Category Archives: Reflection

Listen. Really listen Mummy! (reminder to self on the day I felt like the worst mom in the world *criessss*)

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This morning I was a monster mummy for sure! I screamed bloody murder and was very impatient with Zayd. And the sweet boy that he is always ready to forgive me when I said sorry. I spent some time after that to reflect one what was happening and why I was unleashing this really ugly part of myself on him and this is what I learnt.

I was changing the sheets and was very excited about it (because I am a clean freak and loves all things neat and tidy), when Zayd popped his head out from the bathroom (he was having his morning shower) saw me changing the sheets and scream “I don’t want fresh sheet day!”. At first I ignored him. But he continued his whining and nagging and it got the best of me.

I snapped and get really angry at him. I forced him to quickly brush his teeth and impatiently made him finish his showers – basically being a top grumpy mother! And he cried of course, probably not understanding why I am angry at him just because of him expressing his dislike for fresh sheet day.

Ok, let’s backtrack. He, like me and his dad – likes things clean too. He used to love ‘fresh sheet’ day and loves helping me and his dad doing the changing of the sheets. So, I don’t understand why he was behaving like he was today.

But, one thing I realised (after introspection), is that I am actually angry at the assumption I arrived at because of his whining. When he complained I don’t like ‘fresh sheet’ day – what I heard was that ‘I don’t like what mummy is doing. I don’t appreciate mummy wanting to clean stuff for me.”. It’s stupid I know. But I took his simple complain and turned it into a melodrama in my head, spurred by my own personal issue.

After I calmed down, I called him back gently to me and asked him again why he didn’t like the ‘fresh sheet day’. He said because he liked the sheet he had. He doesn’t like the new sheet. He doesn’t want me to change the things that he like.

I realised that as he is growing up, his preference and personality is becoming firmer and stronger. He had definite ideas of what he likes and what he didn’t like. Of course, sometimes it will go against common hygiene practise like changing the sheets – but 3 years old don’t understand that yet. So, it’s my job as mom to get out of my head and don’t let my own personal issue interfere with my mothering.

What I need to do was to calm myself down. Be present. And listen, really listen to what he was expressing. He didn’t do that just to annoy me. He had real legit reason (in his 3 years old head) – and it is my job to get to the bottom of it.

I felt really bad today and I still do even as I am writing this. 😦

Ya Allah, please help me in  controlling my anger. Please release me from the burden of old emotional issues. Please help me to always listen and be present with my child. Please forgive my terrible mothering today and other days too – and guide me to always be better mother, better daughter, better wife, better Muslim every day in every way ameen.

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The flip side of the coin of mummyhood

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I had to write this to remind me of life and it’s reality. The twists and turns and flip side of coins. The other day, I was reminded of this fact more than ever.

I was talking with a few acquaintances that I have not seen for a while. She asked me of my plan. And I told him I am starting my PhD this year. What will happen to your child? Well, maybe I will put him in pre-school since he’s going to be 3 this year.

And than I saw it. That flicker of disdain. That shrug of disbelief. That eye signal that means ‘ah, one of thoooose woman’. It hit me with a pang. I knew it all too well. Because I was one of those woman before. The judgy, self-righteous mummy.

Having been on that side of the coin, I knew all too well what she was thinking. How could this ungrateful mom leave her child to pursue her dream? What a selfish mom!

I’ll tell you the background story of this woman that I know for a few years now. She struggled to conceive. Everyday she dreamed of cuddling a child of her own. In her desire, her dream, her frustration – of course she could not imagine why somebody, after having their own child, would want to leave them. And of course it was easier for her to judge.

Her story is not so different from mine. I struggled to conceive for years. And when I did, I lost my first pregnancy. And when I gave birth to my rainbow baby (a term used to call a child that is born after a loss/miscarriage) – like her, I could not imagine for the life of me to leave this precious child. My mind, my heart, my soul was wired to just be with this child that I had wanted and prayed for so earnestly for years. And because of that, I am blindsided to other side of the coin. In my own tunnel-vision, I could not understand other mother’s situation. I became a judgy, self-righteous mum. I thought all mum must think like me, be like me, and behave just like me.

Stupid, I know. And at time, cruel too. Because mums, they came in many colour, many shapes, many stories. Some do came with a story like mine. So it’s easier for me to identify with them. But some came with other story. Some came with challenge of work commitment. Some with being the sole-earner. Some with their own responsibility to the community. Some with a special-needs child. Every mum is different. And everyone of them is amazing.

