Transitioning from Stay at Home Mom to a First Job

 

 

I landed my first job a few months ago, prior to that I had been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for about four years. Like many other SAHM I had graduated from college and immediately started my family.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do in the real world, my liberal arts degree in  communications was  vague and didn’t give me much direction in applying for jobs. What  I did know was that I really loved working with nonprofits and have always been drawn to that type of environment. So with virtually no experience except for a short stint at a well known Muslim non-profit organization. I started applying to every organization that I could think of. I had a really genius way of doing it (not really) I googlemapped organizations that were closest to me and started sending my resumes to the HR departments.

After a couple of days with no response from various non-profits in the area I started fishing for government jobs on USAJobs.com. As I read about the various positions I dreamed of working in the state department, so I  filled out lengthy applications and thought to myself what a perfect fit I would be.

Unfortunately the State department didn’t see my urdu speaking skills as enough of an asset to hire me. And as many applications that I filled out I got that many rejection letters. My morale was at an all-time low. Nothing seemed to be pulling through for me. I looked for jobs on Government sites, craigslist, Monster and even tried to look into interpreting jobs. This was an incredibly disappointing experience for me. I remember finally applying for a retail position at the mall.

My mom encouraged me to look into volunteering and that’s when I started talking to a non-profit group in the area.  It went well and I  got an  volunteer position to be a liaison for  refugee families that they house in their shelter apartments.

Excited with this new development I called my attorney friend in DC to tell her the good news. She was happy, but gave me some great advice and urged me to volunteer in the office with the communications director, so that I  could use my skills and build up experience in my field which would eventually lead me to a paid position.

I decided to go and talk with the volunteer coordinator to switch my position as my friend has advised. But even before going back to discuss change of plans with coordinator, I ran into a community member  from the Mosque. I enthusiastically told her about  the new volunteer opportunity that had landed my way.

She looked at me perplexed and said, “Why are you volunteering there? We could use you at FAITH Social Services,” a group that  she was affiliated with. Intrigued about a Muslim social service so close to me, I immediately  scheduled an interview with the director and became emerged into a world of social work that has made me both humble and grateful.

I volunteered for FAITH for about 5 months before becoming an employee.  I followed my friend’s advice and started volunteering in the office. Initially I  worked on flyers and little write-ups. Over  time, I  began to get a feel for the organization and started to see how I  could contribute with my communication’s background. I saw that there was a need for a newsletter and I started working on creating a newsletter every month for FAITH.

I began to plug myself into more projects going around in the office and brainstormed ideas with the staff. Finally my youngest was ready for school and I mustered up the courage to ask the director if I could work as an employee. She agreed and I’ve been the Public Relations Coordinator for FAITH for four months now.

The point of this post is to give women who have been SAHM hope that they can work when they choose to. It might take some time to build up your resume and gain that courage but inshallah with these tips it should be a smooth transition:

1. Get the word out – Tell everyone that you’re looking for work: friends, neighbors, community members.

2. Fix your resume – If the last time you  did your resume was in college, it is definitely time to revamp it.

3. volunteer/intern  with the organization that you think you want to work at. Specifically in the department you want to gain experience in.

4. Make your mark while you’re volunteering (establish networks, make yourself an asset  to the organization) ex: don’t just shred paper – think of ways to reduce the paper in the office –> digitalize files and get the okay from the department head. The leadership will applaud your effort and will value your initiative.

5. Don’t get disappointed if you’re not hired after volunteering. The end all is not to get a job, but it is to learn new skills, build up resume and experience. This will be invaluable and will help towards the next place that you go to.

Good Luck, and don’t despair if things aren’t moving as fast as you want them to its all part of the master plan from above 🙂

Cutting Off the Umbilical Cord

You think you know yourself…till you hit motherhood.  Motherhood is the ultimate test of your love, patience, wisdom, emotions and of course your sanity.

Eesa was going through a terrible three’s tantrum phase.  He became quite difficult to deal with especially with me being pregnant.  I decided he needed to go to a daycare type program where he can socialize and interact with others.

