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As soon as the clock struck 12 on the morning of his second birthday, I thought we were already experiencing the infamous 'terrible twos' but little did I know the difficulty level went up a few notches. Now... I don't like calling it 'terrible' because I'm sure they have reasons for screaming and rolling on the floor and the loud fake cries. I feel... it's mostly terrible for the parent because we feel awful not being able to understand what exactly it is they want.



Now, fast forward to a month and a bit, everyday has been a battle between giving in to his tantrums or being mentally strong and deafening the ears to the wailing. I don't have a lot in me, let's just put it out there--I'm not patient, I'm not calm, I'm not a walk in the park either. But let me also tell you that being a mother has trained me to become all those things... and although I am no way near being a perfect mom, I love what he is teaching me. I am amazed sometimes how long I can endure the ear-piercing sounds my little angel can make.

One night, he threw the biggest, loudest... strongest tantrum and I gave in. I gave him his iPad in bed... something I really don't like him doing. In that moment, I was exhausted from a long day at work and I just needed some peace and quiet. I felt defeated and I just let him do whatever he wanted.  Ironically, I also felt... relieved. Like I had just extinguished a dark cloud that was raining on me. That night, I realized that we have to pick our battles. Some battles we lose, and that's okay because we're human. 

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I lose. I think it's the pressure I put on myself. I mean... this is the time when we start teaching our kids what's right and wrong, what not to do, what's counted as good or bad behavior... and it's actually tough. It's a lot of hard work both mentally and physically. It's a lot of responsibility raising a child and making sure they turn out to be respectful, kind, brave, smart, wise human beings etc. 

I hope you didn't come here looking for advice because I don't have any. I'm looking for tips myself so please share them. Help a sister out. I'm still figuring it all out and I think I'm going to continue to figure it out forever. Everyday is a new day and an entirely new level but we become better and better. It's a fulfilling and satisfying journey nonetheless.

Gotta go. He's going to wake up any second now.

Love,

The Umair Takeover: Battling the Twos

Friday, 8 November 2019

As soon as the clock struck 12 on the morning of his second birthday, I thought we were already experiencing the infamous 'terrible twos' but little did I know the difficulty level went up a few notches. Now... I don't like calling it 'terrible' because I'm sure they have reasons for screaming and rolling on the floor and the loud fake cries. I feel... it's mostly terrible for the parent because we feel awful not being able to understand what exactly it is they want.



Now, fast forward to a month and a bit, everyday has been a battle between giving in to his tantrums or being mentally strong and deafening the ears to the wailing. I don't have a lot in me, let's just put it out there--I'm not patient, I'm not calm, I'm not a walk in the park either. But let me also tell you that being a mother has trained me to become all those things... and although I am no way near being a perfect mom, I love what he is teaching me. I am amazed sometimes how long I can endure the ear-piercing sounds my little angel can make.

One night, he threw the biggest, loudest... strongest tantrum and I gave in. I gave him his iPad in bed... something I really don't like him doing. In that moment, I was exhausted from a long day at work and I just needed some peace and quiet. I felt defeated and I just let him do whatever he wanted.  Ironically, I also felt... relieved. Like I had just extinguished a dark cloud that was raining on me. That night, I realized that we have to pick our battles. Some battles we lose, and that's okay because we're human. 

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I lose. I think it's the pressure I put on myself. I mean... this is the time when we start teaching our kids what's right and wrong, what not to do, what's counted as good or bad behavior... and it's actually tough. It's a lot of hard work both mentally and physically. It's a lot of responsibility raising a child and making sure they turn out to be respectful, kind, brave, smart, wise human beings etc. 

I hope you didn't come here looking for advice because I don't have any. I'm looking for tips myself so please share them. Help a sister out. I'm still figuring it all out and I think I'm going to continue to figure it out forever. Everyday is a new day and an entirely new level but we become better and better. It's a fulfilling and satisfying journey nonetheless.

Gotta go. He's going to wake up any second now.

Love,

Dear Nabeela,

You are probably freaking out right now and stressing out over your O' Levels. It will be okay. I'm glad you had fun in school and I'm glad you found some of your bestest friends there. They will be your pillars of strength growing up. Almost 15 years later, they are still people you run to. About your exam results, they were a little below your expectations. You studied hard and did your best and I know we sort of blanked out during additional math on a particular question that we've done over and over again. It happens... and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. It's honestly quite funny now.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes it. What's important is you try and keep trying. Actually, I'm not too worried about that. You're a dreamer... you're driven... you're ambitious. You had fire... honestly, a lot more fire than I have now. Along the way I sort of got discouraged but that's another story. I hope you never get discouraged... no matter what anyone says or does to you.

