Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Your voice as a woman counts. Your voice as a mother counts. Your voice as a Devi counts. Your voice as a Devi with a Baby counts. Make sure your voice gets counted. If you aren't registered yet it is ridiculously easy to register here:

Deals of the Week

They say that by spending money we are doing our part for the economy. And--I have thoroughly researched this--it is NOT a good idea to get all your cash and put it in a shoebox under your bed. So, in the spirit of grinning and bearing this economic downturn, if you are going to buy online this week, take advantage of some of the best deals we have found on the web.

Maybe if you buy a new sweater or one of BR's timeless, classic scarves, you can save on some heating bills. 15% off purchases of $125 or more at Banana Republic. Code: FALLSALE

Channel your inner hoochie and be too amused to cry over the Dow. 25% off purchases of $150 or more at Bebe. Code: GET25OFF

Buy clothes for the whole year for less than the price of a coat at a department store. And get it all shipped to you for free. Free Shipping at Forever 21 on purchases of $75 or more. (And check out these shoes--dead ringers for Kate Spade, at 1/100th the price)

Stock up on anything and everything at Target--because who doesn't always "need" at least eight things from Target. $5 off purchases of $50 or more at Target. CODE: TCMAS7R9

Snag a new lipstick. Instantly feel better. 20% off any one item at Ulta. Code: 96447

Halloween Hijinks

Around this time of year, I always break out in cold sweats and have dizzying panic attacks. No, it’s not the pollen count. It’s Halloween.

I blame this on – who else? – my mother. My childhood memory of Halloween goes thusly:

Me: Mom, What am I going to be for Halloween tomorrow?
Mom: Oh my, is it Halloween already? Well, I have just the perfect costume for you.

At that point she would trot me off to my closet to see what could be cobbled together at the eleventh hour. There were only two options:

a) Indian princess
b) Gypsy

So, invariably, I would come to school either in

a) the chanya chori I had already worn about 5 times that month at all the Navratri events, topped off with a Burger King crown
b) a bunch of chunnis haphazardly wrapped around my body and head, lugging a canteloupe wrapped in aluminum foil (my crystal ball, natch!)

Needless to say, I never won a single costume contest, and I blame my mom’s lack of preparedness and creativity on the reason I still can’t get a costume together for myself at Halloween. (People who know me are nodding knowingly right now…)

Of course, when it comes to my daughter, this behavior is unacceptable. But I am seriously nervous about getting her a costume. What should it be? How should I get it together? What if it doesn’t turn out right??

You may think I’m crazy. “How hard can it be? Just go to the Halloween superstore and pick out something that fits!” But last year it took me three trips to the store to put together her angel outfit. First I bought her the wrong type of headdress – she needed a halo, not a crown, duh! Then it was the wrong size outfit. Finally, I forgot the damn wand! I am just not good at making images materialize. Sentences and paragraphs, I’ve got covered.

This year is the first year my daughter will have a say in what she’s going to be. I’ve already carved out time next weekend for us to take her to a Halloween store and let her pick out her own costume. I’ll also have a brown paper bag with me to hyperventilate in, and my husband along for moral support. Hopefully it will be great and fun and she’ll pick the perfect costume that she’ll love and have a blast wearing.

Gypsy, however, is not an option.

Some more humor on this humorless day

Monday, September 29, 2008
Check out the New Yorker cover. Lovin' it...

Humor is the Best Medicine...or at least it may Help

We all need to laugh today, don't you think? Put the doomsday rhetoric away, forget about the stock market for a few seconds, and check out how the Muppets invaded the NYTimes Op Ed page.

Working At It

I sit here furtively typing this entry on my very first day back at work after a long, 8 month maternity leave. I am hiding behind piles of "important documents" and muttering legalese in case anybody walks by. I am a cubicle gangster! (Okay, no I'm not. I have an office. It has a door. And the most gangster thing about me is that I grew up in a suburb of Michigan that is vaguely near to Eminem's 8 mile...key word being "vaguely.")

But I am back at work. And of course I am torn about whether I should be here right now or--it being 11:59--whether I should be at home, hanging out with my little one, getting ready to pick up my oldest from school. When I ask him about his day at school later this evening, when I get home, will I get the same answers and animation I have become accustomed to when we have our drive back from school together everyday? Will 6:00 be the same as 2:30?

My plan for the day involves going through the 14 inches of mail that has piled up. I am fairly confident that there will be little urgency to any of it but I have already come across some interesting material. Looks like it isn't just Devis with Babies pondering the work-life-balance (shocking I know). And looks like it isn't just mothers either. The text below arrive on a rolled up scroll that was in a cylindrical container, perched on top of my 14 inches of mail:

"We know the feeling. There's nothing quite like it. The feeling of standing before the judge and presenting the perfect argument, or hearing the opening bell on the morning the startup you've been advising goes public, or even that moment late at night when the light bulb goes on and the solvable is solved. Yes, we know the feeling. And we love it. Problem is, we also love watching our kids blow out the candles on thier birthday cake. And training for that first, second, or third marathon. Or learning to make the perfect souflee. Our needs are simple. We want it all. We want to be David and slay Goliath in court, but we want to be spouse, parent, and individual. We reject the belief that you can have a career, or you can have a life, but you can't have both. We believe these two parts of us can not only coexist, but can inspire, edify, and strenghten one another. We are attorneys who are passionate about practicing law, not billingh ours. Attorneys who see time with the family as being equally important as time in the boardroom. Attorneys who solve the legal problems of Fortune 500 companies with the same passion that pushed us through law school in the first place. That's our axiom. What's yours?"

It sounds utopic to me...and while it was not espoused by my particular employer...if the field of law can produce such a manifesto, then the world may not be as messed up as it sometimes seems. (Then again: With the economy we are currently in, we may not have any jobs to balance the birthday cakes and marathons with. These are some crazy times).

Weekend Links

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Here are some of the things we're reading around the web as we enjoy a lazy Sunday.

It’s that time of the year again… check out the top ten Halloween costumes of 2008 for costume ideas.

Find out why high-fructose corn syrup is really bad for you.

Bad dads cause early puberty. Talk about a catchy headline!

Indian moms urging their daughters to smoke and drink with them? Arre, kya baat hai?

It’s National Child Passenger Safety Week. Make sure your child seat is properly installed.

See how you look with Sarah Palin’s updo, or the hairstyle of many other celebrities at InStyle’s newly launched Hollywood Hair Virtual Makeover.

Funny Video Clips

Friday, September 26, 2008
OK, I knew I said I wasn’t going to look at the news today, but this election has officially made me into a news junkie again, and I couldn’t stay away. Plus the first debate is tonight!

