What’s On Her Mind: Is There Such A Thing As Guilt Free Motherhood

  
What’s On Her Mind number two yaay..! I already love this feature so much and I have so many more amazing women to share their stories, with all of you in the upcoming months. Awesome..!! 
This week a wonderful mama will be sharing with all of us, her words of wisdom. Be sure to check her blog and say hello! So I will leave you with What’s On Her Mind…..

Is there such a thing as Guilt free Motherhood?

The moment you embark on the journey of motherhood, you are made to feel guilty. Guilty for the conscious decisions you make for the betterment of your child. Proven guilty by society or proven guilty by the devil inside your mind. 

The society we live in has all sorts of opinions on what the “done” thing is, whether it be breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, self-soothing, being a working mother or a stay at home mother. There are all sorts, isn’t there, but the worst culprit is probably yourself. The mummy guilt that exudes from within is always there. Though we very well known that the mother’s gut instinct is right and also what we should follow, sometimes we end up second-guessing ourselves about our parental decisions. 
These decisions cause so much worry. Am I being too strict to my toddler? Am I giving him a balanced enough meal? Is he reaching all his development milestones at the right age? Am I spending enough time with him? Am I cuddling him enough? Are his toys enriching his developmental skills? Am I encouraging him enough to socialise with other children? Am I not teaching him about stranger danger early enough? Am I reading him enough books each night? I could go on and on but these are some of the thoughts I have on an almost daily basis, and boy is it difficult. 
Of course, my little 15 month old is a healthy happy boy, who walks and babbles away, eating imaginary food with his plastic bowl and spoon, and I know as a mother I have succeeded thus far. However, sometimes we simply need to take a step back from the overwhelming responsibility of motherhood and give ourselves a pat on the back for what we have achieved. Whether you have only been a mother for a day or for a century, if you care enough about your child to worry about them, then you are already doing a great job. I learnt early on that no amount of research was going to teach me how to carry out motherhood; it simply had to be done. Done with an insane amount of patience and endless amount of love. The guilt is just part of the learning curve that mothers go through each day, and needs to be handled accordingly. 
Have I got rid of the mummy guilt? Definitely not. Will I ever be rid of it? Perhaps never. But I sure can take steps towards reducing it and being more confident of my decisions for my child, and I urge all other parents to do the same. So is there such a thing as guilt free motherhood? I believe not. Yet we can take days off when we can look at our offspring and give ourselves a high-five for being a brilliant parent. Before wondering whether you gave them enough cheese to fulfil the GDA dairy quota…

Zeyna 

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Thank God It’s Friday: A La Naturel .. With Almonds !! 

  
When it comes to food, I always prefer to eat at home. Of course I don’t mind going occasionally to a fancy place and order some fancy stuff! However, preparing my family’s food, gives me an enormous pleasure. Because only then, I can be sure of what I am putting on their plates, how fresh it is, how healthy it is and how yummy it is :)! I always try to use fresh and organic ingredients. I also try to read the labels before buying anything! 

One of the things that we consume a lot in our home, is Almond Butter! Adam and I, love it, and we have it for breakfast almost everyday! It happened that last week we couldn’t find it in any nearby supermarket! So I decided to make it myself, and I was extremely pleased with the result! It is absolutely easy to make, and you can make it the way you like it, with roasted or raw almonds, with honey, with salt, or even with peanuts! And here is how I made it:

– 200g Raw almonds (You can roast them if you want, just put them in the oven for about 15minutes) 
– 1 tbsp Coconut oil (You can use any other oil) 

Blend everything together for about five minutes (depending on how good is your blender).   
In less than 10 minutes, you will have your own natural home-made almond butter!! How cool is that!!! 

