I am such a long way from this young woman. I remember this day. My beloved cousin was getting married, and this is a picture from one of the million functions we had for her. I was actually excited about here, after a very long time something mattered because I knew I could have fun MY WAY. I had earned my freedom. I had left the life I didn’t want behind me. I was embracing who I wanted to be, I was changing, evolving, becoming me. This me that y’all know and barely tolerate. This young woman had no idea how much harder it would be to become her own person. Maybe if she knew she would choose to stay tied up in the glass house crumbling piece by piece. Maybe climbing all these mountains and going on all these adventures wouldn’t seem worth the trouble.
Today, I can tell you I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m stronger, lighter, braver, and without any regret today.
That little girl who was shoved into situations she didn’t want to be in would be proud of this young woman in the picture, and this young woman would not believe that she would become me some day. So…kudos to us.
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This month starts, and you start hearing seeing all these beautiful things surrounding you. It is a limitless ocean of beauty and awe. Some of us, however, wake up with a heavy head not being able to function, not because our heart is not into this month, not because we don’t have a connection with our lord, mainly because we can’t make a connection with our own souls. There is so much to sort through. This month, with everything beautiful, it has to offer comes upon us and demands that we give in. What if we have nothing left to give?
What beauty do I have within me? What greatness or pureness can I contribute?
We feel lost and abandoned by the best because we don’t have what everyone has in their hearts. At some point in our lives, at some Ramadan, we have all been there. We’ve all felt it but have not been brave enough to speak because that would be the real weakness. We think we are alone in this feeling. Does anyone ever just want to stop because they feel they don’t deserve all the good things they have been promised in return for doing just a tiny bit, which they can’t seem to accomplish at the moment.
No one has ever been here. I am alone in this. This is my struggle. No one knows it. No one will ever know what it feels like not to feel that connection. No one will ever know what it feels like not to want to get up and do the right thing. I will not share with anyone because no one has ever felt this pain and discomfort. I will not share because no one has ever been here.
You. Are. Not. Alone.
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We’ve been talking about how to stay connected through this lockdown, we discussed how to talk to your children. We even talked about what to do when this lockdown and the talk of the virus starts to feel like its taking over our lives. It’s all very superficial, everyone says we need to be hopeful. Yes hope is good.
We all need to be positive about which way our lives need to go. There are some aspect however that are right in front of us that we find hard to control. We need to be honest about those at this point.
How is your home life?
I mean the stuff you keep safely edited from instagram. The real stuff. How are your kids? Those talks worked, I bet. But then you’re out of their favorite kind of cracker. We all know that feeling, don’t we? The fighting and trampling all over each other. You yell. They tell louder. The older children ask you a million questions if they see you dress up to go out even to the grocery store because they are so fearful of what’s out there. “Coronavirus” is going to get you, mama you will get sick.
How many of you wished that your spouse was in another country.? Safe, no doubt, but on another continent, planet. Hell, this life already feels like a sci-fi flick, why not go all the way?
No matter how much you love each other, this is not a normal setup for any household.
Let’s talk about how much we are loving everyone who is far away from us. We want them to be with us constantly. We are worried about them and the assumption that they would be great partners for this apocalypse is truly otherworldly.
You know whose a great partner in reality? Netflix.
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Let me ask you; are your kids asking you a bunch of questions about coronavirus that you cannot answer?
There are so many unknowns. So much wrong with the world, their world has turned upside down and no answers to be found anywhere.
Sounds about right. Mine have questions about how much longer they have to live in quarantine and how much longer they have to worry about the coronavirus?
The most important thing that I have found at this time that has worked with my kids has been honesty. I can’t give them an explanation for everything that is happening, but I can give them some answers. The answers I don’t have I honestly tell them. The approach of being open and communicating what is going on even if that means not having all the answers is way more beneficial to children of all ages in this uncertain time. Im sure most experts would agree with that.