Here are some recent comedic takes on the news that made me laugh. And a good laugh is what we moms all need right now…

Letterman loses it when McCain ditches his appearance, and then lies (and I don’t think there’s anyone more entertaining than pissed Letterman):

Jon Stewart is at the top of his game right now. Have you been watching??

Chris Rock is the funniest comedian in America. You heard it first here, folks. “John McCain could lose half his houses, and sleep well!” (Please ignore the weird Afrosynergy / butterfly intro to the video)

…Actually I take that back. Sarah Palin is the funniest comedian in America. Apparently when Putin invades America, he’s going to come through Alaska, so you should vote for her!

A Short Break from Armageddon

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Is it me, or does it feel like Armageddon is coming? I’ve spent the last few days trying to get a grasp on what’s happening on Wall Street, and now with the proposed government bailout. I’ve turned to NPR, which usually has some great, in-depth programs on financial matters. I’ve read the Times, the Journal, the Economist. All that’s happened is I’m more confused now than I was at the beginning of the week.

There’s a complete lack of leadership on this issue. I think it’s because the leaders have no clue what’s going on, either. What does a $700 billion bailout plan even mean for America five or ten years down the line? Nobody seems to be able to say for sure, and it can’t be good. But the option is that factories will shut down, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs, and house values will be slashed even more than they are now? Or is that just more fear-mongering by the Bush administration?

I’m not sure how this ties into the whole mommy theme (other than me worrying about how much debt we’re saddling our children with). I just needed to unload. Tomorrow I’m going to try to spend the day away from the news, and just hang out and laugh with my daughter. Thank God for little kids.

Pack a Punch for your Picky Eater

I just got finished attempting to feed my oldest son dinner and, frankly, I think it's time for bed I'm so exhausted. I think he is the pickiest eater I have ever met (next to--ahem--his mother...!) We are in week 3 of preschool and, in my estimation, he has eaten a sum total of three bites of food at lunch. Every time a morsel of food passes his lips I declare victory (sometimes with arms-in-the-air dance moves). If the morsel is healthy, I begin planning a parade. Which is why when I learned about double-time-magic-super-healthy food combinations I was so happy. I am up for anything that packs more of a healthy punch when it comes to feeding my kids. (I even tried the whole sneaking sweet potatoes into homemade brownies bit--but that plan got sort of sabatoged by the fact that I don't really make homemade brownies...) Anyway, the double-time-magic-super-healthy food combos are based on the principle that specific pairings of healthy food make them even more nutritious. Apparently, some vitamins and minerals feed off of others, letting your child absorb more. Some examples:

-Strawberies and Whole Wheat Toast: The vitamin C in strawberries converts the iron in whole-wheat bread to a form that cells can absorb.

-Oatmeal with Milk: The magnesium in oats increases the amount of calcium your child gets from the milk by keeping it from binding to fiber and other nutrients.

-Olive Oil and Veggies: The healthy fat in olive oil helps your child absorb the veggies' antioxidants.

-Chicken and Carrots: My kids are vegetarian so I haven't tried this one--but the zinc in chicken helps the body metabolize the carrots' vitamin A.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt to force-feed my son strawberries and wheat toast all day. Somewhere, my mom--who endured years of me subsisting on cottage cheese and cottage cheese alone--is laughing and perhaps muttering "karma" under her breath.

Kidless and Clueless

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A few years ago, well before my daughter was born, a good friend of mine called me up and said we needed “to talk.” Uh-oh….

We met for coffee, and she proceeded to tell me what a bad friend I’d been since her baby was born. She asked me why I stopped calling her, why I never offered to hang out with her baby, and why, in general, I sucked. I really had no good answers for her. She had become a member of a different species – Parent – and I was still partying like a rock star. I promised I’d do better and call her more, but I pretty much continued to suck as a friend.

Fast forward a few years to after my baby was born. Suddenly, I was the one whom my kidless friends stopped calling. I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life, and they had disappeared. I called up my friend who’d chewed me out and apologized profusely. I totally understood what she had gone through, and felt awful I hadn’t been there for her.

Now, of course, I know the truth. It’s virtually impossible to understand how difficult having a newborn is, and how to support a new mom, unless you’ve been one yourself. Nobody else understands what it feels like to wake up ten times a night to a crying baby whom only you can soothe. No one else will understand the radical turn your relationship with your baby’s daddy takes. No one else will understand the extreme isolation you feel after spending day after day alone with a newborn. And NO ONE else will understand how you feel when you see your new body in a mirror, or try to fit it into your old favorite jeans.

So there it is, new moms: The time will come when your now-kidless friends will become moms to their own newborns, and it will be their turn to get a clue. Until then, go find some mommies to hang out with!

Shopping with less Gilt has been around for over a year now and most of you are probably members. If not, it's time to join--in addition to the fantastic sales for men and women, Gilt has added a kids section, where you can get up to 70% off on designer apparel from Tea, Burberry and smaller cache-filled labels like Marie Chantal and Eliza Gran. If you haven't heard of Gilt before, the idea is simple: it's an invitation-only online sample sale of luxury brands. In the beginning of each week, Gilt sends you an email announcing that week's sales--this week, for instance is Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Oscar de la Renta, to name a few. Then, on the day of the sale, Gilt sends an email (usually around 9:00 a.m.) announcing that the particular sale is starting. Gilt veterans know the pitfalls of the site (things sell out very quickly; you pay for returns; and you can only get store credit, no actual refunds) but there are also rewards, not the least of which are the up-and-down-your-spine thrills of getting a $1000 Notte by Marchesa frock for $199.

Gilt has something for everyone. Satisfy your inner fashionista, dress your kids in that aspirational French countryside way, and appease the Indian aunty bargain-hunter within. If you aren't a member, send your email to and I will snag you an invite.

The Mommy Cottage Industries

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Another day, another book about the elusive-like-a-jungle-cat "work-life-balance" mothers all over the world crave. I haven't read "The Comeback" but I read the review of it in last Sunday's New York times. As inspirational as it appears to be (the book centers around seven women who left the workforce and successfully returned in their 40s, 50s, and 60s), I am even more interested in the motivations of the author, Emma Gilbey Keller, than with her subject.

Keller--a successful journalist who is married to the Executive Editor of the New York Times-- struggled like so many of us do with how to inject career vitality into her life after she had children. In fact, according to interviews, she hit a wall after the birth of her child and felt paralyzed with no idea as to how to connect her life as a journalist with that as a mother. This book was her answer. Now, obviously, it makes sense for her to write this--she is following the axiomatic first rule of writing: "write what you know." But before she had kids she was writing about Winnie Mandela.

