Mama of two

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One of my brothers asked me today what it’s like having two kids. My first response was “Someone is always crying.” Then I added, “But it’s really cute when they play together.”

And that is a summary of my life, as a mama of two. Mama guilt doesn’t leave. It just multiplies, and grows extra heads. And then even the mama-guilt-extra-heads start fighting with each other. And please don’t say – “But your mum had six kids, you only have two!” because that, my friends, is a WHOLE OTHER STORY. #don’tgothere #twoisplenty

Cute moments in the car: My baby in her car seat, trying to lean forward to take a peek at her big sis. Big sis making funny faces and voices, making baby sis laugh and smile.

Not so-cute moments in the car: Trying really, really hard to do breathing exercises and stay calm in KL traffic while either Baby 1 or 2 is crying, or when both are.

I love, love, love Dr Laura Markham’s Peaceful Parenting approach. Deep thanks to Fareena Alam for sharing the Aha! Parenting website with me, all those tiring years ago ❤ If you enjoy Janet Lansbury’s Respectful Parenting, then you’ll like Dr Laura Markham’s approach too.  I just find Aha! Parenting’s three principles a lot easier to apply on a day-to-day basis. This is a nice cheat sheet to stick on the wall or – even better – memorise. The test is remembering to apply it all in the heat of the moment, when there are tears and screaming. But hey, the joy of kids is that every day, they give you LOTS of opportunities to practice lol.

I’ve definitely noticed that it’s easier for Taskeen to cooperate with me when she feels connected to me. Getting her to giggle helps her let go of tension and then she’ll say “O-kay, Mama.” Because she’s so spirited, trying to strong-arm or yell at her doesn’t work anyway. She’s compelled us to up our game, since she was very little. So we’ve been asking her “What’s the solution?” since she could understand and respond. But the hilarious downside of that is her sometimes saying, with whole-body scorn, “That is not a good idea!” lol. Irfan and I want her to be a trouble-shooter and a problem-solver, so one of the mantras I repeat to her is, “We’re a problem-solving family!” I read somewhere that the opposite of blame is problem-solving. I like that.

Little Husna is almost 7 months and has found her voice!!! She recently discovered coughing, now that she’s trying out solids. And she proudly showed me how she could cough, then she grinned. And then Taskeen started coughing too, just to show that she’s still the boss. Haha. OH MY BABIES.

 

Hanna Alkaf’s Q&A tomorrow! @yesitshanna

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I’m SO excited about attending tomorrow’s talk. Hanna Alkaf is my hero because she:

1)  got published through Salaam Reads, my dream imprint.

2) has TWO KIDS UNDER FOUR!

3) has TWO KIDS UNDER FOUR!!!!

4) is incredibly humble, supportive, and very “if I did it, then so can you!”

I’m just sayin’. Wow. Can’t wait to hold her book in my haaaands next year.

Hanna’s Q&A will be my baby Husna’s first earthside literary event haha. See you all tomorrow at Kino inshaAllah ❤

Selamat Hari Raya!

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Belated Selamat Hari Raya, Eid Mubarak, maaf zahir dan batin!

SO. I’m still alive. Thank you to everyone who took the time to congratulate me on the birth of my youngest girl. My newborn is now a 5 month old baby! My toddler will turn three soon and will transform into a preschooler! I have never been so time-starved in my life!

Inhala, exhala.

I’m enrolled in this incredible online poetry course by Baraka Blue – Opening The Eye of The Heart. If you resonate with poetry being a spiritual practice, want to deepen your craft and connect to other like-minded souls…this course is absolutely for you. (FYI I’m not sure if there are any spots left – just give it a shot!)

Working through this incredible course is how I nourish myself, after an entire day of nourishing my daughters. Writing 30 poems in 30 days sounds like a gift beyond measure for me, in this stage of my life. Alas, my daughters will not tell me, “Mama, go ahead and fill your self-care cup by tapping into your love for poetry.” Well, at least not for another TWO DECADES.

So, here’s to me and all mamas who need to carve out time to recharge. I matter. You matter. We matter. Nourished mamas have more to give their little ones. Rinse, repeat.

**I wrote a draft blog post before this, about finally realising that I’m a Creative Rainbow Mother, and not an Earth Mother. But then my life swallowed me up again. Ha. So I’ll get around to publishing that soon. Ish. Soon-ish.

Digging Deep, Facing Self LIVE in KL, Malaysia! This Sunday 22nd Nov, 10 am – 1 pm @ Cufica

PrintI have wonderful news! Join my poetic coach and mentor, the talented Caits Meissner, this Sunday morning for a Digging Deep, Facing Self (DDFS) crash course ❤ Caits is flying down all the way from New York, bringing her suitcase of healing poetic balms to Malaysia for the very first time.

My sister Aisyah and I have the honour and pleasure of being amongst the DDFS alumni. Under Caits’ expert tutelage, both of us have had our poems selected for publication at the Islamic Museum of Australia! I hope that her deft touch, courageous prompts and compassion will inspire you into your own space of healing and wonder.

This Sunday night, join Caits Meissner, myself and a range of local artists for poetry performances around the theme “Deeper Consciousness”.

