Ramadan, My Friend

I woke today with the birds and their charming song which brought a feeling of quiet, yet cheerful anticipation. In that brief moment, amidst the morning glow, I realised I was thinking of you.  I thought of strangers, glancing across at one another unsure of whether to say hello. I was certain that I heard your call, weaving through the melody of the sounds outside my window. Yet it didnt soothe me as birdsong should. In fact, I felt a little nervous, like something was stirring in the pit of my stomach. For whilst I've longed to see you again, I can't help but sink into a haze of thoughts from all that's past since we last sat in company together. 

I question who I've come to be in those days, those days that seemed to slip like sand, through my weathered fingers. It feels that year has passed so suddenly and through its light and shade I find myself here, tentatively waiting to meet you. 

Oh how I've longed for you to hold me closely, to sway with you in the night wind and feel your blessings kiss my cheek. Oh how I've prayed for the richness of your words to reach me, for the depth of your soul filled reminder to touch me and for your hand to take me and guide me back. I've longed for this reunion yet here I am, layer upon layer of fragility, bound by my deepest fears, questioning if I'm worthy enough. 

The journey toward you has been long, I'm weak, barefoot and my soles are tired, truth be told, I'm scared to see you. Laden with the guilt of sins that drip from my skin, knowing that I could have and should have been so much more. That is why I need you my friend. 

 There stands between us just a matter of days now and although I may arrive empty handed and unprepared, I promise, at the sighting of your moon I'll give every piece of myself to you. 

Its all I have. Just me. 

As my head touches the cold of the ground I ask my Lord to forgive me and I hope, as good friends always do, that you will hold me with a warm compassion. That in the days we share together you'll remind me, that my heart was made to heal. That the sweet songs can sing from within once again and if I give myself for His sake I will fly freely like those beautiful birds. 

May we all be blessed with the boundless fruits of Ramadan, may it take us on a journey that will only serve to strengthen us and may we one day, sing with the birds in paradise knowing we did all we could to please Him here and now, whilst we still have the wings to fly. Ameen. 



The Beauty of Being Flawed

Lately I have been feeling like people get the wrong impression of me, an image has been depict in the mind and to me its quite unfamiliar. Yes, I am perhaps more patient where other may feel strained, yes, I can be calm, where some might feel rage and yes, I have moments of creativity and flare on days when others may feel exhausted of inspiration. However, I am also a deeply flawed human being thats often simply scraping by, trying to push through my vulnerabilities to put one foot in front of another and just keep on moving. Those who look on at edited and curated moments of my motherhood need not worry. I am no more and no less, side by side I am in the thick of it with you, set in survival mode whilst seeking out the joy.

I often refer to my life as chaotic but that does not even bare the weight of the myriad of things that it is. My every day is a swirling, noisy, madness where the simple and mundane can become a mission impossible. I get physically lost under the mountains of laundry and the village of crumbs that have collected between the cracks. Its messy in my mind and its messy under the kitchen sink, there are days when I bury things away in a darkened cupboard and days when I let it all spill out. It is hard to carry the mental and emotional load of raising and educating a young family, particularly if they way in which you choose to do that is considered a little unconventional. Outside of my own four walls I am deeply aware that I ruffle feathers, raise eyebrows and challenge narratives that many have accepted to be the ‘norm,’ and this too, holds weight on already tired shoulders. However, just because I consciously do things differently, because I believe that children should be treated as whole people, with love and connection over control and coercion, because I reject the current education system and believe I can better nurture a love of life long learning at home; that does not mean that I am a picture perfect, peaceful parent. It also doesn’t mean that I sit behind my wagging finger passing judgement at anyone who doesn’t reach this unattainable vision of the mother, who has it all together.

There are days when I raise my voice despite knowing that it will achieve nothing but further disconnect leading to more tension, resulting in even more challenging behaviour. There are day’s when I wrongfully shame my children or belittle their feelings because in the moment, I am unable to manage my level of frustration, because I am triggered and drowning in my own unmet needs. There are days when I scroll my phone for a bit too long because I would rather disappear into a corner of the internet numb, than break up another sibling fight or deal with a melt down over offering the wrong shaped pasta. We all have sides of ourselves that remind us of a cold and stormy day, we want to hide from the rain despite knowing its the very thing we need for the nourishment of our souls. So no, I am not at all zen, I do not make home made play doh or cook gluten free nutritious meals from scratch, I don’t have beautiful montessori shelves and despite watching Mrs Hinch daily on Instagram, my home is pretty much a mess! (But I do harpic my toilets daily and that does feel like a wonderful achievement!)

