Thursday, February 26, 2015

MOM STORIES: Nabila Babar

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NAME/CURRENT LOCATION

Nabila / Redmond, WA

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

I am a working mother who is trying to balance the relationships around her as well as the demands of a fast paced, challenging career, who is constantly switching from one role to another and in an attempt to do-it-all has figured out there is no such thing. 

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY

We are a small family of three. My husband and I were married 9 years ago. We have both been raised in very traditional Pathan families but I have spent the majority of my life in America. Our little boy just turned 3. We would love for our son to benefit and learn from the best of both cultures. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A MOM / WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGING PARTS

My favorite part of motherhood is that it not only makes you re-discover the world through a child's eyes but to re-discover your self. Children have a way of making their mothers superheroes. Becoming a mother gave me strengths that I never knew I had.

For me, the hardest part of motherhood is letting go. Whether its turning my back to him when I drop him off at daycare or letting go of each phase of life he has outgrown. Each milestone of his is a bitter sweet moment. Every morning having to put away this little piece of myself so I can concentrate on work. But the funny thing is, becoming a mother made me even better at work. I have had the most success as a working mother. He gives me this strength, this drive to achieve, that I never had before. 

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ANYTHING THAT YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR PARENTS THAT YOU WANT TO PASS ON TO YOUR KIDS? 

My parents are opposites of each other. My mother is passionate and hot tempered. My Father is my calm during a storm and gives excellent advice. My mother has taught me the meaning of hard work. My father has always been and will be my rock to lean on. His words are poetry in itself, with layers of depth that I keep thinking about and re-discovering. With each generation that passes, there are values and a way of living that is lost. It is important to cherish whatever you can of your parents and pass it on to your children. It’s these values and lessons that build character. 

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ‘ME-TIME’ ACTIVITIES? 

The more complicated and demanding my life gets, the more hobbies I pick up. I have always been a reader. To me, there is no better time spent then lost in a book somewhere far away. As I get older, I am trying to read books with more substance, but still enjoy the occasional vampire thriller!  I also enjoy photography and being able to steal moments of life and tuck them away to enjoy later. I like poetry and writing letters to my son. My relationship with him gets stronger with each letter I write to him, page by page, word by word. I also picked up sketching recently. It doesn’t matter that I am not great at all of these, that isn’t the point. This time spent is my outlet and help me stay grounded, and where I have no deadlines or numbers to meet.

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WHAT ROLE DOES YOUR FAITH PLAY IN YOUR PARENTING?

Faith has always played a different role in my life at different times. In hard times it is where I turn to for help and strength. In good times it keeps me grounded. I think God doesn’t make you go through hard times for no reason and that doing things the right way, not just the easy way, will eventually lead to a better outcome. I also think intention plays a big role in faith. My son is very young to understand the concept of faith right now, but I think one of my biggest responsibilities is instilling a strong sense of faith in him. Having children really makes you reflect and question your faith and in my case there is a greater desire to strengthen my relationship with God.    

AS AN IMMIGRANT DO YOU SOMETIMES WISH TO MOVE BACK? HOW DO YOU COMPARE LIFE IN YOUR BIRTH COUNTRY TO THE ONE YOU HAVE IN THE UNITED STATES?

Honestly, no.I have spent very little time in Pakistan. The majority of my life has been in America and I have a hard time relating to the life lived in Pakistan. I think it’s important for kids to know and understand their roots but I don’t believe in following culture just for the sake of traditions. Traditions, religion,  and culture is very easily abused. It’s very hard to overlook that in Pakistan. There are some beautiful aspects of Pakistani culture that I would love to instill in my son - like its hospitality, community, and respect for elders. 

WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

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I read somewhere that my dream for my child is so that he grows up and follows his dreams. But as a parent you can’t help but have hopes and dreams for your children - some selfish and others selfless. My dreams come in a form of prayer for him. I pray that he grows up to be happy, healthy, successful, loving, and gives back to this world a lot more then what he has taken. I pray that he has a close relationship with God and is able to respect and appreciate the relationships around him.

ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER MOMS OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE.

I know mothers love to give advice and are tired of hearing it; so I will keep it short. Do whatever you think is best for your child - you know your child better then anyone else. There is no manual, there is no standard, there is no competition. Be strong and have confidence in yourself.

