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 (8yrs 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.

🙂

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.

Minimalism according to me

Minimalism and the lifestyle has been catching up. Youtube is filled with videos and documentaries on the Minimalist way of life. You watch a couple of them and you kinda sorta get an idea of what they’re trying to tell you, but then it starts to seem black and white and depressing. It’s difficult to ever imagine yourself being able to maintain a balance in your life in that manner.

But I tried to ponder more, on my own, whenever possible. Started to observe my lifestyle, and that of other around me. took mental notes of what I liked and disliked, what i agreed and disagreed with with this new lifestyle. And like always I try to bring all my cluttered thoughts to religion to seek guidance in the right way. Because the base of all my beliefs is that if there’s a right way to do anything my Creator knows it, because He created me and everyone else on earth and beyond. And so I did that.

Minimalism is not out there in that term, but there’s a term that would drive you to minimalism. And it’s a simple concept, a concept many of us have come across way before minimalism itself. Extravagance, in Arabic ‘israaf’. Israaf is not just a disliked activity in Islam, it is also a greater sin (Gunah e Kabira). So, there you go, forget choosing a lifestyle, you may have very well been sinning all this while! hehe.

We have taught Israaf on a basic level to children at madrasa for years, it is part of their ‘manners’ curriculum. And while we teach it m we only discuss it on the surface. Anyway, rightly assuming I don’t know anything about the topic I started reading the chapter of Israaf in the Greater sins book. It’s amazing how we are able to relate to examples as we grow older, and observant of people around us. Their decisions and their doings and how everything makes sense on a deeper, more productive level. Needless to say, I had multiple ‘aha’ moments, and forwarded the link to few people on my whatsapp contacts.

I had never looked at israaf beyond its basic definition, honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it deep enough to realise how much of it I do on a regular, basis. And most importantly,  need to be more mindful of these things. As a parent if I practice these day to day things correctly, it won’t be as much a struggle for my children.

To sum it up Israaf can and more often happens in our time, our physical and emotional efforts, our energy, our mental abilities, our money. In fact, every breath can become a victim of extravagance. If we realise that, and work towards eradicating this leech we would not only reduce wastage, but increase efficiency by putting in efforts where they’re needed. being mindful of israaf can actually enable us to not do it in things you don’t even currently posses. That’s the beauty of this concept. And while we all need to and are ordered to live up to our standard as per our means, we are also supposed to think about those around us who are in need before spending our time, money and energy on things we don’t need, but want.

As a human ending her 29th year of life, I would like to be in a state to be able to pass on wisdom, and gain more each day. Otherwise, it’s an israaf of my intellect. This made me realise how much I have already wasted, never to regain. We don’t see how much israaf negatively impacts our everyday lives on an individual and social level. It’s not a philosophical concept, it’s a realistic concept that every child and adult can relate to. I am so glad that I have a better more clearer perspective on things, another curtain has been lifted from my intellect and I am looking forward to (more than ever before) uncovering more wisdom in the future.

 

Living in FOMO

See I didn’t know how to describe this feeling till I came across few weeks ago, FOMO. That’s what my twenties have been about. And while I slowly reach the end of my 29th year of life, that’s how I can describe my twenties.

Hindsight is a terrible thing, it can make you feel guilty, smart, stupid, naive etc. And I can’t help but look back at my twenties when I am so close to ending a significant era of my life. There are many TEDx talks on this issue, make twenties your everything, or twenties aren’t everything. Everyone has a point of view, and a lot of those points seem logical, reasonable, understandable, but nevertheless don’t calm my soul.

You see I didn’t ever make a concrete plan for myself, I was only 19 when I got married. To be honest, I didn’t even know the significance of having a plan in the first place. But with time, I realised that the sane thing is to be the best that you can. Achieve what you’re capable of, and hustle for that.

My twenties, I lived in FOMO, and when I asked myself what exactly those things were. I strangely, with a broken heart had to succumb to accepting that I actually was in the FOMO on my twenties. It doesn’t get disappointing than that. Nothing I have done in my twenties has given me leverage for my thirties. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the end? Everything we do consciously has to eventually yield some fruit. None of the seeds I sowed, are worth jazz for my future. Highlights include a degree via distance in Psychology, a career stream I am no longer interested in because it requires dedication and higher education. I started a Sunday School, and Yes, Allah will reward me in continuity for this venture. However due to my health I’m not able to go as regularly as I used to. I spent 6.5 years married, trying to make things work, only to end up divorcing. Wasted the crucial early twenties in this. Got married again, and have a baby boy too. And as we all know babies bring a big gigantic comma if not full stop to your life. The struggle of adjusting to a new home life, a new partner, a new marriage is on another level. A simultaneous custody case in court for the daughter, drains energy out. I won the case and have her, and working on damage control.