However, there is very little use in spending my days focusing on what I am not because those quiet imperfections and sweeping moments of ‘not enough’ are not even a whisper to my children, who truly love beyond measure, whether their packed lunch was gourmet or not. So whilst you are there looking at me, decoding my day to day and theorising on how I ‘do it all,’ I am likely looking right back, questioning exactly the same. What becomes important is where we fix our gaze and how we collectively frame our thoughts as mothers who are laced in both unconditional love and undeniable imperfection.

The beauty of being flawed is that it presents me with daily opportunities to grown and learn, to heal from old wounds and to rise above the torments that reside like unwanted visitors. Each time I speak to my children in a way isn’t honouring them as person, I have to ask myself why? I am constantly peeling back the layers to understand myself a little more, believe me, there is power in the unknown. It leads you takes you to a place of discovery, investment in yourself, belief that change is always possible and nothing in this life

The Spring of a Mother

The chilly yet bright golden sun creeps in through the windows as I rise in the early hours with my smallest girl who along with the birds, likes to make herself known at the break of day. I love this time of year, the days begin to stretch, the hours tumble into one another and a freshly scented new page is turned. 

I begin to look at my children with a new delight, for all that calm, freedom and open ended play in the outdoor air seems so much more possible, with the darkness of winter now lingering behind. There is something mesmerising about the blossoming of the spring trees, the buds as they finally give way and trust the light, all that has been buried deep within, now has the permission to grow. There is so much that we can learn from the layers of the seasons through which we live, for our lives are cyclical and one thing that we can be sure of is that the tide will always turn. 

For now and for me, it’s time to dust off that compass, breathe new life and bring myself home. As a mother, we too have seasons and the key to thriving is to develop that deeper level of self awareness, to trust that we do know ourselves despite the noise around us. We have energies that shape and form how we show up in the world and how we show up as caregivers to our young. We can be playful and flamboyant and we can be a soft retreating whisper. We can hold onto our pain like a darkened secret or we can tell the stories of the life we’ve dared to live. If we surrender to the natural rhythms within us then we will be sure to find our ebb and flow. 

The last few months have felt long and hard, the stolen days of winter, the crisp of the cold and that deep need to be inside of myself. The realisation of the internal draw that nourishing a small baby has had and how that lack of energy has exposed me to feeling not enough. The desire to create and nourish in other ways yet not having the drive to do so, can leave you feeling depleted. But once we start to accept our motherhood and indeed our life, as being rooted in cycles, we can truly begin to let go, honouring the words that ‘this too shall pass.’ Just like the natural world around us, we mothers, can be extremely resilient despite the many challenges that are thrown at us. 

Now I feel it is time to draw back those curtains, open the windows and let the air permeate my physical space as well as my mental space. I truly believe that this season of the earth can entwine with the spring of my mothering, that I can and will reconnect with myself as well as encouraging my children to do the same. 

So how to I plan to navigate this season, honouring my personal desire for awakening, whilst caring for my children? 

Here are my 10 steps to rediscovering the joy of motherhood this spring

1. Read beautiful seasonal stories with the children 

There is something so uplifting about great children's literature it feeds the soul and the senses and is a perfect way to slow down and cosy up. One of my particular favourites is The Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers. 

2. Get Outdoors for extended periods 

Nature is such a powerful and grounding force, but how often to we give ourselves enough time to truly get lost with no agenda and no other place to be. This spring I plan to spend plenty of time outdoors, observing, talking and connecting with my children, keeping things slow and simple. 

3. Grounding

My children are always the first to whip off their shoes and socks and whilst it can get a tad embarrassing (because they literally do it anywhere and everywhere) I am going to embrace it and join them this season. Feeling the earth (or even the tarmac!!) beneath your feet brings such balance and there are so many benefits from baring your soles!

4. A Slower Homeschool 

I have been over thinking and over stressing these last few weeks and I’ve decided that enough is enough. Pinterest will be my friend as we spring into gentle, creative and seasonal activities with a focus on the journey of the process and not the outcome. I really want to take the pressure off and rediscover our joint love of learning. 

