Muslim Mama · Parenting · Uncategorized · Women

8 ways to ask a sancti-mommy to take a hike

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I do not own nor hold any intellectual rights over this picture and it has been used under the impression that it is a free image; if otherwise, a quick message would suffice to discontinue use.
  1. Forgive me for failing to congratulate you on getting your medical license since I was too busy keeping my child underweight and malnourished.
  2. Actually, I plan on renting the room right by the toilets at my children’s future universities to be there to change their diapers but thank you for the book on toilet-training-boot-camp.
  3. I took lessons in wrapping my baby wearing shawl to hold my 16 year old for her school-drop offs since my wearing her as an infant would have clearly spoilt her for the act of walking.
  4. Yes, the only reason I cover when nursing is because I am ashamed of my body and using it for the purpose it was created for. It is also because I am a coward and do not want people to judge me.
  5. No, I do not cover when nursing because I have no morals or respect for the discomfort it causes for other adults in the vicinity.
  6. The only reason I bottle feed is because I was not smart enough to have tried all the options you just stated, not to mention me being lazy to nurse.
  7. I know I run the risk of raising a narcissistic attention seeking monster by running to my child at every cry but I just cannot curb the urges of my selfish maternal instincts.
  8. One day, I will be filled with regret at causing strife in my child’s marriage because of his/her need to have me next door to rock and sing him/her to sleep since I did not pay heed to your instructions of letting him/her cry it out as an infant.

*This is intended as light reading and not to be tested out in actual situations; I shall not be liable for any damaged property, noses or relationships.

** I appreciate and highly value advice from all those with a genuine concern and goodwill towards my family; please do not worry yourself into thinking that your help annoyed me in anyway.

***This is based on commonly fought-over mommy-issues and do not indicate any personal experience.

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Your Islam is not The Prophet’s Islam

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Utter the words of the shahaadah and you are a Muslim

Says your Islam.

Mean them with your heart and soul as one, then get your name,

Says the Prophet’s Islam.

 

Cover your face, remain home and hamper any form of education,

Says your Islam.

Use the protection your covering provides and educate your women,

Says the Prophet’s Islam.

 

Overcomplicate the guidelines, quote out of context and embroil in quarrels

Says your Islam.

Use the Quran as a guide to life and empower your minds

Says the Prophet’s Islam.

 

The face of piety for the world to see with a heart blacker than the veils you shroud,

Says your Islam.

Cleanse your hearts, love one and all, and wish for good,

Says the Prophet’s Islam.

 

Shoot words of hatred at any difference and tag them under your Islam,

Gentle guidance, kind chiding and beckon in love is Prophet’s Islam.

Wounding hearts with your cold cruel words, all in the name of your Islam

Bearing with patience , advising in kindness, easing discomfort for another being,

That my friend, is the Prophet’s Islam.

 

Calling people disbelievers and boasting of your prayers for their souls,

Be vengeful in the name of religion: trademarks of your Islam.

Be the private light for the misguided but with words soaked in love

Be the shoulder for the confused and never shun them into guilt,

Says the Prophet’s Islam.

 

Discuss the tiffs of other households and pass your judgments atop your mighty thrones,

For hypocrisy is the favoured colour of nothing but your Islam.

Help where you can and if you are asked- adorn in the cloaks of silence otherwise,

Uphold principles with pure intentions for Him and not the world,

For kindness is the favoured colour of the Prophet’s Islam.

 

Backbite of your kin for the pure joy of malice

Wish for the downfalls of those whom one does not adore

But wear your cloaks and prostate for the world,

Those are the commands of your Islam.

Appease drowning kinships and speak of them well,

Be aware of your thoughts lest they turn into words,

Intend your prayers for Allah and follow them for Him,

Enshroud yourself in gentleness and peace along with your cloaks,

For those are the commands of the Prophet’s Islam.

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By the term “your Islam”, the verses refer to the man-made versions of the teachings of the Quran. It refers to the results of the twisting of the message by people who adjust it to fit their requirements. It is for every coward who uses Islam’s name to hide the shortfalls of their personalities. 

 

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The one I must forgive

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She is the antipathy to my self confidence. From the moment my eyes flutter open or are forcefully priced with chubby fingers, she stirs the pot, for violating my dreams was just not cruel enough.

