Just Because…

something to say

1 – I am not boring.

Just because I read books you are not interested in does not mean I am boring.

2 – I am more than a job title.

Just because I am a stay at home mother does not mean I am not intelligent or wasting my life. I am raising the future.

3 – I am not little anymore.

Just because I was once a baby does not mean I have stayed that baby. I am a thirty-five year old woman and have thirty-five years’ experience behind me.

4 – I do have an opinion.

Just because I do not often say anything does not mean I do not have anything to say.

Just because I am younger than you does not mean I cannot offer advice. We all have different life experiences and have a different insight on events.

5 – I do have a resolve.

Just because I am quiet does not mean I do not have that resolve. Sometimes it takes a stronger person to keep quiet than to fill a room with the sound of their voice.

6 – Being busy is not an excuse.

The less involved you are in someone’s life, the less they are a priority to you.

7 – Flattery can go a long way.

Just because you are older does not mean you are eligible to criticise in order to advise. Sometimes it is nice to receive compliments. Sometimes compliments achieve more than criticism.

8 – Sometimes it is nice to be more than the token free babysitter.

Just because I am the youngest does not mean I cannot join in adult conversation. Sometimes I would not mind washing up or cooking or feeling like in my absence I would be missed for more than my babysitting.

9 – One person’s rubbish is another person’s gold.

Just because that is your opinion does not make it true nor does it define me.

10 – Conversation is food for the soul.

You cannot get to know a person unless you speak to them personally; reports through another person are superficial at best.

Opening image: www.jonstallings.com

The Penultimate Career

motherhoodjobI am not stupid. I have a postgraduate level education. I am not lazy, my working day begins the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them at the end of the day, which is often in the early hours of the following day.  I have dreams and I have aspirations. I have only ever wanted to be two things: a mother and a writer. I am the happiest I have been for years. After dressing for the corporate world it is so refreshing to leave the house in jeans and trainers, it makes me feel so liberated.

I work hard and in the past two years have worked harder than I ever have. I have exerted myself to the point my health is now affected.  My only source of news is on my mobile phone usually through my Facebook or Twitter feed usually at past midnight because to refute the common assumption of stay at home mothers (or SAHMs), I do not sit and watch television all day. Neither am I on my phone during the day, except to make phone calls. I do not go out and spend my husband’s money, in fact for at least two months now I have walked around with holes in my jeans.

David Cameron’s new childcare manifesto is designed to ‘help hard working families who want to get on’ and who aspire. How does one define hard working? I am attempting to carve a future in writing and working on several projects simultaneously, I have enrolled in a home study Creative Writing course. I am taking care of my 2 1/2 year old daughter, ferrying her to her many classes and groups. Each day she has at least one event to attend. I am also educator and playmate. I am the cleaner and chef. My husband has dinner on the table when he comes home and his clothes are always washed and ironed. Even when my daughter goes to sleep at the end of the day, there is housework and of course my writing projects, my aspirations.

sahmsday

Why should my daughter and my family be penalised because I chose to stay at home and do all these roles, every single day for free? David Cameron and his government in their discrimination are preventing me and other SAHMs from achieving our aspirations. As a family we are already penalised because my husband and I are still together and my husband is working, now we are penalised because I choose to raise my own children? What is our society turning into?  A society that is more worried about taxes and money rather than the welfare of its children? I aspire to raise happy, confident children myself and not pay someone else to do it for me. Does that make me lazy? I used to think that made me a good mother. Maybe I’m wrong. According to our prime minister I am lazy.  I am wasting my education and do not aspire. On the one hand he is supporting young couples in starting a family and then on the other hand encouraging them to abandon them and return to work when they either do not have to or do not want to.

