Structuring motherhood

Monday, 10 December 2018



A structure is something I've always had in my life. I can only function properly if I had a clear guidance of what will I be doing next? what's important, what's the least important, and what's the most important. Anything to keep me afloat with all the responsibilities a wife,  mother of two, and a small business owner.

Many assume that a stay at home mum has pretty much an easy job to do. The amount of energy and attention children in all ages need is tremendous. Being a first-time mum comes with challenges, it is even harder when you have no hands-on family support. It's hard being pregnant and have a two year old. It's hard to have two littles, all come with a challenge, I've done all, and truly imagine the struggles with everything life throws in your face it's not an easy job at all.
 I've shared some of my thoughts lately on my Instagram stories and had a lovely feedback. It's so comforting at times to share what you really feel and end up finding people across social media that relate and feel the struggle too.

In this day and age, we often see the nice organised eye pleasing photos on social media, some may think that's the only thing people do, I know I was certainly judged before of how dreamy and bubbly my life looks like on Instagram, people sometimes forget what is shared on social media can be less than %1 of a normal day!
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We are by nature habitual creatures, we do things off of habit every day, without even thinking.  You go to the kitchen put the kettle on and get a cup out etc. So based on that we can be doing many things a day without much thinking or time wasting. So you get the laundry in the washing machine, turn it on when its done then hang the laundry right? see that's how it's done. If we look at other things in our day the same way, it will save us much time thinking and preparing. So here are a couple of things I've written that might inspire or help.


Schedule, organize and declutter 
I often need to that in my whole life generally, that's why I sometimes sign off of social media quietly for some time.  As I mentioned earlier on, I'm a creature of habit, a spontaneous day for a mother of two is not easy.  Littles thrive on routine and so do I, without a routine I'll drop a couple of balls that I'm juggling and I never want to see my kids to be that ball.

1. Set yourself a daily schedule from the time you wake up until you sleep. So for example (wake up 6:00, pray Fajr 6:05, breakfast 6:30 etc) the most productive and easy going days for me start with praying Fajr on time then a workout in the morning.

2. Classifying responsibilities so what's the top priority today? make lunch, pay bills, book an appointment for Adam's vaccine.
Important: Post an order, call my friend for condolences.
Less important: Clean the back garden, send the second round of proofs to the client (within the time frame). Can be done later: Buy a gift for my friend I'm visting in two weeks.



3. Anchor points 
I found this very helpful in the past few years, having set anchor points, so this year for me, my morning anchor point is the time I drop and pick Joud from nursery. So what I do is try to squeeze as much as I can in those hours where I'm usually at home. So by the time I'm out for pickup I know I've ticked a couple of things off, I have breakfast, wash breakfast dishes, take care of laundry whether its a wash, hang or fold.  Spend some quality time with Adam that can even be by him engaging in the morning schedule, workout for at least 50 mins four times a week ( I still struggle and fight my demons with this regularly) he loves playing around with the resistant bands and find it funny when they bounce back (adorable baby), shower and get dressed and out to pick up Joud. That's all in 3 hours, it's possible I promise. Evening anchor point is the kid's bedtime at 19:30.


4. Define time wasters (أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا تُرْجَعُونَ)
This is very important and I can't emphasise it enough. Our days in this life has been already written. How we use our time is important to be conscious of. Yes, the world can be a happy place and we have countless blessings to enjoy. But we just should be conscious not to waste our time on things that drain us and suck all the energy out of us.
- Personally, I always believed unnecessary social events are major time wasters. And now I'm quite the expert to decline kindly. Also eliminating toxic people is something that clears your vision and time.  Choose wisely with whom, where and in what you'd rather spend your life.
Occupy your time learning, teaching and exploring. Surrounding yourself with loving people only helps you be a better you.
Stay away from any bickery, don't allow anyone to drag you down to their level whether its that bully constantly mocking your writings, emotions and work accusing you of things that were interpreted by their own untrue thoughts. Or that person that gossips with every breath.
- Social media (Instagram for me) I spend far too much time on Instagram. I'm trying now to take one day off weekly and limiting my hours in a specific time every day. The new feature they have in the app itself is very helpful to track your activity.


5. Structure we can always be productive with simple planning, you get the best key right here. Children thrive on structure, they love to know what's next. I'm quite hesitant to share our whole routine, but here is a small part, we have lunch around 12:45-13:00, then go for our (quite hour) Joud gets her 1hr screen time as she no longer naps much and I get to recharge myself with a wee power nap. Do this and you'll have so much more time to enjoy with your kids, make crafts go for a nature walk, enjoy nature and teach your children about it, bake or just read stories. We all have the same 24 hours a day, we just need to sit down and look at what is more important!

- Start making a meal plan, nothing too detailed, if you're not a meal prepper like myself. Then maybe just write down we'll have a vegetarian meal on Saturday, a Libyan meal on Sunday and Monday's for fish etc. This helped me from standing every day in the kitchen scratching my head on what to cook (wasting time).

