The Truth About Being a Freelancer

*Cover photo taken by the producer of the radio show on Dubai Eye station, part of Arabian Radio Network during my on-air interview about modern motherhood and being an influencer.* Click here to listen to the podcast.

The reason why I opened my entry with the above is because once you believe in yourself and the message you have to relate to the world, nothing can stop you!

The moment I decided to step out of the corporate world two and a half years ago and shift from a traditional work environment with rigid hours and no self fulfillment (click here to read) to a more flexible setup from home, I didn’t know what to expect. I took the leap, forgoing the security of a monthly salary and all the benefits to an unknown territory. At the time it was impossible to know if I had made the right decision, but the amount of personal growth I have gone through and the essential business material from entrepreneurs I have read and listened to, have made me more confident in my present lifestyle as each day passes. However external factors throughout these years in the form of unsolicited advice or opinions haven’t stopped, and some people choose to undermine my work and take a jab at freelancing and entrepreneurship to make themselves feel better at being stuck in a rut they don’t have the courage or ability to get out of. Others judge at face value and think that things come easily without hard work. read more

My Long Breastfeeding Journey

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, however my experience with breastfeeding two children for more than a year each, taught me a lot and placed me in a position of giving advice to those who seek it from me. I have offered breastfeeding support for lactating mothers, and if you feel like you want to learn from what I went through then this post is for you. If you are however, here to judge breastfeeding mothers or in any way feel this is an attack on formula feeding mothers, then obviously you have no any idea that I am all about accepting other parents’ choices, hence I invite you to exit this page, there is no room for negativity or judgement.*

Before I gave birth to Tracy, I was in the last year of my 20s. I had been there done that with a cherry on top, and now was the time to focus on my growing family. I read a lot of books, online articles, magazines, downloaded mobile applications that track my baby’s daily growth, the whole deal.  One issue that interested me was breastfeeding and the long list of benefits for both the mother and the child in the long run, from reducing the risk of types of cancer for both, to a strong immunity and brain power for the child to name just a few. Another benefit that only a breastfeeding mother can feel is the bond that is created which nothing else can duplicate, not to mention that whatever the mother eats, the baby does too, thus widening the little one’s palette from day one.

When my Cita was born, everything was overwhelming, some supported my decision to exclusively breastfeed while others insisted she was always crying because she was hungry and needed a bottle. Do you have any idea how harsh those words are for a new mother who went through 9 months of crazy hormones, the pains of childbirth, the instability and mood swings following the new baby, who isn’t getting a wink of sleep, whose breasts are in unspeakable pain? You don’t? Well NEVER judge a mother who is trying her best. I had a choice at the time, introduce a bottle at the tender age of 2 weeks or soldier on and breastfeed. Can you guess my choice? Had I given her a bottle, she would have gotten used to the easy flow of milk and she wouldn’t be able to adjust to properly nursing from me. I will not sugarcoat things, breastfeeding is really painful the first few months especially when you’re feeding on demand and have no time to relax, always seek help to make sure the baby is latching on properly.

Then it was time to go back to work after my maternity leave, and since when there’s a will there’s a way, I made it work. My advice to you, working mothers, is to ease your baby into a routine before heading back to your daytime job, meaning, make the nursing sessions consistent. For example, wake up, nurse, nap, nurse, nap, nurse, bath, nurse, sleep. That’s the way I did it, I would wake up and nurse her, take her to my mom’s and head to work, then I would take a lunch break and nurse her and go back to work and so on so forth. I worked around her schedule and at the same time she fit into mine. It’s a two way street, and it is hard sometimes because the baby’s meal is more important than anything during this phase. Trust me when I tell you I used to schedule my life according to nursing sessions, I would never go out with friends unless I had nursed her in the evening and put her to sleep, and whenever we were out during the day I made sure it was at a breastfeeding friendly mall so we can take breaks in their special rooms. This went on until about 1 year and 3 months when I had to wean her because I was going on vacation for over a month and couldn’t take her with me nor was it practical for me to pump to maintain my supply. Weaning was hard on her, she hated the bottle and hated formula, we tried everything from spoon feeding her the milk to dropping it into her mouth with a syringe. It was even harder on me to see her so sad and wondering what was going on, I even wanted to sneak in a breastfeeding session without anyone knowing! I obviously didn’t and a while later she adjusted.

