Thursday, 19 April 2012

IKEA-funky looking kitchens which leave a bitter after taste in your mouth :-(

I admit it, I didn't plan to blog about this today as it's more of a rant that parenting advice of anything 'parenting related' however I feel as a parent and customer that somethings need to be said for a store that has children's play areas dotted about and make you think they are child friendly when in essence if you buy one of their kitchens your kids will be without proper home cooked fresh food for so long you will wonder what you did wrong to get such a severe punishment.

IKEA the famous blue and yellow place often renowned for offering home interiors at affordable prices.

However although the above maybe true, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

We like thousands of families out there wanted a shiny new affordable kitchen and whilst dreaming of new kitchens we saw the advert for party-proof kitchens. So we thought if the kitchens are party proof they must be kiddie proof. So off we went to look around Ikea and order a kitchen for delivery from our local store. Reason for this is it's usually quicker in terms of delivery.

So we chose a Faktum Valla Walnut Kitchen with a Domsjo sink and shiny silver plinths. Quite modern but classy all the same.

We got excited-very excited! However all came crashing down when items started to appear out of stock...but only after paying for it and having a delivery date. 

So the customer rep that called me was friendly and said once the items were back in stock (worktops and a cabinet) the items would be sent out asap. Great stuff I thought. Bit upset that I was only told one item was missing and then 3 ended up not being on the truck due to stock availability.

So I was told I would get a call when stock was back in-I didn't get a call for a few days so I did a quick check online and to my horror the cabinet was back in stock as were the worktops but no one had called me.

So I arranged a taxi to go to Warrington (cost me over £60.00!) and got no explanation and were fobbed off with a lot of fluff. I came away with a cabinet but no refund for the cabinet which should have been delivered as that was something a different department does. As one of the doors delivered was damaged on delivery I needed to exchange it-online it was showing as in stock. In reality it wasn't in stock and apparently had been DISCONTINUED!!!

What on earth. I was mortified. I purchased the kitchen on the 22.03.2012 and on the 30.03.2012 I was being told it was a discontinued model. So after various conversations, emails, webchats it was all sorted (about 3 weeks later). Ikea Warrington had been polite enough to organise my missing items to be delivered from another store as indeed these items were being discontinued. Now the kitchen sales person never mentioned this even though I told him I was hoping to add another unit to my kitchen.

After around 20 emails, 9 webchats, over 10 phone calls my items arrived this morning. But no I cannot celebrate because:

I've been sent two worktops instead of one!
I've been sent 4 large end panels instead of three
I'm missing 3 small wall panels

After 50 minutes on a webchat Ikea have kindly arranged to have the three missing panels sent out to me Saturday.

However..I am still awaiting a refund of £85.00. When will it happen? Your guess is as good as mine.

So my advice to anyone with a young family who is looking at purchasing an Ikea kitchen is please don't bother. I was kitchen-less for so long and Munchy hated the restricted access to the kitchen. It has been a nightmare in regards to reduced kitchen facilities to cook a decent meal.

My anniversary meal never took place (Happy 6th Anniversary to me) as I had nowhere to safely prepare it.

The headache, worry and anger I have felt over the last few weeks should never have taken place if Ikea valued me as a customer. Clearly they are a company that sells millions of units and I am simply a number.

So if you have the patience of a saint, and your family don't mind waiting between 4-8 weeks to sort out the simple things that shouldn't really go wrong then by all means buy an Ikea kitchen. But if you value your sanity don't bother. Pay a bit more and go elsewhere.

My kitchen might look funky y'all, but it was a headache and cost a lot of blood sweat and tears to get to where I am today.

Well I best sign off as I have the recycling to sort out. Munchy has only taken a 30 minute nap (what's that about) and I have about 10 jars to rinse and put out for the recycling men. How did I end up with so many jars and no kitchen to cook in? There from my spice jar. I have upgraded to the kilner style jars (a bargain from Asda-£3.00 for 3 550ml jars) so my cabinet looks uniformed. No I am not a freak of nature, I just like pretty, tidy rows of things in my cabinets. I am failing to organise the food cabinets though. Packets were never designed in my opinion with cabinets in mind. Whose with me?

