Sunday, December 29, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

When your kids are young, leaving them to do anything is really tough. Yet as mamas who want to pursue a career, we often have to remind ourselves of the harsh reality that the competitiveness in our field of work, will not wait for our kids to grow up. If we want a career, we must act fast.

It is often the case that mamas who choose to go back to work have to make the decision knowing that something has to give. And, the tough part is that it might not only stop at work. In my case, I have made a decision to travel a few days for a training course; something I have been planning for a little over a year.

While it has been completely my decision to leave, my heart sinks at the thought of leaving my son whom I know will be affected the most! "It's only 3 nights and 4 days, and he is with his favourite person in the world, his father" I keep telling myself, yet I have had nightmares about my son crying, getting lost, or something preventing me from coming back, ever since I made the decision to go.

Does it ever get easier, making decisions that you know will affect the entire family? When is it ok and when isn't it? Why are the answers so difficult to find?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Becoming Dependent

When a woman has children, it is extremely easy to get sucked into a world that revolves around diaper changes, feedings, naps , activities, play dates and lots of other mama-like things. And if this new mama doesn't have other mama friends, she will almost surely lose her connections with her non-mama friends.

In his book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus", John Gray states: "it puts too much pressure on a man to make him the only source of love and support." And while Gray wasn't referring to this pressure as an outcome of having children, I felt it applied here as much as it did in his context.

We, mamas I mean, get hooked on taking care of everything and everyone that we almost always lost touch with the outside world for a while. During that time, our partner might become our everything, and men, don't like that. Even if a man appreciates and understands the reasons behind his wife's temporary state of dependence, he will still feel pressured.

One way to snap out of this phase is to divide responsibilities to buy yourself more alone time where you can reconnect with your life outside the duties of motherhood. And while we mamas like to believe that our houses will collapse without our presence, the collapse might not be as dramatic as we thought if any!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Being Truly Happy 


In a meditation course I attended, the instructor explained one of his secrets behind "being truly happy", and it was to: "never postpone your happiness until something specific happens, rather, to live for the moment!"

If you sit and analyse your life just now, you will realise that you have set some typical goals: perhaps buying a certain car, moving to a bigger home, placing your children in a better school and so on. You will also realise that you wake up everyday, work extremely hard, and go back to doing the same thing the next day, just to be able to reach that goal, the one over there, the one that surely comes with happiness.

However, you might end up chasing something bigger for the rest of your life, never being truly happy! Is it true that people who are truly happy are the ones who live in the moment, confidently make decisions that feel right at that certain time and who never worry so much about tomorrow?

I wouldn't know, I come from a family that thrives on calculated decisions, plans for the future like today never existed, and worries about things that never happen.

I also believe that living in the moment is a talent, however, can it also come with practice?


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora


How We Look at Our Parents as Adults

You often hear people say: "you will never appreciate your parents until you become a parent yourself," and when you become a parent, you realise how true that statement is. 

At some point, just like that, the tables turn, and your parents start needing you like you needed them. You become their sense of security, their support system, and their facilitator. 

This snow storm, my mother was in danger; and I as I heard the news, I felt my heart sink and my brain think a million thoughts: "How do I get her out of there? When can I reach her? Is she safe and catered to? and the worries kept rolling in. When things finally cleared up and we reached her, I realised how "helpless" she must have felt and how it is now our responsibility to care for her. 

It is something I was brought up on; I remember when as a child I used to stand behind the door and watch my mother bathe her own mother. I remember my father preparing his own father's meals as early as 5am. And thinking back, it is a grand thing for a child to grow up watching. 

As parents ourselves, we must not get so involved in our own lives that we miss out on enjoying our parents as adults; to get to know them past their parenting responsibilities that had consumed them for years and to know them when they are relaxed and free to be themselves. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Our Most Important Value Yet...

Whoever said that each child (even though they are siblings with the same parents who have grown up with each other all their lives) is different, was not kidding.

My 3 year-old son might disagree or obey, but never questions my authority. He never takes risks, always goes for the safest option, and likes to play by the rules.

My 1.5 year old daughter is a wild and crazy creature, always goes for the dangerous scenario, is not afraid of getting hurt, and could't care less about what I tell her.

People are always telling me that my daughter will not struggle in her life and will probably be happier than my son in the difficult and sometimes cruel life we live in. I felt very distraught for my son. Then one day, I came across a quote that took all that away:

"It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless." - L.R Knost

Empathy, in my opinion, is one of the most important values you can teach your child.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Binging Like Crazy

For the past month or so, things have been crazy hectic. Settling into my relatively new job, my husband working two jobs and me having ZERO time to go to the gym, I have shamefully found my comfort in food!

I used to blame women who did that but somehow, in the middle of chaos, screaming kids, tantrums and sleep-training, I find myself counting the minutes until it is 9:30pm, when my kids are asleep and I can sit alone on my warm comfy chair, and binge on all kinds of comfort food. I plan my treats throughout the day and they increase as the hours pass.

Beside me just now, is an empty chocolate wrapper and an empty bag of chips. I hate it!  I can seriously feel myself crave junk, fast food, chocolates and everything else that is bad for me.

What do I do? I seriously need to find a way to de-stress, something that I can do within the walls of my house.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Favour of the Day with Noora

Helping Students Reach Their Full Potential with the International Learning Community school


On our cover this month, The International Learning Community school in Amman gives us an in depth look into their Reggio Emelia approach which is based on the philosophy that learning is the outcome of collective efforts.

In other words, as dedicated parents I am sure we all realise that the education of our children does not rest solely on the child or school. It is a collective effort where everyone is involved: staff, parents, families and students each play their part. And knowing that a school actually implements such a practice in its daily curriculum is fresh and inspiring.

I have personally visited the school and I must say the amount of attention each child is given is admirable. As mothers and fathers, one of our main concerns is always the idea of how our child will be treated by the teacher, and these students were getting their share of care.

For more info on the International Learning Community- Amman and their "Reggio Emilia Approach to Education; Experience in Dialogue" conference, visit http://www.ilcamman.edu.jo

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Celebrating People With Disabilities

December 3rd is the International Day for People with Disabilities. This topic is especially important to me as I have a family member who has had a disability his entire life.

Through the acceptance, strength and enormous support his mother and father gave him, he has flourished to become one of the best people you will meet in your life. A person who inspires whoever comes in contact with him. A person who is loved for who he is.

Every single effort a parent does counts, especially for children with disabilities. Go to the link below  http://familyflavours.com/wordpress/?p=2426 for a great article on the topic.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

When Our Children Are Not Ready

Today, I dropped my son off at a play date where he was invited alone, no mama to tag along. While he cried at the beginning, he ended up really enjoying himself, came running to me laughing and holding hands with his friend at the time of pick up.