Moving on to my 2nd pregnancy, I knew what was waiting for me around the corner, and I remember telling my husband I don’t think I can do it all over again, I needed to feel like my body was mine, I was tired of the lack of independence. Then Fares was born, one look into his then gray eyes I felt there was no way I wasn’t going to make a tremendous effort to give him the one thing I can to prepare his body to combat infection, breast milk that is dubbed liquid gold. However I introduced pumped milk in a bottle soon after because I decided it wouldn’t be convenient to go on long tiring lunch breaks and stay long hours in the evening at work because I now have a child who attends school and I must handle her as well; therefore Fares would have to learn to drink from a bottle anyway. The same routine started and I would pump the milk each day for the next and settled into the schedule. I traveled once while he was still nursing, and he was around 6 months which is too young to wean, so I took my breast-pump with me and pumped each morning and night to maintain my supply, while he would drink thawed breast milk I had stored for him in the freezer. Then again came time for another vacation, he was one year and 2 months and I started weaning, which was oddly enough easy on him and super hard on me. He didn’t give ME time to adjust to this separation.

I am sure I can go on and on and write an entire essay about my breastfeeding issues and adventures but I will limit myself to the above, and want to give you a bit of advice my dear friends. Take it day by day, set a goal in your mind but once you climb the ladder slowly, you will get there in the blink of an eye. Ignore ‘friendly’ advice that it is time to wean, only YOU know what’s best for your baby; if I had a dollar for every time someone felt entitled to share their opinion, my bank account would be pretty hefty. It is not without struggle, from beginning to end, I personally had mastitis both times, so be careful and always talk to lactation specialists and your midwife or doctor to get all the details and scientific truths. It also helps if you have a supportive partner who reminds you why you’re doing it when you feel overwhelmed, in my case 5 years of continuous pregnancy and breastfeeding would have made me hysterical had I not had a support system at home. Remember there is a large community of breastfeeding mothers who are willing to give their advice and I am one of them, hit me up if you ever need to vent or ask questions.

Last but not least, I want to reiterate that mothers who have medical issues that prevent them from breast feeding aren’t doing anything wrong, sometimes reality forces us to make decisions we would rather not. We are all in this together, no matter how different our parenting techniques might be, at the end of the day we all want our children to be healthy.

Mom Wars

I was thinking long and hard about what I wanted to say to you on mother’s day. While I could easily go for the sappy message, I chose to relate to you a topic that has been on my mind for a long while. If you are not a parent yet, then read what I’m about to express and place yourself in our shoes. If you are indeed a parent, a mother specifically, then kudos to you, you are doing a great job. But please, oh please, I truly hope you are not the judgmental type, and if you are, I wish what I’m about to write will make you change your mindset.

Before I became a mother, I thought the motherhood community would be supportive, that they are all in this together and have each others’ backs. Never would I have imagined the opposite.

In the virtual world there are numerous local and international boards for a wide array of parenting topics, and while some moms embrace their peers, many choose to cyber bully and judge other moms’ parenting skills. In the real world it’s the same, mom against mom.

Stop waiting for an opportunity to shame other mothers by making them feel less important, less nurturing, less knowledgeable. If a mom comes to you for advice, then by all means advise her but do so gently and don’t put her down. There are no perfect mothers but there are ones who try their best. There are moms who work all day to provide for their children, and there are moms who choose to be homemakers, neither is right nor wrong. Some moms always look their best and some don’t have the time, but it doesn’t mean the former aren’t caring for their kids. Your home may be spotless or it may look like a hurricane hit it, you may choose to be a hands on mom or let your kids be independent, you can be a granola mom or feed your kids sugary cereals, breastfeed or formula feed, whatever works for you is no one’s business.

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These wars have to stop.

