Making Delhi dengue free

Here’s a petition I wrote today, on National Dengue Day (16th May) – see Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s twitter handle (
https://twitter.com/MoHFW_INDIA ). Yes unfortunately in India we do have a national day for this vector borne disease.

Here’s how my petition reads –

Every year in Delhi-NCR starting July, we start living in dread of mosquitoes and the diseases they bring. This threat does not go away until winter is firmly upon us by which time of course we have to deal with other threats like swine flu and pollution. Living in Delhi-NCR has become a hazard to the health of us, our children and elderly parents.

Last year in the month of October my children got dengue within a week of each other. I will never forget the trauma my family went through. And I’m not the only one who faced it. Dengue cases have been rising every year, and it only seems to be getting worse.

Today, 16th May, which happens to be National Dengue Day I dream of a Delhi where we do not face these threats. Can our Government authorities be more proactive so that mosquito breeding is contained well before the onset of the season? The time to start is now, as shown by North Delhi Municipal Corporation that is taking proactive measures to contain breeding as early as May.

Please sign my petition to request Dr. Puneet Kumar Goel, Commissioner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation; Dr. Dilraj Kaur, Commissioner East Delhi Municipal Corporation; Sh. Amit Khatri, Deputy Commissioner, District Gurugram; and Sh. B.N. Singh, District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar to ensure that proactive measures for dengue prevention are taken early this year. Please support me in my endeavor to bring back the old charm to our beloved city of Delhi.

You can go sign it at –
https://www.change.org/p/make-delhi-ncr-dengue-free.

#birthday #cake #wimpykid

Some more on organizing home birthday parties!

Continuing on the birthday party series – “Four things I forgot to do when I organized my son’s birthday” (https://lavendermistwithglitter.home.blog/2019/02/07/the-four-things-i-forgot-to-do-when-i-organized-my-sons-home-birthday/) which was based on my learnings from LAST YEAR, I was careful not to repeat THOSE mistakes. But as is human, I made a few new ones. Here are some things I did better this time and some I need to keep in mind for next year!

#birthday #party #basket #freebies
The “take for free” basket was the biggest hit

I made sure we had plenty of games to keep the children engaged, which was an issue last time. Relied on a lot of cute printable games (check out
https://www.artsyfartsymama.com/) like Bingo and Word Search, which were a hit. You can choose the Bingo or Word Search as per your theme too, there are options aplenty. This time we also had something called “poster making” where we gave the kids a theme (“save trees, save life” was what came to mind instantly), some crayons, a large sheet of paper, and that’s it, just them and their imagination. (Advantage: we had complete peace and quiet for half an hour, a rarity in a birthday party!) Later they put up their “exhibits” and I hit upon the brilliant idea of allowing everybody to “vote” (on chits) – only, they could not vote for themselves (though I suspect some of them did)! It was all exciting, fair and square, and they enjoyed.

We also listed the games we would play on an A3 paper and put it up where everyone could see it. The structure served us well, and we allowed for flexibility, taking in their opinion on which game should be played next (some tricks I have picked up learning about “community engagement” on my projects!) Pssst…we started with Monopoly however, and I am not sure this was the best decision, because it was not really an icebreaker game. Perhaps have that after something like musical statues or pass the parcel, which allows the party to warm up a bit, and do intersperse “sitting” games with the more energetic ones!

The List!

Last time I realized that prizes for games should be wrapped, hidden, and each something different. This time I followed this, wrapped them all up (in newspaper, to be “green”), but we again made the mistake of choosing different types of chocolate (sigh, not everyone shares my craze for them it seems). I guess you just have to make the effort and keep a variety of things, not just candy, because the boys soon discovered that the prize would be chocolate, and the “prize” is a big thing to keep them all engaged in the games. Some of them even gave it back! Well…you learn….:(

#party #birthday #prizes #eco-friendly #wrapping #green
These were our prizes, neatly wrapped and waiting to be won (captions courtesy 11-yr old daughter)!

