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Just my random midnight thoughts.

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I am having a hard time these days. There’s so much around me (in terms of parenting strategies) that makes me feel really uncomfortable and frankly, angst has entered my life like a ravage beast.

 

It all started with this.

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Mean Girls GIF

(gif via: http://screencrush.com/mean-girls-gifs/)

 

I mean, why? Why is it that we have reached a moment in time where we need to reward a child for e v e r y t h i n g. Just for the record, my rewards are limited and I delve out reality checks like its free candy. To their annoyance I often say “well done! You’re going to get a…………  HUG for that!”

 

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I’ve always said that I am not an expert and can only use my 10 years of parenting – and ofcourse every child is different and each parent needs to work accordingly. Now that that disclaimer has been said, let me move on

 

It seems like the tide has shifted. These days, if you do not co-sleep/breast feed until 2/not shout/become gluten + dairy + sugar free mum and dad’s, you are ostracized. And don’t even get me started about lunchboxes. There are gadgets out there that can cut the sandwhich into a friggin castle and and carriage. Madness.

 

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The above items are NOT fake. I am not even making this up – I found each of these items at my local mall. People are actually buying these things.

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Guess what peeps? MY KIDS SLEEP ALONE IN THEIR OWN BEDS. ALL ALONE. Yep, they have done so since they were ummmm… BORN. And, shock horror they are fine. (Well as fine as a 9, 7 and 3 year old can be) Yes, when one of my children are sick or complains of being scared, then they jump into my bed but it is a ‘sometimes’ thing. And, I am fine with that. Am I loving them less? Am I teaching them that they are not to be close to mummy and daddy? Am I inadvertently ruining their compassion levels for the rest of their lives?

The answer to that my friends, is a fierce and passionate:  ‘dear-professors-and-judgemental-new-age-mums: get over yourselves’.

Then I read this:

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^Can you believe it? This is a book called “How to parent mindful children.”  Becoming mindful is an art that most adults are still grasping, it is a lifelong journey. Why the heck are we starting with these young kids by getting them to smell chocolate and raisins? The world has gone mad.

I don’t accept that there is a perfect way to parent, just like I do not allow anyone to tell me there is a wrong way, also. Safety and health are paramount and everything else is sprinkles on a sundae.

Let me tell you what I do accept: education. And learning. And understanding what makes (or can make) you a better parent. NOT what makes the child a better child. Right? Right.

 

Over and out,

M.

 

PS:

Check out these links for some pretty cool and funny and honest and pretty darn good advice parenting.

 

http://www.findingjoy.net/

 

http://www.scarymommy.com/

 

http://www.TheOrangeRhino.com/

 

http://BabySideburns.com/

 

http://www.twocannoli.com/

 

Hey there Zayn.

26 March 2015 0 Comments Category: My Blog

ONE DIRECTION as they used to be

 

 

Hey there Zayn,

 

It’s me Maysaa, from 365daysindubai.com. Yep, from that you’ve guessed where I currently reside and yep you guessed it – we have a mass of female teenagers waiting for you and band (ex) to grace their presence in 10 days time. I’ll tell you something, DUBAI HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT ONE DIRECTION FOR 5,000 DAYS AND JUST WHEN IT WAS ALL COMING TO AN END, YOU GO AND PULL THIS TRICK OUT OF THE HAT. Media has gone nuts that we don’t care about planes crashing or bombs even. We care about YOU Zayn. Your health and wellbeing is of upmost concern.

 

And that is why I’m sending you a letter because I care. As your sister in Islam, older sister can I add, it has become my duty to remind you about certain things that occurred when you were a baby. (Oh dear Lord I am old).

 

With your shock exit form 1D, I had to endure a truckload of 1D fans crying on radio stations. Some of the reasons for their crying was: “I’m sooooo depressed.” “How could Zayn do this?” and “This has been the worst day of my life.”

 

I held my steering wheel tight while listening to all of these crazy messages roll through. My disbelief in human reaction towards a boy band (yes sarcastic notation intended) was huge and my anger began to rise. WHILE PEOPLE WERE DYING IN YEMEN, our young folk were agonizing over the reduction in one directioner band members.

 

But.

 

Then I remembered the time when Robbie left Take That. And Beyonce called it quits from Destiny’s Child and ofcourse when Justin just sort of went solo like it was the normal thing to do. Who can forget when you fellow compatriot Geri walked out on the colossal Spice Girl phenomena?

 

My point is, Zayn, you’ll be right (famous Aussie saying. Equal to the professional way of saying, Do Not Despair).

 

You will probably get a plethora of invitations to do stuff. Endorsements, advertisements and ofcourse the lucrative solo career.

