My name is Mahawa. Once upon a time I enjoyed shopping above all things. At least so I thought well till the internet made shopping virtually accessible.
Truth is I enjoy reading, and writing in a diary; my hand writing is terrible so I now use an online diary to ponder my thoughts. I gain pleasure from going back to my entries and re-visiting my thoughts.
My favourite diary entries were of me at 14 years old. Till date, those entries are my reference point.
It is interesting to see how my wishes then have become my reality. The precision of these manifestations and the consistency of their occurrences have positively influenced my perspective of life as a whole. I am a gym bunny, exercising has been my go to therapist. Well, other than laughing with my family and friends, I enjoy my time alone.
I am not yet there with meditation, however time by myself with music and tea is my way to unwind, detach, release and recharge for the next day.
They say being a mother is a blessing! I agree – ‘there is no greater blessing or reward in this world as a woman than being a mother’. I am my mother’s last daughter; unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to be fully nurtured by her, at a young age; my siblings and I relocated to the United States of America.
During this time all I had access to was her voice. There were several times that I longed for a relationship that had more depth – sadly that wish never came true. The will of God intervened and she was called home to her Heavenly Father. Since then, I was was introduced to a new normal and I was forced to face this cruel cruel world without her; but the grace over her life and her prayers have never left my side.
My mother was a prayerful woman; she cared for so many children. She never spoke ill of another’s child. She will always say as a parent “it’s ok to say your child is better looking than mine; but never say your child is better than mine.”
She allowed each and every person around her to be their true selves. We were never pressured to conform to society’s rule book. In her eyes it was perfectly ok to be that quirky misunderstood person – as those who matter don’t care and those who care don’t matter. That’s what every good mother should be. Allow your children to be themselves while instilling discipline in them at the same time. I hear this a lot lately that ‘You are your mother’s child’ I must be doing something right.
Travelling had always been top of my list. I have friends who love to travel; however finding the right travelling partner is a challenge. Again, going back to my 14 year old self diary, it reminded me that I’ve always longed for a partner who loves to travel and that a daughter will be my perfect travelling buddy. I wanted to build memories with my child. I have a fear of her loosing me early like I did my mom; for that reason I go the extra mile to make as many memories together. Also, we live in a global village; I want to raise a well -rounded, culturally exposed human. We find ourselves in a world where ignorance is rampant amongst all ages, groups, race and nationalities. This I believe is connected to a lack of cultural exposure – I don’t want to a raise a child who fits in those statistics or one who only sees the world through books and movies. She is being raised to know that “The most beautiful things in life aren’t things; they are people, places and pictures. They are feelings and moments, laughter and smiles.”
I started traveling long hauls alone with my daughter when she was four months. Again, I didn’t read about how to travel with a child. I however knew that I needed to be well rested and that my infant had to be comfortable at all times. In preparation of our 11 hours flight, I had a good night sleep the day before; packed change of clothes, PJ’s, book /Bible and her stroller.
She was still being breast fed so there was no need to pack bottles (thank God!).
Traveling with a child is exhausting, it’s not glamorous however the memories you build on those journeys are priceless. A good night rest is a must – a-cranky child and a cranky mama is just a NO NO! The stroller which has now been upgraded to a lappa is to ‘po po’ her. Yes I po po her throughout airports. I don’t like waking her up when we land; I’ll rather inconvenient myself than have a tired and sluggish child around the airport – major recipe for disaster.
PJ’s are always a must, I am training her to know that she can never sleep in her day clothes, irrespective of how tired she is, and she must always put on her pyjamas before bed. We always have a book and a bible; as our bedtime routine must continue. On each trip we have the fun, educational and cultural aspects. She was introduced to fine dining at a young age; she is a foodie. I love her pallet. She enjoys her food but most importantly she knows how to act accordingly at dinner tables.
So far Dubai is top of the list for us. She still talks about her experience with a sparkle in her eyes. While in Dubai she got to swim with dolphins, went to few historical sights. She was there with her brother/best friend which made it even more memorable.
When I found out I was pregnant, I read books on all things pregnancy; however I never read a book on how to be a parent. I prayed for my child. I prayed for peace and calmness throughout my pregnancy and after. My temper had always gotten the best of me; becoming a mother has tamed that a lot. I prayed for a calm yet strong child. God gave me just that plus more.
Motherhood is innate; being a parent has to be unique; I don’t think there should be a manual on it. As parents we know how we want our children to turn out. Only thing we should all strive to have in common is to raise a kind, respectful, God fearing, polite, and decent human (how you go about that is solely up to you) I was never that mother who did the ‘goo goo Gaga’ talk with my daughter -in my opinion that hinders their mental growth. Communication is vital in my house hold. My daughter and I discuss, we talk about her day, her friends and we express our emotions freely. (When she does something that hurts my feelings I cry in front of her the same way she does when she feels hurt.) We are both very much in touch with our emotions.
The challenging part is that you end up raising a super assertive child who uses those skills on you. Again through discussions boundaries are set, there is a thin line between being assertive and being disrespectful (this is something we have to re-affirm over and over). In public I speak to her with my eyes. She is constantly reminded that if she embarrasses me in public she gets embarrassed right then and there. She is a bit of a shy person so she tries to act accordingly. Of course she is still a baby so she has her moments. I avoid the spanking bit of discipline, however the thinking chair is universal and she knows that. Facing the wall is my favorite – she hates it. After every tantrum I allow her to think about it and when she is calm we discuss. Sometimes she will have to sleep on it; the next morning she will apologize for her behavior and we will talk about it then. She is taught responsibility not just of her belongings but her actions.
I don’t have an ideal parent. Be your better self for your children. Have fun with your kids, build memories with them. Allow your kids to be unapologetically themselves. Your child is not your friend, always be a parent first (whatever that means to you). As a mother always take care of your Self, mentally, emotionally and physically. Don’t let go of yourself and blame it on motherhood. Your children are sponges; they absorb every aspect of you; especially for those of us with daughters.
For a parent who wants to explore the world with their little ones. First thing first, don’t do it because someone else is doing it. You have to LOVE travelling. You have to know your child’s behavior pattern and be willing to deal with few surprises. You have to be willing to make sacrifices for both you and your child to create memories. Don’t be afraid to take them to nice restaurants, they will always act accordingly just tell them the importance of the other customers peace and bring along an iPad to distract them. Don’t put money as barrier. There are lots of inexpensive ways to travel – plan ahead of time. If you have a friend with kids travel together- this makes a huge difference. Not all hotels are kid friendly – do research on that. You need a space where your child can freely run around. The world is our little ones oyster. Besides “the world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page”.