Mother’s Day

It was Mother’s Day a few weeks ago so this post is kind of belated. What makes a good mother? I could easily say this question has been on my mind for the past 6 years (ever since I became a mother) but I have really been thinking about it in earnest for the past year.

I started full-time work exactly one year ago, and my life and the life of my family has not been the same since. I’d like to say we have all adjusted to the change, a year now, but I find I am still struggling with a lot of the changes that the past year have brought.

I grew up with a working mother, and was adamant that I would never be one. For the first 5 years of my daughter’s life, that’s what she got. But circumstances are never the same and I had to return to work, a choice that affected both of us deeply and we are still coming to terms with today.

As life changed, I grew to realise and recognize the same challenges that my own mother must have undertaken as she worked outside of the house for hours on end. I resented her for much of my childhood but I never realised the sacrifices she had to make to make sure we were happy and healthy. I recognize them now.

I grew up with 2 younger brothers and so I don’t really remember my mother ever playing with me. If I wanted to play, I played with my brothers, cousins, or friends. My mother was (and still is) obsessed with keeping a tidy house and making sure we had fresh, home-cooked meals every day despite the fact that she worked and was never home. I look back and I don’t know how she did it.

In today’s society, the definition of parenthood and motherhood hasn’t changed much but the emphasis on bonding, spending quality time, and connecting with your child has definitely increased.

The emphasis on home cooked food and a clean house haven’t really changed and the pressure is still on to be a wonder woman and do it all. Take care of the kid, nurture them and spend time with them, take care of the house, take care of yourself, look good, eat well, go on date nights with your husband, go to work, succeed in your career, have hobbies and pastimes, get 8 hours of sleep, stay hydrated, and the list goes on. It’s exhausting.

If I play exclusively with my daughter and ignore the house, am I setting a bad example of multitasking and placing a low importance on cleanliness and orderliness? The connection with her is the most important thing, but I am also cognizant of setting a good example and setting her up with life skills that she will eventually need.

But if most of my day is work and then coming home to tidy up, and doing dinner, then I am undoubtedly left with a very small sliver of time to spend with her.

I lose no matter what I do and I don’t know how to do it all or be it all.

I am also struck by the realisation of the passage of time. My daughter is now 6, much more firmly in kid territory as her toddler years are far behind her. The things I used to do for her and with her don’t have as much importance as other things now. She needs me in a different way than she did before, and every day I feel guilt pooling in the pit of my stomach at all the ways I am failing her.

I don’t know if I was a better mother when I stayed at home, with no social interaction, content to be in a bubble, or now as I spend more hours outside of the home than inside of it. I am not sure I am a good mother.

All I do is that just as your child grows, so do you as a mother. Your role and the things you can provide change as your child goes through different things. Mothers are never stagnant and are constantly growing, shifting, and learning new things.

As my baby grows, I know I will too.

Share Button

It’s me, hi

Hellooo. Wow I didn’t ever imagine that I’d take a 2 year break from the blog, but yikes. Life happened.

How are you? Does anyone still read this blog? I have no idea but I’ll pretend there’s someone out there who does. I don’t blame you if you gave up on me and moved on. I almost did too.

I’ve thought about this blog a lot in the past 2 years; I often planned to come back and start posting, but alas, life just kept getting in the way. But something happened yesterday that made me inspired to login to this dusty old blog. It was something that made me want to shout from the rooftops and share the news with everyone. And the old version of doing it, back before I shared things on Insta, was this blog. So it felt filling to finally return to here and share my news.

Now that I’ve built it up to be something way more exciting than it is, here it is: I finished the first draft of my fifth fiction manuscript.

I know, it’s not that exciting since there’s nothing to show for it, but it’s a huge personal achievement for me and I felt like documenting my feelings about what it felt like to finally finish. It took me almost 2 years to write it, but it has lived in my head for maybe 15 years now. It’s crazy.