Another thing that is essential is making them feel safe. So, I forget the sequence of what’s more important. Being honest or making them feel safe, they are probably both equally important. Of course we can never promise them or guarantee them 100% safety even in the most normal circumstances. However, you define normal. What will be important is to make sure they understand that they are with people who love them and are there with them to protect them to the best of their abilities.
Another issue that is important to keep in mind while going through this with your family is over exposure. The stories and news about people affected by the lockdown, Covid-19 or other problems related to it are everywhere. We have nothing else to do but flip through the news and the constant flow of information being provided to us. While we are exposed we unknowingly expose our children to it too. Whether its watching TV in front of them thinking its just the news so its harmless. Or talking about it without censoring ourselves assuming the little ones aren’t paying attention-they are always paying attention.
How do we counter these problems? How do we distract them and ourselves? They are not the only ones over loaded with all of these questions and thoughts.
Focus on the positive. Look for the people who are helping, those who are doing what is needed. The biggest dilemma of this pandemic is that we are feeling helpless. That feeling of helplessness and being locked away is hitting everyone the same. We need to find ways to get everyone involved.
Getting involved means different for everyone. For your family it may be a prayer circle every day, donating money, or calling some sick friends. You could also try some off beat techniques. The internet is full of them. Try other ways that will ease your anxiety. The more you are at peace the more your child will be at peace as well. Your child’s mental health is tied to you. Your offspring is forever connected to you. They will always feel your burdens. Ease your mental burdens and make them a part of that process. This will make them feel connected to you and make them feel like a part of something bigger. They will feel as though they are helping.
Handling children during lockdown is rough, feels like life is going in circles. Don’t know what day it is.There’s no routine. We try to maintain some kind of system so the boys know that morning happened, and night came. The in-between is a bit fuzzy. I try not to guide their activities too much. This is an excellent opportunity for them to expand on what they already know about their surroundings.
We do have to recognize that there are very many ways to raise children. There are so many ways to create healthy and happy minds. My idea of what I want my child to be may not be the same as you when I go forward and express my opinion that does not mean that I’m disrespecting yours. Right now, this is for those you agree with me, for those who want to move forward with the way some of us are trying to spend our days with our children in quarantine. Here it comes.
I’m about to reveal something that will put me in the most uncool mom’s list, but I have got to speak my truth. While there’s a lot of buzz about everyone parenting their way these days, it appears there are a few things one cannot do as a parent. If you do, you are automatically cast out of the ’laid back cool mom’ club. I never applied to that club, to begin with, so I think I’m safe.
My kids are not watching a lot of TV. On regular days they would go weeks without technological entertainment. It feels as though this is a negative thing to say nowadays. I understand where most people are coming from. Parents are judged for letting their kids watch tv, so they’re on the offense most times. The parents who try to keep their kids away from tv are deemed pretentious because all the other parents feel attacked even when people like me are just voicing our opinions.
You have researched and chosen by your children. I have done the same. I don’t think it’s okay for either one of us to make the other one feel inadequate about our choices as parents.
Anyways, the point I was trying to make is that I thought I would not be able to accomplish this while stuck in the house. I’ll admit, they’re watching more than I’d like them to. However, I did think I was going to want to plop them in front of the TV every chance I got.
That has not been the case.
The world has been different outside and inside, as well. By no means has it been easy. Riding the bike and finding joy in little things has become a standard in our house.
When designing activities for them, I try to remember what we did when we were young.
No one made a schedule for our fun time. Being told how to have fun and how to spend every minute of every day must be suffocating.
We had the freedom to explore, and we had the privilege to learn from our own experiences. They are finding out what activities they enjoy—discovering new things about themselves. Every day is a new adventure for all of us. Not always in a good way, I’ll admit.
I give them tasks and ideas that they have never considered before. Sometimes it’s a complete miss. Sometimes we discover a new talent or an interest.
They have been using their imagination to draw and make unbelievable stuff; Not that reality isn’t incredible enough right now.
What would the world look like if all the trees were gone?