You are beautiful. I know we're not... Kendall Jenner beautiful haha (not sure if KUWTK are on air already back then but if it is... yes... Kendall will become the hottest Kardashian). We're not the obvious kind, no. I know this sounds cliche but... everybody IS beautiful in their own special way. Beauty in their smile, in their eyes, in the way they talk, in the way they walk, in the way they think. And kid you not, we just did two Bobbi Brown campaigns this year. Can you even believe that? I can't wrap my head around it sometimes. I'm just holding on to it for as long as I can... given the fast pace of the digital world. One day you're in, the next day you're out. But that's okay. We'll adapt.


You also meet the love of your life this year. It will be an amazing journey. You'll get married and it will be wonderful. There will be a little heartbreak along the way at the doctor's hospital but it ends well. I won't spoil it for you. But trust me... everything will be okay. About the love of your life... he will soon prove to be the sincerest and kindest and most loving man you'll ever meet. No one else comes close. 

Travel more. You would think when you get a job, you'll have more money to fly. My darling, the problem is we don't have a lot of time. Plus it was definitely cheaper to travel around Europe from UK... so do it during your University years. You will not regret it. Spend less on materialistic goods if you can. I know those Balenciaga bags come in yummy colours... but you hardly use them now. 

Make wiser decisions especially with regards to the people you let in your life. I want to tell you to also think hard before making a commitment for example... your choice of Uni, or your degree, or your job... but I suppose that's something you have to go through yourself to understand. But if I could stop you from doing one thing... do not take Time Series Econometrics... that is so abstract it does not make any sense. You end up extremely stressed out the night before the exam (you passed btw) and had a few Redbulls. It was probably the last time you had it. You met more bestfriends in Nottingham... and darling, over the years you will understand why God gave them to you and why you have each other.

Lastly, do not let the heartbreaks and the evils of the world... and the horrendous online trolls... change your heart. I know you always want to do good, you always mean well... stay that way. We can't let disappointments get to us. Our heart can't harden just because we want to protect it. 

Live fully. Love deeply. Laugh harder. Worry less.

Love,
You

A Letter to my 15 Year Old Self

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Dear Nabeela,

You are probably freaking out right now and stressing out over your O' Levels. It will be okay. I'm glad you had fun in school and I'm glad you found some of your bestest friends there. They will be your pillars of strength growing up. Almost 15 years later, they are still people you run to. About your exam results, they were a little below your expectations. You studied hard and did your best and I know we sort of blanked out during additional math on a particular question that we've done over and over again. It happens... and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. It's honestly quite funny now.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes it. What's important is you try and keep trying. Actually, I'm not too worried about that. You're a dreamer... you're driven... you're ambitious. You had fire... honestly, a lot more fire than I have now. Along the way I sort of got discouraged but that's another story. I hope you never get discouraged... no matter what anyone says or does to you.

You are beautiful. I know we're not... Kendall Jenner beautiful haha (not sure if KUWTK are on air already back then but if it is... yes... Kendall will become the hottest Kardashian). We're not the obvious kind, no. I know this sounds cliche but... everybody IS beautiful in their own special way. Beauty in their smile, in their eyes, in the way they talk, in the way they walk, in the way they think. And kid you not, we just did two Bobbi Brown campaigns this year. Can you even believe that? I can't wrap my head around it sometimes. I'm just holding on to it for as long as I can... given the fast pace of the digital world. One day you're in, the next day you're out. But that's okay. We'll adapt.


You also meet the love of your life this year. It will be an amazing journey. You'll get married and it will be wonderful. There will be a little heartbreak along the way at the doctor's hospital but it ends well. I won't spoil it for you. But trust me... everything will be okay. About the love of your life... he will soon prove to be the sincerest and kindest and most loving man you'll ever meet. No one else comes close. 

Travel more. You would think when you get a job, you'll have more money to fly. My darling, the problem is we don't have a lot of time. Plus it was definitely cheaper to travel around Europe from UK... so do it during your University years. You will not regret it. Spend less on materialistic goods if you can. I know those Balenciaga bags come in yummy colours... but you hardly use them now. 