Last night when I wrote the last words, I burst into tears as emotions overtook me. I couldn’t believe that I was here, that I had arrived at the moments and words that I had imagined and envisioned for almost 15 years now. When this story first appeared in my mind and lived in my head for all those years, the beginning and the ending were the only known things. There were snatches of the middle that I knew in those early teen years, but the end was clear to me as day.

So why did it take me so long to write it? You could even say that I’ve been working on it for 15 years and that’s a long time to keep something in your mind. In those years I wrote 3 other stories, since I wasn’t quite ready to tackle this one. The story hadn’t revealed itself to me.

But 2 years ago, I applied and got into Humber’s writing program and it seemed the perfect time to dive into this story that I’d been living with for years. It was still the pandemic and it seemed like the perfect time to focus on my writing. I started the program in September 2021 and worked with my helpful mentor until April 2022. I was almost done then (or so I foolishly thought), and felt like I was in a good place when the program ended in April.

But only 2 months ago, I had returned to work part-time, after not working for many years. I started off supply teaching in a private school close by, and then shortly after got a job in my local library part-time. I was working 2 part-time jobs, while also juggling family life, while also trying to finish writing the dang thing.

Like I said, I thought I was done, but then in June I applied for a Library Programmer role and got it and that’s when life changed. I’d never worked full-time, except if you count my time as a Walmart cashier. Suddenly life became a whole lot busier and crazier. This blog took a backseat, like so many things did.

Summer was super crazy as I adjusted to my new role and also trying to get back to life post-covid. The story and the blog just kept sliding further and further down my to-do list. I kept coming back to the story, but I wasn’t able to give it the time it deserved.

In the Fall, I realised I’d had enough of ignoring my writing. I decided to do something about it. I started bringing my laptop into work with me every day. I allotted myself 15 to 20 mins to eat and then 40 to 45 mins to write. It was an ambitious plan and some days it didn’t happen. Sometimes I was too mentally drained from work to turn on my laptop, choosing instead to drown myself in my current read. But it happened more often than it didn’t, and with my few drops in the bucket, it became an ocean of words and I inched closer and closer to my goal.

Of course I had setbacks; there were weeks when my daughter was sick and home more often than at school, which upset the entire routine. And then weeks when I got sick or just ruts of busy periods. But I kept trucking along, breathlessly, until March 16th when I finally wrote those final words.

I had originally planned on a goal of 120,000 words but as usual, I found I had more words in me than I realised. I kept going and going and the final count is 150,000. It’s a monster.

The real work starts now of editing. I know it needs to be chopped down a lot and there are lots of things that need to be reworked. But for now, for today, I’m going to enjoy this small victory since I know how hard it was to get here.

I’m excited to dive back into the beginning of the story, chapters I haven’t read for many months, and see how to trim things down and make them better.

In other news, Ramadan starts next week and it will be a major time of self-reflection and change. Maybe I’ll return here for more recipes and life updates.

Till then, thanks for reading,


Share Button

Hello September

Hello friends! I hope you’ve all been well. I can’t believe it’s the middle of September.

September has always been a special month for me. Long after I left school and university, it’s always been a month of reset, a return to routine, and slightly cooler weather. As a self-professed lover of school, September has always reminded me of going back to school and getting back into a routine, even when I wasn’t a student anymore.

But this year, September was even more special since it was my daughter’s turn to go to school! She started junior kindergarten and had been ready for so long. The pandemic stole most opportunities for making friends and being social, so she was extra excited.

I had been dreaming about this day for so long, sometimes with longing and sometimes with dread. Maybe because of the pandemic, we hadn’t been apart for long for the past 4 years. She has been my constant shadow since she was born and I was both excited and scared for her to go off in the big wide world. But in my heart, of course I knew she was ready. She had been asking to go to school for the past 2 years and I knew how much she was going to love it. I prayed schools stayed open and the covid numbers stayed low enough for her to enjoy it.

