About Life

Change

Change is part of life. Change cannot be escaped. Change is everlasting. And change is good no matter how challenging it might be! With change comes the positive side where a fresh embarkation is founded, clutter from previous years is removed, and growth is achieved. At the same time, different responsibilities arise, that unfamiliar beginning needs to be well established, and fitting in a new society calls for patience and observation.

Embracing any kind of change, especially those which we have taken upon ourselves, could be daunting as, by human nature, we feel helpless when we try to decipher how that change will affect our future. Questions like, ‘Have we done the right decision? Do our children feel secure and satisfied? Are we heading in the right direction?’ tumble on our heads making us feel the heaviness of our actions.

With our move to Muscat and the humongous change we have implemented on ourselves, came waves of unhappiness, stress, delight, relief, responsibilities, and solitude. Such tides have been inducing in us a variety of emotions and reactions. Some were high and comforting, and others were low and crashing. Psychologically speaking, that unhappiness results due to the fact that we are aware that we need to adjust to everything about this new life, yet the inability to manage our old habitual social activities, and fit in the new daily pattern leave a gap where only time knows how to seal.

As much as I knew that it is very important for me to sacrifice my career life and be present with my family to help them settle down easily, I also realized that I need to live for myself as well. I won’t deny that I terribly miss my profession and the time I have given in socially connecting with people in Abu Dhabi and Dubai through my blogging journey. But life goes on! That is why, recently, I have been listing all the benefits we have gained in our move, and in a way I am overlooking what I have left behind. Not that I want to forget, but I want to hold on to that period of time as beautiful memories which will soon become stories we lived and appreciated once upon a time.

By nature, and if you have been following me for some time now you might know very well, how positive I am – to the extent that sometimes I doubt my perception of things. However, this positivism has helped me before, and will continue to serve me when I feel alone – without the presence of my dearest persons around me. I am also aware that it takes a simple decision to lead a happy life, and that was my compromise!

For the sake of my husband and children, I wanted to reflect happiness as much as I could. Despite all the fatigue, the new responsibilities, and the house chores which I am still doing mostly on my own, I am trying hard to maintain my anticipation and cheerfulness. To do that, I knew I had to indulge in activities that would interest me and add up to my learning development. That is when I decided to take piano lessons. Oh how I love it! In fact, every week, I would eagerly wait for my classes, as I continue to practice playing the notes on a daily basis.

We arrived to Muscat, almost two months ago, and I cannot ignore the fact that there were some shocking realizations which we have experienced. At the same time, the warm and welcoming attitude we have encountered so far is unique. People, who do not even know you, would offer help in any possible way, making you feel supported and appreciated.

Yes, change is tough, and for some it might take more time to adapt to the new distortion. However, in my case, I knew that the sooner I make a constructive decision, the easier and more delightful our adaptation will prevail.

So dear Muscat; dear Oman, I am so ready to explore your beauty and explore whatever you have planned for us in this new settlement.

How many of you believe that change is beneficial despite its challenges?

Parenting, Reviews, special occasions

Why Travel with Your Significant Other?!

Going on a short vacation with your significant other, allows serious growth in your relationship. Ever since our eldest son was almost two years old, hubby and I decided on having some time on our own – away from the usual parenting routine. We soon found ourselves booking a staycation for a few days, every summer, where we used to keep our little son under the care of his grandparents. As the years passed, and the number of our children increased, we reduced our break to a day or two. Still, as a couple, those short breaks helped in rejuvenating our relationship. However, this year, we decided to take our break to a higher level and headed over to Amsterdam for five days! I fully acknowledge that without the support we have, we would have never been able to achieve our goal. It is indeed very true that it takes a village to raise a child – and in our case our support system is even beyond that village! To that, we are so grateful!

So why is it essential that couples get some time on their own?

