Life of a mother, an aspirant, a dreamer…it’s complicated!

One fine morning, while working at my desk at office, I started crying. “why am I doing this?” I asked myself. “why am I putting myself under this much grief and guilt?”. “Because you are doing a great job and have a bright career ahead. You are earning a hefty amount of money to support your present and secure a future”

Yes, that was true. I loved my job and I was also making headway in my career. It had been five and a half years I was happily doing my job and earned much recognition in the industry I worked in. I had a perky future and was inching towards my goal steadily.

Then a miracle happened. I had my first child, a boy, the star of my eyes, the angel of my life, Munzir! The moment I held him in my arms, I knew that it’s only him I wanted. He was perfect with his tiny little fingers which held my fingers tightly, his bright shiny eyes with which he saw me for the first time, his tiny feet, his baby smell which I still remember.

I was enjoying and also struggling with this new role called motherhood while I was in my maternity leave. During this period, every night I used to think, few more days left till I join work. How will I leave my baby and be absent for that long? After I had him, I have known no other feeling other than craving to be with him all the time. It cringed my heart every time when the thought of leaving him and going to work crossed my mind.

But what was my choice? Wasn’t it the obvious thing that I had to do. I solaced myself by thinking that I am going to be fine. Thousands of working mothers are successfully balancing their career and motherhood. I will be fine. It might take some time but end of the day, it was about my career. The hard work, dedication and passion I had put into my work had given me the position I was in. I couldn’t think of leaving that world and not doing what I was doing. Little did I know that I was going to hit a rock and my thinking was about to change radically within the next few months.

Finally, the day came. I was getting ready to go to my office after my maternity leave. Tears filled my eyes. My heart felt heavier than the earth. I kissed goodbye to my baby boy, who smiled at me, clueless about the feelings of his mother. I couldn’t bear the situation anymore and rushed out of my house. After I reached office my colleagues greeted me cordially and I was bombarded with thousands of questions about Munzir. There was not much work to do at the first day after this long break. Everyone understood my situation and gave me enough time and support to adjust. Days went by, but I didn’t find peace. I felt that I was missing hundreds of smiles of that cute chubby face, what if he says his first word and I am not there? What if he needs me or he searches for me? He would not be able to tell. Those postpartum evil hormones were also doing their job quite well. An aura of melancholy surrounded me and I was on the verge of depression. I felt miserable which was starting to affect my personal life and work.

I couldn’t endure this smothering feeling anymore. It was time to take a decision. I summoned my parents and my husband and talked them through my state of mind. I said to them that I cannot concentrate on my work and I am constantly feeling unhappy. Should I quit my job? They listened attentively. As I had expected from them, they were very much sympathetic and told me that they are with me whatever my decision is. But the decision should be solely mine.

Finally, I took my decision. I decided to take few days break from work and concentrate fully on my baby, spend time with him in those precious period of his life when he needed me the most. After I made up my mind, my soul felt free. It felt like a heavy burden had been lifted from my chest. But I made a promise to myself that as soon as I think the time is right, I will pursue my career again.

While parenting Munzir, I discovered that I was fascinated by the world of children. I spent a lot of time studying the articles and watching videos related to child psychology, their developmental milestones, baby foods, growth spurts, any random topic like these. I realized that I want to associate myself with activities that will involve children, their development. when Munzir turned two, I started thinking of joining work again. But still couldn’t make up my mind as to if I should join my previous job. As much as I loved my job, I couldn’t ignore the fact that how much stressful and time consuming the nature of my work was. Also as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to do something related to child development.

There comes another group of people, who are probably the most influential people in my life, my friends. We are a group of people who have been sharing our lives with each other since our university days and the bond keeps getting stronger day by day Masha Allah. We always used to discuss that we should do something together. Let me tell you here that “something” meant doing some work together. So one day I spoke to the friend couple of mine about my willingness to start that “something” without any clue whatsoever that what will that thing be. Here comes my another friend who was then residing in Japan, with an idea of a children’s storybook. We started working towards it, hatched a plan about our first project, divided the responsibilities and gradually began to work towards it.

Now, our first project will in Sha Allah be released before Ramadan. It is a storybook app called “Stories of light”. A compilation of twelve inspiring stories from the glorious past of Islam. We have consciously made an effort to give secular messages of tolerance, peace and harmony through these stories. We have made this app with a noble intention of nurturing good values among the children while telling them the motivating stories from the olden times. I am eagerly waiting for its release with the hope that the audience will like it and it will have a positive impact on the children. Looking back, I can see that how the plan of Allah falls into place, as in what I really wanted to do is exactly what I am doing now- writing and publishing stories for children. How merciful and kind Allah has been towards me. I wish for his approval and guidance in every step I take in future.

