May 19, 2018

2 Cents by a Stay-At-Home Mom

“So…what did you even do all day?"

Raise your hand if you've been asked this question as a stay-at-home mother. Now use it to slap whomever asked it. 😂😂

I was once insulted for being a stay-at-home mom. They said i'm stupid & narrow-minded for not having a job, crammed at home & not seeing anyone. It's painful, i wanted to shout at them, shove soiled diapers into their mouth & kick them hard. But i'm better than that. Clearly people who said those things haven't even got a kid, haven't even got nothing but their so-called dream job while wasting money on worldly stuff.

Alhamdulillah, life's been wonderful with my beloved husband and daughter. Many things have changed in a better way since we moved here. For the past 3 years i was doomed for being unemployed & didn't get why life treated me that way. But when Qayla came, i found the answers. Hubby already made it clear from the start that i don't have to sweat about not getting a job & convinced me that home is the best place for me.  As always, he's right.

Now i'm glad to be a stay-at-home mom. Because life is short & i wanna spend the rest of time raising my child, i'm lucky to be the 1st person to witness Qayla's milestones & achievement. I truly believe that rezeki comes in many forms, a child is one of them & they lead us to many good fortunes in life. As Qayla's getting good at many things now, i have some extra times to do more different things. So i've started a little online business of selling scarves & clothes since March, annnnd alhamdulillah, sales are great, enough to buy Qayla's favorite veggies. 😊

But that doesn't make me feel any less prouder of working mothers out there. I salute u, mommies. Even staying at home makes me feel exhausted to juggle everything, then it must be tougher to do it as a working mom. Whatever the risks, whatever it takes to feed & to buy some decent clothes for our babies, right?

Ignore those who say bad things about how we raise our kids. Sometimes they just say it without having knowledge or slightest idea of what it's like to be us, & sometimes i think they've just ran out of onions. You know what i mean. As long as it brings no harm, let's keep doing what's best for our kids. ❤❤

April 10, 2018

Going Strong

Assalamualaikum & hello everyone!

Alhamdulillah, it's been a year & Qayla still nurses on breastmilk..she rejects any formula & depends on me but i'm not worried much coz she's eating a good amount of food & she nurses 5 times a day & gets up 2 times at night for feedings. She's got plenty. And i'm not ready to wean yet, i plan to continue until she's 2 or 4..insyaAllah.

My breastfeeding journey is not all rainbows & roses, the older my baby is, the tougher it gets sometimes. She has 4 teeth now, so what do u expect? 😂 And she refuses nursing in public so i have to find a cubicle or go to car. But that's a just a bump in the road, the rest is wonderful. It makes me feel like a superhero coz breastmilk is a natural painkiller & soother. Plus it burns my calories no matter how much i eat.

For new mommies out there, don't give up on breastfeeding, but those who really can't, it's okay then, don't push yourself. Either way doesn't make u less a mother. I'd love to share some tips to extend breastfeeding:

1. Reduce coffee intake..give up on coffee is much better
2. Avoid stress
3. Never eat cabbage
4. Get support from your husband
5. Eat some boosters: dates, prunes, grapes, goat's milk, papaya, etc
6. Keep hydrated


March 2, 2017

Read Instead

Some days you just want to cuddle up on the couch, drink coffee and read a good book. You'd feel the difference when you start picking up books (real ones, with covers and spines) instead of phone at the end of a long day. You'd feel healthier, happier and smarter. Here's some titles I recommend for you that you might want to add into your reading list. Dig in. Enjoy. Happy reading! 

1. Classics are like vitamins, you should have them everyday:

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora N. Hurston 
Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl 
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor
Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky 
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

2. Books for bosses:

The Big Life, Ann Shoket
Safe People, Henry Cloud
Make it Happen, Lara Casey
Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner

3. Nonfiction I'll forever keep on my bookshelf:

Wild, Cheryl Strayed
Tiny, Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
Eat, Pray, Love, Liz Gilbert
Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire), Jen Glantz
Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari 
Reclaiming Conversation, Sherry Turkle 
Love Does, Bob Goff  
Scary Close, Donald Miller 
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion 

4. Fiction picks for 2017:

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
The Trespasser, Tana French 
Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult
See Me, Nicholas Sparks
The Wonder, Emma Donoghue

5. For the writer in you:

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott 
On Writing, Stephen King  
Big Magic, Liz Gilbert 

6. A bunch of books featuring crazy chicks gone psycho:

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn 
Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn 
Good as Gone, Amy Gentry 
All the Missing Girls, Megan Miranda 
Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller 
Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins 
The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware 

7. Books to grow you spiritually: 

Reclaim Your Heart, Yasmin Mogahed
Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller
Blue like Jazz, Donald Miller
Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster 
Run with the Horses, Eugene Peterson

8. On my docket for 2017: 

These are books that I've either never read or plan to read for a 2nd (or 5th) time in 2017. I can't speak for all of them since I don't know all the content yet but I compiled this list anyway.