Thirty minutes later however, he cried and cried. Asked me to never drop him off alone and gave me a dose of fussiness like no other.

We sometimes underestimate the things that so greatly affect our children. We put our children through situations that as adults, we believe are totally normal, completely ignoring their perspectives.

I hated myself for it, I hated that I made him feel left behind thinking that he would forget about it and have fun. Why are we always rushing to push our children into things when the signs say they might not ready for it?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Unless You Have Kids, You Will Never Get It!


I look at my unmarried friends and think, what do they do with all their free time? I can't even remember what it felt like to have a WHOLE night of UNINTERRUPTED sleep, to take a shower without someone knocking on the door crying for me, to just sit in the TV room and drink my tea without little monkeys jumping around and me yelling "be careful, hot tea, hot tea!" What did it feel like not to have to rush to preschool before work and then after work again, feeling that every minute counts. To be able to work late without worrying that your child might be hungry, sleepy or both?

It's hard for non-married women to understand what it is really like to have kids! Actually, it is hard for women who have kids to really understand what it is like to have kids, but it all just kind of happens.

You wake up realising that the responsibility just accumulated, the dependencies just grew, the sacrifices have become necessary. Some new people, actual human beings are depending on you to make their lives liveable. To protect and take care of them. To teach them right from wrong. To stand by them and be their sense of security.

It is beyond hard, but to those tiny people who have temporarily robbed you of your sanity, you are life. With all its difficulties, you will never want things to go back to the way they were, except maybe the sleeping part :)



Monday, November 25, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

A Tearful Visit To The Mall

Yesterday evening, in my attempt to do something nice for my 3-year-old, I  bought him a school bag. At the shop, all things were grand and cheerful, we chose the style together, tried on different alternatives, laughed when some looked a bit odd and finally chose the one he loved with cheers and celebrations.

Less than 5 minutes later, literally, I had a screaming toddler, throw his most public tantrum yet. All my attempts to defuse the situation had failed. And so, I ended up carrying a screaming and kicking boy, with all judgmental eyes following me. 

Of course, I also got strangers' comments directed at Yousef: "it is inappropriate to behave like this," "stop crying it's not nice," which only escalated both of our bad tempers.

In the car, I finally exploded in tears myself, I don't know how I reached home with the both of us weeping!  While he later (30 minutes after) snapped out of it, my tears on the other hand kept on rolling for the remainder of the night.

"Where did I go wrong?" was my question. Was me saying "no" to his request of emptying the old bag into the new one while carrying other bags and trying to manage his 1.4 year-old sister worth all this, is my son that spoiled? 

I felt like I had failed. People saying "it's the age" doesn't make things any better. If my child is being attended to, cared for, and loved, shouldn't such behaviour be avoidable?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Functional No More!


I can almost swear that there is an evil force that comes in the middle of the night and steals some of my brain cells (whatever is left after two pregnancy brains).

Do you ever feel that unless your phone reminder beeps, there is no way you will remember the things you should? I have been fighting and fighting to keep myself from depending on reminders, phone alerts and other notes to remind me of my errands, tasks and appointments. I have to admit, I am failing miserably!

What is it in our lives that is doing this to us (I have heard the same complain
from other mamas as well!) To make matters worse, my mother is always lecturing me about how hectic "I make my life," claiming I am doing this to myself.

Don't you find that our lives are getting more and more complicated and overwhelming? However, is it really us or our life demands behind this annoying reality?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora


When everything I request is answered by "NO"

It has lately begun to feel that all I do with my three-year-old is argue over every aspect. He has obviously learned some new tricks like screaming and yelling dramatically, completely ignoring my instructions and in many cases hitting me.

Everyone is telling me to pick my battles, my friends post links of scream-free parenting styles, and so many others advise me of ignoring his behaviour. But when I have to repeat the same instruction five times just to be ignored in the end, none of the above options is easily applicable.

I feel like he has completely shut me out and when I speak, he is not even listening.

What do you do when almost everything your toddler does is either dangerous, wrong, or disobedient.
What battles do you choose to tackle then?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

The Teen Appeal

It is always really tricky to talk to teens about their self-image. I remember I never had that talk with my  mother and I remember feeling very uncomfortable with myself.

I was a tom-boy, never wanted to wear dresses, have long hair, or do anything that was "girly". If I analyse it, it was surely due to the fact that I was never given the right attention in terms of how to embrace the changes that were happening. I had a younger and older brother and all I wanted was to be like them.

On the other hand, having many tween and teen nieces, I now realise that it is very important to know how to talk to them about self-image, how they feel, how they dress, and their public image as well.

In this November issues of Family Flavours and Nakahat 'Ailiyeh, we cover the "Teen Appeal" and follow three teens' sense of style. They sure seem to know what they are doing way better than I did. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Getting Sick
Living on only three hours of sleep the night before, having a full day of attending to my job, taking my son to the doctor again, cooking tomorrow's lunch and attending to my other child who is on the track of sickness as well
, I realised that it has been so long since I was spoiled while sick like I used to be back before I became a mama.

As I prepared the tray of meds I will surely need in tonight's midnight shift, I had to choose the medication I will be taking based on not my need for it, but how it will affect others. In other words, I couldn't take the medication which will surely make me feel better yet affect my ability to attend to the kids. Rather, I had to take something less effective on the virus I contracted but will serve my family better by making sure I am alert and around to take care of them.

I am sure I am not the only mama who has ever made this decision and it must have been as exhausting and draining each time. Does the willingly and happily giving mother ever get a break of her own? Do I have to wait another 10 years until I do? When did getting a flu get so complicated?

Having kids is by far the biggest game changer of all time!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Parents Coaching Workshop

For those of us who feel lost or confused about how we are handling our children, professional help is a great way to get back on track. Check out the below workshop with Certified Life Coach for Parents and Adolescents, Samar Sabha. 





Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Unsupervised Internet

On our website www.familyflavours.com, we are asking our readers to make a vote on the following question: is it ok for children to use the internet unsupervised? My answer is definitely not. The unlimited content of every nature is more dangerous than many parents realise, in my opinion.

Even if all they do is follow their favourite celebrities, they will unfortunately be exposed to content and other users that are not suitable. So many of the "innocent and sweet" celebrities that our children watched at a young age are growing to rebel and publicly break all the rules and norms that we want for our children.

I understand the curiosity and urge for our children to want to use the internet but I believe in placing the "family computer"in the living room where we can advise our children what is suitable and what is not.

What is your opinion?
www.familyflavours.com


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora


Wild Imagination

I don't know what has gotten into my three-year old but his imagination has gone wild, in an negative manner! At any point during the day, he is afraid of being alone!

To make matters worse, the nights are just as hard with him waking up in tears 3-4 times a night, it's killing him and me. Telling him that there is nothing to be afraid of is not helping, and neither is ignoring it.