This is me signing out. Good luck and best wishes.

Gratitude is the only attitude

“I hate my school”, said little Aisha angrily to her mother Ruqaya. “My teacher doesn’t listen to me. Zunaina pushed me today and took my drawing paper. I told Miss Shanta but she didn’t say anything to Zunaina.” Hearing that, Ruqaya become a bit concerned. This is the third time this week Aisha has complained about something. Yesterday it was for her little teddy who seemed boring to her suddenly. And the other day it was for the unanticipated rain which drenched her while coming from school. 

Yes, the rain…wasn’t Ruqaya herself being irritated about the rain few days back? And then about the office meeting where her proposal was overruled? She often gets frustrated about the crazy traffic of the city after returning from office. Then there are household chores which keeps her in her toes. All these things trouble her and she keeps whining about them whenever she is home.

Has Aisha picked this habit of Ruqaya?

Most likely she has. Children echoes the behavior that they see in their surroundings, more specifically, home. If we want our children to behave in a certain way, we must first do that ourselves. Because children give what they receive. If they receive love, care, empathy, compassion, gratitude, they will return the same and vice versa.

In this darkening world of negativity, insecurity and violence it is of enormous importance to cultivate positive and humane qualities among children. Today we will be talking about one such quality, which is Gratitude. We will discuss what are the benefits of gratitude and how we can instill this noble quality in our children.

Gratitude is the quality of being grateful or thankful. It is often felt when a gift is not necessarily deserved or is not given in some sort of reciprocal sense. Gratitude can come in two forms. First one is about the gift one has from nature. Like good health, decent life, beauty of nature, food etc. the other form is felt when someone does something good for you without the expectation of something in return.

Gratitude is a very important practice one can exercise. It is also given to us as a duty from Allah. The five daily prayers of the day are not given to ask Allah for anything, but to show Him gratitude for the life He has given to us, for the fact that He has sent us on earth as Muslims, He has blessed us with food and water, with the love of our close ones, He has given us good health Masha Allah. And we must believe as Muslims that if Allah has asked us to do something, it must have something good in it.

 There are great many benefits of gratitude. It is a character strength which makes you a positive and happy person. It helps you to appreciate the little gifts life has given to you and be pleased about it. People with gratitude don’t hold grudges. They are more social as they have a pleasant personality. People tend to like them a lot and respect them. Gratitude makes people less materialistic. It strengthens the relationships between individuals and you will start to inspire others to reciprocate the same behavior and like chain reaction it will develop in everybody. Thus your surrounding will become a better place.

So, how can we teach our children Gratitude?  Here are few simple tips:

  • Be a role model: The story which we read in the first two paragraphs gives us an idea that what we will do our children will follow. So we should show gratitude for every little thing in front of them. The motive should not only be to teach our children but to do it for one’s own self.
  • Show love and care: We should always show how much we love and care for our children. To us they are the most precious and cherished thing and they must know this from us. Because like they say, what they see that they will become one day.
  • Spend quality time with them: Your time is the most valuable thing you can give to someone. Give your quality time to your children. Bond with them. Keep distractions like mobile or tab away  while you are with them.
  • Make them realize the gifts: Our children are living a blessed life. We should make them realize how fortunate they are. They have a roof over their head, food to eat, loving parents, caring friends. These are all gifts for which they should be thankful.
  • Practice with them: Everyday take some time out and give thanks to Allah together with your children for the good life. This will encourage them and make a habit. Studies show that it takes only 8 weeks of practice to train your brain to think in the practiced way, the way of gratitude.
  • Say thank you to them: Say thank you to your children for being a good kid, for going to school without a tantrum, for bringing a star from teacher, for sharing food with their friends. You can sometimes make a thank you card and draw something on it.
  • Gratitude jar: We can ask our children to make a gratitude jar. Where they can list a thing or two every day for which they are thankful for. After a month when they will open the jar they will remember all the good things that have happened to them and this will bring smile on their faces.

Lastly, practice gratitude in your everyday life. Don’t wait for something or someone to be taken away from you to appreciate their value. Start from today.

This is me signing out. Good luck and God bless you.