When your baby cries, you learn early on how to be attuned to the sound of that cry.
You become adamant in the knowing, so as to understand what your baby is crying out for. It has a tune, that you are able to discern almost immediately; once you begin tuning into your baby.
The sound of hunger, the breaking tone of discomfort, or the close todeathaffectionate tone of wanting to justbe held. If you ignore your babies cries, they get louder and louder. After much trial and error you were able to master the answering of that cry, and soon after there would be something new or more challenging to tug at you.
Each time you either; held space for the cries because of your willingness to learn and eagerness for your baby to adapt, or perhaps you may fall short at times by giving in and solving it by feeding your baby.
Covering up something you felt you couldn’t resolve by finding a temporary solution.
The truth of the matter is, the latter is how you manage yourself daily. You tell yourself you’ll deal with your struggles, you’ll sort it out but often by feeding it a temporary solution.
It works, but does it solve the issue at hand?
When you do not give yourself enough time to cry, so as to understand yourself, you are covering up your underlying needs by suppressing them. These needs are not met- not only by yourself, but you will come to know that they’re also needs that haven’t been met in your childhood by your caregiver(s).
Not to say, that many parents didn’t do their best with the knowledgethey had, through what they were taught. Rather it is coming to an awareness that you’re simply continuing on a generational chain of patterns and habits.
Most habits are observations you took from your environment as a child, that found a place in your subconscious mind where habits developed, memories stored and energy is re-played. We usually act out of our subconscious mind and it is a programming that acts as a lens whereby one see the world and perceives it.
You make your everyday decisions out of this part of your mind, you react out of it. Your beliefs and values are stored there about yourself (who you believe you are)- usually beliefs given to you from the responses you received earlier on in your life. You create images of the world you live in from this part of the brain, which dictates to you, your chosen path. It is a boat that you are sailing on, that is stirring your life without your realising it.
As life pushes your buttons, you have this subconscious that literally speaks for you. It is a fixedway of receiving, giving, reacting, responding (to name a few)that isn’t completely your authentic state but it has become so habitual that it feels safe and natural. These ways are programmes instilled in you from your caregivers, the education system, society at large. You developed a way to filter out anything unfamiliar and continued to absorb information\ways of being similar to that which you received in your childhood and adolescent years. Anything new – good – or even great is rejected by your subconscious because you’ve developed a way of ‘being’ in the world. Unique to the way you were raised.
So in tune, your cries and struggles are unique to the way you were raised. Everyone you see, though you may feel isn’t struggling with what you are. Has a different and unique cry. Your cry as a mother is important.
The good thing is, the parenting you received were learnt ways of being. You are able to gain control of your life and completely recreate emotions, beliefs, values and ways of being. So, if you are feeling frustrated, angry, in denial, stuck. It is not your fault and you have to believe that there are ways of breaking the cycle for yourself, your children and generations to come.
As you may have noticed by now, many of the Motheringstruggles you are fighting are not yours. However it is your responsibility as a Mother to Heal those cries and nurture yourself; so to better take care of your baby or children and their cries.
I want you to pause and take a moment and truly ponder on what cries YOUhave buried beneath the frustration, tiredness, anger or hopelessness.
Have you ever thought about Mothering or (Re) Parenting yourself as a form of Self Care?
I personally believe one of the major things we as Mothers need to learn is how to care for ourselves. I never quite understood this, because I always assumed it was just physical maintenance;
because physical maintenance is a task and it requires a lot of effort when you have very small children. Often, I would try my best to care for my outer self because I knew it helped me somewhat feel better about the chaos inside of me.
As a young mother I realised I was not taking care of myself emotionally. I didn’t even realise my need for emotional care. I don’t think it is something most of us learn at home. I know for sure, I was taught the importance of maintaining my home by being given chores that I excelled in because I was taught that this was somehow going to serve me later in life when I had a family of my own. Except, I became too focussed on serving. I didn’t know when enough was enough.
I couldn’t accept that I could ‘burnout’ when I did become a mother. I was living out of my subconscious and serving to me meant that not only was my home in tip-top condition but as a result I would be appreciated.