I am not anti-struggle. I just want a different struggle now. I want a struggle that takes me somewhere, a struggle that has some promise. Otherwise I will remain in this state of unrest, irritated, in quarter life crisis, constantly confused, pulled on one side spiritually, and struggling to survive through every worldly issues.

The highs and lows are extreme now, emotionally it’s draining to be a mom, add to that someone who actually wants to be more than that. Simply because I have the potential. How does one get clarity, when the clouds of disappointment are always around? Where do you go for support when you have only one friend in the city? How much can you burden others with your same unresolved questions?

One thing I know for sure is that the thirties shouldn’t have to be this way. But unless I figure things out, I will be aimless squandering like a nomad. What do we do, to not live in FOMO?

Fast and easy Shalgam /Turnip curry

Cooking is a significant part of my day and I try to ensure that it takes the least amount of time, and yeilds the most yummy results. Keeping that in mind, it is also important to think about the benefits of the produce used, I try to be as mindful as possible in not just picking them, but also using them correctly to preserve its benefits.

I made Shalgam curry the other day and shared pics on my instagram, many asked for the the recipe so here it is (Serves 4 adults):

Ingredients:

Turnips (500gms) peeled, washed and chopped into one inch cubes

Onions 2 large chopped finely

Tomato 2 chopped roughly

Green chillis 2 finely chopped (you can add more if you like it spicy)

Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Corriander powder 1tsp

Cumin Powder 1 tsp

Turmeric powder 1tsp

Sugar 1tsp

Butter 3 Tbsp

Water 1 cup

Fresh coriander 1 bunch divided into two parts (for garnish and to add while cooking)

Method:

Melt the butter, add the green chillis let them fry a little till they change colour. Add Ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric and stir quickly and add the onions. Mix well, and fry until onions turn slight golden brown. Add the tomatoes, saute till they are half cooked, add salt. The salt helps the tomatoes to cook quickly. When the tomatoes have excreted their water, add the turnips and mix well, check for seasoning and add water. Close pressure cooker, for one whistel on high flame, and 15 minutes on medium to low flame. This will ensure the Turnips are cooked well, as we have chopped them into cubes. If you have sliced them, they will cook faster, and you can cook on Medium to low flame for 5-10 minutes instead.

Safety first! Let the pressure die down before removing the whistle and opening the cooker. The extra left over pressure/steam helps in cooking as well. Stir the curry, roughly break few pieces of turnip with spoon, reduce water till your liking. Now add the sugar and half of your fresh coriander, and let it cook on low flame. The coriander will leave it’s flavours and enhance your dish. When serving garnish with the coriander

You can keep it runny if you are going to eat with rice, or reduce it for thicker gravy.  . We ate it with parathas and I reduced it to a thick gravy. Notice there is not red chilli powder in this curry, but the spicy flavours from the cumin and green chillis will make it flavourful.

Let me know once you have tried it, Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

28 years of learning, thoughts, wisdom and life

Another year has passed and I am 28. And while some things have changed, some things just haven’t. Some of those make me happy some of them not so much. I wonder more than ever before, what life has become. And it leaves me filled with questions. Questions, I don’t have answers for, I will look for them, until I lose hope.

Fact is, at 28 I feel like an old soul. I am not suicidal, but I feel like I have lived my share of struggles. I guess the pessimist in me has more power over the optimist. At times I wonder where I lost her. Which phase of life made me loose connection with her. Some days are more colourful than others, but I guess I am looking for some level of settlement in life.

I am grateful though. As grateful as you can be in my circumstance, and I am happy that I still have the intellect to look at others and be thankful for my life. Some thoughts have been recurring in the past year. Mainly when looking at others, I am not a hypocrite. I know some people are destined for hell, their actions, words, and the fleet that supports them too will drown in the fury of hell fire. I am glad I am not them.

Coming closer to thirties scares me. I don’t know why. Maybe I had very high expectations from myself. Then again, I know I was very well capable of achieving them. But then life happens. I don’t know when I will get myself to accept the present, the reality, the truth. It’s like a mind block that’s become a road block.

I guess the lesson learned is to not plan beyond a year. Maybe that’s too much planning. As each day I realise that maybe it’s time for setting targets and focusing a decent amount of time on mental preparation. Being head strong is everything, with age I think we can become our own hurdle.

It’s rather odd that I have to console and tell myself that I have achieved a lot in my twenties. It’s difficult to accept them as achievements sometimes. I have so much in pending. One thing is for sure, It’s better to dream, than to not dream at all. Because it takes courage and planning and intellect to set goals for yourself. It requires insight, and passion. We don’t control circumstances, Allah does. At-least I will die struggling, and working toward a better tomorrow for myself.