Happiness is a State of Mind!

I have been frequently asked about how I remain calm, composed, and happy all the time with all the responsibilities that I have as a mom of five! Others ask if being a stay at home mother, after being a working mom, drains me. Many wonder if I feel bored, empty, down, or even dispirited! Well, yes sometimes I do!

The simple answer to these questions would be it’s all a state of mind!

I am not a perfect mommy, nor will I ever be. I have my ups and downs, worries and anxieties, weaknesses and strengths! Sometimes I feel too tired to think of an extra fun activity for my kids and I give in for their favourite 30 minute PlayStation time. Other times, I am not in the mood to cook and prepare food so I resort to ordering lunch!

perfect mother

However, there are a few attributes for which I am grateful of possessing and others that I have worked hard on accomplishing which make me the mother that I am at this very moment.

Positive Thinker:

I am a very positive person on the inside, and that is what makes the whole difference in my life. In fact, being positive boosts a challenge every minute of the day. For example, for every bad or worrying thought that I get, I replace it with a happy image. I try to manage stressful moments by attracting positive ideas.

Strong Belief:

Though I do believe in fate, I know at the same time that I am a human who can decide for herself. I do my duties to the maximum and accept the consequences no matter what life throws at me! I do not let circumstances take over and control me, both negative and positive outcomes. I also trust the fact that there is a good outcome from any negative incident we face. Even if I do not see it immediately, I know it exists.

Grateful:

Whenever I count the blessings we have been offered, I do not have any excuse not be grateful and happy. It is true we have worrying moments, hard times, and demanding challenges that we might be devastated with. At the same time, we have five adorable and healthy children, a warm home, and nutritious food on the table. All the other extras that we get as we move on in life add up to our long list of blessings. Feeling grateful all the time blows a magical dust of inexplicable contentment within a person’s soul.

grateful heart

Present Moment:

You all know how playful the mind is and how mischievous it can be in making our future fears control us. Training the mind to focus on the present moment diminishes almost half of the stress we experience. So instead of giving up to the feeling of being down, I pull my thoughts up and tell myself that whatever I am undergoing now can be ended in a second. So when I am with my children, I am fully occupied with them. I try my best not to have my thoughts wonder elsewhere as we take pleasure in the activity being done.

me playing with d

Change:

Like the flooding rivers, my soul loves change, and mainly abstract ones. I do not make major bodily changes as I am more than satisfied with the healthy person I am now, and that is what counts. Change towards a better me, is an on-going procedure that helps a person enlighten the soul. That is something I am trying to teach my children where I encourage them not to fret about others, but rather worry about how they can be upright and worthy beings.

progress

Good Listener:

I adore the fact that many people confide in me and I find pleasure in helping them overcome any kind of difficulty. Listening to others, opens new perspectives in my mind, and formulates me in a remarkable way into a new mature person. You either learn different things about overcoming obstacles, or you realise and feel grateful that you have already passed this phase and help them surmount it as well.

My Sanctuary:

Finding an activity that helps a person get out of this world and calm the spirit is essential. For me writing and reading are my sanctuary. In my free time, mainly when the twins nap in the late mornings, I head for my books or computer. Baking sweets is another way that helps me release any tension. Lately, I am considering following some meditation classes as an additional haven for my soul.

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Inner Satisfaction:

Throughout my years I have always sought inner satisfaction and not those of the society. What I do and how I do it is for my own growth. When we keep ourselves preoccupied with positive inner fullness, we would not really seek social approval.

 The Smile Effect:

Smiling does not only make you feel more happy and positive, it also sends those positive vibes to those around you. When you know you can have such an effect on others then why not? Simple acts have big effects.

 

So my dear amazing moms, we should not feel guilty for all those harsh and difficult moments where we feel we are about to give in. Find your ways, train yourselves, and have open discussions with your partners in order to help each other to continue offering the best for your miraculous precious blessings!

I would love to hear the methods you, my dear readers, seek to keep you composed, happy and positive for yourself, significant others and your kiddos…

child eyes

 

 

Life with Twins

randd baby

Having had three single pregnancies before, I never even dreamt of getting pregnant with twins. Even though twins run in the family, I never thought I was going to be blessed with two angels at the same time.

made a wish

After having three adorable boys, my husband and I made a wish for baby number four… and two came true!! At first, we were overwhelmed with the idea that we will jump from a family of five into seven. It honestly took me quite a while to grasp the idea of how we will be able to manage all five kids with different age groups, needs, and characters. I was scared I would fail in front of them and I dreaded the idea of not keeping up to their needs. So how do I do it? It is an everyday process where I just learn. After all there is a learning curve for everything!