Playful girls holding father’s legs on hardwood floor
My Self Worth was tied to serving and being a pleasing to those around me, not realising that this was going to hurt me and my children. I never thought about the Mothering for the ‘long run’.
So as you may have gathered, I was walking around seeking validation for being subservient in detriment to my physical and emotional health.
What we often forget is that, there are ways around it and perhaps my ONE example may not resonate but I am sure you can think of many ways you unconsciously ignore your needs daily.
I would like to share some really important and life altering ways that have helped me in meeting my personal unmet needs. I didn’t come to it easily. It actually required me to lose people, possessions and status but it was perhaps the greatest gift I could give myself. Although at times, I still question, I still wonder however what I do have now is a clear understanding of my priorities. I invite you to do the same.
Self Care is Setting Boundaries
The first Self Care act comes in the form of Setting Boundarieswhich has helped me greatly in regulating myself emotionally. Becoming better able to understand what I can and cannot tolerate from others has helped me make better decisions.
To achieve this you must protect yourself. Protect the energy and the treatment you are exposed to and surrounded by. This will require you to re-evaluate yourself on a whole, the boundaries you currently have or lack thereof; especially in close relationships.
Once you are aware of the patterns in people who drain you and do not serve you, then you will be better at limiting and protecting what you allow into your energy space on a day-to-day basis. This requires you to speak clearly on what matters to you.
And if ever, you feel rejected, shamed, misunderstood, isolated, ostracised, abandoned by anyone, not matter how dear to you. You must understand it is not your fault, nor an issue within you. You have every right to set a boundary with the most dear of people. If theytruly are dear, they’ll welcome the change you need.
Your life is in your hands. The best thing you can do, is listen to your gut by changing anything that feels uncomfortable, repetitive, toxic, manipulative and that simply doesn’t serve your well-being.
A Mother who protects herself, protects her children because she knows anything she experiences or is subjected to; directly affects her children and the programmes or the subconscious ‘ways’ they will develop and act out from, later in life.
Now back to your cries, do you ever notice how you feel if you skip a meal? or if you don’t drink enough water that day? Does it make you feel weak, tired, angry, sluggish, agitated? reactive?
If you’ve got this far into this Blog, I’m assuming YES, YES AND YES!!
Self Care is Self Parenting
The second Self Care practise is Self parenting …To Mother yourself. Yes, you read correctly!
This has to be my favourite Self Care approach of all. Although I will remind you, without the First self-care practise (establishing boundaries), Self Parenting will be a challenge.
Self parenting is taking this ‘Self Care’ wavethat is happening today all around you, especially on Social Media and remodelling it by giving it a different meaning. The mental images of lush Epsom Salt Baths, the lavender diffuser diffusing on a Sunday, or even ‘Netflix and chill’ midweek. Taking these examples and tailoring it to YOU, by asking yourself as a ‘Mother’, What does self-care look like to me? What does it feel like? How can I mother myself?
I did this firstly by becoming more attuned to my needs on a moment to moment basis, like a Mother would her child. To check in often, to listen to my cues; especially in the presence of my children when I suddenly feel the need to react.
I personally started with food, feeding myself nourishing foods that would sustain me throughout my day. For example, one of the needs I found was that I was Iron deficient. It is a good idea to start with your health requirements.
I then started to practise writing my sporadic thoughts onto paper so as to reflect and understand my needs better. I started to prioritize myself a little more each day by simply stopping to breathe through challenging moments. The learning of changing old habits and instead, serve yourself first is a crucial part of self parenting. Checking in takes time, if you listen carefully and long enough you’ll know what to do.
Below are some easy questions you can ask yourself. Getting into the habit of questioningyourself is a great way to cultivate introspection.
Do I need a glass of water right now? Serve yourself.
What one thing could I eateverydaythat would better my health?
Do I need space? Leave the environment, go to my room and catch a few breaths or a 10 minute stretch.
How can I be kinder to myself today?
Do I need support? Ask for it, or search for paid services.
What could I do to welcome how I am feeling?
Do I need a hobby? Spend time reflecting and cultivating a new hobby.