As I look around I see more and more former lawyers, doctors, bankers, writers ditching their careers post-baby for mommy-cottage-industries: photographing kids, designing clothes for kids, whipping up baby food for kids, and yes--touche--blogging about kids. And I can't help but wonder: Are we limiting ourselves? Are these second-stage careers what we really want to be doing...or are we afraid to take bigger leaps? Are we wary of re-entering our previous professions or do we just not like them anymore, and having kids gave us a great excuse to get out?

The Best Gift for Kids

It’s really tough figuring out unique gifts to get the children in your life – and gifts that their parents won’t return or re-gift.

One present that will definitely be appreciated, and not break your bank, is personalized kid’s stuff. There are hundreds of different items that you can personalize with his or her name, or any wording you like, from nap mats and clothing to books and artwork. And it’s really wonderful when they and their parents open up your present to find something way more special than another Dr. Seuss book.

Here are some sites we’ve used and liked:

Simply Colors
Good-quality clothes in all sorts of colors, with a variety of fonts. With free shipping for orders over $75. I’ve gotten the hoodies and t-shirts for a few kids in my life, including Deepa’s, and my own.

I See Me Inc.
Really sweet, well-made, high quality personalized books that teach your child the alphabet using his or her name. You can choose a fairy theme or an animal theme. They have other products like floor puzzles and wall art, but the fairy books are my favorite. (Disclaimer: Deepa got one of these for my daughter for her first birthday, and she adores it.)

The Gift Whiz
Personalized nap mats, lunch boxes, bags, and all kinds of other stuff at great prices.

Weekly Deals

Monday, September 22, 2008
Our round-up of the best deals of the week. We troll the web so you don't have to. And so we don't have to do laundry.

-Time for some new toys? Baby Center's pre-season toy sale is on, with almost every toy on its site on sale. But only until Sunday 9/28.

-Halloween's right around the corner. Save 15% on everything at One Step Ahead--including Halloween costumes. CODE: SEPTBDAY

-Pregnant? The only prereq there really is to taking your kid home is the carseat. Scary but true...! Save $30.00 on Britax car seats, plus get free shipping here.

-Moms need shoes. It's just the way it is. Take $25 off any order over $125 at

-Some moms exercise and man do I admire them. If this is you, take an additional 20% off already reduced items at Nike. CODE: SEPTCLEAR.

-Stock up for the holiday season (if you need an excuse) or buy something "just because" at French Connection--take 20% off full-priced dresses and shoes. CODE: steals20

-Twin-set anyone? 25% your entire order at Ann Taylor. CODE: FALL25

In the Pink, er Red

Back in May, the New York Times ran an article about how the sale of lipstick may be an economic indicator. The idea is that, in economic downturns, women will spend more money on small purchases, such as lipstick, instead of buying more high-ticket items like coats and handbags. Beauty company balance sheets seem to confirm that sales of lipstick increase in down economies. By this logic, and in light of the events of the last week or so, lipstick sales must be poised to soar.

I don't know if its the Fanny/Freddie/Lehman effect or the fact that my husband is now privvy to my spending (and therefore that fourth pair of black slingbacks just can't be mine), but I have recently become consumed with finding the perfect lipstick. And it has to be red. I think this is because I'm so obsessed with "Mad Men," I don't know. I have never been able to find a red lipstick that works well on my skin and from what I hear many Indian girls have the same issue. Something about the undertones of many reds scream "clown" on Indian skintones. But where there's a will there's a clay (shade of lipstick for you. Sorry! I had to do it). If you're interested in channeling your inner Betty Draper but happen to be not as...well...white, try one of these:

For lighter Indian skin:
Chanel "Fire"
NARS Lipstick in "Fire down Below"

For medium dark Indian skin:
Chanel "Dazzling" (this is the one that worked for me)
Make up for ever lipstick No.205

For darker Indian skin:
Kat Von D for Sephora Painted Love Lipstick in "Hellbent"

Bobbi Brown "Cassis"

Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice...GRRRR

For the majority of my daughter’s life, the gender issue hasn’t really come up. She’s not into princesses yet, she doesn’t play much with dolls, and although we did buy her a little kitchen, we would have done so if she were a boy, too. She does wear a lot of pink, but it’s hard to avoid pink clothes for girls.

Lately though, I’ve begun to notice the gender difference at the playground. She will avoid areas where a group of boys are playing. A couple of weeks ago, she told my husband she couldn’t go down a particularly steep slide at the playground because “only boys do that slide” – and of course, nobody had ever said that to her. Twice in the last week, she’s been kicked or yelled at by a boy because she took too long going down the slide. Once, she wanted to go down a slide but there was a boy at the bottom. He didn’t move when he saw her, so she went to the adjoining slide where there was a little girl at the bottom. The girl, of course, moved.

I’ve seen it a bit at school, too. A boy sitting next to her at snacktime tried to take her crackers. With me there, she yelled “No, Bobby, no, don’t take my crackers!” and he went away. But she told me later that before I came, he had taken her crackers anyway.

All of this makes me pretty upset. Logically, I can think about the way I’m supposed to handle this. I’m supposed to have a long talk with her about how she’s capable of doing anything boys can do (and I did do that.) I’m supposed to teach her to fend for herself, to assert herself verbally, and to yell for an adult if the pushing, kicking, or cracker-stealing continues.

I realize any other girl could do these things to her as well, but for some reason it makes me really mad when it’s a boy. I also realize some of this is just “boys will be boys” behavior – it’s not their fault that they were born with something called testosterone. They’re just usually more rambunctious.

But in reality I want to go over to that kid, and tell him to GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER. Get off the slide, can’t you see she wants to go down? Where are your manners – eat your OWN crackers! And who told you it was okay to kick someone else, you little monster?!!

At this point I’ve obviously lost it, so if you have any constructive advice for me on how to handle these situations, give it to me!

Equal Opportunity Breastfeeding?

Sunday, September 21, 2008
As I was hunting around the house this weekend for assorted baby accoutrements, I came across my dusty stash of breastfeeding supplies. The pads, the Lanolin, the ice packs--oh the glory. It reminded me of the fruits of one of my late-night-nursing Google sessions, when, during what seemed like the ninety-sixth feeding of the day I asked Google, in sheer desperation, "Can my husband take this awful horrible nursing over?" (I sometimes use Google as a sort of Magic Eight Ball--it is surprisingly well-suited for this function). So--Do you know? That, physically, men can breastfeed? Yes, that is right. Men have the same ducts and tissues women have, as well as the hormones necessary for milk production. Males of many different mammalian species have the potential to lactate, and one--the Dayak fruit bat of Southeast Asia--does so spontaneously. In 2002, Agence France-Presse reported a short piece on a 38-year-old man in Sri Lanka who nursed his two daughters through their infancy after his wife died during the birth of her second child. And, interestingly, anthropologist have observed male breastfeeding in certain Pygmie societies in Central Africa, where male and female roles are virtually interchangeable.