- Process house chores in batches. Say Saturday is for windows, Mondays and Wednesdays for laundry etc. I get things done better this way and mcuh more faster.



Self-discipline We need to work our lives smarter not harder. Self-discipline is what keeps us from eating crisps at breakfast. "Everything of value requires care, attention and discipline. Our thoughts require discipline. We must consistently determine our inner boundaries and our codes of conduct or our thoughts will be confused. And if our thoughts are confused, we will become hopelessly lost in the maze of life. Confused thoughts produce confusing results."
John Rohn. The key to getting all you want is self-discipline. 
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Be real you're the best person that can help you! always stay real. Know the hours that you're in your prime energy throughout the day. Know when are you capable of work, for example, I start work on my small businesses after the children's bedtime. I can't work effectively when they're awake and I don't want work to consume my life, that's their time that's their rights that I've set that I am comfortable with. I just reply to emails and general enquiries, take photos, post any orders, and Instagram a bit that's pretty much my normal daily life

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Be gentle on yourself you can be anything but you can't be everything. Motherhood comes with many sacrifices, my biggest one would go to me choosing not to work in the field I spent most of my life working hard in and trying to build. It still aches at times, especially when I see my peers in a stage I would've been in.  I tried for many years to mute that thumping vein in me, I gave up and rested now that the scientist in me will never disappear.
I found new ways to still fulfil me with that. Whether that's illustrating the animals I love or read the latest scientific discoveries in subjects that tickle my brain. Since adopting a sustainable lifestyle that got me back again to things that once mattered so much for me and were the centre of my life for so long.
- Once in a while take a day off routine (its fine), random works well for me.
- Spend more time with friends, I'm very lucky to have friends that love my children to bits and have all the patience in the world with them. Have a laugh and do the things you enjoy the most.

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Embrace your identity when you become a mother your life will change, you don't have the same free time as before, you don't get to say the last word in sleep for example (especially with newborns) and you probably don't look the same and that's fine. You'll find a balance, embrace it and enjoy the precious time with your little one.  Many mothers lose their identities for many reasons, it might be because you were attached to your job your life revolved around it. You might lose your identity because you stopped taking care of yourself you can't even recognise yourself in the mirror.

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Respect time and life choices so often I've been called the (catalogue mother) haha! I think it's actually true. Apparently, I come with a list in my brain that helps in my daily life.  Though, it's good to know people understand I respect my time and other people's time and lives equally.
I've also been told "in her own world في حالها" I value time a lot, I know what's gone and with whom will never come back.
My parenting skills have been criticised on many occasions (which I think happens to us all) Joud and Adam's bedtime seems to be where many people find it unfair on them to "sleep way too early", well I beg to differ Allah created night for a reason and the dayligt as well, the sleep-wake cycle is importnat to be understood. I wrote a  previous post about it here night-night
 The demands in Libyan culture for some people (home visits) is something I've never been comfortable with. I'll do it a couple of times a year, but I can't do numerous usual visits per month where I'm expected to be a brilliant chef and hostess! I just would like to fill my life with things that are more meaningful to myself with more intention  I like to meet people that brighten my soul.
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Growth and self-improvement do your future self a favour and spend at least two hours a day completely for yourself!. Yes. add that to your schedule every day. do whatever you like just for you, don't clean a cupboard, don't do online shopping for your kids at this time. Whether it is reading a book, or watching a film for the seventh time or maybe even wearing a ton of makeup and washing it off after ten minutes, learning a new skill etc.
Whatever it is that makes you happy go for it. Never mind your age, do it today not tomorrow. What about your dreams? life is very short, today you woke up with the grace of god healthy you never know what's around the corner. Do this for your sanity and soul, I promise you will feel better every day, you deserve it. Don't be a martyr in your own life, we just think its difficult as much as we convince ourselves it is!
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Slow living everything in this life comes to an end. One day I'll have only one hour in the morning with my children then set them off to school. I won't have them around me a much as now, I know I'll miss them shadowing me around, I'll miss it a lot. I'll have less time with them as they grow up every year. I want to look back at this time in our lives and let my heart rest that I've made the best choice, I've chosen to stay at home with them and work from home for myself, wellbeing.
This is just my life and the choices I've made. We're all different and have different lives to live.

So whatever feels right in your heart and soul (assure yourself that you're the best mother ever for your child) this is why eliminating time wasters is vital.
Since adopting a slow lifestyle I've been living with more intention, noticing the ordinary moments, appreciating them and being much more present than I ever was. Losing my parents in a short time triggered this in me, it made me appreciate the repeated acts we live daily. They are the most that I miss every day and the most that have such value in my heart. Being present with my family helped me a lot, here is a previous blog post about slow living

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I don't know what you're going through in your life, I don't know if you're caring for an elderly with terminal illness, I don't know if you don't have anyone to ask about parenting and keep breaking down in many situations, I don't know if you have a disabled child, I don't know if you're going through financial stress, I don't know if grief consumes you, I don't know if you're in an abusive relationship, I don't know if you're playing the role of both parents, I don't know if you hate all the extra weight you see in the mirror, I don't know any of what you're going through. But I just wanted to write this to help mothers out there struggling like myself. I know I've gone through many of these issues and know many that go through this every day. But I hope you'll find a way.