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Thank you so much Nabila for sharing a piece of your life with us. So glad to have you here.

For previous posts in this series go here.

Nabila was on the blog earlier too. Check it out here.

Thanks for reading and lots of love.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Conversations with Anya: Pakistan Edition

A bilingual household means a bilingual kid! I'll try to translate most of the conversations but sometimes its not that easy. Hope you’ll excuse that :)

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Bilal talking to my sister-in-law and discussing the order for dinner

Bilal: Bas saath wings mangwado (Just order the wings with it.)

Anya, panicking: I don’t want you to fly away. Because I love you!

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Anya: Mama ab lots of time hogaya hai. Ab its time to go home. Ab airplane mei betho lets go home.

(Mama its been a lot of time. It’s time to go home. Now sit on airplane, lets go home.)

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After spending the day with my sister Nadiya at her work and playing with her endlessly all day, Anya hugging my youngest sister Waliya and saying: Walu khala1 I love you more than Nadu khala!

Nadiya: What?? Bas theek hai ab mei ap se naraz hoon. Office ja rahi hoon. (Fine, I’m not talking to you now. I’m going back to my work)

Anya: Nooo.. Kal to meine ap ko kaha tha na keh I love you more than Walu khala. (Noo.. but I did say to you yesterday that I loved you more than Walu khala)

Nadiya: Kab? (When?) 

Anya: Kaha tha na keh I love you more than Walu khala. (I did say it, that I love you more than Walu khala)

Nadiya (Not remembering): Um.. Okay.

Waliya: Noo, but you just said you love me more than Nadu khala.

Anya: Nooo, I love Walu more than and I love Nadu more than.

Nadiya, Waliya confused: More than who?

Anya: More than you both!

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Anya, (about her teacher): Woh school mei hee rehti hain. (She lives in school.)

My sister, Nadiya: Apki teacher ka koi home nahi hai? (Your teacher doesn’t have a home?) 

Anya: No.

Nadiya: Apki teacher keh babies nahi hain? (What about her babies?)

Anya: Unke koi babies nai hain. (She has no babies.)

Nadiya: Unka husband nahi hai? (What about a husband?)

Anya, remembering something: Un ne humain bataya tha keh unka husband hai. (She told us that she has a husband)

Nadiya: Unka sirf aik husband hai? (So she just has a husband?)

Anya: No, Three!

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Anya: Abhi Nadu ne itna ghalat cheez kara tha keh bass!

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My Nana2 asking Anya the day before we were leaving: Ab phir kab aaogee aap? (Now when will you come again?)

Anya: I don't know.

Nana: Only Baba knows. Right? (Only your dad knows, right?)

Anya: And Allah knows too.

Nana, speechless and laughing: Yes Allah knows!

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More in this series here.

Thanks for reading and lots of love.


FYI

1Khala is the Urdu word for mom’s sister

2Nana is the Urdu word for Maternal Grandfather

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

AROUND PAKISTAN: Central Library Bahawalpur

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The Central Library of Bahawalpur is a historical library in the city of Bahawalpur1. I had been dying to visit this beautiful library ever since I heard of it. When they were growing up, my husband and his sister were regular members and I’m so glad Anya got to visit the library of her dad’s childhood on this trip.

We were not disappointed at all on our visit and I could imagine many an afternoons spent at the peaceful and oh-so-colorful children section just reading books to my girl. The two librarians in the children’s section were so friendly. Anya loved going through their books, the educational puzzles they had laid out and playing in the little play area they had in the center. An afternoon definitely well-spent. Here’s a peek.

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Founded on 8th March 1924, the Central Library of Bahawalpur, is built with a classical Italian style of architecture. The library boasts historic manuscripts, more than a hundred thousand books in both English and Urdu, a children’s library, a newspaper collection beginning before the independence of Pakistan till date, a Braille Library, a computer training center as well as audio-visual collections.2

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If you have kids and are ever in the area, I definitely recommend you go visit.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love.

More in this series here.

FYI

1 Bahawalpur is the 12th largest city of Pakistan, located in Punjab. The city was once the capital of the princely state and later province Bahawalpur, and home to various Nawabs(rulers). Also from the blog, memories from Bahawalpur.

2 A link to a short video blog in Urdu about this library