This mummy is preparing for Ramadan 2012...bit early? Read on.

I have never kept the fact I am Muslim from anyone nor will I keep it from my readers-I am a Muslimah, and happy about it. And although I cannot say I am the perfect Muslim (not many could) I do attempt to at least practises as much of my religion as possible.

What I have noticed via Facebook is the countdown to Ramadan 2012 has commenced-less than 100 sleeps in fact. And whilst that number seems so near yet so far the truth is unless we prepare for it we will never really get the best out of the blessed month.

So today's post is about preparation for the blessed month-the preparation that we could all do with considering.

Before I start my list-please note not all my advice and tips are religious based some are to do with the culture of Ramadan.

FIRST things first-we all know Ramadans coming. So why do so many sisters looked shell-shocked when Ramadan is announced? Hhhmm the mind boggles. So lets get the first bit out of the way-go to your calendar and make sure the week we know Ramadan is arriving in is clearly marked-no excuses.

If you work it is even more IMPORTANT you get organised now rather than later.

Now let's get cracking shall we.

I am no scholar, however the following bits of advice are taken from experience and from asking Alimahs about the best way of preparing for Ramadan:

  • get your health in order-if you have a medical condition get it checked out and sorted asap
  • if you are a smoker now is the time to cut back and In Sha Allah you will be able to completely quit come Ramadan
  • If you are a coffee or tea drinker cut down to make Ramadan easier for you
  • If you have fallen into bad sleeping habits e.g. late nights sort it out now
  • If you are well health wise commence fasting every Monday and Thursday to get into the routine of it
  • Cut back on bad habits-you know the type of things we know are wrong e.g. backbiting. Cut back now and vow to give it up for Ramadan and beyond In Sha Allah.
  • Start reciting the Quran on a regular basis if you do not already do so.

The above is just a brief list and not in much detail however I know that we are all capable of looking into things in more detail in our own time. So please feel free to use the above as starting points.

Moving onto other preparation:
  • SPRING CLEAN your home now if you have not already done so. This is the time to sort out the wardrobes, under the beds and so on. Do a deep clean including (if you can) washing the carpets. A decluttered and clean home will help you no end during the month of Ramadan and the time you usually spend on doing big tasks e.g. washing carpets in preparation for Eid can be done beforehand freeing up time for Ibaadah.

  • Go through food cabinets and place all items that will go out of date during the blessed month to one side and try to finish them beforehand or get them into your menu somehow. Wasting food is never good.

  • If you have a freezer try to defrost it and prepare it for Ramadan-freezing some meals in advance will free up time for more important things trust me.

  • Clean the outside of your home too-and cars.

  • If there are any D.I.Y projects outstanding FINISH them now. No one likes looking at half completed jobs especially when you want to spend as much time in Ibaadah as possible.

  • Get the family involved in cleaning-if you have teenagers get them cleaning and sorting through things like console games, books and clothes. If there is anything worth giving to charity actively encourage them to donate them-or ask them to put the things to one side and donate them as soon as Ramadan commences. I think this is a great family tradition that is worth installing in children and teenagers.

  • If you have younger children ask them to go through their toys and pick say 2 that they no longer play with. Ask them kindly to donate to charity to make Allah happy. Most children will be happy to do so. If they are not don't be disheartened. All children are different. Continue to encourage them and In Sha Allah one day you will get somewhere with them.

  • Get your husband/brothers/dads to go through their wardrobe and select the items they no longer wish to wear/can't fit into and donate them to charity.

  • Same for sisters/mothers get them decluttering their wardrobes.

  • Find out if there will be any community events you will wish to attend and factor those into your calendar.

  • This year Ramadan is during the big summer break-ensure your children's friends parents are aware of this and cancel any sleepovers and so on planned during this time. Forward planning will save tears in the long run.

  • Consider organising a charity event during the blessed month e.g. a Iftari where guests donate to a selected charity in exchange for their seat at the table. 

