Reblog: Love thy Neighbour..or at least know them!!

The pandemic has affected different people in different ways.. but for most of us, I can say with some confidence , that it has made us homebodies. We have realized there’s a certain joy in working from home dressed in our old, worn out tee and PJs and we ain’t getting out of them any […]

Love thy Neighbour..or at least know them!!

Just read this post from one of my favotite mom bloggers and it resonated with me 💯

I live in a building with 10 floors and I don’t really know my neighbors. I’m an introvert with social anxiety, which makes it hard for me to take the initiative. Plus, I’m very selective who to socialize with. Also, from what I know, my neighbors aren’t very friendly, or they just don’t like us. However, 3 months ago, a new neighbor moved in next door on the same floor, but I’m yet to get to know her. I don’t even know her name.

She has knocked on my door twice panicking because of some emergency in her apartment, but otherwise, nothing. She leaves her house everyday at a certain time and comes back at a certain time. I assume she spends all day at her mom’s, who she told me lives nearby. She suggested I come visit her and I said sure, though I know I won’t make the initiative.

I’m hoping she’ll show up someday soon. I wanted to showup with cake when she 1st moved in but my husband advised against it. Did I mention my husband is an introvert and a homebody? I’m an introvert too and sometimes I feel like I’m turning into a homebody.

She seems sweet and she has 2 young children but I think she isn’t visiting because she is freaking out about covid. She also may be selectively social.

Anyway, I’m just hoping she reaches out soon. It would be nice to socialize, and I think this is the only neighbor of mine who is my age. All the others have kids who are grown and flown.

Do you know your neighbors?

Are you friends with them?

Throwback Thursday: Sleep training my son

Hello and welcome to my blog! Oh boy. I reread this from March 11th 2020 and I laughed. I remember struggling to sleep train my son on and off for years. I don’t remember how I finally managed to sleep train him (or maybe I didn’t because I still sleep in the same room as him sometimes) but at least now he falls asleep without me lying down next to him until he does. He doesn’t sleep until 10:30pm so did I really sleep train him? I have no idea.

Here is what I wrote on day 1 of sleep training my then 5 year old

March 11th 2020
6pm: I decided my 5 year old will start sleeping in his room. I told him he is a big boy now and this is my 100th attempt to get him to sleep in his room. He has been kicking me in the face and in the back while he sleeps. I have slept in his room on many occasions because i was uncomfortable with him next to me.
I explained to him that i need a good night’s sleep to be a happy mommy that doesn’t yell or spank. He agreed.
8pm: Now that bedtime approaches, he refuses to go into his room until i get him a baby brother. This isn’t possible. It’s not magic. So what should i do to get him to sleep in his room tonight?
I told him i will lie down next to him until he falls asleep, and will read him a story as well. I also said that if he gets scared at night, he can come and lie down next to us, but only if he gets scared.
I don’t want to force him, but i will if i have to. So what should i do?
He is currently crying and has hid himself in the living room. Everytime i try to get him to sleep in his bed, he cries and i give in. But i made my mind up today. I will try it for 3 days and let’s see what happens.
8:30pm: I suggested he sleeps with his favorite stuffed animal and he agreed. He climbed into bed and then i remembered he still needs to go to the bathroom and brush his teeth so i told him to get up. I hope he doesn’t change his mind after brushing his teeth.
8:45pm: He is in his bed now, with me next to him. He told me he will only sleep here tonight and only if i leave the hallway light on.
9:10pm: Two stories and 1 drink of water later, he is still in bed but occassionally breaks into song. So still going strong, but now i need to try not to fall asleep.
9:30pm: I’ve already yelled 3 times. Once for his continuous singing, once because he keeps uncovering because he wants to “air his feet” and once because he got out of bed and when i asked him why he replied “because what am i supposed to be doing here?” to which i said “you’re supposed to sleep” and i threatened i would turn the hallway light off if he didn’t close his eyes and sleep, to which he replied by calling me a bad mommy and i replied by calling him a bad boy. I feel guilty enough. You don’t need to tell me i shouldn’t have said that. Anyway, he is back in bed. Awake.
9:35pm: I apologized for calling him a bad boy. He apologized for calling me a bad mommy. I told him “i know it’s hard sleeping in your bed after not sleeping in it for a year (he slept in his bed from age 2 until age 4,when he developed a fear of ghosts, wolves, the dark, demons, toys coming to life at night, and started getting nightmares) but I’m here with you so don’t be afraid”. He nodded his head and smiled. We held hands for a minute.
9:40pm: Hallelujah 🙌 he is asleep!
Disclaimer: On school nights, i begin putting him to bed at 7 but due to the corona virus outbreak, i am announcing bedtime between 8 and 9, depending on what time he woke up. Today he woke up 9am.