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Mama,

I've grown up with this (routine and scheduling), my mother was a teacher and a mother of four, we always had set times for everything. Looking back now I don't know how she did it, how she managed all this whilst suffering from chronic diseases throughout her life. She's always been the perfect mother role model. Always on time, we had our breakfast ready for school, our clothes clean and ironed, our sandwiches wrapped neatly waiting for us to pick up, we come home from school to see everything tidy and clean! 
How she managed to raise us in another country far from home, learned a new language, was at many stages in our lives playing the role of both parents whilst dad was the primary breadwinner working away. How was it possible to take care of our education and maintain it in two languages. Every day we went to school, weekdays for the Irish school and weekends were for the Libyan school, this went on for years. She never had a rest, not one day. Now I see a lot of this repeating in my own life.
 Writing this with a heavy heart it's by gods will I can only look back and see how she did it and try to figure it out. Try to follow some of her guiding points and remember her strict grip on us and all the choices she made that stemmed from nurture and love she gave us until she left and still lives inside us. 
This post and many others to come will be inspired by mother Allah yerhamha


Please pray for her if you stop by. 



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الهيكيلة في حياتنا اليومية مهم جداً، عن نفسي يومي مايمشيش بشكل سليم إلا إذا كان عندي إرشادات واضحة شن حندير اليوم. ما هو المهم ما هو الأقل أهمية ، والأكثر أهمية. أي شيء ليبقى توازني مع جميع المسؤوليات كزوجة وأم لطفلين  ،مسؤلة على مشروعان صغيران.

هلبه ناس تفكر أ٫ شغل الأم في الحوش شي ساهل والأمومة في حد ذاتها أمر بسيط وبديهي! وهذا غير صحيح. كمية الطاقة والثقافة والجهد اللي تحتاجها الأم للاهتمام بالأطفال في جميع الأعمار رهيبة. كونك أمًا لأول مرة تأتي مع تحديات ، يصبح الأمر أكثر صعوبة عندما لا يكون لديك دعم عائلي مباشر، بعيدة عن أهلك متغربة  وغيره من الظروف. من الصعب أن

حنا بطبيعتنا مخلوقات اعتيادية ، نفعل أشياء من العادة كل يوم ، دون حتى التفكير. نذهب إلى المطبخ نضع الغلاية أو الكتل نأخدو طاسة ونجهز بش نديرو طاسة شاهي. فعلى هالأساس ممكن نفعل أشياء كثيرة في اليوم دون الكثير من التفكير أو إضاعة الوقت. هناك بعض الأشياء التي كتبتها والتي قد تساعدك.

 declutter و جدولة وتنظيم  
غالبا ما احتاج لذلك في حياتي كلها بشكل عام. كما ذكرت في وقت سابق ، أنا نحب العادات اليومية ونحب انظم وقتي، يوم
. عفوي بدون اي ترتيب لأم لطفلين ليس بالأمر السهل
يعني لو مش منظمه وقتي ممكن يجي الظهر ومافيش غداء واتي ولو شي بسيط، الغسيل مش مغسول، مافيش أكل في الثلاجة الصغار نومهم ملخبط وبذلك نومي وهكذا.

1. ضع لنفسك جدولاً يومياً من وقت استيقاظك حتى تنام. هكذا على سبيل المثال (الاستيقاظ الساعة 6:00 ، صلاة الفجر 6:05 ، الفطور 6:30 الخ) الأيام الأكثر إنتاجية وخفيفة بالنسبة لي تبدأ مع صلاة الفجر في الوقت المحدد ثم تمارين رياضية في الصباح.

2. تصنيف المسؤوليات
إذن ما هي الأولوية القصوى اليوم؟ تحضير وجبة الغداء ، دفع الفواتير ، حجز موعد تطعيم آدم.
هام: أرسل طلبًا ، واتصل بصديقي لتقديم التعازي.
أقل أهمية: تنظيف الحديقة الخلفية ، إرسال الجولة الثانية من التصاميم إلى العميل (ضمن الإطار الزمني).
يمكن القيام به في وقت لاحق: شراء هدية لصديقي اللي حنزورها بعد اسبوعين ان شاء الله.



3. نقاط الربط
آخر شيء مهم جدا وساعدني هلبه في السنوات  الماضية ، هو وجود نقاط ربط مثال السنة هذه بالنسبة لي ، نقطة الربط الصباح هو الوقت الذي نحط جود في الروضة ونروج بيها. ما أفعله هو محاولة ندير اكبر شي ممكن قدر المستطاع في تلك الساعات. مثلا نفطر ، نغسل اماعين الفطور، نشوف الغسيل اللي يبي غشل، نشر ولا تطبيق. رياضة لمدة لا تقل عن 50 دقيقة أربع مرات في الأسبوع (ما زلت نكافح في نفسي ونحاول كل مره نحافظ عليها) ، والاستحمام وارتداء الملابس هذا كله في تلاثة ساعات.  وبالنسبة لنقطة الربط المسائية هي وقت نوم الصغار الساعة 7:30 مساءً.

