The Formula of life

We all want a successful life, and most of our lives will go figuring out the formula for ourselves. In this process we will try what others are using, what they’re suggesting, what we may want to work for ourselves, until one day, we will have the epiphany and strike that perfect balance and know it, once and for all.

I have been in the phase of exploration since what feel like forever. And I have found something that brings me calm now. There was always a clash between the world that I live in, ( we all live in) and the spiritual side of things. The real life is the one after death, and while we are here for a split second, our lives on earth seem to be the most important to us. Anyway, sometimes we don’t know what’s bothering us, and what is causing us to be in a state of unrest, until we somehow come across a solution or experience that makes it all clear.

What I have also observed is that the more we dwell on figuring this out, the sooner we are able to formulate our way of life which will bring us eternal satisfaction. So if you start this process in your teenage, you may figure out life by early twenties, and I know people who have done that. At times I feel it’s a whole scam of science that makes teenagers this helpless, hormone driven, and irresponsible breed. The world should be patient with them, no doubt, because its a time of major change, but it’s also a great time to explore oneself the right way. At 29, I feel stupid to have lost such a long period of my life and only now realize about myself, things I could’ve easily figured out earlier. You can only feel bad, at a point like such.

As a parent, I am not going to give the gift of pondering, to my children. Mindful pondering, and exploration of ones personality, skills, potential. And not just academic, but spiritual.  A soul that is pure, will find it’s meaning faster than one contaminated by sins, worldly desires, and rubbish. In such situations experience may not hold a positive place.

I guess the point of this post was; that there IS a formula and the sooner we figure it out, the more calm and focused we will be. And no matter how shitty we may be feeling, there is always a way out, and there’s always a solution. Having a formula will help us be calm, and check ourselves if and when we are feeling anxious, and resolve our problems quickly.

Upgrade yourself

There has to be a way of life. And the current world isn’t giving the best kind of role models

for us. I love that we have access to so much, through out phone and internet, it’s amazing to be part of this generation. But when it comes to mindfulness, and living a slow paced and more productive life, I feel at a loss.

I am so glad for bullet journaling, it helps me stay on track and visualise the mess in my head. It is so crucial for all humans to figure out their purpose in life. The sooner, the better. It’s funny how the more knowledge we gain, the more insightful we become about our purpose in life.

Last night, I was looking for a book on the topic of money management as per Islam, and came across a very helpful book. It is primarily about business ethics, but the first few chapters discuss money, earning, saving, and investment etc. I would highly recommend it for those who want to know about anything money related. Even those who are employees should read this book. It explains the way of life of Islam, and brings clarity on when your earnings can become worldly.

I am 29 years old, and the only time in life I have had epiphanies is via knowledge. Not information, but trusty, thought provoking knowledge. The sources of which can vary, and I don’t discriminate. I believe after a point in life, we just need to have the sense of filtering what’s not fitting with out values, and where we want to go in life.

You see it’s not fair for us to live, without understanding what potential we have, where we are headed and if we are fulfilling our duties. We are too smart, too good of beings to be living aimless, and winging our life as we age. We are meant for more, we are meant to be better, we are meant to conquer ourselves and inspire others every single day!

Why we decided to homeschool

Every homeschooling family will have to face this question ‘why are you homeschooling your child?’ And all homeschooling parents will have a different story, and reason to give. Because let’s face it, deciding to homeschool is not an easy decision; it require careful thought, and deliberation to come to conclusion. One of the apprehensions is also how to deal with people, and their reactions, and their judgment, and ignorance/misconceptions on the topic. Well, here’s why I decided to homeschool my daughter (8 yrs old) and my son (18 months) in the future too.

Let’s go back to the beginning; since I found out about the concept of homeschooling good 9 or ten years ago, I had totally fallen in love with it. Having gone to school myself, I could see so many possibilities within the homeschooling scenario. Of course, with all desires, comes the logic to research and explore, possibilities of applying it to your own life. It just so happened that an amazing IB school opened up right when my daughter turned 3, but since she was a preemie, I was going to delay her admission till she turned 4yrs old. Fast forward few years in school, and a divorce and an ugly custody battle, which unfortunately affected the daughter emotionally, school just couldn’t cut it.