School nights 😂 this really made me laugh. We’ve been in this pandemic a year people. Longest decade ever.

Wednesday Wisdom: Let’s talk about hope

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to talk to you about hope.

When I think of hope, I think of faith. You can’t have hope without faith. Otherwise, it’s just wishful thinking.

Before October 17th 2019, I didn’t have much hope for Lebanon. I would say “it is what it is” but I never thought it would get worse.

When the revolution began, I got mixed feelings of hope and hopelessness. On one hand, I hoped the revolution would bring about change, but on the other hand, I knew the government wouldn’t give up their power so easily. But then New Years came around, and the revolution died down. Nothing had changed. Prices were up and by March a new pandemic had begun.

I had hope that COVID-19 would last a few months and then it would be over and we could all go back to our lives, bussiness as usual.

It’s almost March again, in 2021, and the pandemic is still here, and the prices are still rising, and NOTHING has changed.

Still I have hope, that maybe in 10 years we will be back on our feet, stronger than ever, but for now, I’m taking it day by day. I’m working on my personal growth. I’m building my resilience. I’m creating mini moments of happiness, and when all fails, I break down, then wipe my tears, and start all over again.

At the end of 2020, I really hoped 2021 would be better, and it is in some ways. I’m stronger now. I’m working on my blog, on my marriage, on my parenting. Some days I’m surviving. Some days I’m thriving. But everytime I think about the situation in Lebanon, in the world, I bury my head in the sand because otherwise I would crumble inside.

Despite the fact that the economic situation in Lebanon keeps worsening, I choose hope. It will get better. Maybe not now, but it will. One day.

I did a poll on instagram asking if they felt hopeful or hopeless about the situation in Lebanon, and all the votes for hopeless were from my lebanese followers, and the one person who voted hopeful was an American who lived in America.

I feel that it’s logical for people to lose hope when presented with reality, but there is some hope that can come out of hopelessness, without which no improvement occurs.

If the cavemen had no hope when faced with predators, they would’ve just lied down and let themselves be eaten by the tiger. Instead, they made weapons and created strategies to camouflage themselves or kill the tiger. They found a way to survive. They built homes and protection. Years went by and suddenly they were thriving.

I don’t want to be cliché. If you are in a bad situation in your family, in your country, mentally, physically, spirituallly, don’t lose hope. Don’t let the tiger eat you. Build a weapon. Master your skills. Learn new skills. Celebrate small wins. Enjoy the good moments. There are always good moments. Don’t sit around and mope and complain about how life is unfair. Get up and do something about it.

Whatever you do,…

Don’t

Lose

Hope

What are your priorities in life?

Our priorities are the areas of our lives that are meaningful and important to us. They’re usually activities, practices, or relationships that we want to put genuine effort and time into. Priorities imply that a hierarchy can be followed for different areas of your life and/or work.

https://theblissfulmind.com/top-priorities-in-life/

I was venting to a friend the other day about my problems, and I don’t remember what I said exactly but basically I gave her a list of all the things I was angry about. Things that I wanted in my life but couldn’t have, for one reason or another.