Make wiser decisions especially with regards to the people you let in your life. I want to tell you to also think hard before making a commitment for example... your choice of Uni, or your degree, or your job... but I suppose that's something you have to go through yourself to understand. But if I could stop you from doing one thing... do not take Time Series Econometrics... that is so abstract it does not make any sense. You end up extremely stressed out the night before the exam (you passed btw) and had a few Redbulls. It was probably the last time you had it. You met more bestfriends in Nottingham... and darling, over the years you will understand why God gave them to you and why you have each other.

Lastly, do not let the heartbreaks and the evils of the world... and the horrendous online trolls... change your heart. I know you always want to do good, you always mean well... stay that way. We can't let disappointments get to us. Our heart can't harden just because we want to protect it. 

Live fully. Love deeply. Laugh harder. Worry less.

Love,
You

I woke up 4am one morning just thinking and talking to myself. So here I am putting down my thoughts... I have a habit of doing that. Mind you I’m feeling a bit whoozy since I had only three hours of sleep before my brain started her motivational pep talk (at the time of writing this). I may be talking nonsense here and it isn't even the full version that was going through my mind. This is sort of a spin-off. 

Welcome to my Ted Talk.

I was never the patient kind. I can never sit still for long periods of time and I’m always itching to learn new things. The thought of leaving my development and progress up to luck and fate gives me anxiety. That pushed me to take the online fashion course back in 2015, which eventually led to the birth of my social media life and LMN. 

Some people probably wonder why the sudden deviation from finance. I mean... let’s be real here, some of you think being a blogger just means splashing our vanity across social media... but being active on social media has taught me a lot. 

Five main things I learnt from social media:

1. Entrepreneurial skills


When you're paid to showcase a product on your platform, you essentially become a standalone advertising and marketing company. You become a service provider but not just for your client but to the end-users as well. Your job is to reach as much audience as you can while providing them accurate information and sincere thoughts with regards to the product. You learn about the strategies that work best which includes, the type of marketing that gets the best engagement, the best time to post such photos (probably a bit less of a factor now thanks to the unhelpful algorithm changes), etc. 

2. More confident in valuing my work

Initially when I started getting inquiries about potential collaborations, I did a lot of work for free because I found it hard and uncomfortable to put a value on my work. Eventually after you realize how much it was worth especially when you use up your free time to think of a theme, put a story together, edit it, or take time away from your family, you're more confident to put a figure down. If they value you, then they'll agree.

3. Branding

Building that marketing platform is a form of personal branding. After going through a few collaborations, the definition of your brand becomes clearer and clearer. You would know who your target market is. You would know if you're specialized towards a niche market or you're a general one who caters to the wider market. You learn that being true to your brand is important. 



4. Being less wary about what people think, makes you more productive

At the beginning I used to really care about what people thought of me and what I do but I realize that if we learn to care less about other people and put more focus on what you love... your creativity just flows and your product on social media improves. Like in the real world, the moment you stop caring about what others think or say, you'll be happier. You wouldn't be able to be productive at work every time you took a bad comment to heart. Just focus on your work, your art... focus on developing yourself and delivering the best you can. If others don't see it... then going back to #2... if they don't see your value, they're not your target market... and that's okay.


5. People love realness

I feel like a lot of businesses haven't mastered the art of story-telling nor do they understand the importance of having a story behind the products they sell. I love this about people. We love realness and human connection despite living in such a disconnected world. 



Love,

5 things I learnt from Social Media

Monday, 30 September 2019


I woke up 4am one morning just thinking and talking to myself. So here I am putting down my thoughts... I have a habit of doing that. Mind you I’m feeling a bit whoozy since I had only three hours of sleep before my brain started her motivational pep talk (at the time of writing this). I may be talking nonsense here and it isn't even the full version that was going through my mind. This is sort of a spin-off. 

Welcome to my Ted Talk.

I was never the patient kind. I can never sit still for long periods of time and I’m always itching to learn new things. The thought of leaving my development and progress up to luck and fate gives me anxiety. That pushed me to take the online fashion course back in 2015, which eventually led to the birth of my social media life and LMN. 

Some people probably wonder why the sudden deviation from finance. I mean... let’s be real here, some of you think being a blogger just means splashing our vanity across social media... but being active on social media has taught me a lot. 

