Friday, December 30, 2005

You don't know POOR

I didn't know what poor was until I went out of the US. I think anyone who has been abroad for anything other than a vacation knows what I am talking about.

Now that I am in Wyoming, I can say I NEVER see anyone who is truly destitute. Actually what I see is mothers with kids from three different men getting housing, food stamps, medical care and assistance with their utilities from the Wyoming government. What I see is people quitting their second job so their income is low enough to have government housing.

In contrast, in Egypt I saw the porter in the building I was in making somewhere around 100 pounds a month to support his entire family. Here was a guy hauling trash, washing cars, carrying bags for people, and really WORKING... And he couldn't afford the basic necessities. I thought to myself that family is on the edge between survival and being on the streets. If that man lost an arm, became paralyzed, had a heart problem... His income would be gone and so would the housing his work provides. I don't think I have ever seen anything like that here in the US.

I am not saying that the US is superior, or that other governments should do more to help their people; because I don't think that. Egypt for example has government hospitals and Drs who work out of clinics at Islamic centers for nominal fees. In ways Egypt is succeeding in a way that we are not in that area. What I am saying is that America is unusual in this respect. In a way we are spoiled. We don't even worry about the level of poverty that exists in other countries because we know the government will be there if we are ever that poor.

But, contrary to that being good thing I wonder if this mentality isn't hurting us in the long run. How many of the mothers here in Wyoming are ready to go away from getting everything from the state and work to pay the same bills? Why are young healthy people living off the state when they can work (and though the jobs aren't all glamorous they are there)? I guess I just see this increasing reliance on the government among people my age and younger... And this weird mentality that they will be paying it all back sooner or later when they get a "real job" and pay taxes. What happened to the self reliance that people in the US exhibited in the past? When did that get replaced with a grab what you can approach to government services? How much longer can the government keep up with the increasing demands?

These are the things that go through my mind when I am in Egypt and I get stuck in traffic and I see the vegetable cart being tended by an entire family complete with naked toddlers running dangerously close to the traffic. You are looking at their entire fortune there in front of you. Alhamdulilah, I guess I just never knew poor growing up here in the US.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hat tip to "Nice Guys"

I was watching a stand up comic the other day and he said something that just spilt my sides because it is sooooo true. He said he was reading a woman's magazine that had a poll on what fantasy man women want... The answer? 70% said a "Dangerous Man". The comics comment on that was "Well, they must be thinking of James Bond or something because in reality when you marry the dangerous man you are that woman on an episode of cops hanging out the trailer door in your tank top screaming, "Lock his a*& up!" while they haul your husband away." How true, how true... And yet I see young girls chasing after these bad boys all the time. I can only hope that they will have the sense to settle down with a "Nice Guy".

This leads me to another subject entirely... How American women seem to give "Nice Guys" the cold shoulder. "Nice" is the kiss of death for guys looking for a spouse. Now, you may think I am talking only to the non-Muslim world... That this only applies to dating situations... But NO. I have seen really great brothers get turned down cold because the sister isn't impressed when she sees him. HUH? Are we window shopping here? And the same goes for brothers looking for a wife. Remember the advice of the prophet on choosing a wife, the best criteria is the religion.

Now before you dismiss me let me give you the case of a brother who I know who I think is a really wonderful guy. He started with the traditional through the community meeting sisters eligible for marriage. Now he is Middle Eastern, so he started with sisters from this group. One time he went to a house to meet the daughter of a man he knew from the masjid who seemed to be approving of the idea of him seeking one of his daughters. The sister saw him from the other room, and never went into meet him. After an awkward dinner the young brother was informed that the daughter was not "ready" for marriage yet, she still had a year of college to finish. On another occasion he was told the same thing after only a few minutes with the father this time he left with the impression that they thought he was not wealthy enough because of his car... Long story short, this brother gave up on the ummah. He started trying to meet women at the university. They thought he was too "nice" and were confused by the whole not wanting a physical relationship thing. In the end he married an American convert years later... But how crazy is it that this brother so clearly ready to marry had to wait?

So, I just want to say to the "Nice Guys" out there that there are those of us out there who appreciate you... Don't get discouraged. There are sisters out there who are looking for someone just like you. And I also want to say to sisters if you dismiss a brother because he isn't devastatingly handsome, or seems a little awkward the first time you meet him... You may just be passing up the kind of man who will give you a loving home and a fulfilling marriage for many years to come... So think twice, and look deep when you are meeting a potential spouse. And brothers,that applies to you too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Your results may vary...

I am a big believer in the no quick fixes, no firm answers school of life. I try to look at things from this perspective. I find this to be especially true of parenting. When my daughter is having a "bad day" I find myself looking for an overall pattern that might lead to an answer...

Well today was one of those days. And I am sitting here accessing the situation to the best of my ability and wondering what is going on. I can honestly say I have no idea. What can I do about it? No idea again. She certainly can tell vocabulary wise... She just lacks the emotional maturity to verbalize her feelings. My only inkling of an idea is that it has something to do with the leap she is making in her reading and becoming a more independent person.

It seems as if every major phase in our development can be accompanied by such frustration. Or not. My son has weathered these changes well. Masha'Allah, he seems to be an even tempered boy. My oldest and my youngest are prone to emotional thunderstorms of frustration whenever they are growing developmentally.

I guess my question is, what do I as a parent do about this? DH is inclined to be strict, to set more limits... I am inclined to give more room for error, let more things pass unnoticed... And then I think of the book Kids are Worth It and I try to imagine a way to give her structure and limits without becoming a "brick wall parent" and how to let her make her mistakes without being a "jellyfish parent". I can definitely say that having a six year old is the hardest task I have faced so far in life. And it makes me seriously wonder about my ability to cope with a teenager!LOL

I guess I am just in awe of the whole experience. I am overwhelmed with the sense that I will have an impact on her future and I have to deal with everything in the right way. I pray for strength I pray for guidance, and I just take it one challenge at a time. Subhan'Allah. And people think having a new baby is hard... I tell them "I already know what to do with a new baby! You can't really put a six year old in the sling and walk around until she sleeps, can you?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Battle of wills

So yesterday DH freaked out and decided that he was most definitely not for having a home birth. He did the same with homeschooling the first year... He just called me while I was in Denver rambling something about sending Layla to school in a neighboring town where she could enter Kindergarten early. We sent her to a half day program at a private school here in town that year. Sometimes I think he should've married someone more conventional... He sincerely doesn't understand why I don't just have another c-section... He really doesn't know why I am so set on homeschooling.

I am tired of locking horns over things that are important to me... And I am tired of always being the one who compromises. This time, I don't know if I can back down... So it looks like I will either be fighting hospital staff or my own husband about this birth. UGH

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Various thoughts today...

Well, I have been seriously lacking in time these days... I feel like the day just fly’s by. Yesterday I went to a meeting in FT Collins about a midwifery course I am planning to take, insha'Allah. I also ran all over the area after the meeting looking for affordable living room furniture, only to discover that there is no such thing. I guess my standard of "affordable" is unattainable. Huh.

In other news, I am trying my best to stick to the Brewer diet... And after reading a thing about adequate weight gain during pregnancy yesterday, I have renewed my resolve to eat well. I have stayed at 5 lbs under my weight when I first discovered I was pregnant. Probably due to an aversion to food in general when I am pregnant. I had a favorite of mine the other night and found myself forcing it down. I will never understand why I only have an appetite when it isn't useful or healthy for me. Ya'Allah!

Also, it seems like things in Egypt have gotten crazy... Which means we have started saving to go, insha’Allah. Of course this is a big headache/stressor for me since now I get to play financial gatekeeper (aka big meany who says no to everything) for the next few months. Not to mention I don't know how I am going to get things straightened out here in time to go in March/April like we want to. Planning to be abroad for an entire month or more is overwhelming. I wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to move!LOL The problem is finding ways to pay ahead, or shut off services we won't be using for the month or two we are gone. It seems easy, but the truth is since everything that involves time and frustration seems to fall to me I will be doing all of it... Which makes it a pain in the neck. And then of course there is finding an affordable plane ticket without having to connect 10 times and spend 7 hours in the airport in Amsterdam or something, and I don't even want to discuss that!LOL

Hmmmm, that all sounds really negative doesn't it? Well, on the good side I have been spending some time and $ on the house getting it in some reasonable semblance of order. It is slow, but alhamdulilah it is looking better. Now if I could only motivate myself to tackle the toys and school supplies...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Competitive parenting rant

My DH had a brother over for an early lunch yesterday while I was out with the kids... And somehow (probably thanks to mini underwear lying somewhere on our floor!LOL) the subject got to potty training. Our youngest is currently potty training (he will be three in January. My husband had the experience that I have had 1,000 times... The brother started talking about how his son was potty trained before two. Brothers, have you been dragged into the world of competitive parenting too?????

I feel like Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman's characters in Meet the Fockers... You know the part where they are showing the new in-laws the wall with all the mementos on it? When did raising children become a contest? I hate to be the one to constantly restate the obvious... But all children go through different stages of development at different times. There is no better or worse.

I want to get away from this false sense of accomplishment that some people have about these things. I would argue that kids are suffering from it. No child should be pushed to do something before they are ready just so the parent can feel a sense of accomplishment.