She said something very insightful. She said that I need to sit with myself and think about my priorities. Pick one or two and work on making them happen. Don’t try to get everything you want all at once, or you’ll end up with nothing.

I kind of knew this already, but I’ve been avoiding doing what I need to do. Every month since November 2019, I’ve been making 20 + goals and tracking my progress, telling myself if I achieve 5, I’m good. The problem is that I’m never fulfilled. I’m stressed out all the time. Even when I go for walks, it’s to get in steps. I walk around tense and startled from the sound of cars and the looks of people.

I keep myself busy with reading and writing. I’ve been meditating. It helps, but it’s not enough. I’ve been exercising, but not everyday. I haven’t been socializing.

What I want: a teaching job (but I’m terrified to even apply because I haven’t taught in 6 years and before that I used to tutor one on one), a car and to practice driving (I’ve had a license for 7 years but I never practiced driving an automatic car), a fit body (my eating habits are all over the place), nice mom friends, nice neighbor friends, to not be socially anxious, to be patient and graceful, to be wise and spiritually connected to God, a desk, a treadmill, a library, to volunteer and give back to society, more me time (I love my son but he needs to see kids more often and I need to see adults more often), for this pandemic to end, for the economy in Lebanon to recover, world peace, the end of poverty, to write a best selling novel, for people to buy my books, to read all the ebooks on my laptop, to sleep early, wake up early, and maintain energy throughout the day, to eat healthy balanced meals, a healthier marriage (my marriage is fine but there’s always room for improvement).

Is that too much to ask?

So I categorized my goals and I’m working on things to do daily, weekly, and monthly. I noticed I’m more consistent with the daily things. I’m not even going near the monthly things, with the mentality of “I have all of January to do this”.

About work, I thought about it and realized work is not a priority right now because where am I going to put my 5 year old when I go to work? In the middle of a pandemic where people are losing their jobs, the country is going on lockdown every few months, and the economy is a bust. Who needs a teacher when schools are barely holding themselves together going online? Then suddenly I decided to check my emails today and I went down a rabbit hole and before I realize what’s going on, I’m updating my CV. I clearly need lessons in prioritizing. Obviously my top priority is being the best mom I can be. My son is still highly dependent on me and me not prioritizing him is making him super clingy. 2020 has been hard on me, but on him too being an only child. He is getting reallly bored and lonely and he needs my undivided attention, not my anxiety ridden attitude. Also self care is a big priority for me, because you can’t pour from an empty cup. But I also need to socialize, so… Ugh do you see what is happening here? 🤦‍♂️

How do you prioritize what you want?

My son goes back to school tomorrow and I’m terrified 😰

It’s not what you think it is. Let me explain.

My son is 5 years old, and last year was in his 2nd year of kindergarten (there are 3 kindergarten years in Lebanon, the 1st being actually Preschool). Last year, he barely went to school. There was the Lebanese Revolution in October 2019 up until New Year’s Eve. Then there were fires and floods and school was out. Then came the pandemic. There was no online learning last year, just weekly assignments.

This year began with online learning. It took a while to adjust, but we got used to it. Yesterday they announced that he will start in person learning on Monday. So one week in person followed by one week online and so on and so forth. They split the number of students in two, and they’re taking all the precautions possible, including masks, sanitizers and not sharing personal items, so that’s not what I’m worried about.

I am worried that my son needs to adjust to wearing a mask since he hasn’t worn one since the beginning of the pandemic (I have been wearing a mask since March). My son is also very neat and clean so I’m not worried about that either.

What am I so terrified about?

Believe it or not, it’s interacting with the teachers and other parents. If you’ve been reading my blogs for long enough, you probably know I have social anxiety. I try not to let it define me and I try to overcome it, until my body reminds me of it.

My anxiety is going through the roof right now.