  • Sort out your Zikaat-how much do you owe? Who will you donate to? Make a list and total now and organise when and who you will give it to.

  • Does the Masjid need painting? If so now is the time to ask other Masjid goers to sort out the project so it gets down before the blessed months arrival-In Sha Allah.

  • Make a list of things you wish to achieve during Ramadan. This might be donating the money you usually spend on coffees at work to charity, or reading the Quran twice or memorising surahs by heart. Make a list now. If Allah wills, you will complete the list. If you are unable to complete the full list vow to complete it asap.

  • Hold a family meeting and organise who will do what during Ramadan. Delegate as much as possible to spread the workload evenly. Maybe your partner can collect the children from Masjid and you can spend that time in Ibaadah?

  • DON'T leave your clothes shopping for Eid until the last 10 days-those days are for chasing Duas not shopping lists! Now is the time to plan and purchase Eid clothes.

  • The same applies to what you plan to do on Eid-plan it now In Sha Allah not in the last 10 days.

  • Iftar parties play a big part of the festivities of Ramadan however the cooking and preparation work eats into family and Ibaadah time. So here are my tips to make the process easier.
Even though Ramadan is not about food it plays a big part. If you have access to a freezer bulk freeze items such as:
  • samosas 
  • egg rolls 
  • chicken tikkias 
  • alu tikkias 

  • or other starters your family enjoys. This will save you time and effort during the blessed month. 

  • Or if you purchase samosas from a home cook get your order in asap.

  • Or if you purchase ready made starters buy them asap as during Ramadan everyone seems to want to buy samosas.
  • Freeze garlic and ginger (crushed, in cubes) to save time

  • If you have the freezer space brown off slice onions and freeze in small packets ready to use to make curries, rice dishes etc that call for browned onions.

  • Try and do your dry food shopping before Ramadan commences. We're talking flour, rice, tinned produce etc. Fresh items will need to be purchased nearer the time but being organised will cut down on shopping trips

  • Consider using disposable plates etc to save time on washing up=more time for Ibaadah.

  • PLAN your iftari menus now. If you plan to host say 4 Iftaris attempt to do so in the first 20 days rather than the last 10. Keep your menus as simple as possible, and let the family know what is on the menu for their family iftaris. Too much fried food is never good, so try to vary the food choices for all the family.

  • Ask family and friends about their Ramadan availability-NOW. Plan according to their and your needs. There's simply no point in filling a freezer with alu samosas because your nephews love them if their parents are planning to take them on Umrah during Ramadan and won't be around to eat them.

  • If you have elderly relatives that live alone fill their freezers too. They will thank you for it in their Duas.

  • Buy presents for the children and family/friends now-get a list done buy the items wrap them (if you do that) and put them away.

  • Plan your Eid menu and who you are going to invite (if you have guests) now.

  • If you host a children's Eid party plan the menu and get the guest list sorted now too.

  • Make a list of all the family and friends you will need to post festive cards to and post as soon as Ramadan begins.

  • Try and make your home festive during Ramadan. By no means do I think we are in competition with Christmas in the West however we need to make Ramadan and Eid as special as possible for our children so they know it's a special time.

  • Buy Ramadan Moon (a lovely Ramadan story) for the little ones to enjoy.

  • Plan any Ramadan activities for the children now-e.g. making fanoos, Eid cards or Ramadan Calendars.
  • Update your CD collection with recitations of Surahs to play whilst doing things such as work in the kitchen.

Plan as much as you can to take away the pressures of doing it during Ramadan. The time is so precious you lose control and then it's time to say goodbye. So if we can prepare as much as possible In Sha Allah we will all have more time to spend in Ibaadah!

That's all for now folks, I may do another list but that's all for today.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The mummy must have item-a working washing machine!

I haven't been able to post over the last few days as I have literally been snowed under with tasks I have been struggling to complete. This included 6 loads of washing (Munchy did a morning of throwing up so I ended up with extra laundry). And as my Washing Machine was no longer in working order (thanks to my husband who thought the inside looked dirty so removed the door to clean it causing the machine to have a nervous breakdown) I started to panic. How was I going to wash all the clothes and linen?