We are fully aware that sooner than we expect, our children will embark on their own and soar around the world. That is why, we need to establish common interests together so we enjoy ourselves when we are older and on our own. We are also aware that if we do not work on strengthening our bond as a couple, by time, the sparkle might lose its glimmer. Having this in mind, we both put whatever effort is needed to preserve the solid connection we have!

This trip allowed us to destress, renovate in new ways, and appreciate what we have established during those fifteen years of marriage. Further, it served as the perfect occasion to focus on being husband and wife instead of putting all our attention into being Mama and Papa.

Not having our children around us, broke up that parental routine making us closer to one another. We were more understanding and patient with one another. We could feel that it strengthened our teamwork skills, and mostly we had plenty of time to discuss new plans and clarify certain points of view. Sometimes you feel more connected when you’re away from your comfort zone.

As we freely roamed around the beautiful streets of the city, we enjoyed the uninterrupted closeness to one another. Moreover, once we left the hotel, we were completely disconnected from our phones and had the chance to live in the moment of just being with each other!

After all, this voyage has enhanced our emotional connection and cut the monotonous work and stress we endure all year long. It also provided us with enough time to spark some romance. The latter could be easily concealed after a few years of marriage, due to the endless parenting obligations.

What we also appreciated is the fact that we got to discover new things together. In addition to visiting A Beer Brewery, The Red Light District, and The Water Canals, we also got the chance of being educated together through the rich museums of Van Gogh, Anne Frank, and the Diamond Museum (to name a few)…

We also loved how Amsterdam presented a real example of a society which is composed of a variety of people who practice different forms of employment. At the same time, everyone is so welcoming and warm-hearted making tourists enjoy their stay.

Personally, I strongly recommend experiencing the world with your significant other. Not only is it an enriching experience for you as a person, it’s strengthening as a couple and can honestly take your relationship to new levels.

The indelible treasure engraved in the heart and mind when experiencing something together, can be everlasting. After all, any new sort of experience creates a memory that will be forever unique to the relationship between a couple.

Together, we have built up those great memories which we could hopefully go back to once we are old and gray!

What experiences have you learned through traveling with your partner? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Life, special occasions

40, 5, And More!

By human nature, people all over the world tend to mark certain milestones according to age. For example, parents celebrate their child’s first birthday where they spend a lot of time and effort to signify this special occasion. We, then, move to the two digit number ten. From there, we look at the age of thirteen, with anticipation, and the cycle continues as we move along the years.

Turning forty is one of those notable occurrences in a person’s life. It is that four decade phase where a lot of contemplation and reflection hit a person who still feels very young, yet realises major modifications in both her mental and physical growth.

Personally, the minute I realised I was approaching the forties, I admit I was a bit anxious about the transformation those coming years will bring. At first, it weighed heavily on me, thinking that I cannot do anything about it and that annoyed me.

Physically, my body has changed. Even if it is minor, one can easily notice some white hair strands showing from my thinned hair, a scarred belly from my last delivery with the twins, and a few wrinkles that have engraved their marks around my eyes and neck.

But guess what? It is just another birthday, and apprehension is not something I easily submit to. That is why, it did not take me long to realise that it is just a mindset which I can control. Whatever I make myself believe in will definitely have its effect on me. So why don’t I attract the beauty of this age into my being?

To all those who really know me, I have never resrtriced myself to a number, and age is after all a number. Besides, I have never had much interest in Math.

That is why, I perceive age as an achievement. Age is wisdom acquired throughout the years. Age is maturity. Age is continuous learning. Age is a gaining process.

Despite that, I cannot totally strip myself of those numbers which, in a way, have a control on our daily lives, so I use them as a significant reference in my existence.

Coming to this point, I wonder what I have established in the past forty years! One of my greatest achievements is having my own family of seven which is composed of a beloved and caring father and five boistrous and healthy children. To that I am infinitely grateful. It also happens that at the age of forty, I am celebrating fifteen years of marriage where we took the vows to love, protect and support each other through thick and thin. On top of that, at forty, I feel younger than when I was a teenager. Being the woman who eats well and exercises whenever I can, are what help me maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is no secret that I have avoided consuming specific foods and drinks, years ago, to which the results I have reaped now. Finally, my profession as a teacher has helped me in applying a fixed and well maintained routine which facilities my life being a working mom of five.

