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Mama's Staying Home.

March 17, 2019


Closing another door in my life with blind faith and trust that many more are and have opened ahead. 


As I texted my manager who truly has become a dear friend of mine that I will no longer be returning to work, a few strong tugs were pulling at my heart. It was like my heart knew this had to be done but my mind still hadn't embraced it fully. 


As I texted, her my big baby boy lay for his afternoon nap on my chest. 

I felt his little body inhaling and exhaling. His heart beating right over mine. 


I'm almost in tears writing this because for over a year this is how my baby boy has napped.

 On me beside me but always near me. He needs me so much right now and I need him. 

Deciding that I was no longer going to go back to my 9-5 job was never a simple decision. 


Before I went on mat leave and had my baby I would say things like,

 "yes I plan on coming back to work. 1 year is enough, I think I'd like to have a social life back and be out of the house. I really enjoy my job" 

or

 ''yeah I'll come back for another year then have another baby and go on mat leave again!" 

All those things rolled off my tongue so easily. 


But little did I know that when I had my baby boy that my emotional spectrum of love was forever going to trump every decision of my life going forward. 


Even when Sharoze was a newborn I put off thinking about going back to work. Around 9 months I remember thinking, "my baby needs me so much right now, how can I go back to work? Maybe in a few months things will change"


For me the biggest factor in this decision was never money - it was time. 

I kept thinking, how will I ever get this time back with him? And the answer was simple, I wouldn't. 


Some of you know that we live in a joint family system and making this decision means we will continue to stay this way a little while longer. And that's okay because I'm blessed with very loving and supporting in laws. I grew up in joint families so to me it is the norm and I love that Sharoze has lots of attention around him. Of course there are times where we have differences but to me I even have differences with my own family, including my own parents - so we learn to teach each other and grow together. 


I really try and focus my attention on all the positive things that we gain by living in a joint family. To be honest, they often times outweigh what it would look like for us to have our own place right now.


At this stage in my life, it was very simple. I want to be with my son more than anything else that we are working towards. And that is not to say that everyone or every parent should want the same. But for me, I know this is where my heart pulls.


My wonderful aunt of 4 boys said to me, "Sanum I gave up 9 years of my life to raise my boys. This is such a critical time to build their foundation. Everyone measures success in different ways and for me my success was that my children were happy and healthy."


And this was so true to me on every level.

 

I really, really enjoyed my job. I liked getting up every morning, getting dressed, going into the office and socializing with my co workers don't get me wrong.


But the biggest most powerful thought in my mind was that I will never get this time back with my baby. I miss him so much after being gone for a couple of hours. How will I do 40 hours a week? Is the trade off worth it? No - no money is worth it.


And to me that time is worth so much more than anything that can be offered.

I believe that I can always find work if needed. A job is a job. 


Did Shayan and I have to rearrange, adjust and calculate our next steps differently? Of course. But he is so supportive of this decision. He wants me to be home with Sharoze more than anything else. So we planned and discussed what not going back to work would look like and how we were going to make it work.

 

We were also talking about how we are very lucky to live in a world in which there are endless ways you can stay at home and earn money. There's so many opportunities to be a stay at home parent and still earn income.


I've started dreaming so much more of what it's going to be like to be a stay at home mom.

 I still plan to continue my holistic coaching and work from home but my number one focus is my son. 


I plan to homeschool as well which has gotten me so much more excited.

 I've met some incredible mom of multiple on Instagram, and in person, who are so inspiring because they are full time homeschooling stay at home moms.


I see that for me 100%. 

The flexibility, the protection, a holistic approach to teaching and the ability to cater to my childrens way of learning. 

That excites me - and I will share more on this topic later.


Overall, this decision wasn't easy but in my heart all along I've known it's what I want. Most of you know this already but I'm naturally a very attachment parenting type parent. I truly believe my greatest contribution in this life will be to raise kind, loving and good natured humans - and I cannot wait to focus all my energy in doing so.


I am writing all this not to make you feel bad if you have decided to go back to work.

 My decision is one that stemmed from my own heart - it's deeply personal.

I never thought that I would be a stay at home mom who wants to homeschool. 


The reason I share this with you is because if it can help anyone get clear on listening to their heart despite what their mind thought that their life plan was going to look like then that's okay. That making adjustments don't have to seem like sacrifices. Sacrifices imply that you're giving up something good to make something else possible. To me this is not a sacrifice. We just recalculated what we want in this life.


 It's my journey and I am fully embracing it.


We think we have our life all planned out but everyday our universe is echoing otherwise. 


The one thing I want to leave you with is - embrace all possibilities that life will offer. 

You might think you know what's best for you but you will always be given what's right for you when you live life with an open mind and open heart.

Travel with a Baby 

March 7, 2019


As I reflect on our most recent trip to Cuba where we celebrated our sons first birthday, I think about how grateful I am that we were able to travel a bunch with Sharoze this past year.


Travel for us ranks very high on our priorities list because the reality is the experience and memories are simply unmeasurable.


Yes as a young couple there is definitely other things we could be focusing on financially but we don't think too much about that.

We make travel a priority.

 Why? 

Because we're simply not guaranteed the next moment, the next day and so we want to live by experiencing the world with each other.


When Sharoze came into the picture we knew we were going to take advantage of him being free for the first 2 years of travel.

I was already booking our first vacation while I was pregnant. 

The minimum age for a baby on a cruise is 6 months and we booked the trip for when Sharoze was 6 months + 2 days.