5. Healthy wholesome foods

I have needed to address my health for so long, I have put it off because the task has felt too overwhelming but beginning by centring our days around preparing and baking nutritious delights that will be tasty and healing is where I am going to start. 

6. Seasonal fetes and bazaars

Because what better way than to connecting with others and embracing community in a mindful way. Two events that I plan to attend during the Easter Bank Holiday are the Street Eats Halal Food Festival organised by Amaliah and Halal Gems and the Spring Fair at Picks Organic Farm in Liecestershire (because my husband works there!) 

7. Ethical sourcing & farmers markets 

And whilst we are on the topic of Organic farming, many of you will already know that we frequent the Farmers Markets every weekend in London (Daddy works at Brook Green and Queens Farmers Markets check him out @hamid.yataghane for behind the scenes of organic farming and butchery.) I would like to extend this to looking at ethical sourcing of produce and the importance of shopping local and small with my children. 

8. Visit garden centres and grow your own 

Grow something at home, whether that be your own vegetables or a beautiful house plant embrace that sense of achievement as you see your efforts bloom. A great way to explore life cycles and care of the environment in our homeschool and i just know bring the outdoors in will make me feel all green fingered. 

9. Live with less 

Continuing on my mission to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle my emphasis for our family to focus on spending quality time together making memories. Stripping back the excess, clearing out even more clutter and consuming less so that we can save some pennies ready for the summer sun. 

10. Creating seasonal rituals 

Carving out our own traditions that will compliment what is happening in our natural surroundings. I don’t know how, but I do know that this is something I would love to experiment with and explore over the coming months. 

Return to your Wild

Remember when I tell you, that you are layer upon layer of wonder and light. Inside your skin there is a strength, a resilience, a power, a force that even you can’t reckon with. No matter how broken you might feel right now, how many scars you have from hands that should never have dared to touch, from words that split your heart in half, you are a whole being. Fragmented, out of sync, bruised or plain old tired, whatever your state of being in this very moment, you are whole. Inside of you is a fire, a flame that could burn down an entire forest, your roots run deep, your love stands tall but that fire is what keeps you alive. You are passion, you are soul, you are all the tears you never deserved to cry, and through your deepest pain you are the most beautiful you have ever been. 

Think hard about the times that you have fallen, the bitterness of the break, the times when you lay your head on the cold of the ground and you cried from the pit of your stomach. Think of that fire and how the flames enveloped you and yet from that heat you rose again and again. Arms outstretched you pulled yourself up and here you are, a woman who’s branches reach far beyond their capabilities and still they sway in the wind. 

You may sit in many more moments of solitude than you would care to admit, looking outwards, blinded by lights and dreams of women you don’t even know. You may feel that they have it all together, pieces of a perfectly formed puzzle, slotting into an effortless alignment. But they are a mix up of corners, and straight edges, landscapes of dark and light, just as you are. It is easy as a woman, to feel utterly downtrodden, yet still stamp on your own fractured toes. But in the moments of despair, when the lights are dimmed and its just you and your wild thoughts, take yourself back to when it all began. 

Where is that little girl running careless and free in summer fields? The teen that dared to speak her truth because she didn’t care for retribution? The young woman who walked confidently down streets unknown, carving out days on her own terms as she stepped away from all that no longer served her? 

That girl is a woman now. She is you. There is a hunger in your soul, it is craving your attention, it is demanding that you go back to your wild self, it’s not a tickle within you, its a thunder and its asking you to stand outside in the storm and cleanse yourself from every mark of fear. You will never feel completely ready, it will never be the ’right’ time, there will always be the side of your soul that wants to hide like a secret under the hallway cupboard. But let me tell you, no matter what you think of yourself right now, despite the doubts and the restless beats that tremor you are layer upon layer of wonder and light. 

Its ok to be the quiet one, the understated, the one who's biggest dreams, wildest passions and burning love remains within whats known. You don’t need to shout from the rooftops, sing bold and melodic songs of power and praise or fight your battles in a public ring. What’s within you, that wild seed that once was sewn, that is all you need. There is in each of us that fierce spirit and the only mountain it needs to move right now is your own. Stand up and wear those scars as though they are robes of gold. Don’t be ashamed of that deep desire to run free with the wind in your hair, don’t hide from the greatness of your soul in all its forms. But right now, as the darker days grow old under the blaze of the sun and the earth begins to breathe again, uncover that beautiful, courageous creature, she is your wild and now is the time to own her with all your might.