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