The roles we play: our true occupation

I am constantly amazed at the roles we, as individuals seem to play; both with our interaction with loved ones as well as our interactions in society. I am constantly baffled at how we end up with these ‘titles’/duties and cannot help but wonder if these roles only further reinforce our emotional roles within our family structures.

Take for example my role in my own relationship with my mum: I am the organiser, the fixer, the translator, the form filler, the corrector, the conflict resolution person, the calmer the list goes on but let’s let it t that… More and more, as my life evolves I start to realise that this role whilst in its entirety is with my mum; so many of these traits play key features in my other relationships.

In my household for example: My husband is the ‘worrier’ whilst I am the one who highlights the ease to his worry. I am the bill organiser, the planner, the contract reader. During moments of emotional upheaval I am the one who moves forward; plans, organises, calls; the shoulder to cry on; the person who bends over and picks up all their pieces and mends it/them all back together as I quietly stand beside them. I am the rock; the soft and quiet steady calm.

Today my cousin called from Doha to tell me that my uncle had passed away. He asks me to tell my mum – to make sure she is ok and gives me the necessary details: when he passed, when and where he is being buried today and why he had passed.

And then I notice how we move all that aside and talk of what needs to be organised: will my mum be heading off overseas? Will he be arranging for his mum (my mum’s now only remaining living sibling) to head over? That he is planning to organise things regarding my uncle’s kids (4 boys; 3 of which are still are very young) and his wife. We sit here in our respective countries and discuss what are the better options for a family that live in another country and I cannot help but see that this is the role my cousin and I play. Him being a man and older and more religious – he organises things; puts all the necessary things in place – arranges it all. And me being the understanding one to things in our family; I listen to his views and can actually give him input and options rather than bombard him with questions and worry.

We are the problem solvers; the calm.

I get off that call and call my mum. Explain to her the news; give her the details. Tell her again what my cousin told me. Explain the situation to her again and ask her that whatever she wants to do is up to her and that I would help arrange it. I am the calm. I listen to her barrage of fears, questions; her crying.
And I sit there silent and stoic – and I almost hate the fact that this is the way I have someone become programmed.

I go back to my desk (at work) and seemingly get back to work awash with sadness at the loss of my uncle and at the further cemented roles that my cousin and I play.

There are no tears.

There never are. They will come during a moment alone; a moment completely separate from this one where it will (probably) seem as though I am upset/crying over something else. I don’t know how else to be. This is just who I am.

Who I’ve always been.

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This time last year…

I CANNOT believe it is ALREADY October! October people… Where did the last year go? At the end of the month my lil cherub will be a year old… 1 YEAR OLD! It is maddeningly clichéd & scary how quickly time flies. It was this time last year I was having my last day at work and was nervous/hesitant/excited for the arrival of our little girl.

I remember the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy; I wasn’t that woman exclaiming “I’ve had ENOUGH, get this baby outta me!” but rather I think in the last 6 weeks I discovered that I LOVED being pregnant and having this human inside of me moving, playing, responding to my touch. I had so many melancholy moments where I wished I could keep her attached to me for ever… it was only really in the last week where I really felt huge, where going from a sitting position to standing required effort and I had to ‘hold’ the bottom of my belly if I stood up for too long.

I look at Amira now and I am amazed how fast she’s growing and am so hopeful for her and our lives together as a family. At the back of my mind there are so many fears that I have – will she realise how much I love her? Please let her be God-fearing, kind and good to her parents… will she realise the importance of education and constantly strive to better herself?

She’s 11 months now and I can already see little bits of personality shine through; how (for the most part) she is a pretty ‘cruisey’ child – she’s not fazed by much and is quite relaxed about most things; she’s not easily agitated and has always been placid. She’s an observer; when we get together for mothers group I notice how the other little girls are far more ‘rough and tumble’ – they attack toys and jump straight into ‘giving things a go’. Amira will watch them, observe then then decide from there. She’ll hold a toy and REALLY look at it; pass it from one hand to the other and then play with it. She seems to be a quiet, persistent achiever – I’ve noticed this on more than one occasion but it was never more evident than when she learned how to stand herself up against the sofa. She’s a happy baby but doesn’t laugh at everything – she makes you work for her laughter which I find so enduring.

Even as I type all that I can see her so clearly in my mind’s eye; as though I am in my living room and am watching her play with her toy Dora kitchen (and not sitting in my TV room while she’s sleeping for the night), I get all teary just thinking about how much I love her (I know, SO LAME!).

 

The baby that won’t sleep

What’s happened to my baby? She’s now eight weeks and the last two days have been chaotic!