For at the core of all mums, despite the differences in their stories, they only want one thing and one thing only – to do the best for their child.

Although I knew her and her situation – I still felt hurt by her reaction. I guess this is Allah’s way of showing me this must how all the other mothers felt when I said/do something out of my self-righteousness before. I apologise to all the mothers that I used to judge in my own ignorance. It certainly is easier to judge from our own self-constructed pedestal – but it sure doesn’t feel good at the receiving end.

I think we all women must really work harder at being kind to each other. It’s easy to judge, it’s harder to understand. It’s easy to flock with like-minded people and gossip and spew hatred towards people who are different than us. It’s harder to be with those like-minded folks and say – hey wait a minute, let’s pause and think – what is their story?

We really should start learning how to listen, really listen to other people’s story.

Student Mummy

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It’s 5.30 in the morning. In a few hours will be my first class of the year. Yes, my dear. Now mummy is a student, again. I don’t know why this feels a bit..significant since I am used to going to weekend classes all the time. So, this won’t be that much different. But I suppose there’s a difference between learning every other weekend, as and when the mood strikes you and if the situation permits – compared to a dedicated committed learning for 3 years, attached to one university!

*ok inhale..exhale..inhale..exhale*

So, hello to the new side of mummy. Yes, I might have a *slight* apprehension towards long-time commitment. ehem. (and yes, 3 years is long in my vocabulary)

But my darling son, I want you to know that this year, as part of mummy’s life-long learning and dedication towards self-growth, I decide to embrace ‘the hard things’ with the mantra – WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. Your ‘hard things’ might be different than mummy’s (and you will figure this out when you grow up).

So sometimes, we might hold on to our ‘hard things’ for far too long. And sometimes, we don’t even realise what our ‘hard things’ are. In my definition, ‘hard things’ are the things that we felt innately very difficult, but are the things that needed to be overcome in order for us to grow into a better person everyday.

We all have this in us, one way or another. And Allah puts this in each one of us to test us. And by struggling (jihad) and persevering with patience, we will achieve His reward and ultimately becomes successful.

Mummy’s journey towards becoming a student again is not an easy one. Laced with many challenges and disappointments – as most ‘hard things’ in life do. But I kept making dua and kept persevering because I knew that if Allah wills it, and there’s nothing that can stand in the way.

But in order to get to this stage, I need to do lots of internal reflection and correction. Especially on my intention. Why did I want to become a student again? And I have to keep asking this questions to myself until I cleared all the junks that is accumulated in my heart. So today, I would like to state my intention here as a reminder to myself, and as a way for you to know about it in the future 🙂

Mummy’s intention in becoming a student of knowledge again:

  1. To earn the pleasure of Allah.

Allah loves those who seeks knowledge for the sake of Him. And I would love to be amongst those that Allah loves.

  1. To learn how to write and tell stories better.

I have always loved writing and I always have so many things that I want to write about. I hope by equipping myself with more knowledge I can do this better insha Allah.

  1. To work in contributing to the beneficial knowledge as a means of my everlasting ‘amal’

When a person dies, only 3 things will accompany him/her into the next life (ie one’s everlasting ‘amal’). There are: 1) ongoing charity 2) beneficial knowledge that is taught/passed on 3) the dua of a righteous offspring. So, this is a part of my ‘retirement planning’ and as you can see, another one being you yourself, my righteous child 🙂

So, there you have it. And In the name of Allah, Most Loving, Most Merciful – I start my new journey 🙂

 

Calming the tantrum

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I wanted to write about this particular experience that I had with calming Zayd’s tantrum recently. He was having an epic tantrum as he usually had when he woke up after Asr’ or near Maghrib. When he is in this mood, every little things can set him off. And normally, by the end of the day – I too have lost most of my energy and became impatient with him. But that day I decided to do things differently.

I watched as his little body shook and tremble with his tantrum. I realised that he is not in control of himself and he might actually be afraid of the intensity of his emotion. So instead of normally getting impatient and asking him to stop – I just sit down and be there for him while verbalising what I thought is happening to him.

“Zayd can’t stop crying is it..”

“You want to stop but you can’t..”

“I know it’s hard sometimes to stop crying when we are in the middle of it..”

And I picked him up and do the distraction technique by trying to count how many taxi are zooming by in front of the house. We managed to count until 10 and he seems to calm down after a bit.

