“Hello! Come in!”

 

 

Last week, I ordered something from a home owned business. Few days later it was ready and my son and I passed by to collect it. We rang the bell and the person whom we ordered the piece from opened the door, and we were told to wait at the door step, to collect our order. To me there was nothing alarming about this, nor did I even think twice about the whole “waiting at the doorstep thing”, but my 3 years old little boy did. He immediately asked me: “Mama, why we weren’t invited to go inside”. I must admit that I had no answer to that, I mean people are free to invite whoever they like and this isn’t even someone we know, but nothing came out of my mouth, all I could think of is how my 3 years old little angel knows that doors should always be opened for guests, and guests should always come in. This must have been something he has learned in our home. He must have seen that we always invite anyone and everyone to our home!! Wooooha! My husband and I must have been doing it RIGHT! At that moment I couldn’t be happier or prouder of my son and myself too!

 

Being kind is something I always focus on, in our day to day life, with my son. Because to me, being kind is more important than how you look, how much money you make, what’s your race, religion or color! Being kind is what I pray my son will be known for. So I work hard on that, each and every day to instill this incredible quality in his soul.

When he asked me why we were not invited to come in, he was seriously confused, as if it was the most natural and common thing to do, whenever you open your door, and that’s what melted my heart then and every single minute after! The innocence with which he asked was absolutely precious, something that I sure miss in our world nowadays. We were all born innocent as my little man is now, yet somehow along the years, the experiences that shaped who we have become, the people with whom we crossed paths, the scars that our destiny made us carry, and the voice inside of us that fades with every passing day, all this and more made us become the people who can’t trust and who are sometimes unkind today.

I still have no answer for my little one, but I have loved his question more than I have cared to find the answer, his question made me realize that some things as simple as saying “Come in please” meant so much more that what they really are, it made me realize that I want to see the world through the eyes of a child, always and forever.

 

May he always open his door to everyone and anyone, may he keep trusting people even if they are unkind to him, may his eyes, soul, and heart stay forever young.

 

 

Ouiam

World War 3!!

 

 

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At the park, two little boys playing cheerfully together, life is great… Oh wait what was that? Toddler number one snatched a toy from toddler number two, and world war three just erupted!

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A playdate going really well, till the little boy decides that sharing wasn’t good for him, and that toy is the one thing he’ll hold onto as if his life depended on that!

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  • “Honey, that toy was with your friend, you should give it back to him”
  • Nooooo!! Crying, screaming, kicking and again world war 3!

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You, your little angel, at another playdate, and this other toddler who keeps on snatching the toys from him! The first time you understood that these are kids and that’s what they do, the second time you run to your child with another toy hoping he’ll forget about the first one, the third time, you run to the other boy and ask gently yet firmly to give the toy back to your son, the forth and last time……. That’s it!!!You had enough! You take your son and it’s time to go back home!

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Who doesn’t know all the scenarios above, who hasn’t lived something similar at least once a week? I thought so! We all have been there. We might act and react differently but we all stress, think and overthink, panic, and maybe even get pissed!

 

I have been in so many of these situations, I have gone through all the above yucky feelings. I left playdates because I thought it was too much to handle, I stopped seeing some other moms because their kids were too …hmmm …too much to handle. Then one day and in the middle of one of those yucky situations, I thought “Hey sit back, relax and watch!” A boy took a toy that Adam was playing with, Adam took it back, the boy screamed, cried, pushed Adam away, and ran to his mama. The other mom looked at me as in “Aren’t you gonna do anything about it???!” I smiled and did exactly what she feared I would: NOTHING! Two seconds later, Adam brought the toy back, the other boy  smiled, and went on playing, singing and giggling! I wasn’t encouraging my son to be a mean boy, if that’s what you re thinking, No, I was letting him go through his battles on his own. He can talk, he can say what he wants/needs and so can the other little boy. When I get up, freak out, run to my son, I will mirror those feelings to him, he will think that it is a really big deal, because that’s exactly how I made him feel, while think about it, IT IS NOT! !

 

From that day forward, I try to stay comfortable as a mom and as a mirror to my son’s feelings. “Adam had the toy, the little boy has the toy now” no big deal. I don’t try to distract him, because that will only  mask the problem , it will not fix it. If he cries, then I acknowledge his feelings and give him space to explore his emotions.