Take the example of potty training. Children are ready to learn bladder and bowel control at different ages, the sensation and the muscle control are a developmental stage. Now I know someone out there has done the potty training a 6 month old thing... And I believe you, but you have really trained yourself to respond to your child’s subtle signals and cues. That aside, kids will simply reach an age where the signs tell you they have reached that stage. No amount of reward or punishment will help them to get there sooner. And you will only make yourself and your child miserable trying to force it. I would say it is right up there with tying to get your pet fish to sit up and beg. If your child potty trained at 1 1/2... (I know I'm going to ruffle some feathers here) Don't pat yourself on the back, they were just ready.

And starting solids at an early age is another one (which you will see reversed to starting solids late in some groups where BFing advocacy is big). Once again, either your child is ready to eat and digest solids or not. You can't force it early because the tongue thrust reflex and the digestive system readiness are something you can't control. Nor should you. I know baby dishes and spoons are cute, but starting solids will not give your child more nutrition, help her sleep through the night or make her gain more weight. And yet this is another one I hear women comparing all the time...

And my favorite and the one that I am most likely to snap if someone tells me about it... Sleeping through the night. Yeah, it really irks me to hear,"Yeah, Mahmoud slept through the might ever since I brought him home from the hospital, masha'Allah!". No, sorry Ferber and every other scheduling nut job out there... The only thing a little baby who is "sleeping through the night" is doing is learning that no one is coming to get them, so there is no reason to cry. Sad and once again some people get all mad when I make that analogy, but that is the fact. And even an older child who does sleep for a longer stretch probably only sleeps for 6 hours or so. Sleeping though the night just happens, it is a developmental stage. Once again, sorry folks... Not a mark of superior parenting.

And finally... Big babies. I am just shy of five feet tall... and for many years hovered around 100lbs. My husband is a bigger guy, and he was athletic in his youth. We have had both small and big children. My middle one, big baby. My first and third were both small. That's genetics kids. And the most ferocious nurser of them all was the smallest. Yeah, go figure. So, when people praised me for my middle son's size... I was always a little irritated. I was happy he was a big boy, masha'Allah, but I never thought I had anything to do with it. Besides, my first child elicited the opposite response since she was small, so maybe I was a little jaded. PLEASE, don't stress about your child's size!!! And this is one even Drs put you in the competition on, "Yes Ms Abdelmalik your son is doing well, he is on the 90th percentile! Keep up the good work!" or "Ms Abdulrahman... I think you should consider supplementing your son's diet with formula, he is only in the 10th percentile." Hmmm, did a Dr ever look at the whole thing and just say, must be this child's growth pattern??? How I would LOVE to show some of the people who thought I was starving my daughter today now that she is a normal height.

Now I know that everyone has their own style parenting... And I am willing to allow for that. But sisters, and apparently brothers too... Can we please stop comparing our children on these archaic and useless things? Maybe you should think of it like this... Would you dare to look at another person's child and boldly proclaim that your parenting was obviously superior due to the perfection of your child's nose? Yes, it is the same. Allah made all of us differently, with little internal clocks running at different paces. No parent is better than another because their child is taller, potty trained earlier, slept through the night from day one and ate solids foods from birth. Give your child space to mature at their own pace. If you want to rush something's development go plant a garden and punish the tomatoes for not ripening fast enough.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My kingdom for a garage!

So it has been freezing here in WY for the last few days. No, I mean like below zero with wind-chill freezing. And what have I been coveting? A garage. What I wouldn't give to park my van inside and load the kids inside and not have to run out into the blistering cold to retrieve something I forgot in the car.

As it stands I have been running out with kids bundled in as many layers as I can muster starting with thermals and ending with coats with a special fleece inner coat. All of which takes about 15-20 minutes to do every time I leave the house. What do people who live in Alaska do? I am ready for a warmer place any time now.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Baby hat

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So is a blueberry gender neutral? I am making an adorable little baby hat pattern... But since it is a fruit hat it looks a little girly, I decided on a blueberry since it seems like the most neutral of all.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Never say never...

So, I know I said I would never consider an unassisted home birth because of the DH factor... But I am considering it now. I was thinking that along the lines of playing it by ear and only calling someone if I felt I needed to. The drawback, I couldn't really tell DH my plan. I normally don't encourage this level of concealment in marriage... But mine is a weird case and DH is really not open to the idea at all.

At the insistence of DH I went to a nurse midwife yesterday to hear an "all fine"... And I actually really liked her. We were thinking to visit a "medical professional" a few times during the pregnancy to cover our butts in case of transfer anyway, so I think we will go to her. DH is urging me to consider just delivering in Cheyenne with her, but I don't want to deliver in a hospital if I can avoid it. Maybe she's my back up plan if for some reason I have to deliver in the hospital.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pregnancy dreams

I have some crazy dreams when I am pregnant... And it seems like last night was the first one for this baby.

I was in the hospital (for some unknown reason) and they were telling me I was going to have to have a c-section. I was alone. I was all gowned up and in a bed in a room waiting for the anesthesiology person and they brought in a really sick guy with bloodshot eyes wasting away in his bed. I got frantic trying to get up to go but I was stuck in the bed for some reason. So, I called my husband on all our numbers and no answer. So I am struggling to get away, and they are telling me I have to stay or I am risking the baby and myself. I am fighting the nurses and doctors and I woke up at that point.

Hmmm, all I can think is that this dream has something to do with the fear of having a baby in the hospital leading to things I don't want... With hospitals being a place for illness not birth. And of course my fear of having another c-section. I have the feeling that this is going to be "the" dream for this pregnancy... Anyone else have dreams like this during pregnancy? My other one is that I realize it must be the day of judgment because I am a midwife and I am pregnant and not only have I delivered several babies that day (it takes place in some kind of camp) but I find myself in labor.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I am a mess, and I am over it

I have been fighting the mess in our house since my DH and I moved in together in 1999. We both tend to be cluttered, and he is a MAJOR pack rat. I have watched as he collects things we don't need. I have had the misfortune to have gotten rid of something only for him to come looking for it a year later. Every time we move I purge... In his mind every time we move I lose things.

So, in spite of the fighting that it causes, I have reached this zen state about a certain percentage of the mess. I am one with the mess. It will never change, and no matter how much DH complains there is simply no way to "organize" his collection of junk. Throw it yes, organize it no. Hmmm, has anyone ever decided on separate houses because of clutter????

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

DH and the mystery illness, again

In 2003 my husband was hospitalized with an illness that basically boils down to pneumonia... They weren't even sure he was going to make it. Then in 2004 same thing, but this time worse. So they ambulance him to Colorado. Where they do lots of testing and find nothing. Now, here we are again this year and he is in the hospital again with the same thing.

This time, they want to transfer us to National Jewish... Great, but we are afraid of the cost and what happens in the long term there. Are we going to end up losing his job and having thousands in bills? So, we are trying to get him in as a research case or something. After all he is an unknown at this point. Bottom line, we need to go there... The big question is how?????

Please keep him in your dua. We are not walking out of the hospital without a diagnosis and a plan this time. It seems like this thing is just lying in wait, but it is always there.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Modest Maternity?

So, here I am already big... No, huge for dates. Actually, I am thinking I may be really off with my LMP date or something. But, I don't want to have an ultrasound to see where I am because I am uncertain of their safety at this point. So, here I am wondering what's up with a second trimester tummy at 9 weeks. Chalk it up to this being my fourth pregnancy I guess. Anyway....

The whole situation has me thinking maternity clothes. And once again I am going to have to face wading through racks and racks of clothes that I would never wear. But, much to my dismay it seems worse this time than when I was pregnant with Yousuf more than three years ago.

I guess there are some women out there who look great in these fitted, tummy showing type clothes... But what if I would never put a leg in a pair of these stretch jeans and midriff baring t-shirts? What are other hijabis out there doing for maternity clothes? Last time I got some plus size stuff... But I hate it because the top half is always too big and the shoulders on the jumpers keep slipping. They just make them so big across the shoulders!

So, I am thinking I will do what I did when I had the same dilemma with nursing clothes. I am going to make my maternity clothes. I am wondering though... Do you sisters think there is a market for modest maternity clothes out there? I certainly can't seem to find many places selling them. Maybe I should start a website for maternity/nursing clothes for Muslim women. Of course business ventures involving the ummah are unstable at best. Everyone gets things cheaper "back home". Hmmm, been pondering it a lot lately...

Our Eid

So, we have spent the last two days celebrating Eid at our house. The first day was at the mosque here in Laramie. They played games and there was tons of food... Then we went shopping yesterday for some new toys for the kids, new clothes... And last night we had a nice dinner at Red Lobster. Yummy!

Also, right before Eid we went and got two lambs from a local rancher and slaughtered them and cleaned them on his ranch. And as much as I like having the freezer full of fresh halal organic meat... It was a major pain cutting up all that meat!LOL It took us an entire evening. We started at 8pm got to bed at like 3am. But, alhamdulilah, we only do it like once a year. And we got quite a bit of meat from these lambs. Maybe I would be more enthusiastic about it if I wasn't the type of person who can live without meat.