I definitely cried after I dropped her off. My home and my heart felt so empty. But there is joy and sweetness in reuniting and getting those extra tight hugs and kisses at the end of the day.

There have been so many changes lately. The main one being that we moved! We were in Hamilton for 2 years but recently moved to Waterloo; right before my daughter started school. It was such a crazy summer trying to pack up and get the new place ready, all before school! It was my goal for my daughter to start at her new school instead of switching after a week or two so it was a mad dash.

We’re all unpacked. But I still don’t feel settled in yet; there’s always so much to be done! It’s been hard to be properly settled in too since our appliances were delayed; our stove just came 2 days ago and our dishwasher is still not hooked up.

I also joined Humber’s school for writers and am taking a creative writing course! I’ve been dreaming about this course ever since I took my Creative Book Publishing Course years ago, and now that my daughter is in school, I finally did it. I’ll be spending the year writing a book and getting feedback from my mentor. I’m so excited to be doing this and to have this dedicated time to writing.

I haven’t done much writing yet, since my routine is so out of whack. But my goal is to get into routine next week (InshAllah!!) and get writing. My fingers are itching to get started.

So lots of new things to look forward to. It’s definitely been an exciting time around here! How was your summer? Do you crave routine or are you more a go with the flow type?

Thanks for reading,


Share Button

Life Update

Wow, it’s been a little more than 4 months since my last update. Yikes.

I swear I’ve come here, ready to post, and even start a draft, but then it all seems so boring and blah. Does anyone still read this blog? Does anyone even care? Lol. I’m not sure I do, but I really want to. This post itself has been a draft for almost a month.

This blog used to be such a source of joy for me, but lately it’s fallen off my radar. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m interesting enough to write about. Pandemic fatigue has hit me hard and I feel so uninspired and creatively blocked. Daily life with it’s routine of chores takes up all of my time and most of my mental energy so that I don’t have much left to give at the end of the day when I do get a few minutes of calm to myself.

I’m a stay at home mom, but before I stayed home by choice. Now I’ve been imprisoned in my home forcefully, along with everyone else, for a year now. And I’m starting to lose it. I write this a few days after another province wide lockdown that’s been announced in Ontario, and a stay at home order and I have just had enough.

Last weekend, right before the second (or is it third???) lockdown was announced, we took a quick trip to Niagara Falls for 2 days. It was supposed to be more fun but it was announced that everything was going to be shut down the next day so things were shut down instantly. But it was still nice to get out of the house and break free from our routine, especially since we can’t travel anywhere for awhile.

I used to be happy staying in, watching movies, and doing my own thing, but when you have an overactive almost-four year old, it can become quite draining trying to entertain her day in and out. The weather hasn’t helped either; I usually get seasonal blues during the winter months, and this year it was worse with nowhere to go. It literally felt like we were imprisoned in our house.

To keep busy, I’ve been working with my critique group to revise the manuscript I’ve been editing since last year. I’ve always been eager to ask for feedback and critique, but I haven’t always been willing to offer it. But now I’ve realised the benefit of it; not only is it beneficial to the other writer, but it’s also helpful in recognizing mistakes in your own writing. So it’s a double benefit.

I feel like I’m close to the end with this manuscript and ready to start working on something else. I’m so ready to dive into another world, a fantasy world where I can get lost in.

I’ve been in such a reading funk for the past few weeks. I started 2 books and wasn’t able to finish either of them. They sat on my bedside table for days, maybe calling my name, but I never listened. I’m not sure if they weren’t interesting enough or I’m just mentally fried. TV has been my saving grace.

I love docuseries, and I’m becoming obsessed with true crime ones. They often haunt me and keep up late at night, but they’re weirdly wonderful distractions right now.

Something else that’s been a wonderful distraction has been decorating my daughter’s room. We recently moved her to her own room and that was a whole thing on its own. I think I was freaking out more than my daughter! Even though she’s right next door, it took me awhile to get used to the idea of her being away for me, and it’s just making me realise how quickly she’s growing.