 

So far so good, right? NOW the real problem I face is with the mothers not the kids. You see the kids get their strength from their moms (dads/caregiver), they follow their leaders (again: mom/dad/caregiver), so when I am calm, comfortable, and not stressed they react the same way. However, some other moms who lovingly always want to protect their little nuggets, might be a problem. The looks I get when I don’t interfere are horrifying! They might think that I am a bad mom and that I am not disciplining my child, while I am actually doing just the opposite; I am teaching my child and possibly the other child too, some very precious problem-solving skills. I am telling them that it is OK to figure out a solution to the problem by yourself. I am there to watch and guide only if they needed my help, things like “Do you need me to help you give the toy back?”, or if my son keeps on reaching for that toy: “I see you keep on reaching for that toy, so I am going to stop you” again calmly, nicely and without the hint of anger or judgment. I am there but I am chilled, and observing and most importantly ready.

 

The journey of these little human beings has just began. The world is a big scary place for them, they are frightened by all these new emotions they deal with every day. They are trying to grasp as much as they can but boy is it hard!! The learning process will never end, and in parenting there is no clear cuts, no right and wrong, but we try our best. Today it might work and you might think that you’re nailing it as a mom, then the next day might be the worst day ever. What has helped me tremendously is to always keep an open mind, try everything, even if I am not really convinced, and see what will happen… You will be surprised! When kids have the freedom to explore the world they become more independent and more confident and sometimes they take the lead and that’s fine too. I learn a lot from my son and every day with him is a teaching experience.

 

How about you? What kind of moms are you? How do you react in one of these situations? I would love to know!

 

Ouiam

Stop Making Motherhood Seem So Messy!

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So few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook going viral. Thousands of shares, millions of likes, and tons of comments. It was about a mother, who was about to text her friend who was coming over, saying: “Sorry for the mess at my place, the unwashed dishes, the clothes everywhere…etc.” Just to realize that she didn’t have to give excuses to anyone. This is Motherhood. I am always a huge supportive of moms everywhere, no matter who they are, what they do, or how they decide to raise their kids. I support and encourage every single mom in the universe. However, this post didn’t feel right to me. When we talk about motherhood, we are talking about the most honorable, noble and exceptionally rewarding and satisfying job. So to undermine and narrow the very essence of motherhood to being incapable of taking care of ourselves as mothers, our houses ,or our general hygiene, does not seem right to me. To show that motherhood is messy, dirty, untidy, unorganized seems very wrong to me.

 

I won’t talk about myself here, but I know a lot of other moms, mothers to one and even more than one kid; I have been to their houses and it is always clean, tidy, and so inviting. So why is this ONE mom (from the post) having a hard time doing so too. Believe me, I get how hard it is to be a mother of a newborn, I also get how tiring it is to have more than one kid, but I –as a mother myself- always manage to find the time to take care of other things too. Yes, it is exhausting but this is what life is about right? You always push yourself to be better, to live better, to do better. We don’t settle for mediocre things just because we think we can’t do more. And what’s worrying me even more is that this picture drawn by this woman, is becoming a new trend. Living in a dirty home, dirty kitchen, the mom wearing Yoga pants, with a stained T-shirt, and unmatched socks. Since when is this normal? Generations of women have done much more than what we do now and they always looked their best. Their houses, rooms and kitchens did too! I also know lots of  working mothers, who on top of it all, they have to juggle the workforce, to make sure their kids will have a bright future, the one they deserve; yet their houses never suffer from the business of their days. They probably sleep less than anyone else in their households, but they are aware that the sacrifices they are making now, will turn into rewards in just few years from now. It is so satisfying to know that you are doing your very best for your kids, every night before you put your head on a pillow. You do your best because these are your kids, the most precious possession of yours. You do your best because you don’t want to regret anything ten years from now. You do your best because these angels that you have been blessed with deserve it!

