Photo@ Muslim Mummy

What’s up with the terrible twos?

This is a scheduled post.

Last in my series of guest posts is from one of my longest blogging friends who blogs at ‘Mahshi and Marshmallow‘,who is currently discovering the joys of toddlers turning 2!

Before becoming a mum, I thought that the Terrible Twos was a myth, something put into place to frighten parents. We don’t need this. 

Then I became a mum. And I learnt how to deal with cries and crisis. I looked at my little boy with delight, thinking “how can this lovely little man can be one day named terrible”.

And then I became the mum of a 2 year old child. And I realized the Terrible Twos was not a mere myth but a true reality. 

He started saying no months back. I never thought that one day he would nearly only say NO to every single thing. No for eating, no for dressing up, no for bath or no for stopping to play. My little angel became a living nightmare. Many times I would catch myself thinking “Thanks God I am working outside home”!

To be true it’s not that horrible. It just happened overnight and thought I heard a lot about it, read many mums articles and see many parents completely overwhelmed by this strange phenomenon, I was not ready for it. I thought I would be able to avoid it. 

The reality is I have my two feet into the mud these days, trying to talk and let go as much as I can, trying to breathe when things seem out of control. And it works much better than shouting and finishing the day exhausted on my couch, feeling like I am the worst mother on earth.

They say it’s good for kids. They say that kids need to test the limits, to know we are there for them whatever happens, that they have to challenge our beliefs in order to grow. 

Photo@ Muslim Mummy

Photo@ Muslim Mummy

So remain patient and have a slice of chocolate cake! It’s the only advice I can give you right now.

And you any tips to share to deal with the Terrible Twos?


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The benefits of homeschooling for Muslims

This is a scheduled post.

Next in my series of guest posts is a post from Weronika who blogs at Multicultural Motherhood

My name is Weronika and I am a mother of two young children from the south west of England. I am a Speech and Language Therapist and have recently started a PhD in bilingualism and autism. My husband is a Turkish Kurd and we are hoping to raise our children to be multilingual. We are a Muslim family and are planning to home educate our children. I blog about our multilingual, multicultural journey as well as home educating. I also write about my interests; crafting, cooking and all the wonderfully fun activities I do with my children.

11047016_10155251523105562_1187135633_n“The best gift from a father to his child is the gift of education and upbringing”

Hadith of At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Sa’id Ibn Al-‘as.
I have just started homeschooling my eldest child who has just turned 5 years old. I NEVER thought I would homeschool. It had never even occurred to me that homeschooling might be best for my kids. I grew up a Catholic and went to Catholic schools. I became Muslim when I was 19 years old, Alhamdulillah, and gave birth to my first child at the age of 22, but still I didn’t think about homeschooling. I had a few friends who were considering it but I never really bothered to ask them their thoughts on the subject. I always thought I would send my children to school.

Then, we spent six months living in Germany. My daughter had just turned three and my son was 9 months old. My daughter was ready to start Kindergarten, so I tried to enroll her at the local one. However, the waiting list was around 500 children! I checked some others nearby and they all had equally long waiting lists – between 500-700 kids! I had to accept that there was no way my daughter would be getting into Kindergarten. If we stayed in Germany, and we were planning to at the time, she would be home with me until she started school at the age of six or seven. What would I do with her until then? Surely she should start learning something? It was then I started to look into homeschooling. I read a book called ‘You can do it too’ which is a collection of interviews with homeschooling parents compiled by Lorilee Lippincott. After that I was hooked. I had made up my mind; I was going to homeschool my children.

There are so many reasons I have chosen to homeschool, one of the main reasons being, I would like my children to be able to learn about the things that interest them and develop a love of learning I hope will last a lifetime. For this article, I would like to focus on the benefits of homeschooling for Muslim families.

Give children an Islamic education

You can make Islam an important aspect in your child’s education. Your children can have Quran lessons and Arabic lessons etc. that they may not have at school, unless your children go to an Islamic school or course. Also, you will be able to give your child an education that fits in with the teachings of Islam. You will not have to teach them about things that conflict with Islamic teachings or values. Furthermore, they will not have to join in with the celebrations of other religions such as Christmas.

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No Islamic alternative

We are lucky that nowadays there are more and more Islamic schools appearing all over the country. However, there may not be one near to where you live. Also, some of these schools are expensive so you my not be able to afford to send your children there, especially if you have more than one child. In this case, you may like to consider homeschooling so you can bring your children up with the ethos you desire.