Since he is a bit behind in speech and comprehension I didn’t think he was quite ready for pre-school.  Daycare seems to be a nice transition from home-to-school. I thought  circle time and play time with snacks in between would prepare him well for pre-K.

The thought of him being gone from anywhere between two to five hours seemed amazing to me.  It would be my break time, my “me” time.  I can concentrate on my part-time job, get my cooking and cleaning done, finish errands here and there and hey maybe even pick up a hobby or two if I managed my time well.

I was drooling thinking about all the time I would have, if you’re a mom then you know how much you can accomplish in a few hours.  The world was waiting for me.

My mother thought it was ironic how ecstatic I was about Eesa starting daycare.  I guess a full time toddler and a rough first trimester really drains you.

The night before his first day of daycare, I was just looking at him sleeping.  When kids are sleeping, they look so innocent.  I instantly started to think, what if the daycare provider didn’t understand him and his own unique language.  She wouldn’t know that “mankin” actually meant “napkin”, “gadget” meant jacket, and “munk” meant kumbul (urdu word for blanket).

I started to get worried and wondered if I was rushing into this. The other part of me told me it is a part of life and this is actually good for him and would give him something to do.

The following morning went by smoothly, he was quite excited to carry heesabackpackis Skip Hop monkey back pack.

As I was driving, I told myself the plan would be to bring him in and stay awhile till he gets settled and then casually leave.  It would be smooth and easy on the both of us, or so I thought.

Well first off, that plan was not how day care protocol worked.  I walked in and the DCP (day care provider) told me that I should make it fast and leave.

I looked at her astonished.  “leave in front of him? just like that?”

I know he’s going to cry a little bit but he’ll be ok, thats the best method,” she exclaimed!

I began to panic, he would cry and I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I desperately began to look around the room and saw ABC magnets, I quickly pointed them out to Eesa.  As soon as he went towards them, I made a run for it.  I could hear him turn around and follow me but I didn’t look back.

One of the most difficult things I have ever done.

I walked out of there extremely upset and could not believe I just left my son like that.  All I could think about is how long he would cry for and would he be ok?

I called my sister for some comfort and of course she didn’t pick up, I call my mother and lo and behold Bob picks up (Side Note: I call my parents Amy and Bob, short for Ammy and Baba).

I told him what happened and his response was

yeah yeah been there done that, what you think we didn’t get upset when we used to drop you guys off? especially your sister, she used to cry and cry, it would break our hearts, but they get over it, its a part of life, you can’t keep him at home.”

Count on Bob to tell it like it is.

I was tempted to text the DCP and ask about Eesa, but I didn’t want to be one of those moms.  Psh, well why not be one of those moms? He’s three for crying out loud!

Needless to say I did end up texting and he was doing fine, he cried for a bit and then started playing–Alhumdulilah.  The DCP was super sweet and understanding.

I, then realized this was the first step to letting go. For two hours that day I did not know what Eesa was doing.  To go from knowing their minute by minute schedule to not knowing what they’re up to for 120 minutes is a pretty big deal. Right now he’s gone for a few hours, then next year it’ll be six hours, then extra-curricular activities, then they might go away for college and you don’t see them for days maybe even weeks.  Lastly, they get married and then you’re officially out of the loop.

At that point, I would like to think I’ll be travelling the world and sipping on some virgin strawberry daiquiris in Sicily, but seeing as how being away two hours is tough, I can’t imagine more than that.

As Bob puts it, it’s a part of life

Toddler First World Problems

1. Hot water not running long enough for steam bath. 

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2. Forgetting to set the DVR to Super Why!

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3. Getting stuck with dad’s old iPhone.

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4. Mom restricting T.V time.

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5. Having to drink low-fat milk to avoid the risk of obesity.

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6. Not having enough space for all the toys.

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7. Getting wiped instead of washed.

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8. Being forced to sleep in their own fancy toddler bed

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9. Having to sit in the car seat. 

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10. Only being able to use rain boots twice and then outgrowing them.

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11. Not having enough breakfast choices. 

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12. Having to eat beef twice in one day.