On the return gifts or party favors, we mainly gave books and flower/veggie seed packets this time. I wanted to give small plants but then settled for this. Now I realize what may be a “good” gift in the eyes of parents may not be as good (read “exciting”) in youngsters’ eyes. So next time I’ll go all out and get them more fun stuff. I always say, you can judge a party by the return gifts!

#birthday #party #favors #return #gifts
The return gifts 🤩

I made sure to cut the cake before serving the food this time, although food time is always a bit of a chaos. This time we added icecream, and the fastest selling items were maggi noodles and cake/icecream, with a focus on the icecream. Everything else I toiled (and stressed) over was again practically untouched. We messed up the fries and instead made cutlets, which were NOT welcome. I also realized that the likelihood of something getting eaten is inversely proportional to the size, and next time I will definitely cut those cheese toasts into bite sized pieces.

One last word….if your time is 11 am, expect all kids to arrive only by 12. Some may come earlier, but the party can’t really start till they all arrive, especially in a home party where there are only a few kids. I would advance the invitation time by 30 minutes to an hour, depending on when you would like the party to begin.

That’s about all for now. I do hope you enjoyed reading!

Moments melted in time

The last week of the school year is super crazy – both kids’ birthdays in the holidays so they have to celebrate in school. Add to that the year’s worksheets and books to be disposed of, class party, PTM, school meetings, books and uniforms, and the result is a super crazy me. However this time I really wanted to give something special to the teachers, who have been so sweet through the year. So I decided to squeeze in one more task and made these chocolate cookies. Here’s the recipe shared by my mom, from Tarla Dalal, whose cookery books we have grown up with. What’s special is that my mother made these very cookies for me when I was in grade I, for a school activity where I remember selling each ‘melting moment’ for Re. 1. Memories! They have a way of coming back at the least expected ‘moments’. So here goes, recipe for…

Melting moments

85 gm atta (whole-wheat flour)

25 gm cocoa powder

25 gm cornflour

85 gm butter

115 gm powdered sugar

A few drops vanilla essence

Milk to loosen

Instructions:

1. Sieve the flour, cocoa and cornflour together three times.

2. Mix butter and sugar, add a few drops of essence.

3. Knead together with the atta mix using milk to loosen.

4. When it forms into a dough, roll into small cookies and bake on a tray in a pre heated oven for 15 min at 190 degrees C/375 degrees F.

Sorry! Forgot to click the dough but here’s how they looked after being rolled. I made a double batch.

After they were ready, here’s how they looked.

I just look to see that each cookie’s surface has cracked just a little bit. I usually take them out in 15 minutes flat but with a double batch, let them be in 10 minutes longer. They were perfect after staying out 5 minutes.

Here’s the cookie tin that my daughter decorated.

The best part was the smile on the teachers’ faces and their message the next day asking for the recipe, as they loved it!

😊

My brother Anuj….God’s child

G-R-I-E-F. A five-letter word whose full import you understand only when it hits you. And hits you hard and strong. The same feeling that came over when my mother messaged on 27th Feb morning – “Anuj died last night.” The words with their screeching finality pierced through my heart. How could that happen? My first thoughts were oh God why did I not go to visit him on his birthday? Why was I always busy, why did I always think I would go next year? I only wish I had known there would be no other chance.

You see, our dear Anuj lived in a loving home, after it became difficult for my aunt to manage him alone after my uncle’s death, under eerily similar conditions (cardiac arrest, collapse, and sudden death). She was also worried about what would happen to him after her own passing, though she also has my cousin sister and her family as her strongest and biggest support.

My thoughts went back to our childhood and the 6 of us first cousins at my grandparents’ house, or my aunt’s house, what fun those carefree days were. How Anuj would always make us laugh, with his dimpled smile, which never faded. His voice resounds in my head today – calling out to me and my sister, both of us much younger but of whom he was so fond.

This birthday of his, 20th January, when my aunt and cousin posted his picture on our family group, my other uncle exclaimed that Anuj looks so much like his father now. That was so sadly prophetical given what happened later.