Keep children away from an unislamic environment

Your children will not be surrounded by the drugs, alcohol and sexual experimentation that is becoming more widespread in our society. They will also not feel the peer pressure to take part in these activities. It is such a worry for many parents these days. As their children become older they may worry about their exposure to unislamic practices. By homeschooling, you will be able to bring your child up in an Allah-centred environment, free from those troubling influences. This is one of my main reasons for homeschooling my children. Growing up a non-Muslim, I witnessed a lot of the things I would now like to keep my children away from. I am so glad I can protect my children from these things and not have to worry about my children getting involved with them Inshallah.

 

Free to practice Islam

We are lucky in the UK that we are able to practice our religion freely but there may be instances, particularly in other countries such as France, where individuals do not have this freedom. In Turkey and France, many girls cannot wear hijab to school. I’ve even heard that those women in Turkish universities that wear hijab are risking their grades as some lecturers even give them lower marks because they do not agree with hijab! By homeschooling, you will be able to practice freely. You will be able to take time out for praying, you will be able to wear hijab and you will be able to change your daily routine during the month of Ramadan, if you wish. You could even take the month of Ramadan off or change your timetable to include more Islamic teaching and reflection during this special time.

 

No worrying about haram food

This is something that I worry about when my children are not with me. I remember an incident when my daughter was a baby and she went to nursery for a while whilst I was studying at university. One day I picked her up and they told me how she had had lots of fun that day playing with jelly! The look on my face must have been one of shock and anxiety and I walked out feeling bad that my daughter had eaten gelatin. However, I should not have worried as the manager came running after me and explained my daughter had actually been playing with vegetarian jelly, thank goodness. I was lucky on that occasion but it does make me think there could have been other times when she was given something non-halal to eat. After all, a lot of non-Muslims do not realise the amount of food that contains gelatin or other non-halal products. I know this because my own family are not Muslim and I often have this issue with them. I have to remind them to check the ingredients.

 

Removing your child from a hostile environment

Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more usual to witness islamaphobia these days. With all the hatred that is being thrown at Muslims from some individuals in society, you my wish to protect your child from an environment which promotes this. I am not saying that it is the kind of attitude that is promoted in schools but it is becoming more common in society in general.

Pics

So there you have it. Six reasons why homeschooling may be beneficial for your child. Please don’t take this to mean that you should be homeschooling, there are many good schools around. I just wanted to think about homeschooling from an Islamic perspective for this post. Personally, I have many other more general reasons why I chose to homeschool and I will be writing an article about these soon.


Pyari Beauty make up

5 Quick and Easy Mummy Make Up Steps

This is a scheduled guest post.

Salaam/Hello everyone! I’m Aaliyah from Pyari BeautyFoz(Muslim Mummies) asked me to write a guest post for her while she’s away on holiday, the lucky thing. So I thought I’d share five steps to a quick and easy make up routine/look suitable for everyday

5 Quick & Easy Mummy Make Up Steps | Pyari Beauty

1. It’s all about the base when it comes to make up. The key to hiding tired eyes is a brightening concealer such as BourjoisHealthy Mix Concealer (£7.99). It makes a huge difference in my opinion, certainly a step which cant be missed. Completed with a quick dusting of a mineral foundation (my favourite is the Bare Minerals Original SPF15 Foundation (£20.00)) will help to even the skintoneand provide a bit of coverage.

2. A quick slick of clear mascara or brow gel, can tame and neaten the brows. MUA do a cheap and cheerful clear mascara which works perfectly for this. If you have very light or sparse brows maybe consider a tinted eyebrow gel instead. 

3. Skip the mascara and curl your eyelashes instead. My favourite eyelash curlers are these from Shu Umerua (£20.00) but you can pick up pair  fromSuperdrug for less than £2. Eyelash curlers give length and volume to the lashes without the need of mascara.

4. Line your waterline to make your eyes appear brighter and more awake. One of the eyeliners I reach for often is the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Nude (£3.99). It’s super soft and long wearing and makes my eyes appear more awake and less tired. Depending on your skintone, you may find that a whiter eyeliner would suit you more such as the MUA Intense Colour Eyeliner in Snow White (£1.00) or something similar.

5. Dont forget the lips as theyre important too. I love Pixi’sShea Butter Lip Balms (£8.00) as they provide a subtle pop of colour whilst keeping the lips soft. Carmex also do a similar product in range of different shades. 