The sighs of annoyance at the tardiness as I rush to dress for the day before the sane adult leaves for work, the gasps as I guiltily add an extra spoon of sugar to the mug of decaffeinated gunk that would be too kind to be classified as coffee, and the shock at even considering sitting to wolf down a piece of toast.

She watches me like a hawk, forever second guessing my decisions, whether it be to embark on a new path or what I could cook for dinner.

My child would pat my head and tell me it was okay that I had yelled but she would not be that forgiving. Adding salt to my already regret filled pain, she would continue to shoot me with visuals of my raging tirades of the past along with my little one’s teary face.

After sending me down a guilt trip for being too exhausted to ensure that the children got their WHO advised quotas of nutrients for the day, she would twist the knife by reminding me of past mistakes and grievances I caused that are beyond help.

The dreams left unpursued, the conversations left unfinished, the projects left to rot away, or not being present when my mobile infant knocks his head for the 5th time for the day. Nothing misses her eagle eyes.

She drills me worse than any sergeant would and takes me with her after casting Legilimency upon my weary mind.

Filling me with shame that overflows and regret that threatens to engulf me as I drown in desperation at trying to work out the science of being a got-it-together mother/adult, she is the best pal of my insomnia.

Telling myself that ships do not sink because of the water around them, but they do when the water gets into them makes no difference since her raw power is much too strong for my feeble protests.

Weak, I will be till I learn to forgive her for this

I cannot absolve myself of her for my entire existence depends on her. Wherever I may go and whoever I may become, she will always be a part of me, criticising me and continuing to drag me down as I leap out of the waters.

Learning to coexist is what I can do but I cannot do so unless I forgive her. Forgive her every single day to give myself the strength to wake up and live the plan entrusted upon me.

My conscience, the wretched tyrant of my life, needs to be forgiven for being the harshest critic of all.

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Sticks and stones

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I neither produced nor own this image and it has been included in the blog only after searching and failing to note a copyright. Do inform otherwise to make amends.

 

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Plaster it on walls, hang it on the door, write it in between the lines of ink

Stark bold font on contrasting backdrop

Clear vocals loud and sharp out of a speaker atop a hill

Basking since the beginning in its glorious infamy.

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Those words a slogan for many a misguided

Thriving amongst the throngs of earnest believers,

Breeding devotees faster than one could spout:

The words ring aloud mangling sense and sanity as one

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

A band aid or a kiss will help the scrape of a stick on flesh

Heat and cold will aid the bumps of hurled stones.

But the puncture of words run deep and sore,

Healing on occasion but most throb forever

 

Anguish echoes beneath the scars caused by words;

Never whole again for no darning aids a soul.

Adorned in armour of the same harsh words

Poised to carry on the legacy of the old-

For sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me

 

 

 

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The tale of the bath, elephants in barrels and schools.

After an unintended but naggingly expected hiatus from the blogging, I wanted to re-enter through curtains of rejuvenation. My writing would be finer for in my absence from my short-lived blog, I have read up on the works of the finest in literature. Some would call them trashy novels but I am not one of them. My new words would hold a certain flair and intelligence that I picked up on my worldly travels that would also be termed as a 3 week mad dash back to the home country with two under threes in tow.

Do you know what an amazing treat those hot towels you get as you enter the aeroplane after having to deal with the luggage and carting around extra hand luggages, are? I do not. Because they are not hot anymore and come out of a tiny packet that I am unable to open without ripping it off with my teeth.

Fortunately, I do remember how those felt because I got those hot towels when I was younger and travelled with my parents who did the lugging around for me. I desired one of those moments before I re-entered my sacred blog. Having seen a picture of a nice candle lit bath posted by a hopeful wife that stated in no subtle terms of what a nice surprise that would be if it ever materialised at the end of her day , I dreamt of the same.

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This is what I enjoyed before finally sitting down to some writing.

Not exactly this. Minus the champagne glasses for obvious reasons. Remove the chocolate truffles too; just because my bathroom maybe sanitised enough to perform minor surgeries does not mean I condone eating in there. Blow off all the candles; I have children and it would be a fitting case for child protection services if they exist here. Substitute the satin rose petals with brightly coloured rubber imitations of hybrid animals that float around.  And add in a quite tall toddler and a boisterous infant, both of whom got over-excited at “Umma in the tub to splash!”. Oh and did I mention that the surprise element in the sudden evening bath was that I filled the tub too? That picture above is still a fantasy.