4. حددي وين اضيعي في وقتك؟
 (أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا تُرْجَعُونَ)
- هذا مهم للغاية ولا يمكنني التأكيد عليه بما فيه الكفاية. لقد كتبت أيامنا في هذه الحياة بالفعل. كيف نستخدم وقتنا من المهم أن تكون واعية لإختياراتك. يمكن للعالم أن يكون مكانًا سعيدًا ولدينا عدد لا يحصى من النعم للاستمتاع بها. لكن يجب علينا فقط أن نكون واعين ألا نضيع وقتنا في أشياء كهذه.
- أنا شخصياً كنت دائماً أؤمن بأن الأحداث الاجتماعية غير الضرورية هي من الأمور الرئيسية التي تضيع الوقت. والآن أنا خبيرة في الرفض بطريقة لطيفة. اختر بحكمة مع من وأين تفضل قضاء حياتك.
عبي وقتك في التعليم والتعلم والاستكشاف. إحاطة نفسك بالأشخاص المحبين لن يساعدك إلا في أن تكون أفضل. ابق بعيدا عن أي مشاجرة ، لا تسمح لأي شخص أن يسحبك إلى مستواه سواء كان ذلك انسان فارغ أو يدوي عالناس ويفتن ويفتي ويكذب ويزيد غير ذنوب. 
- الحد من ساعات نشاطك عالسوشل ميديا مثلا هي وحدة من الأمور اللي نحاول نركز عليها وندير يوم في الاسبوع بدون -انستجرام بما انه نفوت في هلبه وقت عليه.

5. الهيكل/ الجدول والتكوين
يمكننا دائمًا أن نكون منتجين بالتخطيط البسيط ، فأنت تحصل على أفضل مفتاح هنا. الأطفال يزدهرون على الهيكل ، يحبون أن يعرفوا ما هو القادم.
 جزء صغير من روتينا اليومي كمثال ،  الغداء حوالي 12: 45-13: 00 ، ثم اذهب لإعادة شحن نفسي بقيلولة خفيفة. وجود تحصل ساعة من وقت الشاشة أو الرسوم.

- ابدأ في إعداد خطة للوجبات اليومية . ثم ربما نكتب فقط سنحصل على وجبة نباتية يوم السبت ، وجبة ليبية في يوم الأحد والاثنين للاسماك الخ. وهذا ساعدني من الوقوف كل يوم في المطبخ  تكون عندي فكرة عالأقل شنو اليوم المكون الرئيسي.
- الأعمال المنزلية خليها على دفعات. مثلا السبت للرواشن ، أيام الاثنين والأربعاء لغسيل الملابس إلخ.
- افعل هذا وستحصل على مزيد من الوقت للاستمتاع به مع أطفالك ،حيكون عندك وقت تطلعي مع صغارك، والاستمتاع بالطبيعة وتعليم أطفالك عن ذلك ، أو قراءة القصص اي شي ممكن تعبي بيه وقت يفيدهم ويفيدك.

6. الانضباط الذاتي
نحن بحاجة إلى أن نعمل في حياتنا بذكاء وليس بصعوبة ومجهود كبير.
"كل شيء ذي قيمة يتطلب العناية والانتباه والانضباط. أفكارنا تتطلب الانضباط. يجب أن نحدد باستمرار حدودنا الداخلية ومدونات سلوكنا أو أفكارنا سوف تكون مشوشة. وإذا كانت أفكارنا مشوشة ، فسوف نفقد مسارنا في المتاهة.  إن الأفكار المرتبكة الغير منظمة تنتج نتائج مربكة ".
جون روهن. المفتاح للحصول على كل ما تريده هو الانضباط الذاتي.



كن حقيقياً أنك أفضل شخص يمكن أن تساعد نفسك! . اعرف الساعات التي تكون فيها طاقتك مشتعلة خلال اليوم. تعرف متى أنت قادر على العمل ، على سبيل المثال ، أبدأ العمل في أعمالي الصغيرة بعد وقت نوم الأطفال. لا أستطيع العمل بفعالية عندما يكونون مستيقظين ولا أريد أن يستهلك العمل حياتي ، فهذا هو وقتهم هو حقوقهم التي وضعتها وأنا مرتاحة جدا الحمدلله. أعمل فقط على الرد على رسائل البريد الإلكتروني والاستفسارات العامة ، والتقاط الصور ، و Instagram قليلاً وهذا إلى حد كبير ما أفعله عادة.