It’s been almost a year since I opened up my own home bakery, and today I made the decision to shut it down. It was with a heavy heart, but it wasn’t doing as well as I had hoped it would, especially not in a pandemic where every other person decided to open a home bakery. It was a lot more work than I anticipated, especially while trying to keep an almost 4 year old entertained during lockdown after lockdown.

I’ve loved baking every since I was a little girl, but when it started to become a chore, I realised it was time to put it to bed. It’s hard when you try to make your passion into your job or business; sometimes it works out, but sometimes it ends up not being as fun as you thought. I didn’t want to end up hating baking so I decided to stop and maybe think about it again in the future. I’m hoping and praying that God has something better in store for me.

Tomorrow is Ramadan and I’m so excited for a new routine and a slight change in schedule, especially since we’re stuck at home for another month or so (praying we aren’t stuck for longer). Ramadan Kareem to all those observing! May it be a month filled with goodnessand mercy.

Thanks for reading, Ikhlas

Share Button

What a Year

Wow, what a year it’s been! I’m sure there are many versions of this sentiment out there already but it bears repeating: it was a strange one. And it seems to be right back where it almost started at.

I still can’t believe how fast this year has gone. In April, as we prepared to celebrate my daughter’s 3rd birthday under very strange circumstances, it felt like time had slowed down. Each day felt like a week and there was nothing to do.

After Ramadan and Eid, I launched my new business: a home bakery, Sweet Story. Sweet Story has been on my mind for many years and almost started it a few times. But this time, I decided to do it. It’s been tough launching something in quarantine and definitely not what I expected. It’s definitely different baking things for myself and my family vs for customers!

After launching Sweet Story, time suddenly started flying. Before I knew it, it was Fall.

But Fall ended up being even weirder since my maternal aunt, my khala, passed away on October 7th. It was devastating and shocking, a complete surprise. She wasn’t sick and passed away so unexpectedly. My world and my family’s was rocked and it took me so long to come to terms with it. Like so many other things, grief felt so much more difficult during Covid.

There were so many emotions I felt during this time and I longed to turn my pen to paper to process them, but I couldn’t. My emotions and thoughts remained locked up inside of me and in turn, I turned back to food for my comfort and solace. Like so many other times in my life, food has been there to comfort me and I felt like I went back to the beginning of my battle with my unhealthy eating habits. These were habits that I had worked so hard to get rid of earlier in the year. But grief hits in unexpected ways and when I couldn’t make sense of my emotions, I ate. Luckily, I don’t think I was alone in this.

Winter has been tough again especially since we are back in Lockdown here in Ontario. We were self-isolating since November and then the province shut down right after the holidays, which means another month of self-isolating. We are definitely feeling the quarantine burnout. It seems surreal that it’s March in another 3 months, the month that it all started.

This year I read 47 books, completing my 45 Goodreads book challenge! This was probably the first year I read so many books since having my daughter 3 years ago. This was the year of the Thriller for me. I read so many thrillers and mysteries this year that they’ve all blurred together. I don’t remember many of them, to be honest, since their plots were so similar haha.

I made/baked lots of new things this year. I tackled my fear of bread and made many loaves of artisan bread. At one point everyone seemed like they were making bread! I also made risotto this week for my anniversary and it was amazing! I was scared of making it for ages but it wasn’t that scary at all, just a little time-consuming. I also made Baked Alaska, which didn’t turn out so well. But you win some and you lose some! I’m so grateful for the chance to challenge myself!

2020 is a year that most of us won’t forget, but there were still moments in it that I’m grateful for. We probably won’t have another year that makes us stop and pause our lives, the way this one did. And while it was depressing at times, there were also times that were filled with light and made me appreciate my family and the time we spent.

Let’s hope 2021 is a better year, one that is filled with good health and time spent with our friends and family.

Stay safe everyone!


Share Button