What are your go to items for quick and easy make up?

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Six on a Beach

Having a large family

This is a scheduled post.

I am pleased to be able to include a guest post from Brooke Benoit in my series of guest posts. Brooke is currently a mama to half a dozen exciting unschooled kids and blogs at ‘A Cliched Life‘. She lives just outside of Casablanca, Morocco where she is also an editor for SISTERS Magazine (the magazine for fabulous Muslim women) and an occasional jewelry maker.

Six on a Beach

Six on a Beach

 

It surprises me how many Muslims respond negatively at my having a large family. Worse is when they nearly reprimand me, demanding to know if I am “done” at six kids. I thought we all knew this one:

Wealth and children are an adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope. (Surah Al Kahf: 46)

I’m not into name brands. Having kids is my thing. Well, I have a few dunya-ey things that I really like to do, but raising my pack of kids is my main thing and not only do I give it a lot of my time and consideration, I do it pretty well and get a fair amount of satisfaction from it. Alhumdulillah. Over the years I have found that there are a lot of benefits (not just for me) to having a big family. Here are just a few:

  • Learning to labor

Parenting begins with birth, and if you are birthing your own kids you may not realize what a crisis modern birthing practices are going through in the US (and just about everywhere) until you are actually in labor. Even the most well-informed soon-to-be parents step into the Labor & Delivery ward (or maybe their home birthing tub) and are shocked to find themselves bullied, disrespected and maybe even abused during the labor process. The most lovingly crafted birthing plan is not legally binding, but no one ever tells you that in a prenatal visit as they smile at the plan before tucking it into your file.

The actual birth of my first child came with a lot of frustration brought on by multiple hospital staff members I hadn’t met before being in labor. Still, I suspected that it could have been an amazing process without so much interference. Having six kids has given me a chance, not so much to perfect the birthing process, but certainly to enjoy it a little more as I have gotten to know it better and better. “Enjoying it more”, includes being more relaxed which extends into the bonding babymoon period which I have found to be extremely important to mama, baby and really the whole family’s well-being. My birthing experiences have run the scope from a hospital setting, to homebirths, to a hotel birth, to a necessary cesarean, to a difficult-to-acquire homebirth after cesarean and finally a fabulous ‘unassisted’ birth which only my husband attended (no doctors or midwives were present at all for that last birth).

Of course I know that some of my extreme birth experiences aren’t for everyone, but I still wish that more women could access better experiences and I think that could partially come from more women experiencing more births per body orbeing in contact with some of us multiparous mamas. Often when women go in to have their second child they feel a little better prepared, but then usually that is their last birth and they are relieved to be done with the entire thing. Maybe their second labor was a better experience, but still based on the way most people react when I say “It was a great birth!” I suspect that few women have what they would consider a stellar labor. Having so many birth experiences has led me to be an advocate for other women to have similar. You know, ‘want for your sister…’ Ultimately having many children is really something best to be done for an individual family, but there are great possible secondary benefits for society.

  • Finding Parenting Styles

I was absolutely a helicopter parent with my first child. He ate almost entirely all organic, very little sugar and little processed foods. He had all of the finest educational toys and videos, and was well on his prodigy way. The second child was surrounded by even better learning materials as I had continued to learn about child development, and by the time the third child came along I was embracing the less is more methodology giving him an even better advantage than those first two spoiled children. There are memes abundant about the first child being kept pristine and dirt free, followed eventually by the fourth, fifth, or what-number-is-that-one child actually being allowed to eat dirt. But eating dirt is good! Check out the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ for the health benefits of kids occasionally consuming a little earth.

I have found that while I cannot effectively helicopter-parent all these kids, having six prevents me from being the permissive parent I sometimes long to be. I can only let them run things so much without living in absolute kiddie grunge, but they also have plenty of space to be comfortable in their own home. Having a lot of kids forces me to find a balance that works better for everyone, including recognizing that my children are individuals with individual needs instead of frankly objectifying them as so many contemporary parents do. Also, my friends with two or three kids are often surprised to find that sibling rivalry is nearly nonexistent in my family. Multiple kids have the opportunity to recognize each others’ different stages and strengths, unlike kids who spend the majority of their time with only similar aged kids at a school or just one sibling at home to spar with.

  • Doing You

In the nature versus nurture argument, data is leaning towards modeling behavior again and again. A parenting style based on: “Do as I say, not as I do!” has repeatedly proven to fail. Whether kids are given an abundance of extracurricular activities intended to create well-roundedness or left to be more freerange, the things kids usually acquire the most from their parents are their habits, good or bad – that’s just about the most and best we parents have to offer our offspring.