كن لطيفًا على نفسك يمكنك أن تكون أي شيء إلا أنك لا تستطيع أن تكون كل شيء. تأتي الأمومة مع الكثير من التضحيات ، أكبرها لي ألا أختار العمل في الحقل الذي أمضيت معظم حياتي أعمل بجد وأحاول أن أبني نفسي فيه. لا يزال الأمر مؤلم في بعض الأحيان ، خاصة عندما أرى أقراني في مرحلة كنت سأكون فيها لو استمريت في مجالي. حاولت لسنوات عديدة أن أتجاهل هذا الهرق النابض في نفسي وقلبي، استسلمت  الآن لأن العالمة وحب العلم في داخلي لن يختفي أبداً. لقد وجدت طرقًا جديدة لتحقيق ذلك. سواء كان ذلك برسم الحيوانات التي أحبها أو أقرأ أحدث الاكتشافات العلمية في المواضيع التي تحرك عقلي. منذ اعتماد أسلوب حياة مستدام أعادني مرة أخرى إلى أشياء كانت ذات يوم تهمني كثيرا وكانت مركز حياتي لفترة طويلة.
- خلي يوم بدون روتين ، بشكل عشوائي.
- أقضي المزيد من الوقت مع الأصدقاء ، فأنا محظوظة للغاية لأن لدي أصدقاء يحبون أطفالي. اضحك وافعل الأشياء التي تستمتع بها.

اعتنقي هويتك عندما تصبحي أمًا ستتغير حياتك ، ولن يكون لديك نفس وقت الفراغ كما كان من قبل ، ولا يمكنك قول الكلمة الأخيرة في النوم على سبيل المثال. وربما لا تبدي على ما يرام وهذا طبيعي. ستجدي التوازن ، وتحتضنيه وتستمتعي بالوقت الثمين مع طفلك الصغير. العديد من الأمهات يفقدن هوياتهن لأسباب عديدة ، قد يكون ذلك بسبب ارتباطك بعملك الذي كانت تدور حوله حياتك. قد تفقدي هويتك لأنك توقفت عن الاعتناء بنفسك حتى أنك لا تستطيع التعرف على نفسك في المرآة.

احترام الوقت وخيارات الحياة غالبا ما يطلق عليه اسم (الأم الكتالوج) هاها! ومع ذلك ، أعتقد أنه في الواقع صحيح إلى حد كبير!. أن الناس يعرفون الآن أنني أحترم وقتي ووقت الآخرين ومسؤلياتهم. 
هذا هو السبب اللي ينقال عليا "في عالمها الخاص" "على حالها" أنا أقدرالوقت كثيراً. إن المطالب في الثقافة الليبية بالنسبة لبعض الناس للقيام بزيارات منزلية أمر لم أكن مرتاحًة له كثيراً. سأفعل ذلك عدة مرات في السنة ، لكن من فضلك لا تتوقع مني أن أقوم بذلك عشر مرات في الشهر. التوقعات الرهيبة لأنك تكوني طباخة ممتازة وانسانة مضيافة في اي وقت وكم مره في الشهر مع كل مسؤلياتك امر فوق من قدرتي. أود فقط أن تملأ حياتي بأشياء أكثر أهمية.

النمو والتحسين الذاتي قم بتحسين الذات بنفسك وقضاء ساعتين على الأقل في اليوم بالكامل بنفسك ولنفسك ! أضف ذلك إلى جدولك اليومي كل يوم. افعل ما تشاء فقط من أجلك ، لا تنظف خزانة ، لا تقومي بالتسوق عبر الإنترنت لأطفالك في هذا الوقت. سواء كان تقري كتاب ولا اتبعي مسلسل للمرة الألف مش مهم. اي شي يبسطك إنت.


إن الواحد يركز في وقته وينظمه ويحول الأمور اللي تستهلكه في طاقته وجهده، تستسنزف في روحه! أمور مايحبهاش فعلا ولا يحس نفسه يمشي فيها غير بالمجاملة. يحولها أحسن. لو شي ماتحبيشي اتفاديه، شوفي شي ثاني افيد واصلح وانسب ليك في ديناتك وأخرتك وعبيه بيه خير.  الدنيا قصيرة والعمر قصير. ضياع وقتنا وعمرنا حنتحاسبو عليه. ضيعي عمرك وحياتك في شي ليه منفعة ليك للحواليك.  ربي يوفقكم جميعاً.
 عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , قَالَ : " لا تَزُولُ قَدَمُ ابْنِ آدَمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حَتَّى يُسْأَلَ عَنْ عُمُرِكَ فِيمَا أَفْنَيَتَهُ ، وَعَنْ شَبَابِكَ فِيمَا أَبْلَيْتَهُ ، وَعَنْ مَالِكَ مِنْ أَيْنَ اكْتَسَبْتَهُ وَفِيمَا أَنْفَقَتَهُ ، وَمَا عَمِلْتَ فِيمَا عَلِمْتَ ". كله مكتوب وكله محسوب.