Not only am I worried about getting my son to cope in his new grade with new classmates (because his friends from last year are not with him this year), I also had to explain about the precautions and about how this is all temporary because if more people get infected, they’ll probably close the schools again and that they are concerned about his safety.

But you should have seen me last night, calmly explaining everything to my 5 year old as I got his books ready and making it seem like this was all so exciting (I’m such a liar 🤥) but it worked (for him at least).

He went from “I’m so scared I might catch the corona virus if I go back to school” to “I’m a little nervous but I’m also a little excited” and yes these were his literal words. I’m so proud of how fluent he is in English now my heart can’t even ♥️

I’m still terrified of how I’m going to say hi to the teachers and if my smile may seem fake because I’m not used to people anymore. On the inside I want to thank the teachers profusely and tell them what a good job they’ve done with the online teaching, but I’m probably going to get tongue-tied and all serious and they’ll probably think I don’t care and oh boy. I’m going down a rabbit hole 🕳 again.

So what do you think about in person learning during these times? Are you adapting well to online learning? How are your kids getting their education?

And yes maybe I’m a little worried about catching COVID-19 but I’m sure if anyone starts catching the virus, they’ll stop in person learning immediately.

But judging by this 9 month isolation I’ve been in, my mental health is deteriorating and I’m willing to risk sending my son to school for a few hours so I don’t end up in a mental institution. Besides, if they weren’t taking all these precautions, I wouldn’t feel reassured to send him, but I am.

What if someone you know and care about is feeling lonely?

You may think things like “How can they feel lonely when they have an amazing family?” or “I’m their friend. How can they feel lonely when I’m in their life?”

The truth is, loneliness can creep up on you even while you are surrounded by people. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. Just like not all who wander are lost, not all who prefer solitude are lonely.

How can you know if someone is lonely?

  • They spend a lot of time alone.
  • They are unproductive.
  • They get stuck on the negatives.
  • They seem to be sick or ill frequently.
  • They seem overly attached to their possessions or hobbies.

Sometimes loneliness can be a symptom of something else going on in our lives, like illness or disability. Mental illnesses can cause us to feel lonely.

A nationwide survey led by The University of Manchester and BBC Radio 4 has found that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group.

Loneliness doesn’t only affect our mental wellbeing, though. It can cause an increase in cortisol, which can “impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase your risk for vascular problems, inflammation and heart disease,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

What if you know someone who is lonely?

How can you help?

  1. Let your friend or family member know that you are thinking about them. Send them a message, call them on the phone, or go for a visit.
  2. Let them talk and vent. We’re often compelled to give someone advice when they are hurting, but sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen.
  3. Give them a hug. Loneliness makes you feel unworthy, unloved. If your friend or family member is unable to give themselves the love they need, remind them with this simple gesture that you care (of course with corona virus on the loose, you can’t do this but you can send virtual hugs as gifs in the meantime)
  4. Take them out. Let them feel special. Again, with COVID-19 this can be difficult. So maybe send a delivery service to their house, then call them up and eat together on video call if you can.
  5. Play. A game of bowling or air hockey makes a difference. Even just a board game. Whatever your thing is, even if it’s just a game on your phone.
  6. Ask what they need. Loneliness makes you feel like a burden, which is why lonely people isolate. If they’re too shy to ask for something, offer your help and let them know you are there when they need it.

We all feel lonely sometimes. Remember, you are loved. You are important. This too shall pass.

What I think of e-learning for kids under 7

So…online learning. How’s it going for you? Honestly, for me, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s not great either. I don’t see it working on the long run, but rather a bridge to fill the gap between last year and how much school the kids had to miss and it’s impact on them, and between this year and the fear of COVID-19 and the alternative of kids not learning at all and the sociological effect it would have on them if they stayed home without learning.

Some parents already homeschool their kids. This blog is for the parents who had their kids going to school, and suddenly have them at home for 6 months ➕ and no matter how hard they try, they’re not able to create a good routine and structure in these children’s lives.

