This week is the second month of Iman starting primary school. I have been so consumed about Iman settling in her new school, that I have not been doing much else. Alhamdulillah, I have students to fill my classes and I am able to earn an income for both of you Sarah and Iman. Psychologically, I have just been so consumed about how Iman settles in her new school.
Today’s post is actually for Sarah. I would like to apologize. This morning we were getting ready to go down and be picked up by your father for school. And I reminded you that your bag is heavy. You don’t want me to help you carry your bag now, because you know I will make noise about how heavy it is. I’m so sorry. I guess I think I’m just helping you. But for you, you hear someone who nags you constantly. You snapped back at me. Saying “I know”. I’m sorry, I know I am always nagging you. A lot of the times I do it without consciously thinking. It must be terrible to have a mom that constantly nags you and criticizes you. I should know. I have that mom too J Nana was like that to me and she still is. I hope I can be different.
When we were waiting for the list to go down, I touched Iman’s hair and tried to make a light-hearted conversation with Iman (because I wanted to make her feel better about school – in the mornings she is usually sad before school). I caught myself. I was trying to smile and encourage her, while with you I was nagging and criticizing. I glanced your way, and caught the look of resentment in your eyes. I’m sorry. I keep failing you. You are a wonderful child, and I’m so disappointed in myself that I can’t help but criticize you instead of encourage and empower you. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how damaging it must be for you, not only now, but in the long term. I’m so sorry. I need to change. I need to be a better mother to you.
February 16, 2017
Salaam. Two evenings ago I lost my temper with you Sarah and hit your head . I feel horrible. You were being rude to me when asking me how to do your homework. I was trying to help explain to you and you got angry and snapped at me. But that’s no excuse for me to hit you on your head. I’m so sorry L I need to break this cycle of anger , yelling and hitting L I just don’t know how. My mom used to do this to me, so it sometimes comes automatically to me. But I need to stop it now. I need to stop this cycle of poor parenting now. Unfortunately, we learn to parent from the way our parents treated us. So what my parents did to me, I find myself doing it to you and your sister. I need to stop this because I know its not right. If I don’t stop and change, then I will pass these patterns subconsciously to you and you’ll go on to do it to your own kids L
Allahu… give me strength and will power. I need to stop it now. The violence needs to end here now. I need to treat you with more respect and trust.
You were happy yesterday you went to a school trip – the zoo! You had so many stories. When we got back we wanted to swim and then watch TV. I think I was stressed, because I was trying to do things all at once on time. Swimming by such and such a time, dinner, TV, then solat and then bed. I should have been more strict on getting you out of the pool on time, because I was trying to get you botht o bathe quickly so we wuld have time for dinner and TV. Then you mentioned in passing your teacher said 9 hours of sleep is too much. I think you said it in response to me telling you to hurry up so we could eat dinner and get ready for bed. Then I snapped – I said “Who is this teacher? I want to talk to her. She’s talking rubbish. She’s being idiotic. She’s an idiot “ I shouldn’t have said that. I was so angry. As it is I don’t believe in a lot of the things that teachers in conventional schools do. This teacher does not know what she’s talking about, because mama has read a lot of research that shows the importance of sleep in a child’s life. A lot of mood disorders, tantrums and physical illnesses is caused by lack of sleep. There is a lot of research out there to prove this. And yet this teacher, cannot even read and irresponsibly passes on incorrect information to her students. It makes me very mad.
But I had not right to call her an idiot. I’m sorry L that was irresponsible and immature of me.
February 21, 2017
Salaam my darlings. This past weekend we went to Janda Baik and stayed overnight at a homestay called Ruang. I was actually stressed the whole time. I fetch Iman early from school on Friday. I was stressed because I was afraid your father would find out and be angry and threaten not to pay for Iman’s school. He has done that in the past. As you know your father and I have very different ideas about education. For me, the more the child is able to relax mentally, then the easier it is for the child to actually learn. For him, it is very important to go to school and get good grades.
I believe being out in nature and having time to roam and explore in nature is really important for allowing the child to learn about “ayaat” of Allah (Allah’s signs). Research after research shows that time spent out in nature helps us to regulate our moods and feelings better, and even makes us kinder! So that’s why I really wanted to get away from the city… plus I needed a break.. but sigh unfortunately because of getting Iman out of school early I was stressed. I shouldn’t have been. I should have just been firm. This is the way that I believe is right. So I should just do it. Its not like every day I take you out from school early – its just that day because check-in time was at 2pm. Anyway, Alhamdulillah all went ok. We had a nice time in the end even though we were the only guests in the whole place! It was actually very peaceful! I invited some of our friends but they couldn’t join us… anyway looking forward to going back there again.