Now for anyone having a lingering doubt of my hygiene habits, I shower daily albeit express ones since my 9 month old takes offense at me leaving him fed and clean for over 5 minutes. How dare I think of my cleanliness when I could be singing to him; behind those cherubic smile lies undertones of narcissism. (Since this is the internet and this line might come back in time to bite me on my back, I love you my darling Nuh, if you ever happen to read this.)

While I lay back in my self drawn bath and shut one and half eye to the sight of my children splashing and shrieking, I pondered about a very common situation.

Waiting for things to happen. Awaiting for someone or thing to finally start working for our benefit. Waiting for that thing to happen to ensure that we are happy.

If you are lucky, it would. If luck has never heard of you, it is in your hands to make it happen for otherwise the waiting never ends.

This epiphany led me to ponder on all the days I have wasted waiting around for things to happen. For instance, this very lukewarm bath I lay in was already helping my weared out being. After months of hinting at the benefits of herbal postnatal baths and the direct requests of wanting to soak in a relaxing chamomile bath (the dried chamomiles have been further dried awaiting their turn to relax me) and even going as far to “lead by example”, no relaxing bath seemed to appear in my horizon, surprise or otherwise.

Having had a glimpse of my pyjama clad self’s reflection on the yoghurt stained glass dining table, I decided I must take things into my own hands. Rather, I decided I must wash up. Filled the bath and dragged my squealing infant in with me and let my almost 3 year old be an audience for she suddenly claimed the water was too splashy (she joined in within minutes). Waiting around and grumbling that I had no way to relax meant I was never going to get what I wanted. Why not try getting it for myself?

All I wanted was a warm bath to lay in. Why was it not possible for me to fill it up myself? The merciless weather is such that the water heater need not be called upon too. All it took is to plug the bath and flick the tap. This is all I had to do to not have gone to sleep grumbling. Or just spitting mad.

Passively waiting for things to work out could mean you never really want them to or you are plain old lazy.

Accepting or doing something that you do not agree with or feel right, just because that is what you are supposed to be doing will not amount to any kind of satisfaction. Instead, it would merely leave a gap that would in turn be fed by another one of society’s demands..

Although I wanted to do a separate piece on homeschooling, it would be an appropriate mention here too.

Who made it compulsory that a child needs to attend a school, despite the capability of the school or teachers? We did.

Who is complaining about it? We are.

Why would you spend your hard earned money and send your child to a place that clearly does not impart a good education and then complain about it?  Why do we not take matters into our hands and go about setting right all the wrongs we have been doing to our children’s education?

We are awaiting something to happen to wake us from the trance like state we have fallen into. We wait to be jolted out of the monotony.

Every child needs an education, not a school to attend. Our society has forgotten and chosen to ignore that the first teacher for a child will always be the mother.

Children begin formal schooling at alarmingly younger ages and this demand has led to the popping up of toadstools fashioned as schools catering to them. If they knew what fate awaited them, I am sure children would dread the approach of their second or third birthdays for that is the milestone they need to hit before their frazzled parents rush to buy them back packs and matching lunch boxes.

A mother working outside the home has no choice but to leave the child under the care of another as she needs to set out to secure their future. What would be the excuse of a mother fortunate and privileged to be home or work from home?

What make an anxious mother force her teary toddler to go and spend few hours away from her when she could have done all those activities at home, minus the obvious benefit of associating with other children? Social pressure. It is to avoid the gasps and wagging fingers of people who would bash her for not enrolling the child in an establishment designed to turn out socially accepted and respected roles and crush any free spirit in the child.

I shudder in fear. Or maybe it is because the lukewarm bath is now cold.

The bathroom, a place for epiphany to strike since the beginning of times.

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Why I do not let my husband babysit our children; you shouldn’t too.

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I have never asked him to babysit the children and do not plan on doing so in the future.

As a study/work-at-home mother, I do need a couple of hours a day to take my eyes off our young progeny; as cumbersome as it may seem to deal with the process of hiring a babysitter, my husband has never offered to babysit them.

This unanimous decision(by the panel of 2 parents) was made the moment we knew of the impending arrival of our first offspring.

My husband has never babysat our children.

He parents them.

Describing the slow process of my blood boiling is as difficult as experiencing that sensation every time I hear about a father stating that he is “babysitting” his own children.

