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

Hardest Job in the World.

I recently came across this commercial and loved it.  In all honesty, after a girl becomes a mother herself is when she truly realizes all the sacrifices, work, and effort a mother has to put.

Although this commercial was made for the Olympics, I think it fits perfectly with Ramadan.  For me personally, Ramadan is a time to reflect all the blessings Allah SWT has bestowed upon me.  Both my parents are a major blessing, but since this commercial is about mothers, we’ll leave it for the mommies!

I would go on and on about how wonderful mothers are, but I would much rather have you watch this video, and then you can tell us how wonderful your own mother is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NScs_qX2Okk

 

Something to be thankful about….

Secret Dates

Secrets are always fun, especially ones that no one else knows about.

Date nights are even more fun, (obviously with your husbands, ahem).  However, recently I had a delightful date, and no it was not with my husband, and this is where the secret begins…

I woke up one morning and had a sprained toe; in that sprained toe I still completed all my morning duties (despite the pain, ya ya I know, I’m a super woman teehee). I feel like a woman can’t rest, the house depends on her, and especially the children.  With this in mind, a woman keeps going. My husband is very helpful, but there is only so much he does.  There are certain things that only a mother can understand and accomplish.

However, despite all circumstances, we sometimes need a break.  That is exactly what I decided to do.  I had a doctor’s appointment and right next to my doctor’s office is a Panera.  I decided to leave a bit earlier so I can grab some lunch at Panera, and so there you have it, it’s a date!

I put Eesa down for his nap, and told my husband I have a few errands to run before the doctor’s appointment.  Well ya, spending time with yourself is an errand too you know.

I packed my iPad and off I went.  As I was cruising with my windows down, I began to think about what I would order and what I would surf on my ipad.

When I reached Panera, I managed to find a nice cozy table that was calling out my name.  I sat down, took out my iPad and decided to catch up on my current affairs on BBC (c’mon you can go on facebook anytime).

There I sat, enjoying my Greek salad that consisted of crispy romaine lettuce, tangy kalamata olives, sweet vine ripened tomatoes, a sour yet juicy peperoncini, crunchy red onions, Greek dressing, oh and my most favorite thing…a sprinkling of feta cheese to balance out all the soury-sweet taste.  I also had a nice glass of ice-cold water with a freshly squeezed lemon to give it an even more refreshing taste.

It was one of the most relaxing 30 minutes I had.  I enjoyed my food without any disruptions, I felt somewhat caught up with the current affairs and best of all I didn’t have to wonder what my baby was up to (remember: I put him to his nap before I left).

It was then I realized that all women should take some time out for themselves.  Whether it be 10 minutes in a day, or once a week.  It can be enjoying a frozen yogurt by yourself, or staying up a little later once everyone’s asleep to enjoy a magazine/book, tv, or giving yourself that all-natural facial mask (stay tuned: for our all-natural beauty tips post).

I don’t recommend being on the laptop or iPad (unless you are reading something besides emails and facebook).  So allow yourself to do something where your mind and body can relax.  It is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself.   If I am more relaxed, then I can see the beauty and joy around me even more.

So there you have it, my secrets out in the open, and I am going to make sure these secret dates happen every so often insha’Allah.  However, the secrecy will probably not remain, especially if my husband is reading this post! If he is then he should know we’re also due for a date night :-).

Something to grin about….

Oh Brother!

One of the greatest joys is to see your kids play and enjoy each others company, on the flip side one of the most frustrating things is to see them fight and cry.

My sons play and fight all day, I’ve learned to let them “duke it out” the more I get involved in their matters, the more I get frustrated, so at a very young age I gave them the independence of resolving their own matters. The good thing is that they are both around the same size so when they begin to wrestle and sit on top of each other I’m not particularly concerned about them getting hurt.

Advantages of having a sibling close in age is that there is never a longing to be around other kids, you have a partner to play with and you learn to share EVERYTHING!

Disadvantages are that both kids don’t get that much one on one bonding time with the parents. Boys tend to get more aggressive and learn to fight over everything, including parental affection.

Sometimes I’ll laugh at something silly my 18 month old (Hassan) will do and then my three year old (Humza) will do the same thing and I’ll give him a disapproving look! It gets tricky for the parents and there has to be a constant balance so that both siblings know where their place in the family is. It is so important that they each understand their unique personality and self-worth. Easier said than done, it’s something I have to remind both myself and my kids.