On the day of Anuj’s cremation, as I sat in silence next to my little nephew (now not so little) with embers from the flames blowing over us on a day that was surreally sunny and cold-windy, sharing his pain and grief, I told him how nothing is in our hands. It was more a way of consoling myself because my tears today are more for why I did not spend more time with him. Anuj’s doctor of so many years was at the cremation. He told us how blessed he was to have looked after him, and how much his mates loved him. He was a child at heart, always happy.

Here is the poem my cousin sister wrote for her brother – her best one yet.

Two pair of footsteps on the sand

Two pair of footsteps in the mud

Whether it was sunshine or a mist

Together we stayed, no occasion we missed

Looking over the oceans

I stand all alone today

With a face smiling in my memories

And an ache in my heart

Stay blessed my little brother

Wherever you may be

I may not be able to touch you

But near me you shall always be

Anuj. 20.1.1968 -26.2.2019

Rest in peace my beloved brother. I do hope you knew just how much we loved you.

The six of us….Anuj is the right-most

Thoughts on my birthday eve (well, almost)

It’s nearly my birthday, and what are the things I have learnt this past year which make it worth my while to say that I’m older and wiser? Read on for my lessons this past year.

First, I have learnt the very very hard way, that it’s okay to say no. You don’t always have to oblige people while putting your own self in a difficult position.

Second, I have learnt to look out for my own interest, because I am my best champion.

Third, I have learnt that sometimes, it’s okay to let go. Of relationships that have seen better times, of friends of the past.

Fourth, I have learnt that will power is a big thing and miracles can and do happen. Watch out for another blog on my dad-in-law’s brave battle to live.

Fifth, I have learnt that negative thinking is like the acid that destroys the vessel it is kept in. Best to stay away.

Sixth, I have learnt that social media may be a double edged sword, but you can blunt one edge. When used wisely, it can open up possibilities.

Here’s to a year of possibilities. Because this WordPress account is my birthday gift to myself 🙂 Amen to that.

A little bit of glitter never did hurt a girl…

Singapore and the Urban Transport ‘Consumer’

On a recent visit to Singapore, I noticed some differences between India and Singapore from the perspective of an urban transport ‘consumer’.

One, the city offers not one, but a whole menu of urban transport options, each as efficient and safe as the other. In fact Singapore has perhaps one of the most efficient public transportation systems in the world. Choose from public bus, MRT, LRT, depending on your location, mood, requirements, and you can be assured that you will reach from point A to point B in the fastest, safest, most comfortable way, regardless of the option you pick. Taxis support and complement other forms of urban transport, but may not be the first preference for getting around (think the proliferation of Ola, Uber in India and, while useful, the problems they bring). Yet, they are affordable, safe, comfortable, and very convenient. Surcharges during peak hours help even the flow of traffic. And taxi stops are super comfortable with good information boards.

There is also an array of apps (many of them free) to help you choose from the menu of options. Singapore maps, SG BusLeh, SG MRT LRT Offline – just open the app and it tells you the best options to get to your destination – drive, taxi, bus, bus/MRT.

Two, owning a car is expensive so by default public transport is favoured. Cars are a luxury, and frightfully expensive to own and drive. In fact, the Government has implemented a range of measures to manage car ownership and usage. In every way, this encourages public transport, and why wouldn’t one want to use it? Given all the options available.

Three, the MRT stations are right where you are. So the problems of ‘last mile connectivity’ and ‘first mile connectivity’, which are big challenges in India, are all neatly taken care of. I saw hotels and healthcare centres located right above the MRT stations. There is also an MRT station located within Singapore Changi Airport. All the trains and stations are luggage friendly. The city has been meticulously planned along principles of integrated land use and transit oriented development to make best use of its limited space. 