I believe I do not need to add “and mothers” into the statement as it is quite rare for mothers to say that they are “babysitting”, although I do know of a mother who includes “babysitting” her much-awaited little baby along with her list of chores like cleaning and cooking. This exceptional case should not matter in the statistics as she also believes her baby’s colic got better because she stopped washing the baby’s clothes in the washing machine but will refuse to accept any medically proven information at point blank. Ignorant? Could be. Stupid? Definitely

A babysitter would be someone who temporarily cares for a child, either for monetary payment or as a favour. A parent on the other hand, is a full-time post or job- for the lack of a better word.

How is it that a mother who takes care of her children all through the day is considered to be doing “her job” and will be absolutely ostracised from society if she even dares to say that it is not her responsibility alone? And when a father does the same for a few hours, they are immediately nominated for knighthood?

While saluting fathers who are being both mommy and daddy to their children, and accepting that I am blatantly stereotyping, I question the intelligence behind this situation.

The title is parents, not parent and babysitter.

Both parents should PARENT their children no matter what their living situations maybe and not taking into consideration any kind of duration. Methods and styles would vary but what each parent does is basically, parenting.

A father should not be praised by the world for looking after his children for few hours while the mother does something absolutely unmotherly, like take a shower for longer than 2 minutes or heaven-forbid, reads a book by herself. He should be praised for being a father and for being there for his family.

Fathers, stop posting pictures of the cute atrocities you do when you “babysit” and instead, be proud of being able to co-parent.

Mothers, take a break and stop hounding yourselves with guilt-trips about asking the daddy to “babysit” once he is back from work.

Mini rant over.

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Mashed chickpea sandwich

Having crowned myself queen of eating healthy in the family, (not that it has been helping my weight issues since I lose my daily battle at dusk and gobble up all that I haughtily refused to eat since dawn) I was stumped when faced with the task of making a vegetarian sandwich.

I have never in my short history of cooking edible food, made one.

Egg sandwich would be the most vegetarian I have got to. Let’s not debate about egg being considered vegetarian or not. To each his own stomach, I say.

I have devoured many loaves slathered with Marmite and butter, but which component other than the assembly can I take credit for?

That vegetarian sandwich? Its got to be healthy too. Creamy Garlic mayo sniffles inside the fridge. What will bind the vegetables?

Hummus was an option. Considered diluting it a tad bit to slightly lower the flavour. Could have worked.

In my resolve to avoid ready-made meals, I have had to make amendments as my dilemma with forgetting to pre-soak dried beans led to us not having any form of legumes at all. Canned beans to the rescue!

So I popped open a can of chickpeas to make the hummus and inspiration struck in the form of a broken blender. Armed with a fork, I began the tedious process of mashing the chickpeas to eventually get it into a paste for hummus.

Pausing this process to make sure my infant does not continue to lick the floor (rugs and blankets do not survive his grasp) and to console an inconsolable toddler who decided that she must have the bag I forgot at the grandparents’ place, my arms got tired.

Decided to quit the hummus and give this a try and lo behold. I was converted.

I now love to make vegetarian sandwiches as much as I loved the idea of eating them.

The mixture is perfect on its own as a salad and is very quick to assemble in sandwich form. Its quite filling and keeps hunger pangs at bay for quite a while. You can add more vegetables if you wish; grated beetroot would be delicious.

If the fat content is not an issue, a spoonful of mayonnaise would be good too.

Do give it a try and keep me posted on the results!

Things to fine dice

  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 medium size red onion or a small bunch of spring onion whites
  • 1 large deseeded tomato
  • handful of coriander leaves

Other ingredients

  • can of chickpeas-drained and rinsed
  • squirt of mustard sauce or tahini
  • garlic salt or regular salt and garlic powder
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Multi grain bread/multi seed bread/Wholemeal bread/Brown bread

Mash the chickpeas with the back of a fork and add the mustard sauce, salt and olive oil to turn it into a spreadable paste. You can decide on the flavour and consistency.

Tumble in the chopped up bits and mix well. Spread in between slices of freshly baked bread(yum!) or any good multigrain/seed bread or good-old wholemeal bread.

Please do not resort to white bread unless that is the only bread available at that hour and you would not be able to continue living without bread. Or you are making this for guests who would be highly offended at being served healthy bread and would prefer slices from that loaf of sugar, also known as white bread.

You could toast it to accentuate the flavour but I like it just as it is. Addition of finely sliced green chillies should lift it up a notch for a more spicier palate.