Anyway, overall we had a pretty good Eid. Insha'Allah we can do some better planning for the next Eid an it will be even better!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fess up

OK, so I have to fess up to something... I kinda miss celebrating the holidays (as in thanksgiving and Christmas).

I hope I am not alone in this, but every year as the holiday season rolls around I grow a little nostalgic thinking of Christmas trees and holiday baking. Maybe I could chalk it up feeling like the Islamic holidays are not a big event here in the states... Maybe it is some sort of wanting to retreat to an easier time in my life... I can't say for sure.

I am not bagging on Muslim holidays by any means. I just feel like some days I would really love to be baking a turkey in the oven and decorating a tree. Not because of the holiday it represents, but because of the sort of cultural holiday season it all represents. Religion was never a big part of the holidays in my family, we were strictly consumer American holiday types.

I guess it honestly just amounts to a weakness in iman of some sort. And I think it is also about me not feeling settled in my life even though we have a family and technically should be settled. Anyway, I just wanted to share... Thinking I can't be totally alone in this!

Edit right after posting:
I was just thinking that a big factor could also be the familiarity of American holidays. I know them well... No invention, just family tradition. As a Muslim family we are caught between our two cultures trying to make holiday traditions of our own, and it is just plain hard.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Book Review, long overdue

Unassisted Home Birth, An Act of Love By: Lynn Griesemer

I was overall pretty interested in this book. And I myself have been thinking of unassisted, but then I think about how I would feel if an emergency happened and we couldn't handle it. So, as long as DH is not ready to learn some midwifery maneuvers... I think I am happy with a midwife thank you very much. I know birth is safe most o the time, and all that... But shoulder dystocia sticks in my mind when I think about birthing unassisted.

Oh yeah, the book!

I agree with lots of the book, and there is something to be learned from unassisted home birthers as far as birthing as a couple and trusting birth. I really admire the spirit of togetherness and the bond spouses who have gone through this share.

But, as she says in the book... I am the midwife mentality who will say, unassisted birth is just not for everyone. But, if you have even a fleeting notion to consider it I think you should read this book. It is full of information and true narrations of birth tales from couples. The author asks lots of great questions about pre-natal care and how much birth knowledge couples had... It is really enlightening. I found it amazing to hear about the experiences of the couples in this book, how they arrived at their beliefs, what birth was like for them... I wouldn't have liked the book if it didn't have all those interviews.

I think it is low on the priority list as far as pregnancy reading for me... It seems like most couples are on the fence about home birth even with a midwife, so I think the number of people who will choose unassisted is small. But, if you know you are interested in going unassisted, I think you should read this book. And get ready for people to think you've lost it... But that's another story entirely!LOL

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Birth Plans

So, with a $3,000 price tag on a home birth and a $0 price tag on a hospital birth my DH has challenged me with the question of why having a home birth is so important to me. Well, there are several reasons. And in some strange way they are all equally important to me.

1. I don’t want to have another c-section. Since I am 2 c-sections away from a vaginal delivery my chances of having a normal birth at a hospital are next to zero.

2. The support of a midwife, my trust in their skill would make my birth easier for me.

3. As a midwifery student I would feel like I am betraying my own beliefs having anything but a home birth.

4. I want to own my birth, I want to be in control and I want it to be the best possible experience. That will never happen in a hospital setting.

5. I want to have my family with me when I give birth, and I want to be able to just sit back and relax in the familiar environment of my own home.

6. Home birth is safer for my baby and me.

7. You forget many things about your life, but never the birth of your children so you should make it your ideal birth if you can.

Basically, DH understands that my only chance for a normal birth is at home. And in some small way he even understands that this is what I want… But he sees the dollar signs, and he sees that we just don’t have it at this moment.

So, our compromise has been that as long as he can be assured that I would be ok if I transferred to hospital (which basically I have already accomplished) and to get in writing from the WY insurance that they will cover the hospital costs if I transfer KNOWING that I started out as a home birth and all my pre-natal care was with a midwife. I haven’t done the second yet, but I think my chances are very good since I am talking about having a registered midwife from Ft. Collins. Besides, why would they deny a thing that they would have to pay anyway? If I booked the c-section today they would pay it… So, why wouldn’t they pay for hospital care if you went in an emergency transfer situation? That said, you never know. They might consider having midwife care negligent in some way and figure that the hospital expenses would be more after a failed home birth…

Anyway, please keep me in your dua… I need the insurance to go well and I am going to have to find a way to raise the money to pay for the midwife so I am not putting a strain on the family finances, insha’Allah. I already have a few ideas, but I think it will be slow going.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

OK, I heart my new laptop.

I never thought I would be so into having one... But I think it is really going to be nice for me. And besides now if I download a virus or something it won't be onto my DH's work PC... Which would be a big problem!LOL

Now the really cool thing is the wireless networking. How can you beat having your kids playing in the park while you browse online?

In other news I am thinking of taking a trip to see my grandma in OK... She is really ill and I have been thinking I want to see her and have the kids see her before they move her to a nursing home and sell the house. Of course I am ready for that to be a big fiasco.

So, it is getting harder to make excuses for not fasting... And I am a compulsive truth teller... So I am not sure how much longer the pregnancy can remain a secret. But, I will not just up and announce it AP style or anything. I am thinking that eventually someone will ask me directly if I am and like true psycho I will just say yes.

I am tired, really tired. And DH is getting annoyed with it all too quickly. I spent all day yesterday lounging once I had done a minimal amount of cleaning. I know he is annoyed; he will have to get over it. It's bizarre that there is no real answer for first trimester fatigue. How could something so universal be unexplained? Hmmm, to complicated I guess.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ramadan goals...

So I have all these lofty ideas about what I want to do every day during Ramadan... And then I have what actually gets done around my house. Here is yesterday for example:

1.Get some shopping done while the kids are in gym class and preschool reading program.
What actually happened is I wound up at the store with a toddler who thought being home would be better and ended up running to the restroom several times feeling like I was going to hurl.

2.Cook dinner while kids take a nap in the afternoon.
Kids refuse to take a nap... Of course I got side tracked and dinner got started about an hour before sunset which meant sacrificing planned dishes for quicker ones... Bye Bye oven macaroni.

3.Do Islamic studies lessons with all three kids.
Youngest child sat with us, repeating "Adam is poopy" (since our lesson was about Adam) until I finally let him go. DD went into a whole thing wanting a detailed explanation about how angels could be made from fire. Husband woke I and I went into a whole thing about how much I wish there was a better Islamic studies course book and how they go between concepts which are too advanced and too easy. So they ask to paint, ok.

I get out the paints and go to start dinner finally. Within 10 minutes the cat comes running out of the room with a big blue streak on her back followed by youngest exclaiming, "I PAINT KITTY!!!". So, instead of starting dinner I have to bathe, dry and council the traumatized cat.


4.Have a nice dinner and then go to pray taraweh at the mosque.
DH remembers once dinner is cooking that he needs my help with something at his work. So we all go to he warehouse and get dirty and grubby finishing said work.

We get home and rush to eat. The kids now need a serious bath. By the time we are done it is 8:30 and taraweh at our mosque is at 8, so yeah....


5.End the day by reading with DH while kids are in bed and discussing the deen.
Bedtime passes... No one is in bed. Tell them go, husband tells them go. Kids keep coming out of their rooms for various and silly reasons. I thought they would be in bed by 9, it is now 10:30.

So, to tired to read we watch "Real Time with Bill Maher" instead and go to bed ourselves.


So much for lofty goals!LOL

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

7 Things

OK, I got tagged by Surviving and have been meaning to do his for a few days soooo…

7 People I admire:
1. Prophet Mohammad, actually all the prophets…
2. Ina May Gaskin (famous midwife)
3. Homestead wives, for their capacity to endure tough times
4. Khadija (as in Mohammad’s wife)
5. Gandhi
6. Malcolm X
7. Thoreau

7 things I plan to do this year:
1. Finally get my house in order
2. Read one book on Islam every month
3. Visit my MIL in Egypt
4. Learn at least some Arabic
5. Memorize more Quran
6. Submit the first section of my midwifery curriculum
7. Get up early enough to have an hour to myself every day

Books I love (excluding Quran): Now this is hard since my actual “must keep under all circumstances” takes up several boxes in my storage and a few book shelves in my house)
1. Spiritual Midwifery
2. Lies My Teacher Told Me or Lies Across America
3. The Inhabited Woman
4. All books by Anne Rice (but not those written as Ann Rampling, bleh!)
5. Reading Lolita in Tehran
6. The Red Tent
7. The Bell Jar (or I would trade it for a book of her poetry)

7 movies I have to own:
1. Lost In Translation
2. Eternal Sunshine
3. Fight Club
4. Surviving Picasso
5. Keeping The Faith
6. Finding Neverland
7. Evita

7 places I want to visit (not including Mecca and Medina since they are obvious, or any place I have already been):
1. Morocco
2. China
3. India
4. Iraq
5. Alaska
6. Hawaii
7. Sinai

7 places I've already been:
1. Egypt
2. Japan
3. Singapore
4. Malaysia
5. Taiwan
6. Indonesia
7. Canada

7 websites I love:
1. Kelly Mom
2. Post Secret
3. Wasfa Sahla
4. Hathor
5. Midwifery Today
6. Crayola.com
7. Al Muhajabat

7 people tagged:
Well, it seems like everyone has been tagged already!