Sarah on Saturday morning, there was one episode where you were so frustrated with all the nyamuk that was biting you. The day before – Friday evening we had already enjoyed swimming in the river for quite a long time and it was fine. That Saturday morning, I’m not sure what happened. I think maybe because both of you didn’t want to immerse your whole body in the water because it was cold- that’s why you got a lot of mosquito bites. And the mozzie repellant was not very effective either L So you had a break down. I had just got down from the room after changing into my swim suit and was about to join you in the river then you wanted to go up already… you didn’t want to go by yourself and cried and screamed so that I would follow you… owh… at first I told you to go by yourself , but you wouldn’t calm down and kept crying loudly… L I feel so bad for letting cry so long. I finally followed you up… Sorry I let you cry so long. I was and am still I guess quite frustrated with the fact that you can’t be alone even for a while. Even when we are at Nana’s house you can’t be upstairs while Iman and I are downstairs. This happened I think on Thursday, you cried because I told you to go upstairs to finish your homework while I sat with Iman to finish her lettuce during dinner downstairs.
I’m sorry sayang. I don’t understand your fear of being alone, but I should be more patient with dealing with it. Your fear of being alone by yourself is a VALID fear. You are afraid of something. I’m not sure what. It could be ghost or thief or jinn…Allahua’lam.. Usually these are metaphors or reflections of the fears that we have inside of ourselves. For example, you might be afraid of something that happened in your life. Maybe the fear of being abandoned by people around you? Maybe your father’s and my divorce has left you fearing that people around you will abandon you….?? You must know I will NEVER abandon you - you know that right?? You are the most important thing in my life. Both you and your sister are. When I leave you for a while, I just need to do some housework, or need to attend to your sister for a while.. I’m not abandoning you. Your father also NEVER abandoned you. He is STILL your father, you are STILL his child. He just lives somewhere else. He will ALWAYS be there for you. You and your sister MUST remember that. I’m sure that whenever you need to talk to him he will always be there to listen to you. Any time you want to call him or talk to him, or email him, do it ok?
Its good to have someone that you can talk to about the feelings you might have – it could be fear, it could be sadness, confusion, or even joy… its good to have someone to talk to. I pray to Allah that he gives us all good friends who we can tell our feelings to, who won’t judge us, who will accept us for who we are including our weaknesses and strengths. But if we don’t, know that we have the best friend ever – ourselves. We must learn to be our own best friend. I remember being like this when I was small… I wanted to find a best friend… but every time I made a good friend, I had to leave that school. I was always moving and changing schools when I was young. So it was difficult to make good friends and keep them. So I told myself I have to be my own best friend. I am still struggling to do this until today. I am still struggling to accept myself for who I am and to love and celebrate my strengths and weaknesses. Alhamdulillah I have only just recently felt the most confident about myself in the past few years.
The best bestest friend we also have is Our Creator -the one who made us. He made us have these feelings. He KNOWS these feelings, because He MADE them! He knows it is human and normal to have all types of intense feelings. And these feelings are powerful. They can be used for good – to create goodness in the world. Or they can be used for bad – to create corruption in the world. So when we are feeling overwhelmed with these feelings, turn to HIM. I do too. I say “Allah you know these feelings better than me, because you created them. You know my mind and my thoughts better than me, because you created them. You know ME better than I know myself, because you created me. Please help me accept who I am for what I am. You love me more than anyone can ever love me. You are the Most Loving.”
Something like that…. Always talk to Him ok. He listens!! I love you so much!! xx
March 1, 2017
Salaam Sarah and Iman, I am sitting at the café behind Iman’s school. Just had breakfast after sending Iman.
Sarah this few weeks have been a bit stressful for you I think. You’ve had so much homework everyday after school I feel so sorry for you that you have so much homework. But Alhamdulillah yesterday and the day before you didn’t have much homework. We went swimming the day before (Monday) and yesterday (Tuesday) we played UNO, sketched and coloured before dinner.
Sarah, yesterday I cam across an article that said that the more controlling the parents are, the kids are likely to be unhappy in adulthood. I thought to myself: I’m very controlling L I do have control issues. When I was young also Nana wanted to control everything about me. I’m so sorry. Now its happening to you. I need to stop that. I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself in my mind “I will not control her from now on”, and then next thing happens is I’m telling you not to do that or this L This morning you asked me if you could bring your new book to school (100 most famous people who made history). It is a thick book and you had to carry two other bags (one for swimming, and one for art) . So I said no. You were frustrated and angry. Then I thought to myself : “actually why didn’t I let her just take it. I know she’ll struggle with three bags and one heavy book, plus any books she brings back for homework, but that’s her lesson to learn”. So next time I promise I’ll let you do what you want, unless of course it involves physical danger to yourself.
Also, one way of recording the times that I’m unusually controlling over you is to write it here in my blog to you. Then it’s easy for me to re-call the times I’m controlling or the times I consciously try not to be. Writing is really helpful inshaallah. I’m praying that this exercise of me writing to you both will help me improve myself slowly inshaallah.
