Internal thoughts of this mother…

Sometimes a lot of the time I sit in silence and feel that my daughter doesn’t love me.

Doesn’t really like me much.

You have no idea how tough it is for me to have written that. How I know my husband would say that I am being totally ridiculous and that of course she does love me because I am her mother.

But I don’t think that that matters. That we are not simply loved because we are the parents. I wish it were that easy.

Actions speak louder than words.

I pick her up from either my mum’s place or my in-laws place and she’s not even bothered that I’ve walked through the door. I would be jumping out of my skin to see her and she could really care less. Then someone else will walk through the door and she will be beside herself with excitement.

And a small part of me dies inside.

I joke around about it and pretend I am not phased; I laugh along with them when they say “oh; she doesn’t want to go home – she wants to stay with me!” but inside I’m crushed. I look at her and am literally IMPLORING her with my eyes to show some any affection to me. But I get back nothing except her wriggling to get out of my arms.
And a small of me dies inside.

When we get home she’s fine; we play together and I make her laugh and feed her and bath her and then put her to bed. She’ll cry if I leave her bedroom too early t=so I wait for her to doze off then quietly walk out.
And I am fooled into thinking that she might actually love me.

Then it starts all over again and I feel worthless. Like I’m a terrible mother.

I try to tell myself its ok; that I don’t need her approval and that a mother’s love is selfless and that my job is to be her mother. That my role in this house is as ‘bad cop’ and I can handle that because whist she’ll not like me now, one day she’ll see my worth. It might be for another two decades or so but eventually she’ll see that everything I did; that I do now is for her.
I just have to wait.

And in the meantime (another) small part of me dies.

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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.

Muslim-world Problems…

I have JUST had the funniest conversation that can ONLY be had in the Muslim/Arab world!

Got a call from a mobile number that I did not know – I answered thinking:

???

“Assalamu alaikum Farah, this is Isa; I got your phone number from my sister.  I am friends with your brother and need to contact him but don’t have his number with me on this phone. Could you please either give me his mobile or pass on a message to him for me?”

Me: “alaikum salaam – um; I think you have the wrong Farah – I don’t have a brother….”

Isa: “oh – sorry… which Farah is this?”

Me: “that’s ok… which Isa is this?”

Isa: “its Isa XXXXX” (that’s obviously not his surname)

At this point I had worked out which Isa it is and we start to have a good chat (and a chuckle) as to who we are and ask each other’s respective family’s and how old our little babies are etc…

I got off the phone and could not help but smile and think: definitely Muslim-wold Problem!

How are YOU?

Do you know can be incredibly frustrating about my relationship with my mother? Is that is completely almost totally one-sided! I mean do NOT for a second think that I am ungrateful for everything she has done, sacrificed and achieved in raising me. Don’t for one millisecond think that I don’t sit here in awe of the fact that from the age of eight she raised me as a single parent without any emotional or monetary help from my dad at all.

BUT it seems that the moment I started earning an income I suddenly started morphing into something else. Sure, I was always the one mum spoke to about her problems, finances and don’t even get me started on the abundance of ‘emotional scarring’ my father left on my mother where I all too vividly remember mum crying in her bedroom then scooping me up so I could sleep with her in her bed. But even then if I (as a child) wanted to cry about my own sadness my mum always told me that seeing me cry hurt her too much – me crying would make her cry so that then i’d have to make her feel ok and happy, so in most cases I’d “sort myself” out by just crying by myself in the dead of night in my room.

When I graduated university and got that full-time job I changed yet again; I became the provider, the husband, the listener, the maintainer, the fixer, the translator, the plumber, the driver… BUT I still had a curfew and I STILL had to listen and obey her every instruction. But I did it; I sucked it up and did it – because she raised me, because she did it on her own, because I think she managed to do a bloody good job of it, because I DO love her, because she is my mother.

And now I’m married and have a baby – and whilst I am now not entirely playing the role of “financier” ( though that is NOT for lack of her trying) I am still the translator, the driver and the person to has to calm her down when things seem too much (which is often, as she is a highly anxious person). What frustrates me MOST of all is she never, ever asks how I am.

Never.

Even when she calls me and its obvious I am sick; she’ll say in an accusing tone “you sound sick – why aren’t you taking medicine?” HOW do you answer this? With a deep breath and “yeah, I have a cold, I am taking some medicine – thanks”. I mean really – what else can I say?

But don’t get me wrong – she LOVES our little girl; she looks after lil missy every Monday and I can tell she loves it. And when she calls me she DOES sometimes ask about Amira towards the middle/end of the conversation… she’ll even ask about hubby as well (I know right, how the times have changed!) and how she feels she hasn’t seen him in ages.

But not me – and not about what I’m doing or got planned for the day, or if her call is disturbing me from work etc. No, instead my mum jumps strainght into her conversation and wat is frustrating her at this VERY MILLISECOND and that I, as her daughter, her one and only child – the one she raised all by herself MUST stop whatever I am doing and listen, help and fix her issue… even if it is the EXACT same situation she has already told me of 4 times before in the last other 4 converstations (of which I may have provided a solution but that it does not meet her requirements.