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13. Not being able to wear shorts in the house due to high AC-cooling.

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14. Not having netflix in the car.

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15. Not having a kids menu or crayons at a restaurant. 

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Armed Guards Don’t Belong in School

After the senseless tragedy that occurred in Newton, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary the entire nation has been engulfed in a conversation about gun control, school safety and mental illness. In my own Islamic school community, parents have  debated and had heated conversations about our kids safety. The school our kids attend is in the basement of a Mosque. It was decided that an armed guard would be the best short term solution in beefing up our schools security.

But that very notion of having an armed guard at school makes me extremely anxious and I don’t think he will keep our kids any safer. To invite a stranger with a gun into such close proximity of our children seems counterintuitive on every level.

My feeling on having an armed guard align closely with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy who said:

“Let me say this: more guns are not the answer. Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher, and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom…”

In my head the math just doesn’t add up: Gun+Gun= safer school!

Having an armed guard at school introduces a whole new dimension of problems that we must be aware of. First  and foremost, the armed guard can be a potential threat to our kids and the staff. I understand that the guard would be trained and there would be a background check, but what guarantee do we have that he would not in fact use the weapon against us? We do not know what his intentions are and neither can we judge how he may feel on a given day. Why are we willing to take such a big risk?

The second problem that can potentially arise is the higher risk of accidents. If the armed guard  had a judgement lapse and mistakenly identifies someone as a threat he could potentially injure or kill an innocent person. That is also something that we can’t control and we are putting a lot of faith in a person who our community knows virtually nothing about.

The third problem is that we may become satisfied with the armed guard and not feel the need to consider other security options. The security issue is an ongoing dilemma that needs to be consistently improved by long term solutions such as adding video surveillance and bulletproof windows.

The hiring of an armed guard may make us feel more secure, but we are working under a lot of assumptions.The first assumption being that the armed guard is in fact a good and sane person who will not ever misuse his power. The second assumption is that he will never have an accident in regards to his weapon. The third assumption is that in the event of an emergency he will in fact put himself in harm’s way.

Our childrens security is paramount and an armed guard is great in theory “if” he performs as we would like to imagine him to be. But lets be honest he is a guy working a 9-5 job like the rest of us and we cannot put our childrens lives at risk because we are under the false pretense that the guard will put our kids first and will become a hero if an emergency type situation occurs.

The truth of the matter is that the Newton was an isolated event. Yes we should be proactive about our students safety, but we shouldn’t do that by bringing a gun into a gun free place. We should as a community seriously think about the potential problems and consequences that can occur by  bringing an armed guard to our schools.

The Day I Met the Tiger Mother

I came across Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” during a time of my own parenting crisis. I had gone into the library on a mission to find some parenting book which would help me navigate the world of toddler boys. My boys were fighting each other, me and the boundaries that I had erected.

I needed a strong tool. Destiny…kismat…karma… took  me straight to Chua’s book. The tiger mom was my answer, war had been declared.

I had been struggling with my two boys. Everything lately seemed like a fight and I was beginning to lose the connection and joy I used to get with them.  Instead I was frustrated, unhappy and was going through the motions of being a parent while constantly looking at the clock counting the hours they were going to be in bed.

I first heard about the Tiger Mother a year ago. This is when Chua, the petite Asian professor, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal titled   “ Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” It seemed like overnight people were rushing to attack or defend her parenting style. Hailing from a South Asian family and having parents that were quite strict (my mom would give me a look that would stop me in my tracks) I felt like I could already relate to the Tiger Mom model.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is Chua’s journey of Chinese parenting in the West. Chua made a decision to follow the chinese model of parenting in which she had been raised in. To her the regimented parenting style meant that her daughters were never allowed to: Attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin.

She was committed to following through on her rigid  parenting style and expected her daughters to work hard, excel at academics and to not take anything for granted. Chua wanted her daughters to have a strong work ethic and believed that childhood is a training period for the rest of their lives.  She summed up the Western and Chinese parenting by saying:

“Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions,  supporting their choices and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”

Chua talks in detail about the challenges of this type of rigid parenting. Her husband who had  been raised in the Western style was often not supportive of her parenting method. That isolated her during the periods when her daughters hated her.