So luckily I found a reasonably priced workman to carry out the repair of replacing the door (and how hard was that-VERY ladies and gents, VERY). Every place I called wanted a 'fixed labour charge' not a call out charge as they kept banging on about. Er but what if the repair is a minor one would you still charge me £60.00 plus VAT? Yes. YES?! Well clearly they make their money taking advantage of novice customers like me. However I decided to make a few more calls and found a guy who offered free estimates.

How my poor machine has been going non-stop! Linen, our clothes, Munchys stuff, Munchys favourite blanket (called kumbo-'kumbal would be the punjabi/urdu name she has picked up and turned it into Munchy words).

So moving on from the Washing Machine if I told you my husband attempted to clean the door before the door became 'ill' would it be a surprise to you? Bless him he tries but his attempts oven turn out *clearly not* in my favour.

How's that you may ask? Well here's a list of recent actions that have resulted in more work for me:

the defrosting of the freezer=now I have to batch cook loads and replace all the stuff again (nearly done though-more on that later)
cleaning of the washing machine door=repair man making £50.00 out of me for the new door and labour
moving the cooker and spilling the wok of oil that was stored in the oven=one smokey oven when I turned it on to cook my tandoori chops! So now I need to don my gloves and get me some oven pride by cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!

So three incidents in as little as 14 days. I am dreading any other problems that maybe coming up.

It looks like I will be going Pakistan next month with Munchy and her dad. Right now I have mixed feelings about going. I have loads to do around the house and wish to have it all done and dusted before Ramadan InshAllah and this year I would love to spend every minute possible in a state of Ibaadah however as we all know a messy house with incomplete tasks plays with the mind and we don't get much done because we find the mind wondering about things. Secondly, I'm not 100% myself anymore. I've been through a few rough times and find myself becoming more of a private person. Now please don't laugh, how can a blogger be a private person. Well we can be. We only reveal what we wish to reveal in a blog, however when you are exposed to the joint family culture in Pakistan not much remains private.

You get asked silly questions, often private questions and not responding with a positive glow is often seen as you not wishing to hold a conversation with that person and before you know if everyone is asking you what your problem is.

An example of this is the last time I visited Pakistan some ladies within the extended family were discussing another family members family planning situation. OMG, to say I was shocked was an understatement. A country that was created on the principles of Islam still has gossip queens that really don't give a hoot about the fact a couples family planning or other private matter is just that-a private matter. Having the family women discussing it over a cup of masala chai (tea) is something I cannot understand or accept. I got up and walked out of the conversation. My thoughts on the matter is, if my MIL is discussing others private matters the likelihood is others will do the same back. And personally speaking I would prefer not to be the subject of the ladies gossip over a cup of tea and samosas.

Now here in England I have friends and we like to talk-but never have we talked about each others private lives. It's never come up in conversation which I put down to the fact all of us are on the same wave length. Our conversations revolve around our jobs, kids and lack of time to do tasks. Ah, so it's pretty much what you readers talk about then.

So yes, a trip to Pakistan can bring me problems personally because I simply want to shout from the roof top 'PLEASE STOP GOSSIPING ABOUT OTHERS PRIVATE LIVES'. But what stops me is the fact noone cares to understand why I have an issue with such subjects. Then there's the hygiene standards of some who do not believe in anti-perspirant deodorant. Of course most shower everyday however culturally some don't see the point in using what we in the West take for granted. Oh and then there's the problem of how do you dispose of sanitary towels without the whole world knowing what they are?! Oh and the food-the rice tastes different and the daals taste nothing like the stuff I'm used to. So for the time I will be in Pakistan I won't be eating much. Now before someone says 'you shouldn't forget your roots' I haven't. My grandfather left Pakistan 10 years after it's creation (1957). So my roots are indeed in Birmingham UK. My ethnic heritage is Pakistani however I feel more at home here at home that in Pakistan. Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I'm a coconut (white on the inside, brown on the outside). I don't know. All I know is, if I didn't have a tie with Pakistan of family I wouldn't book a ticket to go on holiday to it. That says something. Maybe a new government will result in positive change. Maybe Munchy will feel different about Pakistan? I will hopefully take Munchy Pakistan for weddings, holidays etc however there is only so much I can do to create a bond between a country and a child. How Munchy feels is likely to be different to how I feel.

