Thursday, March 31, 2011

Having Two Children - Daycare Guilt

I'm a full time working mom right now... I will be off work for close to 1 year for the birth of coming baby and I was thinking of how things will be. Nora goes to daycare right now that she attends full time. It's very hard to get a spot in a place like that... The lists are a few years long.

Anyway, I checked and it seems that generally, moms keep their older child at the daycare even after the birth of a new baby. So following that, it would mean one year of one-on-one time with the baby (weekdays). I feel a bit guilty about liking the idea of keeping Nora at the babysitters and having that time alone with the baby. If I do that, I do plan on making it a looser schedule than she has now, like from 9-4 instead of 8-5:30 like it is now and of course keeping her home more often than she's able to stay now...

I feel guilty because technically, I'd be going back to work at practically the same time as Nora starts to go to KG so I wouldn't NEED to reserve her spot at daycare... I feel guilty about 1) not being the best stay-at-home-mom during that year since I'd be getting one child babysat full time and 2) taking a spot that another child could occupy for that year.

I checked and it seems that culturally, it's not something I should feel guilty about. And I really think I can be a better mom this way. Focus on giving the baby what I was able to give Nora and let Nora enjoy her daycare like she always does and have that extra bit of education(pre-school) t prepare her for KG that I might be too overwhelmed to give her if I have two kids full time.

What is your point of view on this? Has anyone accepted a similar luxury and how did it go? Anyone have personal experience of thinking this set-up could have helped them? Anyone think I'm exaggerating if I choose to continue to send Nora to daycare during this year?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baptism and Aqiqa

For the first time last week, I got the feeling it upsets my mom that I haven't baptized my daughter.


My parents are not practicing Catholics and they don't know I'm Muslim... They know my husband is and that Nora will be raised that way, but with the way they have reacted to things and the fact that they don't attend church themselves (not even for Christmas or Easter or other religious occaisions), I always figured this was something they didn't mind at all. But when I told my mom my cousin was baptizing her baby and asked if she was going, she answered: "If I can't even go to my own grand-daughter's baptism, I won't go to this baby's either!" I guess I am really so lucky that my parents always support me in what I decide and never try to make me feel bad or guilty about anything even if there are more than a few things I'm sure they're not 100% pleased about. They are such loving, caring parents.

The celebration of baptism made me think about the Islamic equivalent: aqiqah! I really would love to have an aqiqah for new baby after he or she is born. I'd love to invite my friends and family, all non-Muslim, into the mosque for a taste of an Islamic celebration. What do you guys think about this idea? How do you think most non-Muslims would feel about attending? There would probably be some Muslim men my husband knows and their wives (who I don't know) but other than that, I imagine it as a majoritarily non-Muslim celebration in a Muslim place... With them not even knowing that I am Muslim. lol.

Our mosque is very small and we know the people who run it personally. There is no real imam. Just a space set up to have Muslims to pray salat. I think it would be great for my feinds and family to learn about Islam and one of the rituals. Aqiqah is charity too so it's always good when they learn about a religion and associate it to charity.

My husband's mom made one for Nora that I wasn't even aware of and that Nora was not there for, but it was in her honor. It's only now that I can see how sweet and caring that was of her. My husband thinks it might be good to do it in Egypt again even if the baby wouldn't be there, or wait until we go when the baby is older, but I'd rather follow the Sunnah of doing it at 7 days (possibly 14 or 21 days) and having the baby there. One of his points is that the meat will be much better charity there than it would be here, but I suggested we send an amount of money in honor of the child to Egypt at that time.

Question though for an aqiqah here in Canada: Where do you get a sheep or lamb?! Is it possible to use packaged halal meat? If I use pre-dead meat not killed for the occaision and send enough money to Egypt for the price of a real lamb, could that compensate? What if we kill the animal in Egypt and distribute it there and have the party in Canada with other food and a webcam for her mother who could be serving the meat and giving it at the same time?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Starting to plan my garden!



Anyone heard of the EARTHBOX?! It's a fool-proof garden in a box (the second picture)! Basically, there's a water reservoir at the bottom filled up by a pipe coming out the top of the box, and has part of the soil in a container inside the water that wicks it to the rest of the soil as needed. There's no chance of over or under watering (as long as you make sure there's always water in the reservoir). There's a cover on top to keep away bugs and keep moisture and heat in.

It's way to expensive for me to buy and ship here to Canada so I have to just nevermind that idea. I went online to look for ways to make my own and BOY IS IT EASY. It looks like the first picture uploaded. They say to make sure to not use PVC piping though for toxicity and there are for sure other tips floating around to making the garden as good as possible.