I was also impressed with the signage inside MRTs and in the stations. Some of the signs also nudge you to, for instance, be quiet (“quieter rides make lovelier rides”), put your bag on the floor “to make space for more”, give up your seat for vulnerable groups (“show you care, offer this seat”), etc. – all in the most unobtrusive and creative way (using ‘cool’ hashtags such as #BagDownBenny, #HushHushHannah, #StandUpStacey). Green and red arrows guide you through the MRT (alighting passengers to go out first along the straight green arrows, boarding passengers to enter along the diagonal, red arrows). MRT is an attraction by itself, one of the top “things to do” in Singapore as per TripAdvisor!

Four, Singapore has implemented something called Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), aimed at tackling traffic jams during peak hours. Motorists are charged when they use priced roads during peak hours, with the intention that the price must reflect the true cost of driving. This helps manage congestion on roads.

Five, like most developed nations, pedestrians have an importance in Singapore. “Press for green man before you cross.” Of course, the discipline is remarkable, but the measures to support pedestrians exist. And while I do not focus on road safety here, I did notice that all communication related to road safety is positive – car radios do not say “slow down”, they say “drive carefully” or “drive safely”. An important point perhaps.

I also noticed at Changi airport, an innovative feedback mechanism in the restrooms and other areas like the gardens (e.g. the butterfly park), where you are encouraged to rate your experience based on the cleanliness of the restrooms or experience in the gardens by clicking smiley icons on a screen (ranging from excellent to very poor). If you click ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, you have to select one of the reasons for your choice, and submit again. Although I didn’t realize at that time, this actually helps collect real-time data on how the restrooms/gardens are performing. Data which immediately feeds back into operations. So, for instance, if a particular restroom is getting a lot of average or poor ratings, housekeeping staff are alerted to send a supervisor to inspect. And though I did not see the same at MRT stops, bus stops and other transit stations, this may be an idea worth transferring to public transport, if it isn’t being done already. 

I know that Indian cities are not strictly comparable with the island nation of Singapore. But that shouldn’t stop us from learning some useful lessons? It’s up to our policymakers to adapt as they deem fit.

This blog was first published on LinkedIn in July 2017. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/singapore-urban-transport-consumer-rashi-grover-kashyap/

“Always Eat A Hot Dinner” And More: 10 Rules On Surviving Travel With Young Children!

Ok so don’t get me wrong! While I do love traveling and exploring new places, I have to admit that I end up suffering from some travel anxiety when I have to pack to go on a holiday with kids. It just so happens (always!) that just before I have to travel, someone’s sick, or work’s suddenly hectic, or there’s some other kind of stress. When I get to the destination, much of the anxiety lifts, and I find myself enjoying.

While no vacation is ever all “good” or “bad”, I find that it helps to learn from your experiences. So a little secret I had was that I would come back from each holiday and jot down what I had learnt from my experiences in a little diary. And I would refer to all of my previous lists whenever I would go on the next holiday. Over time I found a pattern to my lessons. And this time I thought – why not share my lessons with other moms and give back to the “village”. So here goes, my top 10, in no particular order:

Rule Number 1: **Always eat a hot dinner**

I found that while lunch is often skippable (you’ve often eaten a really heavy breakfast at the hotel, you are out all day, or you just feel like munching on something rather than having a full meal), one non-negotiable rule especially when traveling with kids is to always eat a hot dinner. It may just be cheese pizza or whatever the kids like, but ‘hot’ is key to keeping little throats well, and ‘dinner’ is key as well to keeping kids well!

Rule Number 2: **Carry a variety of munchies, and not just sweet ones**

Carrying munchies is of course a done thing, if you want to avoid hungry, tired, and cranky kids. What I learnt is, when you are on holiday and not perhaps getting all of your basic meals, the body craves a variety of tastes, so carrying mostly sweet/chocolate biscuits is going to lead to a situation where you actually can’t look at more sweets! So I realized how important it was to carry a mix of sweet and savoury snacks. Here too, variety is key. Think wafers of different varieties rather than just chocolate cream biscuits. Think Lay’s of different flavours, kurkure, soya snacks, nachos, and crackers (which go well with cheese spread and jam). And your own home made matthis and namak paras, which I find a God sent really.