Every day I wake up with a smile and every night I fall asleep with a smile. How many people can say that? I am raising a child with good morals, with politeness. A good work ethic. I am educating her in the hope she will reach high educational achievements and subsequently will give back to her country. Why is that not commendable in the eyes of our Prime Minister and indeed the rest of society? I am sick and tired of being looked down upon by everyone and I mean everyone. I am criticised for what and how I feed my child. Yes she is a difficult eater. She only really eats the food I cook for her. but if that is her only vice, I am eternally grateful. I am proud of my daughter and I am proud of being a stay at home mother. Mr. Cameron, I am not lazy, I am not stupid. I work harder than many people I know. I do aspire, I aspire to be a good mother. I think that is more than enough.

good mother

Further links:

Wannabe Stay-at-Home Mothers Are Being Slowly Screwed by Cameron

David Cameron’s ‘Slur’ on Stay-at-home Mother’s 

Stay-at-home Mothers Deserve Some Respect From David Cameron

Opening image: Carpe Diem Mom
Second image: Alpha Parent
Closing image: Some ecards

On The Question of Happiness

fatheranddaughter.Today was a good day as most of my days tend to be. Yet as a I contemplate the day in the quiet of the evening, my thoughts very often drift to happier times. While in a reflective mood, I recently revealed that since my father lost his fight to Myeloma, I have never again been truly happy. That does not diminish from the happy times in my life, what is does mean is that during those times there was always someone missing. My father never walked me up the aisle on my wedding day. We never had our father daughter dance we used to talk and dream about. The only contact my daughter has of her Grandpa is laying flowers at the cemetery. She has never run into his arms like I once used to. My daughter is two years old, yet she knows exactly what to do at the cemetery, she kneels there and places flowers in the holes of the flower-pot with a familiarity that hurts me each time.  I don’t even have the joy of picking up the phone and regaling my father with stories of my daughter. I would rather he be living miles away, at least then I could still pick up the phone, even see fuzzy webcam images. My daughter could still hear his voice, have some understanding of what a Grandpa means.

The unhappy times in my life are that much more unhappy because he is not there to offer advice, in fact some of those times are in my life story for the reason that he is no longer here. Most days the feeling of his absence can be contained, other days they can’t. Talking to some people, they can not resist but put me in psychological boxes and deem me unhealthy. Others can not understand how while being as spiritual as I am, I can not accept that he is no longer here. I live my life the way I am living because I feel he is still here, yet that feeling can not replace a touch, a smile, a shared joke, a hug.

My parents were my first teachers, they taught me to walk and talk. They were my safety nets as I ventured out into the world. My safety net is now weaker than it once was. Everyday I start and end the day with a smile yet my smile can break so much easier now. So yes, I still smile but there is a sadness in my smile now and that is okay. That is not a bad thing. It is a reminder that what I am missing is so great.

The greatest gift my father gave me was himself. It was being able to call him Papa.

Opening Image: pixshark.com

Finding Home In Exile

HomesicknessI feel nauseous. Nauseous for home.

Very often I have been told that I am overly sensitive, that I feel things too much. Right now I feel so homesick, yet I do not feel I actually have a home. I was born and raised in England yet I feel my heart resides in a country far from here. A country of mountains, parks; of poetry; of history. I felt so strongly about this that I left everything I knew to follow a whim. In the end the whim turned out to be only a fantasy.

Similar to a lot of girls I often regard my childhood as that which was shared between the lap of my mother and father. Even in my early twenties, I would sit beside my father’s feet and listen to him share his childhood stories and wistful longing for his country. I fell in love with the Iran reflected in my father’s eyes. He used to tell me that I was more Iranian than Iranians and with his words echoing in my mind, I travelled to Iran with a rose-tinted belief that I would gather around me a career, family and like-minded people. Not only did I fail in this, I discovered that in Iran my Iranianness is held down by my Britishness in just the same way that in Britain my Britishness is held down by my Iranianness.

In my strive to please him, in my strive to get to know him, in my strive to understand him I have created my own prison. A prison to everything my father held dear. As I type these words I am watching an Iranian interview downloaded from the Internet, surrounded by people whose first language is not one I understand and one in which I speak with little confidence. I can not help but feel a pang of  pain at every syllable spoken that I don’t understand. I am still so hard on myself and convince myself I am a failure because I can not understand the singer on my screen rapping in Farsi; I can not join in the joke at the dinner table, neither can I answer questions about myself and my family but have to relinquish that right to my husband who with all due respects does not always know the answers.