I plan on making 2-3 bins of these and seeing what I can get from it. I will also plant something in my yard and hope for some veggies. It will be interesting to compare the season's veggies from each system. With the bins, I can start them ahead of time inside which is an advantage. Also, it takes less water and fertilizer and no real upkeep (no weeds, built-in bug control).

I hope to do at least some of these:

cherry tomatoes

spinach

zucchini

cucumber

snow peas

peppers


Anyone else excited about the growing season coming up? Who gardens, what do you grow in your garden?

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's so hard

I have so much trouble just getting through the week at work. I left at 2:30pm on Monday because I just didn't feel well AT ALL. I went to sleep right away and slept until 7am the next morning, except for about an hour with my daughter and to have a small something to eat. I'm so thankful that my mom and dad were able to go get Nora at daycare and feed her and give her her bath beacuse I was completely unable!!

The next day was better, and then Wednesday I was able to finish my day at work and get Nora, but when I got home (thank goodness my husband was not working), I ate a fast little something and went to bed (at 6pm) until 7 the next morning.

I get SO TIRED and feel nauseous 24/7! Sorry for my complaining, I am just feeling UGH all the time and don't know how to deal with it very well I guess.

My husband is working today, Saturday and Sunday. I don't know how I am supposed to cope. I will probably have a friend come over do some cleaning for me (I'll pay her). My husband did *some* stuff during his 2 days off, but it's still less than I need to be done. He made supper one of the days (of course, there were no veggies, he doesn't do that) and did the dishes (not yesterday's though) and vacuumed once. I think he did one load of laundry but just left it there on the dryer.

There's about 6 loads of laundry that need to be done (no exaggeration) and grocery shopping and dusting and the bathroom hasn't been cleaned in I-donno-how-long because he simply doesn't do that and the counters are sticky-gross.

Yes, I am getting my friend to clean for a few hours. I'm overwhelmed ALL THE TIME by all that has to be done that I can't do. :'(

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Circumcision

Of a boy, I mean.


Is it generally accepted for the procedure to be done by a non-Muslim? Are there specific guidelines for circumcision of a Muslim child that makes it different from a regular circumcision? My husband seems iffy about getting a boy circumcised here by a non-Muslim and would rather wait and do it in Egypt, but I am already not very favorable to circumcision to begin with and so I want it done as early as possible (for less pain and quicker healing) and by someone who has good references. And someone who is HERE so I can feel comfortable that it's done in the safest way.

Is there any Islamic reason that would make this a problem for my husband?

Polygamy

It seems to be a big topic on Muslim blogs lately... I can't even believe how many Muslims are in a plural marriage! It's not just one or two bloggers who deal with this lifestyle, but MANY! I'm always very interested in reading about it. What they go through, how they deal with it, etc.


There seems to be a couple different styles going on.
1) unhappy about it/ finding it difficult to cope
2) dealing with it well, seeing the positive side, having a sense that it's an obligation for them to make the best of it, so they do (because they have to - this part is more obvious in some, less obvious in others)
3) actually fine with it - this is what they would have chosen

I find myself feeling just sad for those living in category 1. I know I would feel that way myself. I would not be able to accept polygamy into my life and I'm not ashamed and I don't feel I have anything to apologize for. Me and my husband talked about it at the beginning of the marriage and even though it's not written and signed on, it was a verbal agreement that there would never be a second wife. And even if we hadn't talked about it (out of ignorance of this even existing), I would still not accept being part of a plural marriage in any part of my future. All to say, I understand how these women feel who are in this situation. Maybe they entered knowingly, maybe they were screwed over when their husband married behind their backs... It doesn't matter, I still feel a bit of their pain and suffering.

When it comes to category number 2, I find myself feeling a bit discouraged for them. I'm glad they are able to make the best out of their situation, but can't help but feel they are living in denial. How long can this go on? In a way, I hope they're able to keep it up forever and not come to the point when all their real feelings flood in and simply ruin them. Although this last part is needed before making a change that can become for the better. Only Allah knows what is best for them in their individual situations. There are more important things than a truly fulfilling marriage so if they are treated well at least and go their own thing in their day to day life, then I'm glad for them. Even if they might ideally want something else. I suppose no one is fully satisfied and happy in every aspect of life.

Category 3... SO RARE! I can only think of two and one of those is a Christian blogger living polygamy in a "big family" set-up with her 2 co-wives and all the children. She speaks of power in numbers for the women, where their opinions and votes are counted in making big decisions. I doubt most polygamous Muslim men would allow their wives to take part in important decisions. The other is Muslim and married to a Muslim and made the decision herself that she wanted her husband to be able to have a wife that could make him children because she was a bit older and unable.