She was also very behind academically, and needed a lot more help with socialising. So, I decided it was time, she spent more time with me, and her family, and develop closeness to those who love her unconditionally. Stress free and now able to focus on all the remedial she needed, she suddenly had more time, less anxiety and the freedom to be a child.

Her school was fantastic, but not for her. Being visually disabled, she needed more help, and that wasn’t something the school could cater to inclusively in the classroom. And I didn’t want it to come to a point where she needed a shadow teacher, what’s the purpose in going to a school and be in a class full of students, when you’re constantly getting one on one attention and not really mingling with others. Anyway, here are the pointers to the reasons:

  1. To develop her spiritually
  2.  Increase the span of interaction with family for emotional nourishment
  3. Customized academics prog. as per her need and ability
  4. More free time to socialise with people in different scenarios
  5. More time for remedial work (speech therapy, physical therapy, vision rehab etc.)
  6. More time for extracurricular activities

It’s been two months since I officially started homeschooling. And the change in her personality is profound, she’s showing much more interest in her academics and is enjoying the approach to learning. She is also bonding greatly and participating actively as the elder sister in her baby brothers life. He too is emulating her, and has started showing interest in notebooks, etc.

I have to say, I didn’t realise how much homeschooling impacts the family dynamic in a positive way. I suddenly felt like there was so much time to enjoy and interact with my own daughter, I myself didn’t feel the pressure of early mornings, and HW completions and all that stress which takes away from being a mother and instead turned me into a discipline police. Plus the mom guilt of not doing enough, has reduced tremendously. I have found out that homeschooling works very well for our family as a whole. My husband is very supportive, and we discuss topics that we could inculcate within our curriculum, the focus in our household is on the overall development of the children, as education should do that.

We have seen such positive changes in Batool, that we are already mentally ready to homeschool the little one, and I see him grow a personality, as he heads into his terrible twos, and I know, that he would be best nurtured in an environment that is not restrictive, and full of love and affection. In the end, all that children want is love and care from their parents (no matter how old they get).

Goodbye twenties

People think your twenties end when you turn 30yrs old, when actually on your 29th birthday you have completed your twenties.  I am writing this post in reflection of the decade that was.  Well, to say the least, it has been tricky. So much so, that I have been in a state of utter confusion since last year, and the intensity of the confusion increased starting 2018. I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday, I don’t celebrate them big anyway, but I was just not into it. At one point I even told my husband no more cakes starting this bday, only accomplishments will be celebrated. Anyway, the mother came and the cake was cut. Guess we don’t control our lives as much as we’d hope.

What bothers me the most about my twenties, is the naivete, the lack of achievement as per my potential and the excruciating amount of pain I have gone through. I am my own worst enemy according to a dear friend of mine. And I sort of agree, constantly, wanting more for yourself can make you ungrateful. This is especially true if you don’t have goals set, and don’t set values for those goals. How significant would it be to achieve goal X and goal Y etc. In the process you stop appreciating yourself for who you are as a human, separate from the achievements and the shiny stuff.

I was pondering a lot over what I would’ve wanted my twenties to be like, especially since I didn’t plan them. Then I shifted focus to planning the thirties, but the uncertainty of life makes it so difficult to set a bloody goal. Like all introspection, this too led to me to understand a little bit more about myself. I like to only put my time into what I am passionate about ; to the point that I will just not bother doing anything else. So for example while people can earn doing a job they dislike just to make the money, I simply can’t. My mind, soul and body just can get it to together for that. In conclusion, I need to find my passion and just dive right in.

The most difficult part is to separate your career and personal life. The work-life balance is the most tricky for women all over the world, the unsolicited mom guilt, societal pressure and dealing with everyday life issues makes it extremely difficult to find sanity. My twenties have been about family life, children, marriages, and my Sunday school. Nothing else has taken up a significant part of my twenties. Since I have put in all the effort and sacrificed so much for the children, I deem it pointless to throw away all that hard work for a job that may make me stay away from them for hours. My children are my achievement, just as much as my madrasa. So the next question is, what about the potential that lies in intellectual activities. I know I am not employee material. I know I want to start and run a successful business, that’s my intellectual/career aim in life now. Just to clarify I’m not money driven person too, I derive satisfaction from intellectual stimulation and achievements in problem solving. There are several components to wanting a business of your own, It’s not easy to start a business, let alone make it work. The mantra here is, there’s no rush.