If we as women first, and mothers second, don’t stand up for each other, who will? Enough with the hate and bashing, the judgment and finger pointing, the whispers and laughter. I am tired of seeing mothers around me victimized and made to feel like they aren’t doing enough. No one is perfect, let us work on ourselves as parents and do what’s best for our children while others do what’s best for theirs.

That being said, there is an incredible community of supportive moms online and I am privileged to know you all (you know who you are) and I am also grateful for my friends and colleagues who are also strong women and mothers with whom I have an ongoing bond for years. I wish you all a happy mother’s day.

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Stay strong, stay sane!

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10 Tips For Traveling With A Toddler

Is traveling with a toddler hard? Yes.

Is traveling with a toddler easy? Yes.

How well you are prepared will determine the success of your journey. That along with expecting the worst and a major sense of humor will do you and your child much benefit.

When Naji and I took Tracy with us on vacation she had just turned 3 and we were wondering if it was the proper time to introduce travel to her agenda. Though it might be early and she might soon forget her experience, but it is a step towards shaping the young mind to be tolerant to various cultures and differences, along with a sense of adventure and independence for the future. If you are planning for something similar, I hope my suggestions help you out.

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1. Pack snacks for the airport and plane ride, hungry kids are restless kids. And whatever they usually eat on average, pack triple. Once you arrive to your destination, locate the nearest markets and get some snacks that don’t require refrigeration and keep handy for when your child gets hungry and it’s not time for your lunch or dinner break, that way they can eat as you walk around.

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2. Have your child carry a small backpack to carry some of their daily belongings, it will teach them responsibility and a sense of personal space. Things you can include in their bag are wet wipes, tissues, sunglasses, hat, a plush toy and a snack.

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3. Take sticker books, books, coloring pencils and paper to pass time for the plane ride. If they play with a tablet even better, install games and download videos ahead of time but don’t forget the charger. Leave them aside when you land and are exploring so your child will engage their senses to discovering the city with you.

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4. Make sure you bring along medicine for any sudden illness, flu, fever, burns and scrapes, in addition to a thermometer. Include tissues, wet wipes and toilet sanitizer. Medication may differ from one country to another, so take whatever you usually use at home with you. Get everything you need for their bedtime routine. Carry along small bottles of their shampoo and body wash, hotel soaps might be rough on their skin. Toothbrush, toothpaste, saline water, hairbrush and of course milk.

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5. Allow them to explore and to live a not so comfortable life. Not everything is ideal in the world and it’s good to get out of their comfort zone. They can learn to walk instead of ride a car, be responsible, become more disciplined, interact with people from over the world and live like the locals. Don’t suffocate them, allow them to breathe and take their own metro seat, mingle with children and choose their meals.

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6. Invest in a lightweight stroller, it is indispensable. It doesn’t need to be expensive, as long as it’s light and sturdy with a sun cover. Kids tire quickly so this is the perfect way for them to relax and even nap. Meanwhile you can also use it to hang your shopping bags on the handles!

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7. Plan many of your visits to kid friendly areas, because traveling can and should be educational, it’s a fun way to learn outside of the classroom. Aquariums, zoos, parks, picnics, amusement parks and even train and cable car rides are a few examples of fun learning.

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8. No need to miss out on the city’s nightlife, plan your evening out around your child’s needs. This will mean heading back to the hotel to bathe your child and get them dressed in pajamas, and once you go out again your kid can fall asleep in the stroller (bring a light cover with you for the chill) and you can enjoy a night at the local pub. When we did it we thought we would be looked down upon as horrible parents, when we soon discovered countless tables with adults and their children asleep in strollers.

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9. Bathroom breaks are essential, try to include cafe stops as frequently as every 2-3 hours. Sit down, have coffee and make use of their facilities. Then again at lunch time and so on and so forth. That being said, and even if your child is well past being potty trained, bring extra underwear and shorts along for possible accidents.

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10. Handle tantrums with a sense of humor, ignore gawking people around you, and don’t panic. Laugh it off and go on with your journey. Many of your fellow travelers will be families with small children, it surely can be done!

