. “So if you ask me what I like to do in my ‘free time’—as in, the time I get after tending to my toddler, in between packing boxes during the frequent transfers, and, oh, scraping through deadlines in all my professional commitments—I can only ask, ‘what’s that?’”
Is there a home remedy for cough and cold for a baby? Are there any simple recipes that will pack both nutrients and taste for a toddler who’s also a picky eater? When should one start toilet training? How can a mom juggle her parenting life and professional work?
Parenting. Probably no other word can pack in so many meanings within itself as this. You may have witnessed it closely, thanks to a sibling or close friend, and may have read reams of pages on all the do’s and don’ts of parenthood. Yet, when it comes to stepping into those shoes yourself, the barrage of doubts and questions on every little thing seem overwhelming. Not to mention the roller coaster of emotions through every phase. Probably this is why our club of mommy bloggers is so sought after—no one can understand what you are going through and wipe away your doubts through their own tales as effectively as a fellow parent.
Sample this. Deepika, a young mother who religiously follows blogger Sangeetha Menon’s posts on www.bumpsnbaby.com, posted her gratitude to the writer for helping her battle through the doubts of going back to work after having her baby. “When I was having 3 months baby and was thinking about my career, your blogs helped me to take up my job again. Your writings are inspiring and I try to follow most of the things you have given. I tried multi- tasking as well (sic),” she wrote.
An electronics engineer who had worked as a business technologist with Infosys earlier, 28- year-old Sangeetha decided to start blogging about her experiences of motherhood after her daughter was born, and continued doing so while working full-time.
“But soon I decided to quit my corporate career in order to pursue my passion for blogging,” Sangeetha, whose daughter Anshika is nearly three, says.
Encouraged with the response of her readers, she helped her other baby, the blog, grow with regular articles on recipes, toddler-baby-mom care, pregnancy issues and, very interestingly, home remedies to common ailments. With the joint family structure giving way to nuclear families, some of these remedies which the past generations had sworn by have long been forgotten and Sangeetha has tried to revive these through her posts. For example, she lists neem paste as an effective medicine to skin rash, and Ajwain oil massage for cold and cough in babies.
Home remedies are also part of the wide array of topics that Priya Sachan of Shishuworld (http://shishuworld.com/), another blog on parenthood, writes on. An ex-techie, Priya says that the main reason she started blogging on the subject was to offer a hand-holding experience to parents through the tricky journey of parenthood, the Indian way.
“ShishuWorld was born as an idea to have a go-to place for Indian parents and parents-to-be who are away from their families, either in India or abroad. I write articles that touch upon age-old traditions and modern advice which is relevant for current times,” she says.
The ‘traditions’ sub-head, for instance, lists the various ceremonies that are associated with childhood and explains in detail the way they are conducted as well as their significance. For example, Haathe Khodi, which literally translates to ‘chalk in hand’, is a Bengali traditional ceremony in which a child writes his first letter and symbolises the beginning of his literary journey.
For a couple living away from their family, descriptions such as this and of other traditions like tonsuring ceremony, naming ceremony, and feeding of the first grain can help understand traditional beliefs and observe them without feeling lost in the absence of their elders.
Having said that, parenting is hardly all about challenges and doubts—the joys that come along with the little bundle of life are endless! And no matter how closely you have seen it before, when you become a parent yourself, the feelings can be so overwhelming that there are times when you just have to share it with someone.
Mommy blogger Rachna Parmar is quite familiar with that ‘urge’, having raised two boys herself, now eight and 13. “Back in 2008 I was struggling to do something meaningful while raising my two boys. That is when I started blogging (www.rachnaparmar.com), in order to share the intriguing world of parenting,” she says.
As she began writing on her experiences—sharing the joys and sorrows, and challenges— keeping a young parent in mind, Parmar confesses that it had a therapeutic effect on her. “I remember when my elder son had an injury and I was feeling very guilty, I found immense support from other parent bloggers. It was a great moral boost to me at a time of deep personal stress”.
“I also learnt from the experience of other bloggers about raising teenagers and the importance of communication between parents and children. I have noticed that mommy bloggers openly share their personal experiences, thereby, enriching the interaction,” she says.
One of the most common woes that a parent of a toddler, or a teenager for that matter, faces is getting them to eat their food. Dining tables turn into battle fields as mothers who have slaved over a meal try everything—cajole, threat, scold—in order to get their kids to finish their meal. Mommy blogger Prachi Grover has a simple solution to this—get your child to cook with you!
She knows what she’s talking about. Orange Kitchens (http://orangekitchens.blogspot.in/) the virtual world created by Prachi and her six-year-old daughter Sara, who she refers to as the ‘little chefling’, is all about recipes that the two have tried in their kitchen and experiences while trying our new dishes from different corners of the world. Sara’s vocabulary now constitutes words like cinnamon, star anise and clove!
“I firmly believe that children who are more involved in preparing food are more likely to try out new flavours, respect their food and respect where the food they eat comes from. So through the blog I like to share my journey, the trials and tribulations, the highs and the lows and most importantly inspire children to fall in love with cooking and real food, and give them a life skill,” Prachi, who quit her corporate career to pursue her passion for cooking, says.
So if you are a parent, or on the way to becoming one, or know someone else on this journey, try going through what our bandwagon of mommy bloggers have to say. As they say, mom knows the best!