ماما،
هذا البوست وبوستات ثانية على الأمومة حننرشها في المستقبل ان شاء الله كان من تأثير أمي الله يرحمها، قدوتي وحبيتي.
أمي كانت أبلة وأم لأربعة أطفال، ربتنا في الغربة في بلاد غريبة عليها. قرينا كل يوم في الأسبوع حتى السبت واأحد قدرت بجهدها وجهد والدي رحمة الله عليه انها تحافظ على مستوانا الدراسي باللغتين. وكنا زي هلبه مغتربين موازنين اللغتين والثقافتين وعادات ليبيا ودينا. انوضوا الصبح على الموعد نلقوا فطورنا واتي فطور المدرسه مغلف ويستنى فينا. نروحوا الحوش نظيف والغداء طايب وكل يوم شكل. المجهود اللي دارته أمي مع معاناتها بأمراض مزمنة لسنين طويلة شي نشوف فيه عظيم جداً شي لليوم ولو قطعت من نفسي كل يوم ماعمري حنوفيها حقها. 
الله يغفر لأمي ويرحمها ويجعل مثواها الجنة ويلاقينا بيها في جنته.



























Slow living

Sunday, 29 July 2018



Somehow I always feel memories are built slowly I don’t know how I’ve made that conclusion but I just feel it, you can be present in a moment that passes so fast that eventually, you don’t recollect anything from it. 
In the past year after my mother’s illness and passing, my life had changed dramatically. I’m just at a point in my life where I am able to lift my head up again to see what’s in front of me. Grief had changed me, the way I think, and see value in things has been altered drastically!  
I became more focused on living a slower life. I remember how tiny slow and repeated acts my parents made seem to be engraved in my deepest memories, things like when my mother would put my socks on when I was little and always tries to soften any wrinkles or folds. I remember her warm hands on my feet.


In the midst of this journey of mine, I started accepting way too many (illustration) commissions than I could possibly handle. I complete my work I always give it my best! But, I do this to occupy myself as much as possible. I get to a very bad place once my hands and heart are unfilled, this might sound strange to people that had not gone through a similar loss or maybe deal with things differently. 
My life was going faster once again, I was just like a machine, lots of what I did was just for the sake of doing it.

 I wasn't very focused or had my heart in things, normal things like cooking and taking care of myself! It's funny how life can change so easily you lose balance, you trip you might fall! I gave myself the duty to juggle so many balls at once, Joud and Adam being the most important of all at all times. I just want to be connected with moments that give me the sense of wellbeing.



I came across this whole new lifestyle through Instagram, I was most likely attracted to the pretty photos used (I’m a visual person) with rustic aesthetics, I got confused a bit about what is exactly a slow lifestyle? the slow movement? is it the new “hygge” that’s bombarded the internet in the past few years? why am seeing some props being copied and almost identical in all the photos used in Instagram? Do I need to own all these things to have a slower life? ladies running into flower fields wearing linen aprons and a messy hair bun! having a rustic table with home-made bread and a basket of fresh produce. Products I see here and there say slow next to them! what do they mean?

What is this image? why is it so demanding? I just wanted to reap the benefits, spend more time with my family, observe more, understand more, I wanted to take things at a calmer pace, to enjoy the things that would possibly pass by without me noticing.

Instagram can trick us to see how people live their lives, shading away that they only share what they choose to show. All the calm collective photos all the serenity and I’m including myself as well, I’m in no place to judge or criticise.

Our society is set up to be in fast mode, we buy we eat we wear fast! impulse is a strong desire marketers have worked on. They got us! they tricked us!.  Being a mother of two, and trying to run my business from two countries can't be but fast at times. However I”m trying every day to take slow small steps to help me through the way, to live it mindfully.



I often think what if I leave this world soon, what have I taught my children? what will they remember of me? and NO I’m not being negative or pessimistic, I’m just simply reflecting on a fact that will happen one day. Reminding ourselves of departure does impact the way you to choose to live your life. I just want to live intentionally with a purpose. I often ask myself what am doing here? what is my purpose? I'm still trying to figure that out.

I'm finally in a place I'm very comfortable at, focusing my daily life to be as sustainable and slow as possible. The marriage of these two hopefully will make me live a conscious life that I've always strived for. That gives one’s self an intention, makes me feel somehow I’m making better choices and hopefully setting a good example for my littles.

Do I live a slow life all the time? everyday? hmmm, so far no will be the most honest answer. Will I be able to? I don't know and as always here on my blog, I have only been writing with honesty, its a journey that I finally wanted to share here, so who knows what happens?

I’ve recently written about all the sustainable changes we’ve been living in Curiously conscious. How a mindful life can change your perspective in life itself is quite amazing, knowing that a single person does have an impact even if so little is very fulfilling!


The other day was one of those hard days, my husband was having a difficult day. I thought with no planning of going out venturing into the woods where all four of us find peace, let go of our worries for a bit and enjoy the moment.
 My husband came very late for our outing he came at seven in the evening, which is half an hour before the children's bedtime. I had piles of my work on my new project, but decided they don't need to sleep on their exact bedtime today! we had fun, it was a slow unrushed outing, we went through a new path, we picked wildflowers, chased butterflies and had fruits and sandwiches for dinner! we found a beautiful stream the children both enjoyed their time, they were so excited, my husband enjoyed it and eased a bit since the morning, eventually, we all just felt better. 