How long will this phase last and is it just a phrase?


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Are We Our Parents?


We have all said it when we were younger:" I'm never going to do to my children what my parents did to me! I will never be like my mother!"

Well, other day, when Yousef was driving me crazy, I could swear that it was my mother's ghost that took over me and made me say to him the exact same words she used to say to me. While it got him up on his feet and ready to get dressed, it left me in awe! I used the same tone of voice and I used the same look and I got the results she always got, obedience.

Why are we always so afraid of turning into our parents? Judging from my own experiences as a mother, parenting is the most difficult job of all. They too gave up dreams just for us, they too had nights and nights of sleep-deprivation just like us. It is true what they say: you never appreciate your parents until you become one yourself! That said, I think I will need about another 25-27 years until my kids learn this lesson. Lucky me...


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

A Mama's Strength, Like No Other

At a children's play area while I was watching my kids have fun, out of nowhere, two women beside me included me in their conversation.

One of them was talking about her fatal cancer diagnosis where the doctor told her she had three months to live, five years ago!

What stuck to me most was not the sadness of her diagnosis, not her fear of the unknown, and not her remarkable story of being cured. It was a sentence she said so innocently despite the power of it: "when I got in the car after hearing my diagnosis, I wasn't scared for me, I had three months to make the arrangements I needed, I was scared for my four children, how will their life be without my support and protection?"

Right then and there, I realised the one thing that unites all us mamas, our never-ending worry for our children, even at times of great danger to ourselves. It truly is amazing to feel so much dedication and strength towards your child. And what is even more amazing is that it is innate. No one teaches us how to worry, protect, fight for, and worry about our children. It happens, just like that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

How Work Brought Me Back

Whether or not to go back to work is by far, one of the hardest decisions you will have to face after having kids. Whatever I say now I say based on my own experience, but I found that if you loved work before having kids, you will love it even more after having them.

As amazing as children might be, sleep deprivation, lack of alone time, the need for continuous sacrifice on your behalf and the non-stop demands of life as a mama can really drain you to a point where it can surely become dangerous to you and your marriage. I never fought with my husband as much as we fought after having our first baby. We were both so pressured and exhausted, we couldn't cope with being new parents.

After leaving work, a decision I made willingly, I suddenly found myself stuck at home for 13 hours with a baby, and could not identify with my new role. I loved my child dearly, but I was not familiar with the new Noora that was supposed to "come naturally" with him.

The reason I am bringing all this up is that after I started working again about two months ago, everything has changed. I have moments of extreme exhaustion, fear of how my decision may be affecting my children, and my days are feeling longer than ever. Yet when I walk into  the office, I have a feeling of satisfaction. For a few hours, I am not: "mama, mama, mama", no one is clinging onto me in tears, and I am free to explore parts of my mind that have been switched off for so long. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

Pretend Play

In a previous article I wrote"Starting Off Right," published in the March 2013 issue of Family Flavours, experts stress the importance of pretend play. 

In my interview with Early Childhood Development Expert Kathleen Guy, she clarified that pretend play helps children develop self-control and complete tasks. Let's say your child is pretending to be a teacher, she is internally developing her own scenario and engaging in private speech, this according to Guy is creating self-control. 

As much as I tried at a younger age, Yousef only got the hang of it now, when he is turning 3 years old, and I have to say, it has wonderfully made its way into every aspect of our lives. he can play for hours with toys he never used to touch and increased his attention span to things he later imitated. 

What I did not expect was how big his imagination has grown and now, we are entering the phase of imagining "a scary mask running after me!" I have never faced this before and have NO IDEA of how I should handle it. How do you handle fears of non-exhistant things?I know that I should not minimise his fears, call them silly or unreal, or say that they don't make sense, but then, I get stuck!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Flavour Of The Day With Noora

When it is only about being STUBBORN!

Dealing with a toddler who has discovered the power of resistance can take you to new levels of frustration.

Some mamas say it is the age, others say the child might be imitating a friend or sibling, and some not very encouraging comments, say it is due to the constant bickering between mama and child. Whatever the reason, it is surely something that will rock the boat.

I have tried everything: distracting him, ignoring him, playing with him, talking to him, you name it. But when his answer is no or simply does the opposite of what I asked, I feel like I have crashed into a wall.

"Pick your battles," they said, and so, I did; if he wants to wear the wrong shoe on the wrong foot, so be it. It has helped in the small things, but the big things are still a struggle. Getting dressed, taking a shower, getting into the car seat, holding my hand when crossing the street; in 99% of the cases, I get: "I don't want to," and the other day, "I am free to do as I please!" Occasionally, there is the public tantrum as a cherry on top.

To make things more fun, my younger daughter, now 17 months, is joining the rebellion.

Help!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

The Unknown Sacrifices 


How many times have you asked yourself, did my parents really sacrifice as much for me as I am sacrificing for my kids? 

For some reason, many of us find it hard to comprehend that our parents did in fact go through "all this parenting", and maybe even more. I think it puts some guilt on our shoulders knowing that we made their lives harder, and it raises our expectations from ourselves to pay them back with kindness, closeness, and obedience now that we are older. 

Throughout the day, 99% of the decisions I make revolve around my kids, whether I like it or not. When I wake up, when I go to sleep, what I do for entertainment, what I cook, what kind of job I can take and the list just goes on. 

At times, I feel it is too much, and in many cases, I childishly cry because I couldn't go after what I wanted. At other times, when my kids are having a good day, I feel very content and proud of every decision I have made. 

Whatever I am feeling, I just remind myself that mama-hood is a job at the end of the day, the more I invest the right kind of effort, the more it will pay off in the end. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Flavours of the Day with Noora

Eid Mubarak to everyone out there!

This Eid, I focused on teaching my 3 year-old son the importance of appreciating the things we have. As I listed the house, the car, and money to buy food, Yousef suddenly listed: our wooden door, the side door, his school, his friends, his clothes, the sky, the trees and went on for another 6 things at least.

At that moment, I wished and prayed that my child would never lose what all children have, clarity and simplicity in seeing the world around them and living in the moment. It was easy for him to list so many things in less than 30 seconds because he is in fact, fully living that moment.

In my meditation course, our instructor said that one of the most important things to do is learn to live in the moment and to REALLY experience it. Examples would be: not doing anything else when eating, carefully listening to the music and lyrics without just having it on in the background, and so on.

He also said that children should be our inspiration as they perfect this technique so greatly. When they are playing, they are doing just that, when they are sleepy, that's all they want, if they are hungry, all they think of is food, and the list goes on.