Here it is ladies. Here is your chance to throw the words of your well-meaning husband into his well-meaning face. Do you REALLY wish you could help out with the nursing if you could? Do you REALLY mean it when you say that, if it were possible, you would take the cracked nipples, the 2 hour feedings, the incessant pumping, the cow comparisons--that you oh so wish you could bear some of the burden? How is your from-the-village Mom going to feel when she sees her first-born son with a my Breast-friend on instead of that briefcase?!? I know plenty of Indian boys (men?) whose mothers don't like to see them washing their own dishes and doing their own laundry, thinking that such tasks are firmly in the domain of the wife--what I would pay to see these same mothers witnessing the joys and wonders of their lactating sons...

Weekend Links

Saturday, September 20, 2008
For your reading pleasure--some of the mom-related things we are filling our minds with over a nice glass of much-needed "mommy juice" this weekend:

-Margaret Cho on Sarah Palin, her favorite political MILF.

-Tot Snob on uses for your kids' artwork that doesn't make the refrigerator cut.

-Swiss restaurant to debut meals cooked with human breastmilk--got any extra?

-Cookie Magazine's take on the 5 best infant carriers--till there is a Brand New One released tomorrow, anyway.

-MommyTrack'd rounds up celebrities' thoughts on motherhood this week.

-Some more Sarah Palin--an open letter to the possible VP on the subject of working moms.

Back-to-School Night

This week my husband and I went to our first back-to-school parents night. Our daughter's teacher’s name sounds totally Indian -- let's just call her "Sita." You may think she’s Indian, but you’d be wrong. She informed me that Sita is her spiritual name, and that she’s been living at a Hindu ashram for the past 20 years. I wonder if that makes her love my daughter more than the rest of the children. You may laugh at this, but seriously, she had nothing but good things to say about her!

On the Montessori “work” periods: “Some kids are not great about putting away their work when they’re done. Your daughter is very good at putting away her work.”

On socialization: “Alex totally does his own thing and doesn’t like to play a lot with others. Johnny is a social butterfly, sometimes to the detriment of his work. Your daughter is a bit of both; she really gets into her work, but then she’s social, too.”

On eating: “Some of the kids only sit for 10 minutes. Your daughter will sit the longest – she eats very well.”

On the potty: “Your daughter never has any problems with using the potty. Do you want to share some advice with the rest of the parents on how to potty-train?”

In general: “Your daughter is really easy for us. She cries right when you drop her off, but as soon as you leave, she never cries or causes us any trouble.”

Oh my God, my child is a superstar! I need to alert the Nobel committee, start the Harvard application, put her into Mensa before age 3!

The very next day, Friday, which is her day with me, she has a meltdown at her playdate which causes me to leave early with her. On the way out she starts yelling so loud people on the other side of the street are laughing (okay, it was Deepa who was laughing, and Deepa’s son was so shocked that he stopped crying himself). She has a tantrum at home before napping, a tantrum when she gets up, a tantrum on the way to the park, a tantrum AT the park, a tantrum getting in the car, a tantrum getting OUT of the car… you get the point.

I have decided we’re just really bad parents. But at least we did something right, because apparently she is an angel the second we’re out of the room.

Thanks, Suggestions, and Some Entertainment

Friday, September 19, 2008
Thank you to EVERYONE who’s been reaching out to us with your support and comments. They fuel us.

What we want to know is this: What do you want to hear from us? What would make you come back to and read this blog every day for a few minutes? Tell us in the comments below.

Meanwhile, I ran across this hilarious, low-budget Indian-American soap opera on YouTube. I think I’m enjoying it because I’m actually laughing AT it more than with it, but I have a really low tolerance for these ABCD (American-Born Confused Desi)-type things, and this made me keep watching! It’s called the “Desi OC” (I know, I know…)

To Blog or Not to Blog--Or Why You Should Read This Blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Another blog? Are we serious? Why why why??

Here's why: There is a reason so many of us, right now, enjoy to talk about our children and all of their nuances and, in the same breath, make fun of ourselves for constantly talking about our kids. There is a reason why, as we fine-tune what the ideal work-life-family balance is (is there an ideal balance?), we find more and more things to talk about and discuss, and there is a reason why this somehow doesn't get old. The reason is that--like it or not, and on any given day, if you are anything like us and despite how much you adore your kid, you want to throw the towel in or at least you entertain fantasies of developing a time machine that transports you back to college circa freshman year--this, right now, is our LIFE. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful--every aspect of raising and living with these little people is our life. At the same time, we are kind of young still, aren't we? Sure, I mean in age--for what it's worth, Monica and I are 34 and 31 respectively. But I also mean in terms of interests, sense of humor, worldview, attitude. I still get excited about a secret Beck concert at the Independant or the rumor that Philip Lim is slated to be the next in line to design a capsule collection for Target. I also get excited about a sample sale on Tea clothing for my sons or the fact that there is a website that does all the work of comparing public and private schools in my area. On my nightstand right now is "The Garden of Last Days"; "Out Stealing Horses"; "The Happiest Toddler on the Block"; and "Vogue." (And "Us" magazine but I SWEAR i have NO idea how it got there. It must have been accidentally put in with my groceries...for the last 18 weeks...)

Do you get what I'm saying?

Are you even still reading this?

If you are (and if you aren't related to me) then maybe this blog is for you. My husband is a born marketer. He could sell the proverbial ice cube to the Eskimo. Me? Not so much. I don't really know how or want to convince you that this blog is for you. That being said, I think we have some cool things to say and I think we may make you laugh. I think we can offer you some tested recommendations and amazing deals on shopping and beauty and also give you a forum in which to talk about anything on your mind. From boredom over packing your kid's lunch to the current financial climate to even babies with rabies. (Confused? Consider the previous blog posts a scavenger hunt--the answers lie within).

That covers the "babies" aspect--onto the "devis." Even thus far into writing this blog, Monica and I vacillate on what exactly the bond is between Indian moms; is there something about us being Indian that makes our experience unique, and that makes us want to self-select into, for instance, a blog tailored to other Indian mothers. To be honest, I am not really sure. What I do know is that at this point the label of "Indian" and the label of "mom" are firmly mine and firmly entrenched into my identity, as much as "woman," "daughter," "wife," "sister," and, yes, "Amazon Princess Warrior." (Fine--that might be my Halloween costume). This is despite the fact that, when we first met, my husband called me "white with a tan" (more on that in future posts I'm sure!) And, as I find out in funny ways through the years, being of Indian origin affects many little and not so little aspects of daily life in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, no matter "how Indian" you may be. Agree? Disagree? If you are still reading--let us know...!

Why Should You Read This Blog?

As we get ready to “announce” this blog to people other than our husbands and family, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking around this question. Here are some thoughts….