So what else have I been up to? I have been trying to stock up my freezer again. Is it just me or do others feel relaxed when they have meal backups in the freezer? So what's in my freezer I hear you cry! Here's a quick list:

keema koftas
olive and lemon meatballs
chicken kievs
breaded chicken herb fillets
2 x chicken pilau packets
2 x meat pilau packets
chicken chapali kebabs
seekh kebabs
marinated tandoori drumsticks
marinated tandoori mutton chops
chicken meatballs

And I still wish to add keema rolls, chicken tikkas, alu tikkis and a few sweet treats.

With the above stuff I can sleep easy knowing I have enough to create a small feast if I need to. And as it's my wedding anniversary on Monday I might take a few things out and have myself a nice meal to celebrate.

And as for sleeping easy goes-it's 11:52PM here so I need to go sleep and catch some zzzzzs before the mayhem begins in the morning. The mayhem includes the assembly of our FunPod! Cannot wait to review it for you all.

Right, I'm off now.


Friday, 6 April 2012

When will the work end so Munchy can get back to her routine!

Oh no, I feel like I'm turning into a nag and have a 'To Do List' that is never ending. There's a part of me that feels sorry for my husband for having me go on and on, however it's all for the good of Munchy.

You see I just all the stuff around the house that needs doing finished so Munchy can mooch around without the danger of power tools lurching around every corner. However the problem is none of the work seems near completion and quite frankly I'm losing my patience (shock horror, a woman is losing her patience-get over it men).

Because the truth of the matter is our house has looked like a work in progress since 2009 and all I want now it a house that is a home where I can have play dates for Munchy and be able to relax. I don't think that's asking for too much.

Perhaps the fact I am thinking about how all this work is effecting Munchy is stressing me more? Her nap routine has disappeared (oh God please return it to us) and her night time sleeping is just as bad if not worse now because she isn't eating properly during the day thus needs milk at night. Plus she's abandoned her cot. And when she gets upset she wants DADDY! I think that's to do with the work too-as the husband has been spending time with the workmen Munchy has also been tagging along and spending time during the day with him which has clearly upset her daily routine. Did I mention by Mums on holiday too which has also knocked Munchy for six-because she was used to seeing Nanoo everyday as we live together. 

So routines-I love them. Some on the other hand think it's more natural for a child to carve their own routine. That's fine-I believe a good routine is a balance of both. What I cannot understand is the Mother nature types that look down on Mummies like me who bottle fed. I bottle fed Munchy with good reason. Lack of milk, and then a lactose intolerance plus reflux made it a sensible option for us as a family. God knows I tried with the whole Breastfeeding thing but it didn't work for me.

Although most tried to understand Munchy and my dilemma, some did have the nerve to look down their nose at me as 'I should know better as I have worked under Children and Young Peoples Services' so understand the government is 'pushing' breastfeeding. That's all good and well however mums and other folk need to understand judging others won't do you any good as a person will it?

Oh talking of judging, when Munchy was born she had bad reflux which I basically self-diagnosed and then after many visits to the GP and out of hours service got an official diagnosis. Oh where was I, oh yes when Munchy was born she was fair better taking a nap in my arms than lying down (of course reflux doesn't help this-plus a newborn doesn't take to be away from Mama anyhow). So I used to hold her as much as she needed really as did Mum and husband however my FIL's aunt by marriage told me not to hold her as much as I was creating a rod for my own back. How lovely. There was this old lady who could have taken the opportunity to give her pearls of wisdom instead I got told off for holding my baby.

I carried on holding my baby and 16 months later Munchy chooses if she wants to give a cuddle or kiss-so I am grateful for those cuddles I had then because pinning Munchy down now is near impossible (unless she wants a cuddle-which isn't really that often).