I have been a major rush rush person, which is good especially if you live in Hyderabad wherein majority people are lazy and too laid back to do anything. Now that I have entered my thirties, I have told myself that I need to calm down, be clear, and not waste energy, and intellect on activities that neither reap results nor satisfaction. Side hustles should only be side hustles, never should they be considered as a permanent solution, nor destination. I know I want to home-school both my kids, I know I want to be there with them as much as possible, and I know I want to be an entrepreneur. I do believe I am one of those human beings that were meant to be parents one day. And I know for a fact that my skills will be wasted on anything but business.

Basically it’s all a matter of time. The thirties are about maintaining clarity, and taking strong steps towards achieving what is possible. Faith is crucial, not just in yourself, but also in your creator who undoubtedly has power over everything. I am clear on what I DON’T want my thirties to be, and what I DON’T want in my thirties and that helps plenty.

I have done my fair share of observing peers on social media, and imagining what their lives are like based on those few moments captured in pics/videos. And that’s been a learning experience, I am always happy for others, I am not an envious person. And I look at those things and try to derive inspiration, and broaden my horizon of achievements. Entering my thirties, I am not as concerned, not as bothered, not as affected by others and their lives. Surely, we all have different prerogatives and I am not them. I do not wish to achieve anything in life to make others envy me. Inspire, yes. Being an inspiration for someone is a beautiful thing, not everyone has the capacity to inspire through their life.

I guess I will need more “me-time” and make efforts to ensure more of that for myself. Not for a salon visit, as much as spiritual growth. What’s me-time when it doesn’t help you grow as a human? if “me” isn’t becoming a better version of me then; the me-time has actually been a waste.

Being grateful isn’t easy, complaining is. Being grateful in practicality means you whine less, because surely we have much more to be grateful for than to whine about. And the crux of all that comes form faith, no in human beings, not in your family, not in your friends, but the one who created them all and you. The one whose spirit lives in you, and the one to whom you will return.

🙂

One month post spine surgery update

On June 1st 2018, I underwent surgery; laminectomy discectomy of L5S1 for a herniated disc, and I just wanted to share a one month update for anyone who may be interested.

I myself, have been looking for updates like such online, to help ease anxiety related to recovery from spine surgery, and just know what the future holds for me post op. Doctors give plenty information, but each patient is different and it’s always good to know about other peoples experience.

So it’s been a little over a month since surgery, and I feel okay. The sciatica in my left leg went away right after surgery, and hasn’t visited since. Which is a great relief. My stitches have healed, I got fourteen in total, and there’s no infection however, there’s slight fat discharge; which my doc says is nothing to worry about and pretty common in female patients.

Mobility wise, I am able to walk, and sit. Even though sitting is more painful and exhausting. I can sit comfortably for ten mins or so, and then my body starts to hint discomfort. Standing is much better a position as is walking. However the most rest one can give to their spine after surgery is lying, that too on their back. The restriction on BLT (bending, lifting and twisting) is still there and will be for another couple of weeks.

The numbness post surgery in my legs, knee down has gone away for the most part, however if I sit for long it comes back. I am using a lumbar belt when off the bed, and that does help a lot in keeping my back in position and giving support. I do forget it sometimes and I can definitely feel the difference when not wearing it, the spine needs that kind of support, as the muscles need time to recover and bring strength to the spine. My physiotherapy will start in a day or two, I am looking forward to it.

What bothers me the most is the dependency, with kids it’s very difficult to be on any kind of strict rest. Not only do I feel bad that I am missing out on cuddles, and play with my little one, it’s sad to see my elder one not happy with my physical restrictions. I am very a hands on kinda of mom, and it’s very difficult to not BLT when you have a baby around. Maids too are causing a lot of mental stress, which is adding to the irritation.

I guess in life you just don’t get everything perfect, and I have realised that health is not just important, it’s even more important when you’re young and NEED to be doing things for your family, and self. On a positive note, I have come to terms with what I need to do in life to take control of this health situation. I don’t identify myself in this state of bed-rest and lazy non-productive life. I do know I am doing plenty in this recovery stage, with my Sunday school starting its new academic year, and homeschooling my daughter, and balancing all other projects that I do. I know I want to get back to a particular weight, and have a certain level of activeness in my lifestyle, not just for me, but for my children and family as a whole.