Ouiam 

What’s On Her Mind….: My New-Mom Crisis

  

  

  Welcome to a new feature series here on Chanel Mama, that will run through the next few months! “What’s On Her Mind” is a special feature just for moms, where other moms will share their good old-fashioned words of wisdom! Since I became a mother, I became so curious to know how do other mamas do it. Although I read all the books and done all the research, it never helped me as much as the advice of another fellow mama! I always find myself loving to hear about other parents’ experiences and taking ideas and inspiration from everything I hear. So why not share these bits and pieces of “Mommy wisdom” with all of you! We will be hearing all sorts of stories, from the simple to the complex, the serious to the silly… So I hope you enjoy! 
The very first featured mama, is one of my very good friends: Maria. A mom to a beautiful little girl. I always love to hear what she has to say and I was thrilled when she accepted to share with us her “Words of Wisdom!”

My New-Mom Crisis 

 

After the first weeks or months of baby oblivion, there comes a time when new moms arise from the fog and wonder, what happened!? Who am I? A mom…will it ever be about me again? Just for a day?

 

Becoming a mom is an incredible blessing that fills life with a wholehearted joy unbeknownst to former pre-mom self. However, life is forever changed in a big way.

 

Most people will tell new moms that they need to make time to take care of themselves. But how do we really do that without making sacrifices when it comes to our child’s care? Its not like you can take two hours, and boom! You have now taken care of your physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs for the next month. How can we possibly fulfill our needs when we are responsible for another human being who can’t do anything without our help (for more than a few minutes any way)? What a huge responsibility. 

 

I remember my crisis moment, when I couldn’t just focus on the baby anymore. I needed a change, a diversion, something. So I took my 8-month old daughter to the UAE so that I could explore career opportunities. We moved out of our apartment in Bahrain and into suitcases bound for a hotel in Abu Dhabi. I met with recruiters and went on job interviews. It felt great to be out alone…to wear a suit and heels and converse with professionals. However after a month or so I realized I would not find a work situation that would allow me to still give my daughter the time and attention I felt she needed and that I wanted to give her at that age. So that adventure was over. We moved back to Bahrain. 

 

Instead of thinking about jobs, I decided to start a volunteer group. I got in touch with local charities that needed volunteers and formed a group of like-minded people on social media. I could now contribute my time and talents to worthy causes on a schedule that I dictate. I was meeting other like-minded adults, addressing important issues, learning about the local culture, and helping people in need. Volunteering helped filled that void I felt by leaving the workforce. 

 

I’m still working to find better ways to get in my regular workouts and always looking for mom life hacks. I still have days when I just want to cry because I can’t take the screaming anymore. Sometimes I have doubts that I am making the right decisions and doing the right thing for my family. But no matter what we are actually doing in our lives, we will still have those days. We just make the best decisions we can for the time being. As our situation changes, we reassess and adjust. 

 

I’m very blessed to be a mom, to have the opportunity to volunteer, and the luxury to stay home with my daughter. I’m lucky to have the choice to do what I feel is best for my family, and not be forced into a situation by circumstances. 

 

I just want other moms to know that its completely normal to go through mini-crisis during motherhood, especially in the early days. There are so many new choices many of us have to make as moms, to work or to stay at home with our children, to hire a babysitter or not, and if so, how often. How much “me” time do we need to maintain our sanity, and how best to use it. No one can tell us what’s right for us and our families. It’s something we have to figure out on our own, and sometimes by trial and error. I’m sure you can think of a bunch of awesome people, who are doing great things, and who you respect. And I bet they all had very different moms and upbringings. There is no one formula for being a great mom or that guarantees a successful upbringing of your child. 

 

So what have you learned about your new-mom self? What have you incorporated into your life as mom to ensure you are meeting your needs, and how have you done that? I would love to learn from you.
Thank you! 

 
 

Thank God It’s Friday: Gluten-Free Gone French .. 

  

  
The beauty of every single morning is the ability for a fresh start. A chance to be a better person, to change what’s making you unhappy and look for ways to be happy. A new day for new memories, new smiles, new mistakes and new opportunities! 

So with every sunrise, I count my blessings and I thank God for what I have. I pray for what I wish to have. And food is always one of the things I am extremely grateful for! 