Friday, October 07, 2005

First week homeschooling

Soooo, this is the first week since I pulled our daughter from the public school to homeschool her. I am really excited about how things are going. We have had a fun week, masha'Allah. And we ended it with a trip to he children's museum where by a stroke of luck we saw another hsing family and the kids got to play and had a blast painting their faces and playing Little House on the Prairie with all the homestead stuff.

To be honest my only thought is why did we ever start her off in public school this year?

Ramadan surprise box

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Here is the surprise box I did off of Islamic Parenting's fab instructions. Although, I am not 100% happy with it the kids are getting a big kick out of the toy a day thing... Funny how price doesn't matter with toys as long as they are new. I think the average price of the toys in there has got to be 25 cents and they are thrilled with them, masha'Allah!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bursting!

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We have decided not to tell anyone until after the third month… And I am still not telling anyone in the community, or even my family (his and my sides)… But, well… I am bursting!LOL I mean I waited like an entire week to spill!!!

Masha’Allah, Masha’Allah. Masha’Allah. Please keep us and our fourth (insha’Allah) bundle in your dua;)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ramadan Craft:)

So, here is a date chain that I did for the kids for Ramadan. I added a little piece at the top that said something about the blessing of feeding a fasting person (since there is a date for each child and one for them to give away) which is not in the photo.
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Here is how, in pictures:
You need two rolls of cellophane (colored), curling ribbon, dates, and a piece of cardboard for the top.

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First you cut a piece of cellophane in a rectangle (half the length of the roll and about 6 inches tall) and lay the dates in it.

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Then you roll the dates up like a cigar.

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Then you tie either end like a tootsie roll.

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Then, you fold the roll in half and tie a ribbon towards the dates to make a cellophane loop. And you nee to repeat the first steps until you have 30 bunches.

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Now, you use a ribbon and connect the bunches by their loops. Be sure to have all the loops facing the same direction (I did up). And, tie the ribbon in a bow so the kids can just pull one end of the bow to release the bunch for the day.

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Finally, secure the whole thing to a piece of cardboard through 2 holes and two pieces of the ribbon looped through the last cellophane hole. I put Happy Eid on ours since once they get to the end of the chain it will be eid… But, you can put whatever suits you!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Weekends as a mom

I have noticed that I no longer really have weekends. The days all sort of blend together. And, in reality Sundays and Mondays when the store is closed are not really a break for us. I wonder if this is a mommy thing?

Have any other moms out there noticed that weekends are more like heavy work days for you? Am I the only one who lets things pile up during the week to the point where I have to rush around Sunday hoping to at least uncover the furniture in the mess? And why is it that these are always the days I feel run down and tired? There is not enough Emer'gen-C in the world to get me off my duff this afternoon!LOL Maybe it is just the prospect of all the work that needs to get done?

So, to all the other moms out there... I hope you are enjoying your weekdays because weekends seem to be a pre-mommy thing;)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Do I NEED it?

I have been thinking a lot about the necessity of things in modern life. I have been talking with my husband about it a lot. I think he imagines that any minute I will turn into Ma from Little House on the Prairie. And I guess there is a distinct possibility that I might;)

No, really.... Have you ever stopped to examine your life and think about what you really need to be comfortable? Chances are you will find out you have much more than you need. And you work much more than you would have to to buy these things you don't really need in the first place.

I think we have turned wants into needs in America. And the cycle is endless once it starts. You "need" more, so you work more, then you "need" more things to help you in your busy life... Why not just stop the whole thing. Consume less and work less, which ultimately equals living more? I think the answer is we can't even remember what it is to need something anymore! Of course I am guilty... But I have tired to think it through more before I make a big purchase. I ask myself if the need for that thing is real or imagined. I know that the capitalistic nature of this country can't really stand up to brutal honesty in consumerism... But eventually we as individuals are going to have to tackle this issue in our lives.

So google simple living and ask yourself, "Do I need all the things I am working so hard to buy?"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Natural Rhythms and Pain Relief

This study has some interesting conclusions about pain relief and its effectiveness in labor. But I would argue that it can be true for any type of pain relief. Anyone who has migraines can tell you that there is a window of time during which you need to take the medication or it will not work.

Of course I don't want people to have to use pain meds during labor anyway... And I blame technique and medicalised birth for the use of pain meds as the default. I mean, you could help a mom by getting her on her feet, by changing her position. Maybe if you didn't insist on women being flat on their back and strapped to a monitor they wouldn't need the meds. But that said, the less medication they have to give women who request it the better. Any BFing support person will tell you that medicated babies are more prone to problems with breastfeeding, no matter what the Drs say. And, any woman who has ever had a spinal headache or one of the other unwanted effects of an epidural probably doesn't remember the "relief" it gave her at all.

OK, stepping off the soap box. Just wanted to share this article:)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Peace of Cake

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Here's the cake I did for an interfaith gathering yesterday... I could almost hear Mike Meyers saying "You cheeky monkey!"

My alternate theme was "Stop mad cowboy disease"... Or maybe "Send the Bush twins to Iraq"... But this was more decorative;)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Infant mortality rates worldwide

So, I was reading something that got me thinking about infant mortality rates here and broad… Check out a list here and you will see the # of deaths per 1000 live births in various countries.

Notice when you are reading it how the US ranks. Not so good for possibly one of the richest nations in the world, right? We are 43 in a list of 226 nations if you rank from best to worst. Wow.

Now notice where the predominantly Muslim countries rank. Afghanistan is has the second highest infant mortality rate in the entire world. And countries that I would think would be better are not doing too well either. Egypt has an infant mortality of 32.59 per 1000, Pakistan 72.44, and Syria 29.45. Just another one of those things that makes you think we have more to worry about as an ummah than whether or not prayer beads are biddah, huh?

Apparently, the safest place to give birth is Singapore…Czech Republic has an infant mortality rate almost half of that in the US. And Canada is safer than the US, hmmm, “What’s the purpose of your visit to Canada Mam?” “To give birth in a safer environment Sir.”

There is just no good excuse for this. Why is our infant mortality rate what it is? Can someone who is better at statistics than me tell me if there is some way this information could be skewed? Because if it is not, birth practices in the US are even worse than I previously thought.


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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Too tired to post!

Want to post about hurricane... Energy fading... But, we are organizing a fundraiser here in Laramie. Also still trying to move some behinds about starting a hsing group... Too much happening right now... So tired...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Get a grip man!!!

OK, so this article in the NYT has me wondering about men these days. Are we that out of touch with our bodies that we don’t realize how babies make it into this world? Sorry to the guys who are suffering from this, but I just can’t believe we have come to this in our society.

It mind of makes me think about the whole breastfeeding and sexuality thing… It is a failure to understand that a woman’s body can nurture and love something other than her man…And a failure of men to accept that their partner’s body may have some purpose other than their sexual gratification. Sorry guys, I just have no sympathy for this one. But then again I have no sympathy on women who can’t get over the idea that a baby at the breast is not somehow sick and sexual (unless they are abuse survivors or something).

Of course I think there is another side to this. We don’t generally see natural birth. We see managed hospital birth. Many men who are with their wives at natural births (esp. home birth) report seeing their wife as “strong” and being downright in awe of their ability to bring a new life into the world. And women are often grateful for their husband’s support and encouragement. Thus making birth a bonding experience for the couple and leading them to trust in each other’s strength and love.

So here are a few “gems” from the article if you don’t have time to read it all.

They seem to have trouble seeing them as sexual beings after seeing them make babies…
Well, maybe they missed that part of sexuality… Yeah, it’s about reproduction on some level.

In the age of the "new man," very little consideration is given to the potentially negative side effects of togetherness in the delivery room.
What about the possible negative effects of abandoning your wife in labor in a day and age where you may be her only support?

The trouble is that the moment turns out to be both intensely beautiful and potentially traumatic.
Oh, get a grip!!!

Women may want to consider the risks as they invite their partners to watch them bring new life into the world. For some of the passion that binds them together may leave their lives at the very same time.
And for some that may be the most profound experience in their lives as a couple!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Meme from Umm Zaid

Seems we made this a meme… And Umm Zaid tagged me, so here goes!!!


1) Do you think your blogging friends have an accurate image of you? How well do you think you know them?
I would say people who read my blog on a regular basis have a pretty accurate image of me, since I talk about my life and how things relate to my life… But, I can’t say for sure.
I don’t assume I know anyone well until I meet them in person or know them via personal conversations for quite some time. So, I guess the answer is I don’t know many other bloggers well.

2) Is there a certain 'type' of blog that you usually read? Do you mostly read blogs of people similar to you or different from you?
No, no type. I read whatever catches my interest. Most of the blogs I read are written by Muslims; mostly converts now that I think about it.