Where can I delegate tasks?
Do I need to get outside? Health is an investment.
I do understand that Self Care can be difficult to begin with, and that’s OK. Self Care doesn’t look the same from person to person either. However, taking this Self Mothering approach is going to teach you to become more attuned to yourself and learn how to do that through becoming Self Serving.
Just like you as a mother would prepare ahead for your child on a trip, a sick day, a day that requires low impact activities. Prepare rituals for yourself that you can fall easily into as a way to mother yourself. Be tender, compassionate, responsive, and think ahead.
At the beginning of this Blog, we spoke of the time it took for you to become attuned to your baby. The more attuned you were to his\her cues, on a moment to moment bases the better you were able to fulfil the need accordingly. Fulfilling a need requires you to be present in the moment.
The more you are willing to listen to yourself and your momentary needs, the increase in your Self Worth, Self Validation and Self Regulation.
If we can do nothing else as parents, we must teach our children to know Allah.
Learning about the 99 names of Allah connects the hearts of children to their Lord. It helps them to develop a better understanding of Him and their own place in this world. And what better way to teach children than through gentle, play-based activities!
The more you know Allah, the more you will love Him.
This blogpost is sponsored. Faithful Kids kindly gifted me the Beautiful Names of Allah Memory Game and compensated me for my time. It also includes affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
This beautiful box contain 3 colour-coded sets of cards, with each set making the game progressively more difficult. The cards are printed on thick high-quality card and designed with elegant geometric patterns. The name itself is clearly printed in Arabic, along with a transliteration and translation.
I really loved that they include a small A4 poster of the 99 Names of Allah and a thoughtfully written pamphlet showing you how to play the various games.
How to Play the Memory Game
The idea of the game is simple enough for children as young as 4 year-old to understand! My little girl certainly enjoyed playing!
Simply place the cards face down on the table and take turns to find the matching pairs. As each player turns over a card, they must read that card aloud to the group. This helps other players to know which cards are where, and helps with the memorisation of the Asma-ul-Husna. The winner is the player to find the most matching pairs.
Other ways children can use them
In our homeschool, these cards have become a regular part of our morning routine!
We use them as flashcards, each day revising the names previously learnt, and selecting the next card to memorise. I hope in this way, we will be able to memorise all 99 Names of Allah by the end of the year insha’Allah.
Since these cards are so beautiful, I’m planning to display them on my wall. Each time a new name is learnt by the children, we will stick it up on display.
We play the memory game for a special treat a few times a week, enjoying our time together, whilst also revising the Blessed names we have learnt.
If there’s one thing I have learnt over these past few years of homeschooling my children, it is the benefits of being a homeschool planner!
Planning annually has so many benefits for us especially as we reside in Saudi Arabia and spend our summers in England. Regardless of where you live though, I find having a rough plan for the year can benefit your Homeschool in many ways.
Looking at your calendar for the upcoming year and being realistic about what is happening, whether it is a holiday booked, a wedding to attend or you’re giving birth, will allow you to focus on balance and ease for your Homeschool life.
Of course not all plans are set in stone, but preparing yourself mentally will ease any stress that comes along with unexpected events. So here are my top tips on why you should plan your Homeschool for the year if you aren’t already doing so.
Homeschool Planners are One Step Ahead!
The biggest benefit being a homeschool planner, and preparing at the start of the year, is being one step ahead in acquiring resources, finding books, planning outings or activities.
Of course spontaneous and unplanned events/days can have their own benefits too, but that feeling of seeing the bigger picture when you’re in the midst of homeschooling life or things aren’t going as planned really is a life-saver on your difficult days of homeschooling.
So annual planning helps you keep on ball without worrying about what could have been because you’re one step ahead with your vision for the year.
You know exactly what you want your children to achieve by the end of the year. This should also prevent you from worrying if you fall into the social media comparative trap.
Many people ask me about my Homeschool budget and I tell them I spend under £200 or less annually, depending on how many books/resources we may need and I’m sure this varies from Homeschool to Homeschool.