I spent some time last night perusing other mommy blogs, including a whole bunch of desi-mom blogs and the most popular mommy blog out there, Those blogs all seem to have a few things in common that this blog does not:

a) they all seem to go into the minutiae of their child’s life, i.e. “Arjun had a tantrum today before school. Then he stuck a peanut up his nose, and had a purple bowel movement at 4:37pm.”

b) many of them are really personal, providing an amazingly open look at their lives and giving details on things like their latest fights with their husband/mother-in-law/best friend.

c) they have images, videos, and things other than text!

I can promise you that we will definitely be doing c. We WANT to give you more than words to look at! But I think it’s safe to say that this blog will not offer you a or b. We may go into a specific incident with our kid/husband/etc., but for the most part we’re relatively private people (as private as one can be whilst launching a blog!), and prefer to mull things over in a more analytical way that brings out the universal themes or challenges moms today go through.

So the question is, if we aren’t going to dish out personal stuff, why should you read this blog? Right now, at least, here’s what I have to say about what we hope to do with this blog:

a) this blog will hopefully entertain/amuse you

b) this blog will hopefully resonate with you in some way, and prompt you to think about your own life and opinions, and to post lots of comments agreeing with/disagreeing with our posts!

c) this blog puts a mostly unheard voice out there for the masses: that of the Indian-American mom. My sister-in-love said she doesn’t know another blog like it, and I hope that’s true for most of you.

We started this as mostly a writing exercise, but it’s evolved into much more as we’ve started to write it. So your comments are always welcome! Also, we want to hear from and feature other moms out there, possibly as guest bloggers. If you’d like to write just give us a shout-out!

Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy!

My Meta Blog Post

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Am I too mean? I am worried about what sort of picture of myself my blog posts to date present. Navel-gazing FOR SURE but oh well, there it is. I don't think I'm a mean person but maybe actions (or words in this case) speak louder words?!? Meaning, if my blog posts give the impression that I am mean, maybe I am. I think I'm pretty nice though. Some other things I think about myself:

1) I think I'm a good mom even though I let my kids watch tv and eat sweetened cereal.
2) I think, thus far, I have most certainly learned more from my kids than they have from me--figuring out a way to repay them.
3) I think having children has made me appreciate almost every single thing in my life more. From things I took for granted (a moment of quiet; living in a country with paved roads) to things I already appreciated but now appreciate more (a husband who is a partner; having had a loving upbringing).
4) As a caveat to (3) I also think that having kids has lessened my career-drive. Cliched but true. Trying to rectify this--and yes maybe it's too easy to blame the kids.
5) I think my whole world changed when I had my first kid, but I'm not sure exactly how yet.
6) I think (all the time, often about doomsday scenarios involving my children) therefore i am (SUCH a mom...!)
7) I think I am very lucky

My Public Service Announcement: Blahblahblah

Is it just me or is there something about motherhood that makes us classify ourselves in black-and-white terms on a nearly daily basis. Among the many things I and my friends have said in the last, oh, month or so: "I'm just not a strict kind of mom"; "I just think that working outside the home is better for everyone"; "I don't believe in play-based schools"; "I'm the kind of mom who remembers what I was like before I was a mom"; "I don't think it's right to go out instead of putting your child to bed"; "I just don't think that activities are that important right now"; "We don't see the need for organic food"; "We don't believe in babysitters". Truly, I could go on and on. And while these sorts of comments are often prefaced with "it's just my opinion but" or something similar, it is clear that the characterization is laced with some judgment.

Obviously we all have opinions. But there is something--at least right now, when most moms I know are still in the first 3 years of their tenure as moms--there is something strangely juvenile about all these assertions we make. We're still learning the ropes people and I kind of have a feeling we will still be learning when our kids are 18. Why do we have to be so static? Why do we put ourselves into these little boxes of what our beliefs are on motherhood? Don't we realize yet that our views on ALL of this are evolving and probably changing every single day? Even some of the least judgmental and most laid back moms I know--and of course I count myself in this category!--are guilty of subtly but surely characterizing themselves as One Particular Way on subjects concerning parenthood. Think about any subject worth considering. Abortion; gun control; capital punishment; gender equality. Could your "beliefs" on the topic be summed up in a bald-faced little nugget of "pro" or "con"? If so, you are probably not a very good advocate for your position. "What do you think of gun control?" "I'm pro gun control." "Really, tell me more." "I'm pro gun control."

Plus, the bread and butter of parenthood topics in these early years--napping, preschool, potty-training, work-life balance--are not so "hot button" as to warrant diametrically opposed sides. More than once I have seen people (and I am sure I have done this myself too) declare themselves to be "against" going out on weekdays or "pro" daycare only to change their minds, or develop more nuanced opinions, resulting in embarrassment for such brash proclamations in the first place. Now, this is good for absolutely nobody. You feel like a tool, your friends laugh at you behind your back for being so sure of yourself to begin with, you therefore feel insecure and often over-compensate by explaining that, no, you really ARE pro this or anti that BUT...

Blahblahblah. Let's just all agree that what we feel on many things concerning parenthood is just what we feel today. Like my friend Jaime told me once, "I think taking naps in a swing is fine...till it doesn't work anymore. Then I don't think it's fine anymore." She wasn't "pro" napping in swings and she isn't going to become "anti" napping. Because, really, who wants to be pro or anti ANYTHING concerning napping. It's just lame. Let's not be lame.

BFFs with Babies

Girl friendships often fall into different categories. There are those girls (okay, I should probably say women) with whom your children go to school, who are good for light banter such as the latest-chemical-toxin-in-kid-toys alert. You usually don’t know anything about the interior or personal lives of these women. There’s the one-step-up friend, who you’ve spent a decent amount of time with alone, and whose general life challenges and events you know about. She’s good for a once-in-awhile heart-to-heart, but for the most part the conversation stays at a certain level. Then, there’s the BFF who knows a lot about what you think, how you feel, what drives you. You may have had some knock-down, drag-out fights with her. You may be closer to her certain weeks, and farther away other weeks. But you’ve seen her without her hair done or make-up on, you’ve witnessed her tears, and maybe just luckily enough, you’ve been there for each other when life has sucked.

Pre-kid, these relationships often consume an amount of time and energy second to none – not even your boyfriend/husband relationship, because your best friends are usually around far longer than any significant other, and often privvy to information even your S.O. is not. Also, women can get intense!

Post-kid however, this particular relationship takes a beating. Now, your first priority is your kid – her naps, her tantrums, her school-pick up times and doctor’s appointments. I remember going on a girls’ day out during my daughter’s first year of school, and a family member telling me afterwards that “there is no time for that sort of thing anymore. Now your focus must be completely on your child.”