My deepest thanks and gratitude goes to the organisers for making this tour possible – Third Space, Poetry Cafe KL, Blubricks, Cufica, and the American Embassy – especially Jamal Raslan. Thank you for making it possible for me to meet Caits in real life!

If you love poetry, writing, healing and everything in between, please come and bring your loved ones. May this be means of adding beauty to our lives!

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Interview with Saltanat Bora, Founder of The Modest Bride

Today’s blog post is an exclusive interview with the lovely and talented Saltanat Bora, founder of The Modest Bride. modestbride1Tell me about the ethos behind The Modest Bride.

The ethos behind the blog revolves around the concept of ‘modesty’ and what this entails, not just in the world of weddings, but in life as well. To me, modesty is more than just a ‘style’ or ‘look’. It dictates how one speaks, acts and lives. It’s a holistic ideal that informs one’s lifestyle choices, beyond what one decides to wear. Whilst dressing with humility is important, modesty is also about living a life conscious of the impacts of our choices regarding what we eat, how we consume and how we choose to celebrate, amongst many other things.

Of course, all of this stems from the religion I choose to follow, that is, Islam. Modesty, or ‘haya’, is core to the religion. Modesty in front of one’s Creator should be the driving force in striving to live a life of humility, honesty, and a deeper consciousness of how we live.

What inspired you to start it?

It was frustration more than anything that pushed me to start the Instagram page, and later the blog. Having been married myself and gone through the nightmare that is planning a wedding, and seeing many others around me go through the same, made me realise that the way we took on certain (western) cultural expectations of what a wedding should (or shouldn’t) be, was entirely against what I struggled for as a Muslim. Community expectation that weddings should be elaborate and really, beyond an average person’s means to afford, seemed wholly unfair and unjust. I was fed up with the same old ‘big hall’ weddings, dripping in flowers, for hundreds of people the bride/groom didn’t even know, and also, the big, over the top, anything but modest, wedding dresses that (Hijabi) brides were wearing. I knew that something had to change.

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Who is your target audience?

Although a lot of what informs my blog, my direction and my ethos is from Islam, my target audience is not necessarily for the Muslim. I believe that my love for a minimalist aesthetic and an eco-friendly, fair-trade, organic lifestyle would resonate with a much wider audience. I was right! A lot of my followers are non-Muslim. I also don’t think that ‘modesty’ is a value unique to Muslims.

What do you hope to achieve from your blog?

My ultimate aim would be to see more and more people be inspired by the blog, and have the courage to do things differently to the norm. For people to understand that their choices have consequences on the world, other people and the environment. That simply because they are getting married, does not mean that all our values regarding modesty and humility suddenly get left at the door. In fact, it is more pertinent that on that “big day” we maintain and uphold these values because it is an important step in our lives. It should be crucial that we take this step in the right way so that it ensures, to the best of our ability, that things start off in the most blessed, joyful, correct manner.

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If there was one thing you want young women and men to take away from your blog, what would it be?

Don’t compromise on your values just because there is a societal expectation to do things a certain way!

What would be your ‘ideal wedding’?

The ideal wedding for me is a small, intimate celebration with the bride and groom’s closest family and friends at a beautiful garden location, maybe even a backyard! Home made (organically sourced) food that’s not too fussy, DIY elements such as a photograph garland of the bride and groom, their family and friends etc. Big lanterns in clusters to set the mood, locally sourced flowers in an eclectic array of vases, lace tablecloths, a yummy “naked” cake-see blog for clarification 😉 – and lots and lots of love and joy in an easy, comfortable atmosphere.

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My poem, Immigration, selected for publication at the IMA! @caitsmeissner #islamicmuseumaustralia

1209718_writingI’m thrilled to announce that my poem, Immigration, will be exhibited at the Islamic Museum of Australia from Oct 10th to Jan 10th 🙂 I’m even more excited that my youngest sister’s poem will also be exhibited 🙂 Go Aisyah!

My deepest thanks and gratitude goes to the talented Caits Meissner, who so lovingly nurtured my sister and me, along with our poems. Caits, you are my poetic personal trainer.

The IMA’s opening night function will be on Friday 10th October, at 7 pm. If you’re able to, please do head down and celebrate the beauty produced by various Australian Muslim artists. In a world splintering at the edges, it helps to be reminded of the constancy and presence of the Divine, threaded through our lives and artwork. There is still so much beauty in this world, living alongside the pain.

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National Geographic photo contest open for 4 more days!

Calling all photography enthusiasts! National Geographic’s photo contest is open up til June 30. Entry fee is US $15. Official categories include Travel Portraits; Sense of Place; Outdoor Scenes and Spontaneous Moments.

As much as I am a lover of words, beautiful images sink right into the soul – no words needed.

I have many fond memories of flipping through National Geographic magazines as a child.  My father would bring them home and I’d devour them, marvelling at the stunning photographs from all over the world. I was intrigued by places very foreign to me, like the Arctic, or the dense jungles of the Amazon. Imagine the life of a National Geographic photojournalist! Lots of travel, adventure, and jumping timezones. A girl can dream 🙂

Click on this Atlantic article for a breathtaking glimpse at some of this year’s entries. Gorgeous!