 

You will get a truckload of money to tell ‘your story’ and even more for your ‘full story’. If you go onto solo stuff, you will definitely make a million or 2. Because, well lets just say, your kinda talented and loads of people like your kinda talented voice.

 

Look at Robbie and Beyonce and Justin. T H E Y   A R E    F I N E. Read: even better than while they were in their bands. [Unclear on Geri’s career these days…]

 

Side note: Not so sure about your relationship being fine. Just an FYI, don’t cuddle other woman ‘friend’ when a gazillion cameras are waiting for you unless its your sister. No even then, don’t. Am happy to give you halal relationship advice when you need.

 

Don’t worry about us Dubai folk, we tend to forget bad moments (just like the time … oh wait that’s right, nothing bad happens here).

 

Lots of halal love,

Your sister in Islam,

Maysaa.

 

 

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image1.PNG-3Hey there young man who happens to be my firstborn, the kid that made me a mum, the lover of most things I DON’T like and one who truly keeps me on my toes,

You asked me yesterday why I was always teaching you things. I was offended for 3 minutes but then I realised that is just the way you are – honest.  I took a moment to reflect and realised that I must seem like a blabbering, crazy, woman/dictator in your life. So I have reverted to my comfort zone. WRITING.

 

Bear in mind as you read this, I love you but you drive me nuts.

 

[PLEASE NOTE: All lessons to be learnt are highlighted in bold. I know how often you claim to be “bored” so please feel free to just take in the highlighted parts. (Or, you can shock me and read the entire thing).]

 

Here we go.

 

I was 20 when I got married. By the time I was 21, I had you. In fact you came 1 month before our first wedding anniversary! Back then, I was the first amongst my circle of friends to be having a baby. And I really, truly thought it would be a walk in the park. Parenthood is like trekking through the Amazon jungle. In the dark. Without shoes.

 

Naively, I didn’t read many books about pregnancy, birth or beyond and regrettably I went into parenthood resisting the natural callings of being a mum. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with knowledge.

 

Admittedly, I suffered from what I now know as Hypermesis Gravidarum (and then suffered again with your sister and younger brother). So in fairness to me, for 36.5 weeks I was what your dad would call “a zombie”. Daddy was amazing, despite having no idea what was going on. When you become a husband/dad, the power of empathy is intense. In fact, empathising with anyone’s plight is humbling. Try it.

 

No body around us had had sickness like this, and consequently, I just “put up with it”. Never “just put up with something”. Find answers, ask ask ask!

 

And suddenly, we were a family of 3. I became responsible for another human being! You occupied my heart and mind 24/7. You became our guinea pig. You were the tester to our parenting skills, and you still are. You will always be the first in our family. Please share your life experiences with your siblings.

 

And this next part is where I say sorry. I’m sorry that you will have to endure this, probably foIMG_2880r the rest of your life. I am sorry that it will always be asked of you “to look after your brother and sister”. Or “Come on son, your older than him/her, just give it to her/him”. Or “Please set a good example to your siblings.” And so on. Please set a good example to your brother and sister.

 

I kid you not, at 8 months old I had you signed up to gymbaroo and Osteopathy sessions. I even decided that the usual kindergarten wouldn’t do, and would drive 40 minutes to a Montessori Kinder. F O U R T Y minutes. And because I didn’t want you to whinge, I would bring the portable DVD player along with us (this is of course pre- amazing – iPhone -days). Don’t make life harder than what it already is. 

 

And then there was the whole sleep thing. I just never got it and ultimately we suffered together. By the time I “chose” to put us on a routine, I was so strict that life became boring. I needed to you to eat, sleep and drink at the exact time of the day, every day. And if something clashed with our timetable, then we simply would not compromise. Routine is helpful, but there is always an exception to the rules.

 

Of course listening to a million different opinions DOES NOT help. Like “oh, you should stop breast feeding, he’ll sleep through the night quicker on formula.” You were 4 weeks old when I stopped you from nursing. How rude of me to suddenly “need” you to sleep through the night at 4 weeks of age. First listen to your gut instinct. Then ask your mother. And THEN research. In. That. Order.

 

And then I heard that reading is great for the baby, so, rain, hail or shine I dragged out those books. Often you would kick and scream and want to “play”, but I was determined. How mighty of me to enforce something that you would end up loving, when I let you be? Everything happens in good time.

 

You were 2 when your sister was born. And suddenly you had to “be quiet, your sister’s sleeping”. Because she too came early (by 27 days), suddenly you were placed in a big bed! There wasn’t any warning, chat or even a slight indicate that you were getting evicted from your room. Communication is important.