 

The season of little clothes, little feet and little hands passes by so quickly. They grow up in the blink of an eye. And soon you will get to sleep in, you will get to go for those lunches and dinners that you have been postponing for the last ten years, your house will be spotless clean and will stay so for the rest of the day if not the week, and believe me, you will miss all the mess, the noises and all that hard work you have done every single day when your little ones were growing up, but you will be happy, you will be satisfied and proud of yourself. You did it, you managed to keep your house clean your food on the table, your kids well taken care of. You will not be the first one, and probably not the last. Your mother did it before you, and your grandmother did it before her. It is OK to have a messy house, it is OK to have dishes in the sink waiting to be washed, it is OK to have piles of dirty laundry greeting you every morning; what is not OK is to link all that to MOTHERHOOD.

 

I know this post will be subject to so much disagreement and maybe even disappointment, but this will never stop me from being honest with myself. It happens that I always have an opinion about everything that goes around me, and it also happens that I always like to share these opinions and thoughts over here. So Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing what you guys think!

 

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….: 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! 

 
 

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

When in Oujda… With Adam! 

  

  
  
  
   
 

   
   

If you ask me what is the best part of my day? I would most probably say my mornings with Adam! They are the coolest, neatest and so much fun, with a little bedhead who is such a chatterbox! But wait a second..! I also love our quiet and cozy nights! I love having Adam against my chest! Feeling his breath in my neck, while i sing for him and he hums, moves left and right, scratches his ear then his nose, hums again, moves a little more till he finds the perfect position! He then hugs me so tight and he starts making the transition to Lala Land! I also love our afternoons together! They are usually so lively, vibrant and so much fun! Oh well my whole day with Adam is so lively, vibrant and so much fun! It just blows my mind everyday, how much fun you can have, with such a tiny little human being! 
Since we came to Morocco, Adam has established his own routine, and i love it! We start our days as usual, at 7:30am. The little cute voice calling from the monitor: “Mamaaa” always makes me smile before i even open my eyes! I am then greeted with the brightest smiles! A big hug and a kiss! We sing our “Good Morning” song! Then we kiss Mr.Teddy and Big Bear and wish them a great day! Then we both move to the bed that was once mine, sometimes we just cuddle, sing and play for an hour, and some other times my little sleepyhead decides to sleep some more, on my chest this time, for another hour! And i just love it! I love having him so close to me! I feel whole again! Somehow whenever he isn’t in my arms, something aches inside of me and it only stops when he is back to where he belongs: my arms! 
We then go downstairs to join my parents for breakfast, we all sit around the table, and talk while eating! Adam loves telling his grandparents his stories! And of course they are delighted to hear them all, even if they still can’t understand each other lol. Our breakfast usually takes forever! But once done, Adam takes his Grandfather’s hand, gets his shoes and points to the door! He is explicitly telling his ” Basidi” (my dad), to take him to the park, where he has been taking him every morning since we came! He took me there when i was Adam’s age, and took every other grandchild he had! And now it feels like i have accomplished a great achievement by giving my dad a son to take to that same park again! And fulfil a family tradition! When they finally come back from the park, Adam is exhausted and by then needs a nap! (I wish I had Adam’s life! Lol), so we go back to the room that was once mine and now Adam completely took over! We read books over and over again! Until Adam thinks that we’ve read enough, we then take Mr.Teddy, Big Bear and Blanky, and move to Adam’s bed, where he would hug them all, sing a little, and fall asleep! 
Once he wakes up from his nap, we have our lunch! We all sit around the table again and we talk again about anything and everything! The weather has been so amazing since we came! The days are so bright and warm! And we all love it! Adam loves his grandmother’s cooking of course!  He’s been enjoying her delicious meals since we came! Needless to say that he has been spoiled and spoiled and spoiled a little more! And it warms my heart to see him being spoiled by his grandparents! My parents! 
Our afternoons are always busy! Adam loves to be outside, and since the weather is so wonderful, we always go out and about! Run errands, visit family members, go for picnics, and long walks! And it is always so much fun to see Adam engage with my family! They play, laugh, sing and dance all together!  
Dinner is always served for Adam at 6pm! While he eats, we sing and clap for him while he laughs, not sure whether he thinks we are weird or he is just amused by what we re doing! I rather think it is the later.
After dinner, it is Bath time! Adam loves being in the water, so our bath time is usually about 30 mins! We then go back to his room! Read our bedtime story, say our prayers and read some Quoran! And i take my little baby in my arms, i sing for him until he sleeps! And by then i already miss him so much and can hardly wait for him to wake up the next morning, so we can do it all over again!! 
Ouiam!