And then I want to do the normal thing I did which is to ask him to take his bath, but he refused and he started to cry again. At this point, normally I will be impatient again. But that day I decided to just sit and be with him. So I said, “Ok Zayd, just sit down calmly with mummy first and when you are ready you can tell mummy when you are ready to mandi”

He calmed down again, and nodded quietly while hugging me.

After a while, I can sense that he became calmer and he said ‘Ok, mummy Zayd dah ready nak mandi”

And his mood completely changed and he became so much happier and calmer.

It made me realised that sometimes all it takes is for me to be a little bit more patient, understanding and empathetic with him. I realised his emotions are getting stronger as he grow up and I am sure sometimes it’s hard for him to control it. Even us as adults had trouble controlling our emotion sometimes, and we had years and years of practice! I realised in his toddler years I need to be more of a guidance and mentor to him in learning and managing his emotions. I need also to let him know that it is safe for him to express his emotions with me.

I also learnt that sometimes we parents forget that as little as they are – they are a person and they had their own wishes and wants. And when we honour and acknowledge that they became more secure in their relationship with us.

I am grateful for this learning experience that Allah gave me. My years with Zayd is getting more and more interesting! 🙂

Midnight reflection

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I am supposed to be writing for my other project. But I am feeling a bit introspective nowadays. So here are a few thoughts that I would like to share:

I keep waiting for the time where I felt, ok, maybe I had enough of this whole SAHM/WAHM deal and get myself some ‘proper’ work. And then I looked at my boy, and I felt my heart swell. Literally swell and balloon up it filled my whole chest with love and pride I felt for him. I am so grateful to be able to have the opportunity to be his mother. And to be by his side everyday. To watch him grow from this little soft chubby baby to this talkative active strong toddler. What a privilege!

And yet there are days I felt like such a failure.

I felt like such a failure because despite my education and work experience – I am a ‘only’ a SAHM.
I felt like lesser a person because I don’t earn my own money
I felt ashamed sometimes, frustrated, disappointed (insert all negative emotions)

and I could be feeling like these for a while. Until I saw Zayd said something completely out-of-the-blue and made me wonder ‘when did he learn that?’ – and I am marveled again at the wonder that is Allah’s creation. And my heart would be filled with so much love and pride again it pushed out all those negative emotions. And then, it yo-yoed back and forth for a bit.

Truth is – I am feeling all those negative emotions because I am not grateful enough to Allah. I am not filling my heart and mind enough with remembrance of Allah and all the wonderful things He has blessed me with. Only 3 years ago, I was crying almost everyday, begging and hoping for a baby. And now when Allah grant me one – I am still ungrateful! Astaghfirullah!

Truth is – I let myself be sidetracked by what I thought people want me to do, to be. When I knew exactly what I want to do and to be. I always knew. Ever since I was young. Yet, I let myself get tangled with other people’s expectation of me and I get distracted and dejected.

Truth is – I am happy and content with my life. I no longer feel the need to run around looking for people’s approval. I no longer need to find validation. I no longer feel like I have to stretch myself thin just to feel that I am enough.

I am at the stage in my life where I truly feel, whether I do a lot or a little – I am enough.

Being a mother is enough. Being at home with my child is enough. Being able to pursue my writing is enough.

And if there’s something else that I feel I need more of – it is more gratefulness in my heart.

to be a mother

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to be soft, but steady
to be firm, but flexible
to love wholeheartedly, yet live with detachment
to be always ready at arm’s length –
so you are close enough to be pulled into a hug
and to be pushed for him to breathe and be

to always teeter on the middle thread
to always seek the elusive equilibrium

*****

I wrote this a few months ago and totally forgot to post! That’s mother’s brain for you 😛

Clock and speedometer

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A quick story I would like to record here about Zayd. 🙂

A few days ago, while we were in the car, he suddenly pointed to the speedometer in the car and said ‘clock’. He is in this phase of pointing and naming things. What struck me as interesting is that he can only name the things according to what he knew. And in his limited 19 months storage of vocabulary and knowledge – the speedomoter is a clock.

The thing is, this nature doesn’t change, even when we are all grown up. We can only see and appreciate what we already know. But in our cynical adult way, when we came across something we don’t really know, rather than trying to get to know it and understanding it better – we pass our judgement on it. When faced with something unknown, we fear it. We mocked it. We pushed it away.

Observing Zayd learning made me reflect on my own attitude towards the many things that I still don’t know. Or the things that I thought I knew.

May Allah open both our hearts and minds to receive beneficial knowledge everyday in every way. May both of us always be eager learners, avid readers, keen observers, and humble do-ers ameen.