Category Archives: All About You

Back to School

Back to school!

I honestly don’t know where the last 12 weeks went and I would love to tell you that “I am a beginner” at this school mama jazz but we are in this game 5 years now so I really should be more prepared.

I feel like I have just released my freshly made (in my head) 10 and 7 year olds back to the school yard. Back to their teachers and friends and really I am hoping that they come out of school as happy as they went into school. No one prepares you for the feelings that hit you as a mother the first week back each year.

The excitement of them returning to school and you getting a well deserved break can sometimes be over shadowed by the fears of them not enjoying themselves.

Will they make friends?
Will they remember to go to the bathroom?
Will they eat their lunch?
Will they be happy?

The list is endless and the anxiety we feel as parents is fierce.

5 years in and we have been too early, too late, eaten the contents of our lunch box in the back seat of the car, stripped off uniforms in the heat, fought over missing library books and of course, the obligatory spilling of drinks all over the back seat leading to smells like no other and all this before I race them in the door at 7:30am just in time for the national anthem.

How do we do this for the next 18 years?

I may not be able to solve most of the above problems for you. So anything that will make life easier will be happening on the daily. Let’s call them small wins.

  1. Lunches – Checking out blog posts on the just kidding feed as Instagram lunch box queen @ieatmypeas has covered this so well. So many tips and tricks to make life easier for picky eaters.
  2. Back packs – There are some lovely choices at Just Kidding.
    https://www.justkidding-me.com/ae/toys/backpacks-bags-suitcases
    My top tips would be to have the bag ready for the next day before bedtime so there is less stress in the morning.
  3. Having the uniform out, underpants, socks, shoes. I find when it is laid out there are fewer arguments in the morning. I also get them to have their breakfast in their pajamas so there are fewer spillages!
  4. Car seats – Being safe should be everyone’s first tick off the list. High back car seats to and from school are a must!  For the school tours or school buses I would highly recommend the Mi Fold for those who need one handy in their school bags. There should be no price on a child’s safety but these really are priced well and fully approved!
    https://www.justkidding-me.com/ae/mifold-booster-seat

 

Love, Helly x
@mylittlelovesblog

Ramadan as a mum of two toddlers

Ramadan, a blessed month, something I was looking forward to until it finally arrived.
I am scared now, how I will manage with two little kids? Two boys aged 3 and 1, then summer heat to deal with on top of it all.

A typical Ramadan evening before children used to be sitting down and reading the Quran and listening to some amazing lectures from the scholars.
Now with two boys to care for I suppose it will be bath and bedtime as usual.
By the time I will sit down to read the Quran I doubt I will manage a chapter before I am knocked out.

Suhoors are going to be very tricky for me. I am so confused of how I will sneak out in the kitchen to actually enjoy some food without waking them up.

My worst nightmare would be to start the day with the boys awake at Fajr, which will be around 4:15 am.
If I am lucky that they are still asleep, how will I manage to get back into bed knowing I have to be up again at 6:30-7 am for when the boys will start their day?

Spending a pre-kid Ramadan day used to be so relaxing and peaceful.
I would wake up at noon having had a good rest and then I would perform Salah etc.
I am so scared of being awfully tired (especially without coffee) and having to keep the two boys entertained for the whole day, especially when my older one doesn’t nap during the day.
How will I manage the boys until Iftar without actually taking a nap?
Park times are going to be pure torture for the poor mum.
Let’s cross our fingers for me to actually be engaged enough in the day for my boys and also to work on myself spiritually.

This Ramadan I will be taking the challenge to be more patient and peaceful inside, to be a better human. I am sure to be an improved mother after this Holy month leaves us.


Author: Saba Shoaib – Thebeautybarbysaba.com

The three-nager

Before becoming a parent, I often found myself rolling my eyes at parents discussing the “terrible two’s” and then of course followed by the “terrible threes,” and so on. I found myself thinking, “how terrible could they really be?”

And then, like an almighty slap in the face, I discovered just how terrible they could be.

In fairness to the child currently in question, she more or less skipped over the “terrible twos.” Generally speaking, her twos were a happy, energetic, fun filled year. Well, for her at least. For me, although rewarding and cheerful in many ways, it was an exhausting period of having just past parenting a helpless little baby, but also not quite at the point of having a reasonably self-sufficient toddler. And to add insult to injury, I fell pregnant with our second child during this stage, so my energy levels were mostly at a low, while my daughter’s energy levels were at an all-time high. That said, the terrible twos have nothing on the “terrible threes.” Or as I like to call it “the three-nager” stage.

The three-nager stage is when you realise you have a three-year-old teenager. A three-year-old that is mentally convinced that he/she is in fact 13 years old and has all of life’s answers in their growing, albeit currently tiny, little brains.