Today, I realised what he meant and I realised that one of the greatest things I can do for my child is to teach him never to grow up when it comes to this!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Shocking Three-Year Old

Every parent I know went through a moment where he or she was shocked with their child's reaction. That moment when your once very sweet daughter or son, answers back with a comment that has the ability to both infuriate you and drive you to tears.

Today, for the first time ever, my 3-year-old told me that he is "free to do as he pleases" when I asked him to do something. It was like a slap on the face and I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry! he said it so defiantly and confidentially that I had to pause for a moment to rethink of what I asked, maybe I was the one who was wrong!

It was an awful feeling to know that my son now thinks it is ok to speak to me that way!! I now understand what mamas of teens feel like!!

They say that the age 2-3 gives mom a sneak peak into what her child will be like as a teen. I wonder what I will get then!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Going back to Work

No matter how much you love your kids, if you once had or have a career that you love, leaving work to stay at home with your babies is a lot harder than people think it is.

After three years of being a stay at home mama, I finally made it back to the office. Yet in a single moment when one of my kids is ill, fussy, or asks me to stay at home for the day, I doubt my decision of leaving.

Today, I attended a meeting where two of the other women had just had their babies too. 

If you think of it, we are all there for the same two reasons: to help provide for our children, and to maintain our sanities by getting whatever alone time we can get.

However, looking back at the three years that have been the most challenging without a doubt, it is important to do what is right for you and your family at the moment you are inclined to make the decision.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Flavour of the Day With Noora

Raising Children Who Feel Blessed

In business school, they taught us the difference between need and want. And while as adults, we think we know the difference, marketing, advertising and social pressures have us more confused than we think. If you look at the effect of that on children, you realize that they are just as confused. 


Nothing drives me more crazy than when my son cries saying: " but I don't have this and I need it!" He is only three and I put so much effort into not spoiling him with materialistic items that this is coming as a total shock!

I have friends who never worked a day in their lives and friends who put themselves through university; some appreciate their parents and the efforts they have done, while others think they are entitled to everything.

How can we teach our children to appreciate things? Is it by not offering much? By making them earn it? By constantly reminding them of the privileges they are receiving? How do you talk to children about feeling blessed?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Loving Your Child For Who He Is

I have lately come to realise the importance of accepting your child for the person he or she is, rather than the person you want them to be. This of course, is a lot easier said than done. When you are a parent, you want your son to have lots of friends, you want him to be brave and try all the games at the park, you want him to be athletic and active, and you want him to excel at school. Because we love our children, we naturally want them to be the best or at least do good in every aspect of their lives. But when we discover a weakness that in some cases is beyond our hands, parents can easily and unknowingly fixate on making that weakness go away; and this, in my opinion is extremely unhealthy for the parent and child. I have seen parents push their children into sports, force their kids to climb heights or go on rides that terrified them, or enrol them in academic programs that are beyond their capacity, all for the sake of beating a weakness. I have seen the look of despair on these children's faces and I have to tell you, things will only get worse. It is our job as parents to love our children for who they are, what they love to do and accept that they too are human with strengths and weaknesses. Accepting and empowering our children will make them a lot stronger than forcing them to do something they cannot do.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dividing Between Children

When you become a mama, you master multi-tasking. However, a mama's multi-tasking is not like the multi-tasking you were used to pre-mamahood. Its a new kind, one that divides you as a person, and not just your time or attention. One of the many challenges of having multiple children is being able to divide your time, attention, love, dedication, patience, ideas, and financial responsibilities between your children, your marriage and yourself. You have to be able to put limits for them, yourself, and everyone else in the family on what each family member gets. The question is, when something good comes up for one member, do we let him/her take it on even though it might negatively affect others, or do we move on, hoping that other opportunities will appear? At one hand, you might think of it as teaching children to be considerate of one another, on the other hand, you might create a trail of resentment and envy. After all, how much good in life actually happens without bad?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Power of Acceptance

I recently took a Yoga and Meditation course that was life-changing. In addition to the Yoga and breathing techniques designed to reduce stress (which really work by the way), the course taught life lessons. The most important thing I took away from this course and previously from Life Coaching is learning the power of acceptance. Learning to accept others and things for what they are and not what I want them to be. Now, bare in mind that acceptance doesn't mean letting others hurt you and say, oh well, this is the situation! Rather it is: "this person hurt me (or whatever is an issue at the moment), I am admitting to the situation but now it is time to change it". Same goes for people. If you marry a person, or have a child or friend with the aim of changing their personality , it will never work, you need to accept things as they are and put a plan on what to do next. Perfecting acceptance is an art, and it needs A LOT of practice, self-discpline, and the view of a bigger picture and goal. However, once I incorporated it into my relationships with my husband, step-daughter and son, life became a lot easier and the tension has been reduced. When you accept, you take power and control over the situation and you prepare yourself and others for moving on. The power of acceptance is tried and tested, it is 100% productive (for me at least).

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Hilarious Quote

I found a really funny quote today by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star". At first you laugh but when you think of it, it is very true. I remember when I was young, I told my father I wanted to be an astronaut (like most kids do), I can't remember his exact words, but they weren't very encouraging! Thinking back, I don't think me or any of my friends, were ever encouraged to explore the world, do good for our planet, research animals and other planet-related subjects. It might have been a cultural thing, but it is a sad reality if you think of it. I'm buying new books for my kids tomorrow!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bombarding Our Children's Playtime

I sometimes feel that because our children have lost the advantage of playing outside in the neighbourhood like we used to, we got so occupied with filling their time with activities that at some times, may be too much. I was sitting with two other mamas today who's sons go to preschool with my son, so they are all about 3 years old. We were discussing placing our boys in two activities after school which would mean that they would have sports everyday after school, all week long. We were all very excited, but then I started to think, are we overdoing it? While the activities are only one hour a day, are we still overdoing it by teaching them that they have to go out and do something to have fun? But when I think of it, I have about 7 hours a day after preschool to entertain him, after the building blocks, the finger painting, the play dough, the TV and the other miscellaneous activities we do together, I still have about three hours of time to waste. I see it with the other older kids in the family too, two activities per child per week. But what's the alternative? Even if I did want Yousef to go outside and play, the streets aren't safe, the people aren't safe and there are no other kids!