Bon appetit!

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For a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

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Did you know that in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun?

You would, if you have to sit through that song on repeat once in every few days.

Most days the lyrics are hazy but on one particularly good day, I paid attention to them and realised that although I do not agree with all of Mary Poppins’ child rearing ideas, this song does make sense. It actually has a lot to teach me as I whine my way through laundry and cleaning up.

Cooking and organising are a breeze as I enjoy doing them but even my daughter’s encouraging song of “cleaning cleaning, I can clean with you!”, has no effect on my mood when it’s time to clean up the war torn living room. Or the rest of the house.

This offering of a sweet to drown the bitterness happens in so many different ways.

Its that treat we offer kids once they take their sniffles medicines.

Its that pinch of sugar sprinkled into a pot of simmering bittergourd.

Its that extra large bite of donut to counteract the bitterness of horrid latte that you pronounced so accurately (hold on to this- the latte horror story would be up soon).

It is most commonly offered in the form of “I don’t meant to offend you…but…” which is almost always followed with an offensive statement or opinion.

I get it. The itch to smack obnoxity right across is quite strong but with a bit of restraint, kicking them down with words could be avoided too.

Being a person who believed in utilising high pitched screeching as a form of weaponry, it took a while to realise the benefits of swallowing that bitter pill of silence and kicking back and reaping the sweetness of that later on.

A few snide and sarcastic comments do occasionally slip out. The latest one was me asking a lady who was on some insane sadist mission as she claimed over and over again how fat I was (yes, fat was the word she used), to consider taking a look at the mirror now and then. I did not just fall off the wagon; I rolled off it.

I vow time and time again to use my new-found ability to try and be quiet about issues that do not directly involve me and to handle the ones that involve me in a more mature manner. Any relapsing alcoholic would sympathise with the struggle. This bitter pill of not voicing every opinion or not picking on every argument/statement gets its sweetness much later than desired. But it’s sweet. Oh so sweet. * you may picture an evil grin.

You can always add more sugar if your guests find the coffee a tad bit bitter.

What sweetener would you use for the words they find to be quite bitter?

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My tryst with procrastination

Aimlessly walking between the aisles of a newly opened organic section at a supermarket, I strive to stay composed in my current theatrical role: babywearing mommy with a gregarious toddler in tow, trying to figure out the item I had desperately wanted to purchase. Or maybe I simply needed an excuse to get out of the house, despite the laborious preparations of stepping out.

Most nights, unless I’m in a Masterchef overdose coma, I manage to list out all the things I need to get a start on. I begin my day with excuses for all of them.

Start eating healthy? Sure, I have a neatly tied pack of organic thick cut oats in the refrigerator that I remember to cook most days. I also have a stash of mini peanut butter cups hidden right behind them (my toddler identifies candy although she has never eaten any) .

I can always start my diet tomorrow; the need for that sugar rush to temporarily uplift my weared out mind trumps the ever increasing dress sizes.

Start working out? My daughter giggles when she sees me in my working out attire (yes, they were a very vital requirement that I demanded if I was to even consider this). The giggling is mainly because it is quite rare for her to see me hilariously clothed since she is very used to seeing me in pyjamas till it’s time for fresh pyjamas.

Citing medical reasons is my favourite excuse.

Start studying for my exams? This is a tough one. I cannot bank on morning sicknesses to excuse myself from another sitting. I blame excessive sleepiness.

Work on authoring my book? No real excuse except the need to finish up everything else I have to do.

The list is endless.

The haunting rush to cram notes the night before an exam or the despair at not being able to fit into anything after being invited to yet another dinner, does not seem to make me do what I need to do.

I wait around for motivation or inspiration to strike. I sigh at the thought of what I could achieve only if I had a bit of help to get up from this stupor.

How I love to procrastinate.

I delay simple tasks and end the day overwhelmed by it all.

Dealing with the series of dinner parties and ensuring my children and I leave the house without spit up or play dough on our outfits made me seriously question my organisation abilities. When am I going to finish organising the playroom? And the transparent set of drawers that stand bearing all, right across the sitting room?

Maybe I should begin with my closet.Or the kitchen.

What about writing? I must complete one chapter. One chapter in my book or journal? I should get to that as soon as I finish folding the laundry pile worthy of a mention for the height it stands at.

But let me blog about it before that.

After all, I have been wanting to do that since I left school.

About time, yes?