Stories about parenting

To all the Wonder Mums out there, do not let society shame you for the choices you make

I have come to realise that no matter which part of the world they are from, mothers have one thing in common: putting up with unsolicited advice and dealing with intense scrutiny and judgement for the parenting choices they make. Hence, this Mother’s Day, I decided to write a message to all the mothers facing this issue out there. These mothers are trying hard to do the best they can by their children, while being constantly questioned and being made to feel they have got it all wrong. The constant unsolicited remarks a mother receives are not limited to family, friends ...

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Why I teach my daughter to raise her hand

Upon her return home from school, I asked my daughter whether or not she raises her hand in class, to which she replied,  “Yes mom, I did,” she said. “In fact, I raise my hand all the time now, even when I am not sure if I have the right answer.” I can’t describe how proud I am that my daughter raises her hand to speak up. Not being sure of the answer is fine by me, as long as she takes a risk and tries anyway. On the contrary, I would be a little upset if she would not engage and ...

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Pitting sibling against sibling will only fail you as a parent

Recently, a friend of mine shared her personal story with me. When she was in high school, she excelled in English. However, this didn’t matter to her mother, because she was weak in Chemistry and Physics – subjects her older sister excelled in. What hurt her the most was when her mother would yell at her, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” I’m glad my friend was confident enough to share this experience that had such a lasting impact on her. But I’m not surprised at all, since I have heard similar stories countless times. I have heard them ...

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Parenting in Pakistan: An unhealthy mix of care and competition

Having lived abroad for nearly five years, I have become a keen observer of certain behavioural differences between Pakistani children, and those raised in the US or the UK. I firmly believe that cultural differences in early childhood decide who we become in our adulthood. A lot is determined by how parents and family members react to a child’s behaviour in his initial years of life, thereby instilling in him either a rightful or an inappropriate sense of what is correct or wrong. Each year during my annual trip to Pakistan, I noticed aggressive behaviour in Pakistani children which people in our country conveniently term as ...

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Thank you Abba, for making me the woman I am

It’s been almost nine years since Abba left us. I have written much about Ammi since then, about how she did not take his going so well, about her dementia. But I have somehow avoided writing about my father. Perhaps there is too much to write and it is difficult, even for someone like me, for whom words come easy. In the last few years of his life, his health was flailing and he knew. He started to wrap things up, though he loved life and fought for it till the end. In that twilight phase, what came up repeatedly was ...

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We lack the wisdom to raise our sons the way we raise our daughters

Before our son Kareem was born, my wife Priya, my daughter Madina and I were on a flight and we ended up sitting next to a woman who was expecting her first child. I sat in the middle seat between Priya and the expecting woman while the two of them discussed things only an expecting mother could discuss with another mother. At one point we asked if she knew the gender of her baby and she said, “A boy thankfully. I am so relieved.” As she went on to explain why she’s relieved, she said having a girl would be a lot more ...

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Don’t deny it, Pakistan. We are responsible for the teenage couple’s suicide!

Sadly, there is nothing unusual about teenage suicide. Nothing new about the reason behind it either. Recently, two teenagers, aged 15 and 16, killed themselves at their school in Karachi, apparently because they were ‘in love’ and did not expect their families to consent to them marrying each other. According to The Express Tribune, the boy shot the girl first as per her request before pulling the trigger on himself. The young couple had left behind two suicide notes for their parents. Both of them said that they were aware that their parents would never allow them to get married which is ...

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Murphy’s Law for parents of three-year-olds

I am going to take my parenting “expert” hat off and put my mom-of-a-three-year-old hat on. I’ve been feeling under the weather, and although I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal, I started to write these to make myself laugh. I hope you have some chuckles too. And yes, these did actually happen. You will cut the wrong end of the freezie, stir the yogurt the wrong way, break the banana or use the wrong-coloured cup. The day you are late for an important appointment is the day you will unbuckle the car seat, as you always do, and your three-year-old will shriek like s/he ...

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Pakistan, the Pied Piper to our children

“Everything depends on upbringing.” – Leo Tolstoy Case One My parents always give me what I want, and in the end, I win. I have been giving tantrums since I was born – at least that’s what I have been told. I always wanted something; either it was permission to go to a forbidden place, or permission to hang out with a forbidden person or permission to buy something forbidden. Yes, it was always one thing or the other with me. But somewhere along my years, I should have been stopped by the authority figures called parents, right? Why didn’t my parents ...

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Do men play their role as fathers?

I come from a mind-set where men and women are different. Hence, none is better than the other. Their anatomy is different, their thinking is different, their perceptions are different, their priorities are different, and hence their job descriptions are different too. In their role as parents, their job is well defined. And I love the description my mother used to give while defining parental roles – dad represents joy and happiness and mom is a necessity. But does that mean that as a primary caregiver of the baby, it’s only the mom’s job to feed the little person and change diapers, ...

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