I blame the “festive” season & the heat here in Aussieland… Our place sadly has no air-conditioning; which seemed an ok money saver when we were building but now we’re in the house & summer has arrived it has NOT been fun for hubby (strangely I deal better with the heat – hubby is certain this is because of my “desert people” heritage!) and now with baby I must admit I feel terrible for her… Especially since she can’t seem to get a decent sleep unless she’s swaddled (have you tried to swaddle a baby in 40degree Celsius heat?).

So, back to the baby – for the last week any semblance of “routine” has been thrown out the window… Hubby’s been off from work & likes to go out so that already affects lil Amira’s routine with me, then there was Christmas day (+night) at my inlaws which meant a SERIOUS disturbance to her sleep structure… Then boxing day at my mothers then dinner that night at the inlaws, then there were other get togethers we had to attend & let’s not get me started on the new years+birthday party we had to attend…

And now I am back at square one again I feel… With a baby who I’ll have to go through the “cry it out” method for a bit as over the last week she’s been molly- coddled by everyone who goes “Ooohhh isn’t she cute?” and wants to touch & hold… *sigh*

Then yesterday I noticed that getting her down in the daytime was beginning to NOT happen… Like, three quarters of the day from 9am to 8pm was spent with her being awake… Is this normal? Shouldn’t she be sleeping more? Isn’t that why they say it’s ‘eat, play + sleep’ not eat, play, eat, play etc… Seriously it’s enough to make me run from the house in frustration! To make me really test my patience my mum will continuously call me during the day… At first I tried answering each call – thinking that maybe if I DID speak to her once a day she’d be satisfied, but then she’d be like “oh, I’ll talk to you later on this afternoon ok?” to “come over again tomorrow with the baby…” to “why don’t you & the baby sleep over sometime” to her wanting to talk to me 3-4 times during the day… I mean what ELSE is there to talk about? And just because I’m officially not at work doesn’t mean I have nothing to do – I have a bloody newborn baby to contend with!

So – if anyone has any advice or hope for me; especially in relation to daytime no sleeping baby I would VERY MUCH appreciate it!

Hello Baby!

Well here I am… A mum; on the 31st of October I had our little girl! No one could have prepared me for the huge overwhelming feeling that would change things.

It was amazing; there is SO much that happens to a woman’s body that they don’t seem to tell you or prepare you for in those antenatal classes – like you know it’s going to hurt & you realize that labor may take “awhile” but nothing & no one seemed to prepare you me for the other stuff…

They say you’ll look at your baby & you’ll love then straight away; I was SO unprepared by how moved your soul is the moment they placed her on my chest; in that moment (and I KNOW it’s going to sound pathetically cheesy) I knew that I was made to be this little ones mum… I looked at my husband & could not believe that we had been given this glorious gift from Allah! And as athan was read to her I realized everything that every other mother had gone through to bring their child into this world.

Bur it’s not all sweet smelling roses; let’s back it up for a bit: you don’t quite realise how much pain the child birth is going to be. That the epidural is brilliant but that the first parts of labor are surreal & so scary because if they hurt that much already what happens when they’re longer & MORE intense?

Then there’s the pain after; this strange sensation when you go to toilet & realize that you’ve lost your bladder control… What the? Why did NO ONE tell me that???? Hmm?? And when I mention it to my doctor she says that it’s “normal” and that I’ll be able to get it back (she also mentioned that i should be grateful that I made it to toilet in time as she’d had other patients that had lost all control – is that meant to make me feel better?)… That’s not the point – no one told me that this was going to happen!

No one told me quite how possessive I’d be over my baby – that I’d want others to just let her sleep & to stop fawning at her or constantly picking her up or just standing there staring at her or passing her along to every other set of arms… Or how this lil human would affect my relationship with my mum; so tgat I seem to now have even mire patience with her; that her madness is slightly more understood now… That she went through all this to have me… And then it makes me want to call my sister in law and tell her that she NEEDS to be nicer to her mum & that its NOT her life!

And even though I went to a “class” on breast feeding & settling NO ONE seemed to prepare me about just how hard breast feeding is! It’s SO much harder than you think & that when she won’t “latch on” you’ll blame yourself & think YOU’RE the failure!

I’ve thought this so often already; that I’ve failed her already… She’s just a baby & I’m trying the best I can but she’ll take SO long to settle now; or she’ll cry for aggggeess and she’s fed, changed etc so why is she crying this much?

Let’s not even get me started on the lack of sleep! Of the midnight feeds then the 3am feeds then the 6/7am feeds…. Not to mention the settling after…

But I love her SO much it scares me… I look at her & could cry the worlds ocean in tears by how much I love & want to protect her… And it scares me; this massive journey of parenthood & being a mummy scares me as we’re both just winging this….