Truthfully I had no idea how tiring being a parent is and I'm glad because had I known I would've contemplated that first trip at 6 months!


So below I've compiled a few things I've learned from the 6 times we've been on a plane with a baby, done a cruise, been stuck in a snowstorm with a cancelled flight and done an all inclusive vacation - all in our first year as parents.


1) Melt downs are inevitable. I think this is an important one. We stress out trying to think of every way to prevent melt downs and the stress out when they happen and then think - "ugh I knew this was going to happen!" But reality is even if you try everything in the book, travel is hard on us and hard on our babies! Melt downs are inevitable! We've had 2 instances of scream cries from overtiredness until Sharoze passed out  from exhaustion. I think 2 out of 6 times is pretty good! In these cases when I know I cannot calm him down because he is way overtired I pass him on to his daddy. Shayan has a lot more patience than I do so he takes Sharoze into his arms and walks the aisles until he falls asleep. I get very overwhemed seeing my baby cry so this is always daddy's role!

Which leads me to my next point.

2) Don't care what people think. Some people are so considerate but some people are straight evil. The most important thing to do when your baby is having a meltdown is focus on you and your baby in that moment. Don't stress about how others are feeling. The reality is that this moment will pass and we will move on. People may roll their eyes and people may give you an encouraging smile. Whatever it may be, keep doing your thing.

3) Know that you can ask for better. Some airports and airlines or simply people are very kind when you have children. They will let you cut the line for baggage drop off or let you go through security without waiting. When this happens it's wonderful. But sometimes this doesn't happen. On our way back home at Pearson we were at the customs kiosk. Our passports weren't scanning properly so we asked for help. The young female attempted to help us and gave us a blank card and said go ahead with this. What we didn't know was after waiting in 3 long lines that she was sending us to another line to do an in person declaration with the boarder officer. Now I have an exhausted, hungry, crying baby and this woman sent us to a line that was not moving at all and would've taken us over an hour to get through. I was so frustrated and knew this wasn't okay. After asking one of the workers, as well as a boarder officer 3 times to find us a better solution no one was helping us. I finally looked at the lady as Sharoze was crying and said, "this is not okay. We asked for help and one of your workers and sent us here. My baby is hungry and I need to feed him." Finally she said okay come with me, and let us cut the line. Now I can tell you we got many eye rolls and even a woman who made a rude comment. I reminded myself that I need to focus on me and my baby right now and ignored all of it. Within 5 minutes we were past customs in baggage claim.

4) Go with the flow. Reality is this is your vacation! Loosen the reigns and have fun. Let them stay up a bit longer if they want, let them eat a bit more junk if they ask and let them feel like they're on vacation too.

5) Stick to the schedule as much as possible. Whenever we travel and reach our destination I always try my best to stick to the schedule 85% of the time. When Sharoze was 6 months old and we were on the cruise he was only awake for 2 hours before he would need another nap. And we followed this! Yes it meant early bed times, yes it meant going back to the room for naps but we wanted a well rested baby so we could enjoy fully! A cranky baby on vacation is no fun. On our Cuba trip he was taking one morning nap around 10am and one late afternoon nap around 4pm.

6) Teamwork makes the dreamwork. With napping schedules if you are like us and have a baby who won't just close his eyes and sleep peacefully in his stroller, then you're definitely going to need teamwork! On the cruise Shayan and I would take turns napping and staying in the room with Sharoze. This meant that we each got some alone time! I would go for a tan on the deck and Shayan would play basketball or go to the gym. It was so nice having family with us in Cuba because my mom would watch Sharoze while he was sleeping and Shayan and I got a lot of time together!

7) Accept that you're probably not going to get to fully relax. I was speaking with a mom on the beach and she had two kids - 2.5 and 7 months old. I laughed and said, "travelling with kids is a whole new ball game right?" She said, "omg! This is our first trip with kids and if I had known how much work it'd be I don't think I would've done it!" We laughed and then agreed that it was all worth it for the kids. But it's simply true. Is it ever possible to fully relax when you're a parent?! I don't think so! Find small moments to relax (ie a massage or yoga on the beach) but don't expect to feel recharged and refreshed coming home!

8) Embrace every obstacle because things won't go as planned. Kind of like go with the flow. When you're on vacation you're not in your safe zone. You're travelling so anything can happen! When we were in Kansas city we were hit by a massive snow storm. Our flight was cancelled but luckily we were staying with family. It was rescheduled for the next day at 1pm.

We got to the airport and waited and waited. Our flight was nearly 3 hours delayed. After we finally boarded and took off, we had to turn back after 20 minutes of being in the air! There was ice in the nose of the plane and it was a concern. But the plane needed to burn fuel before landing so we were circling in air for over an hour. Once we were back on the ground we were delayed nearly another 2 hours. Talk about exhausting!

When we finally got home we had been on the go for over 12 hours with a 9 month old. He did amazing considering the circumstances but everything that happened was simply out of our control. We just kept reminding ourselves to stay calm and relaxed. Stress would just create more stress.

 

In the end being a parent takes SO much work in every aspect so this is no different.

 But with a patient and positive mind frame you can do it. Most of the times your baby will surprise you and do amazing. Sharoze always does better than we expected so trust them to do amazing.

I hope this was helpful! Overall remember travelling with a baby is such a blessing and you get to create wonderful memories. 

Embrace each moment and have fun!