Less Judging..More Supporting Please!

 

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The other day, during one of the many “Mommy & me” meet ups we organise, and while in the middle of a very interesting conversation, the mother doing the talking stopped abruptly, her face went blank, as she frowned, and asked me a question that starts like this: “Why is Adam still………. ?”  I usually don’t discuss Adam’s routine, and almost never fall for the judgmental questions every mother seems to receive.  I believe that every family does what works best for them, and should never pay attention to the comments or criticism coming their way, however other people don’t seem to agree with that. The community we live in has these strict rules and regulations, that if you don’t follow, you will be shunned, rejected, and you will be subject to a great deal of judgment. Especially when it comes to motherhood. And what is even more surprising, is that most of the judgment comes from WOMEN, other mothers, just like you and me!! This covers so many areas, from the way you choose to raise your kids, to the way you choose to dress them, feed them, educate them….and the list is long!  Anyways, and back to my story, before replying, I still found myself in a state of uncertainty, and even though the person asking didn’t mean any harm, she still managed to make the ghosts of doubt and guilt creep into my head. It was only a matter of few seconds before I got hold of myself and responded calmly, explaining that we have a certain way of doing things that works perfectly for us, and we don’t intend to change anything for now, making sure the conversation ended right there.

You see, I always considered myself as a strong passionate human being, whose actions are based on deep thinking. I always trust my guts and I am always happy with the outcome of my choices and decisions. I wear the badge of motherhood so proudly and when it comes to Adam’s life, I do nothing randomly, everything I do comes as a result of a great research and a great deal of deep thinking and reasoning! However, this person still managed to make me doubt myself, even if it was just for a few seconds. How about the millions of other women who go through this cycle of judgment, criticizing, and scrutiny, every single day from their families, friends, and environment? This was the very first time I realize that sometimes you can’t just shut your ears and pretend that you haven’t heard that stupid remark, or just change the subject with a smile on your face; sometimes their words are not whispers that get lost in the air around you, they are loud and truly disturbing, that you just can’t ignore them.

We are still very far away from cheering to what’s different and applauding what’s unique. Some people still believe that there is one set of rules that should be applied on all of us, that we all should think, act, and live the same. How can we change that? How can we convince everyone that a mother, a woman or any human being for that matter, already leads a very stressful life, so why add to their misery? I believe the only true power we have, as mothers, is to raise our kids to be different. Raise them to appreciate diversity and respect it. Raise them to become passionate, understanding and kind human beings. It is a great responsibility but the outcome is fascinating. If every mother plants the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and empathy in her kids, the world will be a better place. But for now, somebody needs to come up with some great invention, like a small device that you place on your wrist and would beep every time you say something disturbing, mean, or just an inappropriate remark that would make the other person uncomfortable! I sooo would buy this device! In fact, I would by thousands of them and distribute them for free to every single person I know!

Ouiam

Hey Kid, Wanna Get Bored..? 

  

Growing up I always hated Sundays, because there weren’t much for me to do! We only had a one-day  weekend (Saturday was a school day too). I would wander aimlessly around the house, complaining about how bored I was. My mom would try to come up with cool things for me to do, but you know how it is at that age, nothing our parents can suggest would ever seem cool enough for us, so of course I would brush away whatever suggestion she had for me, and start brainstorming till my ” Eureka” moment comes and saves the day. Now when I look back at these -then- boring Sundays, I see nothing that suggests boredom at all, everything about my childhood Sundays scream creativity and originality! In those Sundays, I learnt how to knit, how to cook (at a relatively young age), how to sew, how to enjoy and admire the skies and clouds, how to keep a journal…. And the list is very long! 

I talk about this now, because recently I have been thinking about how busy our lives are getting. How every single day we have to have something planned for the day to keep ourselves busy! I run a mommy group, and I plan playdates weekly, I also try to plan meet-ups with friends who have kids Adam’s age, so we can all have fun together. We go for walks and to the beach to collect rocks and work with them later. We work on our Montessori activites an hour a day everyday. We read books and stories. So basically we are never bored! Which is exciting and so much fun, however it kind of scares me a little. You see when I was a kid, and I was bored, I had NOTHING to keep me busy, nothing at all! So I had to come up with ideas myself! Yet now, even if we are doing nothing, we have boxes of toys and tons of things around us that we can use and get out of our misery. 