With my first two I spent a lot of time trying to control them, controling their environments and little time controling or just improving me. I viscerally heard many messages about self-care and the importance of me time, but really I was so busy parenting that I didn’t have time for that other stuff. While many people don’t want to sacrifice their personal time and pleasure to having a whole bunch of kids to look after, for me, re-examining my worth and joy only came from being overwhelmed by trying to be a perfect parent to multiple kids. Now I do me by being creative, involved with various cultural and charitable projects, and just about anything else that helps me grow as a person. Ultimately my children benefit far more from having a mom who is gratified than when I was playing the mommy martyr role. The concept of modeling good behavior is a very deen-centered one, and so striving to be a better Muslim naturally comes with striving to be a better parent.

  • It’s Good for the Environment

No, seriously. While overpopulation may make some living environments uncomfortable, the majority of people having multiple children are lower income folks who are not doing all the thoughtless spending that causes gross exploitation of resources and overflow in landfills. Families with many children are almost always forced to be more frugal, which means less waste, less resources used and so on. Don’t believe me? Come take a peek at my trash can and then compare it to all my 2.1 children-having neighbors. My kids know that if they don’t care for their things it may be a long wait before they can be replaced and if they want things too far above and beyond necessities they need to work for them.

Currently families in the US and other developed nations are staying well enough below the replacement line that a few of us having larger families isn’t going to hurt the earth or our neighborhoods. And again with this modeling stuff, I hope that I am raising a bunch of little environmental khalifas of our next generation, which reminds me…

  •  The Baraka!

For each good deed my children do that they learned from me, I get a reward for it. That’s a whole lot of incentive.

If you, like me, are an experiential person who learns by doing (and is maybe not too well organized or has difficulties prioritizing) having a whole bunch of kids could force you to get out of your own way and on with more balanced parenting and living. It’s good for the kids, too.

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photo credit: Timeless via photopin (license)

5 Productivity Tips

This is a scheduled post.

Next in the series of guest posts while I am on holiday, is an article written by Nazia Nasreen, a mother of two and the founder of Ibraheem Toy House.

photo credit: Timeless via photopin (license)

photo credit: Timeless via photopin (license)

Do you wish you were more productive with your time? Does ‘me time’ feel like a distant memory? Well, don’t worry there so many women out there in a similar situation, struggling to juggle family life and work.  As a working mum of two young children I recently managed to maintain a healthy balance between work and family time. Here i will share with you my 5 top productivity tips to ensure you live a happier and more fulfilled life insha’Allah.

  1. Wake up early every morning- This might be difficult to begin but waking up early before the kids can really set you up for the day. Use this time to pray, reflect, enjoy the peace and jot down the ‘to do’ list.
  1. Have a set schedule- Having a set routine is very important when you have young kids. Have fixed office times and family time, this will enable you to perform best in both roles.  It can be extremely difficult to answer emails and write blogs with the kids running around (I know this from experience); hence it is essential to work in a relaxed peaceful environment.  Work around your family routine, e.g. answer emails and make calls when your children are at school or when they are having naps.  I have met many mums who work for two hours in the morning and do the remaining work in the evening.  Try different routines and see what works best for you and your family.
  1. Set goals- If you want to have a productive month then it is best to list all the tasks you would like to complete and set goals for each day of the month. Writing down your monthly and daily goals will enable you to be more productive with your time as you would know what you need to do each month.
  1. Prioritise your tasks- To ensure you have a healthy balance between family and work life it is essential that you have top three tasks that you need to complete every day. If the rest does not get done its okay as long as you know your three important tasks have been completed.  Be realistic with your to do list, there is no point jotting down 15 tasks for the day when you know you have a young family and limited time.
  1. Split household tasks- I know many mums weather working or stay at home love to procrastinate by doing random jobs like cleaning out the fridge. If you feel you spend half the day cleaning, than it is a good idea to split household chores in to separate days. To maintain your sanity and to live a healthy balanced life it can be really useful to have set days for tasks like ironing, deep cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming rooms upstairs. Most importantly don’t forget to take out at least 30 minutes from your day to unwind, relax and enjoy what you like doing.  Use this time to read, have a nice bath or do nothing, just relax,  This is so important for your mental wellbeing and for a balanced healthy life.

 

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