3) If there was a blog convention and you had the opportunity to meet everyone in blog-land in real life would you go?
Oh, I would so be there;) But I would be hoping for some children’s activities because I bring them everywhere!LOL

4) If you went and you were seated at a table for four, which other bloggers would you want at your table?
OK, well that is hard… I would love to get some really conservative news type blogger (does Rush have a blog?) at the same table with Dictator Princess, Leila M. and Umm Zaid… Hey, they wouldn’t have to serve a main course, we could have him for dinner!LOL We’ll teach him a thing or two about uneducated, oppressed Muslim women!LOL

5) Do you share your blog with significant others, family and friends in your real life or is it your little secret?

Half and half. I don’t really talk about it with my husband, so it is kinda secret… But he is a smart guy, so I know he knows that I probably have a blog. But since he never goes online except to e-mail people from work I think he just doesn’t really care to investigate further;) As for other people… My brother is a fellow internet addict, so he knows I blog but nothing specific like the address or anything. And a few people I know ITRW have the address, but I don’t know if they are regular readers.

Hmmm, so I tag Safiyyah, Umm Ibrahim, and Sobia.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tune in, Drop out

Soooo, after feeling all at sea yesterday about what my life would be like dealing with the school system and all the lovely things sending our DD to school would entail DH and I came to a compromise.

I will start a homeschooling co-op here in our own (with the help of a local mom who has been hsing for a long time). Once said group is in place I will pull her from school. Needless to say I am a little anxious to get the group going so I can pull her from school. Kinda funny since tomorrow is her first day and I am already looking into pulling her. I would never start her but DH is insisting.

So, if you have any experience with HSing co-ops... Let me know. I could really use the help.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I like to be in America…

Remember the song in West Side Story where the men were singing how much they liked America, and the women had just as many reasons to hate it to sing back? Yeah, my life is kinda like that right now

I HATE it here in Wyoming… Truthfully I would rather just pack it up and move to Egypt. You see what the US is, Wyoming is; only more pronounced. We are still a cowboy state in so many ways. No regulations, no desire to be progressive and basically everyone just does as they please. Which works fine when you are in the majority. It becomes oppressive when you are in the minority though.

I never really felt like people want us here. We just don’t melt enough for Wyoming pot. You see, I just refuse to accept the culture and blend with the natives. And I never will. I can’t stay true to myself and do so.

So this leads me to a question that has plagued me since I converted. We (Americans) say we are accepting and we are an immigrant nation after all… But are we really? I would say no. I would say that America has developed its’ own expectation for conformity. So we are “free” to follow the American way, but not free to follow our own beliefs without criticism from the masses. Ironically, the self-proclaimed leaders of the free world are incredibly restricted in their behavior and beliefs.

So, I am ready to trade the illusion of freedom for a place where at least the majority includes people like me. I really don’t know that it is a solution, but at least I wouldn’t feel that daily life is an uphill battle. But my husband insists that I should just endure and stay here to make money. Yeah, “I like to be in America!”

I wish the average American could see the country for what it is. I am stared down daily by women who obviously think I am a totally oppressed freak, bombarded with images of holidays I don’t celebrate, surrounded by a culture whose beliefs are almost polar opposite of my own… And to be honest I don’t mind it. What I do mind is that I feel these things are being forced on me. That I am somehow un-American because I don’t sit out on my patio in my tank top drinking Coors Light while grillin’ up some ribs. And I don’t put up a big Christmas tree in my living room every year and cover my roof with lights.

What’s a girl to do? Well, I think with my daughter heading to school this year at my DH’s insistence I am going to be thinking about that question a lot more in the near future. I went and talked to her teacher today and would you believe me if I told you they spent an entire month doing different Christmas activities? That the name of the unit they do is called Hat’s Off to Christmas? See what I mean about oppressive to minorities? I can’t really pull my kids out for an entire month. Of course the good part about this is that my DH is getting serious about home schooling as a real option even though public school is available to us now. Insha’Allah, he will see that what I said about keeping her home is better in the end for her education and her identity as a Muslim. Insha’Allah,

Friday, August 19, 2005

I scare the delivery guy...

So I ordered food from a new place in town today (quite good too) and my order was late. Then it was really late. Then it was so late that my kids were having the hunger meltdown that I was trying to avoid by ordering said food. So I called the place and they had forgotten my order. The gentleman on the phone asked if I still wanted it and apologized and assured me it would be here quickly. So I said, no biggie (I understand that small stores get crazy some days) and no need to apologize, I still want my order.

Cut to 20 minutes later. A young man, (about my height but half my size) comes in wearing a pro-Israel shirt and a VERY shocked face. "Are you the person who ordered from Fat Burrito?", he asked with his hand still on the door looking a little skittish. "Sure! Thanks for coming so quickly!" Now the shock is melting, but I think he was still a little confused by the whole situation... I got a discount that I returned as a tip, and the poor guy left looking a little befuddled.

I'm sure he was thinking to himself here I am wearing this shirt, and that lady in the veil is gonna refuse the order or something. No way, I am totally fine with opinions everyone has one. Wear it on your shirt if you like. No hard feelings. But you see I don't really look very liberal or understanding, do I?

What's the moral of the story UmmLayla? You may be asking.

Stereotypes are bad, and they contribute to a lot of unwanted behavior. So, I promise not to judge you for your pro-Israel, Jesus Saves, or Blessed Be shirt... And you don't assume anything about my hijab. Sssallright? Sssallright.

And a sidebar... Who else (other than Muslim women) is out there wearing their beliefs and facing this on a daily basis????? We don't even need t-shirts!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Seriously, advice?

I have hesitated to talk about this, but it has gone on for long enough that it can no longer be ignored. I have been depressed now for about 4 years… And what started as malaise has turned into a full-blown depression. I have tried to talk to my husband about it, but he is looking for “legitimate” reasons for me to be depressed and since there are none in his mind his conclusion is that I am just spoiled and therefore will never be happy with what I have. He sites my former fianc├ęs and their finances as the reason for this (they were extremely wealthy). I site no friends and his tendency to be harsh and hard to talk to. Whatever I think of the situation it leaves me with no one to talk to about it.

So, at the risk of sounding totally desperate and pitiful… I am wondering if there is anyone out there who has been through this. Maybe a sister who has been through it might have some advice on what they have done.

Truthfully, I have considered many things… Medication, therapy, moving, divorce, I am really at my wits end. I just want to feel like the cinderblock that has been sitting on my chest (especially in the last year) can be lifted at some point. I have so many things to do as a mom, a student, a wife and a business owner… I can’t do it feeling like this. The house is a mess, I fight with my husband, and I never seem to have time to study Islam… I just don’t know what to do anymore.

So, I know pitiful. But I am hoping someone will have some sage advice on this one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Felted Bag;)

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So, on the lighter side... Here's a picture of a knitting project I just finished; a felted bag. This is the first thing I have felted and I think it is really fun, I love the texture. Thinking of a felted hat for my daughter next....

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bleeding heart me...

I have been trying to have a deep thoughts kind of post recently… And I have yet to come up with one. There are a few things on my mind right now, mainly because they are in the political sphere lately. Gaza going back to the Palestinians, increasing governmental involvement in private lives here in the US, and my fear that Roe v Wade will be overturned before Bush’s term is up.

The one I have the most thoughts on is Roe v Wade being overturned. My thoughts on the Gaza thing are basically, “Alhamdulilah” and “It’s about time.”… And the increasing governmental snooping into our private lives… Well, yeah. Dead horse, I would just be beating it.

My feelings about Roe v Wade are pretty strong. The more I fell it coming, the stronger they get. Which is weird because I can’t imagine a scenario where I would have an abortion. I’m sure the stem cell stuff is fueling that a little, but basically I have the same stance I have had since reading in college what life was like for women before abortion was legal. I think that abortion is a medical procedure and anything regulating it should be done by doctors for medical reasons. I think the right to have an abortion is fundamental. Now let me qualify that by saying that I mean abortion in the first trimester… I don’t want to muddy the water with partial birth abortion and such.

Women died trying to get abortions before they were legal. Now, I know people are dying in the “war” on drugs everyday, and you could get all, “Well, UmmLayla maybe we should prevent those deaths by legalizing drugs!” No, I don’t think the arguments are even close to the same (and I am for legalizing marijuana, and not just for “medical use” either). And furthermore abortion is a very personal issue; no one gets involved except the woman. On the other hand if you legalize drugs or prostitution people will be affected because they will be partaking of these things. I don’t think there was ever a woman who had an abortion simply because she could.

I know, I know, “But UmmLayla, the baby is involved!” Now here is where I just hope I am not going to get any hate from Muslims. Folks, in our religion the baby isn’t a baby until somewhere around 40 days. So, religiously I think we are able to say that early abortion isn’t ending anyone’s life. And, I think that it would be safe to say that if you could justify it to yourself and your God… Well, the decision is yours.

I don’t think such a decision has anything to do with government. And, if you were to outlaw abortion I think it would be a clear violation of the separation of church and state. I really don’t see why government is getting into these things anyway. If our government is so pro-life what’s up with the death penalty and invading Iraq?

Now, I have no problem with people wanting to educate women about the choice they are making (as long as you spare me the “sanctity of life” junk because it doesn’t apply in all belief systems). I hope everyone who has an abortion should know there are other options… But, if you are going so far as to force those options on people… That is when I get mad. Really mad.