But I beg to really, really differ. My relationships with my girlfriends are often what keeps me afloat during the rough patches (and even in between), and I’ve heard them say the same. Your BFFs, especially the ones with children, will listen to you whine ad-nauseum about the sleepless night you had with your sick baby. They will notice your new hairstyle or shoes. They will wax poetic with you about the good ole days, pre-kid. They will give you marital advice, hug you when you’re sad, inspire you to channel your creative side, accompany you when you need new make-up (and tell you the truth about how it looks), make a special effort to see your family when they’re in town, and make you laugh until your sides hurt. They will also remind you that it’s not all about kids and responsibilities. Sometimes it can just be about some really juicy gossip, or a really good book or movie or trashy teen TV show.

So I will always make time for my women friends, no matter what category they fall into. They make me remember that sometimes, I can still be just a girl.

Hoorah for the slow-food movement!

My family is big on cooking. Whenever we get together we basically sit around, cook, eat, talk, sleep, repeat. My mother makes the best Gujarati food you’ve ever tasted – we’re talking paper-thin rotlis, and patra and khandvi made from scratch. My brother’s specialty is hot and spicy – Chinese, Italian, you name it, he’ll find a way to put a habanero in it. My sister-in-love also specializes in spicy -- her South Indian dishes are to die for. My sister and brother-in-law, who live in the South, do everything from pork chops and korma to day-long pig roasts. And we here take advantage of all the fresh California produce, often just throwing it into the pot along with some spices and seeing what comes out. Even my father, a septuagenarian, has begun cooking. This is huge, since, having lived in India until his 40s, he never really stepped foot in the kitchen before that except to ask for more salt!

Cooking can seem like a chore, but I just read an article in the New York Times about how people are embracing it again. People – to me, demi-gods – like Alice Waters and Michael Pollan speak and write lovingly about a "new trend" called the slow-food movement: gathering fresh ingredients, taking time to enjoy chopping and cooking them, and then sharing them with family or friends. But for me, that concept started way back in the 70s during my childhood Saturday mornings. The house would be filled with some delicious smell emanating from my mom’s cooking. The whole family would be in the kitchen chatting, watching the Indian show (back then it was one show on once a week, not a selection of 24-hour cable channels), reading the paper, drinking chai and waiting for the food. And then on our plates would arrive uttapam, upma, or some other yummy thing. Today, as we try to do the same thing in our kitchen (albeit with french toast, omelettes or pancakes instead) I see the same joy in my daughter as she waits for and eats my food. It’s the simplest act of love: fresh ingredients, lovingly prepared, from my hand to her mouth. Seen from that angle, it no longer seems like a chore.

Getting to Knowwwww Youuuuu...

Who are these Devis with Babies? These people writing all this belly-contemplating stuff about motherhood? Where did we come from?

Sometimes, at this point, it seems like we have always been moms, doesn't it? But--obviously--we haven't. We were babies, we were children, we went away to college, we did non-motherhood-related things. Along those lines--and in the interest of full disclosure--I must tell you that "Devis with Babies" is not completely original and is in fact derivative of a very famous and impeccably produced radio program based in New York City from 1997-1998. It was called "Babies with Rabies," it aired on WBAR, Barnard College radio, and it was genius. If you haven't heard of it you really are declaring yourself ultra-un-hip (and not in that "so uncool it's cool" way). According to the mimeographed "circular" that functioned as a "programing guide" at WBAR, "Babies with Rabies" was a "tasteless melange of music that suits our fancy, as well as--dare we say--witty banter on pertinent world subjects such as race, poverty, the enviroment, and babies with rabies." I just might have been one of the two DJs. We just might have, one time, played a 42 minute medly of Led Zepplin songs over which we sang. My co-DJ, Emmy, I credit with expanding my musical boundaries beyond REM and U2 (and making me into a Tom Waits junkie). I think we had 2 1/2 listeners.

Now, of course, the idea of babies with rabies is horrifying. Then it was just funny--and I might be laughing out loud writing this right now. And I think I have to go put on some David Bowie and dance--my kid does a mean Major Tom impression. (Go ahead--tell me that is abuse--I dare you.)


Tuesday, September 16, 2008
After I had my first baby, my parents insisted that I stay inside the house for a month. I didn't really question this at the time, but I do know--especially in retrospect--that it drove me right to the brink of madness. It also severely cramped my self-declared fashion prowess. Well, maybe it was the baby who accomplished that feat. As has come to be cliche, there was little use for my closet full of silk and Marc Jacobs in those hazy first months of motherhood. If I remember correctly, I lived in those tank tops with detachable straps (and I think I remember saying--with pleasure--"look! your boob can just pop right out!") and those horrible gaucho pants that one friend has since declared my "Clare Huxtable gear." (It doesn't make sense really...except that it does...!) This configuration of variables--new mom-ness; one month of reclusiveness; at least 30 days straight of all faded black jersey-wear--amounted to the perfect storm, and the storm hit on day 31 of my new baby's life. Operation Get Out of the House Day. Truly it was epic. Or at least it seemed like it at the time. I was going to go to Safeway. I was going to take the baby and I was going to buy milk, cheese, bread, and an ungodly amount of trashy magazines. The trip had been in the planning stages since Day 15. I had talked about every aspect of it--when the best time was, pursuant to nap schedule (haha--like there was even a "schedule" then); whether I needed to take one or eight bottles of pumped milk ("just in case"); the best route to drive the .2 miles. Every aspect, that is, except wardrobe. What on earth would I wear for my first foray into The Real World. I opened my closet the night before and nothing seemed right. More importantly, nothing really fit. But then I saw it. In the back of the closet. Gold sequins, a little bit of tulle, spaghetti straps and--this was key--an empire waist. It was a dress and it was my prom dress and--my god--it was perfect. If you happened to see a woman in sequins and tulle walking the aisles of Safeway on February 18, 2006 with a baby in tow, and with the biggest smile on the face of the earth--thank yourselves for not calling (1) the police; (2) social services. It was me and I am sane. Or at least as sane as others who are allowed to walk the streets and go to Safeway. I just needed to dress up! Glamor. I needed a bit of glamour. I still do but--call it growing up or call it being pregnant with my third child--I have learned to tone it down a little bitty bit. For that perfect amount of glamor that doesn't quite put you on the "iffy" list of mental stability (a la post-VMA Britney; LaLohan; etc.), try my newest obsession: Benefit Cosmetic's "Moon Beam." You dab a little bit of this gold iridescent potion onto the corners of your eyes, or anywhere you want to look "highlighted" and--bam--instant glamor. No trip to Safeway required.

Step on a crack, break your mother's back?