I am nearly 32 years old and although I am now a mother myself I still agonise over whether my parents are proud of me and still strive for approval. As I was gently rocking my daughter to sleep tonight and whispering to her all about her Grandpa, I could not help but wonder what he thinks of me now. Whether despite my failure to speak his language he is remarking with delight like he used to, in his sweet language: “what a girl I have”, the exact words I now use.

I realise now that like the feeling of being in exile, this ache will never go away. But that is okay. It aches because I loved my father so much, I wanted to give him the world. It aches because of a sweet thing. It aches for love. The ache I feel will ensure that my daughter does not feel the same. It will ensure that one day she will be bilingual, she will be able to stand her own in both cultures and both languages.

In writing this post I have painstakingly sought for answers but there are none. Sometimes like life itself, things are not just black and white. There is some grey in between. Ultimately I am keeping a promise I made to my father a long time ago. I am keeping his culture alive. Although it hurts at times, I couldn’t help reflecting tonight how lucky I am. I get to enjoy the best of both worlds and that is what I will teach my daughter. My home is both in Iran and Britain. Through no fault of my father in teaching me of the beauty of Iran, he too made me homeless and created in me a longing for a country that no longer exists. But on the other hand, he has given me the tools, the words, the vision and even the memories to pass onto my daughter so that she too will see beyond the veil, beyond the demonstrations and beyond the slogans.

Tehran

Opening Image: www.theunderground.nl
Closing Image: Travelinos.com

 

An Ode To My Girl

Mother and ChildI love the sound of her breathing. I love the shape of her face. I love the way she clings to my hair when I hold her in my arms. I love how she smiles at me first thing in the morning. I love how no matter what is on my mind and no matter the extent of my worries and troubles she can take them all away in an instant. I love how she makes me want to be a better person. I love how I get to spend everyday with her and sharing in her smiles and even her tears.  I love how her entire hand can wrap itself around my little finger. I love how she makes me miss her when I’m only downstairs. I love how when she is not with me, I find that I am always looking at where she is. I love how she takes my heart with her wherever she goes.

I love how not so long ago I was working in a busy office, dealing with trustees and well-known personalities and now I’m scrubbing clothes, sterilising bottles, changing nappies and crawling on my hands and knees in an attempt to make her smile. I love how everyday is different with her and yet the same. I love how already we are the best team. I love how she brings my loved ones closer. I love how she has changed my outlook on life.

Nothing could be more challenging in my opinion than motherhood. To always regard someone else’s needs above your own. To maintain your sanity when all you seem to be is forever drowning in laundry. It may sound like I am complaining but on the contrary – I never in my wildest dreams imagined motherhood to be as rewarding as it is. I may only be 3 months into it but it has been the best 3 months of my life. I love how she creates so many new challenges yet gives me the strength to overcome each and every challenge.

I love how I now have so much to look forward to with her by my side. I love how I am constantly torn between wanting her to grow and share more with her yet wanting her to stay just as she is.

More than anything I love how she makes me feel.

Mother and Daughter

 

 

Opening Image:  The Telegraph
Final Image: Integral Parenting

The Fear Of Motherhood

We are all in exile from something in our lives, particularly from the past and we especially feel this when we are preparing for a dramatic change in our lives.

I am now 30 weeks pregnant and although I am so very excited to finally meet my baby after what feels like so long, I also feel a little bereft. I have enjoyed the time that I have had on my own while being signed off work and have thoroughly enjoyed using that time to work more on my writing. Already I know I will miss this time and I have tried my best to not take a single moment for granted.

What is more intimidating now is that my life is completely changing and permanently changing. When I got married, it was not such a re-adjustment in my life as I never really led the traditional single life. However, soon I will no longer have my own life. As a mother my life will be forever intertwined with someone else’s. I have enjoyed caring for my niece and nephews. However during the midnight feeds and the incessant crying, the rocking to sleep I always knew it was for a short period and in effect I can hand the child over and return to my life. Soon I will be unable to do that.  For me that is extremely daunting. Will I be good enough? Will I know instinctively when my baby needs me? Not only that, but my body has and is still changing so much, even though I was never particularly ‘body proud’ prior to my pregnancy. I’m proud of my pregnancy bump but the thought of my body no longer belonging to me alone is not something I have been able to easily comprehend.