Rule Number 3: **Always carry lollipops on a flight**

I suspect there is a psychological reason apart from the scientific one, but there’s something about a lollipop that will soothe a child on a flight, even if it works more for its distraction power.

Rule Number 4: **Buy as you go, click as you go**

OK so this is not necessarily a rule only for travel with kids, but generally. I made this because I would always return from a holiday with a bag of regrets – “I saw this and thought I would buy it later”, “oh we’ll buy it on the way back at the airport”, “it looks expensive!”. Well, the opportunity slipped and I never bought the thing. Moods have a way of deteriorating on the way back from a holiday. So buy upfront, and don’t worry how much you are spending. Years later, you still have the thing, who cares how much it cost! And yes, don’t postpone clicking. I saw a certain decoration at a hotel we stayed in recently and thought – “oh I’ll click this tomorrow!” By the next day, they had taken it down 😦

Rule Number 5: **Pack according to the destination**

So this may sound silly but it happens! This is when you go to a warm destination from freezing Delhi, say. You just can’t imagine what the weather is going to be like at the destination. But then it’s important to foresee. Check weather apps, read reviews, ask people, but don’t assume the weather won’t be different from where you are.

Rule Number 6: **Arrive close to check in time**

Yes it may be difficult to exactly synchronise your flight timings with hotel check in timings, but especially when traveling with kids, it’s a good idea at least to be AWARE. It is NOT welcome to hang around in the waiting area for hours with hungry, tired kids, waiting for your room. Makes for bad tempers and a bad start.

Rule Number 7:**Always carry the Vim!**

OK so while one isn’t exactly going to a holiday to work, I tend to be a little hyper about hygiene, boiling water and storing it neatly in washed sippers. I don’t know how much the effort is worth it, but I would still say, don’t forget your (liquid) vim! You’ll be glad for it.

Rule Number 8: **Carry the powders in Nutella jars**

So this is a rule I made when I would carry milk powder, Bournvita, Tang in sachets, and then struggle to store them using rubber bands. Now all I do is carry all the powders in neatly labelled Nutella jars. It’s convenient and amazingly mess free. Don’t forget to carry your own (IKEA) plastic plates, bowls, spoons and knives. Extremely handy and far better than asking hotel staff for extra cutlery all the time.

Rule Number 9: **Plan, Plan and Plan**

Now this is something I made up when I feel we messed up our itineraries in some visits. There’s no harm in being aware, reading up (TripAdvisor is a favourite), discussing and planning your day to day itinerary with your family thoroughly before you travel. And usually, while the kids are well, plan the major outings upfront. Like in Hong Kong, I would say do Ocean Park on the first day. And always alternate with a lighter outing. A friend also gave me a valuable tip. She said if we’ve had a hectic day, I let the kids sleep until late the next day. Then we rest that entire day and perhaps go out only in the evening.

Rule Number 10: **Don’t leave behind the devices**

Last but not the least, and this is a debatable one, but I’ve come to believe in its power, so I say don’t leave behind the devices. Yes, you are going on a holiday and there’s a lot to explore, but I’ve seen one thing and that is that when you’ve had too much of exploring, you can do with the much needed device-break to recharge yourselves. So pack those iPads and Kindles, and don’t forget the chargers 😀

Enjoy the break from routine rather than stress about it. Remember, don’t come back with a bagful of regrets! And always eat the hot dinner 🙂 Safe travels!

This blog was first published on momspresso.com in January 2018 (AND got over 1.8k likes – my very own blockbuster hit!). https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/rashis-stories/article/always-eat-a-hot-dinner-and-more-10-rules-on-surviving-travel-with-young-children

There’s #Moretome, And I’m Absolutely Proud Of It

When I was little, the question in my mind always was – “what would I be when I grew up?” Yes, I could be anything I wanted – doctor, engineer, “IAS”, economist. I am from a family of doctors, so everyone assumed I would be one. But I was a little scared of injections, blood, so doctor it was not. Next came engineering. It was kind of an after thought sitting for the engineering exams, I never thought I would, until my physics tutor encouraged me to, saying I had talent. I got admission into civil engineering and joined Delhi College of Engineering for a week. After much thought (and it wasn’t an easy choice) I changed to economics partly because I loved maths and economics. And partly because of my beloved grandfather, a banker himself, egging me on to take it up. I would be good at it, he always said. So, economics it was. Although I sometimes wonder what if…engineering?? Anyway, I went the usual way, following up my economics degree with not one but two masters, one of them an MBA, and one on sabbatical leave while I was working at PwC, my first job.