Chua made her daughters practice their respective instruments, the piano and the violin for hours each day and did not let them take any breaks even when they were traveling or on vacation. Chua was headstrong, arrogant and relentless but what I admire about her is her persistence and patience. She actively was involved in every step of her daughters lives and pushed them because she believed they could do better.

It is that dicipline that I want to cultivate in my own parenting style. It is easy to let our kids be average and to let them just rot away in front of the television but to take that time and spend hours with them to help them master a skill is certainly commendable. After spending a half-hour of one on one time with my kids I feel so drained. One lesson that the Tiger Mom has taught me is that until the mother doesn’t put the time and commitment into her kids than it will be very hard for them to reach their potential.

Another story that Chua tells us in the book is when she rejected her daughters handmade birthday cards for her birthday.

“I don’t want this, I want a better one – one that you’ve put some thought and effort into. I have a special box, where I keep all my cards from you and your sister, and this one can’t go in there…So I reject this.”

This story has resonated with me because of recent  research that shows that over praising children can do more harm than good. I have in the past lavishly praised my kids for scribbling on a piece of paper, but now I take time to actually examine their art, give them some pointers and set some goals (like color inside the lines, lets try to make a square, can you draw a spoon) The results were fantastic. My three year old was more enagaged more excited and was actually learning the praise that he deserved for being creative instead of just scribbling!

Although Chua believes in the Chinese parenting style, she doesn’t particularly advocate for it. Through her journey as a parent we see the successes and failures of her extreme parenting. We see the good, the bad and the ugly.

I found her book to be extremely honest and it was an entertaining and interesting read. Chua’s book motivated me to be a more involved parent who spends quality time with their kids. Although I don’t agree with everything she did with her daughters I feel that Chua’s book is a breath of fresh air with insight into a  parenting style that we often don’t get to read about.

Halal Pumpkins…What?!?

As the holiday season is in full swing with glittering christmas trees, cooler weather and festive holiday lattes at starbucks I am reminded why I love this time of the year. As adults we enjoy the atmosphere but kids may not understand why we don’t have a christmas tree, or why Santa didn’t visit us this year. This may be  a challenge for families who have young kids and who are trying to build their Muslim Identities.

As a first generation American Muslim with a South Asian heritage, defining our family’s Identity has been an interesting process. As a mother of a curious three year old I am now faced with hard questions about traditions that I have grown up around but never thought as my own. This becomes particularly tricky as the children go to school and learn about different holidays. Although going to an Islamic preschool has made things easier it also means that I have to decide how to frame things for my curious toddlers.

A few months ago I was pushed into a sort of an identity crisis when Humza went to the fall festival with his school and came back with a grin and a pumpkin which would cause more trouble than I could have ever imagined As Humza excitedly jumped out of the mini-bus that had transported him from the Farm back to the school, I could see that he was clutching this little pumpkin like a shiny new toy, “Momma, see pumpkin.” He proudly raised it  to show me.

I nodded excitedly and wrestled the pumpkin from his hands to get him into the carseat, which caused the pumpkin to roll underneath of a parked mini van. The tears were streaming down Humza’s face and Hassan his younger brother joined in also now wanting that same orange pumpkin which was now somewhere underneath of that van. I quickly strapped the kids in and told the lady who was speaking in Arabic on her cell phone that I was going to go under her van since my kid had dropped his pumpkin. She nodded enthusiastically and I hoped she was nodding to me and not just agreeing with the person whom she was speaking on the phone with. Saying a quick Bismallah I got down on my hands and knees (ahh this reminds me why all my jeans have rips in them) and grabbed the pumpkin.

Tired kids, worn out mother and a little pumpkin in tow, we finally headed home. After the novelty of a little orange pumpkin wore off I had to decide what to do with that thing. Would I display it proudly outside my front door? Put it on my mantle on top of the fireplace? Make a Jack-O-Lantern? What do I do with a pumpkin??