But if you are finding you’re spending way more than you need to or way more than you can afford to, you need to ask yourself why that is. Is it because you found yet another Homeschool bargain buy or that you feel your children really need it because everyone else seems to be buying it too? We can all fall into that trap!
But with an annual plan, where you are focussing on an overview of the year, knowing what your possible learning topics will be, budgeting can prove to be quite useful. Always ask yourself if the resource is re-sellable, can be used by all your children and is it good quality and long lasting before you buy.
Having a plan to fall back on
Even if you take a more child led approach to your homeschool, and feel that being a homeschool planner may not be worth it, there are some things beyond our control.
Seasons, the weather and nature being some of these. If you enjoy nature studies, then it may help to look ahead at the seasons of the year to jot down a loose plan to focus on seasonal plants, grow a garden, butterflies or visit farms etc. The same can be applied for certain topics linked to festivals and celebrations.
Nevertheless, on days when life is chaotic and you feel you may be losing your vision or goal with your homeschool, it may just be handy to have a plan or vision to fall back on. Its reassuring coming back to the goals for the year and knowing you’re actually doing great!
As mentioned above, acquiring resources ahead of time (in sales) or at the start of the year allows you to take a more intentional approach to what you need.
Having said that, recently I found my children are immersed in stuff! Much of this is because we haven’t had the opportunity to sell on our used games or books we no longer need at the end of each year, especially as we tend to buy more each summer.
When you’re a homeschool planner, you can assess what resources you already have, which you could possibly swap or sell on and use that same money or more to purchase whatever it is you need for the year. There may be times you find resources at a great price to use in your Homeschool in a few years, but ask yourself do you actually need it now?
Focus on your annual plan to keep within your budget and allowance. Reserving library books ahead of time and ensuring you have the books you need for your topic is another advantage.
Being mentally ready for your homeschool year could reduce some of the stress and panic that can come with homeschooling especially when things aren’t going to plan!
Homeschool planning at the start of the year means you have sat down and thought out in a realistic way of how much you can actually teach your children in a year.
Sometimes we tend to want to teach everything and so very quickly because of their interests. So, this is a great time to get your children involved, ask them what they want to learn, give them some options and find out their interests.
Finally, because you will already know your child/children’s ability levels, therefore aim to plan realistically for progress by taking the whole year into account, you won’t have time to panic, hopefully!
Hafsa is a former Primary School Teacher turned Homeschooling mama teaching her two daughters the love for learning through arts, crafts, fun and play. Originally from London, Hafsa now resides in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia where she loves to share her Homeschool journey, tips and planning advice over at http://www.mamateachesme.com
How do we teach our kids to read? It can be overwhelming to even think about it!
I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to a reading programme that is simple for parents to follow at home. The Reading Eggsbook packs are fun, will engage your children’s imagination, and are highly effective!
We all want our children to read more, and enjoy the rich world of reading books brings! The best way to nurture this enthusiasm for reading in your home, is to start their experience with books in a positive way.
If they enjoy the process of learning to read, they will be eager to pick up books themselves to read in their own time.
That is why I believe the Reading Eggs programme is so effective. I have used their online platform for many years with my elder children. Today, I excited to introduce you to their range of books.
Reinforce learning with fun phonics games using their Flashcards.
You’ll Love Reading Eggs Books if…
-You want to provide your children with a solid foundation in literacy.
-You’re a really busy mum, and you are looking for something that is easy to implement and that your children can do a large part of independently.
-Your children enjoy colourful and visually stimulating books.
-You have children aged 3-6, who are just beginning to read.
“The great benefit of the entire suite of Reading Eggs components is that children can learn much of the material working independently. This reduces the workload for parents significantly while ensuring that children receive solid educational content.”
Teaching children about consent has become more important than ever. Consent is about allowing children to voice their emotions and say “no,” when something feels wrong or uncomfortable. It is a crucial part of their safety, and of our responsibility as parents, and yet within our communities we don’t talk about it enough.
The explosion of the #metoo movement is enough evidence that we need to activelystart teaching consent to our children; not when they hit puberty, but as early as two years of age.
This blogpost contains affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
It may sound like a complex concept, but some practices if made a part of daily life, can easily instill this value in your child.