And through all of this (the pregnancy, birth & first few days after) I had always thought that the labor would be the scary, daunting part… But what comes after is clearly the real tough stuff!

xx

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When thoughts just won’t leave…

It’s been awhile since I wrote and it’s not that nothing’s been happening but rather that when I do get a minute to stop and reflect I’m away from the possibility to blog…. In saying that though you; the blogsphere have been on my mind a lot! I hope you’re all well, I hope that you don’t think I don’t care….

I’ve been feeling a little “odd” of late. On the outside I’m seemingly my normal, serene and patient self. Happily working, cooking fir the family and trying desperately to find more tine to get to the gym whilst also balancing done time with mum. But on the inside something seems amiss… I feel that since my sister in law arrived (she’s moved back home from being in Melbourne for the last 6years) and the changing dynamic that I can feel my patience slipping. Don’t take that the wrong way; I love her and we actually get a long very well but I sorta feel like I’ve become slightly less visible… Does that make sense? Add to that that I feel angry with myself for feeling this way but also I am more annoyed with my body… Because I’m still not pregnant! And it seems that everyone else around me is…

I know the sayings; “it’ll happen, these things take time…” and “just enjoy yourself – you’ll have a baby soon enough and you won’t even have time to think!”

Yep ok… Whatever – the frustration of it all is that whilst I wanna scream through it all, I am giving Mr A the exact same cliches – I don’t want or need him to worry aswell. He tends to be a worrier by nature & with him, when he worries it takes over every other thought and prevents him from function. Not with me – I’ve spent so long of my life worrying that usually its a long lingering thought that washes over me so that I suffocate it with something else… Shopping, cooking, making something, reading, studying… But today in the bustle of a cafe as I sit here enjoying my ice coffee while I wait for my wheel alignment I feel so maddeningly detached and saddened by these thoughts that just won’t stop haunting me.

xx

Today’s Youth

You know that signs of aging are occurring when you find yourself lamenting at the incompetencies of today’s youth… and then you laugh at the sentence you just wrote thinking about how today youth may not even comprehend the MEANING of “incompetencies”.

Last Friday I bought a few lip glosses in the same brand in numerous different colours. I went home and tried a few and surprisingly found them better than expected (especially for the crazy cheap price paid!) and wanted to exchange one of the clear ones for a pigmented tube one….

I went to a different store after reading the receipt that said that they only refund faulty products but that they exchange within 14 days with a receipt + the product in original condition.

I must first say that whilst I should not stereotype, I am usually the queen of stereotyping my own (people) so I stand firm in my own personal allowance to stereotype others! in saying that this girl was NOT blonde – she did look somewhat “vacant” in the eyes and she would have been ion the 15-17 age group.

Me: hi – I just wanted to swap this (at this point I take out said clear tube lipgloss) for this one (picking up coloured tube of gloss) – I have the receipt in the bag

Counter Staff: um – yeah – sorry, but like; we don’t do refunds here

Me: Yep – that’s fine; I did read that on the receipt but it says you can exchange within 14 days – I got this (*pointing to gloss*) yesterday and its still all sealed…

Counter Staff: oh… oookkaay (*VERY uncertain look on her face*), I’ll just need to check with my manager to see if I’m like able to do that

*the girl then goes to chat with a similar looking looking girl who looks about the same age… after a minute of chatting (which is fine) they both walk over to me*

Store Manager: So, um what was the problem with this gloss?

Me: nothing – I just want to exchange it for this other one as I wanted this colour instead

Store Manager: yeah – so, like we don’t do refunds here… it says so on the receipt….

Me: yep (I am still chatting to her as normal) – I don’t actually want to refund anything – the receipt says I can exchange. So I am exchanging this gloss for this other one which is exactly the same brand and price – just a different type…

Store Manager: oh ok then… (*looking at other girl now*) – just exchange it on the system

Anyway; it took the girl well over 5 minutes to figure out how to do it on the computer… at which time I stood there patiently wondering what has happened to the female youth and what possible hypothesis could be generated from their clear inability to do things that I am CERTAIN I could do (along with other staff I worked with at the time) when I was in the retail industry…

It led me to wonder about the possible options as to why I am finding this occurrence more prevalent:

1: Are standards to mental capacity AND ability to converse dropping within the recruitment process? Could this be because now all applications are all done online and that even then you are essentially just filling in boxes with your details? Therefore the HR department cannot properly glean that this person is in fact as alert as a pretty zombie?