I eventually put it on the fireplace it was so odd but I figured it would be out of the kids reach, I wrestled with the idea of putting it outside my door like other people do as part of the of their fall decorations. But then I didn’t because I was hesitant that I would be acting to “white.”  “Desi people don’t put pumpkins outside of their house,” I thought to myself. After some time when the pumpkin craze died down and the kids forgot to fight over the poor little pumpkin who was probably very thankful for the decision I had made to put him on the fireplace, I approached the subject of the final resting place for the pumpkin again.

After a few strong chai’s and some moments of clarity  I’ve finally made peace with the pumpkin. It is finally at rest on my dining table with some other fall folliage decor and my  little glittering rickshaw.

I haven’t figured out all the answers to how I want to balance and incorporate traditions from Pakistan as well as our American culture but I have a feeling that i’ll figure it out. Now I just need to break the news to the kiddos that the lights my neighbors have put up are in fact not Eid lights. One baby…step at a time.

 

 

Raising a Damaad

Damaad is the word for son-in-law in the Urdu language.  In the South Asian culture damaads are often treated like royalty. From my observation society treats the roles of a daughter in law (bahoo) very different from the son -in-law (damaad).  My thoughts derive from experiences, observations and maybe Pakistani dramas.
Although  this post may not describe everyones experience, I know that many people know of cases or can empathize with the double standards in our culture (at least most bahoos)Traditionally South Asian mothers raise their daughters to fit into the new family she goes into, and to treat her new family the way she treats her own.  However, when it comes to a son, I don’t think the mother instills those same values in him.

We mentally prepare daughters to embrace going into their husband’s new home which is their “real” home.  They must win the hearts of every single creature living inside the house, yes even the Jinn.

As the new bahoo in the family you are expected to delight your in-laws with your cooking, amuse them with your personality, be the first to help out and the last to sit down, beautify yourself with the finest clothing and of course adorn the gold with the newly wed-bride look.  You are expected to keep them before your plans and sometimes even before your family.

Expectations for the Daamad? Well lets just put it this way:

Do not swear/abuse/degrade your wife
Do not start arguments with your in laws,
Do not have a bad mood in their presence
Exchange a few smiles here and there
Show up to family dinners every now and then
= BAM you have yourself a great son-in-law.

Virtually no effort is required and all they have to do is meet the bare minimum requirements for a decent human being.  They do not have to go out of their way for their in-laws or even make an effort to take part in family discussions nor stay in touch for that matter.

They have to ‘not be bad’ in order to be considered good whereas a daughter-in-law has to be outstanding in order to be considered somewhat good!

I have a son, which now gives me the added responsibility of raising him to be that one heck of a darn good SON-IN-LAW.

Insha’Allah, I will teach him to make an effort to fit in with his new family, help them and maintain a high level of akhlaq in their presence. He should get involved in family discussions and find solutions to their problems and dilemmas.  It is not just about giving their daughter the bare rights but rather giving her the utmost happiness alongside being a good person to his in-laws.

He should be thankful for the hospitality his in-laws provide and not assume it is expected.  Sometimes in-laws may go above and beyond to please their damaad and  as a typical guy’s personality he may not even realize that, hence limiting his appreciation for the amount of effort put into pleasing him.

He too should know that his in-laws miss their daughter/sister and that she is still an integral part of their household. Just because she is married does not mean she no longer should contribute to her family.

Rather a good damad will not only appreciate the vital role she plays in his family but encourage her to provide any sort of support for her own family as well.

Does your husband fits the description above? If so, then please message me your mother-in-law’s contact info so I can get some pointers.

As for the rest of the boy-mamas, I say we dust off our akhlaq books and sit our boys down and drill it into their tiny brains.  Our upbringing may serve as a means to attain Jannah, Insha’Allah.

Meanwhile I am accepting applications for daughter-in-laws. (My son’s two but gotta start early these days!).

Something for boy-mamas to think about….

 

Full Time Mom,Part Time Student

[Hazima lives part-time in Ashburn with her Husband and her 1 year old daughter, she is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering. For fun she likes to hang out with friends and  read. Her all time favorite  book is The Hunger Games.]

