Monday, 15 May 2017

When Friends Leave Qatar

If you have lived in or visited Qatar, you will understand how tedious traffic gets. But what's more tiresome are the lights—ah yes, the lights that never turn green. They stay red for an eternity. Now, you can sit at the traffic lights and feel the deep dark cloud of misery or, like me, use this time to reflect. 
I usually take those seemingly never-ending minutes and make mental lists. Groceries—have I forgotten anything? Milk? Fruit? Chores—laundry, clean uniforms for the kids, dry cleaning, etc. Will they have apples or blueberries in their lunch bags? Both? The lists are endless. 
However, today was somehow different. As soon as I put on the brakes at the stop light, I was overwhelmed. My eyes filled up, I couldn't contain myself, and a continuous stream of tears started pouring out. 
What just happened to me!? I'm crying over traffic! Seriously? 
Then it hit me—hard like a slap in the face. My friends were leaving Qatar. As an expat, you get used to people coming and going, and you make it a point not to get emotionally attached, but you are only human. And oh boy, do you get attached. You get attached like super glue. 
Friends abroad become your family, your support system and you depend on them for every type of help. They are your shoulder to cry on, the emergency contact at school for your kids, your everything. 
But, you are used to this right? 
This time it was much more different. Not one. Not two. Not three, but four close friends were all leaving at the same time. How could they! How could they possibly leave without discussing this with me? Do I not get a say? Have I not invested time, love and energy in this relationship? I was heartbroken. 
The tears continued flowing out. How will I survive? How do I do this every year? 
I tell myself every year not to get attached, not to get emotional, but in a world where we depend on each other, this process gets harder every year. 
Friends, near and far you are always with me. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Perfect Mum

Who is she? What does she look like? Is she the perfectly coiffed mum in nine-inch heels wearing a bucket of makeup? Surely not; she's spent too long getting herself ready and forgot to spend time with her child. 
It must be the mum who has just dropped off her child wearing pyjamas and forgot to brush her hair. Oh my no! She has spent too much time with her child and has neglected herself!
Hmm, what about the one whose child is screaming in the grocery store? Clearly, she's set no boundaries, and the child is probably ruling her. 
I've got it! The perfect mum must be the one whose child is walking a strict arms-length away and is too afraid to breathe without permission. Clearly there are some underlining issues there. 
Do her kids eat junk food? Daily? Occasionally? They must not have been breastfed. No way would a child who was breastfed be seen anywhere near a hot dog or heaven forbid candy!
Then again if they were breastfed, did mum look deeply into the soul of her child and send out love vibes? Or was she too busy catching up on her latest soap on Netflix? (That reminds me, what's new on Netflix?) 
Who is the perfect mum? What is perfect? Mums judge each other. Teachers judge mothers. For goodness sakes, even the neighbourhood dog judges mothers.
How do you decide how to be the perfect mum? What seems right for you may be wrong for another. This is where culture, religion, origin plays a big role. All these factors affect your day-to-date life and relationship with your children. More importantly, as we travel, we see, we learn, and we experience the differences. We become a mix. We even marry from outside our faith, culture, race and country.
How do we decide which culture, religion, country, etc., produces the best mum? Which values are the best? Philosophers, psychologists and more have spent their lives studying this subject and are still conflicted in their opinions. 
For me the answer is love. Love conquers all!
Take each day as it comes and kiss your child every day.