The fact of having twins is completely a new kind of parenting experience, as if you are now living on a new planet. One of the most common worries amongst parents who have twins is the jealous attitude that might develop between them, especially those of the same gender. However, from my humble experience I think jealousy is a normal feeling that arises amongst all siblings. I also strongly believe that the way parents react to jealousy incidents either foster or discourage it.

rand dmall

Like all other twins, our little boy and girl are extremely attached to each other. When they play, fight, babble, argue, share, or even get annoyed from each other, they are still deeply connected. Despite the fact that they both survived the same situations and passed through the same consequences, they have their own special traits and characteristics that signify them as unique individualized beings.

raphy on the desk

Little Raphy and Dahlia complete and complement each other. While he guides her into mischievous boyish acts like climbing all around the sofas and tables, jumping on the stairs, and rocking wildly on their rocking toys, she showers him with hugs, kisses, and cuddles. I know he will turn her into a tough one, while she is helping him become a considerate male figure. Both of them will actually thank the other later in the years to come.

crawling on back

Looking at their development, like all other babies, each of them crossed certain milestones at their own readiness. I don’t know if it is the same with twins of the same gender, but here are the main differences I observed between them.

Physical Development:

While Raphy was an expert in crawling at around seven months, Dahlia was more interested in sitting and observing objects around her. He also walked steadily before she did, and was able to go up and down the stairs with ease. (Around almost 14 months)

Language Development:

Dahlia seemed to enjoy dialect and knew how to use her tongue and lips properly to make appropriate sounds when she was still 7 months old. She even made bubbles using her saliva around 10 months. She was also able to blow a whistle after several trials. Raphy on the other hand, does not have the patience to do that and turns things into funny gestures.

Eating and Food:

While Raphy enjoys eating and devours his plate like a real man, Miss Dahlia is quiet picky. I do not know if this is a typical girl’s behaviour, but if she is not hungry then she would not open her mouth no matter what. This habit might serve her right in the future though! They both enjoy eating on their own where I give them the chance to do that when their brothers come from school and they join us at the table. You cannot imagine the mess they leave behind them, yet it is an essential practice for their growth and development.

Free Play:

One of the most exciting ways of playing on their own is to empty all the toys, cubes, blocks, and stuff found in their baskets on the floor. Raphy showed Dahlia just how fun it is to run through these toys kicking them in all directions! Yay, lots of fun times!

play mess

Learning Accomplishments:

Luckily enough they both love books, songs, puzzles, and imaginative play. Even if Dahlia is advanced in her fine motor skills, Raphy’s progress is improving day by day. Just a few months ago he would tire from matching puzzle, and now he enjoys finishing one after the other.

Here comes my role as their mommy in finding games where they can cross those milestones with ease. It is essential that they do not feel stressed about it as that will create a barrier between them and might eventually lead to jealousy.

sleeping angels

In my opinion, twins, like other siblings, should be aware of the fact that each one of them is unique and has special traits. They should learn on building these positive traits and in believing in their potentials. At the same time, they should learn to be responsible of each other and help one another when needed. I came across the following article where Lisa Devereaux discusses step by step on how to encourage individuality between twins (www.thelastdegree.com/how-you-can-encourage-individuality-in-raising-twins)

The amusing part of having twins is that you need to deal with the same issues twice and mostly at the same time. So whether they are having fun, causing trouble, trying to throw a tantrum etcetera it always comes in double. It is delightful and remarkable to see how they coordinate with each other. They have their own language and they know exactly what the other wants.

In comparison to moms who have had twins and passed this stage, my experience is still modest. Many say that despite the fact that they are twins, they are not really attached and others simply say the opposite. I am certain that specific conditions, parenting methods, and other factors affect their growth and development. One thing I am sure of though is that their presence in our life is such a delight. The way they stroll next to each other is adorable and their mischiefs are in fact hilariously witty. Bless all the twins and all the children out there.

holding hands

The Modern Obstacles of Raising Girls in Our 21st Century

When people know that we have four boys and a girl, their first comment would either be, “Oh she will definitely turn into a tom boy,” or ”Oh, I am sure she is a spoiled little princess.” It is indeed intriguing to know how our beloved daughter will turn up to be. However, being the only girl in the house puts bigger responsibilities on her shoulders.

As a matter of fact, having raised three boys before the arrival of our little princess along with her twin brother, I haven’t had to worry much about how the media influences a girl’s mind set, character, and behaviour. However, as I look around and observe the consequences it is resulting into, my heart aches.

I also realize the colossal obsession with personal pictures through social media. Young girls might be misled thinking that life is all about alluring glamour, perfect bodies, and posing for social media. That is my main concern! Do we want our little ones to grow into believing in such an artificial world or strive to fit in it? Do we want them to be blinded by the physical beauty and neglecting the essence of the real self?
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Recently, Essena O’Neill, an Instagram model, quit social media and declared that her online ‘dream life’ was all fake. She confessed how she would barely eat in order to pose in a bikini and that each uploaded picture was one out of hundred attempts. After realising the negative impact social media had on her mental and physical wellbeing, Essena posted: ‘I’m quitting Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr, deleted over 2000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self-promotion. Without realizing, I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance.’

essina oneill

The question is how can we as parents help raise girls who are self-confident, successful, caring, mentally and physically healthy, and love themselves despite their exposure to the fake world of social media?