Sometime after came motherhood. As I love kids and always wanted to be a mother, I slipped into the role as easily as your feet would slip into an old slipper. But then also somewhere along the way came compromise. Workplaces at the time I had my children weren’t as accommodating and forgiving of pregnant mothers and mothers with new-borns as they now are. In order to balance work with motherhood, I had to also compromise. Compromise meant giving up on opportunities. It meant saying no to interesting travel to interesting locations on interesting projects. It meant no to full time work. How would my kids’ routine and needs, not to mention the unexpected bouts of midnight illness, be managed if I was away?

I would be the parent present when my husband went away to work in another city, week upon week, year upon year. No matter what or how I felt myself, there I was – the rock, trying to make up for his absence in a way that no one would even notice he had left.

I would be the one at the receiving end of those dreaded calls from school summoning you for a child’s severe and sudden injury or other emergency. I would crumble from inside, drop everything and rush, but remind myself to stay strong, stay calm, and get done whatever it was that needed to get done. This hasn’t been without consequence though – a fear about these dreaded calls has crawled into my heart, and there it stays.

I would be the one to wake at 5 am on weekdays, finish my walk although it was still dark, just to be on time to wake the kids up with a smile and keep their moods good for school. Of course, with the worsening safety situation w.r.t. women in the city, I now try going later. But no complaints! As I’m a lark, and 9 pm my midnight!

My daughter, a child on the autism spectrum, went through a difficult journey with her schooling. What I learnt was that no matter what, and no matter how hard, you have to keep the patience and count your blessings.

I don’t know where I got those stores of strength and patience from. I didn’t really know they existed inside of me. But guess what, all these experiences put together have made me the person I am now. When I look in the mirror now, and see myself older, wiser, and stronger than before, I feel proud of where I am.

I know other mums do all this and much more. My own mother, a doctor, has done a lot more than I do everyday. In fact, I find the whole classification of “working” and “non-working” mums baseless, because I feel mums everywhere (whether working outside of the home or not) are basically always working. If you work outside the home as well, then you intrinsically rely on some form of support for some of your childcare responsibilities, which is well and good. If not, then you are doing that yourself as well. Either way, mums everywhere deserve a big, standing ovation.

I do so love the consulting work I do, for which I realize economics was an excellent base (as would have been engineering, actually). This is an important part of “me”, and I wish I could do more. And yet, as I now see, there’s #moretome than the profession I chose. And there’s more to me than meets the eye. And I’m absolutely proud of it.

This blog (my most, in a way, “personal” yet) was first published on Momspresso in January 2018. https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/rashis-stories/article/theres-moretome-and-im-absolutely-proud-of-it

The School Run And How To Make It Easier!

School mornings are never easy. That one hour of getting the children up and ready for school is a challenging one, but also an important one. I think it somehow sets the tune for everyone’s day. If things are relaxed and sorted, everyone’s in a relaxed space. Here are some of my hacks for making the morning run easier:

First, set your alarm to 10 minutes before your normal wake up time. I know this is hard, and those ten minutes under the quilt especially in winter are super precious. But once you do get out ten minutes earlier than your usual timing, that ten minutes extra alone-time will help get you more calm and relaxed yourself.

Second, wake the kids by talking about something positive or something exciting. There may be a birthday party coming up. Or something exciting in school. If nothing else, just countdown to the days left in the week! That first-thing-in-the-morning talk is really key to keeping everyone upbeat.