These are the thoughts I have when reading certain blogs, but it's not my place to actually comment on these blogs in such direct ways. It's not my place to go to an unhappy women in a plural marriage and say "RUN! You deserve better!" even if that's what I'm thinking. It's not my place to comment a bunch of the stuff I wrote on here so I keep my comments constructive and helpful when I'm talking to someone, but somewhere these things have to come out!! With all the polygamy talk and my personal feelings on the subject, I had to say it. What better place than MY OWN BLOG!

Thoughts, anyone?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I had to go back on this topic: Sex Toys

I wrote about this about 2 years ago (SEE HERE) and really, my views have not changed. I was asking a lot of questions then but now feel more confident in my point of view that sex toys are OK in Islam generally.

Idea to post about this came from a post by Umm Aaminah about a really inappropriate book that is in the young adults section of libraries.

I'll start with ways in which they should NOT be used though:

- to masturbate alone
- to insert anally

I consider it perfectly fine when used in these ways:

- to increase sexual satisfaction
- to touch your spouse sexually with
- as an accessory to enhance the excitement/fun

These things fall into an I'm not really sure what I think 100% but am not leaning towards "unacceptable":

- man having an orgasm from play with toys (and even from oral or hand stimulation by spouse)
- use of dildo made to look like a penis (a "statue", in a way); best stick with penis-shaped things instead of realistic veiny ones if you ask me.

One thing that bothers me about sex toys though is that I don't support the industry. The majority of these products have a picture of a naked person on it. I hate to think I'm supporting his or her career. I'm sure most of the companies that make the sex toys that I "approve of" in design also make things that I don't approve of or do it in ways that I don't approve of... For this reason, it might become an iffy issue overall. Everything is connected.

What do you guys think about this topic?

I wanted to expand a little on some of the points I got into above though. Just for clarification, I guess! When I say "to increase sexual satisfaction", I'm thinking of making the whole experience of sex more "fun" for the couple, but also of something that affects a lot of women: inability to orgasm from penetration alone! The husband using his hand or mouth can help and can even replace the "need" for toys 100%, but I just don't see how toys would be any different than this.

When I wrote "to touch your spouse sexually with", I was thinking of touching of any kind, but also penetration if it's something that can be pleasurable for the woman. Some women might not see the point and some men might not feel comfortable with the idea since most likely the dildo is bigger than they are and if it vibrates it has that "edge" too, but seriously, they should know it could never ever replace them. But both people need to feel comfortable when engaging in something new.

When I wrote "as an accessory to enhance excitement/fun", I was thinking of something as simple and innocent as a pillow propping you up to lubricant (warming, flavoured or natural) to a sex swing to a cock ring to that accessory that suctions where you want it in the shower to pull a leg up on. All things that can make it a little more exciting and that can give variety in the old routine.

I'm not very shy talking about these things when said in such a general way, but I am shy about people knowing about my sex life so I wanted to end by clarifying that this is my point of view on these things, not my lifestyle. I am not saying I even tried a single one of the things I mentioned; it's really not up to anyone but me and my husband to know. I definitely want to help in making people comfortable with the idea and comfortable with sex being something pleasurable between spouses though so hopefully that much I achieved.

Crisis in Japan

Just a reminder to everyone to yes, keep Japan and its people in your dua, but also very importantly, DONATE if you are at all able to. Charity is of great importance in Islam as you all know so please put your money where it's needed and make a financial contribution to help these people out. Red Cross or Islamic Relief are always worthwhile choices.


The link under the word DONATE brings you to a Google page set up where you can donate to either Japanese Red Cross in yen (2000Y = about 25$), Unicef or Save the Children directly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feeling Scared but Thankful

Nora had her appointment at the children's hospital for her arthritis last week and we got good news (that we kind of knew anyway) that she is in remission and doing just great. No sign of arthritis in her joints right now and her monthly blood tests have been looking fine. The doctor seemed pretty pleased to see that she was continuing to respond well to her medications because it's not always the case. For her current weight, she could even be taking one extra pill (7.5 mg instead of 5 mg) of methotrexate but 5mg has been working nicely. It's when he said that he'd be happy to have her continue on this same medication for the next YEARS that it hit me how serious the condition is.

She had a relapse when we reduced her medication over the summer and we hadn't seen the doctor since. They had just sent a new prescription to the pharmacy when this happened without seeing her. So when I saw the doctor, he said that this episode confirmed that she really had Still's disease which is a type of arthritis that has the potential to cause a lot of damage. He said it's very important that she not be in pain.