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Happy traveling!

 

My Weight Loss Journey Begins

Anyone who has struggled with weight gain and loss over and over again is no stranger to the frustration of the added kilos, and the delight of those lost.

Some people have metabolisms that help them burn their calorie intake quickly, and I envy those people, because what is better in life than food? On the other side of the spectrum where I belong, I constantly watch what I eat, and God forbid I feel like enjoying a well deserved meal or snack once in a blue moon, I find that I gain at least a kilo the next morning. Depressing, right?

I have been trying to get back in shape, having salads for dinner, counting my calories and engaging in some exercise, yet nothing seemed to work. Still I refused to commit to a diet that consists of eating hay-like food and fainting.

The decision to start a diet isn’t easy, it is mainly mental and needs a lot of commitment and willpower, of which I have plenty. I finally got to that breaking point where I knew I had to make a major change and recently started a new lifestyle plan to get back on a healthy track.

My dietitian is my sister Paula Hage-Boutros, B.S. in Nutrition (Lebanese American University) and currently working on her M.S. in Human Nutrition (Notre Dame University) and awarded in supervising HACCP for catering. She previously worked her magic on me, where I lost over 30 kilos in 7 months. I went from wearing sizes large and above to needing the smallest size in the shop, which was a new feeling for me, especially being over the average build most of my adult life. My usually wide hips, big thighs and oddly thin waist were then suddenly proportional, I was thinner and most importantly healthier.

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Fast forward to 2 pregnancies later, things aren’t so perfect. The ghastly weight gain with each baby (I delivered big babies, not complaining though), water retention, extended breastfeeding which keeps the extra fat in my body, and the hard time adjusting my food intake thinking less is the way to go. To me this photo seems like a long time ago and a far fetched goal, but now that I have started the diet again, I am reliving the stages all over. The difficult first 3 days and the temptations, and the easier days that followed as I settled into the routine and started looking forward to waking up and feeling lighter. The misconception is that a diet is supposed to be starvation and lack of delicious food, but with Paula, I get a tailored health plan according to my likes, habits and lifestyle. I usually avoid chocolate because I’m afraid of gaining weight, but now I can indulge. I can even have my fix of peanut butter, ice cream, alcohol and pretty much everything I desire, thanks to her incredible technique of distributing meals in a way that helps me lose weight. Not only does she provide a detailed diet like no other health center, she is completely down to earth, understands cravings and helps you control them mentally so that you become their boss and not let them take over.

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I may be at the beginning of my journey, but I am feeling better and more confident already, and that’s what is most important. I have lost 3.8 kilos in the first week, and I am so excited to share with you results as I progress towards my goal.

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Make sure to follow Paula on Instagram and Facebook @NutritionWithPaula for daily updates on health and lifestyle, the latest research in the field, and nutrition tips. Book your appointments on +96170671032 for state of the art technology in body composition analysis. Location of the clinic is Centre Cabbabe, Mazraat Yachouh, Metn, Lebanon.

 

Preparing Your Eldest Child For A New Baby

Foreword

I scrambled my thoughts together to write a parenting post gathered from my first hand experience on how I prepared Tracy deal with the arrival of her little brother Fares, and how I helped her adjust. I must say that these are in no way foolproof, nor have I read about them in any book or online entry, they are solely based on my day to day struggle, and upon the encouragement of my friends to put these experiences into writing I finally did so.

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There is nothing more exciting than expecting a new baby, but if the baby is the second in your family, the joy comes with a mini moment of panic. How do you break the news to your first born? How can you help your eldest adjust? Can you avoid jealousy between siblings?

Jealousy is a natural feeling, and perhaps we cannot avoid it altogether but we can help our kids adjust. Below are a few techniques I used and found to be very useful, I included real examples of real situations I went through with actual dialogue.

Before the baby arrives.

My golden rule is: Let your eldest think he/she wants the baby.

1. During my second pregnancy and once my belly started to show, I decided to break the news to my 2 year old. The first while and only once a week, I would mention that a baby is joining our family. As time progressed I began to talk about the baby daily while performing the most random of tasks.