I just don’t want to see us go back to the days of hangers and back alleys. And I want the government to quit using what I feel is largely Christian (no offense to anyone) logic to make policy. Separation of church and state… That means no matter how many people are claiming the faith our President professes he can’t make policy based on that. And this one is clearly in that category in my mind. So, unless the constitution is somehow ratified to declare Christianity the official religion of the US, let’s keep it at home kids. At least for now I think I am more comfortable in a place where there are choices and freedoms… And of course no book burning… But that’s another post entirely.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Enlighten me

Can someone help me with blogger? I am having a problem where every link I put when I just write in the normal html in the post gets http://ummlayla.blogspot.com/ added before it. What's up with that?

Off the grid

Ever since watching 30 days episode about living off the grid at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage I have renewed my obsession with sustainable living. Now, since DH does not share this interest he is a hard sell. You see he doesn’t want to do anything that might detract from the resale value of any home we might build. Just like he doesn’t want to convert a diesel car to run on vegetable oil because it would “ruin it”. I look at living off the grid as walking the walk and really doing something about the enviornment. This is what happens when a hippie marrys a capatalist. Dharma and Greg it is not.

So I find myself wondering how you could find a middle ground between the two extremes. Can one spouse fulfill her dreams of living off the grid without asking the other to really sacrifice too much? And I am pretty lazy some days. I really think I would have to have his help with things. The truth is no one can do the whole sustainable living thing without the other people who will be living with them helping. So, by default I can assume that I am asking DH to be involved and do some work.

Is anyone doing this right now? I mean to any degree. I am still looking into it… My biggest focus being solar power and sustenance farming.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sometimes people just make you smile:)

Today I was in a little uniform hell all day long; lugging boxes down from the attic, hanging go backs, re-ordering things that have gotten messed up... You get the picture.

And in the last part of the afternoon a mom came in looking for a sling for a baby she was about to adopt. So, I showed her the slings and we got to talking... And who knows what made me say it but before I could stop myself I heard the words "adoptive breastfeeding" coming from my mouth.

Come to find out this mom had gone to the local nurse-midwife/lactation consultant to ask about it and was given no help what-so-ever... So, my social blunder turned out to be a good thing because I gave her some information and an SNS.

People like that make me smile. Not only do they want to ad to their family in a way I think is really admirable, but they are striving to do their best at it. They sincerely want to give the adopted baby the advantages in life they gave their bio-babies. So, I just wanted to give a shout out to the adoptive moms and dads out there doing their very best. Masha'Allah. I really respect it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Underneath the jilbab....

So, I was just thinking the other day how now that I am Muslim, there are things I will never do in public... I think about it sometimes, how these things would change me, how I am different because of Islam. And it seems that I have simply traded one brand of visibility and controversial behavior for another.

So, before I was a crunchy gal... Now I am a crunchy gal in a jilbab. I still have my tie-died peace sign shirts, my Hathor the cow goddess MOO! shirt, my pro-choice shirts... I still wear two braids like Heidi or something... Everything you might expect from a new age hippie. I even still like to wear bibs, peasant blouses and Indian skirts. Just now you will never see them. The one thing you will not miss is my Birks. Yeah, I wear them with socks... I wear them unless my feet get frozen stiff then I trade them for Uggs.

Why is this significant? Most people would never think I have these thoughts. Most people see me and they automatically assume I am a conservative straight laced person... Because of how I dress. So have I given up making some sort of statement by wearing hijab? Maybe I have. But, I am still controversial, just in a different way now.

Also, I was much more outspoken before I became Muslim... I was much more likely to get in your face about something. Now, no way. I think if I wasn't Muslim, trying my best to have good adhab... I would be nursing in a baby-doll t-shirt yanked up over one breast, wearing my pregnant belly out there in the air, and generally being more up front about my feelings. Don't get me wrong; I have been known to tell moms things like "Just don't show up for the induction!". And, I have told a doc or two my personal thoughts on parenting with no deletions or softened truths. I have also been really outspoken about the benefits of natural birth and BFing, but would I be even more so if it weren’t for Islam?

I think the answer is yes, I would be. And maybe here in this culture people would listen to me more if I weren't a veiled woman. But, now I see my calling as different. I see myself as a person out there and in the ummah to share my strong feelings with other Muslim women. I don't think my voice is stifled, just re-directed. And, maybe in the end that is a great thing. Now I can tell people about how women in Islam aren't oppressed at all. I can show people that Muslim mothers are sensitive to the needs of their children. People can see through me Islam as a living breathing mother, and maybe relate more to the deen through me than through a text book. And maybe the general population wouldn't listen to a person wo was too "out there" anyway.

So here I am, still getting the stares I have always gotten. Just now for different reasons. Better reasons.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Keep me in your dua;)

I am starting an internal cleanse tomorrow AM. It is an herbal one. I know I need it, but last time I tried one I ended up stopping after vomiting blacks specks of an unknown substance (which I know were not from the veggies and brown rice I was eating or the herbs I was taking). I am hoping for an easier experience this time around... We will see.

My thyroid has been so out of whack these days...I certainly don't want to keep changing thyroid meds and testing and all that. I know part of it is an iodine deficiency, but I have been eating iodine rich things to no avail. And of course there are the migraines... So I am thinking that the reason all the vitamins and herbs I am trying are not working well is limited absorption due to an intestine full of garbage. I will let everyone know how things go with it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

UmmZaynab Rocks!

UmmZaynab has written a really great post about Sexuality and Breastfeeding and Sexuality After Motherhood once again proving that any subject can be approached and discussed with the proper adhab.

I think there are several topics that are in the article are important to all the women and men in the community. I really think some of what she said about deviant and selfish behavior in regards to sex can lead to a break down of the whole thing and remove the barakah from intimacy.

As for the BFing and sexuality… It is a hot topic if anyone is ever bold enough to bring it up in a group of mothers. There is no doubt that motherhood changes things in a marriage, but opening up about it can help it all go more smoothly. I’m not saying share intimate details about your marriage (that would be bad) but lets talk about these changes in a general sense.

The info about oxytocin really explains a lot, subhan’Allah!

There have been so many times that I want to tell a new mom these things, and I don’t know how to broach the subject without seeming crazy. I remember the first time I talked about it to a group of moms and I just breathed a sigh of relief. “Alhamdulilah, I am not the only one dealing with this!” I thought.

Anyway, way to go UmmZaynab. Maybe you and I can get together and do a frank talk about motherhood for Islamic centers around the US;) I’ll cover common myths about fertility, conception and childbirth. Hmmm, would we be too “radical”?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Local Masjid Stuff

Our local mosque is getting ready to face what I think is a rising issue in many communities here in the US... There is a drive to make a change in the way the partition in the women's area is set up. Our mosque is an old church, and qibla is on the left hand side wall if you are facing the "front" of the sanctuary. So, we divided it in half lengthwise and have the two entrances (one to each section) from the outside, and two staircases to the lower level (one from each section). It started by cutting a hole in the partition wall. Now, we are debating the usefulness of having two sections for the women; one in front with only half wall to designate the area, and one with a full partition for women (I have been pretty vocal about wanting some separation) to be separated entirely if they wish.

I have been debating it. And I know that in the time of the prophet (SWS) there were no separate areas for women... But I like my divider, I like my privacy. And I think that making it like we are saying will put an odd strain on the women attending jummah. "Oh, you know sister so and so, she's a in front of the partition type." Plus, our masjid is mixed sects... And the sister who is most concerned about this is shia, so I feel there is a risk that people will view it as a shia issue... Which of course it is not.

Are we headed towards a day where we will have reformed Islam? There will the orthodox mosques, and reformist mosques? Can our communities handle further division? We are already so divided, even if it is not official divisions. Shia and Sunni. Affluent and Working Class. Asian and Arab. The list goes on. I know it is idealistic... But can't we all just come together in this country where I am starting to get the distinct impression that everyone else is against us? Maybe if we were a little more unified we wouldn't be such an easy target.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The store... Again

I have taken a few days off from the store and things are going crazy. I feel like it haunts me, I can never just get away from it. I just don’t know what to do with the place. A board member from the school I sell uniforms from called to complain that there are parents who won’t buy from my store again this year because it is too “chaotic” and they want to be able to browse the uniforms (I keep them in a store room and employees bring out what you need, like a shoe store). The alternative is to buy online… And I don’t see how that will help you browse and “enjoy the event” of shopping for school clothes, but hey. The thing is I really don’t care about the uniform sales that much. I don’t make a ton of money, and what I do make I will end up spending on staff, so a part of me is like just forget it… Give back the uniforms to the previous owner and get them out of my store.

But, I have committed to selling them; so I feel like I have to sell the maximum number possible. Last year these parents who want a nicer shopping experience bounced about $900 of the checks they wrote for uniforms. So, what is the benefit to me in serving them better? Will I make more money? Will all the checks be honored? I really doubt it. My store is small, and I sell more than uniforms… So I don’t know what I could do to make it go their way. I think what they really want is a Dillard’s type experience with no waiting and tons of staff to help them. I can’t provide that. So, I am planning to not have my kids or the employee’s kids there during the uniform time, have more staff on hand and insha’Allah move some uniforms to a browsing location. Then… Bismillah and open for uniform season. If people want to shop elsewhere… Go ahead and do it. What can I say?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

WHAT?

Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like, "If this happens in the United States and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims." You could take out their holy sites.

Campbell: You're talking about bombing Mecca?

Tancredo: Yeah. What if you said, "We recognize this is the ultimate threat to the United States, so this is the ultimate response." I'm just throwing out some ideas because you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine. Because other than that, all you could do is, once again, tighten up internally.


Who is this freakin’ idiot you ask?

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo made that comment on a Florida Talk Radio show on Friday, July 17. What was he thinking? The funny thing is that he was asked about it and refuses to back down. Other than the possibility that this guy actually represents Americans in some way, there is something else disturbing about it…

Tancredo has begun his insurgent bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Which is really just what we need in this age of delicate foreign relations, and I thought Bush was an idiot. Where do people get off making comments like that? And whatever happened to politics?

I heard a lady call into a talk radio station in Denver yesterday spouting similar garbage about Muslims should have to get national Ids to prove they had some special background check run on them or something. Telling the “harrowing” story about her husband (a Greyhound Driver) seeing a young man “kneeling, and then bobbing around up and down while chanting something, some kind of prayer or something” before getting on the bus!!! And how horrified she was that no one did anything about this guy. Apparently the brother was wearing a kufi or some other dress that she described as “middle eastern”. Apparently this bus driver was thinking that young man was making a prayer before doing a suicide attack… Come on!!!! Is this what the general American public thinks about Muslims? Walahi, I hope not. La hawli la rub!

More Bombings in Egypt

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For those of you who haven’t been hearing about it, early this morning Egypt time (fajr) there was a series of bombs in a resort area in Egypt near the Red Sea. It was a deadly attack, killing at least 88 so far, and who knows how many more by the time the buildings are searched and the critically wounded are considered. I am so sad to see these things happening in Egypt. But, it goes to show that everyone is affected by terrorism. I am just aggravated that the media is not covering it well. Compared to the coverage that the London bombings got, this is being practically ignored. I guess since Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country it just doesn’t fit the story of Muslims vs. the world that they are trying to sell.

Egyptian Toll Hits 88; Mubarak Vows Hunt

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt - Egypt's president vowed Saturday to hunt down terrorists who unleashed a rapid series of car bombs and another blast in this Egyptian Red Sea resort, devastating a luxury hotel and a coffee shop and killing at least 88 people in the nation's deadliest terror attack.The early morning attacks, which used more than a half-ton of explosives, came just two days after the latest strikes in London and sent an already jittery world reeling again. At least 119 people also were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Book Review: Birthing From Within

So, I finished Birthing From Within, and have been meaning to review it. Here it is:

Birthing From Within is a good book for moms who are looking for an aternative to your average childbirth preparation book. I could see where it would also be a good book for doulas to read. Overall though, I would say it is acceptable but not exceptional. I think it is worth reading, but only if you are able to read more than a few books in preparation for your birth.

Some of the gems from this book are about facing fears, and how your ideas can shape your birth experience. I think that is really true. I also liked what she has to say about the importance of supporting moms during birth, but think Mothering the Mother is a better choice for that topic. I also liked the references to traditional cultures and their birthing practices, they were fun and informative.

The one part that gets a BIG THUMBS DOWN from me is about breastfeeding. Here it is:
“I generally do not encourage breastfeeding-on-demand to the exclusion of bottle feeding. In these days of working mothers, breastfeeding-on-demand for many months can be unrealistic.” She then goes on to talk about giving a baby 3-4 weeks of age a bottle every day, “to take better care of yourself during the stressful postpartum period”. She says that it is necessary to give the bottle early and every day because if you go past 6 weeks and you have to introduce a bottle you are more likely to have problems, and if you don’t do it every day they might “forget”.

Of course in my mind this is a load of malarkey to put it mildly. Breastfeeding-on-demand is VERY REALISTIC. And I feel it doesn’t add any stress to the postpartum period most of the time. There is no reason to give baby a bottle just in case. If he/she gets hungry enough and that is all they have available they will take it, or you can try alternative feeding methods if needed. Besides, you can get help in sooooo many other ways from dad. How about a load of laundry? How about picking up the house? I personally never suffered from sleep depravation when I had a baby; I nursed on my side and co-slept… I never even really woke up at all. OK, I feel better. Just throw out that piece of the book; maybe I will put electrical tape over that section in my copy…LOL

There are some pieces of advice I found were good. I really liked the stuff about coping with pain, and the ideas about training for it are pretty good (she uses holding an ice cube as the “pain” to practice techniques). And, I think it did a good job of telling women in a hospital situation about the possible difficulties they are facing. Also, her explication of why drugs can impede labor progress was one of the most concise and understandable I have heard yet. “Pain also raises endorphin levels in your body, while analgesic drugs and epidural anesthesia lower them. This is significant because endorphin levels correlate with the release of oxytocin. So, when pain is relieved through drugs or an epidural, the stimulus for endorphin production is eliminated, and its levels fall. This change is often accompanied by a drop in oxytocin, thus slowing down labor and dilation.”

So, overall, on a scale of 1-10… I give this one a 7.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Double Edged Sword of Licensed Midwifery

Right now there are changes going on in laws regulating the practice of midwifery around the US, changes that will impact the future of home-birth in this country. One of the ones that is always on my mind is the move for state and national licensing and certification of midwives.

When you think of the term “licensed midwife”, it sounds good. It sounds like it means “safe”, “well-trained”, “qualified”, “accountable”, “responsible” midwife. But, in my journey into midwifery I am starting to wonder how true that is.

On the positive side, maybe licensing will bring a certain respectability to midwifery. Maybe people will see that we have something to offer the community on a wider level. There are countries where lay-midwives even have hospital privileges if they are licensed. And, maybe if Doctors saw that we had worked to gain the knowledge we have and we had some title to prove it they would listen to us if we had to transfer a patient, much like they would listen to another Doctor giving over a patient to their care. But, would gaining respect in a more mainstream system require assimilating yourself into it?

I think that the real crux of the issue lies in regulating midwives more then licensing them… And the two things go hand in hand. When a state decides to license midwives, they also hand them a set of rules and guidelines to follow in order to keep that license. This becomes a problem for moms like me, mom’s who have more than one c-section in their history and know their best chance at having a normal birth is with a midwife at home. Or, a mom carrying twins. Or a mom past the magic 42 weeks gestation. But, the midwife operating within the confines of her license is sometimes forced to turn away these mothers whether she feels able to help them on their path to a normal pregnancy and birth or not.

So, the midwives with the most freedom to exercise their judgment end up being those in areas where midwifery remains un-regulated. And, assuming that they are in a state where midwifery is not illegal… I would say these midwives might be in a pretty good situation. “But, without a license how will I know she is a competent midwife?” mothers may ask. Talk to her and ask as many questions as you can. Do your homework. Talk to her clients. Look into public record and see if there is anything about her. Ask other midwives in your area their opinion. Be an informed consumer. And I hope if you have to be referred to a physician at any point during your care you will check his credentials the same way.

When I first started researching midwifery I thought that I would want to be licensed, and that I would never practice unless I was. Now, I am starting to feel differently. I don’t think a license will make me a better midwife. And I don’t think that passing an exam to get licensed will teach me anything more than how to pass the exam and get licensed. I am not interested in that. I will do it if I feel it is the right choice, but I am no longer locked into the idea that it will help me or protect me to have a license.

You come to a point when you are learning about midwifery that you realize midwives are really sticking their necks out no matter what their license status is. There is no way to prevent it. And I hope everyone sees that a license is not a guarantee that you are choosing the right midwife. I know that some people are soothed by the license. They feel like it is a way to reassure themselves that the midwife they have chosen is capable. And, there may be some truth to the idea that licensing could weed out some under-qualified midwives… But it might also keep some really great ones from doing things they know are right.

I guess in the end if I get a license (and I just might) I will try to remember that it is only a piece of paper and I am only doing it to get midwifery out there in the mainstream. But, I will not let it dictate my practice. I will not let the fear of losing it keep me from doing what I know is right. And I will remember that some of the organizations making these licenses are still living in the past and using antiquated information to form their standards most of the time.

So, next time you hear a midwife tell you she is not licensed, remember this and ask her why.

New Furball

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So, here is a picture of the new kitty in our house. Don't resist it, just say "awwwwww!".

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Time may change me, But I can't change time

Today I put away the diapers… They reside in the closet next to my slings, which now also never get used. *Sniff sniff*

I guess I am happy, my youngest is now 2 ½, and it is time for him to be out of diapers and such. But, this is the first time in 6 years that we haven’t had a baby in the house. No diapers, no slings, no nurslings. It’s sad for me in some way because I am so used to having a little one around. Now my “baby” isn’t really a baby at all.