 

At the park, you loved the swing. More than anything I have ever seen. But I would always set you a limited time on the swing. Timers are for baking, exams and random game apps on the iPad. Not for things like having fun on the swings.

 

The thing is son, first children will always be (possibly) for the rest of time, the same for each parent. They will always be the ‘unknown’. You are a big reason of why I now parent your siblings the way I do and thanks for that. When your little brother chucks the biggest tantrum, I breathe and remember – this shall pass.

 

So before you think that your childhood/infanthood was sh*thouse can I take the pleasure to remind you of some things I did for you?

– We lined up for 2 hours once, to get Ben 10’s signature at some show I paid a gazillion $ to watch. TWO HOURS.

– You have never missed a birthday party. I call it First Child Syndrome. (Your baby brother got a home made cake on his 1st birthday).

– Homework time is entirely dedicated to you and the betterment of your education. Your sister gets the leftover time I have before I need to prepare dinner.

– I once sat on the plane floor, while you took my entire seat to sleep. It was an 8 hour flight. You’re welcome.

 

And so, I can choose to look back and feel that hindsight is so painful. But I am here to tell you: hindsight is wonderful. Live, learn, discover, learn again and move on.

 

Now please stop hatin’ on the fact you are the eldest when in fact you boss those siblings around and you love it.

 

Forever, mummy xx

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My kids walked in from school today, at 3pm as usual, and *shock horror* I was busy.

I was not at the door, ready to greet them, nor did I rush to their needs. I decided that it is OK to not give my children 100% of my attention all the time.

Now while some people will read the above sentence and want to call Social Services, let  me explain.

You see, I have tried all sorts of parenting – hands on parenting, co-parenting, organic parenting and old fashioned parenting. I’ve tried “talk to my kid for an hour before they go to bed so that they feel loved” and “pack only super-foods in their lunch box.” I’ve warned my husband to be “alert” when they are around and that we must NEVER be on our phones/computers/iPads and must absorb their presence. Yes, I said those very words.

And then I realised there is a tiny, tiny word that gets lost in parenting these days. Balance.

Balance can sort out the worst of days and can ease everyone’s guilt. People should try it more often.

Balance means that when your kid scoffs 5 Oreo biscuits, you remember the last 14,570 days of super-clean eating that has happened.

Balance means that bedtime can sometimes be a simple “good night love you” to your kid and that. is. all.

Somehow, with the plethora of articles and philosophies about parenting available to read and the shift in parenting styles to suit the 21st century, mothers and fathers have become inclined to always be on ALERT and this is a bad thing. A VERY BAD THING.

We will raise bad kids, folks.

I did NOT have a lunch box that looked like this when I was growing up:

 

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I had a cheese sandwich, some CC’s, a prima and a whizz fizz. And while I recognise that healthy eating is imperative and I strongly believe + maintain it, I will not succumb to cutting my kid’s sandwich in the shape of aeroplane because it looks “cute”. Nope. Won’t do it.

I am also done with the gazillion after school activities. Since my first child was born, I was always doing some class or signing them to some activity. It was freak-ing exhausting and I felt like a taxi driver. So now, I make my children decide on 1 or 2 fave things to do and THAT.IS.IT. Oh, and if they don’t show me over the top enthusiasm towards that particular activity – we quit.

Speaking of quitting, I was in a moral dilemma late last year. My 7 year old decided that she no longer liked Gymnastics. I’ve invested 3 years into classes and equipment and the ball breaking effort of doing her hair so perfectly for her classes and then one day, just like that she says “I don’t like Gymnastics anymore”. So for a week I tossed between: should I let her quit (and therefore teach her that quitting is OK), or do I force/bribe/blackmail her into continuing because I bloody love seeing all the tricks she can do?

In the end, folks, she quit. Was I sad? YES. Was I sad because I was losing a potential Olympic Gymnast? Nope.

I’m no psych, but I just have a feeling that being on ALERT for our children will decline their level of independent activity. And by independent I mean “it’s OK that mum is not watching you do the 62,534th cartwheel”.

Again, I must stress to those that forming a negative opinion right now, there is a balance. Let’s not chuck our kids on the street and say “GO FORWARD CHILD AND FEND FOR YOURSELF!” (imagine a heroic voice), but rather “I am here and I love you, but if your brother/sister has hit/annoyed you – work it out yourselves.”

It goes without saying that some days the balance is shifted more to one side – a sick child, an assignment due in the next day, whatever – then, by all means, we should get on board and help.

But if my kid cannot understand that mummy has a personality and that sometimes mummy has needs too, then I think I have failed as a parent.

Just my Tuesday thoughts.

Till next time

Be happy.