love

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a stroll on the beach

I am not a fan of Mother’s Day but I won’t ignore the cute cards the school forces allows the children to make me each year. It’s cute and I get to reminisce about the days of buying something from the school fete for 50cents for mum. Usually a bunch of weeds AND a soap.

My kids’ cards were really quite elaborate this year which made me feel a) proud at their vocabulary skills and b) annoyed at the fact they were put into a situation of ‘write about your mother even though you would probably rather do other things’ (I remember this feeling).

 

son's carddaughter's card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I explained to them, last night over dinner, that their love should not be limited to one day. In fact, I said, please write cards everyday or any day and I will be equally grateful. They each had a puzzled look on their faces and I knew that my deep and philosophical explanation was a little too deep. So I thanked them and we moved on.

But it got me thinking about mothers. My mother. Her mother. All mothers.

Hundreds and thousands (millions !?) of bloggers have written about their thank you’s, and their memories, and their sorry notes to their mothers. I’ve read them all – and cried. Here are some of my favourites. Here,  Herehere and this heart breaking letter from a husband to his wife.

I am not going to go down that path and profess my love. I am going to tell you a story.

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I could hardly sleep well when I was a teenager, I was always anxious about something or someone. During my later teenage years, falling in love occupied my mind. My mum would always reassure me that love was not meant to do that, rather it was my need to control a situation that was probably fretting me. Ofcourse, I disagreed (and most likely slammed doors too) and continued on this quest.

High school finished, Uni started and my mum fell sick. She had a really bad case of pneumonia and for months on end was bed ridden. I remember this because it was I that needed to attend to her every need. I cursed, mind you. Do not for a second think that I was happy with this situation because while my friends were free, I was home bound with a sick mother.

I was crying one afternoon because I realised that seeing as though I did not have a sister, this is how it would always be. Me and my mother. She needed me. So I did something Judy Blume’s books taught me and I had a little conversation with God. Judy Blume

“Are you there God? It’s me, Maysaa. I was just wondering if you could help me out here. I’m missing out on so much because mum is sick. I’m not working, so my money is decreasing and basically it would be awesome if she could just get better. I also hate washing. Thanks heaps I love you bye…”

Well, it’s up to you to believe me, but not even a few days passed and my mother’s energy returned. Slowly but surely my hard working mother returned and within a week she was making shish barak at 8am in the morning because that’s the way Lebo households roll.

I was rapt. I told my mum about my wish to God and she said “God knows best…when the time is right, things just fall into place. Even bad things…”

I went back to work that evening (a waitressing job) and as the legend has it, a wonderful man played cupid and my husband and I met… I fell in love and I was married within a year and my mum was no longer my carer because soon after that, I became a mother for the first time and I had to care. It was at this moment that I fell in love with My Mother.

“It’s hard work, this caring business,” I’d often complain.

“You’re not caring. You’re investing. Later on you’ll reap the rewards,” she’d say and give me a wink.

So, this is what I do. I invest. This is what mother’s do. We Invest. Because every minute of every day (not just mother’s day), I invest my energy and time into these little creatures that might just one day love me so h a r d back. And I pray that my returns are good. I pray that my returns will give me a child that will care for me when I am sick and pray to God for my recovery (even if it’s for selfish reasons). But mostly, I pray they find love and realise that when the time is right, things just fall into place. 

Till next time,

M.

 

 

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C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S.

You are probably reading this because you are inundated with facts and figures and nerves about moving to the best city in the world. The city that only dreams big, and literally too. It wins every single Guinness Book of World Record.

—[Random fact for you: Dubai, the city of gold, made the world’s longest 22-carat hand-made gold chain measuring a total of 5.522 kilometres. Moving on.]—

I’m going to be straight with you and tell you all about what to expect. You’re welcome.

1/ When you become A Dubai Person, you will always, always, always, always start your conversation with: “Where are you from?” and “How long have you been here?”

 

 

 

2/ Expect some traffic jams. A LOT OF TRAFFIC JAMS.

 

3/ You will never be able to go to  a public toilet in another country again.

4/ Carrying your groceries? Pushing your trolley of goods to the car? Assembling your bookshelf? NEVER AGAIN.

 

5/ You will never, ever have to cook again.

6/ Your accent will change. It’ll be a mix of Arabic, Philipino, Russian and British. Add a splash of American.

 

7/ Sometime between your 1-8 month of arrival, you will stop expecting people to give you their addresses. Landmarks and famous buildings will be enough information for you to be able to navigate to their home. YOU WILL HATE GOOGLE MAPS.

8/ Warning, Warning. You have been warned: ETA of terrible home sickness 6-10 month period.

 

9/ When you do go back “home” you will want to come back. You have caught Dubai Fever. Be careful, after 3 years you will never go back.

10/ If you are a parent, you will hunt down places at school as if your life depends on it. HUNT IT DOWN.

11/ If you are not a parent, you will still hunt down places at school as if your life depends on it. (Some schools have a 3 year waiting period. Insanely popular schools have messages on their crappy websites about 2045 being full.)

 

12/ When you get to Dubai, this will be you upon seeing the prices of things.

13/ After 6 months, this will be you.

14/ This will be your reaction every single time you see prices for homes for sale or rent.

 

15/ Don’t worry. YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND why the landlord needs 1 cheque. And you will never understand how they expect people to have 1 cheque ready for a whole year’s rent.

 

16/ Bring every single document with you. Marriage licence, change of surname licence even your pen licence from primary school. They need everything here. AND make sure it is all certified. Then get ready for them to ask you for a document NOT on the list.

17/ Going to Westfield will feel boring, after Dubai Mall.

 

18/ Resaturants. They will seem less glamorous to you. Be careful, Pierre Herme is just an everyday thing here. #justsaying

 

19/ You will learn that Dubai has 2 seasons. 1. HOT and 2. WE-ARE-2-INCHES-AWAY-FROM-THE-SUN-HOT.

 

20/ Air Conditioning will become a norm. In fact, you will need a jacket in Dubai only for indoors.

 

21/ Dubai gives M U L T I C U LT U R A L a whole new perspective. 20 different nationalities in one classroom in common AND there’s every kind of cuisine available. Feel like Uzbekistani food? No problem.

 

22/ Make sure you buy extra bed linen and sleeping bags – you will host all year around because as I first mentioned – YOU ARE MOVING TO THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD.

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.

treat soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/

 

Everyone who knows me well knows how much I dread homework time here in Dubai. They give kids a truck load of homework, and especially more so when there is a school inspection coming up (which isn’t a total surprise because the school gets told when the secret inspection is going to occur. Go figure.)

And now that my little girl is in Grade 1, it seems like my homework schedule has quadrupled and I almost cried. Excpet I couldn’t fully cry because I maintain a “we love homework” policy in my household. *sigh*

So today, these were things that crossed my mind (in THIS EXACT order).