I know DH is a little nervous about this status… He knows that it won’t be long before I seek to remedy it, even if it is not a conscious decision to do so. Seriously, I find myself lovin’ on babies of friends more than usual these days. Allah help me when school starts this fall(for so many reasons, but that is another post in itself)!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My List

So, I have seen the lists of a few other bloggers… I think Dawn deserves the credit for this. I find that they are kinda fun and reveal a little about the person making them… So here is mine, in no order of importance or anything.

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Yeah, Johnny Depp. But, not “21 Jumpstreet” Johnny Depp… “From Hell” Johnny Depp.


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Who can resist Antonio? Of course this is the one DH thinks is the craziest of them all. He thinks he looks like a greasy Egyptian mechanic.


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Brad Pitt… I really liked him in “Fight Club”. He can be a little tu-tu sometimes, but most times is really cool.


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Nicholas Cage is an all time favorite… I have liked him since Moonstruck. Quirky and not handsome in a traditional way, but very appealing.


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OK, you might not recognize him right away… Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens. Now the Islam thing is just a bonus, I have thought he was too cool since I started listening to his records in high school. I always was a hippie child at heart:)


OK, so I feel all shallow and materialistic because I am looking at my list and it is all about pretty boys… But all in good fun right?! Of course you may note a theme in the pictures I found of all my list men. Facial hair, gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hole in the floor update...

OK, nothing to update really. Alhamdulilah we have two bathrooms because in about 10 days we will be a month with the dreaded hole in the floor.

Henna

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So, I did henna yesterday, and this is a picture this morning. The cool thing is I only left the paste on for about an hour (I usually wrap it and leave it on for the entire night). And this is not the maximum darkening; it will continue to get darker for the rest of the day. Anyway, cool new recipe, especially since I like to do the kids and they never leave it on for more than an hour. Nothing artificial, just the right essential oils.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What's goin' on

Well, I am feeling a little frantic these days. I put the word out that I am ready to sell my store. So I have to think about some things to get a packet together so people could have all the information about it. Of course that means adding work when I am already overloaded. You know the expression the straw that broke the camel’s back? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

But, the up side is if I sell the store things will get a lot quieter for me. Of course we will probably get something else going to fill the time!LOL My DH is already talking about a preschool. I would much rather do something that required less presence on my part. I guess as long as I get a break before we start anything new I will be fine.

I have been really thinking about Islam a lot these days, one of those spiritual high points for me. I am taking the chance to try to learn more Quran, study the religion. Read the stuff about the history of Islam that I have always said I wish I knew more about. But DH isn’t with me on this one. He has been down in the dumps spiritually ever since his father passed like 4 years ago. I wish I could say I understood, but it seems like a long time to me. Maybe he just processes things differently than me. And never having lost a parent, alhamdulilah, I can’t say I know how he feels with any sincerity. The funny thing is he keeps telling me he will join with me in all of this “very soon” because I am “making him feel guilty”… We’ll see. Anyone know of any great books about the history of Islam in English? I would love to hear what all of you think are must-reads.

Oh, and since I never posted the answer about would I want to know if I was dying (I mentioned a colleague of my SIL was dying of terminal cancer and the docs ad opted not to tell him). My answer is I would want to know. I think I would like to take the chance to gain closure and say goodbye to family and friends. And I figure how you live your life stays the same (basically) so why would I go do any great things in my last days if I didn’t know something was about to change? I mean that gentleman will probably b at the same place spiritually when he dies as he was on the day they knew he had terminal cancer… They wouldn’t be taking an opportunity for any good deeds by telling him, his book is already written… If he is the type who would do good things without any knowledge impending death, he will do them, and he has been doing them throughout his lifetime. Are you with me? Anyway, the long and short of it is I would want to know.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Coincidence?

I have been trying to collect my thoughts and write something about the bombings in London… And I have so many that it has been quite a task. First I want to say that I am deeply sad for the families who lost loved ones in this incident and I hope those injured make a speedy and full recovery. I don’t condone this type of violence for whatever reasons. I am 100% for total peace on this earth from the war in Iraq to the civil wars in Africa. Now, let me qualify what I am about to say with one statement: I don’t think this was a terrorist attack at all. I will elaborate more on that, but I want to put it out there right away.

When Al-Queada, or the IRA, or The Entifada in Palestine, or any other terrorist/rebel group launches an attack, it is NEVER purely about religion. Religion is merely a small factor in the mainly political motivations of these groups. And if you look into the background of “terrorists” you will see that they are usually people who have been oppressed in some way by the government of the country they are attacking. No one called the Oklahoma City bombing a Christian terrorist act… Why are we so quick to use Islam to explain the action of Muslim terrorists?

The fact is there are more Muslim groups doing these gorilla warfare attacks right now because THEY ARE THE PEOPLE BEING OPPRESSED IN TODAYS SOCIETY. I believe 100% that if you put any person Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Atheist, or whatever other belief in the situation that Palestinians are in right now they would fight back. If you had tanks patrolling your neighborhood daily, the Israeli Army had bulldozed your home, and your best friend shot in front of you when you were 12… You would take up arms, and you would do it without needing much convincing. Why would you be afraid to leave that life behind for the promise of doing some damage to the oppressor?

Now, all that said. There are some things I want you to ask yourself about the London attacks. Who benefits from it? Who has the power to do it? And who has the power to cover it up?(yeah, curtosy of JFK, great movie) I don’t want to be too conspiracy theory nuts about all this… But isn’t it an enormous coincidence that this happened when George Bush was being questioned about the war in Iraq, the G8 summit was going to talk about something of real importance (like the 1,000s dying of hunger and AIDS every day in this world), and the Patriot Act was up for renewal? Now, the American government can pat themselves on the back because nothing like this has happened in the US post 9/11. Now the G8 summit will shift their focus to the “war on terror”. And finally, the Patriot Act and all the things they want to add to it is a sure thing now. Food for thought, right?

Also, on Al-Jazera this morning they gave a two pieces of information that make me REALLY doubt the terrorist connection even more. 1) The Israeli Prime Minister was en route to London and was told by phone of the attacks and warned to turn back by Israeli intelligence. This may have taken place BEFORE the first bomb exploded. 2) The explosives where high powered devices, not the type that could be manufactured outside a weapons manufacturing facility.

I have some serious doubts about groups that have only done small suicide bombings and car type bombs making the leap to high-powered explosives… I also have my doubts about them launching the highly orchestrated attacks on 9/11, but that’s for another post;)

So, think about it, watch international news if you can… I say question everything.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Live like you were dying

My SIL in Egypt told my husband today that a friend of hers from work has terminal cancer. My SIL is an accountant and got the info because of all payments the company has been making for medical expenses. There are no privacy laws about this kind of stuff in Egypt, or if there are no one is following them. So, the company (my SIL in particular) now knows that he is dying of cancer… But he doesn’t.

So, this leads me to the philosophical question, would you want to know? My husband thinks not telling the man is a fine thing, because it will only make him sad… And what if he became to depressed to function? He also pointed out that Islamicly this was better because if he does any good deeds as a dying man they will lose their significance since he only did them because he was dying…

I will reserve my thoughts for the next post, but I am wondering what do you think?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Working in the coal mine...

I have been asking myself the question does it really matter about my husband’s job for quite some time now… And I am at a loss about whether or not we are at an impasse, which will require me to just chuck the whole situation we are in right now and move on with life in hopes of forcing a change. Let me explain.

My husband works nights, about 1am to 8am every night. And, whether he will admit it or not he is always either working or sleeping. If he is not at work he is at home doing paperwork. His office is my dining table and we never eat there unless we have guests. I have made several attempts to remedy this and they only last about a week before he starts complaining about my “moving his stuff” when he is in the middle of something.

This is awful for me for several reasons. 1) Working nights means sleeping days, and my husband wakes up if there is a pair of jeans clinking in the dryer. You can imagine how hard it is to keep three kids from waking someone like that up in a ranch style house, right? 2) There are no vacations from his job, and he can’t take a day off if he is ill unless he is physically unable to come to work. 3) I have to help him with work all the time, which means we have less time for family things since if we are all awake he needs me to help him. 4) The flip side of #3 he thinks I NEVER help him because every new moon I have to say no or am distracted by the kids while helping him. 5) Between the work he brings home and my store I never have time to decompress and get things done around the house, so our house is a mess and I am a stressball. 6) The job is not glamorous, and I am always wishing that my kids could tell other kids that their father is an Engineer (which is what his masters and BS say) instead of this lengthy explanation I give to avoid saying he delivers newspapers. 7) He contends that we make more at this job, I contend that we would spend less if he had a regular job (right now we have 2 cars all the time for him complete with insurance and repairs plus tons of gas plus we pay for all our health care needs and $500 a month for insurance that will only be helpful in a big medical case) 8) I want to have a normal life where my husband comes home from work at 5 and we all have dinner, he has weekends off when we can do family things… I just want him to be around once in awhile so I can stop feeling like a single parent. 9) I think half his health concerns are due to not getting enough sleep, and if he could sleep at night (even if it meant taking a pill to do so) I think he would be a different man.

I am listing my store today, insha’Allah… And I want to focus on getting our lives in order. I just don’t know where to start! And I am wondering if I can start without my husband admitting what is going on with his job and making some changes. Please keep me in your duas sisters… I am afraid I am in for a long haul this month!