Five main things I learnt from social media:

1. Entrepreneurial skills


When you're paid to showcase a product on your platform, you essentially become a standalone advertising and marketing company. You become a service provider but not just for your client but to the end-users as well. Your job is to reach as much audience as you can while providing them accurate information and sincere thoughts with regards to the product. You learn about the strategies that work best which includes, the type of marketing that gets the best engagement, the best time to post such photos (probably a bit less of a factor now thanks to the unhelpful algorithm changes), etc. 

2. More confident in valuing my work

Initially when I started getting inquiries about potential collaborations, I did a lot of work for free because I found it hard and uncomfortable to put a value on my work. Eventually after you realize how much it was worth especially when you use up your free time to think of a theme, put a story together, edit it, or take time away from your family, you're more confident to put a figure down. If they value you, then they'll agree.

3. Branding

Building that marketing platform is a form of personal branding. After going through a few collaborations, the definition of your brand becomes clearer and clearer. You would know who your target market is. You would know if you're specialized towards a niche market or you're a general one who caters to the wider market. You learn that being true to your brand is important. 



4. Being less wary about what people think, makes you more productive

At the beginning I used to really care about what people thought of me and what I do but I realize that if we learn to care less about other people and put more focus on what you love... your creativity just flows and your product on social media improves. Like in the real world, the moment you stop caring about what others think or say, you'll be happier. You wouldn't be able to be productive at work every time you took a bad comment to heart. Just focus on your work, your art... focus on developing yourself and delivering the best you can. If others don't see it... then going back to #2... if they don't see your value, they're not your target market... and that's okay.


5. People love realness

I feel like a lot of businesses haven't mastered the art of story-telling nor do they understand the importance of having a story behind the products they sell. I love this about people. We love realness and human connection despite living in such a disconnected world. 



Love,

I'm experiencing major travel withdrawals and in the spirit of celebrating our anniversary, why not walk down memory lane and think about some travel moments with Mr. LMN. This is a fun exercise for my memory too... some holidays date back to a decade ago and isn't it great to just reflect and think about the good ol' times? Makes you feel more grateful because sometimes you just forget about them entirely. 

Hawaii and LA:
Favourite memory of this trip has definitely got to be snorkeling in the open water with manta rays at night while we were in Hawaii. It's actually in the list of top 100 things you have to see before you die. It's true. It's like watching ballet underwater by these huge graceful creatures. Trust me, you have to go see it for yourself. We also went on a helicopter over the whole island, including an active volcano.






Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane:
I remember loving the yummy brunch cafes in Melbourne and was totally in love with our trip down Great Ocean Road, but looking back I would go back for the fresh seafood at the Sydney Fish Market. That was the crunchiest grilled octopus we've ever had. However, the funniest moment of the trip was when we climbed up Sydney Harbour Bridge and a bird shat on my shoulder. There was a large area of space underneath, you guys... but nooooo, it decided to take a crap right above me. At that moment, it was horrible but I can laugh at it now.



Bangkok and Koh Phi Phi:
This was such a beautiful island. I was blown away with Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio. I hope our future generations are able to experience this kind of beauty because it truly is phenomenal. Despite the beauty, however, I was the most cranky person on this trip because it was super hot and humid, and I constantly had sand in my feet... even in our hotel room! We laugh about it now but hahaha I was not a fun travel companion on this trip. Sorry babe.



Umrah:
This was a beautiful trip. Madinah was a magical place that really makes you forget about all your worries and all the worldly things that are temporary. It made me feel calm and at peace at a much needed time of my life. Funny moment? That bird in the photo... yup it pooped on me. Another city, another poop story.



Paris (2009):
This was us at Disneyland on Alifah's birthday. In honor of celebrating her birthday, she made me go on the ride at the back called Space Mountain. Now I hate rides. I'm always anxious so I don't understand people who consciously choose to have that feeling. But I went on it anyway to prove our friendship. I cried. I cried a few seconds in and then another 5-10 minutes after I got off. It was hilarious but I'm never getting on a ride ever again. I love Paris... it really is the city of love. We went again in 2015 with our families.