Before they even learn to speak, children are learning by observing and copying all that is happening in their environment. It is essential that we ‘model’ consent by practicing it with our spouses, friends, and other children around them, so they begin to understand what ‘consent’ looks like.
When they are two, start with giving them a choice in expressing consent and then honour it. Please remember, they only get a choice in situations that don’t involve any health or safety hazards. Sitting in a car seat, going for a vaccination, adhering to their bedtime, or wearing a jacket when it’s two degrees outside would be some of the examples.
“Do you want to wear starry PJs tonight or these dino ones?”
“Which book are we reading; Elmer the elephant or The Very Hungry Caterpillar?”
“Can I kiss you goodnight?” Respect their answer.
Model consent by asking permission before you change their clothes or wash their body in the shower. Wait for them to say yes before you proceed.
“Can I help you wash your back now?”
Allowing Children to say NO!
Children must understand that ‘No’ and ‘Stop’ are important words, to be honoured at all times.
If you are tickling them and they scream “Stop, stop” even as they’re laughing and having fun, stop tickling them immediately.
Encourage your children to ask for permission before touching, hugging or showing any kind of physical affection.
For example, if Maha wants to hug her friend goobye, you can say:
“Maha, let’s ask Ali if he wants a hug right now!”
If Ali clearly says ‘No’, or does not say ‘Yes’, you can cheerfully ask your child to wave goodbye instead.
“That’s okay, let’s wave bye bye to Ali!”
Similarly, do not force them to receive affection either, even from their aunts or uncles.
“Would you like to kiss Aunty Asiya goodbye?”
If they say no, respect their choice.
“Its ok, you can wave her goodbye, or blow her a kiss?”
Why Children’s Consent Matters
As we aim for a more inclusive world, we have to remember that there are individuals amongst us with additional needs, who may not be comfortable with any kind of physical contact at all. This is another reason why asking for permission before touching or hugging someone is so important.
We must teach our children that when somebody says No, or Stop, they must discontinue their behavior.
“Ali said no, and when we hear No, we must stop what we are doing immediately. No matter what.”
Also tell them that their No and Stop has to be respected and followed through by their friends.
“If you don’t like something and say No, your friend should stop. If they do not stop, it is okay to not play with them anymore.”
Intervene on their behalf if you have to and politely let the other child know the importance of honouring someone’s No and Stop.
Resources about Children Consent
Reading a book about Consent also helps in making this concept easier and simpler for children to understand. It also gives you a range of characters and situations to talk about as examples. No Means No! by Janeen Sanders is a great book about Consent that can be read with as little as 3 year olds!
Teaching Consent has to be an ongoing dialogue with your child, not just a one time discussion.
I hope this article helps parents and caregivers ease in to this discussion with their little ones. I will highly recommend printing the above poster from http://www.elisegravel.com and pasting it on your child’s bedroom wall or door, so it’s always visible to revise and reinforce.
If you hit any roadblocks, or need answers to any questions or confusions, please feel free to write to me or leave them in the comments below.
Rafia Amber is an Early Intervention Specialist with seven years of experience working with children with additional challenges. Throughout her career she has supported children in developing their academic, sensory, social and communication skills, and overcoming challenging behaviours. Her experience ranges from one-on-one sessions in the home environment to classroom settings in inclusive schools and early intervention centers.
Rafia has recently started blogging onInstagram to share her expertise with parents and caregivers. She aims to raise awareness about unconventional concepts such as Body Privacy, Consent, Safe/Unsafe touch, Abuse Prevention Strategies etc, that are indispensable for a child’s development. You can follow her HERE!
This week, I was on the Our Muslim Homeschool Facebook and Instagram page answering your questions LIVE!
I answer questions about:
Healthy meal ideas
After school activities at home
Teaching children about the Islamic Heros
Coping with mess
This blogpost contains affiliate links. Please see disclaimer for more information.
In this LIVE broadcast, I also made a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. If you don’t want to spoil the suprise, stop scrolling and watch the video now!
So, here’s the news….
Firstly, these LIVE weekly shows have been given a new name, “Raising Mums”. I chose this name as it reflected my ambition for this show….