My pearls of wisdom to any new mummy out there potentially reading this is you are the best judge of what is good for your child. If something doesn't feel right, say so. If you want to bottle feed and not breastfeed then that's YOUR call. Remember there are women out there who smoke throughout their pregnancies-the busy bodies telling you to breastfeed if you don't want to should be directed in their direction. Breastfeeding is the most natural way of feeding a baby however it's not always possible (look at my situation above).

Babies don't come with a manual but if they did lets be honest-not many of us would follow the words down a T would we?

Right time for me to dash-Munchy could do with a Nap and I could do with painting the kitchen Berry Pink. Maybe I should put photos up on here of my designed kitchen to have you all mark it out of 10?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Why is pregnancy still a taboo in Asian society and OMG my husband turned off my freezer and didn't notice until 8 (gulp) days later!

Pregnancy is a miracle in the purest form. We all know what the steps are to get to the 'miracle' but there's something clearly magical about pregnancy.
Most ladies wear their bump with pride-and so they should. However in the

Asian community we are still struggling with pregnancy etiquette.
Now I will be the first to admit that when it comes to etiquette around males in the home environment I don't have much experience of this-simply because I was raised in a single parent family and my deadbeat father didn't actually bother with me because he made a nice family for himself elsewhere (rot in help Pops). And when I got married I didn't spend much time with my in-laws and their extended lot (THANK GOD). However what I do have experience with is modesty.
Islamically, it's requested of the women that we do not show our figures to basically lure the look of men. This can also be applied to a bump situation but it doesn't mean you have to HIDE your news from the world.

There are families out there where women on their periods PRETEND to preform salat (5 times daily prayer) in front of males in their families to stop questions from them. Please ladies reading this-educate our brothers to understand that women have a body that changes and we get periods! And sisters if you live in a joint family set up please take your husband to one side when another sister in the family is expecting and explain that she is indeed on the journey to become a mother and doesn't need the men of the family constantly making her run around for things, or need the questions of 'why is she having a rest!!??'.

I've seen families where sisters are expected to cover their bump for the whole nine months so men in the family don't know what's going on. That is not modesty-that's just silly billy talk!

I'm not saying I expect my Asian or Muslim sisters for that matter to go around flaunting their bump however modesty allows for you to dress comfortably. There are plenty of maternity lines that offer practicality and modesty when it comes to your growing bump.

What I would like to see is other sisters sending duas (prayers) in the direction of expecting sisters when they find out a sister is expecting. No sisters I really don't think saying things like 'May Allah bestow you with an heir' is quite the same especially when a sister is expecting on her first child.

Jealousy is a nasty emotion that can get the best of many especially at such as magical time as pregnancy. There's sisters out there whose husbands merely got excited when they found out their wife was expecting whereas there are sisters whose husbands were excited from day one and continued with the excitement throughout the nine months becoming the envy of many. That my sisters is also down to upbringing. Let's all do ourselves a favour and bring our baby boys up to be honest, humble, hardworking pious men who indeed care for their wives, and show their feelings-Ameen! A man who can show he cares for his wife will in the long run have less problems with his wife because she will know he cares and any problem they have is a hitch they can hopefully overcome.

So my top tips to any sisters currently expecting:
  • enjoy every minute as the time will soon fly
  • try to involve your husband even at first it seems he's not interested. He cannot feel the changes and growing baby the way you can
  • Try and involve elders in the family especially if you live in a joint family with baby related things. Maybe your mother-in-law can knit and you cannot. Why not ask your MIL to knit some booties, a blanket or three for the baby?
  • Expect the unexpected and be prepared to have a birth that isn't the fairytale you planned.
  • If you live alone try and prepare the kitchen for when the baby returns. This can include batch freezing meals so you don't starve or have to rely on local takeouts once baby is here
  • CLEAN as much of your home as possible before baby arrives.
  • If you look after the bills sit your husband down before baby arrives and explain the bill system to them. The last thing you need is to be worrying about a baby and the bills too.
  • Prepare yourself for parenting as much as possible-read blogs, books and attend prep courses if you have them in the area.
  • Accept broken nights sleep is what is in store for you for at least a good 8 months plus.
  • Organise your wardrobes and home as much as possible beforehand.
  • If you are a part of a mums group try and organise to see at least one mum visitor at least every 4 days. The first days can be scary, and if it's your first time it can also be extremely stressful. A familiar face will help you.
  • Take any HELP offered to you. Don't be shy. Other mummies will know what you are going through.
  • Don't feel you need to provide your guests with lavish snacks-they really don't expect it.
  • Ask your midwife all the questions you have even if they are small things that you are slightly worried about after all there job is to be there for you. My Midwife Sharon was fab and a trooper for me.
  • RELAX if you can-and try not to worry about the things you cannot control.
So sisters enjoy your bumphood-it soon goes and you will miss it!