Take for example my converstion with her but minutes ago – as soon as I picked up and said salam she was straight into it “remember how I went to the chemist yesterday? Well they didn’t have the medication for my prescription – so I went to another one today and they said only the chemist in Applecross has this – WHAT will I do? I MUST have this medication NOW! Plus I have the problem with the neighbour still! There are 5 cars parked in front of their and my house – it makes it very difficult for me to reverse out – I have a new car, I could have an ACCIDENT! WHAT should I DO? Maybe I call police and they talk to them? They don’t understand – you can’t JUST park in FRONT someone house like that!” do you notice how there are no full stops? Because my mum doesn’t use them – I feel the need to tell you that at this exact moment; whilst I’m on the phone to my mum that my lil missy is screaming her lungs out as I was trying to get her down for her afternoon nap and that I KNOW my mum would’ve been able to hear – but she doesn’t even ask what’s going on… why? Because SHE has an issue and I MUST listen and fix it…

And I’m totally stuck – I completely caught up in her “you have to help me because I am your mother and I do everything for you” only its not that she does everything for me – it’s that once upon a time I was a child and THEN she DID do everything for me. And tr as I may to desperately make her understand that in fact, for the last DECADE or so I HAVE been the one to do everything and that the moment I worked out my mum held over my head the fact she’d done it ‘all for me’ as a single parent (so that I “owed” her) I quickly smartened up and thought that I would rather go without than ask for help as I did not want my ‘list’ of ‘debt’ to get any greater.

What frustrates me and upsets me most of all is that there is no possible resolution in this situation because try as I have to explain things it either falls on deaf ears or she changes the subject or will throw the trump card: “I gave birth to you.” I can’t argue with that… so I stay silent and realise its easier to just go along with her.

But it hurts me.

Then she asks why she looks after missy once a week and my mother in law has her for 2 days (it’s really 1.5 days) – where do I go with that? That I don’t get a bigger a debt with you? That I hate asking you for anything as it is now? That it’s easier with my in laws because they have a stroller/car seat/toys and cot at their house that they’ve set up whereas at my mum she expects/asks/insist that I MUST purchase and leave all these things at her place because she has ‘no money’.

Don’t for one second underestimate my mum – she may seem like she ‘has no money’ and by no means is she ‘rolling in it’ but she is VERY smart with her money! We go out, she’ll suggest we go for lunch and ask me to pick a place that I know she’ll like (see; the way she makes it seem like I’m picking out the place?). Once we get to said place she’ll see what she wants and tell me what I should order for her then sits down… we go to her doctor’s appointment and she wants us to park close to hospital =but she never offers to pay for anything=, she wants to go away and visit family overseas and she’ll tell me how much the ticket is and then say “I’ll get the travel agent to call you and tell you ‘details’” (details = price); even on my birthday when she gets me a ‘gift’ it’s something I KNOW she’s already had at home. But she’ll say she has no money… and then proceeds to buy herself a band NEW car… only AFTER telling me that her friends daughter =allegedly= bought their mother a new car and asked her (the friend) that my mother should ask her daughter (me) to buy her a car. And even with this new car she doesn’t come to visit me on grounds of “it’s too far” because to my mum ANY place that is MORE than a 7 – 10 minutes’ drive away is WAY too far away (FYI: my house 15minutes drive from her place; the same distance it is from my in laws place!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not resentful about the money; money comes and goes and she IS my mum and she HAS raised me all on her own. More than anything I am upset by the “cumulative-ness” of it all. Of all the expectation without warmth, with the total one-way street with no hesitation, with the fact that I seem to be a call centre officer to her so that all I am is the ‘fixer up-er”.

I am just so very emotionally tired and hurt by it all… but have to silently, stoically keep going and pretend that I am ok with ‘this’…

But she still doesn’t ask: “How are you?”

WHERE did my fitness go?

After a long hiatus called child bearing+birthing+rearing I have bitten the bullet and re-joined the gym. It has been something that I have been SERIOUSLLY ‘umm-ing’ and mulling over for the last 6 months! Yep – I know that sounds like a LONG time to make a decision but really I could not justify the payments. I mean, I AM earning less these days (as I am not at work fulltime at the moment) and after we pay for all the necessities + baby needs and a few little bits and pieces for myself (nowhere near as many “bits & pieces” I used to get myself) I just DON’T have the heart to ask hubby to pay for gym membership too. So alas my fitness came a close second to new clothes and I elected to not join… until now.

After MUCH thought I decided that I really, really AM not liking my body the way it is since I had lil missy. Don’t get me wrong – I know that I am really fortunate and am grateful that whilst my body has changed, I haven’t put on that much weight but I literally HATE my midsection – I DISPISE how ‘thick’ I feel I am in the tummy region. I know that I am my own worst critic – hubby is often telling me to not be so hard on myself; that I look great (bless him) and that I need to realise that I am going to look different as I have had a baby but I can’t help it. I think its worse because I was little pre-pregnancy so that now when I see how things have changed I seriously beat myself up about it.