New York and Washington:
This was a fun trip! We flew with our friends and stayed in beautiful Air BnBs. We've flown to New York City before in 2011 for 3 days as students and we absolutely loved it. This time we went for two weeks and got to experience more things. We watched plays--one of which had Josh Groban in it. We queued up 4 hours in the rain to go see Statue of Liberty for like 4 seconds--quite surprised we didn't catch a cold. BUT FUNNY STORY (of course this would happen to me)... on the way back from Statue of Liberty, I fell on my bum in a puddle of mud in front of a billion tourists (and I swear I heard a little laughing). Still loving this trip though. We had so much fun trying to watch the ball drop live (total failure btw and this was the one where Mariah Carey had that blunder) but ended up having a cozy dinner. We cycled up a hill in Washington and I realized that my resistance was at the fullest which explained why everyone was cycling faster than me. I was in suede and wearing heeled boots too. Fashion over safety.




Mallorca:
A spontaneous trip with friends. It was just for a few nights to escape thesis-writing. We went snorkeling, I had the worse experience of motion-sickness, puked on our raft, fell asleep while everyone else was swimming with fishes and then woke up having the worse sunburn. I was 10 shades darker, not lying!



Istanbul:
No funny stories here but it was our first trip with both our families so that was special. We did hang around at this area outside a mosque until a local told us it was where they washed dead bodies. So... really really sorry about that. We should have known. The food there was scrumptious! No bird pooped on me.



Now we get to fly with a third-wheeler and yes the dynamics have changed. It's a little trickier but we wouldn't have it any other way. To many more adventures, my love. InshaAllah. Happy Anniversary.

Love,


Adventures with You

Monday, 16 September 2019

I'm experiencing major travel withdrawals and in the spirit of celebrating our anniversary, why not walk down memory lane and think about some travel moments with Mr. LMN. This is a fun exercise for my memory too... some holidays date back to a decade ago and isn't it great to just reflect and think about the good ol' times? Makes you feel more grateful because sometimes you just forget about them entirely. 

Hawaii and LA:
Favourite memory of this trip has definitely got to be snorkeling in the open water with manta rays at night while we were in Hawaii. It's actually in the list of top 100 things you have to see before you die. It's true. It's like watching ballet underwater by these huge graceful creatures. Trust me, you have to go see it for yourself. We also went on a helicopter over the whole island, including an active volcano.






Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane:
I remember loving the yummy brunch cafes in Melbourne and was totally in love with our trip down Great Ocean Road, but looking back I would go back for the fresh seafood at the Sydney Fish Market. That was the crunchiest grilled octopus we've ever had. However, the funniest moment of the trip was when we climbed up Sydney Harbour Bridge and a bird shat on my shoulder. There was a large area of space underneath, you guys... but nooooo, it decided to take a crap right above me. At that moment, it was horrible but I can laugh at it now.



Bangkok and Koh Phi Phi:
This was such a beautiful island. I was blown away with Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio. I hope our future generations are able to experience this kind of beauty because it truly is phenomenal. Despite the beauty, however, I was the most cranky person on this trip because it was super hot and humid, and I constantly had sand in my feet... even in our hotel room! We laugh about it now but hahaha I was not a fun travel companion on this trip. Sorry babe.



Umrah:
This was a beautiful trip. Madinah was a magical place that really makes you forget about all your worries and all the worldly things that are temporary. It made me feel calm and at peace at a much needed time of my life. Funny moment? That bird in the photo... yup it pooped on me. Another city, another poop story.



Paris (2009):
This was us at Disneyland on Alifah's birthday. In honor of celebrating her birthday, she made me go on the ride at the back called Space Mountain. Now I hate rides. I'm always anxious so I don't understand people who consciously choose to have that feeling. But I went on it anyway to prove our friendship. I cried. I cried a few seconds in and then another 5-10 minutes after I got off. It was hilarious but I'm never getting on a ride ever again. I love Paris... it really is the city of love. We went again in 2015 with our families.





New York and Washington:
This was a fun trip! We flew with our friends and stayed in beautiful Air BnBs. We've flown to New York City before in 2011 for 3 days as students and we absolutely loved it. This time we went for two weeks and got to experience more things. We watched plays--one of which had Josh Groban in it. We queued up 4 hours in the rain to go see Statue of Liberty for like 4 seconds--quite surprised we didn't catch a cold. BUT FUNNY STORY (of course this would happen to me)... on the way back from Statue of Liberty, I fell on my bum in a puddle of mud in front of a billion tourists (and I swear I heard a little laughing). Still loving this trip though. We had so much fun trying to watch the ball drop live (total failure btw and this was the one where Mariah Carey had that blunder) but ended up having a cozy dinner. We cycled up a hill in Washington and I realized that my resistance was at the fullest which explained why everyone was cycling faster than me. I was in suede and wearing heeled boots too. Fashion over safety.