Friday, September 20, 2013

When We Are Our kids' Heroes

Sometimes, our kids look at us in a way that sends a rush of pride and happiness into our hearts. When we teach them something new that fascinates them, when we give them something they love, when we show them something for the first time, or even with something as simple as reading them a story. The moment we realise that they think we are unmatchable. Every parent, baba or mama, gets addicted to the idea of being the hero. We love it, we love the smiles and the hugs. We love the joy it brings to our children and us. That said, my three-year-old is lately detaching from me. Something I worked on for a very long time to achieve yet now I struggling with. My son is now asking for his "baba-boys time", accepting play dates without me being with him, and is totally ok with me not putting him to bed. As childish as this may sound, but this detachment is a lot harder on me than I thought. I miss being his hero. I miss him coming to me for all his needs, and I miss him missing me. It's a part of life I guess. This is probably what my dad went through the first time I left to the university which at the time, didn't make any sense to me. So, I find myself looking for ways to reconnect with my son, spending more quality time with him and communicating to him how much I love him. I am really not ready for the teen years!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Decisions We Make as Parents

Do you ever think that we, as parents, will have the luxury of peace of mind? I mean really, doesn't every decision we make, make us question ourselves: if we are ruining our kids' lives, or if we are even on the right track. I have lately come to find the rationale behind my own self-judement, it is purely my own fears clouding my judgement, much more than my child's actual state. For example, today is my second day on a job. I have been seeking to get back into the work market for months, did extensive planning and research, and finally came to the conclusion that now is the time. Leaving both my kids at home with the nanny was a first of its kind move in the past three years. While they were fine, waved good bye and wished me luck, my heart sank. My mind was bombarded with a million very far-fetched scenarios that can go wrong. I doubted myself then and there. What kind of a mother was I to be leaving my young kids? How can I ever forgive myself if something went wrong? What would have been the big deal if I stayed at home with them for another year? And the worries just kept on rolling. Yet, their actual state: happy, watching TV and pretending to be on a boat. I could then see this scenario throughout their lives, different phases, different concerns, same self-judgment. The curse of a parent's guilt and self-judgement seems never ending. If we are lucky, our children won't tap into it and use it to their benefit!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Joy of Having a Home

"Take a few moments every day, for the rest of your life, to quietly reflect on the joy of having a home-whatever it looks like and however hard you work to maintain it. " Richard Carlson.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nannies, are they Good or Bad for Our Children?

Today at the playground, my son looked at me and said:" mama, why are you standing next to me, only nannies are allowed!" I looked around and he was right, it was mostly nannies with the kids. Not that I'm judging, on the contrary, my daughter was on the other side of the playground playing with a nanny herself but it got me thinking. Do we depend too much on nannies? A month back I was in the states, all I saw were mamas with their kids. Of course, they might have also been baby sitters without me knowing the difference, but it was obvious that almost 90% of the kids were with their parents alone. On the other hand, the babas were completely involved as well. If the mama is carrying one, the second was with baba. It's a cultural thing I guess, add to it how expensive it is in other places to hire a live-in nanny but still, are our children getting too dependent on having help around? I have seen six and seven-year-olds being helped with their shoes today, that can't be right. Live in nannies, blessing or a recipe for spoiled and dependent children?

Friday, August 30, 2013

The People Around Us

There are two kinds of people in life, the ones who make us feel great about ourselves and the ones who do the exact opposite. No matter how strong of a person you are, you are affected by either type. These kinds of people are there in every stage of our lives, when we are young, in high school, during university, the first years at work, and definitely when we become parents. As a parent, what do you do if you see your child struggling with the type that is definitely not good for him/her? And what would you do if you decide to interfere and your child refuses to listen to you? My niece has be-friended the bullies and has become fascinated with the popularity that comes with the cool (yet sometimes bullying) kids. Despite the attention for their "coolness", she comes home after school feeling terrible about how those kids treat some of their peers and hates the person she becomes in that specific moment. This situation is just a microcosm of society don't you think? If you think of it, it happens all too often that we end up doing things we are not so comfortable with, just to please others. If we don't teach our children to deal with it when they are young, they might be "bullied" into others' ways for the rest of their lives. However, if they refuse to listen, is force the right way?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When We Think Wrong!

How do you talk to your child about going back to work? After 2 years and 10 months of Yousef's delivery, I am final going back to an office, professional adult conversations, and work outfits! However, one of the things I always apply with my children is honesty and taking the time to explain. No matter how young they are and no matter how much people around me think I am crazy for going into depth with my conversations, I believe children understand a lot more than we give them credit for. So, I sat down with Yousef, put him down in my lap, reminded him of how baba goes to work, and explained that now it's time for mama to work too. I explained that summer is over, preschool is going to start again and that as soon as I am done from work, I'll pick him up from preschool and we will go home together as usual. He exploded with tears, and my heart sunk! Then he finally managed to squeeze the words:" I don't want school!" It's funny how sometimes as parents, our guilt or worry about something is actually the LAST thing on our children's minds. We think that their world will collapse and shatter when in reality it is our own fears; our kids will be just fine. Our kids have their own fears and worries that can quite often have nothing to do with us. I guess a time comes when WE have to accept that WE are not at the centre of their attention!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recognising Our Blessings

Every time I turn on the TV or go online, I see the exact same thing over and over again. Chaos, painful chaos! Yet, what tears me apart, is not the politics, its not the confusion, and its not the reality that is turning into a nightmare; it's the sight of parents losing their children. That is a pain that cannot be measured; it just destroys. It's a terror every mama and baba can imagine no matter how hard they try to avoid it. As I was waiting for my car today at the mall, the valet supervisor was looking at my kids, Yousef 2.5 and Mona 1.2 years old, and we both laughed at something they did. And then he said he has the exact same ages at home and that we should both look forward to how close they will be as siblings as they get older. At that moment, I was thinking, there isn't anything in the world I wouldn't give to keep them safe and tuck them into bed every night. Stress, work, sleep deprivation, house work, cooking, cleaning, homework, social life, and the ups and downs of marriage can sometimes disguise our blessings. I hope we are always smart enough to see past them.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mama's Magical Powers

It's a heart-warming feeling when you realize you are your child's number one trusted choice for what's right and wrong, what's safe and what's not, and my favourite, when he will feel better. I have seen this over and over and over, a child running to his mama with some kind of injury, tears streaming down his eyes, and the moment his mama touches him with her magical touch, everything becomes better. I have to admit, I was always a tom-boy and never had that bond with my own mama; but the first time I realized how much Yousef trusted my words:" you'll be ok", my heart shattered a million pieces. Take this self-discovered tip: tell your child that your arms have magical powers, and that your embrace will make everything better. When I heard my son whisper to himself :" mama's hug has magical powers", in a moment that was stressing him, I knew I had taught my son a soothing mechanism that we both enjoy for maybe another year or two if I'm lucky!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When Parenting is Confusing

On Facebook, I saw someone post a quote (don't know where they got it from), that says:"behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is messing it up!", Then I thought to myself, that is so very true. I doubt my parenting skills a hundred times a month and when I get unwanted advice, I go home and cry! Saying there is no one way of doing things is an understatement! With every kid being so unique, you would sometimes believe that there is a conspiracy aimed driving mamas crazy with confusion. What I also loved about that quote was the deepness of emotions that embody every mama at some point. "Am I messing up my son? Am I a terrible mama? How could I do that to him? She will hate me for the rest of her life! I knew I should have ended the discussion before things got bad! And so goes the list... What's even worse is that the timeline for finding out the results of your techniques is ridiculously long. In the same hour, your child can do something that will make you feel like the most competent mama on earth, and then comes an unexpected tantrum (of all ages) that sets you back a hundred steps. It is only when you watch them with their own kids that you might get some peace of mind, if there is any mind left!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Scary Power