“Raising Girls”, by Steve Biddulph is one of the most amazing books that eloquently addresses the various ways parents can help raise girls to be the independent, intellectual, and beautiful ladies. Note, however, this book was written a few years ago, when technology hadn’t taken its toll on society yet. Still, I find it very efficient and must be read and applied by moms.

So how can we achieve those goals and guide them into being successful ladies in the 21st century which is dominated by social media (and all the negative influence that comes with it)?

From the readings I have done on this topic, I will share with you some of the basic points I found to be essential, and I hope will be able to implement:

Encourage Physical Risks:

According to Joann Deak Ph.D., author of ‘Girls Will Be Girls’, girls who avoid risks have poorer self-esteem than girls who can and do face challenges. As parents, we need to help them get out of their comfort zone and gently encourage them to overcome a certain fear.

(www.pbs.org/parents/parenting/raising-girls/body-image-identity/raising-a-powerful-girl)

Let her know your love:

All experts agree how important it is for girls to know that you love them for who they are and not how they look like.  Talking all the time about weight loss or the types of food she eats, results in low self-esteem. She has to know that she is beautiful whether she is skinny, fat, tall, or short. It is important for us as parents to express our love towards her, and seek professional help in case things deteriorate.

mirror and girls

Treat her equally:

Whether a girl is an only child or there are four others in the same house, equal treatment where no comparison is made helps girls in appreciating themselves for who they are and what they are capable of doing. So with our little girl, we do just that. Even if she is our only girl amongst four boys, does not mean she gets away with mischiefs.

Giving her responsibilities:

Helping girls in carrying out responsibilities and in deciding on the chores they want to manage at home, assists them into glowing as mature and liable females. They will learn how to be responsible, to carry out duties in an organized manner, and to manage and finish tasks on time. You can always start with simple chores and move on to more complex ones as your little girl grows.

chores list

Let her dream:

Imagination does not flourish without dreams and people who are creative are successful citizens world-wide. I would never set a limit to my daughter’s creative play, whether it will be with castles, dolls, balls, and even cars. Play in all its dimensions is essential for their growth.

girls with dreams

Monitor media usage:

Parents need to encourage down time from devices where they can agree on “no device zones” at home; for example, at dinner and lunch times, in bedrooms, in toilets etcetera. Parents should also clarify that most of what appears online is fake and do not reveal the truth of the everyday life.

According to Dr. Wick, a clinical development psychologist, children who never get a break from social media develop anxiety. (Social Media and Your Kid’s Self-Esteem/Healthyplace.com)

Girls should know that there are good and bad times, easy and difficult moments, honest and deceitful situations. We cannot just keep them floating up in a glittery bubble.  That is why, providing them with the basic information about social media and having them open up to us as parents, make them realize the reality behind them and be able to use it without being miscarried into its pits. To achieve such an open conversation with your daughter these tips come in handy:

  • Communicate with each other where you listen to her worries more than you act the sage on the stage.
  • Be her close and true friend.
  • Set a good example by properly handling social media and its pressures as mothers. If a mother is herself preoccupied and seeks approval from social media, then she is indirectly sending a message to her daughter that acceptance via social media is to be sought. After all, actions speak louder than words!
  • Try things together like checking out new applications, seeing latest trends and magazines, etcetera. She will come to realise that these could be fun activities and not to be taken too seriously.
  • Invite her friends over to spend time together and not only in the virtual world.
  • Encourage her to have a time alone to reorganise her thoughts, calm her soul, and just chill out. I believe that supporting girls into meditation at their early years help them in focusing more on their true self and maintain high self-esteem.

Maybe it is easier said than done, but one thing is certain that the media could shove our girls into a valley where shadows of darkness might simply overcome their talents and beauty if we do not teach them how to properly handle this powerful tool. We can all help each other as moms and raise them to be empowering women in the future. Please share your experiences with us here, as your ideas will enlighten us as well.

Below is a video that briefs the reality of how the media girls consume can change their lives.

 

www.pinterest.com/pin/344736546447735764/?s=3&m=gmail

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Mini Pumpkin Pie

I personally miss the fall season every year where the leaves dress up in warm earth colors varying from yellow to orange and brown. Though everything in nature seems to be dying, but in reality it is just a preparation to a new life.
In fact, November is all about giving thanks to all the blessings we have. It is also a month of baking pies, roasting turkeys, and savoring memories. I spend most of it trying different autumn recipes. This one is incredibly mouth watering and not very difficult to be made.
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Crust pie:

1 1/4 cups flour
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice cold water

Mix the butter with the flour to form crumbs.
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Add the other ingredients and knead until you get a soft dough.
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Spread the dough using a rolling pin and cut 7 thin medium sized circles.
Insert the circles into a greased muffin tin.
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Bake for ten minutes until the crust turns golden in color.

