Success and fame did not come easy to Garima Bhandari, a Certified Visual Communication Coach and a renowned digital media influencer. A look at her Instagram page and you'll never be able to guess the struggles and challenges she has had to overcome to become the person she is today. While there were several milestones in her life, becoming a parent and beginning her journey as a single mom is what changed her stance on life and how she sees herself.
On this Mother’s Day, through Garima’s story of grit and resilience, we celebrate all the women who have broken stereotypes and go on to live a full life, unconcerned about the societal judgements and criticisms.
Also Read: On Breaking Stereotypes, Managing PCOS & Maintaining Fitness, Diksha Singhi Opens Up About Her Journey
Life As A Single Mother
"Parenting can be quite stressful," says Garima Bhandari. According to her, parents are always overwhelmed by responsibilities - caring for their children, maintaining their job, keeping up with the bills month to month, being the breadwinner and so on.
Starting a new life as a single parent was challenging for the single mom of two. For Garima, she had to take on several roles; that of a father, a mother, bearing the financial challenges, juggling late payments and not being able to spend quality time with children.
But while things were difficult and choosing to separate, a big emotional decision, she believes that the journey in itself has been very enlightening. Over time, she has come to realise that it is always better to let go, and do what’s best for the children. With that sort of attitude, she has come to build a strong system where she is able to raise her children in the most respectable manner. Furthermore, she now feels she can reach out, seek more support and have an ecosystem where her family and friends can be her lifeline.
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“In my journey, I have learnt to do a lot of self reflection. I am able to put my emotions aside, I’m more patient, I don’t react instantaneously, rather wait to respond and think and analyse how the situation can be different. And eventually I think our life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how we react and respond to it,” she adds.
A Piece Of Advice
The idea of an unhappy marriage, separation, and divorce is controversial and unspoken of, especially in a country like India. There’s always the fear of being judged and criticised, if people decide to go their separate ways, more so if they have children. But is it right to stay in a marriage where couples aren’t happy?
Speaking from experience, Garima says, “Every marriage has challenges. But if you’re just trying to fix things, and are only focused on your marriage, parenting can become too hard to handle.” For anyone staying on in an unhappy marriage just for the sake of the children, she says, “Children are the best imitators. We have to give them something really good to imitate. Imagine a scenario where children have to see their parent’s fight and yell at each other and live in an unhealthy, toxic and abusive environment. How affected are they going to be? It might impact their social life, they might never believe in the whole setup and institution of marriage or a relationship.”
Therefore, for Garima, it is all about prioritising parenthood, to put it much above themselves and come to a consensus where they are able to mediate these issues by a clear communication. That’s when one needs to decide, but also ensure that nothing changes for the child.
Why Self-Care Is Important
Garima agrees with the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ But also shares that there are challenges of living in a time, where as a single parent, she has to do everything. From being the father, the mother, having to look after the children to trying to give them everything they could have got from their grandparents or aunts or uncles, she has to don many hats. This is why she urges parents, especially single mothers like her, to address their stressors and combat it by taking care of themselves.
"It's very important to not get overwhelmed by the demands and responsibilities of single parenting. Ensure that you remain positive as it can also impact your child's mood. Take care of yourself, put yourself first, exercise regularly, dress up nice, look good, have enough breaths, sleep well, maintain a healthy diet, and follow a regimented life," she added.
‘Yoga Helped Me Find Myself’
For Garima, yoga has been a medium to fight parenting meltdowns and different stressors. It has not only improved her physical strength, balance, and flexibility, but has also given her the right symphony between her mental and emotional pain, she says. “Yoga is for me that healing balm, that magic potion that works on giving me a kind of mental, emotional strength and resilience that is required to fight everyday challenges,” she adds.
A Mother’s Day Message
For Garima, motherhood is not about winning at multitasking and being the perfect mom. It’s about appreciating the time one has with their children, to be able to give them all the love, protection and support and being able to treat them as friends, somebody they can confide in.
“Children are always watching you. Set an example, where they look up to, and are super proud, and there onwards, they will grow up into responsible adults and somebody who is sensitive towards others’ needs and is an empathetic.