Iman Alhamdulillah this past two weeks you have been better at school. Last week you did cry a few times, and yesterday you cried too. Last week most of the times you said it was because your friend accidentally pushed you, but on Friday you said it was because you wanted to come home. I spoke to your teacher , Teacher Mirza this Monday morning to find out what was the real reason. Teacher Mirza said you are much better now.. you want to sit with your friends during lunch and break and not clinging to your teacher. I also brought up some issues about your play time with Teacher Mirza and Teacher Haliza , and they know my concern. I am so saddened though that your Principal Hameed is no longer in Idrissi L He was a really good principal. When Mamam went to the parent’s sharing day a few weeks ago, he answered all the parent’s questions with good answers and eased our concerns. A lot of what he talked about what based on research and best practices, and not the typical mentality of a typical Malaysian school. So I wrote him an email saying that I would like to work with him on some projects, but I’m not sure if he received the email as he didn’t reply. Anyway, I’m also talking to Principal Adam, who is still in your school and who is also a progressive thinker, but I’m not sure how much influence he has in the school. Anyway, Mama is just praying that it is the right school for you.
To be honest, Mama has been thinking about pulling you both out of school and putting you in a homeschool centre. This will definitely mean less pressure for Sarah. Homeschool centres tailor their education to the child’s level and they understand that each child has different strengths and weaknesses. I have not done much research in this. But if I pull you both out of school, I’ll have to be ready to pay for everything by myself and get opposition from your father. Inshaallah, May Allah make it easy for me to do what’s right for the both of you. Yesterday I read an article about children in Hong Kong committing suicide. These are children. There’s so much pressure there , that they can’t handle it and so they take their life!! I pray Malaysian never gets to that stage, but I also have to be careful about your childhood environment. I have to put in effort to make your childhood as stress-free as possible, and one of that means reducing the pressure on academic studies that schools put on children.
I love you. I am grateful everyday Allah has blessed me with you both.
March 3, 2017
Salaam Sarah and Iman, Mama sent Iman to school this morning and now 1030am at Setia City Mall. Iman you wanted me to fetch you early from school around lunch time, so I’m waiting around this area. No point going back to Subang because it is far.
Sarah you continue to come home with a lot of homework. I feel sorry that you have so much to do. Yesterday (Thursday) we slept at Nana’s house. You both missed Nana. You did some homework with her. Then you wanted me to go to Zumba. I know – that’s the time you get to spend with Nana and fall asleep with her. But Mama was very tired yesterday, so I didn’t go to zumba. Magrhib time came Sarah and you both solat with Nana, then I think you both wanted to spend time with her, but it was already time to sleep. It was 8.15. In Kelana Jaya, its uasually lights out by 8pm. When I told you both to sleep, you cried and complained. I feel so sorry. I don’t know what to do. I’m too strict.but I know if I’m not strict with bed time, it will be worse later when you have tantrums. Then later after you had calmed down before you slept we brainstormed ways of how to make it not so abrupt for you. I said maybe I could have given you a bit more time. I need to be more flexible like that. Then I thought to myself “ I could’ve given her 15 minutes more… it should’ve been ok on a Thursday night”.
I pray that I realize these situations to be more flexible before they actually happen and that I can make things easier and less controlling and restrictive for you. I thought to myself about my own childhood. I myself always felt that I couldn’t do anything – everything “no, no, no” from Nana or Dada. Now I have the chance to do it differently with my kids and I’m not doing it differently.
I think I’m fearful of what negative influences you might have –e.g. TV programs that nowadays has very adult themes even in cartoons. Nothing is innocent anymore. I need to find away to let go of this fear, but also be able to protect you from evil / shaytan’s influences from things all around us. TV is just one of them. But it’s a big one. I’m really not sure how to control it anymore. When you go to your father’s house on the weekend – literally the whole time you are there, you’re both watching TV. That makes me so pained. This weekend I am attending an Islamic conference (too bad Nouman Ali Khan can’t make it), but its on both Saturday and Sunday. I will miss you both.. but I am also excited to be spending my time doing something that will nourish my soul – listening to reminders about Allah. I wanted and suggested to you to come with me –to join their kids program, but you both didn’t want to.
Last time, a couple of years ago, I brought you along to these programs, at least for one day – probably Saturday – you joined their kids program in a separate hall and you both liked it. Some times Sofiyyah would come with her mother also, but you would be in separate groups la. Now you don’t lie it so much… hmmm… I’m wondering how to get you to enjoy these things again.
In terms of your schooling, I’m still deliberating on whether I should take you out of school and put you in a homeschool centre. I believ homeschooling will be better for you, and even a homeschool centre will be better for you, but I am lacking support from Nana & Dada. I hope I have enough courage soon. Am making du’a that Allah guides me to make the right decisions for you both. Love you xox