A friend of mine recently, and sheepishly, admitted to me that she has a difficult time "being there" for friends going through rough patches these days because she believes that letting negative things into her life makes her own life more negative. She told me that her mother had always told her this before, but that she never really believed it herself until she had her child. "It's not like I'm superstitious," she said, "but even on a superficial level, after I talk for an hour with someone about something horrible going on in their lives, I feel horrible myself and I think it affects my daughter," she said. "Does it make me a horrible person," she asked--rhetorically. Um. Yea, I kind of think it does. Not to sound harsh (I have learned that whenever I start a sentence with the "not to" disclaimer, I am about to be very much what I am claiming not to be...yet I still do it...) but who needs friends who don't want to help in times of crisis? It got me to thinking about superstition. I got a crash course in the subject when I married my husband. Like the first time I visited his parents and I sneezed on the way out the door--everyone went into auto-pilot and rushed me back into the house, one giving me water, one uttering mantra. Apparently it is bad luck to sneeze on the way out the door. Or how my mother in law essentially carries around a black eyeliner pencil to put a "kala tika" on my children as soon as anyone so much as smiles in their way. One decidedly un-superstitious member of my husband's family told me during my pregnancy that small, bad things that happened (a headache, feeling nauseous) were good because they meant no large bad things would happen to my unborn child. All of this has always seemed harmless, albeit a bit baffling to me. My friend's comment, though, seemed to be a different genre of superstition, one which actually changes her worldview and her relationship with others. "Tell me nothing bad, so nothing bad will happen." As much as it irked me, I think I get it, to be honest. Having a baby, and being a parent, is scary in the sense that you have very little control over so many things. As much as you make the little bubble you provide for your child safe and loving, the world outside of the bubble is obviously a larger force to be dealt with and one in which we, ultimately, have almost no control. So maybe that's why superstition comes into play--to try to exert some small amount of control over an often-cruel world. I think I get it. I just hope I never embrace it.

Going back to Delhi... I don't think so

Years from now, my daughter may ask me, “Mommy, where were you during the economic crash of ‘08?” It’s a very possible question, with the weekend’s news of the end of Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch, and the possible near-future collapse of A.I.G. Reading the pages of the New York Times, it really does feel to me as if the world as we know it is about to end. Everyone is saying it’s really bad this time, things are going to change, America is going down. But then again, maybe it feels particularly bad to me because this is the first major economic downturn I’ve experienced with any financial responsibilities. Back in the relatively minor downturn of 2001, I was just getting married, no property in my name or major debt on my balance sheet.

Of course, the old adage applies: Kids change everything. It was a kid that made us think of buying a house, so that she could have a “real home” to grow up in. A kid makes us think of socking away money so that private school is an option if the local schools don’t work out. A kid makes me want to have enough to give her everything I had the privilege of having, and then some. And a kid would make me think of altering my life considerably – selling my house, moving to a different country where there is more opportunity – so that hers can be better.

Is this is going to happen? Is the situation going to get so dire in America that we’ll have to leave? I don’t think so . But I don’t think my dad thought he’d leave India either in his youth. Things happen, and you have to be ready. My husband and I have a little joke that, if it gets really bad here, we’ll just move to India, which is poised to be one of the next superpowers. How ironic would it be if, 40 or 50 years after my family migrated to this country, we migrated back? It’s almost like a Bollywood movie! But you never know, do you.

Better go brush up on my Hindi.

Diversity Is Really Really Important

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I went to my very first Parents Night tonight at my son's preschool. I tried to wear my very best "yes I belong here" outfit which, at this particular school, necessitates finding the most hemp-like clothing I could find in my sea of black dresses. This proved to be an unsuccessful effort and I ultimately decided to just go with faded black, somehow thinking it was

I chatted with some interesting people during the meet-and-greet portion. Like, I met one woman who told me she just got back from a trip to Australia, where she took her two children. By herself. On a plane. I declared her "the magic one." Then there was the mom who baked for the whole class every week, based on that week's show and tell theme. The theme this week was "b" (Can "b" be a theme? I guess in preschool land anything is possible) and she baked banana bread (double b!) for the whole school. She and I can obviously never be friends.

A funny thing happened when we were all told to sit down. (Aside: Is it just me or is there something inherently amusing about being told what to do by a preschool teacher?) The three sets of Indian parents in the class all somehow ended up sitting next to each other. None of us knew each other. None of our kids are friends. Yet, there we were in a self-selected Indian section of the circle of folding chairs. And we exchanged numbers before we left. Thinking about it now, it reminds me of my mother-in-law's story about how, when she first moved to the this country, she opened up the phone book and called random people who shared her last name. Or the way my parents, to this day, smile at Indian strangers they pass on the street. The thing is, I don't remember ever unconsciously gravitating towards Indians, just because they are Indians, before. In my armchair psychoanalysis of myself, I wonder if I was looking for something or someone familiar and safe because I was in a brand new and foreign world (because--truly--that is what preschool is. I feel like my son has already adjusted and I am still looking for a map and a preschool-jargon-to-english translation dictionary). Or maybe some part of me wants to cultivate Indian friendships for my son in the hope of him learning some aspects of his cultural heritage--something I often feel unfit to provide to him. Then again, maybe there was just an open chair and I took it.

Dadaji Daycare

My grandfather, my only living grandparent, is 92 years old. A couple of months ago, he went to live at a nursing home. After spending the past thirty-odd years living with his son in London, he began to fall down at night during his frequent bathroom trips, and my uncle and aunt found themselves unable to take care of all his needs. His nursing home is reportedly a nice, clean facility that caters to elderly Indians in Britain. The staff serves Indian food and speaks Indian languages. They play religious songs in the morning and Hindi movies in the evening. My grandfather told me over the phone that the young women there take care of him as if they were his daughters.

But they are not his daughters. His three daughters are here, in the U.S. They are living their independent lives, and he is in a nursing home. It’s a big deal in my family; we’ve always talked about nursing homes as if they’re an evil byproduct of Western culture, and sworn up and down that our parents will never end up in one. We’ve viewed them as a place where people selfishly abandon their parents, and proudly declared that as Indians, we will never do that. Our parents took care of us – changed our diapers, stayed up at night when we were sick, supported us at our lowest – and we would do the same for them. Yet, after long and difficult discussions with my uncle, my mother and her sisters realized a nursing home was the only option for him. Home care is very expensive; in Britain, his nursing home is virtually paid for. Even if they all got together and paid for home care, would he be better off at his son’s home? Relegated mostly to his room or a sick bed in the family room, unable to take part in the daily hustle and bustle around him? I’ve seen elderly parents like that as well, and they always seem to be neglected – someone to go and pay your respects to or briefly tend to, and then gently leave to go sit in another room.