Real example: While bathing Tracy I would comment on how the baby would be so small and cannot stand in the shower, how much he is in need of our help, and how big she is now.

2. A surefire way to know the true feelings of your eldest is to ask if they want the baby and make them think its their idea.

Real example: While making plans for the weekend, I would ask Tracy whether she would like to have a baby to take along with us on our family trips. “Do you want to take him to the mall?” “How about to your grandparents’?” “Will you hold his hand when he starts to walk?” “Will you push his stroller?”

3. Always reiterate their role in helping out once the baby arrives.

Real example: “Will you help mommy bathe your little brother and change his diaper?”

4. Read books about welcoming a new baby into the household, you will find there are many options at the library so choose a book character your child loves and bond over it. These books help children without the story being directly about them.

Real example: I went over to the mall library and chose a Tchoupi book, one of Tracy’s favorites, and on another occasion we chose another book with the main character being a bear.

Once the baby is here:

My golden rule is: Involve your eldest in all tasks.

1. A crucial matter when the reality of the newborn settles, is that the ‘favorite’ parent of the eldest child, meaning the one he/she is attached to the most, stay with him/her for the first weeks and pay next to no attention to the baby in their presence. I found this to be a major factor in helping Tracy deal with her brother’s sudden presence in what used to be her home.

Real example: Tracy is attached to her father, so for the most part he was always present with her and made it a point not to divert his attention to the baby in order for her to adjust properly and know that her brother did not change the status quo.

2. Don’t break the routine. Continue your daily life and chores as if nothing happened.

Real example: Tracy was still enrolled in daycare and she still spent her afternoons in the same way. No exceptions were made and nothing was altered.

3. Leave time for your eldest and don’t ignore them or brush them aside no matter how tired you are.

Real example: I would be breastfeeding my son with Tracy next to me and a book on her lap and I would read for her.

4.  Patience is everything.

Real example: No matter how tough a day I was having, no matter how minimal my night’s sleep was, I never took it out on Tracy or snapped at her. She also needs my undivided attention, and had I reacted impatiently, she would have assumed that her brother is taking me away from her and she would resent him.

5. Helping out with tasks is essential, not only does it give you the chance to delegate and have a little helper, it allows your child to feel responsible and useful.

Real example: I let Tracy stand next to me while I bathe her brother, she helps out by pouring water over his head, by handing me the diaper, even by collecting his laundry to put in the washing machine.

6. Asking for permission is another trick to make your eldest feel important.

Real example: “Tracy, is it alright if Grandma holds your brother for a while?”

7. Teaching your eldest to share without forcing it is a way to dismiss the value of objects and focus on the relationship instead.

Real example: I always tell Tracy that this or that belonged to her but now she is a big girl and her brother needs them. Even things she has no idea were hers, such as little toys and even the crib. Other items she plays with now including her books, she openly shares them with her brother and doesn’t mind if he uses them for teething or even tears them. She says its ok because he is still a baby.

8. Respect your eldest and respect the baby. I dislike the technique of making the baby seem dirty or silly or anything of the sort to feed the ego of the older sibling. Praise your first born but respect the baby.

Real example: “Awww look how little he is, we should help feed him, he doesn’t have teeth like you and he can’t hold the spoon just yet.”  or “You’re a big girl and can use the potty, your brother is still little so he needs a diaper, but soon enough he will grow and you will help teach him.”

9. Never compare the siblings, and never use jealousy as a way of compliance.

Real example: If your toddler is having a tantrum, avoid saying “Oh look the baby is so good and quiet” because it will cause them to steam and might lead them to hurt the baby. Instead, try saying “You’re a big girl/boy and your little sibling looks up to you.”

10. Make time for you and your eldest, one on one, with no interruptions.

Real example: At the 2 week mark once I was able to get out of the house, I went for dinner with my husband and Tracy to re-establish our bond. On another occasion I took her out just the two of us, she was so happy, she didn’t let go of my hand the whole time! Every now and them, I create a little adventure for us to do, it could be taking her to the supermarket or to the library, or even staying indoors and cook, read a bedtime story or paint, only us, with no disturbance.

