The lessons we do not plan

The lessons we do not plan

I am a planner girl. I like to set expectations and I have even learnt to pivot and be comfortable when things do not go as planned. It has been good for my tawakkul muscles.

I love homeschooling. It has gotten quite real and it has been a journey of learning for me and I do get anxious that the space I make for my children and all the children that come into my space, will not necessarily be made for them by others.

One thing I get anxious about when we have to interact with others is the idea of greeting others. I introduced it to the children as “Assalamu Alaikum” and if i was to say to them “greet”, they will say “Assalamu Alaikum.” It gets awkward 😳 😅 😬 when the person is not Muslim. I don’t like for people to think I am forcing Islam on them, cos that is what they will think, sadly even Muslims.

Yesterday we got into a cab and I said salam to the driver and then prompted them to say salam and they did. And I sat with my thoughts, “how long do I need to remind them? What lessons can I plan around the different ways to greet etc.” We arrived at the mall and so my thoughts were interrupted.

We were standing in the corner waiting for B to finish his turn on a ride and then this old woman passed. K turned to her and said, “Hello” with the warmest cheekiest smile on her face. And unprovoked!

The woman was delighted and surprised.

I was shocked and blushing.

“Grandma” bent a little and asked her name. Which she replied with and then grandma opened her bag, counted out some money and gave to her.

I was humbled and in awe of Allah. I always pray that as we are doing our best and raising our children different, that Allah always surrounds them with people that make space for them and appreciate their differences.

Another old woman might have said, “is it hello you are to say to me. Am I your mate?” etc…But I digress!

And so that was the start of our budgeting lesson because baby girl went shopping right after.

Alhamdulilah. Then Alhamdulilah.

Is there more time to do better?

Is there more time to do better?

I think it was in 2018. I was at an event held in An-Nur, and I remember the speaker started the session with a question. How many people here have children? And most hands went up. I felt a tinge of something. I had just gone through a loss of some sort, and I needed to get out of the house. The whole reason I was there. Or was it?

His ways are so different. SubhanAllah! But I digress..

And that was followed by another question from the speaker…

“If your children were to talk about their role models, would they mention you?” And if it was not all the hands that went down, it was most. Very most.

And now I ask myself one more…

“Do I want my children to be exactly like me?”

I marvel at nature vs. nurture. When one agent does something exactly like they see us do it. Or another asking for “hot tea” just like grandma. Or they talk my ear off just like daddy.

These children, they see us in a way no-one else sees us. They truly love us. It is all important to them, our mood, our reactions, our validation, our time. We might think there is time for us to do better, but the truth is, there isn’t. Or is there?

We would be starting with another group for the Nurtured mama Program. This is your invitation to join us.

Ramadān 1444ah: A different one

Ramadān 1444ah: A different one

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Ramadān is always an exciting one. Alhamdulillah. There is so much palnning and excitement as the month comes and then just like that it is done and leave us yearning for the next. may Allah ﷻ allow us to witness this month and many more and to take and reap from it. Amin.

For a number of years now, I have had a similar schedule for Ramadān. I host a community reflection circle post fajr which I love and then start my day right after, when I was working a 9-5, would proceed to work and even when I was a full-time entrepreneur, I would work as such too. Then I schedule everything else as needed from Qur’an classes to tafseer classes and so on. And I have loved it. I love knowing what I need to do, I love getting to do all I get to do, and the structure keeps me focused. Alhamdulillah.

However, this Ramadān, I find myself craving a much needed retreat. I want to take time out for myself to just be by myself and work on myself from within myself. I really miss solo journaling sessions as well and looking forward to that too. I am looking to get the children involved as well and so doing a lot of activities with them In sha’a Allah So let’s say there will be lots of children books in my Ramadān as well. There is also my studies. We do not get a break for Ramadān, just an adjusted schedule because we do not get a lunch break cos it is Ramadān.

I intend to make a number of changes in the coming months and I intend to use Ramadān as a training ground for that In sha’a Allah.

One other thing I am excited about is Pockets of peace – a bunch of letters of love, hope and personal stories, I would be sending out with so much more love scattered through the month of Ramadān. Feel free to subscribe here.

May Allah ﷻ allow us to witness the blessed month, see it and benefit from it and may He accept all of our ibadah and reward us for it and may he allow us to enter into His Jannah. Amin

How about you? Do you intend to have a different Ramadān?