Filling:

2 eggs
2 cups mashed pumpkins
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cloves and nutmeg to taste

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Beat the eggs along with the spices and salt.
Add the sugar and continue mixing until fluffy.
Add the pumpkin puree and yogurt.
Fill in the tin cups until the dough is completely covered.
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Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the filling is set. You can serve it warm along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Bon appetit!

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Knowledge and Union: Our Power against Hardship

 

“Cancer is just a term; it doesn’t define who you are!” says Laurie Ann in her book When Gray Becomes a Primary Color. This phrase sums up the Breast Cancer Awareness Event that took place last Saturday.

metalking

The seminar started with Dr. Nahida Amin,Family Medicine Doctor, from King’s College Hospital, who explicitly explained the steps needed to be taken in order to detect breast cancer at its earlier stages. According to Dr. Amin, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and accounting for 25% of all cancers. It is the second leading cause of death for women just after cardiovascular diseases. Sadly, half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer are below the age of 46 years.

julie and dr

Being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol intake can help in lowering the risk of breast cancer. There is also the belief that breast feeding and refraining from using hormonal therapy to deal with menopause symptoms can also decrease the risk factors.

Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but there are things all women can do which helps in reducing their risk.  Indeed, if breast cancer was detected at an early stage, the chances for getting a treatable cure and recovering from it are higher.

That is why it is important to screen for breast cancer and to contact your doctor for certain worries. The recommended screening for breast cancer is as follows;

  • Clinical breast exam and self-exam
  • Mammograms
  • Ultra sound
  • MRI

The ladies were all engaged and there was a thorough discussion about certain worries and concerns. Dr. Amin was more than pleased to satisfy all of these anxieties.

meand melanie

Then, we were honoured to have Dr. Gobert from Bosom Buddies, who persisted on the positive role support groups play with cancer patients. The ladies at Bosom Buddies meet the first Sunday of every month in Café Arabia. One good way to support a cancer patient would be to know how they feel and help them talk about it. Dr. Gobert’s wide knowledge on the subject and compassionate approach had a positive impact on all of us.

laurie pic

Last but not least, Mrs. Laurie Nelson, who is also a cancer survivor herself, briefly described how her cancer started and how it ended. She was delighted to be among us and saluted the attending ladies for being part of a good cause.

Unfortunately, cancer is still considered to be a taboo where many are afraid of even mentioning it. Knowledge is our power in defying hardship. The more we know the more awareness we spread, and the more hope we give.

Both ladies’ beautiful words and inspiration gave me a sense of strength and potency. The seminar by itself was constructively engaging and informative despite the hardship of the disease itself.

engagement colage

Finally, I would like to share with you the feedback I received from the attendees of the breast cancer awareness event. In that regard, I sent them the following question and below are their answers:

What message will you convey to fellow women after attending the breast cancer seminar?

“The seminar was as informative as the previous one…I personally learned a lot and enjoyed listening to the speakers. Thanks a lot for all your effort and wish you all the success in coming events.”

“Thank u for this exceptional seminar.
I will advise them to always do all tests that can help them diagnose anything abnormal in their body.”

“Awareness, knowledge, and simple health tips can add quality years to your life.”

“Breast cancer is very common and can happen to anyone. Heredity is responsible for only 10% of the cases. Since we cannot know what are the causing factors of breast cancer, our best defence is self-examination, followed by more precise tests if needed. If detected early, chances of survival and cure increase.”

“Don’t be afraid of knowing!”

“Thinking positively is part of the cure no matter what the case is.”

“Early detection is the key. Be proactive.”

“Although breast cancer may not be prevented, but detecting it earlier makes it somehow easier to be treated! Thank you for this informative session and for giving us the chance to meet cancer survivors who were sincere and truly inspirational!”

“Awareness provokes early detection which can save a life.”

I would like to thank each and every lady who has joined us that day and have been part of our awareness group. I highly appreciate your openness and sincerity in sharing with us your pains, doubts, and qualms. I also value your dedication and the time you have specified to join us for such a good cause, because you are now an inspiration to others.

My gratitude also goes to the staff at King’s College Hospital whose professional team and well organized manner played a major role in the event’s success. Finally, a big thank you goes to our two beautiful women who have shared their inspiring stories with us. The mere fact of having you amongst us is empowering.

Thank you Layan Emirates Gifts, Silkor Medical Laser Center, Ella Spa, and King’s College Hospital for showering us with all those special gifts and prizes.

Without you all this would not have come true, so thank you!!

group picture breast cancer