Life isn’t meant to be spent on bed, especially when there’s so much potential locked up inside of us and the enthusiasm to want to achieve it. Motivation is everything for us to achieve what we want in life; and as I tell my daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to, I am telling myself the same to emulate what I teach!

Webinar on expressing milk and Little’s Manual breast pump

I was very young and naïve when I had my daughter. She was a micro preemie, and I was getting a grip on not just being a mom, but also running back and forth to the NICU. She was too little to be able to suckle on her own, and that was the first time I consciously thought about pumping milk. You see, it’s ironic that for years we have been surrounded by women who have given birth, and have breastfed, but we still don’t know much about the subject. Or, at-least we don’t speak about it as much. I learned a lot along the way, the internet helped me, the doctors too. I was super glad to attend a webinar by Dr. Asavari Dongre on ‘Millennial mothers and breastfeeding challenges’

Gynecologist, Dr. Asavari Dongre started off by discussing some undeniable facts. Motherhood has forever been challenging for all moms. There are plenty struggles that I share in common with my mom, and fellow aunts. However, as moms of this generation we definitely have access to more information, not restricted to parenting, pregnancy and mommying, but also when to venture into parenthood. We have options, and many of us have the support system, or simply the guts to follow our instincts. I however was only 20 when I had my daughter, and my biggest struggle was breastfeeding, because I simply couldn’t! My daughter was a micro preemie whom I fed breast milk, but because she was tiny and weak to be able to feed on her own; I was left with no choice but to pump. Awareness on the importance of breast milk is crucial for all moms, regardless of age. The milk constitutes all the necessary nutrients in perfect quantity, which protects the baby from infections, allergies, sicknesses, cancer, diabetes etc. It’s easily digested and tastes perfect for your baby.

Breastfeeding has plenty good effects on the mother too; it helps in weight loss if diet is balanced. It also protects the mother from breast and ovarian cancer. Risk of Type 2 diabetes is also reduced. Probably the best is that the mother and baby get to bond with each other. As the choices for everything in life increase, moms are making conscious decisions and preparing to breast feed their babies. Gone is the time when you had to skip feeds because you weren’t around, or because you were out in public; you can pump in advance and take it along, or leave it with the baby sitter. This will enable the new mom to be able to get a little extra sleep, or go out to run important errands or simply just have some well-deserved ‘me time’. Dads can feel involved too by feeding their infant the expressed milk.

As the webinar proceeded, Dr. Asavari informed us about the proper way to store and use breastmilk. Breast milk should be stored at the back of the refrigerator where it is the coolest; it can be stored for a couple of hours in such a temperature. When feeding the baby, it has to be thawed in room temperature water; breast milk should never be heated in a microwave or thawed in hot water. It can however be kept in a bottle warmer which brings the milk to the right temperature without spoiling it. Expressing milk can be convenient for moms with multiple children, pumping milk helps from dealing with engorgement of the breasts, and it helps build supply if your baby is fussy or isn’t feeding on regular intervals. Babies who drink milk expressed and directly from the mother tend to accept both options readily.

In the webinar we were introduced to the Little’s Comfort Manual Breast Pump and its features. I discovered through this session the significance of having suction control on your breast pump, as it is this natural suction that not just helps in expressing the milk, but also initiates let down. The Littles Comfort Manual Breast Pump has 5 suction levels, the mother can find the one that’s most comfortable for her. This is due to the SFR technology in the pump, another stand out feature of the pump are the two modes of expressing milk i.e. stimulation and expression. The pump comes with silicon massaging pads that protect the delicate skin of the breast while using the pump. The pump is safe for the baby; all its parts are BPA free. There aren’t many tiny parts to the pump, and assembly is easy too. If you’re looking to venture into breast pumps, do give the Little’s Comfort Manual Breast Pump a go and see for yourself.

The last bit was a Q and A, Dr. Asavari was patient to answer the many questions we moms had about breastfeeding, the Little’s breast pump and other related queries. I was glad and happy to use my blog as means to share what I have learned and spread the love.