I have never been ambitious in terms of a career and always felt my career would develop once I had children. This belief became increasingly prevalent as I embarked on a number of jobs that were primarily to assist me to reach my goal of a family life and not any vocational advancements. On top of becoming a mother for the first time, I am now thinking of where I want my career to take me. I know I want to progress more with my writing and of course to be published would be my ultimate goal. However, I have a family to take care of, there are never-ending bills to pay so I will need a day job while I continue to pursue my dream.

How many dreams can one person chase? Motherhood vs a career. My dream is to be a mother and I believe being a parent is the most important, demanding, frightening and exciting job there is. The most unnerving aspect is there is no job description or person specification to follow. It is very much learning on the job.

I have absolutely loved being pregnant, I can genuinely say I have loved every single moment. Despite the effects of Thalassemia  I know that it is all worthwhile. I can not understand why people have felt sorry for me due to the complications; even though I am scared to venture out on my own and scared of even driving in case I faint or become too dizzy. As I sit here now, the room is spinning and although I have had to learn a different breathing technique to help me become less breathless, I have enjoyed every kick from the baby; every ache; every pain. Motherhood is most definitely a labour of love. I understand that now.

So although my life will never be the same again that is not necessarily a bad thing. My purpose in life will soon be tangible and soon enough I will be most likely sitting here writing another blog post wishing for these days back again. If motherhood is really learning on the job, the first lesson I’ve learnt is to appreciate the time I have because it will be over before I know it.

It’s important to not miss where we have been but to look forward to where we are going.

Title image from: Creating Opportunities
Second image from: Yummy Mummy Club 
Third image from: Comerecommended.com
Final image from: Jesslively.com
 

The Green Green Grass Of Home

I recently attended a family event and it was one of those events that lead you to examine your own life and relationships. My Thalassemia prevented me from joining in some of the celebrations, which at first I regretted but now not so much. It gave me time to think and review my life with a writer’s brain (hence this particular post).

I’m not particularly insecure about many things except what people think of me. I now think this has stemmed from the subconscious understanding from childhood that I always had to do as I was told. As the youngest, I have felt my elder siblings enjoyed a larger amount of freedom than I was granted. I don’t resent them at all and my parents were in no way stricter in raising me than my siblings, it was more a choice on my part than a forced reality from my parents.

I never really fought for anything – even down to deciding which subjects to study at further education, I did not appeal against the “no” I met with when choosing my options. I just accepted it was a “no” and moved on. This led me to studying subjects that others believed I chose because I had a teenage crush on the teacher (even though he had since left the school by this time). It just seemed easier at the time to let people believe this, thinking it would go away but this misconception still follows me. It doesn’t matter now though. I have finally found the path to my calling or true vocation in writing and have lived in between. I have stories to tell that I would not have if I had ‘got my own way’ to begin with.

During the family gathering last weekend, people aware of my health complications asked how I was coping with the pregnancy. As I so often do, I played down the complications for their sake and instead talked about their lives. Everyone likes to talk about themselves but I have the habit of playing everything down for the sake of other people. Even if I wanted to change, how can I go against a lifetime of teaching? It goes against my grain to effectively put my needs above others. Now, I’m not painting myself out to be a saint but sometimes I wish I could talk about myself. I wish I could speak the truth when people ask me how I am. Even during the various medical appointments I now have, I do not emphasise enough how bad I really feel.

I don’t believe I am the only one who does this, in fact I believe we all do. We all believe the ‘grass is greener on the other side’. We all paint our lives to be better than it is. We all pretend to be happier; more content than we really are. In effect we are painting over the straw-like texture of our own grass with deception not for our own sakes but for the sake of everyone else. We all have parts of our lives that we would rather not dwell upon, parts of our lives we wish we could change but are unable to do so. What we so often forget is that nothing can thrive without water. What we need to do more than anything  is to accept the good and bad in our lives. We mustn’t forget the bad because those times are what make us who we are. They give us a chance to change the future, they give us lessons to learn by.

What we must do is nurture what we do have, to pick through the weeds and tend to our own garden before even glancing across the fence and comparing what we have with that of our neighbour.

Title image from scenicreflections.com
Second image from activerain.com
Final image from funhdwallpaperblogspot.co.uk

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