I grew up with a mom who took care of her four children, ran a daycare in her home with four more children, enlightened all other surrounding aunties to open a day care in their homes and struggled to attain a teaching degree on evenings and weekends. I think I may have somewhat of an idea on how I may want to raise my kids, and remain sane.

Over the years I’ve come across moms that exercise attachment parenting, read and follow all of Dr. Sears’ advice, the nonchalant and go-with-the-flow mamas, co-sleepers, ones that will nurse until their children suck the life out of them, the full-time working moms that are feeling guilty of dropping off their children at daycare, and those moms that will continue to produce in order to populate our earth.

Out of all these moms, there was one particular mom that amazed me the most. This woman was traveling between three states one state where her husband was doing his residency , the other state where her parents lived (free babysitting), and going to college in the third state. Did I mention that she was also performing clinical studies in the poverty-stricken countries of Sudan and Ghana for her Ph.D dissertation. Wow…how do you?…and why do you?…girlfriend you are CRAZY!

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” okay I didn’t read it, but I had the app on my iPhone. That counts right? But I never read up on what the first year would be like, nor did I bother to ask. I thought,“hey I partied till the AMs in college (with sisters of the MSA of course) and pulled all-nighters for my exams. This no sleep after you have a kid I can manage.”

Boy did I get hit by a bus, banged in the head, and circles under my eyes! Gas? Colic? Diaper Rash? Ear/Throat Infections? Awkward nursing times? All in all while traveling 200 miles back and forth each week to visit the in-laws? No thanks! This kid can cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it!

I felt as if my life had been compensated for, 24/7/365, someone change my name and move me to Wisconsin. I don’t know why I just chose that state. Seems like somewhere you’d want to go when you’re running away from your mama duties?

I felt as if I was the only person in the world dealing with all of this. My husband used to say; women have been doing this since Hawa (radhi allahu anha)’s time, what’s your beef? I was a first-timer that was my beef! So I decided I needed to do something that I could always give myself a pat on the back for. Something that was just for me, so I decided to pursue my master’s degree.

It’s not easy and its extremely tiring to watch lectures for your Master’s program into the wee hours of the night while your kid is soundly asleep and all you want to do is put your feet up. But I love the schedule and the sense of accomplishment I am getting in the process of having weekly lectures to watch, submitting homework, and studying for midterms and finals.

I would encourage moms to explore the many opportunities of attaining a bachelor’s, associate’s, or masters online in the comfort of your PJs. Besides certified universities there are numerous Qur’an classes, Tajweed and Tafseer classes that may be for you. There are many established institutes out there like, Bayyinah, Qurtuba and Al-Maghreb.

I believe all moms should do something that challenges them. Pick up a pottery class, an aerodynamics for engineers class, or a life of the Prophets class. You may just fill that tiny void in your heart, and be a happier and more fulfilled Mom and Wife. I’m not saying everyone drop your kids with your husbands and hop to Africa, but it’s amazing to see what we can be capable of.  Every mama deserves the chance!

 

 

 

Don’t Sweat It!

I’ve never worked out. I mean there were these two years in high school that I ran track, but I wasn’t even close to being an athlete. Now the whole family has joined the gym and we’re trying to lead a more active lifestyle.

The gym that I’ve joined is a lot like high school, the lockers, the basketball court and bleachers. I even sensed that awkwardness like the first day of class when I sheepishly walked into the yoga class. I had no idea there were thousand different yoga’s offered; Hot Vinyasa Yoga, Fitness Yoga, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, oh and I almost forgot Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga!

People high-fived each other as they walked into the classroom and were doing all kinds of warm up stretches which I pretended to ignore while I cooly hung out in the back. There were definite cliques and friendships that have been established. These women “the cool” ones were on top of their game. They were dressed the part with their black and pink Nike’s, black fitness pants and had an attitude like high school cheerleaders.

