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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

19 July 2013


The universe was definitely trying to tell me something today.
In the space of an hour, I got sent the above link THREE times!!!
Go on, have a read.

The post by David Vienna who blogs at The Daddy Complex has a pithy message for all parents: When parenting matters make you want to throw a toddler-like tantrum or curl up in the foetal position, just take a deep breath and Calm The F%#k Down (CTFD)!

Enough said!

While I’m averse to cursing out aloud (thank you, convent-education!), it was a timely reminder to take note of the CTFD message. B routinely tells me I’ll give myself a heart-attack if I don’t relax with the kids (as he blithely carries on with his PS2 game!).

So I thought I'd road-test the advice this evening.
Here's what transpired:
The kids were supposed to be eating their stir-fry noodles for dinner. Instead, they jabbered non-stop, their topics seemingly schizophrenic: Koala bears. Kettle bells. Karate. Knitting. Kisses. I think they covered every ‘K’ word in the dictionary.

‘CT*D!’ I told myself.

Then the petty squabbling started.
“You just sat on my craft and ruined it!”
“I didn’t mean to.”
“Well, you didn’t say ‘Sorry’.”
“I don’t need to say Sorry if it was an accident.”
“Yes, you do. Mummmmmmmy...”

‘CT*D!!’ I told myself.

They then proceed to dissect and dismiss every single vegetable I put on their plates.
"Why did you cut the carrots length-ways? I prefer them cut round."
"Mum, you know I don't eat red capsicum."
"Mushrooms. Yuck!"
"Bok choi is too slimy."
"Why are they called 'snow peas'? They're not even white!"

‘CTFD!!!’ I told myself.

I think I lasted for about 18 minutes before I exploded.
I gave them the "there-are-millions-of-starving-children-in-India-who-would-love-to-eat-your-food" speech. Sheesh!

When did parenting get so complicated? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect parents? Why did we allow it to become a competitive sport with everyone vying for the Bestest Parent in the Whole Wide World prize?

Every decision we make is fraught with anxiety. We decide on something, then rethink our decision, then ask our 327 Facebook 'friends' if we've made the right decision...

A dose of parenting prose at my local library
When's the right age to have kids?
Single child v/s siblings?
Breast- or bottle-feeding?
Should I be a SAHM or return to work?
Co-sleeping or control crying?
Free-range or helicopter parenting?
Public or private school?

Decisions! Decisions!! Decisions!!!

Here's my cliché-laden two cents' worth.

Be alert but not alarmed: Yes, it is your duty to be aware of what's going on in your child's life and make certain decisions for them, but don't go batty over the 'what-ifs' and 'maybes'.

Don't sweat the small stuff: Of course you will stuff up – probably at an inopportune moment. Go easy on yourself when you make a mistake and let go of the guilt. Take a step back and ask yourself, ‘How important is this in the grand scheme of things?’

Trust your instinct: You've got an edge over the plethora of parenting guides – it’s your instinct. So if something tells you things are not quite right, go with your gut instinct.

When all else fails, blame your partner! ; ).

What sort of person are you calm and collected or full-on frantic? What do you do to CTFD?


  1. Its god that you now know what your parents went through---we can now laugh it of & say those were the days !! my friends--- keep chugging, and do keep the flow of your anrcdotes

    1. So true! Mum has always been a cool cucumber - I can't remember her ever losing her temper at us. Dad, on the other hand...

  2. Hehe my husband says that I'm a control freak and very determined so I don't know how that would go with a kid that has their own personality! :P

    1. Haha! From what I've read in your book and, of course, on your blog, Mr NQN seems to be the epitome of calm. Opposites attract, eh?

  3. For me, I think the hardest thing about becoming a parent was going from being a professional, where my successes (and failures!) were highly measurable, to being in charge of three unpredictable little people with no one to tell me whether I was doing things right or not. When you're used to being very good at what you do, it's hard to let go of that drive to get everything "right". CTFD is probably the best parenting advice I've heard so far. I'll use it!

    1. I know what you mean, Emma! Although I've never had a high-powered job like you did, the urge to do everything "right", as you mentioned, was part and parcel of my psyche. It's probably why I was a sub-editor! ;) So it was a BIG shock to the system when the kids came along and overturned all my pre-conceptions...

  4. I think being an overall chilled out person, I turned out to be a pretty calm parent - except every now and then I witness these nutty mothers who are very hands on and I feel guilty and I get into one of those "Im going to that mom and weigh pros and cons and make the right choice every step of the way" modes.. that lasts about half a day and then I'm like - Im stifling this kid if I keep telling him what to do.. and I hear myself nag at him all the time and I think - gosh - to hear that (husky) voice costnantly tell me what to do is such a pain.. I wouldnt want to hear it, why should my kid! Only thing I have realized, there is no wrong parenting - you are always motivated to do the best for your child - whatever best is for you. To me, having freedom to be who he is meant to be - is the best thing to do.. and my job is to feed, clean and protect him while teaching him important life skills along the way and telling him whats ok (to stand up for yourself) and whats not (dont push or spit) .. its been easy going for 2 yrs now, except when I get into those spasy fits of being a "hands on" mom..
    btw, hello! I just chanced on your blog while clicking through other blogs.. I'm a fellow bombaite - from vile parle! Your blog is a fun read..

    1. Hi Archana,
      So excited to have another Bombayite (Mumbaikar) reader - yay! Thanks so much for your in-depth, insightful comment. Totally agree with "there is no wrong parenting - you are always motivated to do what's best for your child." Sometimes, we panic over such trivial matters. At times like these, we need to ask ourselves, 'will it matter in 20 years?' Wish I could say I'm as chilled out as you, but I think I'm a bit of a worrywart...
      When I think of Vile Parle, I always remember the aroma wafting from the Parle G biscuit factory! Is it still there??


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