A live weekly broadcast that inspires mums to live with purpose and intention, to raise their children mindfully, and empowers mothers everywhere to own their lives and to thrive doing it!
Dr Gemma Elizabeth – Raising Mums
And even BIGGER NEWS!….you can now listen to Raising Mums as a podcast!
Listen to the New Podcast: Raising Mums!
Yes, that’s right! Wherever you listen to your podcasts, you can head over there now, and Subscribe to Raising Mums!
You can listen to these broadcasts whilst you’re commuting to work, cleaning the house, working out, or driving the car! The great thing about podcasts, is that you can “grow on the go”, and learning whilst doing other things! Perfect for busy mums…right?!?!
Please had over to iTunes, Apple podcasts and Spotify, and leave a review for “Raising Mums” so other mums, like you, can find it!
You can also simply play the podcast directly from my website! Try it now…
And as always, you can watch the replay of this LIVE broadcast on Youtube. Just click on the link below!
This episode marks the end of Season 1 of Raising Mums. It’s been an incredible few months, and I’m so grateful for all the lessons I’ve learnt during this time and the people I’ve come to know through it.
I’ll be back Sunday 24th March 2019 at 10am GMT on Facebook and Instagram LIVE for the launch of Season 2. insha’Allah
I’ve got some great content planned for you! I hope I’ll see you then!
Peace and Love,
Dr Gemma Elizabeth
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Signup to our mailing list and these LIVE broadcasts will be sent straight to your inbox!
Running your home like a boss is a way that homeschool mums can free up their time and energy. Whether it’s the desire for more time to read aloud to their children, or the energy to play football in the garden, time management is the way to achieve it.
If you are looking to take ownership for your time and energy, and live a life of more meaning and purpose, you’ll want to WATCH THIS VIDEO!
I’ve also made a FREE Home Management Planner for you, which you can find towards the end of this blog-post.
This blog-post contains affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
This week I was LIVE on Facebook and Instagram talking about home management for mums and how they can run your home like a BOSS!
Do you find yourself saying, ” I wish I could, but I don’t have time?” Do you want more time and energy to do what is important to you. Do you want more time to connect with your children? Do you want higher energy levels to play and read to them?
Now you know the steps you can take to go forwards insha’Allah.
Now its up to you. I hope with all my heart that you use this as an opportunity to really take ownership and responsibility for your time, energy and ultimately your life. This is where you can start! Use this as a chance to make those positive changes that you and your family need.
Thank you so much for tuning in.
I’ll be LIVE again next week, at 10am GMT, Sunday 27th January, on Facebook and Instagram where we’ll be continuing this discussion on home management for mums with:
“Run your home like a BOSS Part 2- Taking it to the next level!”
I’ll see you there!
If you have any further questions, or ideas for future lives broadcasts, please leave them for me in the comments below.
Peace and Love,
Never Miss a Video…
Signup to our mailing list and these LIVE broadcasts will be sent straight to your inbox!
Homeschooling with a baby brings with it many challenges. I often hear from women who are struggling to homeschool their children, whilst also caring for a small baby. They are overridden with guilt and with feelings of failure. They want to be a good mum, to all their children, but they just don’t know what the right thing to do is.
If you have a baby or a small child at home, you’ll want to watch this video!
This blogpost includes affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
This is a recording of a LIVE broadcast from Facebook where I spoke about homeschooling with a baby.
We talked about:
What are the most important things to focus on during this time
Alternatives to what learning can look like for your children
Encouraging independence and the value of experience
This week I was LIVE on Facebook and Instagram talking about some of the ways you can ensure you’ll be homeschooling for many more years to come insha’Allah.
I’m speaking to the mum who wants to homeschool, and is planning and preparing for this new adventure.
I’m talking to mum who homeschools now, but feels disheartened. Who feels that it’s not going the way she thought it would, and she feels like she’s failing.
I’m talking to everyone who homeschools sharing my nuggets of wisdom as to how you can continue to homeschool for many years. There are things we can do in our lives, to make homeschooling a sustainable, longterm experience for us.