Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Life Purpose

My life coach asked me to think of my "life purpose". After taking me through a number of exercises and steps, the question came: "what is your life purpose?" And I have to say, I could not answer. I did not, and still do not, know what my life purpose is. What kind of impact do I want to have on the world and the people around me?

According to her, it can take up to several months to figure it out however, this is what I found to be extremely ironic! Every day, I plan my day to the smallest detail. I pay so much attention to my kids, I kill myself at the gym, I work freelance jobs to stay in the job market, I stay in touch with friends, I try to find a person to help, I read the news, I educate myself, I do everything that would make me and anyone looking at me from the outside feel like I know exactly what I want. And then, when the 4-word- question came up, I could not answer.

As a mama, I am advising you to try to answer this question because I think that there is no better inspiration for your kids than that of seeing their mama go after her

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Live Cooking, Great Cookware 

I'm so looking forward to the upcoming Zara Kidz Expo, which I have attended with my kids for the last 3 years. This year is extra special because my friend and idol Sana' Madanat, star of "Sana's Kitchen" featured monthly in Family Flavours and Nakahat 'Ailiyeh, will be performing live cooking classes using her favourite appliances by Homeplug. 

If you haven't tried any of her recipes yet, you don't want to miss out on her live performance at Zara Kidz Expo starting April 19-21. Grab a complimentary cup of coffee prepared by one of Homeplug's signature coffee makers and witness first-hand what high quality, affordable appliances by Smeg, Blomberg, and Severin can help you do in the kitchen.

Last but not least, subscribe yourself or someone you know to Family Flavours or Nakahat 'Ailiyeh through the expo and enter the draw for a JOD 100 gift voucher by Homeplug. Visit the Family Flavours booth and hopefully we can finally get a chance to meet in person!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Rewarding the Positive

I am attending a "Behaviour Management Workshop" concerning children. In it, one MAJOR question that has always troubled me has been answered: "should I praise/reward my son for behaviour he should be doing in the first place?" For example, do I praise him for cleaning up the mess he made? Do I reward my son for not hitting his sister? Do I thank him for listing to my instructions and going to bed on time?

I always worried that if I reward or praise something that should be done in the first place, my child will grow up thinking that he was doing something extra, something that is not necessary for him to do, but he did it anyways. Turns out I was completely wrong. One of the most important things you can do for your child is to reward or praise the desired behaviour until it becomes a habit.

Our instructor says it takes 21 days for a behaviour to become a habit, and that is a LONG time when you are looking from each end of the line (behaviour you want or behaviour you don't want). Therefore, I am saying this from experience, reward, reward, reward, with something as simple as a praise or sticker, as fun as going out for ice cream, and as relaxing as reading an extra bedtime story. Hopefully, it will get you where you want to be, somewhat sane in mama-land :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

My husband accused me of "crushing my son's spirit" by putting him in the naughty corner.

According to him, the naughty corner technique is a cruel and belittling technique that should NEVER be used on any child, no matter how bad he is behaving! This of course brought up a whole new discussion about his vs. my parenting styles, about our expectations of our children and about what our parents did with us while we were growing up.

According to him, because he never got punished (only reasoned with) while growing up, our kids should be treated the same way. "Discipline is important, but not in the form of naughty corners," he says.

I on the other hand, completely disagree. I believe that children's brains are not ALWAYS capable of understanding second changes, reasoning and prolonged discussions of what is right and wrong, discipline has to sting sometimes and that can mean the naughty corner, no TV, being grounded etc.

Between the both of us, he is the one making chocolate stuffed pancakes for breakfast, strawberry and sugar-filled smoothies as snacks, the "fun" parent who is always wrestling with them, scaring them and making them laugh. I am the one with the routine, fighting for bath time, healthy meals, bedtime, no TV time etc. I was the fun person with my nieces and nephews, never in a million years did I think I will be the serious one!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Loving Parents as they Should be Loved

I have unfortunately been witnessing my cousin battle with cancer, and as I watch her kids (who are grown up and working) hover over her, waiting on her hand and foot, I realised how strange this world is. At one time, the tables were turned; she was caring for them 24/7, rescheduling her life to cater to them, and staying up with them if they were ill.  Now, they are taking time off work, rescheduling their lives to make sure she is never alone, and making sure is she taken care of.

The word "parents" gets a whole new meaning when you, yourself become one. Suddenly, it's strikes like an epiphany: "oh, so this is how much love, time and effort it took for my parents to raise me." "Ok, this is why my mom seemed exhausted a lot of the time." "My mom had every right to yell at me when I said this." 

And then you begin to realise things that might cause you shame. For me, I now realise how much it must have stung when I compared my mom to other moms and told her I wished she was more like them. I now understand that during our fights, she must have cried too. I now understand how much sacrifice it took for my dad to work so hard to provide and educate the eight of us!
If you will go away with one thing after reading this post, let it be the realisation that most of us barely do enough to repay our parents. Most of use the excuse that we are busy, forgetting that their lives must have been busy as well, but they chose us.

After seeing my cousin and realising how fickle life is, I don't think any of us can afford to waste more time to really appreciate our parents as they should be appreciated. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

Baby Number 2

When you have your second child, daily life needs a lot of organising and juggling. It no longer revolves around a single child's needs, two need you just as much. My son is two and a half years old while my daughter is ten months.

For the first year and a half of Yousef's life, my life seemed to be put on hold until he got older. While it was surely annoying, it was doable. Now with baby number 2, life cannot be put on hold; I have a a child who needs to be dropped off and picked up from preschool, his social commitments, medical appointments, my job commitments, etc.

The only time I have alone with Mona is the three hours he is at preschool during which I usually go to the gym, attend to my freelance job, get the grocery, cook, run errands, and anything else that is a lot easier to finish when he is not around.

The guilt is killing me, even though she is in good hands, they are not my hands. However, I also realise that this window of three hours of "child-free" time has made me a happier, less-stressed mama, but then, I feel guilty again for feeling happy about being "child-free". I love my kids dearly and I am enjoying watching them grow up however, how do you get rid of this nagging guilt that you should be doing more?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Flavour of the Day with Noora

A Scary Response

I took my son to a very popular children's play area the other day, a place that I am sure sees at least 100 kids a day. As I was sitting watching them play, I realised that the location of the benches is very dangerous, located by a low fence in a position where if a child stands on and leans forward, he will surely fall, head first, 2 levels high.

As any concerned mama, I went and spoke to the manager and said:" the benches you have upstairs are really dangerous and you should consider relocating them, if a child comes out of the game tired and thinks to stand on them, he will surely fall." His response was not only shocking to me but ignited all my anger: "and where is this child's mother?!" he said in a mocking tone. After pointing out that in that specific area children were being entered without their parents (staff were recording the children's name on a piece of paper which confirms that most parents were not with their kids), the manager still would not admit that the benches were of any danger.

This is a children's play area, only the safest procedures should be allowed and still I left the place arguing with the manager who refused to take any responsibility for the environment they were offering! How comforting it is to know that this kind of mentality runs such a popular place!