When I went online to search for Still's disease specifically (instead of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis only), I found a couple things. About a third of the people with it "outgrow" the disease about 10 years after being diagnosed. I'm thankful that this could be the case for Nora, but scared of her having to deal with it for life when she simply cannot be on her medication for all her life. I also saw the case of a woman diagnosed when she was a child who did not outgrow the disease and had it before methotrexate and other medications and she could not walk and had multiple surgeries. How thankful I was for Nora to have the disease NOW and not be born with it 50 years ago when it would have literally made her unable to function.

Anyway, I feel a huge blessing that Nora has this disease and yet is perfectly fine and functionning as any other child. But so scared about the future. I can never know if the medication will stop working like it does now. What will the other options be? What will her condition be? Will she ever be in a real remission that isn't maintained 100% by constant medication?

Anyway, I just needed to share these thoughts I'm having...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Extreme Fatigue and Nauseau and Dizziness!

I like complaining so I'll just do it. I FEEL LIKE CRAP! I can't do anything and my husband is not very helpful. I feel like he is more moody than I am! Every little thing I say gets me attitude from him and being called bitchy! We talked about it yesterday though so for a couple hours last night he was OK with me... and I can only hope it continues... Because I really need the support...

Pregnancy is really making me ANGRY. I'm not a crier so it's not bringing that out in me, but I do get angry easily normally and now it's just really really bad. I'm having trouble containing my anger.

Work is just hellish because I'm so tired and not feeling well. My voice is not keeping the direct tone it needs so my whole approach with the clients is different and just weird. I so close to falling asleep all the time. I am shakey. I think I might take some of my vacation days to work a few 4-day weeks to recuperate better. Like Wednesdays off... How does that sound?

Waaaaah, pregnancy is so hard!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Looking Nice for Our Husbands

I don't wear hijab as most readers know. I don't really plan on wearing it either as some of you might know. And I don't think of it as a commandment from God to cover our hair. BUT I do appreciate hijab and the basic principles of it and I adhere to many of them. One I thought about was looking nice for our husbands. Hijab forces a woman to look more sexy and attractive to her husband than she does to the outside world. It's such a beautiful thing!

When we had my husband's friend over for 10 days a couple months ago, I made sure to wear loose, unattractive pyjamas in the evenings at home and BOY did my husband love that. Just the thought that he was the only one who could know what was under there and have access to him was quite a turn on really!

I have to admit that on a day to day basis, it happens more often that I look better when I'm out than I do in the home. I love my jogging pants!!! BUT I will occaisionally put on make-up in the home (and not have it outside) and will almost only wear make-up and put effort into my appearance when outside when I'm with him as well. I think he appreciates that.

Women here: What efforts to you do to look nice for your husband if at all? What do you think about this idea? Is it somethign you plan on doing? How much importance do you put into your appearance when outside the home?

Men: Any insights if there are any men reading?

Making our Budget

We are truly blessed to not have so many bad habits and to not have gotten in over our heads with debt. Of course, this was done in part with being careful when we needed to be, but in part with help received and later, having decent income. So really, we are blessed in all sorts of small ways.

Now is the time to make a real budget though and start saving. With a baby coming, there's everything that will need to be bought during that time, but there's also the fact that I will have 70% of my salary for 25 weeks and 55% of it for the next 25 weeks! So for one year, we will be on reduced income. We also want to have one or both of us go to university relatively shortly and would like to buy a house. Now those are all really huge reasons not only to want to put money aside, but to have to put money aside!

We have two bad spending habits. One is my husband's electronics. Computer, TV, phone, laptop, accessories for all these things... He recently udpated everything that he should want to update for a long time, but I know he will be tempted and it won't take that long. And second: food. We eat order too much. We suck at food and sometimes order for that reason, and we also have our little going out habits. I go out to McDonald's with my daughter every second Saturday and on the weekend we both have off together, we usually go out a lot and eat out too.

BUT, the budget is looking pretty good still! I will put some effort into planning meals better so that we can keep our McDonald's habit and going out but always eat in during the week and at least more than half of the main meals on weekends. I will plan my lunches better too so I don't go to the grocery store for a small lunch "plus" a bag of cheese or a bar of chocolate or piece of cake, etc. Things I would never buy in my regular groceries but that I buy for my lunches!!

So anyway, it's exciting for me to think that we will be saving a certain set amount per month and that it fits into our budget as long as we respect it. And that by the time the baby comes, I will be 100% all set for lowered income and buying all the necessities and possibly being able to go to university. YAY

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