Okay so today's rant-OMG my husband unplugged my chest freezer and only remembered 8 days later.
So what was wasted: homemade keema, rolls, kebabs, tikkis, chops, daals, chicken palak plus lots of stuff Munchy loves plus uncooked meats. I am still upset after the whole experience. All that time spent cooking wasted by my husband. All he say is when can go buy them again. What about all the hours I spent preparing the food? It seems he forgets Munchy is a full time job.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The misconception that house mums do nothing all day-I have news for you all!

So whilst Munchy takes a nap I thought I would write today's blog entry.
Today I want to talk about the misconception by non-stay at home parents that all we lucky things do is:

  • go out to coffee all day
  • go on play dates
  • lounge around because we don't have a real job
Isn't it funny how the stay-at-home parent is often painted as someone who has hours of free time in their day? I used to often feel guilty when I heard about the fact Maturity rights in countries outside the UK however I now feel proud of the fact our Government acknowledge the importance of the role of the mother and allow paid Maternity Leave (plus extra non-paid leave if you can afford it).

So what does the stay-at-home Mama really do all day? Here's a look at a one day in the life of a SAHM:
7AM-wake up and get self ready before...
8AM-Munchy wakes up-get Munchy ready and give her breakfast
9-12PM-Play time, watch a bit of Disney, consider a bit of art and crafts take a walk to the park or possibly go a soft play centre.
12NOON-lunch (reheated leftovers from last night, or a sandwich for munch)
12:30-2:30 (ideally) nap for Munchy. This time is used doing things like ironing, cooking etc
2:30-Munchy up, load washing machine
3-4:45PM playtime (fit in a small walk to the shops, or to the park)
5:15PM-cook dinner
6PM-Munchys dads home & dinner time
6:45PM-Munchy chats with her daddy and plays a little while
7:PM bedtime routine starts with changing clothes
7:50-8PM Munchy in bed
8-11PM-I sort out laundry, clean up after Munchy, have a cuppa tea, sort out Munchys stuff, plan the next day, have a short chat with Munchys dad. I also use this time to do all projects around the house including painting and D.I.Y chores.
11PM-try to go bed!
11:15PM-Munchy wakes up for 2oz of milk (when will this stop?!)
11:30PM-fall asleep (finally)
3:30AM-Munchy up for another small drink (come on Munchy you don't need these small drinks anymore!)
7AM-the bedlam starts again!

So will someone please explain where the glamour is and where I have the free time to do leisurely things?

I am content with my life and know whilst Munchy is little life will be constantly on the go. I have HAPPY with that. I struggled the first year because I wanted the parenting lifestyle shown in the books and quite frankly that was unrealistic.

Life is what you make it!

Okay rant over, subject parked, will return to it later.

So what's new scoobie-doo?
We are currently having a new Kitchen fitted which we purchased at IKEA-at the moment I would not recommend IKEA as they quite frankly suck! However I am hoping they man up and fix their wrongs so I can post a positive report on my experience with them for you. Finding a kitchen that's affordable and practical took so long I was beginning to wonder if one existed. You see when you become a SAHM you understandably become a one income family. You go from being dinky (double income no kids yet) to double expenses single income. So every penny counts. And because you are at home you tend to look at ways of saving money.