If forty is considered to be the middle age of a life cycle, then hopefully there is still a lot to be acquired and learned. With this perspective in mind, one would worry less, appreciate the past moments, and grasp new opportunities to come. Although I would not be able to predict what the second part of my life will bring, I want to embrace the coming years in open arms, knowing that it will definitely serve in my growth. Being the positive person that I am, I would want to continue finding beauty in life and live the given experiences to the fullest. I hope that with whatever maturity I have gained so far, I will be able to face any unexpected obstacles which might arise, especially that now we are in the process of starting a new chapter in our lives.

So dear forty, I welcome you into my life where I hope you will find contentment and be wise. I hope you will be proud of the decisions I will have to take. I hope you will add patience and gratefulness into my soul. I hope you will serve in fostering more kindness and acceptance in my thoughts. I hope for a calmer me. Finally, I hope you give me abundant strength in my journey as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and educator where I could actually be present for all those who need me!

About Life, Parenting, Poems by me

A Poem To Dad

Today, I dedicate a special poem to you my Dad! Because it is too emotional and it reflects a painful truth, I was a bit hesitant about posting it. At the same time, I cannot but honor the man who went out of his way just to make his family live a life where they had everything they asked for. Father’s Day presented me with this occasion where I grabbed my chance to voice his attritubes to the world and simply glorify his presence amongst us!

No matter what life brings along,

To me you are still a hero and strong.

You defy your sickness and disease,

As you’ll always be the one with expertise!

I have always looked up to you with admiration,

You as the leader, back in Badanah station.

Filled with life and goodness,

Served and healed patients with sureness.

Your generosity was devoured by everyone,

From the nearest people and as far as the sun.

Everyone looked up to you –

Some with envy and some with abjure!

Some even took advantage of that,

Though you knew, and forgave with all your heart.

I have always felt proud and fiery,

To have you and call you my daddy…

The distances between us have formed a gap –

Me with my busy life and you stuck in a trap.

It breaks my heart to be far away,

Alas! I wish there was a better way…

Like you, one day we will age too

There is nothing that we could do.

So I feel lost and at dismay

As the months drift away.

This morning I clasped my hands,

And dreamt of far away lands:

Lands of pure Love, Health, and Peace,

A place where we could all just be…

On father’s day I write to you,

Not only to say that I love you,

But to give you strength and conviction,

To brighten your day with glorification.

Parenting

How To Get Dads More Involved?

It is challenging to encourage Dads’ involvement, yet the society these days is working hard towards that goal. Below are a few steps that might help achieve it:

1. The Parents

Mom and dad should have a good relationship. Children need their parents to have a stable and close relationship more than anything. This stability sets the solid foundation to a successful parenting.

2. Ask for Help

Moms please ask your husbands for help. They need guidance and they heavily rely on you to assist them. After all, it is always better when the work is done side by side. Don’t wait for him to ask you as he would not know how tired and frustrated you feel.

3. Fun Activities

Every now and then it is essential that dads go out with the children – on their own – and enjoy some fun activities together. This helps in having the children see their dads in a new perspective which also helps in strengthening the bond between them.

4. Boring Routine

Divide the routine and boring duties, like showering and getting ready to school, where each parent has equal responsibilities. By doing so, both parents are saved from any unnecessary stress.

5. Communication

Discuss and communicate often. Once you agree on a variety of parenting methods, it becomes easier to deal with certain unexpected issues.

6. Gratitude

Show your gratitude for the partnership you have. Humans love to be praised and cared for. A simple thank you makes wonders.

7. One Message from Both

Moms and dads alike should send one message to their children and not opposing ones. Children are very smart and would continue to manipulate one parent against the other in order to get what they want! Once they realise that both parents have the same response, it is more likely they accept the decision taken.