I was not intimidated like I may have been in high school or junior high but a part of me wanted to fit in and I suddenly wished I would have dressed the part a little better. I was wearing a washed out old tunic and these gray workout pants, I was most definitely not matching in anyway. I had even forgotten to wear the ankle socks and instead I was wearing old school crew socks that made me stand out even more.

As our teacher walked in and dimmed the lights I took a sigh of relief, at least nobody would notice my faded kurti and my unironed hijab (I need to take my own advice) The class began first with some light stretching and breathing – the teacher was incredibly nice and assured us that this was not a competitive sport but a place to relax, unwind and focus on ourselves.

I totally enjoyed the class and loved being able to be child-free for the time I spent in the gym.  The only challenge now is trying to find some modest but trendy workout clothes. So I contacted my blogger friend Farrah Khan of Greater Lengths, her blog is focused entirely on helping Muslim women create a modest and trendy wardrobe.  She has put together an post on modest workout wear! Check it out, I’ll be doing some shopping too, but in the meantime I’ll start by wearing my ankle socks, deodrant and bringing my desi Swag to the gym even if it is in my Cotton Kurtis.

 

 

 

Real Women Cook

Since when is frozen foods and take out better than home cooked meals? I recently went to a gathering and was asked how often I cook, I gave my response shamefully (thinking it was not enough) “Three to four times a week.” I said,  the person responded “Oh man! 3-4 times? man thats crazy, you must get so tired!” with this look of pity.

If this sort of response was coming from an unmarried or even NEWLY married girl then I would completely understand.

I have to admit for the longest time I fought the housewife title, I refused to give in to the everyday chores and fall into the trap of cooking every day (not to mention I sucked at it!). Alhumdulilah I grew out of that thinking and became mature. The only people to look down upon housewives are women themselves.   I think our generation of ladies don’t want to end up as a typical housewife.  Many of us may think our mothers had it hard or hated what they did.

I used to think cooking was a chore for my mother, but I’ve realized she truly enjoys it.  Through her food she expresses her creativity, passion and love.  When we were sick she made the best soup, when we were leaving for a trip she made her famous pulao, each event or situation was linked with her food item.  There was no skipping or taking the easy way out for them, they wanted their meals to be absolutely p.e.r.f.e.c.t.

After marriage I have gained a whole new appreciation for good food, cooking is indeed an art.  I underestimated the effort put into it,  behind good food is a talented woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I work part-time, but working woman or not, a mother/wife is a homemaker.  Allah SWT has blessed women with the ability to provide warmth, love and comfort. Think back to what made your parents’ home? I think of laughter, joy, TLC and and and….FOOD! Till this day I get excited when I go to my mom’s house because I’m so eager to eat her food. It’s a whole other story how I always end up gaining weight when I’m in Maika (mom’s house).

Sadly, these days homes are missing the food aspect.  I don’t believe tv dinners, frozen foods and eating out can ever replace what our mothers did for us.

It’s not about your class or education, it just a natural thing to do. I recently came across a Pakistani person who said “My mom is a working woman so when we go home we have to figure out our own dinner and fend for ourselves.” I thought that was so depressing. The lack of dinner isn’t just about not having food, it just gives a home an empty feeling.

My aunt is a doctor and is working insane hours, however every weekend she cooks about 5-6 dishes to last her a week. In my book she is a super woman; She knows her children depend on her for a good meal. Anyone can pop in a microwave meal or whip up a sandwich, but it takes a real woman to cook up a meal for her family.

For women who really find it difficult to squeeze out time for cooking, do it on the weekends. Have your husband help and make it into a bonding activity.  If your husband is cooking, I would give him a ton of compliments so it encourages him to do it again!

The dinner table isn’t just a place for food but it is a time for bonding, discussion and crucial family time.  Days are discussed, problems are solved and of course food critiquing is done.
Don’t feel discouraged if a meal or two…or a dozen go wrong, practice makes perfect! (although I feel like I’m stuck in the practicing phase!)

Ladies whether it be once a week or every day, we should uphold that tradition of cooking. It isn’t hurting our feminism, it isn’t degrading, its an art our mothers have mastered and we should too!

Something to cook about….