Today I made these amazing gluten-free “Crépes“, and was so pleased with the result that I decided to share the recipe with you! I have to say, it is the easiest and fluffiest thing you will ever make 🙂 

You will need: 
1 ripe banana, with spots on the skin
2 whole eggs 

Butter, for frying-pan

Combine the banana and eggs in a blender, and blend until completely smooth. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and pour a small amount of batter into the hot skillet. Cook for two minutes, or until the edges begin to look cooked, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes! And voila! 

Let me know if you try it ;)! 

Ouiam

Why I Rather Be A Mom On Mars….

  

Having kids, is having your heart go walking outside your body. I remember hearing it when I was pregnant and thinking: “Oh No! I won’t be that kind of moms!” Little did I know, that it would be even worse than what I was warned of! It is as if my heart is separated from my body and walking away! And what is even worse is that it will always be this way, even if he is 10,20,30,…..90years old! So yes I am that kind of moms: I only have eyes for my son. I take hundreds of photos of my kid and I spend every minute of my son’s time with him! Also, there are things -lots of them- that totally set off my spidey sense! And things that simply upset me! And make me wanna live in another planet! Here are few of them:
1- When people offer food to my toddler. I realise how nice of a gesture this is, and that they only do it because they are friendly and generous. However, my son has many food allergies so far, and I can’t just risk having him getting sick because someone has offered him something he never had before! 
2- When people kiss my son on the cheeks (or anywhere on his face). One word: Germs!!!!! I am not a fan of sleepless nights due to sickness, therefore I am totally against people kissing babies/toddlers! 

3- When people ask me why do I put my son to sleep at 7pm! Simply because babies/toddlers need at least 12 hours of sleep at night, for their brain’s development! It is also important for restoring their energy! Not to mention that since I am the only one who takes care of my son most of the time (no babysitter, no nanny, just me and my husband), I need to rest! Ooh yeah and also: My house My rules lol!! 

4- When people ask with an accusing tone of voice, why don’t I use medication when my son is sick and instead completely rely on home remedies! The answer is very simple, there is nothing wrong with using natural remedies to treat any kind of illnesses. They have been used years and years ago, and it has been proven to give more benefits than its over the counter counterparts. 

5- When people ask me why don’t I get some help and hire a babysitter: I never complained first of all, then under no circumstances I would like to miss a minute of my baby’s life! These baby/toddler days are very numbered and will soon finish! So I am taking advantage of each second and minute I still have! Yes it is tiring but I wouldn’t have it any other way!!  

I am sure every Mama has her own fears, likes and dislikes. I am also sure not everyone agrees with me and that’s Okay. However, I am very curious to know the little things that piss you off, as a mother, and what makes you uncomfortable as a parent! Please share! 
Ouiam 

Thank God It’s Friday: The Bowl Of Happiness…

  
“Thank God It’s Friday” is back you people! Yes it has been a while, but here we are again :)! 

A hot and a very humid Friday in Bahrain, one of those days that you rather stay at home, in your Pjs, sipping a lemonade and listening to music all day long ;)! We did all the above, the whole afternoon; When it was dinner time, mama had to fix a quick meal and I knew exactly what we needed!! The bowl of happiness! And that is exactly what I made! It takes about 10mins and you will only need: 

1 cup of quinoa (boiled for 15mins) 

1 tbsp vegetable oil 

1 onion (diced)

1 capsicum (cut into small pieces) 

2 minced garlic cloves 

Coriander (few leaves chopped finely) 

200g canned corn

200g canned kidney beans

Salt, pepper, thyme 
After you heat the pan, add the oil, onion, garlic, and capsicum. When all the ingredients are soft, add the canned corn, the kidney beans and the coriander. Season with salt, pepper and some fresh thyme. Add the quinoa, mix everything together and voila!! Bon Appetit! 
Ouiam 

Feeling Feelings ….