8. Support

Be honest about how you feel towards the whole parenting procedure. It is very normal to have fears and worries. Once you talk about it with your partners, you will get the support you need. Who else would actually understand the situation more than your mate?

Parenting is one of the most beautiful yet challenging experience. It brings so many emotions that are bombarding and overwhelming along its bumpy road. The mere fact that we have our children only for a few years would motivate us to make the best out of it. That is why, when we work together, parenting becomes somehow easier.

About Life, events

Beloved Abu Dhabi – Good Bye

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I dedicate this last post from Abu Dhabi to each and everyone person I have met throughout those years:

Thirteen years ago, on a warm Spring day, I stepped foot in Abu Dhabi for the very first time. I was so excited to turn the few pages of anguish and start with a new chapter in my life. I have always embraced change, no matter how challenging it might be, and this time I could not contain my happiness and excitement. I gently rubbed my swollen tight tummy, feeling my first child kick me on the inside, as if he gave me a sign of approval and contentment. He could feel my delight, and he was satisfied as much as I was.

My life back in charming Paris, was not like one would imagine. Everyday living in Europe is not actually a luxury and requires a lot of patience, effort, and endurance -which I was not psychologically prepared to – especially when I got pregnant. Coming to think about it now, I wonder if, back then, I was still inexperienced enough to deal with life’s toughness.

Abu Dhabi welcomed me with open arms. It gave me a new essence to life. It sheltered me. It assisted me. It helped me grow. It offered me learning opportunities. It provided me with many occasions to examine new experiences and meet amazing people throughout those years. In addition to establishing a family of seven, I was also able to pursue my career life. I had all the help and support which I could not afford back in France. All of this has actually collaborated in what I achieved today, starting from my children, my work as an Elementary school teacher, and reaching to my current blogging world which is not restricted to any physical distance. This truth somehow alleviates me knowing that I will continue to reach out to all of you through my journey as the helicoptermommy – but this time from a new destination!

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After thirteen years, which of course had their challenges, failures, and successes, my family and I are leaving the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and heading to Muscat, Oman. As much as we are excited about the favorable changes we are going to experience, it breaks my heart to leave behind, family members, precious friends, dear students, close colleagues, supportive parents, and fellow like-minded bloggers and followers I have met and worked with in this part of the universe.

Thirteen years make history! As a matter of fact, what we have witnessed and experienced cannot be summarized in a few lines. Still, I can decipher a few unique moments which I have gained by being part of Abu Dhabi’s society. I am grateful for knowing each and every person I have met along those years. After all, I strongly believe that I always learn something new about myself by knowing others. As I look back, I realize how lucky I am to have had the chance of making friends from different parts of the world. Each one of them taught me about a different culture, a certain norm, and a cosmopolitan vision, making me more open to humanity with all its homogeneous and heterogeneous compositions. All of that taught me to accept people the way they are, and I soon realized that there was no room left for any judgement. We are all humans under the same sky battling against certain struggles and celebrating glorious triumphs. We are all humans who can give a lot of goodness to the world through kindness and acceptance.

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And maybe because giving and goodness have a rippling effect, my heart was filled with gratitude for receiving endless touching messages, compassionate phone calls, teary hugs and emotional farewell gatherings for the past weeks! How could I not feel that gnawing pain twisting inside my chest when I know that I am leaving part of me here?

If I send my gratitude to each and every one of you, whether we are close or far, I would drown under the heaviness of its intensity. My dear readers, followers, supporters, and confidants I cannot thank you enough for helping me become the mother, wife, sister, and woman I am today.

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Yes, I know that very soon I will pack our stuff in taped boxes! Yes, I know I will physically depart! Yes, I also know that I will close the door to our home very soon! Yes, life without us here will move on. Yes, I am experiencing different emotions! Yes, I might be in denial! Yes, I know the truth to all of that, but I also know that all of you and Abu Dhabi will remain in my heart forever!