Don’t get me wrong- I adore my three-nager. And on many, if not most occasions, she has brought me immense amounts of amusement with her sassy, vivacious personality. But, if I thought having a two-year-old was exhausting, having a three-year-old is near knocking me out.

I live in constant fear of cutting her toast in the incorrect manner. Does she want triangles, rectangles or squares today? Getting it wrong can be deadly, so best to ask and hope that once you’ve adhered to her request, she doesn’t change her mind.

I have to plan to leave at least 10 minutes early whenever  we’re heading out together, because Miss Independent can do everything by her “own self.” Until of course she can’t and that leaves me scrambling with new baby, children’s bags and stroller in arms, trying to assist said three-nager in doing up the shoes that she insisted she could do up on her own, followed by deep breaths, waiting for another 10 minutes while she also buckles herself into the car seat on her own.

But my favorite (or not so favorite) trait is my three-nager’s newfound negotiation skills. She can literally negotiate her way out of a time out and I then find myself somewhat impressed of her skill level instead of angry about the reason she was meant to be in a time out in the first place.

I also feel like I was completely ill-prepared for the speed at which a three-nager can go from happy-go-lucky playing and laughing child, to 1988 Chucky and then back again. I’m told this is completely normal, but I most certainly have my doubts!

Three-nagers are tough to parent, make us weary, and zap us of all of our patience and energy. But on the flip side, this time can be so rewarding. As our threenagers’ independence blooms so does their vocabularies, and sometimes we hear lovely things like, “You’re my best friend Mummy, I love you soooo much!” And those moments are the moments that make it all worthwhile.


Author: Kat Lebrasse

How I weaned my kids on to solids?

Weaning to solids is one of the most exciting milestones that your baby can reach, however it can also come with a lot of apprehension, especially if it’s your first time. The key thing here is to ensure your baby is ready for solids, physically. Your child should be able to support themselves and sit up on their own. Once they start showing you cues of their readiness, for example snatching food from your hands, you know it is time to make the introduction to solid food. But where do you begin?

There are two methods. The first being Purée food and the second is Baby Led Weaning. I did a combination of both with my two boys.

When to wean? (https://www.justkidding-me.com/tommee-tippee-explora-baby-food-steamer-blender-online-only)

As soon as they were showing signs of readiness at the age of 6 months, I began by making purees of single vegetables and fruits at a time. Beginning with one meal time per day for a week and increasing this as you go on. The time you choose is also crucial, as they should be hungry. Therefore not straight after a milk feed, but alert enough, so not right before a nap.

There were definitely some flavours of first tastes that my children preferred over others but don’t worry, simply try that flavour again after some time. Kids have to taste a new flavour at least 10 times before they decide they like it, so don’t feel like your efforts are in vain.

Best First Food Purée Suggestions: https://www.justkidding-me.com/mealtime/cooking/beaba-babycook-book-my-first-meal-22424

Carrot, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Apple, Pear, Banana, Papaya, Peach, Mango, Avocado.

At the same time as introducing purees, I also began BLW by placing food morsels in front of my kids for them to explore. Be warned, it is a messy process and it may seem like your child isn’t actually swallowing any of it. But it is crucial in ensuring your child begins to have a good relationship with food, and encouraging them to experience new tastes and textures to play with.

Best First Food BLW Suggestions: https://www.justkidding-me.com/mealtime/bib-sets/skip-hop-zoo-fold-go-silicone-bib-16988

Soft ripe fruits like peach, pear, mango and banana, steamed vegetables like carrot sticks and broccoli florets, toast sticks, cooked pasta, fish.

Tip: Put a washable table cloth below the highchair so that any mess can be scooped up in a jiffy. Use bibs with catcher compartments or bibs with full sleeves. Better yet, if it’s Spaghetti Bolognese on the menu, have them only in their nappies and there will be much less washing up to do!  

Safety Measures:

During meal times, regardless of whether it is BLW or puree, adult supervision at all times is crucial. Your full attention needs to be on that child and it is good to read up on first aid infographics, especially for choking, so you are confident in yourself and know how to act in the case of any such emergency. There are also some potentially high-risk foods that you may want to take extra caution when introducing it to your child in case of allergies or family history; such as milk and dairy products, eggs, peanuts and other tree nuts.

Also, make sure to have a sippy cup with water at hand and keep offering it to them between bites. This will reduce the chances of constipation as their stomachs get used to solid food for the first couple of weeks.

After First Tastes: https://www.justkidding-me.com/beaba-babycook-duo-online-only

Once your child is confident with the initial tastes and smooth textures, mix up a combination of fruits and veg and increase the size of lumps in their food gradually. From there, you can begin to start offering smaller portions or more child-friendly options of your own adult meals for them to enjoy alongside with you. If possible, do try to have at least one meal in a day where you eat together as a family, as this will encourage your child to eat more and taste new flavours in because they are seeing you do the same.