A relative of mine has a daughter who is leaving for university abroad. Over the past few weeks I have watched the father's anxiety rise over his daughter's departure, some thing her very openly communicated to her and the entire family. As parents, we never realize how much our children, of all ages, feed off our energy. They can either go against us, trying to prove that any negative energy we have is wrong, or they believe every word we say, whether or not we are right. Both options are scary. What's worse is that we also do not realize how much pressure our energy places on them. When I am stressed, my kids get fussy; when I am happy, my kids are very chilled. When I am sick, my son feels sick and has a broken look on his face until I get out of bed. Of course, we are humans, and it is part of life to teach our children that in life, there are good days and bad; there are days when we feel exhausted and we all need to relax; and there are days when mama and baba's feelings need a lot of attention. However, whenever I think of my relative and how bad she felt for going after her life, I pray that I remember that at some point my children need to move on, and I should push them to go. And my energy will only make them stronger.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Parents' Pride

When you become a parent, you get this enormous amount of pride in your kids, especially when they they it :) You take pride in them looking good, take pride in them behaving good, take pride when they play good, and take pride in them staying out of trouble. This Eid, I realized how much my children bring me joy. For the first time in 3 years, my babies are more independent, more social and more willing to give me my space. And of course, I got the:" oh they are so adorable, so descent, so well behaved," comments that made me enjoy them even more. And I thought, if this is the way I feel now, how will I feel when Yousef scores his first goal, gets his first full mark, or does something very considerate for someone. How will I feel when Mona has her first assembly in school and performs really well? Or if she ever gets on the honor roll in school? Now I know why my father loves seeing the eight of us (my siblings and I) all together, with each of us being so different, we must have pleased him one way or the other. Now I know why my friend's mother in school "embarrassed" her daughter by jumping and cheering on graduation day. And now I know why parents like to see their children follow in their footsteps. Looking forward to soccer games, class assemblies, and much more

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Joys of Travel

Here I am, in the lounge at the JFK airport concluding my last day of this holiday. It is so amazing and after my very recent experience, very needed for mamas to lose touch of reality and mama-hood sometimes. Granted, I had my son with me, but so many of the mama-hood rituals are a lot easier on vacation. Bedtime routines don't need to be so strict; waking up for preschool and getting an argument over what to wear, brushing teeth, and leaving the house on time are all thrown out the window. And something about being out of the house most of the time has its own wonders of keeping the kids entertained during the day and exhausted during the night! For the first time in three years, I took a 12 day vacation, and during, I was a really fun and cool mama. But mama-hood, here I come again with preparations for the last days of Ramadan and the joys of eid coming up. Reality shall strike in 14 hours, thank god for both!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Different World

It always fascinates me when I travel how different people, cultures, and worlds are on this planet. I am currently abroad for a vacation, and I realized that our lives cannot be more different. For one, EVERTHING and EVERYWHERE is accessible for individuals with specials needs. Children and teens are a lot more independent here than they are back home. You barely sees families with nannies; it's just the mom and dad with their kids, responsibilities divided. Children look a lot more active because they are all wearing their sneakers and walking with their parents to their destinations. The commercials on TV include more warnings about the product than the actual commercial itself. Customer service is the REAL DEAL. If something doesn't work, then it is their job to make you happy. On the other hand, food is a lot different, I gained so much weight because everywhere you go, there are vending machines, supermarkets with all kinds of junk, pre-packed sandwiches, super-sized desserts and drinks etc. Yousef (3) is refusing to speak English here for some reason, I think he is intimidated, so he just hides behind my leg. It is really amusing watching him stay quiet and try to show off in some other way! Vacations are so uplifting!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

1 Jacuzzi Suite Please!

Have you ever heard of the Jacuzzi Suite at the Kempinski Hotel, Ishtar Dead Sea? Well now, you not only have the chance to hear of it, but to actually win an overnight stay in this legendary accommodation.

Just prove to us that you are the cool couple we are looking for and the prize is yours! It can be anything you think sets you apart from other couples. An interesting mutual hobby, crazy dance moves,  fun outings, or anything else you can think of that makes you unique, can win you a night to remember at the luxury Kempinski hotel's Jacuzzi Suite.

Send in your picture to ourmailbag@familyflavours.com no later than July 22, 2013. Terms and conditions apply.

P.S if you think this is an amazing opportunity there is still one more surprise award to be revealed upon winning! Go for it, there is no couple in the world that can do without a night off like this one.



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Berenice Beach Club

If you are looking for some fun in the sun and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of hotels and resorts, head down to Berenice Beach Club, located in Aqaba's South Beach among the Marine Park's Natural Aquarium.

Berenice beach club is ideal for sea-lovers and is home to some of the Red Sea's most beautiful diving and snorkelling spots, filled with coral and marine reefs. And if the beach alone is not enough, an array of activities such as water sports, cruises, snorkelling and diving are also available. With weeks of the summer vacation still ahead, planning a trip to Aqaba's Berenice Beach Club can be the perfect thing for you, your friends or family! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Would you do for a Job

Before I had kids, I knew that my passion was advertising. The first day I walked into my advertising agency, I remember telling myself, "this is it!" Of course, now that I have very young kids that demand a certain level of care and attention that I personally want to give, I have to kiss demanding jobs bye-bye. I am currently in the market for a part-time job. And while I don't have the luxury of being picky, my main dilemma is: do I look for a convenient job that might not necessarily be related to my experience or do I go for a more demanding job that surely fits my skills' profile? I feel like if I go after something I am not passionate about simply because it is convenient, that I am betraying myself; on the other hand, if I go for something more demanding I feel like I will be betraying my children. Someone please tell me there is a very simple answer to this!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Getting Too Comfortable

I can't believe how fast it can happen; one day you have plans to work hard, build a career etc. and the next you are attending play dates, planning birthdays and getting extremely busy in full-time mama land. I'm speaking for myself when I say that mama-hood can take over big time! I had always planned to go back to work, continue the career I so eagerly wanted and to always remember to keep a part of my life just for me. Today however, I realised that I got so sucked into my responsibilities that I may have become too comfortable in a lifestyle or routine I never thought I wanted. I had been planning for months now that I wanted to study a design course online. But, things kept on coming up. One day, it was my daughter's birthday. The next, we travelled on a family vacation, then my son went to summer camp, then another thing happened and another thing happened and I am still exactly where I began. I hear about other women who did both lives and I wonder how they managed! I envy them and I wonder if I can do it. Am I hiding behind the excuse of my kids because I think I am too tired to take on something new or is it just plain laziness?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Old Outdoors