How would you feel if you could never have milk again? Surprisingly enough, this topic got two whole paragraphs. You can substitute milk for any other food or item they care about. The idea is to make them think about a different world. Imagine what isn’t or what could be.
Of course, the everyday activities, the routine, the homework, all of that will go on. These are some things to keep their mind occupied and stimulated without that which should not be named because the second it is named, it is impossible to make them forget about it.
Kids don’t always want to be running around.
If they want to have lazy hours, these are situations we are likely to put something on for them or hand them a device. Find lighter activities that don’t use so much brain and physical effort, for example, gather a bunch of branches, sticks, legos, recycled paper, cardboard turns it into a maze. They can sit on the floor next to you and use marble to play while you work or even watch tv in secret on your phone without them ever finding out.
I don’t like to have the children in my room too much, which is extremely hard to accomplish these days. The best solution that I’ve found is to go to the part of the house that I want them to be in; That will become their activity center, they will get used to going there when working on projects, which in turn will be easier for you to move away from that area and get some time away from the kids.
Time away for us is, of course, extremely important.
After all, this is another benefit of the devices and tv, that they leave us alone.
I have found some classes on puppetry or origami or both; my boys love them, kind of like a two in one project. First, you make it; then, you get to play with it. You can find age appropriate classes for either one. Come to think of it. You can find many other courses to teach just about anything. The kids can be near you, not talking to you, not asking for help, and still completing a project. Just amazing.
I also have them read short stories then continue the story from their own imagination.
Make background stories for different toys and objects. Making stories for objects lying around the house is a bit more interesting because it makes them think harder, get more creative. Find objects from the living room or the bedroom, such as a talking sofa that is tired of carrying people’s burdens or a refrigerator that’s saddened by the insane amounts of spoiled food.
Give these a try, tell me what you think. How well do these work?
Just as adults, children of any age are fearful and anxious as well. They have questions they don’t know how to ask. I have noticed that mine are much more clingy. Even though both their parents are home, they seem to want us around all the time.
At a younger age, it’s difficult to put the uncertainty and confusion into words for children, so maybe it is better just to let them get used to the new environment gradually. Try not to put too much pressure on them by heavy routines and schedules.
We have been having some amusing conversations about what’s going on in the world with the kids, which I would love to share with all of you.
I’ve never been much for the mushiness of Valentine’s Day or any day. It’s a commercial day. Lots and lots of people who want to make money will do just that; they will find a way to make money off of you and me. They will make money off of our broken hearts. They will abuse our misery. Or, they will get in on our happiness, but not because they’re happy for us. No sir, that is not the case. They will do that because they know we will fall for their terrible, miserable plots to sell us all those flowers, chocolates, and gifts. We fall for it. Well, I’ve always been too smart for all of that. I’ve always been too good for love. Yep! I know it.
Until one day, I realized that was not what was going on. Valentine’s Day or any other day has to be what we make of it. Every day can be simple. Beautiful, unique. This is not one of those heartfelt stories where I become a believer in Saint Valentine, and everyone lived happily ever after. Nevertheless, it is one of those stories that made me believe in the more unaffected side of life.
As I mentioned, earlier Valentine’s Day has always been just another day for me for as far back as I can remember (and still is). One random day there was a knock on our door; This was after my husband, and I had been married for a few years. No one knocks on doors without calling first, so this took us by surprise. We opened the door; there stood one of my uncles and his wife. We have a HUGE family. We were not that close to them. They didn’t have any of their kids that lived nearby, so it was just the two of them.
We were shocked to see them at the door. As we invited them in, they pushed a tiny box of decorated home-made chocolate cake towards us. We didn’t know what to make of it before either one of us could ask, they spoke, “Happy Valentine’s Day. We just wanted to show our close family and friends how much we love them, so we baked them these mini cakes. We hope you like chocolate. We can’t stay long because we have to cover a lot of homes.” With that, they turned around and left.
That was the only Valentine’s Day that has ever mattered.