2: I have noticed that girls are wearing makeup (as well as dyeing their hair) A LOT sooner these days and I am wondering if in fact all that bronzer we wear starts to permeate into our forehead and starts to kill off brain cells? This also helps to explain the mental capacity of the people in Jersey Shore, Geordie Shore and that show called Essex Style (all of which I adore watching as they all make me laugh!)

3: Is it all the hair product that girls use these days? It may be a ploy by large manufacturers to ‘dumb us down’ so that we are more susceptible to marketing mechanisms and therefore will spend more money… All that hairspray MUST affect more than just the ozone!

4: Does the movie “Clueless” have a lot MORE to answer for than we realise? Aside from the stereotype that Alicia Silverstone played let me TRULY clarify the idiocy of this: we in Australia do NOT sound like Americans… we have our own rather distinctive accent –WHY are our 15-17 year old girls sounding as though they belong in the valley? Can these girls PLEASE stop saying “like” SO much? Is that, like, possible? Like, at all?

I am not saying all those within this age group are over bronzed/tanned, too accessorised and don’t understand the concept of what a skirt is ACTUALLY meant to be about – nay; I have had and met some exceptionally articulate young individuals who are clearly going to make it beyond the perfume counter and are ACTUALLY willing to help… the sad thing is I find the ‘other’ variety far, far more depressingly prominent…

if this is the future of my yet to be conceived female children I can only think that I hope that unlike their mother they DO marry a petroleum engineer!

I Get Things Done!

Its been awhile since I wrote anything – thanks so much Tasneem for bringing to my attention my lack of writing and updating! I don’t think it’s been all because of the “Hiba situation” as for the most part she is certainly out of my mind!

So what else has been happening? Lately I have been engrossed with the “Family Bali Trip” – comprising of roughly 3 weeks in Bali. We are all going from different lengths of time: we all leave together, Adam and I, Tony and Teena (my in-laws), Charles (Mr A’s uncle), his wife Sam and their 2 children + my best friend Susi. Charles, Sam and the 2 as well as Susi are staying for 10 days, once they leave Tony & Teena then stay on an additional 2 nights and then once they leave Mr A and I stay on for an extra 5 days for us to (finally) have our alone time! We are SO excited!

Let me tell you that planning this trip has been an effort in amongst itself! my mother in law is a social butterfly – which is both great and tiring; I am a helper and like to organise things (I think it comes from having to arrange and organise everything for mum in recent years PLUS a knowledge of if I arrange and organise things then at least I know it gets done!) which means that a LOT of running around was done!

When we first thought of this trip as being a group excursion there was a point where it was getting bigger than Ben Hur – Teena and Mr A kept inviting people and family with other people consistently emailing me to find out how much to would cost, changing dates, asking a million questions about the hotel… you catch my drift! At one point the people count was at 14 from numerous other states in Australia…. My poor travel agent deserved a bonus for all the constant changes I was having to arrange!

Not to mention the issue of payments! OMG – do you think all payments were made on time? hell to the no! Do you think that I emailed and SMS’ed everyone saying “next payment is due on XY date” – of course…. Do you think this occurred? No! Ethnics I tell ya – we are on a timetable all of our own – its almost like a due date is purely a guide and definitely flexible! Apart from Susi everyone made payments late – the funniest thing is Susi and I are the youngest (do all the arrangements for both Mr A & I – hehe; aren’t I a good wifey?)! It must be because we both work for government departments that has ensured our timeliness – that or the fact we both come from ethnic backgrounds where we are keenly aware the stereotype is that we are never on time with anything and have thus decided to rebel the stereotypical ethnic mentality!

So FINALLY everything was booked and paid for! I picked up all tickets – Teena then asks me if I have arranged holiday insurance for us all and how are we getting to the airport! Hmm – me thinks my keen organisational skills have rendered everyone else in the family inept to do anything else!

Mr A overheard this discussion along with the ‘list’ of things that Teena has planned to get done whilst in Bali (but that is another story) and decided to intercept:

Mr A: what are you doing mum?

MIL (mother in law): What do you mean? There are just a few things I need to get done while we are away and I just wanted to make sure if everything for the trip was organised…

Mr A: no, that’s not what I mean – I married her already – she’s my support crutch not yours… get your own!

MIL: what are you going on about?

Mr A: my wife does stuff for me – that’s the rule; get dad to do stuff for you! if you tire MY wife out with organising stuff for you who’s going to help me? no one – ask dad; that’s why you married him…

MIL: But tony doesn’t speak Indonesian and he won’t want to come everywhere with me…

Mr A: that’s not my fault… you have to make him… she’s mine… and you can’t have her all the time…

Haha…. Mr A has a thought process all this own!

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