School provides structure, for both the children and the parents. I used to organize my housework, reading, naps, socializing, etc, all in the 6 hour time slot I had when my son was at school. I will never take those 6 hours for granted again.

However, I do understand that due to COVID-19, schools can’t resume business as usual. So what is the solution? Resume schools half-time so they can be able to do social distancing? Or move school online to avoid risks of spreading COVID-19 further?

The school my son goes to decided on the latter, But they said that they will try the former in the future. I don’t know what to expect. All I know is that online learning for kids makes it hard for them to concentrate and it makes parents feel tied up because they must stay next to their child who is unable to sit at a computer alone (I’m talking about kids under 7). Even kids who are older. How can you know for sure that they’re really doing their online learning and not watching YouTube videos instead?

Then you have in Lebanon specifically the power outages and the fact that not every home has laptops and computers and such.

In conclusion, as I stated earlier, I believe that online learning is a good idea to use as a bridge to close the gap between last year and this year and to buy scientists time to find a vaccine because once kids go back to school full time, there will be an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, and it’s best to be prepared.

September: Expectations vs. Reality

We are in the middle if September, and it feels like August.

It was the same way last year.

This year is worse.

I personally believe it’s because of global warming.

Summers have become hotter.

Winters have become colder.

Last winter, we had some pretty harsh storms, and this summer doesn’t seem to come to an end.

I think we will have an Autumn in October, and then winter will start in November, just like last year.

But seriously, one would expect September to be all orange leaves and hot cocoa and hoodie and jeans weather,

but in reality it’s an extention of summer.

Just add more humidity and masks and 6 feet apart because COVID-19 is still a thing.

I blame global warming for the weather. Go green people. If you can (depending on which country you live in).

Or you could just blame 2020 because this year has been something else.

COVID-19 is not a hoax

Sorry, I had to just put it out there.

After all the cases, all the deaths, some people still think that COVID-19 is a political game or just like the flu.

Some people still refuse to wear masks, or wash their hands, or socially distance from others.

I’m visiting my family so I don’t lose my mind, but I wash my hands when I get there and when I come back and on the way there and back, I wear a mask. I try my best not to touch anything.

When I see my family, no hugs or kisses, and when we’re spending time with eachother, I make sure I keep everyone at arms length.

I feel like I could be doing more precautions. Maybe I should stay home and not go anywhere at all. Maybe I should sanitize everything rather just do the standard cleaning.

But to still believe there is no COVID-19 after all this?! After knowing people personally who have caught COVID-19 or even died from it.

Explain please.

I want to understand your logic.

Waiting it out…

I was thinking of going for a walk but I just went on the balcony and it feels stuffy outside. My allergies already have my nose practically closed up from the internal swelling, and I’ll be wearing a mask if I take a walk to the park so I’ll be even more stuffy. I also need to fold laundry and I wanted to start a new novel today so I’m not sure if I should stay in and read or take a walk because I need the exercise and fresh air (not that the air is fresh in any way because it’s polluted but still better than the filtered AC air? Maybe? Probably not).
Anyway, so I’m really bored and I feel like I need a hug and not just any normal hug but like I need someone to hold me and tell me everything is going to be okay.
I feel like I’m just waiting everything out. Like you know when you get a cold and you know that whether you take meds or not, you just have to wait for the 2 week period to end so you’re all better, and during those 2 weeks, you can either complain and be miserable, or you can try to rest and hydrate and look after yourself. The time will pass either way, but what you do with that time is what matters.
So here we are, waiting for this economic crisis and pandemic to end, and in the meantime, I will read, write and watch movies. I will call my family and hug my son. I will eat ice cream and watch youtube videos. I will work on self improvement and focus on self care.
And occasionally, maybe not today though, I will take a walk to the park and reconnect with nature.
But most of all I will pray, and wait it out…