Say hello To Himalaya Extra Large Gentle Baby Wipes

Wet wipes- I would define them as the savior for all moms. They’re multi-purpose and handy like no other baby care product. Himalaya baby wipes have been\n around for ages, and I always trust the brand with all their baby care products. I was super excited when they contacted me to review their extra-large size baby wipes, and put them to the test as soon as I received them in my mail!

If you have been a mom for longer than a minute, you already have come across, or tried the Himalaya Gentle Baby Wipes. But since the size is the main focus of this launch, I will tell you more about that first. They are twice the size of their regular wipes! The package describes the purpose of the product to enable convenient cleaning from head to toe with just one wipe.

In simple mom words, if your kid looks like he hasn’t had a shower since 2 days, in just two hours of his bath, this wipe is for you. If you’re the kind who prefers a wet-wipe to a napkin to wipe off your baby’s face and hands after his meals, this wipe is for you. Simply because you can get all these tasks done in just one, or max 2 wipes! I for one hate pulling out wipe after wipe, because let’s face it; they’re not as easy to pull out as tissue paper from its box. And another plus side is, that if you have an elder child, like I do, they too can use them to wipe their face, or feet, or knees etc. easily. These “baby” wipes are truly versatile for all aged children because of their size.
Moving on to the other product details; they contain two main ingredients i.e. Indian Lotus extracts and Aloe Vera. The former helps in cooling and moisturizing the skin and the latter helps maintain the moisture of the skin. For added skin care, the wipes are enriched with the Himalaya baby lotion. These wipes are free from Alcohol, silicones, Parabin, lanolin and artificial colour. Himalaya’s XL gentle baby wipes also have skin conditioning, wound healing and soothing actions which protect the baby’s nappy area from infections. My elder was a preemie and the doctor had recommended me to not use chemical infused products and only try mild products. I had done some research and only found Himalaya the trust worthy company. Also because it’s Indian and easily available. I feel in love with the brand and am still a fan to this day! It’s no doubt that they’re one of the most reputed brands in country!

The pack of 12 wipes retails for INR 66 (5.5/wipe) and comes in a broader packaging to accommodate the large size. You can easily distinguish them as the size is very clearly displayed in the center of the product. I would happily give this product a 5 on 5 for the size innovation and recommend it to all moms to at-least give it a shot. If the price point is a little higher for you, you can reserve it to keep in your baby bag for outings or long trips, where it may come to most use, and be worth your money. In fact apart from the price, there isn’t anything else worth thinking about, because the quality is great.

Himalaya range of baby care tend to be on the affordable side compared to other brands.
If you have any questions or opinions do share them in the comments below. Leaving you with a tip: Always store wet wipes face down, that way the moisture/wetness doesn’t seep below to the last wipe making the ones on top dry out faster. Even while keeping in your baby bag keep them that way. Happy wiping mommies.

2017 The year that was

2017 has been a big year for me. Life is not easy when you’re an adult, and no one prepares you for what can come your way. Fact is, no one knows and you can’t possibly be prepared for everything.

I am hoping this post is probably the last time I think about this year and everything that happened in life until now. I find it liberating to take control of my life to the point where I choose to never ever refer certain years, incidences, people just for my own mental peace. We all deserve to live in the present, and live happily. There’s no need to spend each moment, comparing, contrasting, frustrated. We don’t get the option to go back in time do we?

The year started off with being very close to my due date. Baby Abbas was born in Feb, as a full term blessing and the year ended with getting back my little doll. This is nothing but a blessing. The test of children is always the most difficult.

The months in between were all about the two of them, getting used to taking care of a baby, and working hard to getting back his sister. In the midst of it was an impromptu vacation to Dubai, which went by too quickly. I guess when you become a parent,all your thoughts are in sync with the needs of the kids, and that’s the beauty of this bond. You can be anything in the world, but being a parent lifts you up like nothing else.

The husband and I have experienced a marriage like no other. Court visits, lawyer visits, prayers, advises, hospital visits, so many firsts of Baby Abbas. Having a partner in life that you can share your life with, no facade, no drama, 100% raw and real isn’t easy. Both have to be on the same page, or be able to get the other on the same page 🙂

Education wise, I mentally set aside my graduation from IGNOU in 2017 and with time have released that while I like my subject I am not passionate about it enough to make a career in it in future. Also, I do not like to get degrees that don’t satisfy me, in terms of my effort, and what I have learned during the studying process. I have new plans, but will share them when the time is right, when I am comfortable and sure.