Mallorca:
A spontaneous trip with friends. It was just for a few nights to escape thesis-writing. We went snorkeling, I had the worse experience of motion-sickness, puked on our raft, fell asleep while everyone else was swimming with fishes and then woke up having the worse sunburn. I was 10 shades darker, not lying!



Istanbul:
No funny stories here but it was our first trip with both our families so that was special. We did hang around at this area outside a mosque until a local told us it was where they washed dead bodies. So... really really sorry about that. We should have known. The food there was scrumptious! No bird pooped on me.



Now we get to fly with a third-wheeler and yes the dynamics have changed. It's a little trickier but we wouldn't have it any other way. To many more adventures, my love. InshaAllah. Happy Anniversary.

Love,


Before I became a mom, I had this entire parenting plan all worked out. Then the baby came and the plan magically turned into dust and you learn to live life precariously and spontaneously. Everyday is just unpredictable and you start making decisions you never thought you would. How to handle youtube is one of them. So last week, I asked my Instagram family whether they limited their children's screen times and if they did, how do they distract them away from it and when do they allow it. About 310 people responded, of which 90% limit their children's screen time.




Now, being a mom... I hate it when other people mom-shame other moms. Every mom is just doing their best trying to stay sane while keeping their babies happy and safe. So whichever you prefer, you do you, boo. You are doing absolutely amazing and you're kicking total ass. Don't let other people put you down and judge you for being a working mom, a SAHM, for not fully breastfeeding, for giving them the pacifier, for allowing screen time, for taking hours away to do your nails or whatever because you have your reasons and it's none of their business.

Anyway, pulling myself out of that mom-shaming rant now to get on with the main point of this post: Youtube. It's obviously different for each and every child, and obviously you know what's best for your own kid. With my little prince, we try to limit his screen time for various reasons. Firstly, his eyesight. I'm a bit worried that the glare from the screen would ruin his eyesight quite early in his life. Secondly, (we realized this at the beginning) he does not respond to us when he's engrossed with these videos on Youtube. Initially, this worried me so much, I was worried about his attention and concentration span, as well as his ability to interact with other people. So we limited his exposure, read him books and entertained him with flashcards and toys... and Alhamdulillah that's when he began to start speaking.

Those who have responded typically allowed for screen time when we want them to just stay put i.e. during diaper changes, when they're eating, when we're eating (lol so true), when we're getting ready to go to work, on the plane, at restaurants while waiting for food to arrive and when they've resorted to emotional blackmail and thrown out tantrums on full blast (while sometimes I probably shouldn't give in to this, other times it's a survival mechanism for us to stay sane hahaha those who don't agree with me are lying). 

While I'm sharing your responses, let me just share a bit more... a lot of you limit the screen times to only 2 hours a week or only during term holidays. Faye (hi!) plays Youtube on TV so her son doesn't get to choose and eventually gets bored of it. One even changed her phone's wallpaper to a photo of the Joker so her nieces never touch her phone anymore hahaha. Genius. Another mommy also just downloads the videos and switches off the wifi, and that way her son isn't able to fall into the Youtube rabbit hole which we are all guilty of. 

What do we distract them with? You guys responded with a bunch of stuff, mainly toys, puzzles, books, giving them our attention by playing with them and introducing them to more outdoor activities etc. I totally agree with this. I think with Umair, you have to just quickly distract him with something else. I am in love with whoever made Pinkfong song books though. You guys are awesome. That helped us a lot because Umair loves them and it basically makes our car trips more peaceful. He has other books too now but his Baby Shark and Dinosaur song books are still the saviors... and now he knows the names of some dinosaurs which is amazing. At 1 and 10 months, I don't think I knew what a Stegosaurus was. In fact, mom told me I only started talking when I was 3... and now I can't ever seem to shut up that I even felt the need to open a blog to write down my thoughts!