I truly hope these tips helped, and feel free to reach out to me, I’m always up for a parenting discussion!

 

10 Tips For Surviving The Terrible Twos

My daughter Tracy’s 3rd birthday is around the corner, and reflecting on the past year, or what is known as the ‘terrible twos’, I thought it would be a good idea to share my survival tips with my mom readers who are approaching this phase.

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1. Put a positive spin on your child’s 2nd year and think of it as the ‘terrific twos’. Hope for the best but expect the worse, and once you get into that mindset you will automatically be optimistic and mentally prepared.

2. Keep in mind that your child isn’t having a tantrum to anger you, it simply means that they are overloaded with emotions they don’t know how to deal with, because their mind and body are unable to process them at this young age. Instead try to understand what they are going through and save the lecture for later on when they are calm again. Bring them in for a big hug, no matter how hard it seems, it is in these challenging situations that they need the most love.

3. Many children won’t appreciate sudden plans, such as interrupting their play time for a bath, so make sure you explain beforehand what will happen. What I usually do when Tracy is playing, is going through the minute steps of what we will do. ‘How about you continue playing for five more minutes, then you can start taking off your shoes (etc) by yourself because you’re a big girl, then we can shower and you can play with your bath toys, then when we’re done you need to drink your milk….’ is my typical sentence. That way you can avoid unpleasant surprises for your child, they will know what to expect next, and most importantly you create the illusion that this was all their idea which is a good way of building up their confidence.

4. Avoid ‘time-out’ because it will signal to the child that difficult feelings aren’t normal and they should deal with them on their own. Have a ‘time-in’ and show your toddler that you love them even when they are on their worst behavior.

5. Keep your cool and try not to be provoked, because once you get worked up and try to stop the tantrum it will only spur more action. Each child will deal with it in a certain way, some will scream, some will throw everything in sight and make your home look like a landmine exploded, and some will lay down and roll on the floor and transform into limp lifeless bodies as you try to make them stand up again. Breathe, count to 10 (or 100), and remember that this is just a phase, and be careful not to lash out verbally (or physically) because an instant’s act might take a lifetime of undoing.

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6. Offer a distraction. Each kid has a soft spot for something, perhaps it is a certain type of food, a sticker book, a toy or a car ride. Keep trying until one of the options you have works and calms your child down.

7. Every task will require a lot of patience and creativity from your side, things that you never would have imagined needing this much effort will leave you begging for your child’s compliance. Drinking milk, finishing a meal, brushing teeth, getting outside the door, sitting in the car seat, and the worst of them all…sleeping! Try not to give up or give in, some issues are a clear yes or no without any gray areas, depending on your house rules.

8. Toddlers are trying to assert their independence so it is a tricky phase, and while we don’t want to break their wings and force them to submission, we must set boundaries and consequences. If you say no to a request, make sure to stand your ground no matter how much wailing they do. Once they settle, explain why you said no and offer an alternative activity.

9. Sometimes the root of the problem is something you can solve at once. Is your child hungry? Thirsty? Cranky? Don’t ignore the simple solutions, they might have worked up an appetite, its a wonder how calm they become after they eat. Is it past their nap-time? Put them down for a short while in their bed if they are over tired.

10. Connect with other mothers on forums, the internet is full of parents on the verge of insanity so you can be sure you are not alone. Make sure you also look up parenting memes and humor, you will laugh endlessly and will feel relieved when you realize how many millions of parents are going through the same issues!

Parenting is challenging to say the least, and although the difficult times may seem to go on forever, in retrospect they actually pass by really fast, so learn to enjoy the good and the bad before it goes by in the blink of an eye.

10 Things I’ve Learned As A Mother

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I rarely share motherhood advice on the blog, but in the spirit of Mother’s Day I thought I’d write down a few of many things I have learned and experienced as now a mother of two.