I spent 35 minutes on the phone the other day (freephone thank God!) haggling with my insurance broker to get the price down by £60.00. In the end they agreed because I was happy to take business elsewhere. Plus I try and cook meals from scratch, in a jiffy as lets face it ready meals are not only expensive the e-numbers alone are scary and not suitable for Munchy. Plus I was Munchy to be exposed to all sorts of cook. Munchy loves Channa daal with roti-a 16 month old who knows what she likes. Now before mothers out there start bashing me about giving a child chillies let me clarify something:
the food I cook at home is modified to Munchys palette-we don't use chili powder, and the other spices used e.g. coriander seeds are crushed at home so we know what's in the blend rather than buying something pre ground off the shelf. Oil is controlled too as is salt. We are all happy with the situation so to all the Asian mums out there who say Asian food isn't suitable for toddlers get a grip!

So I think that's enough of a rant now. As Munchys dad has come home for lunch Munchy has decided against a long nap-hurrah (nnnnnnnnoooooooooooo) so I need to go fix lunch.

So in a nutshell I know how lucky and blessed I am to be able to spend everyday with my child. What my life isn't is a day full of coffee days, trips to spend loads of money and so on and so on. What my life is quite frankly is a full time job looking after Munchy, her dad and the household in general. Anyone who has looked after a child with a lactose intolerance and reflux for 10 months of their lives will understand parenting is not plain sailing and the judgement cast by others on your life don't do you any favours. If anything you become more depressed wondering if anyone is living such a glamorous life.

When life gives you lemons make lemon cheesecake! When life throws you a dodge ball, pick yourself up and carry on walking. And when life is like a steep mountain break up the climb into bite size manageable pieces.

Life is what you make it!

How many of you plan meals in advance? I've started it and it seems to be working (and to be honest it's quite exciting for this food nut to know what she is cooking during the week!).

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Woo my first post.

Well hello there reader,
I was once told by someone that you should only blog if:

  • you know what you are blogging about

  • you have a passion for it

  • you can write.

So here I am, no strings attached. I wish to become a 'mummy blogger' and talk about everything parent related.

What is my experience as a parent? I have one toddler, Munchy as she is known. She's 16 months old. I also a bit about problems with conceiving. I know a bit about depression too and how the smallest of things can trigger a damn big reaction.

I also know how stressful it can be to become a new mummy in the Asian community (Oh did I mention that I'm a second generation British born person of Pakistani origin).

And I am also Muslim, so can shed some light on the issues that effect Muslim parents (e.g. can Eid really be as shiny and appealing as Christmas in the West). By no means am I an expert on religion but having Munchy has put more 'pressure' on me to find a balance between religion and life.

What else do you need to know? I have a degree in Journalism however unfortunately never found the right opportunity to use my skills in this field. I have done various jobs in my lifetime-from running my own business (another passion of mine), to working for the Government to working in the Leisure industry.

So I'm in my late 20's, I have a husband (did I mention him before), a stereo typical alpha male. We live in England and currently spend every spare minute attempting to de-clutter, decorate or do something with the house. You see I want my house to reflect me-how others. Not asking for much am I?

My hobbies are cooking (it's my big love-you'll learn about that later), reading, watching films, interior designs, IKEA (although at the moment they are my enemies), spending quality time with loved ones and collecting books. I love books and simply cannot get enough of them. I have even got Munchy into books.

Ask my best friend BonBon to tell you a bit about me and she will tell you she never thought I would have children as I had an allergic reaction to them when I was say about 18. But fast forward 10 years and I have a child. Some will tell you I wanted to become a hot-shot journalist but then you don't know what opportunities will come your way and to be the biggest and most respected job I have done to date is being Munchys Mama and quite frankly I would never change that not even for a big job in London.

Right I have to dash, Munchys dad has just called about paint rollers and Munchy is having a tantrum because he didn't speak to her (or maybe because she's hand too much sugar today).

Until tomorrow guys,


PS, apologies for grammar and spelling errors-all will be perfect once I get back into this writing business!