When he wants Youtube in our room, we play it on the big screen and he does eventually get bored and starts playing with his football and slide (and suddenly there's a big mess of my lotion on the floor and he's totally dismembered the insides of his dad's wallet). I do love it for the songs and music though. Umair loves to dance to them and the other day we were so shocked to hear him singing to all these songs. We've also downloaded apps that we'd prefer him use other than Youtube like Dave and Ava's Numbers & Counting and Alphabets. He learnt numbers and alphabets mostly from there. There are some good and bad in giving screen time, I suppose. Good is like when he rejects a call I don't want to pick up haha bless. Anyway, jokes aside... thank you everyone who's shared their stories. Like I said before, the mommy community online rocks. Sending love to each and every one of you!

Love,

The Umair Takeover: Youtube

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Before I became a mom, I had this entire parenting plan all worked out. Then the baby came and the plan magically turned into dust and you learn to live life precariously and spontaneously. Everyday is just unpredictable and you start making decisions you never thought you would. How to handle youtube is one of them. So last week, I asked my Instagram family whether they limited their children's screen times and if they did, how do they distract them away from it and when do they allow it. About 310 people responded, of which 90% limit their children's screen time.




Now, being a mom... I hate it when other people mom-shame other moms. Every mom is just doing their best trying to stay sane while keeping their babies happy and safe. So whichever you prefer, you do you, boo. You are doing absolutely amazing and you're kicking total ass. Don't let other people put you down and judge you for being a working mom, a SAHM, for not fully breastfeeding, for giving them the pacifier, for allowing screen time, for taking hours away to do your nails or whatever because you have your reasons and it's none of their business.

Anyway, pulling myself out of that mom-shaming rant now to get on with the main point of this post: Youtube. It's obviously different for each and every child, and obviously you know what's best for your own kid. With my little prince, we try to limit his screen time for various reasons. Firstly, his eyesight. I'm a bit worried that the glare from the screen would ruin his eyesight quite early in his life. Secondly, (we realized this at the beginning) he does not respond to us when he's engrossed with these videos on Youtube. Initially, this worried me so much, I was worried about his attention and concentration span, as well as his ability to interact with other people. So we limited his exposure, read him books and entertained him with flashcards and toys... and Alhamdulillah that's when he began to start speaking.

Those who have responded typically allowed for screen time when we want them to just stay put i.e. during diaper changes, when they're eating, when we're eating (lol so true), when we're getting ready to go to work, on the plane, at restaurants while waiting for food to arrive and when they've resorted to emotional blackmail and thrown out tantrums on full blast (while sometimes I probably shouldn't give in to this, other times it's a survival mechanism for us to stay sane hahaha those who don't agree with me are lying). 

While I'm sharing your responses, let me just share a bit more... a lot of you limit the screen times to only 2 hours a week or only during term holidays. Faye (hi!) plays Youtube on TV so her son doesn't get to choose and eventually gets bored of it. One even changed her phone's wallpaper to a photo of the Joker so her nieces never touch her phone anymore hahaha. Genius. Another mommy also just downloads the videos and switches off the wifi, and that way her son isn't able to fall into the Youtube rabbit hole which we are all guilty of. 

What do we distract them with? You guys responded with a bunch of stuff, mainly toys, puzzles, books, giving them our attention by playing with them and introducing them to more outdoor activities etc. I totally agree with this. I think with Umair, you have to just quickly distract him with something else. I am in love with whoever made Pinkfong song books though. You guys are awesome. That helped us a lot because Umair loves them and it basically makes our car trips more peaceful. He has other books too now but his Baby Shark and Dinosaur song books are still the saviors... and now he knows the names of some dinosaurs which is amazing. At 1 and 10 months, I don't think I knew what a Stegosaurus was. In fact, mom told me I only started talking when I was 3... and now I can't ever seem to shut up that I even felt the need to open a blog to write down my thoughts!

When he wants Youtube in our room, we play it on the big screen and he does eventually get bored and starts playing with his football and slide (and suddenly there's a big mess of my lotion on the floor and he's totally dismembered the insides of his dad's wallet). I do love it for the songs and music though. Umair loves to dance to them and the other day we were so shocked to hear him singing to all these songs. We've also downloaded apps that we'd prefer him use other than Youtube like Dave and Ava's Numbers & Counting and Alphabets. He learnt numbers and alphabets mostly from there. There are some good and bad in giving screen time, I suppose. Good is like when he rejects a call I don't want to pick up haha bless. Anyway, jokes aside... thank you everyone who's shared their stories. Like I said before, the mommy community online rocks. Sending love to each and every one of you!

Love,

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