Our Family Umrah: #1 the first step

Our Family Umrah: #1 the first step

In the name of Allah the entirely Merciful, the especially Merciful

So we embarked on a journey to the House of Allah following our invitation. This invitation, special as it is doesn’t come because we are perfect or worthy even. It is by His power and Decree and ultimately His mercy.

“Are you crazy?!”

“Why do you want to go with your children?!”

I didn’t even try to explain it. They would not understand. I have been there before.

You see, the first time I was going for Umrah, I was discouraged.

“Why waste the money for Umrah when you have not done Hajj yet?”

“Hajj is the one that is obligatory.”

“Maybe look for fertility solutions instead while you save for Hajj.”

SubhanAllah!

There has been so many conversations with Allah ﷻ in all of that time.

“Ya Rabb! Ya Wahhab, gift ne a child so that I can bring them to your house and say thank you.”

“Ya Allah, Ya Warith, grant me offspring and keep their hearts attached to your house.”

So it was out of my hand. I did not even ask for anyone’s opinion because I knew what they would say. I just sought out people who have walked the path and got tips for packing and travelling and keeping my cool. It is easier to take children on vacations where we go to safaris or parks however we struggle with the decision to take them for a journey such as this. And we had this conversation over and over with Abu Bilal. We wanted to go to a safari in kenya and I said either we do both, otherwise, if we can do safari then we can do Umrah. We couldn’t do both.

We had a lot of conversations and talked about our hopes, intentions and fears. I mean, the pandemic changed things a lot and there is always finances. We also have very opposing personalities. We revisited these conversations as many times as we needed to. We negotiated our roles as well. It was a lot of conversation between us and Allah. Alhamdulillah. We hoped it will all strengthen our connection to Allah ﷻ as a family.

Random day, we were at the bank where my sister used to work trying to sort out PTA after we got our visas and she had her trip planned for a few weeks after we would have returned and had a few questions about the rituals, then Abu Bilal said, “let’s just go together.” And we spoke to the travel agent and he was able to make it work. They were unable to go with their children and so we were not going to saddle them with the responsibility of ours but I must say it was nice to have them and I remember one day as we were walking back to the hotel, I told my sister, I prayed for this. “To come here with you” and she said, “see, and your prayer pulled my husband.” And it was so funny to think about like that, but His ways are unlike anything we know and can understand. He is Al Aziz and Al Mujeeb. We ever know whose prayer it is but His ways are so beautiful.

We plan and Allah ﷻ plans and Allah ﷻ is indeed the best of planners. May we always be content with what He decrees for us and put our trust in Him.

I hope to share about the planning, the daily happenings, and the challenges we faced as well. If you have specific questions, please drop as a comment and I will answer you as it does take me a bit of time to push out a full blog post. Alhamdulillah!

P.s: On a lighter note, I remember saying, that if the only thing that we get out of this is that my son sees that men do not need a hijab to pray, then that suffices me. Well, believe it or not last week, he was going to the masjid with his dad and sister and I offered his sister my hijab (she loves wearing my clothes, another habit we picked up cos we matched as much as possible during the trip) and he said, “let me go and get my cap” and I’m like Allahu Akbar.

May Allah ﷻ invite us all again and again to His house and May He ultimately admit us all into his Jannah.

Find the pause

Find the pause

So last week, I had just served my toddlers some pap. Where my daughter sat with hers (which is strange), her twin was uninterested. She finished her meal and came to hand me the cup but she kicked his cup which was on the floor as she brought hers. I saw when it fell and I felt sad, maybe even some anger.

It had been a long week. Abu Agents had been away for work, I was ill and there was no nanny.

Anyways, I took a deep breath as she handed me her cup and spoon and I said “thank you”. She turned round to go back and as soon as she saw the cup with the pap spilled, She exclaimed, “Oh!Oh!!” something we say when we make a mistake and she went over to try to scoop it back into the cup.

I felt ashamed. Ashamed that my first feeling was sad+/-anger over an honest mistake.

I went and we cleaned it up together. And I gave her a big hug.

I was not in a good place and I wasn’t thinking the best of my toddler. Toddlers make it hard tbh…

But still…

It helps to create a pause between the trigger and the reaction.

A reminder for me to press pause between the trigger and the reaction.

Try it, press pause.

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