  
I am a natural “feeler”, I like to feel every possible feeling, give it a name, run it into a rigorous scrutiny, to find out whether it is a “good” or “bad” feeling. This process happens just between myself and I. No one is allowed anywhere near my thoughts, I never wondered why?! Until today….! 

Usually when I get sick, and even now at twenty nine years old, and a mom to an 18months baby boy, I would still need my mama’s comfort; however, I would never tell her this. Not because I feel or think it is wrong, but because I simply can’t. Throughout my life, I have been an introverted little girl, my heaven was (still is) grabbing a book, and sitting on my bed, in my room, for hours until I was done with it. I craved silence and privacy. Being alone wasn’t something to complain about, it was a treat! Things has changed with time, that is a fact, and I have been coping well with noise and social events, yet I am still an introverted person. After an hour of socialising I need another hour or two to calm down and give myself a break. 
The more I think about it, the more I realise that growing up, we never talked about feelings. Not that it was a taboo, but we actually lacked the proper tools to get those feelings out, correctly and adequately. In my Moroccan dialect, we have no correct way of describing our feelings, of course we have those specific words : ” I am happy” or “I am sad” but if you say them out loud, I assure you, you will make a joke of yourself. 

Now try saying something like: ” I am jealous” or even “I envy you”, and get ready to receive a torrent of lectures, about how jealousy (or even envy) is a sin! And you should never have similar feelings! Instead you should burry them, really deep, and never talk about them again! First: Why can’t we all just agree that we are human after all, and we do sin! Then, a feeling is just between myself and I, something that I have no control over, yes sure I can work on making this unwanted feeling go away, but I can’t do that unless I first recognise it, and give it a name! 

Where I come from, we are encouraged to neglect our feelings, pretend that they don’t exist. You will only hear the word “feel” if “hungry”, “thirsty” or “tired” followed. 

If my husband reads this post, I am sure he would be wondering: “Then how come you keep on blabbering about what you feel, what you felt, and what you will feel, all day long when I am around?!” Well, all I have to say is that this is different, he is my best friend, I trained myself to open up to him, he is also a great listener, which helps greatly! 

Even after writing these words and after my grand realisation, I have no doubt anything will ever change, I still will not allow myself to talk about my feelings, because somehow it feels as if I was stripping naked in front of an audience. However, I always encourage my son to talk about how he feels: sad, upset, mad, happy, excited, frustrated…etc! Parenting is crazy! It gives us all a chance to relive our own childhood, except, this time, we are in charge, we write the guidelines and the rules, we get to change what we never approved of, and do our best to be the best! 

Ouiam

When I Refuse To Be My Parents… 

  
As every late afternoon, Adam and I, go for a walk around the block, in our beautiful neighbourhood. Where we stop every two seconds to check out flowers, tiny ants, and even our shadows. We run, we laugh, and we sweat like hell, in this horrible heat! As we do this I ask myself, few years from now, when Adam is four or five years old, will I let him go for walks just like this one, alone? Or even with his little friends?! And no adults around?The answer seems crystal clear to me : It is a firm NO. Then a second question pops in my mind: “But why? I did it as a child all the time”. Yes I did it, and I had so much fun doing it. I remember being five, in a little yellow dress, in my neighbourhood, in my hometown, playing hide and seek with my neighbourhood friends, with no adult supervision at all. Running, laughing, going around the block, removing my shoes so I could run better, with my messy hair, and my sweaty little body! Staying out there for hours, until it starts getting dark, which meant it was time to go home, I would say goodbye to my friends and off I go home. Yes i was only five. I also did it when I was 6,7,8,9….. And I never stopped! 
Can Adam do it too? No way! In this scary, scary, scary world, what can happen to a little boy or girl, alone? I will leave it to your wild imagination!

It isn’t that my parents didn’t care enough to deprive me from these little joys, or that the world I lived in was safer than this one, and definitely not because I was an exceptionally responsible little girl! Then why? And why can’t I do the same thing with my child?! I know damn well how much fun can a child have outside, however I don’t think I will ever be comfortable with the idea that my son is out there, alone, in the world where we live in now! 