How I decided that day to cancel my daily routine is a big deal for me, I have been always criticised for how I run my life on a schedule and try every day to keep up with it I just want to organise things in order to be done I have too many responsibilities and too much to do, how I get very easily irritated if I can’t for some reason follow it.  

There is so much to explain that, however, the major factor is I suffer from anxiety this is my first time opening up about it, a schedule and knowing what to do gives me steps to follow and a clear vision ahead that I have already thought about previously and was expecting. Unfortunately in today's society anxiety and any mental health topic are taboo. Till this very day, I have talked about this very little with a handful of close people.  

So for me, a slow life calms me down, help me sometimes break some rules I’ve set, tells me you can go out leaving at home piles of laundry that need folding without having to self-impose pressure and striving to be almost a perfect mother and wife!, its not like someone is checking but just because I know I'll have it there waiting for me when I get back! 


Some changes that have worked well for me is to allow some flexibility in our daily routine, unplanned evenings and mornings, going for walks and enjoy Slow food making, by making our food from scratch enjoying it with family and friends with no screens. Making time alone with each my children separately doing the things they love.
Making more of my evening for my self my own learning exploring and trying new ways of painting and designing, reading more of the book that I believe in trying to revise the verses I once knew by heart. I still don't mind messy chores and chaos around, I have a 3 and 1 year old who am I kidding? I have no physical support but from my husband that comes home late.

At the end, I don’t think slow living is black and white. Slow living is not Insta-glamorous but a lifestyle to be lived. I don’t think we can have one definition of it. Do whatever works for you and makes you feel better and suits your needs. With this said, I’m still learning what a slow and sustainable lifestyle means for me and how to live intentionally, I hope in my journey I can somehow inspire you.







Curiously conscious

Thursday, 5 July 2018






Over the past months, I've been somewhat more curious than I could ever remember, taking notes about normal daily life, I do think that's a result of me trying to keep a slow rhythm in our life it made me look closer to things and observe what would have passed me before. 
So I have been doing a lot of reading and research in between work, it all started very slowly a few years back around when Joud was a couple of months old, I read an article about Johnson and Johnson's case in court and claims of usage of talc and asbestos in their powder and its relation to cancer.  I have been since then using only natural toiletries for myself, Joud and Adam, I believe that was my very first step in a more conscious lifestyle but never really planned it? so from that time on it just followed like a waveform (food, clothing, toys, waste and daily swaps I made in my design business) small steady steps made me confident enough today to share with you all the things I learned to do to make our lives as conscious and sustainable as possible! 


At times I felt overwhelmed and can’t ever share anything as I’m far from perfection in this matter, but a few weeks ago I had some work I’ve done eight years ago about (wildlife trade) being reshared by The Libyan Wildlife Trust I ended up looking at all my previous work with them and how much passion was in it, it did spark something back in me, and made me get back to the things I do enjoy in life and love to protect, along that I decided to join in #plasticfreejuly this year so this post was born! 


With that change I came more aware of what we eat, in result I have been on a clean food diet (mostly) for three years, I do get off tracks at times, after years I concluded that the definition of "clean diet" differs from what we believe is clean, personally I see it as (whole foods, fresh produce, lean meat and healthy fats), that's a daily challenge that keeps me busy! and there is no such thing as super foods its just nonsense we've been fed into believing! 

I have been more curious about other things as well, I sometimes ask myself why have I never thought of this before? why was I so blinded? can I make a change? can I actually apply my new found beliefs in my crazy life? can I sustain it? I started this wave of new knowledge of who made my clothes? was it a nine-year-old Bengali girl? was it a poor widow whose getting underpaid? or was it an old man working in poor conditions to sew me up a £20 shirt? but thats a very huge topic I would love to address soon. 


I'm quite positive that if we all had a look back at our daily lives back in the nineties we'll remember so many good things about waste and the usage of natural products in our daily life and how eventually plastic invaded our lives polluting almost every water body there is in this world! killing thousands of animals along the way, with things we can live without unnecessary things like plastic straws!!

So looking back since being very young I remember my father may Allah have mercy on his soul, using a cotton bag for bread, in Libya bread is sold freshly baked you can smell the bread from miles from the bakery, he hated how the condensation gets collected inside the bag wets and ruins the bread he says, so we used the cotton bag for a very long time.  He used to always keep plastics especially non-reusable ones and put them separately, he knew fully that they will not get recycled in Libya though in the 2000's there were attempts of introducing recycling waste in Libya and can vividly remember three bins orange blue and grey in front of Hay elandalus's post office. 
But somehow it made him happier to do so, he used to fold any cardboards to make space for other rubbish in the rubbish bag to save money and save use another plastic bag more often! this all subconsciously set me to work in conservation (wildlife in particular) for almost five years! thanks, baba!
Living in Scotland for the past years made recycling and composting a piece of cake! but choices are up to you, to actually pick up loose peppers or the ones in a plastic bag? to throw your leftover food in the rubbish or in the compost bin? In Libya I know it is different and can be challenging but being a Libyan myself I do know how much resilience we all have, I've linked up some inspiring accounts to have a look at down below. 