So for now good bye, to you and good bye to Abu Dhabi…. but the journey continues because ‘every ending has a new beginning!”

events, Parenting, Reviews

Review; Parenting by Connecting Approach

The talk with Tanshi2a that took place two weeks ago at Silkor in Abu Dhabi Mall, left the moms with mixed emotions of guilt, accomplishment, difficulty, success, and puzzlement. As Mrs. Anisa Al Sahrif, Conscious Parenting Educator and Social Entrepreneur, discussed a few essential tools that help in building a solid connection with our children, she also provided the audience with real life situations and examples from daily challenges we, as parents, face.

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Human beings are characterized by being emotional, and our emotions play a major role in our decisions and actions. In fact, understanding a parent’s emotions is as equally important as understanding that of a child. As per Mrs. Al Sharif, once we comprehend ourselves, we will definitely apprehend our children. Once we work on our sentiments, we are able to grasp our children’s reaction with more ease. Thus, we build an extraordinary connection with them.

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As parents and caregivers, we need to learn to accept that crying is a healthy way to process emotions. It allows our children to  let out their frustration and address certain needs – like having you around. A child might cry because of fatigue, hunger, or simply because she misses her parent’s presence. Mrs. Al Sharif adamant statement is that the more love and warmth we provide our child with, the more trust and cooperation we build.

A child’s behaviour, Mrs. Al Sharif, explains is very similar to an iceberg. We tend to see only the tip of it, but we need to learn to look behind it in order to recognize and address the emotion that lies beneath. At the same time, as parents we need to learn to put limits in a way that gives them the space to experiment and make their own mistakes in order to build their personality and resilience.

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She continued to explicitly provide the attendees with a set of five main parenting by connection tools that can build that bond:

  1. Special Time:

For this tool, Mrs. AlSharif suggests that the parent sets a date every single day with the child. It can be anything between 3 minutes to an hour. Put an alarm to set a boundary, and let the child choose what she wants to do. It could be anything from doing experiments to jumping on the bed. Make sure to provide the child with much warmth and eye contact. She strongly encourages the parent to simply enjoy those moments with the child, promote laughter, and not to give advice.

  1. Playlistening:

In this spontaneous tool, Mrs. Al Sharif encourages the parent to follow the laughter and encourage the fun in their relation with their children. The child will always take the lead in these situations with the adult taking the less powerful role. Laughter has an incredible power to heal any hard emotions – exactly like crying. When a child is comfortable to express her feelings, the handling of emotions is achieved. In playlistening, it is advised not to tickle the child in order to leave the feelings of joy and laughter come from within the child. Apparently tickling a child results in having forced emotions which might result in negative consequences later on in life as adults.

  1. Setting Limits:

Setting limits with a child is essential for both. It is advised that a parent takes a minute to breathe before interfering with the trouble that is causing the child for having a tantrum or any kind of frenzy outburst.  A parent can learn how to stop off-track behavior with love, warmth, and respect.

  1. Staylistening:

Once a child’s needs are understood and listened to, the tension is released and the child can think. At the most challenging times, parents need to listen deeply and attentively. Once the issue is resolved the child can connect and ponder on the behavior that resulted.

  1. Listening Partnership:

Parenting is tough, and parents need to be supported. This tool is about processing our own emotions and understanding what triggers us as parents. Having a person who can listen to us, with no judgment and without offering any advice, is a great way that can help us identify and handle our own emotions.

In conclusion, a child’s neural pathways grow through love, respect, eye contact, and listening. All of these result in connection which is vital for parents and children alike.

Thank you Mrs. Al Sharif for this insightful talk which was an eye-opener to most of our attendees.

To learn more about the Parenting by Connecting Approach head over to www.tanshi2a.com or www.handinhandparenting.org

 

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PS: More pictures will soon be posted on the thehelicoptermommy Facebook page, so stay tuned.