But anyway – here we are; baby almost a year old and I have finally joined a gym near my place. Don’t get me wrong; I really liked Fernwood (my old gym) fitness, but I needed to go to a gym that was:
A) Closer to home
B) Cheaper
C) Cheaper
So I joined Bailey’s Fitness; So far they seem ok – I needed something that had classes as whilst I don’t mind jumping on a treadmill/bike/other equipment, I really do enjoy going to classes….

Usually…

I went to my first ‘not-really-my-first’ Zumba class on Saturday morning. I left hubby with a sleeping baby and instructions for when she wakes up.
Oh
MY
GOODNESS!

WHERE, WHERE did my fitness go? WHERE?

I’d been doing quite a few (read: A LOT!) pelvic floor exercises post baby and had been pretty happy with the results until I realised by the end of the warm up ‘jumpathon’ that I was about ready to wet myself! Thankfully all went ok in that area by the end of the class, however after the hour I was beginning to think an angina was imminent. Let’s not even get me started on how unco-ordinated I was through the whole class! It’s as though lil missy took all my rhythm – VERY sad! Especially when I think about how much rhythm and co-ordination I usually have! i used to be able to dance the night away; do a Zumba class AND then head over and do 45 minutes worth of cardio. Really, if i wasn’t at the back of the class wheezing in agony i would have cried! I am hoping that this ‘issue’ is short term and that once I get through a couple classes I’ll get my groove back and not look so tragic!

One can only hope…

In the meantime I woke up Sunday with sore hamstrings and very tender arms! AND I have a personal training session tomorrow (Wednesday) morning – EEEKK! If I thought I was nervous for Zumba I am even more nervous for this PT session as there will seriously be no place to hide!

Wish me luck people….

Quick Update: 5 days of ‘No Poo’

It is now day 5 post wash using the no poo method and I must say I am happy with results!

My hair isn’t greasy at ALL! I am wondering though if my lack of transition period is either a fluke – so that when I do wash imminently I will be inundated by a MASSIVE transition period and be in grease-city OR if in fact, my lack of transition period is because I had already stopped using sulphate shampoo and conditioner before stopping shampoo altogether? Either way I CANNOT believe that my hair is not, only NOT greasy BUT it is still soft and manageable as though I had only washed it yesterday!

I have also noticed that I am not needing to use as much air product AND that my hair is VERY soft after I’ve popped in the hair product and doesn’t have any ‘crunchy’ feel. I’m also finding that it is still holding my curl really well + giving me even more body/volume than I usually would have (without a volumising spray at the roots) which i am liking a lot. There was quite a bit of ‘breeze’ over the weekend and I loved the movement/having the wind in my hair and then seeing that my curls still looked really nice (usually they’d be looking all over the place)! I am also noticing that (as I’m using a lesser amount of product in my hair) my hair itself seems lighter in colour.

Day 5 and still happy with the results…

The ‘No Poo’ Wash…

So it’s been the 2nd “no poo wash” (NPW)  for me – I feel that when I did it the first time that it didn’t really count as I did still use conditioner between ‘steps’ as I needed some help to detangle my curly mess. This time around I stuck to the theory but added a little more apple cider vinegar to my ‘conditioning’. This means that it is 1 tablespoon bi carb soda to 1 cup (tap) water (which popped into a bottle) AND in another spray bottle 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (ACV) to 1 cup water.

This time around I ‘poured’ the bi crab concoction around my hairline and then through parts of my hair (keeping as close to the scalp as possible). I rubbed it in a fair bit and found that I managed to get that ‘slippery’ feeling and was able to run it down the rest of my hair. I left it in for a couple of minutes (so I could apply body wash + shave legs) and then found that this helped me to be able to comb my hair (with my trusty afro comb – every curly haired gal’s best friend I think!). After washing that out I liberally sprayed the ACV creation at the roots of my hair and a few bursts through the mid-lengths and ends. Again, I left that in (I usually cleanse my skin at this point so that lets my hair ‘condition’) for a couple minutes and then washed it out. Just before getting out of the shower, I turn off the hot water and turn up the cold and pop my hair under the (shower) head – I’ve been doing this for yyyeeearrrs and find that the quick burst of cold water adds extra shine to hair and (as I air dry) makes it less ‘boofy’ once it dries!

Once I towel dried my hair I applied my usual styling product but slightly less than usual  – only because I am getting to the bottom of the bottle and haven’t got my back up bottle yet). This morning (yes, I wash my hair at night a few hours before going to bed – after I’ve put missy moo to bed!) I was surprised to see how lovely my hair looked! I was totally expecting it to be all limp/oily/not quite right. Instead I find my curl is MORE defined!!

So far so good people!

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