Today, my family went camping. Among us were three kids, aged nine and seven, and for entertainment, I took a ball and a bike. Assuming that they would be eager to play freely, I said optimistically, why don't you start by playing "monkey in the middle?". Five minutes later, no one had gotten up. Again, "why don't you go ride the bike?". Still nothing. And then I realised, these kids have almost never played like we did. Out of the three of them, not a single one could ride the bike smoothly; they had never had to. They hadn't been exposed to the neighbourhood like we did when we were their age. They had never had enough space or a "safe street" where they could ride the bike. On the other hand, give them a tablet and watch them download an application, compete for the highest score and share tips like they have been playing it for years. It made me sad, really, to think that all my summers were spent in the streets, roller-blading, running, playing tag, riding the bike and saving my half dinar daily allowance to buy chips and juice at the end of the day. And on other days, it would be ice cream! And now, these kids, are uncomfortable with the most basic entertainment options for their ages. I think with my son, I will push him towards the outdoors more. Wen is he supposed to be able to ride the bike wthout training wheels?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Facing your Fears for your kids

There I was 29 years old, been through two pregnancies and deliveries, standing on top of the kiddie water slide, crying my eyes out (terrible fear of heights) wanting to teach my 2.5 year-old not to be afraid! My husband, step daughter and son were waiting for me down in the pool, trying to use all the logic in the world to make me jump. And while what looked to be four year olds and seven year olds were crossing ahead of me and throwing themselves head first, I stood there frozen with fear all the while trying to prove bravery to my son who comes to me for all his answers and bases his likes, dislikes and fears on my own. Day one: failed miserably. Day two: I went down one kiddie slide and bruised my finger and hand while attempting to slow myself down! Yet, proud to say I made it in one piece. Day three: with Yousef's tiny eyes on me, squinting from the sun and yelling; "go mama go", I took what was by far, the scariest leap I had taken in over 13 years, and went down a higher slide. With Yousef, my husband and Layla jumping and cheering and me trying to get a hold of my heart before it popped out of my chest, I knew the only reason I did it was to teach my then very scared child, that it is fun to try new things. While he laughed at me, he still refused to go up. Smart kid, naive mama!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

I love how my 2.5 year-old son thinks that the word "sorry" solves everything! Today, I walked into the bathroom only to find him soaking his brand new shoes in the tub filling them with water to "clean them". A bit later, the new lotion bottle was half empty while his left leg was all pink and smothered. Throughout the day, he yelled at me, hit me, threw a tantrum and refused to get into his car seat! And at the end of it all, he curls his lip, grabs my leg and says: "sorry mama", without me asking for an apology. I am losing my ability to deal with him, it feels like all I say to him is "no, stop, I said no, stop, why don't you listen to me!" He simply refuses to listen to me at one moment and then is hugging me and being super sweet the next. One minute I'm so annoyed and the next I'm melting over something adorable he said! Terrible twos or whatever it is that is happening, please END!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

TV Show Madness I was watching TV with my step-daughter the other day and I was so annoyed, I wanted to ban TV from my house all together. The show was about a group of teens who live together in a somewhat boarding-school setting. One of the teens' parents decide to visit, and the entire episode revolved around how that teen was very embarrassed by his parents and how he can get them to leave, but the best part is: "without hurting his parents' feelings"! So he tries lying, hiding, and tracking his parents into leaving. Finally, the parents who knew exactly what their child was trying to do, start embarrassing him even more on purpose. In the end, the parents and the teen have a heart-to-heart talk where they encourage their son to be honest, saying that they completely understand him not wanting them around, that it is totally normal he feels they embarrass him and that they will give him his space and leave! And it's not only this series and this episode, I have watched at least three other series with similar episodes. What an amazing concept to have on TV, teaching our kids that it is completely normal to be ashamed of their parents. As if the relationship doesn't get complicated enough during the teen years, we have shows that are preparing our pre-teens to be sneaky and embarrassed by us, before we even do anything! How are children supposed to be unaffected? How are they supposed to stay true to our religion, traditions and culture when it comes to valuing and respecting parents?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

It sometimes feel like we are running through life, with very little concentration and focus on what is happening. Today, after having a long, long day at home with construction workers, electricians and planning a party for thirty guests, I remember telling myself:" I cannot feel my legs." Many hours later, after all three kids were asleep, my husband told me:" I cannot feel my legs." Then it hit me, I'm sure other parents feel exactly like us. Babas and mamas running and running through life, trying to provide the best they can for their children; taking on exhausting jobs, maintaining a social life for themselves and their children, and constantly hopping from one thing to another. Then just like that, one year, then three years and then six years and many many more years have passed still with the same super-fast pace. Today, I decided my husband and I need to take a breath. All babas and mamas need to take a breath, slow down, really absorb the moment, no matter what it was, and remember that our youth, energy, and time should be respected. Just like we cherish our children's moments and want to make use of every opportunity, we should also do the same for ourselves. We owe it to ourselves and our children to take life easy sometimes, After all, we are teaching our kids life skills.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Detaching

As a parent, one of the hardest things to do is to detach your very-attached child from you. While Yousef is almost three and goes to preschool, he is still very attached to me when it comes to going to places without me. When it comes to my daily life, I have conditioned myself to running all my errands while he is at preschool and then conditioned myself to having him with me for the remainder of the day, no matter what I needed to do. While it bothers me sometimes, I have come to accept that this is my reality for the next few years.

However, as most couples with young children, my husband and I need a break, and we have the chance to travel to a destination we had been hoping to travel to for years! Only problem is, Yousef. 

As a mama, it is very difficult to realise that you will put your child through a difficult time, even if it is for a greater good. And while some "difficult times" are easier to bare than others, there are those" difficult times" that tear your heart out!