2017 was an eye opener to human behaviour, and the Indian prejudices. I have been shocked and surprised and then shocked some more.  We human beings are very powerful, the beauty is in using it for the good. I have great respect for the people who have the courage to not just acknowledge truth, but also stand up for it. We all want to do it, but we all fail at it most of the time. Some of us don’t even get the opportunity. I respect girls and women who respect another female friend, and family member, who have the guts to stand up and speak what is right, who defend their sister in her absence. Who risk their societal standing for the truth, they get labelled, and shunned too, but the satisfaction of being right, being truthful is beyond any societal prize!

I am happy to have grown, will be taking life in a new direction with 2018. I have never been so excited for a new year.

Here’s a wishing to all my readers, and a big thank you for all the support.

Happy New Year!

Life update!

So it’s been long and I have to give you guys a life update. I haven’t been active on my blog but definitely enjoying the social media. Where have I been you ask? Well I went to Dubai for a much needed break, and enjoyed my time with the siblings. They hadn’t met baby Abbas so that was great. He was totally pampered and enjoyed his stay. It’s too bad that he won’t remember any of it, but I took LOADS of pics for memories!

                   

 

Since I have been back, I have been running around the court to sort out my daughters custody case. And by the grace of Allah and the many prayers of every justice loving person in the world I won in Sept! It’s only a matter of time that she’s reunited with her mother .

My holiday gave me a lot of perspective on things, got to spend some alone time and made note of how I want my life to be. We don’t realise how much we throw some things very dear to us at the back, just because we have become moms. Motherhood doesn’t have to takeover you or your life. If we loose our identities as individuals we will never be a fulfilled parent and role model four our children. Our kids need to learn how to be centered from us.

I have never looked forward to an end of an year before in my life. Right now all I can think of; is how to make 2018 and the following years the best years of my life. I guess with age and experience we learn to take certain things as they come, be patient in some scenarios and fight like a lion in others. I guess that’s what wisdom is all about. I am trying my best to keep motivated, and surround myself by people and media that helps me achieve my goals.

Vacation and all that comes with the mindset

I am all for vacations in life. Married women tend to have a whole another situation when it comes to vacations, especially moms. I have noticed a lot of moms just get too caught up in their routine lives and aren’t able to plan a vacation. For many who live away from their family, their holiday is all about meeting their family than actually exploring the world. It’s almost like a choice you have to make, between family and your lifes goals. We all are not able to take vacations whenever we wish, finance being one of the major reason. With a family to book tickets, and plan an itinerary around, you need a lot more of it!

What I have learned is that “me time” can serve as good mini break while life takes over. We need that time not just to pamper ourselves, but to be able to think about us, and where we are and where we are headed. I often times find life to be moving way too fast to be able to even breath. Especially with a baby around, it gets even more tough, add to that your everyday responsibilities and you’re one lost soul. I have observed that since becoming a mother I very easily put everything that has to do with me to the side. The attitude is ‘Will do it later, after the baby is xyz old…’ It’s like a bottomless list of priorities and whatever has to do with me gets lost in the bottomless pit. Sad isn’t it. Take a moment and think, you too may have thrown some of your lifes goals in that pit!

Thing is no one trains you how to live your life with periodic vacations. No one prepares you for things, mentally, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. I do believe if the moms of my mothers generation were more insightful, thoughtful, or simply vocal, we would be prepared for a lot of what we experience as surprises. Not to blame anyone, I am being realistic, and hence talking about it myself. There will be plenty people ready to make you feel guilty for taking a break, some don’t understand the concept of ‘me time’, and as a mom you are so aware of the incredible list of tasks that you feel bad to skip some to take time out for yourself.

I used to wonder what people get from a ‘weekend getaway’ but now I understand, that few hours away from routine helps a lot. The world isn’t how it used to be before, cycling for hours to school/work, walking to your cousins place, getting together on weekends for a tea, writing letters, and waiting patiently for responses. We live is a world that is too fast paced. We ourselves aren’t ready for what we have created, we do not have the coping mechanisms for our inventions and innovations. So what do we do? We vacay as much as possible, however possible and try to maintain our sanity to get through life 🙂