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SUPER MOM Naomi George

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Love yourself, says Naomi George, first time author of Mum-Me and our supermom of the month. Possibly, the best advice for all of us mums who tend to put ourselves last. And Naomi tells us just how to do that through her book, after battling through the universal motherhood trials. She works, juggles two kids, exercises, parties and stresses on the need for some romance time. Yes, absolutely possible. It is all in the book!

Naomi George has done it all—from discovering that breastfeeding does not necessarily mean maternal bliss to stalking her daughter in playschool to finding the perfect job—before she learnt to find the right balance between being a mother and being a woman. She offers tips from hard-won experience on how best to express milk, sleep-train a baby, handle sibling conflict and choose the best pre-nursery. More importantly, she tells you how to fight self-doubt and baby blues, and focus on a life other than mothering. Eat right, find time to get back your flat tummy and slim legs, take short breaks to romance with your husband: these are the things that will make you healthier and happier.

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A book on motherhood and life around it. Tell us how it has changed your life.

I have learned to love myself and not apologize for it. When I do things for myself, including going to work, fitting in a yoga class in the day or meeting friends on a Saturday night; and my children want me to stay at home and do none of the above, I do feel guilt. But I’ve learned to manage the guilt and acknowledge that I need to take care of the ‘me’ within to be functioning at my best for both my children and myself.

2. What got you thinking about writing it all down?

The book was inspired by my mummy-blog which I began when my daughter Tamara was about 5-months old. It was all about my experiences and feelings as a new-mum and began as an outlet or even release for myself. However as women began to respond, sharing their feelings and frustrations in the process, I realised that we’re all telling the same story.  That raising babies and toddlers does take a toll on a woman’s sense of self because she is so busy trying to be that perfect mum!

I know other women face the same dilemmas and frustrations that I do as a mother and through Mum-Me I wanted them to know that they are not alone in what they are experiencing. That it is absolutely natural and indeed healthy to want to do something for oneself separate from children and home.

The blog and the response to it from mothers led me to the idea of a concise self-help book that would provide handy hints and information on raising babies and toddlers, but written with an empathy towards the woman within.  I have learnt that living solely for children is not healthy, and that while nurturing our babies is a given, women must also nurture themselves.

3. How different would a typical Naomi George day be from everyone else?

Well as a mother I am sure it is no different than any other mothers –juggling, planning and attempting to stay on top of the roller-coaster mummy-ride is just about any mum’s life, especially those in the toddler/baby category.

Personally, I always make time for fitness (three times a week, and as far as possible I don’t take lifts – I climb stairs. I eat consciously, keeping indulgence for those times when it is worth it like the weekend or special nights with friends/ my husband.  Fitness and a trim body are important to me and I manage my habits/routine accordingly.

And I am a sunscreen fan – too much according to my husband, who is convinced I have vitamin-D deficiency, but so far so good!

4. A self-help book for moms, but how can we help the dads? Any tips for them?

Dads should read the book so they realize just what motherhood entails and that it is not without challenges.  When a woman says she is hormonal there is a reason for it, baby-blues and PND are linked to hormonal changes in the body as it changes from pregnancy mode to one that facilitates breast-feeding.

Being mother takes an emotional and physical toll on a woman and if men realized that , it would help them to support their wives better.  Women and men need to help each other out as parents. Working together also helps to strengthen the relationship between partners and lessen feelings of isolation that a woman or man may experience when babies arrive because they can be all-consuming.

When both parents pitch in and help to shoulder the physical and emotional demands of parenting,  then each has the right to ask the other to understand and give importance to their individual or personal needs.

5. As someone who has lived outside of India and then back home, what advantages does parenting in India have?

Well the obvious ones are that in Indian domestic help is a huge help.  Maids and cooks to help with the cleaning, cooking of a house takes a massive load of any mother’s shoulders.

In India the social fabric is strong and so dropping in at a friends’ houses or asking them for help with baby-sitting or just to step out with you to get a cup of coffee and a chat is a whole lot more spontaneous than it can ever be in the West, where the onus of parenting, managing homes and careers are solely on the parents, albeit with help from grandparents.

In that regard I feel it is possible to have a social and subsequently personal life even when one has babies/toddlers as opposed to the West where a life other than that of the families or work is difficult and doesn’t happen without considerable advance planning.

6. A supermom tip?

I am not too much in favour of this term because it implies that mums are prefect and we can never go wrong. We should each knowledge to ourselves that we are human and fallible, and it is okay if we don’t get it right, things go wrong and the days goes completely off our carefully charted plans.  Let’s cut ourselves some slack!

No supermom tip other than what would apply to all mums –  to prioritize the needs of the day or the week and take it from there. Effective planning and putting in place structure helps to get that task-list done!

Naomi George has done it all—from discovering that breastfeeding does not necessarily mean maternal bliss to stalking her daughter in playschool to finding the perfect job—before she learnt to find the right balance between being a mother and being a woman. She offers tips from hard-won experience on how best to express milk, sleep-train a baby, handle sibling conflict and choose the best pre-nursery. More importantly, she tells you how to fight self-doubt and baby blues, and focus on a life other than mothering. Eat right, find time to get back your flat tummy and slim legs, take short breaks to romance with your husband: these are the things that will make you healthier and happier.

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