So, here I am, debating whether or not I should just wait for Yousef to outgrow his attachment or put him through a detachment phase that will surely be difficult. As parents, we never want our children to be too dependent on us, even emotionally, however, what determines the "right kind" of attachment, and how far shall we go to acheive it? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

The Phases of Life

I recently ran into an old college friend of mine. She is someone I always admired and envied, and I have to say, always wanted to be like. She was also the reason behind one of the best decisions I made, getting my masters from the UK. When we returned (she studied there too), we both took really different paths. I got married, had kids and devoted myself to my family. She excelled in her career, travelled everywhere for work, and did exactly what I thought I would do, devote herself to becoming successful. Fast forward to 2.5 years at a DVD shop. I of course was there with Yousef, buying him as many DVDs as possible to buy myself some sanity on that hectic day, while she was there looking for the latest movies. 20 minutes later I had gotten a major reality check. She was soon heading off to one of the most prestigious business schools there is to get her MBA. I was so happy for her, but something she said just clung to my head, she said: " I locked myself for the past 4 months studying non-stop, did the exam 4 times, that's how much I wanted it." While the latest goal I had put for myself was getting rid of my pregnancy weight! Laughing I said, "I go to the gym everyday, that's how much I wanted it." I'm not saying that moms are boring, goal-less or underachievers, on the contrary! It takes a lot of skill and brains to bring up a child. Not everyone can do what we do, and the outcome is amazing, I'm proud of that. But, I have to admit, for a brief moment, I felt defeat. And deep deep deep down, felt a bit shy that my professional life is currently taking the back seat. Seeing her brought back all the memories of the person I loved being, and the goals I was so eager to achieve. I then looked at Yousef holding his brand new DVD with a very cute look on his face and I remembered that I had another baby at home who will probably do something cute when we walked into the house and thought to myself, life has always been about phases.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora


Judgemental Mamas
In my daughter's swimming class which requires mamas' and babies' participation together, all of us mamas are with our babies in the water. In addition to the importance of the mama learning to teach her infant swimming skills, the importance of quality time between mama and child is constantly emphasised by the instructor. 
That is why when pregnant mama with toddler came with her nanny and let the nanny go into the pool with her so, all of us mamas were a bit confused. Of course, we could all see that she was pregnant and justified the situation, yet we quietly had our judgments. None of us really got how bad the mama felt until I went into the changing rooms.
There, I found pregnant mama standing behind the lockers, crying for her crying boy! And the first thing she told me, a complete stranger to her, was"please don't think I am the type of mama who throws my child at the nanny, I always play with him and do all the activities with him, he is never without me, however when I went into the water last week, all the jumping and movement really affected my pregnant body."
I felt so sorry for her, and realised how us mama are always and forever afraid of other mamas' judgment! So many of us judge, no matter how kind and thoughtful we are. I think it comes from our innate desire to have the perfect family and the perfect kids. No matter how much we deny it, we hate to have our kids behave as kids, especially in front of strangers. And no matter how amazing you are, at some point or the other, you surely say to yourself:" I will never do that, my kids will never act like that, etc."
Yesterday, my heart went out to this crying mama behind the lockers who felt so judged and weak that she confided in a total stranger. Telling her that  her situation is completely understandable did not ease her discomfort a bit, but only made her want to explain the situation more. It seems that no matter how "in control" you think you are, a mama's insecurities towards her own kids will always surface around other mamas!  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

نكهة اليوم مع نورة


مع اقتراب العطلة الصيفية، نبدأ البحث الطويل وفي بعض الأحيان، المربك بكثرة خياراته لإيجاد أفضل البرامج الصيفية المناسبة لأطفالنا. فحين نبحث عن الحل الأنسب لأسرتنا، يمكننا الرجوع إلى آخر عدد (شهر حزيران) من مجلتي نكهات عائلية و Family Flavours للمزيد من المعلومات الخاصة بأمتع البرامج الصيفية والوجهات السياحية لكافة الأعمار.

 اما اذا كنا اهل لأطفال صغار في أعوامهم الأولى فسيسرنا الرجوع إلى ملحق نكهات صغيرة أو Baby Flavours المتكامل الذي يحتوي على كافة المرافق الداخلية والخارجية لقضاء أجمل الأوقات مع أطفالنا في مراحلهم الأولى. 
و إذا كنا نطمح لإيجاد برنامج متخصص لطالبة أو طالب مدرسي يضفي الانتاجية والمرح على العطلة الصيفية فقموا بزيارة مركز اللغات الحديث لدورات إنجليزية مكثّفة خاصة بطلاب و طالبات المدارس، فهو المركز الوحيد المعتمد من جامعة ميتشيغان الأمريكية وكامبردج البريطانية!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

My God-Given Alarm Clocks

No one really understands what it is like to be sleep-deprived like mamas do! Why does my 2.5 year-old still wake up and why doesn't my almost 1-year-old baby sleep through the night?!

On average, both wake me up 4-5 times a night, it's killing me. But what I find to be worse is that the expectations of mamas do not decrease because she is sleep-deprived. On the contrary, they are exactly the same and on many days increase. You still need to cook, function, socialise, care for and entertain your kids the next day. You also need to attend to your husband and if you have a job, then consider your own sleeping needs thrown out the window

I read that I should start giving my baby water instead of milk and she will eventually stop waking up; tried that, failed miserably. I need a solution and I need it fast, it is really ridiculous how exhausted I am!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Bouncing from Diet to Diet

Like so many mamas who suffer with pregnancy weight, I became obsessed with shedding those kilos, I didn't care how hard it would be as long as it happened and it happened fast. 

If I am going to be honest, I have to say that I have been on a diet for the past year. I diet, then binge eat, then diet again. And the one thing I kept telling myself is: "I want to look like one of those mamas who looks like her body never had to endure pregnancy."

Lately however, and after losing more weight than I should have, I started to become very very tired. No energy, no tolerance, and zero strength. By the time it's 3 pm, I just want to call it a day.

Finally, I decided to do something about it. My blood tests showed that I am extremely unhealthy. Ding, ding, ding, " something can happen to me and then where will my kids be?!" I'm always nagging at my husband to become healthier, work less, sleep more, eat better and I always tell him: " what will our kids do if you suddenly collapse?!"  And turns out, I was doing the same. I was slowly but surely destroying my body with crazy dieting business! And what's worse, I realized that our kids will probably take our habits, how scary is that?!? I would hate to raise a daughter with self-image issues or a son who doesn't care about the quality of his food. As if processed, canned, coloured, hormone-treated foods we have these days are not enough, I was actually teaching my children to pay even less respect to their bodies. 

It's time for a change, a real one!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

22 Different Cuisines at ICS tomorrow!

Don't forget to join us tomorrow May 10th, at the ICS food fair offering flavours from 22 different places around the world!

An even more important reason to join is that ICS will donate a portion of the earnings to the local communities in need. I have been to the ICS before, interviewed their principal, staff and students. It is a huge part of their philosophy to do charity exhibitions, food fairs, and fund-raising events. There are so many foundations here in Jordan that can use such help, it feels good to teach your kids that what they will be spending and enjoying will help others who are probably their same age, yet less fortunate. I sometimes worry that our children might be too sheltered and unaware of the blessings they have! Taking them to a fundraising event is a good way to teach them to give back by doing so many fun and different activities!

Family Flavours and Nakahat A'iliyeh are also doing their share in adding to the fun with promotions, discounts, fun giveaways and raffle prizes!

So, come to the fair, have a few flavours from here and there, make use of our discount rates and promotions and enjoy your time.