Beloved, Toni Morrison 
The Fran Lebowitz Reader, Fran Lebowitz 
The Mothers, Britt Bennett 
Mad Girl's Love Song, Andrew Wilson 
The Color Purple, Alice Walker 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou 
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

February 27, 2017

Reclaiming and Reshaping a Voice

After years of neglect, I finally give my journal some attention. It had been mostly tossed aside in favor of this blog for quite a while, but over the last several months, whenever I sat down to blog, I just...couldn't. Everything I wanted to write felt too personal, too sacred, to share here. And so I returned to my journal. Pen and notebook. Writing privately, just for me, not for this little blog, I'd almost forgotten how good that felt. It was freeing.

If I'm being totally honest, I think I also stepped back from this blog out of fear. The internet is a different, far more intimidating place than it was when all this began. Back in 2008, I started a blog because my friends had one, and because it felt like I was writing to my friends. The blogging world felt small because it was fairly small, and that sense of intimacy, real or imagined, allowed for open, fearless, altogether imperfect writing.

Things, of course, have changed. With writing, all of it, on blogs, on sites, on social media, there's a level of scrutiny that didn't seem to exist before. Or, if it did, I was naive enough to ignore it. 

I'm grateful for the scrutiny. It keeps us honest, and it encourages thoughtful, diligent writing, both in journalism and in tiny corners of the web like this one. For me, though, that scrutiny comes with the sense that I need to be a bit more cautious. Careful with my language and my ideas. That's good for me, I know. It's a necessary and ultimately rewarding challenge, but it's also forced me to rethink my writing, and who I am. For better and for worse, I question myself more than ever before, and I'm doing my best to reclaim and reshape my voice.

More than once I've considered deleting this blog, or making it private, or erasing entire sections. It's not that I've ever written anything really wild or controversial, let's be real, this is basically a collection of sappy, melodramatic musings on the people I love and the places I come from. Still, I find myself feeling a bit embarrassed about some of what I wrote in my early 20s. The blogging landscape has changed so much that some of those earlier posts feel out of place and slightly unrecognizable. Isn't that how it always feels when you go back and read your old diary entries?

For now, anyway, I've decided that it should stay. That there's something sweet and sort of powerful about the raw, wide-eyed innocence and optimism of a young person saying whatever they want to say, even if it's cheesy or slightly self-centered or imperfect. Especially if it's imperfect.

We need those bold, unabashed voices more than ever now, don't you think?

January 18, 2017

On Being There

In primary school, my mom would put two packs of M&Ms into my lunchbox each day; one for me, and one to share with my friends. If you know my mom at all, that's the least surprising thing in the world. She's thoughtful and giving in a way that's so extreme, it seems like the exaggerated quality of a sitcom character. For years she kept an entire kitchen cabinet stocked with foods for any guests. A corner of the fridge, too.

It all started out well, the whole extra-pack-of-M&Ms situation. Day after day, I'd pass the 2nd pack around the table, each of my close friends grabbing a few. As weeks turned into months, though, that friend group grew a bit larger, and I still had just two packs of M&Ms. There weren't enough in that 2nd pack to go around, so one day, I decided to share my pack, too. 

It's obvious where this is going, right? Because eventually, of course, I was passing out both packs of M&Ms each day. They were my favorite little treat in the lunchbox, but at some point, I decided it wasn't worth hurting anyone's feelings. I just wanted everyone to feel included.

Things clearly could've been handled by, you know, not bringing M&Ms anymore. Or not passing them out at all. Or realizing that, duh, hello, nobody cared nearly as much as I thought they did. But I was 8, or maybe 9, and extra sensitive, and everything felt like a big deal.

I didn't tell my mom about it, because she probably would've started putting 3 packs in there and all hell would've broken loose. My brother was the one I turned to, and after I explained the situation, he looked at me with such a blank expression that I started to repeat myself.

"There's a solution."
"What is it?" I asked.
"Don't have as many friends."

Oh, to be a boy, right? I've mulled over and laughed about his quick reply several times over the years. That conversation took place more than 2 decades ago, but it still feels relevant. In 2nd grade you hand out candies, and at 20-something, it's phone calls, dinner dates, your time.

The thing is, it's incredibly hard to be there for all the ones you love in exactly the way you really want to be there. That's a conversation I seem to be having with so many people lately, all of us feeling stretched just a bit too thin. Sometimes you have to settle for sending a text instead of making a phone call, or mailing a gift instead of making the trip, and all the while you feel sort of terrible about it. In different phases of your life, there just isn't enough of you to go around, and unfortunately, that may be when you're needed the most.

People I love are marking milestones, and so am I, and I've come to realize that it can be hard to keep up. There just aren't enough M&Ms for everybody, you know? And that's okay! Even if it feels like it isn't. You just have to do your best and be honest with yourself, because it's impossible to be there, all out, for all the people you care about most. Especially when you don't quite have things figured out for yourself just yet.

This is a small reminder, for myself mostly, that by all means, you should be there whenever you can. Show up, show your love, and make it count. And when you can't? Skip the phone call and send the text. I'm sure it still means something. 


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