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1. No matter what your educational background is, no matter if you’re a surgeon, an engineer or a rocket scientist, nothing comes close to the difficulty of the job that is being a mother. All the knowledge in the world and all the mathematical formulas won’t prepare you for the task that is shaping minds for the future generation, nor will it help you make a split second decision which will psychologically impact your children in their later years.

2. You have a new found value for your mother and her mother and so on so forth, for all the sacrifices they made and how you didn’t make it any easier because you were busy rebelling. You will also have a new found respect for your mother in law who raised her son to be the man he is, who will in turn be a good father.

3. You start to think about your surroundings in terms hazard levels, and if a threat occurs, your protective instinct will take over in a way that can only be described as heavenly, because you will be controlled by a power much stronger than you to save your child from any impending danger.

4. Whenever I watched the news and saw people suffering, I hate to admit it but I was always detached, I never felt any empathy, I was never moved. From the moment I got pregnant, I could relate to the moms and children, to all the wars, I would choke up at any mention of anything gruesome, and if I could, I’d avoid watching or hearing such news at all.

5. Before having kids, you put yourself first, you buy everything you desire, you do whatever you want. When you become a mom, your children’s needs become the priority; its not that you forget yourself, but you think of their activities, education and how to provide for them. Instead of buying for yourself while shopping, you know that you will survive if you don’t get the designer bag you are coveting, and you buy for your kids cute little outfits and those expensive orthopedic shoes .

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6. You will feel empowered, and you will know the true meaning of being blessed. No material possessions, power, or social status can equate to the accomplishment of motherhood. You will finally realize that everything else is worth nothing.

7. The sleepless nights won’t last forever, and as they say, the days are long but the years are short. You will manage to survive the early months, but you do need a support system so don’t be shy to ask for help. You will need the presence of your parents, in laws, and any extended family who may help. Your husband will also play an essential role in maintaining your sanity, and hopefully he will understand the emotional roller coaster that is post partum, sometimes you will hate him and much worse hate your baby, and its all part of the initiation to motherhood and it won’t last long.

8. You will learn patience because your nerves will be tested in ways you have never imagined. I am a very impatient person and being a parent has taught me how to control my neurotic tendencies and find creative solutions around toddler dilemmas. I am now unofficially the parenting guru among many of my friends, not because I am better than anyone, but because I always think up of fun ways to solve daily problems. It helps if you have a sense of humor about things, like when your child throws a tantrum in public and lays on the floor, keep calm. Or when they refuse to try on shoes and their screams bring the employees running to the rescue, laugh it off. I usually burst into tears from all the laughter because really, the things they will get upset about is beyond any reason.

9. Get rid of the myth of the perfect mom, and be a hands on mom. I am imperfect, I am messy, I am not always tidy around the house, but I know that I’m doing my best balancing a demanding career as an architect which translates into a full time job, a blog, a couple of hobbies mainly painting, drawing and reading which are my passion, being a wife, and a mom. When I get home from a long day of work all my time is dedicated to my kids, we play, read, paint, dance, sing and go crazy. Remember that making memories with your kids is more important than being picture perfect, and that we lead by example because children imitate what we do and not what we say.

10. Don’t ever judge other moms. You are not better, you are not worse, stop comparing. Each of us is trying our best even when we have no idea what we’re doing. Before becoming a mom I was guilty of eyeing the moms who feed their kids junk food, saying to myself ‘There is no way I would allow my kids to eat that!’ But reality strikes and sometimes you need to do whatever it takes to keep your kids quiet and happy which in turn keeps you sane, and if a piece of chocolate does the trick, so be it. Some moms give their babies a pacifier, so what. Some moms don’t breastfeed, so what. Some moms check their social media while their kid is having a breakdown, so what. And the list goes on. I practice attachment and gentle parenting but I don’t judge moms who prefer a more traditional method. Let us become a community of moms who empower each other instead of break one another down, so when you see a mom with a child in tears screaming, please be sympathetic and don’t be annoyed, she is most likely on the verge of losing it!

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Finally I would like to wish all moms a Happy Mother’s Day, you are all doing a great job!

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