I hope this was a comprehensive and helpful introduction to how to wean your child onto solids, and has given you the confidence to begin this exciting journey with your child as they discover new flavours. Do share if you have any tips that you’d like to give or you feel I have missed out that may be beneficial to other Mamas going through this stage.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion is advised when following the above depending on your child and please consult a doctor or a paediatric dietician for any medical support.


Author: Zeyna Sanjania

Digital Detox

For me this is one of the MUST DOs in modern life, every few months. Having two toddlers, managing a home and on top of it all doing Blogging is just not an easy task.

Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed to be living this life but I do get my lows and when that happens I have to take a BREAK.
My style of digital detox is not only just my phone, for me it is cutting out any kind of screen time and instead I focus mainly on spending quality time with family, and even just on my own.

Doing a digital detox really helps me to focus and reflect on work and it always makes me realize all the positives that I have in my life, but because I am overwhelmed, have been ignoring.

It can be work related or personal.

I strongly believe that if you are mentally clear on whatever you want in life, it comes to you.

The “blogging world” brings with it a lot of pressure: How good should my blog look? How much am I putting into it? Always thinking that someone else is doing better than me, etc.
It can really get into your head and that’s when I seriously think of having a little break.

A Digital Detox doesn’t really need to be a week; sometimes for me it is only a day or a weekend. I have even taken 2 months off too because of my health and I don’t regret it.


It’s all about shutting yourself away from all the outside influences of social media, screens and the constant updating, and just focus on what you are living or going through at that very moment. It highlights all the small things I usually miss out or probably just ignore because I am so occupied.

After doing one I find myself more motivated to restart the work/life. So don’t just take my word to it, I highly recommend you to try it and make it part of your life.


Author: Saba Shoaib, Mummy and Blogger @thebeautybarbysaba

The Bond That Breastfeeding Created

I am a nursing mother of two young children, my eldest daughter has just turned two and my youngest is two months old. My journey to this point has been full of joy, determination, sleepless nights and long warm milky cuddles.
When you fall pregnant for the first time, there are so many things that you think about. Boy or girl, breast or bottle, natural or c-section. It’s a lot to take in, it is overwhelming and as moms it is us and only us that can decide on what we feel is best for our children. I chose to breastfeed, no one forced me, and it is a decision I made after doing tons of research and asking other moms what worked for them.
When Leila, my eldest daughter was born, she latched onto my breast just a few minutes after birth. It was a special moment and I knew from the very beginning that I had made the right choice. Within the first two weeks I endured cracked, bleeding nipples, mastitis and horrible fevers. So many times I just wanted to give up and give her a bottle. I experienced low milk supply and had to take supplements to increase it so that I could maintain enough milk to keep her fed. Although, there are breast pumps available in the market to produce more milkI was determined to continue and as time went on, it got easier and the bond between me and my daughter was unbreakable.


I was told by so many people that I should not be nursing my toddler while I was pregnant with my second daughter, but I chose to listen to by body and continued under the supervision of my doctor. In fact, because I continued breastfeeding during my pregnancy I did not have any problems with feeding my newborn; it was a smooth and easy transition. It was my plan to stop breastfeeding Leila when Luna was born because I was scared that I would not produce enough, or the right consistency of milk for my newborn, but a very wise lactation consultant assured me that I would still be able to continue feeding both girls and that my body would provide for each of their needs individually.
I truly believe that breastfeeding is nature’s way of showing us how amazing a mom really is. It is truly wonderful to know that my body has the ability to create life, give life and nourish life. Wherever your journey with your children takes you, may it be magical.

Interview With Dr. Sarah Rasmi- Family and Parenting Psychologist

Inspired by the loving atmosphere she was raised in, Dr. Sarah Rasmi grew a strong interest in family relationships and child adjustment during her graduate studies. Accomplishing her Master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation, her passion grew alongside her desire to share her findings and expertise with others. She does this by publishing scientific studies on parenting and families and writing for mainstream media outlets.

 

If you characterize your parenting approach, how would you describe it?

I try to take a positive approach to parenting. My focus is on three things: connecting with my kids, setting a good example for them, and responding to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and frustration.

Some days may be harder than others but the good thing is that there are lots of simple techniques that we can use to parent in a more positive way. I share these in my parenting skills workshops.

What do you consider as the biggest challenge in parenting?

The biggest parenting challenge is to manage our expectations. Being ‘good enough’ is much better than chasing perfection.

For example, all kids eat junk food sometimes, get dirty sometimes, and have big, public tantrums. That doesn’t make us bad parents – it just makes us human. The sooner we accept this, the better.

Failure is a part of life and we need to teach our children that it’s ok to fail sometimes. Since we’re not perfect, we shouldn’t expect them to be either.