The truth is that the quality of life for the elderly sucks, the world over. My parents-in-law and their friends have a novel idea: when the time comes, they will all create and fund an Indian nursing home in the area, and then go live in it together. That way, they can support each other as they grow old – a commune of elderly desis who already have spent most of their life together and treated one another as family. I hope this happens. Maybe then, we'll have a path to follow when it's our turn to fall down at night, and our children can no longer pick us up.

The Lunchbox Chronicles

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I know this is probably the millionth time this back-to-school season that some random mom is writing about the mind-numbing act of making a lunch for her child every morning but here goes anyway. It is absolutely mind-numbing to pack a lunch for my child every morning. And I have only been doing this for 3 weeks! There is something so overwhelmingly deflating about picking up my son and opening his lunchbox, only to find: The exact same configuration I packed 7 hours ago. It is like getting a giant F in lunch packing every day. I need a remedial lunch packing class. My son can't even read yet, but if he could I would put a post-it note in his lunch box that said: "I am sorry I suck so badly at this, I love you." Is anyone working on a pill we can give our children for lunch? That would be the equivalent of a balanced nutritious meal? (As in a real one, not like the ads that show Lucky Charms as part of a balanced, nutritious long as you eat them with wheat toast, a banana, and a different, actually nutritious cereal). My foodie husband, parents and sister are collectively gasping in horror right now over the idea of a medicinal pill in lieu of a tasty meal--but if anyone is working on this, please add me to your mailing list, sign me up for the seminar, let me know if you need help in marketing. I'm in.

Mommies Who Curse

What is a blog? An ephemeral piece of nothingness that can be wiped out with the click of a forefinger. To those of us brought up in the days of pen & paper, thinking about writing anything of substance on a blog takes some time. (I’ve so dated myself here, haven’t I?) But when I think of it as a place I can finally begin to write again, I start warming to the idea. I write daily for a living, but it’s not stuff from the heart or for myself. The type of writing I do for a living will take time to unlearn, because it’s so technical in nature. This blog, on the other hand, can be anything I want.

It. Can. Be. This.

OR HEY! LOOK AT ME! I CAN WRITE IN ALL CAPS! (wow, that gets annoying fast, dunnit?)

I can write about this woman I know really piss me off because she’s always complaining even though she has everything, and some people have nothing. Or how when my daughter’s impatient because I’m taking too long doing something she says “Come ON, lady!” Or how, maybe it’s true that women’s sex drives climax in their 30s. Or how some days, all I seem to do is battle against the feeling of being dead. Or how Sarah Palin’s views piss me off, but damn, heels off to her because she’s running for VP with five kids and some days I find it a chore getting out of the house with just one kid. Then sometimes I wonder if I am really capable of full exposure and honesty, because that’s what you have to do to write a blog that’s worth reading. Am I really gonna let it all hang out there? And what the hell can I write that’s readable by my friends, mother-in-law, former professors and future child’s friends??? Who knows. All I know is that it feels f*ing good writing. And it feels f*ing good writing ‘f*ing.’ Yes, mother-in-law, I curse, but I am still a good Indian girl, OK?

Not just another mommy blog

Well, it’s my first post on Devis with Babies. Deepa and I are continually talking about how we don’t write enough for ourselves, so I pitched her the idea of co-writing a “mommy blog.” This way, we’d be forced to write and “publish” on a regular basis, instead of just talking about it. We thought long and hard about the best name for this blog. Although I like what we came up with – ‘devi’ means goddess in Hindi – I’d like to think we’re not constrained by the mommy-blog idea. Because although at this point in our lives we may be mothers, and we may view that as our first and foremost priority, the term “mother” does not define us. We are so many other things.

Growing up, I distinctly remember looking at my friends’ mothers and, for the most part, not seeing them as anything other than my friend’s mothers – even if they had active careers or other interests. Even in my 20s, I’d look at young moms and think of them mostly in the context of their kids. Now that I’m a mom, I know this type of sensibility is deadening. Although I love her to death, I am not defined by my daughter. The sad thing is, for the most part, only moms seem to really understand this, and to engage other moms in conversation. Maybe that’s why the sexes split up so much at parties as you get older.

Try this: the next time you see some woman running around after her kid at a party, stop. Take a second. Then go have a conversation with her about something other than her kid. You may be surprised. (Then again, you may not because she may end up just talking about the kid, but hey, at least you tried!)

How Do I Love Thee Let Me Count The Ways

Sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason: Because they ring so true. Having a baby definitely makes you appreciate the important things in life. Friends, family, health. Concealer. If my heart could write a song it would be about concealer and it would be beautiful. One of the first things I did after emerging from the fog of the first two months with my newborn was put pen to paper and write a long, appreciative letter. Not to my mother (it's coming mom, I promise); not to my husband (do voicemail messages asking for milk and ending with "love you" count as appreciative?) but to Cle de Peau, the company that makes The Best Concealer Known to Man (hereinafter TBCKTM). Not only does TBCKTM trick even those closest to you into thinking you had a full nights sleep and you are an oh-so-together mommy with an oh-so-together look, but it also just makes you feel...well...oh-so-together. Its consistency is perfect, the shades work well on Indian skin, it covers like magic without being cakey, and it comes in this gorgeous blue and gold tube that makes you feel luxurious even when you have (organic, sustainable, chemical and all-bad-things-free) spit-up in your hair. In my (sleep-deprived and admittedly muddled) mind, TBCKTM should don a cape and star in a superhero movie. Try it.

Fair and Lovely?

We recently celebrated my husband's birthday at the beach. Lethal margaritas, perfect weather and amazing friends made the party a blast and many of us forgot (just for seconds at a time) about the fact that we are supposed to be responsible adults to all the little munchkins underfoot. Not that we weren't all taking care of the little ones--getting them myriad sand toys, making sure they were drinking plenty of water, slathering them with sunblock. To protect them from the sun. Right? Well, that's what I thought. I can honestly say I was shocked when I heard one of my friends telling another mom that she is worried her daughter is becoming too "dark." I was even more shocked when the listener nodded in agreement over this concern. Is this for real you guys? It bears noting that both of the kids in question are little girls and I have a feeling the same issue wouldn't be voiced for boys. (That being said, the beach exchange made me remember more than one comment about how "fair" my son was after he was born--it was said in the same tone that one would say "he is a genius." Which he is, but that is for another post. Ha.) Gender issues aside this, to me, seems like one of the many ways we are doing things we swore to never ever do. A great friend of mine has vivid memories from every summer of her youth, where her mother would tell her to stay out of the pool because she would become black and, therefore, unattractive. Another acquaintance talks with disdain about how her mom stockpiles whitening creams during her trips to Asia and meticulously massages them onto her face every night. Both of these girls swear up and down that they will never be "like that." But I would bet that the dark-police friends of mine at the party would have said the same thing, before they had kids. Why do we do this? Do we really think fair equals lovely?