Adam is probably still too young for boredom, these are my thoughts for the future mainly. I am in a crossroads of weather we should let the boredom creep into our life later on, or not! I definitely want Adam to get a chance to explore his creative side through boredom. To be able to engage with himself and the world, to creat, invent and imagine! I want boredom to help him find his passions and respond to the stirrings of his own heart. I was always against filling kids’ time with structured activities and always felt so sorry for the kids whose parents made sure they took piano classes, language classes, math classes and all the other classes they could lay hands on! Because obviously the child has no time to engage with the raw stuff that life is made of.

I guess there is always that safe space in between, where the kids have time to explore their inner and outer selves, while still engage in all these structured activities. The challenge here is to find this space without struggling so much. Our choices as parents are all we can give our kids, they need to be smart and serve the purpose! They all come from the same place, which is pure love, certainly, yet sometimes we tend to take them based on what works for us as parents and not what would work for our kids. Oh yeah parenting is crazy…! 

I would love to hear from all the mamas out there, what do you think? Please share your experience! Thank you! 

Ouiam

 

The Untold Stories Of Motherhood…. 

  

It has been almost two years since I embarked in this wonderful journey of motherhood, it is kind of hard to believe, because it feels like I gave birth just few months ago, but yeah! 21months have passed since the day I officially became a mother. And boy what a journey has it been! See, when you get pregnant, people around you feel the need to warn you…! Warn you about tons of things, like the sleepless nights, or the absence of any “Me” time, or they might even strike a little harder and tell you that your life will never be the same again. You smile, you nod, you might get scared a little, but you know that YOU will do it differently… Not because you know what they are talking about… Hell how would you know? This is only your first child! But because it is simply YOU!

What no one warns you about is the huge responsibility placed on your hands. The midnight crises from all the exhaustion and the great amount of hormones who make it their mission to make your life a great sad movie! The stress on your marriage from all the pressure of those sleepless nights! The amount of invitations you will have to decline for the next god knows how long! The friends who will silently leave your life because you are no longer available for them all the time. The little horror scenes at the grocery stores, where you will try every trick you know of, to get that little one to stop his little tantrum! The list is painfully long but no one chooses to break the news to you, instead they give you small hints and invite you to see for yourself. 

They also never tell you about the wonderful moments that you will choose to lock and keep somewhere safe for when those little ones are not so little anymore! They never tell you what it is to have your heart outside your body, moving, walking and running. They never tell you the magic that kids bring into your life! The joy one can get from a smile, hug or kiss. The beauty of life when you have a little one depending on you, knowing and wanting only you! The little hands and feet, the gibberish talk and the toothless smiles! The pride you take when he learns new things! The love… Oh the love! You never ever knew your heart was capable of loving this much, this way! Your heart will burst at the end of each day, and grow a little bigger the next, to make room for more love for that little human being! No one tells you that kids are god’s gift to you, so you can relive your childhood, so you can do what you never had a chance to do when you were a kid, or even when you grew up to be the adult you are now! You see the sun clearer, you admire the shape of rocks, you stop each time you see an ant, you gasp every time you see a star, you walk slower, you laugh harder, you see, hear, smell, touch everything differently! You follow your child’s footsteps and you go along in their slow rhythm! Every time your hand holds that tiny hand, it is an unwritten promise you make to protect your child and keep him safe from every harm! Every day you wake up and hear the little voice mumbling, you thank god for all the blessings! No one tells you about any of these things because no one can ever describe them the way they should be described. No one can ever explain to you what is it to be a mother, and even if someone some day will, you will never ever grasp the real meaning until a piece of your soul comes out of you and becomes your whole life! 

Motherhood is the untold story of sacrifice and bravery! It isn’t for the faint hearted, nor for the empty souls. It is the sacred gift to women…! Women.. These great creatures who in a world bathed in a stuttery glow, make magic gracefully appear! 

Ouiam

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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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