Having a small age difference between two kids, can be challening but the love and friendship they have is so warming. When one gets in trouble the other one sneaks into the time out corner with him to give him support, or when one of them gets a shot at the doctors his brother cries for him! The two are inseparable and often when I want Hassan to do something I’ll ask Humza to explain it to him and it works!

One time, my 18 month old was crying and fussing… exhausted, I lost my temper and ordered him into a timeout corner, his elder brother came and calmly explained to me that Hassan was creating a fuss because he wanted juice in a sippy cup.

I instantly realized that my three old was right and gave Hassan the sippy cup, voila! The problem was solved.

Their intuition and love for each other is remarkable and I pray that Allah always keeps my boys close and best friends forever – Ameen.

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Soul Food

Motherhood… ah good old motherhood.  It is most certainly a blessing and one of the greatest joys a woman can ever experience Alhumdulilah.  However, I’m sure I’m not the only mommy who feels exhausted, stressed, and deprived.  Deprived? well ya…of food, sleep, and pampering (not talking about diapering her babies!)  Not only do we deprive ourselves of worldly things, but also of spirituality.  Just like our body needs sleep and food, we also need soul food.

My body, mind, and soul get the most amount of nourishment when I turn to Allah SWT.  Whether it be 5 minutes or 50 minutes, the result of that worship is far greater than anything ever imaginable.  If you are having the blues, or just one of those really chaotic days, manage to squeeze out some time for Allah SWT, for indeed Allah SWT is the only One, who can help you.

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” {13:28}

Motherhood has given me a million reasons to thank Allah SWT.  Sadly, that gratitude does not come into play as much as it should.

Here are a few tips that I try to follow and I hope they will help you too insha’Allah.

1.  Listening: While cooking, cleaning, or even folding laundry put on Quran or a lecture.  You may not be fully listening, but even catching a line or two here and there from a lecture is more beneficial than not listening to it at all.  Quran is very soothing, so listening to it while doing chores would not only be relaxing but can earn you some ajr (rewards) as well insha’Allah. For Quran I go to www.halaltunes.com and for lectures I go to www.halaltube.com

2.  Prayers:  If you manage to find an extra two minutes while your children are napping or busy playing, than try to pray the Sunnah prayers.  Narrated by Muslim, “A house will be built in paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve Rak’ah of optional salah other than the obligatory salah in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” Here is a source on the excellence of praying Sunnah. http://islamqa.info/en/ref/12844

3.  Dua: Remember Him, so He will remember you. Print out the common every day duas, such as when waking up or entering the restroom and tape/pin them in visible areas that can serve as reminders to read them.  Here is a good site with duas for almost everything, http://www.fortressofamuslim.com

4.  Quran: This is one of the most important and beneficial things you can do for your iman. We all struggle with sadness, pain, fear,  anxiety and depression.  Allah SWT has sent us His book to cure us from these.  Our hearts will be full of love for Him through His words.  Now, I know not all of us have time to read many pages, but I know we can manage to read at least ONE line  a day.  
For me personally, the ideal time to read is after Isha, usually my son is sleeping or getting ready to sleep.  If he is drowsy I consider this to be a good time to recite out loud so he can hear it too.  Find that moment in your day that you can read at least one line.  Don’t worry about it not being enough, because the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said “The deeds most loved by Allah(SWT) are those done regularly, even if they are small.” (Bukhari).  So let us get in the habit of reading Quran daily.

5.  Dhikr: Allah SWT has given us endless opportunities to remember Him throughout our day.  The Prophet (PBUH) said the most beloved words to Allah are four:

Subhan-Allah (Glorified is Allah),

Walhamdu-lillah (Praise is for Allah),

W laa-ilaaha’illallah (there is none worthy of worship but Allah),

Wallahu’Akbar (Allah is the Most Great).

So we can say these four words while we’re washing dishes, driving, putting our children to sleep or absolutely WHENEVER! I consider this to be one of the most simplest ways to please Allah SWT.

These are easy and small efforts that will grant us big rewards (insha’Allah ta’Allah).  We must constantly renew our intentions and make dua that all our efforts are accepted.

However, We must not undermine our roles as mothers or wives.  If these duties are done with the intention of pleasing Allah SWT, then they too will be rewarding and fulfilling.  Whether it be cooking for your husband or caring for your child, one can seek Allah’s SWT pleasure if done with the right intention.

May Allah SWT reward all mothers, and allow them to stay strong on the siratul mustaqeem Ameen.

Something to ponder about…