It’s more important to reflect on our failures and try again. Research shows that this makes our kids more resilient and better adjusted throughout their lives.

What is it like being a mother?

Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. It sounds like a big cliché – but you just can’t understand it until you have lived through it.

Nothing will prepare you for the joys (and hardships) that come with being a parent. I became stronger and more patient than I ever thought I could be. Being a mother is central to who I am as a person, but I try not to forget the old Sarah.

This means carving out child-free time with family and friends, as well as maintaining some of my interests. It’s not always easy – but it is possible. I’ve supported many parents through this process. I am here to support parents who are struggling with this balance through my parenting services.

Which to you has been the most challenging stage of a child’s development?

I have a toddler and teenager at home, so I get this question all the time. In my experience, every age and stage is full of excitement and challenges.

Truth be told, the issues are largely the same – it’s the context that differs. I’m facing two sets of sleep issues right now: One kid wants to wake up early, the other one wants to stay up late (later than me!). I’m also dealing with two sets of school issues: One child is adjusting to nursery, the other one is wrapping up middle school.

Why is that parenting can be so difficult and when do we typically experience this?

Parenting is inherently difficult. We have these beautiful little humans to care for and mould. We have big dreams and high hopes for them. We do everything we can to give them a path to health, happiness, and success.

The responsibility is both awesome and terrifying. As I mentioned previously, it becomes a little bit easier when we accept that we won’t be perfect. We will make mistakes. The key is how we handle them.

How do moms know how to reinforce a house rule or just let it go?

We have to balance setting rules with giving our kids some freedom and flexibility. I recommend setting a few key rules that are consistent with your family’s values, rather than a laundry list of things that don’t matter as much.

The key to enforcing these rules is being consistent. They’re more likely to listen to us when we respond to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and hostility. I teach these skills in my parenting workshops.

As parents where should our primary focus lie?

Our primary focus should be fostering and maintaining a strong parent-child bond. Research shows that this connection has a profound influence on our child’s adjustment, achievements, and relationships later in life. We can strengthen our bond through talk, touch, and play.

What advice do you have to give to modern parents – our readers?

Looking after ourselves gives us the energy we need to look after our kids. It’s important to make time for your own interests and prioritize your own well-being. Connecting with other people is a great way to do this, as we know that social support is the key to happiness. Above all, remember that you’re doing a great job. Parenting is tough work – we all make mistakes. Don’t worry about being perfect, you’re more than ‘good enough’!

About Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah Rasmi is a Canadian psychologist (Ph.D.) and professor with a passion for supporting families. She works with parents across a range of family, relationship, and well-being issues, as well as those who want to learn new skills. Dr. Sarah is a widely published author, international speaker, and university professor. She also consults with government entities, corporations, and schools. Learn more about Dr. Sarah Rasmi. She regularly posts about parenting and families on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

 

 

7 Reasons To Hire A Doula

Your hubby’s promised to be on hand to help you with those all-important breathing techniques, so why would you want to hire a doula? Well, as any woman who has had a baby will testify, giving birth is one of those times when a bit of extra support goes a long way, especially when it comes in the form of a doula. Doulas are trained in childbirth and unlike midwives, whose role is to physically deliver babies, they provide emotional and physical support to expectant mothers before, during and shortly after birth. We caught up with antenatal/postnatal doula and breastfeeding counsellor, Andrea Allen of The Doting Doulas, to pick her brains on why you might want to think about hiring a doula. Here is what she had to say…

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how to travel cheap with kids

10 Ways To Travel Cheap With Kids

Summer is around the corner, which means many of us are preparing for our annual getaway. But while the kids might be jumping off the walls with excitement there’s every chance you’re stressing about the cost. In between hotel bills, airfares and day-to-day spending money, it’s easy to blow the budget. Fortunately, family holidays don’t have to break the bank. Read on for our top 10 ways to travel cheap with kids.
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part time work- How can you do it?

Part-time work for mums: How can you do it?

Part-time work for mums? Does it even exist in the UAE? We’ve all had a conversation when we’ve moaned about the struggle to find flexible working hours. It’s a particularly important issue for mothers in this part of the world, as positions that offer child-friendly hours are few and far between. Many mums are confronted with an all-or-nothing decision to either return to work full-time or give up on their careers altogether. Fortunately the tide is turning with the arrival of Hopscotch, a platform that matches up professional women and companies seeking flexible working options. A subsidiary of the recruiter MCG Group, the company was co-founded by husband and wife team, Helen and Justin McGuire, after they noticed a severe lack of part-time work opportunities in the UAE. As JustKidding has always been proactive in hiring mums for part-time roles, we decided to sit down with Helen to get the lowdown on what Hopscotch has to offer and how you can get involved.

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