So what I now know is that sustainability means the action made to avoid anything that depletes natural resources or harms the environment. Upon reflection I wanted to share with you some positive changes I've been making hopefully this will help inspire you too, so here are some tips to incorporate sustainability and consciousness into your daily life.  I've listed the swaps I've made throughout the years for you to consider, the main key is to focus on reusable instead of disposable (think long term) natural instead of synthetic.

Little changes do have a very good impact in the long run, so try not to worry about what you own now, instead try to make conscious decisions in the future. We need as many people working and talking about all these topics as possible. You can't replace everything you own at once, or teach yourself new habits at once. But I do recommend to start conscious swaps as soon as possible. Start little using a reusable shopping bag instead of a plastic disposable, things you do daily those changes are the ones that make a huge difference! 







Here are some of my swaps 

Baby and toddler
- Using bamboo utensils for Joud and Adam, with the addition of stainless steel cutlery we already own. We're not big fans of straws anyways, but Joud loves o drink her cup of milk using a straw.
- Using only reusable snack bags, I only owned one plastic lunchbox for Joud and recently purchased a bamboo lunch box.
- Buying only ethically sourced sustainable whenever possible and only wooden toys.
- Using bamboo and stainless steel reusable drinking cups.
- Making more all-natural homemade craft projects with Joud and Adam that I would love to share! but not attempting beeswax and carnauba wax homemade crayons anytime soon haha! so bought some beeswax ones instead.
- Continuing with all natural toiletries, literally, I only use for both Joud and Adam Burts Bees Shampoo, bubble bath, and homemade natural balms and oils and the best nappy rash treatment is my trusty corn starch! 


Kitchen 
- Getting rid of plastics from my kitchen one at a time (the Tupperwares are my ugliest enemy) I hate them and hate to know they will end up in the landfill, replacing them with stainless-steel, glass and bamboo one at a time!.
- Using all bamboo utensils in addition to our existing stainless steel ones.
- Reminding my husband to avoid plastics as possible when shopping he does almost all shopping. I like to make him feel bad when he does come home with plenty of plastics or when he forgets to take our shopping gouffa (natural basket).
- Using my lovely homemade beeswax wraps ditched the cling film, I used this time some old cotton sheets, hanging there to dry, one of my favorite swaps!
- We almost have now a paperless kitchen, so we stopped buying paper towels almost a year ago and just use kitchen cotton towels.
- Trying to use natural homemade cleaning products as much as possible instead of all the nasty chemicals, my favorite ingredients are white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon for the kitchen, I would love to make my own dishwasher soap sometime in the future.
- I've been enjoying using my natural cleaning brushes instead of the old plastic brushes, plus the heads can be replaced yay!
- Wooden pegs instead of plastic pegs I just love this swap so much, plus they look so pretty in pictures!
- Not kitchen related but wanted to share how easy it is to make this swap. I have been using linen fabric for wrapping gifts, any reusable fabric would do really. when I run out of it I use paper wrapping, though I learnt my lesson will stock up more this time.



Food to grow 
So I can only give total credit to my husband for his idea to have a small greenhouse and plant some veggies and herbs! he had planted rocket, parsley, chili, and mint so I will keep you updated if we get to make our home-grown salad any time soon.

Some pages organizations and individual to follow for inspiration and education, though I'll always strongly recommend scientific research and documentaries.
1- Libyan Wildlife Trust starting with the trust I worked with for about five years. Mainly focused on wildlife conservation but are actively engaged in environmental campaigns , you can see a lot of my work if you scroll down in the albums.
2- Sustainab.ly a very informative page on Instagram I've just recently found about, they regularly share educational material educating people in a very friendly way! they need all the support possible.
3- Plastic free july a global annual movement that takes place in July the aim is to reduce plastic waste, its possible very much so!
4- Lets Do It Libya amazing guys, have been working in Libya for a long time!
6- Libyan Youth Climate Movement another lovely organization, incredibly passionate and driven, I wish I had more hours in my day to join them.
7- So much inspiration and strategies these guys share regularly Lessplasticuk
8- Zero waste Libya a really great project by Amiramade you can follow along and support this cause and share your knowledge and awareness of zero waste, use the hashtag #zerowastelibya.
9-  Jourys.mermaids is not a typical beauty blogger, alongside sharing her expertise in skincare she shares many of her recycling projects she also makes all-natural handmade skin care products  Joury's mermaids products one of my favorite Libyan bloggers.

Other accounts that I enjoy following and did benefit so much of :
livingwithalotless
sustainyoself
ecomama_uk
mama.eco
Babipur

Arabic translation will follow soon.








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