Throughout my childhood, the neighbourhood was the place to play, to meet the other kids and get the party starting! Yet never even once, we were bothered by weird creepy people wanting to harm us in anyway. Were we just lucky? I don’t think so, it can’t be JUST luck! 

Although we were alone, us kids, playing outside, yet I am sure so many eyes were on us, protecting us from any possible harm, and I can name few: ” Said”: The owner of the little shop, few feet away from my house; the four neighbours surrounding my house, with their doors open (just like ours was), they would peek through their doors or windows, and check on us from time to time (one of us was theirs anyways); the old men, sitting in the corner, talking while sipping their tea, knowing exactly who each kid was, and if they saw a new one, they would ask who he was, who was his father and where did he live! With all this, why should/would my parents be worried that I was outside alone, playing?! If I had this crew of security “officers” right next door, I sure won’t be worried neither! Unfortunately I don’t! I don’t even know who my neighbours are!! It makes me sad that my son will never know the joy of being free, alone outside, watching the sun come down, or counting the clouds, or running around barefoot alone! Alone, without me, without his dad, without an adult! Yes of course I will always take him to do all these things but I know it wont be the same! 

Whenever I was out alone, I would sink in my deep thoughts, I would pretend that I was alone in this whole wide world, and I would start thinking of complicated things, way too complicated for my age! Outside I was a young adult! Outside I was THE big girl! And I know that my son can’t have that! 

What happened to the world? Why do we close our doors and not even care to know our neighbours anymore? Why we no longer have “Saids” next door, to be our guardian angels! Why there are no old men sitting in the corner drinking their tea while talking, no phones, no Ipads, nothing! Why don’t we have faith in each other anymore! 

How about you? Would you let your kid go out alone with no adults around? Are you scared of the same things I am scared of? What can we do about it? Just sit and watch while we sacrifice our kids’ most momentous moments? 

Ouiam

Happy Reading: August 

  
With summer, comes a renewed excitement for reading… At least for me! Even though I have been super busy lately, I always manage to find some free time for a good book! In my world, reading is like yoga, it is an inner shift from the endless to-do lists, the running around, the business of each day and just everything else. I try to read at least few pages before I can’t even keep my eyes open anymore and just collapse in bed with my kindle still on. Anyways here are the books I read last month and what I thought of each one! Enjoy!! 

1- The Five Love Languages Of Children by Gary D.Chapman and Ross Campbell. I love reading parenting books, it is always interesting to learn new things about a topic I love so much. This book is about showing your kids love in ways they would see and understand, even when it comes to discipline. It talks deeply about each child and their different needs of love. 

2- All Joy And No Fun by Jennifer Senior. I heard of this book from a TED talk. After I heard the author talking about how most parenting books talk about kids -obviously- but none of them actually talk about us, parents, and what we go through while bringing up these little munchkins. I thought I should definitely read it, because it felt new and enticing. Unfortunately, I have to say, she criticises everything, me and parents like me do! Her point is that basically we are doing too much and going way out of our way to raise our kids! Each page had me raise my eyebrows and scream: REALLY?!!?!! I love going way out of my way to raise my son! I love being tired at the end of each day knowing that I did my best to be a good mother! I enjoy spending my whole day focusing on my son! I love doing it and it makes me happy! I am not miserable as you state Miss Senior! Actually my son brings only happiness and joy to my life! However, the book is full of interesting facts and studies, and I would read it again for that! 

3- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Now THIS is a great book! I loved it! I admired Jeannette’s courage to write about such delicate things in her life! Throughout the book I felt excited, sad, enraged, happy and relieved. Jeannette tells us about her childhood with, let’s just say, abnormal parents! I liked the fact that in her early years it was fun doing new things and it made me think of all the things I can do to make my son’s childhood special, but as she grew older things got weirder! I really recommend this book! It was awesome! 

Let me know if you read any of these books, and what is currently in your reading list? 

Happy reading! 

Ouiam