Third, i find it helps to sort the uniforms out the previous night, pack the snacks too if possible the previous night. In our case, breakfast and lunch are provided at school, so all we pack is a “bus tiffin” consisting of dry snacks. I always pack this the night before. If fresh food is to be prepared, it helps to keep ingredients ready at night itself.

Fourth, and I learnt this the hard way, but never trust yourself for the morning. In other words, if a school project is to be packed, a book is to be put in, don’t think you’ll do it in the morning. Just put the damn thing in, even if it’s a little wet, or a little less than perfect! I’ve been through the horrible feeling of leaving a bottle for my daughter’s project next to her bag overnight, thinking let it dry, I’ll most definitely remember to put it in in the morning. It was too dark that morning, we forgot, and I’ve never felt worse about trying to be so “perfect”.

Last but not the least, and again this is a “learnt-it-the-very-hard-way” moment, when you leave the house, just check if the kid wore the school bag!! It’s happened to us that my son once walked out and reached the stop before we realized he didn’t have his bag on. Although we finally managed to procure it through a mad scramble, it was embarrassing when the whole bus had to wait for him, and his morning sure did not start off calm. So always check the bag on the child’s back!

I’m sure everyone has their own morning hacks, and I’d love to hear yours. Do leave them in the comments box. And have a good morning “run” (both the school run and your actual run/walk after the bus is gone!) 🙂

This blog was first published on momspresso.com

5 Things I Wish I Had Known In My 30s

As I look back at the decade gone by, here are the five things I wish I had known in my 30s:

1. You are at your prettiest NOW!

I know we should feel beautiful at every age, but the fact is, the 30s is probably when we look our best. I don’t know why it wasn’t the 20s for me, maybe I was still ‘growing up’. The 30s were when I think I came into my own. I wish I had spent more time feeling good about how I looked.

2. You’ll have to work harder at your friendships in the years ahead

The 30s take a heavy toll on us. Work, children, family, where’s the time for friends? The fact is, the decade just goes by, and if you happen to be raising children, it goes by faster AND ages you faster! As we sometimes grow “up”, we also grow apart from old friends. Interests change, priorities change, and at times physical proximity too plays a part. In the age of social media, real connections seem to grow dimmer. While this is not to say to hold on and do not let go under all circumstances, because some friendships may not be meant to last, do work on at least some of your old, precious friendships. Old friends are hard to replace. New friends, while precious too, are harder to make.

3. Don’t postpone the travel

This is a mistake I made and regret now. I always felt – “let the kids grow up a little, it will be so much easier to travel.” I was probably right about the easier part, but I did not realize that as they grow, we grow older too. One of my worst nightmares now is to wake up one morning, look in the mirror and say – “yikes I’m too old to travel now!” Whether on work or leisure, don’t say no to travel. Yes, it’s harder, but it’s important. The opportunities tend not to come again.

4. The sleepless nights will not last

If you have been busy raising kids, then this is sure to resonate with you. It may not seem believable, as this may be a reality for you night after night, but the sleepless nights will NOT last. Or at least they will get better, as surely as the sun comes out every day. True, sleep issues do not go away ever, but they do lessen to a very substantial degree, allowing you that luxurious, continuous sleep you think you will never be entitled to again. Do not lose your sleep over sleepless nights!

5. Be prepared to seize your moment when the time comes

And this is my final piece of golden advice. With infants and toddlers at your hand, you may feel like life’s pulled a full stop button on you. If you managed to hold on to work, that’s amazing and excellent. But even if you couldn’t, the fact is infants grow into toddlers, and toddlers grow into higher grade going school children, leaving much of the mundaneness of child rearing aside. You then suddenly find yourself transported to a space with ever higher amounts of free time. Be prepared to seize your moment when your time starts freeing up. Capitalize on your unique talents and the things you love. Build on your hobbies, if nothing else. The Internet offers immense possibilities. There’s a lot of satisfaction to be had.

I hope those in their 30s will benefit from my “life lessons”. So, 30 somethings – feel pretty and stay strong!

This blog was first published on momspresso.com.