Category Archives: Between Friends

How (NOT) to Teach Your Children to Play Ludo

By Rahila Ovais

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I am sure all moms from South Asia are pretty familiar with the board game Ludo; the beloved family amusement in life before internet and computers. It was our favorite entertainment during  summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights; where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move. For those of you who don’t know what Ludo is please refer to the game rules here.

Over this past winter break in an effort to keep the kids entertained with a new activity every day and after ruling out Scrabble and Taboo, we decided to have a game of Ludo one night with my kids; MJ 19 years old, MJ2 13 years old and DJ who is 5 years old. You all can probably already imagine how the night went given the ages of the players.

As per the rules, the one who rolls the highest number on the dice goes first and you need to roll a six to get your pieces out of their giant square boxes. Well lo and behold, the little one rolls a six, talk about beginner’s luck!  Not just one six but three times! At this point MJ2 claims DJ must have a trick up his sleeves to be able to roll out sixes every time; she is now determined to find that out by hook or crook. After several cheating attempts she gets her way. Meanwhile MJ still hasn’t been able to roll a single six! She claims that she does not cheat like MJ2.  This in turn makes MJ2 furious and an argument takes place which requires referee intervention. (Kindly note: a normal Ludo game does not require a referee) MJ makes MJ2 lose a turn as payback for cheating; there is another argument and intervention where DJ then draws a map on a paper outlining the order of each player’s turns.

Another rule of the game is you must take out one of the opponent’s pieces in order to enter the pathway to your corresponding “Home”. You can do this by landing on top of an opponent’s piece.  The piece that is taken out goes back to the corresponding player’s giant square box and the player has to roll another six to get it out. For example, if you roll a four and your opponent’s piece is 4 squares in front of you then that piece goes back in.  Again DJ having beginner’s luck is able to keep taking his sister’s pieces out! In fact at one point, he rolls a four and MJ2’s piece is one square ahead of him and he insists that the piece needs to be taken out as it is in his way!  MJ loses her patience at this point. This time, along with intervention there is a lot of begging and babying to get them to continue to play.

By this time the beginner’s luck for DJ has worn off and MJ2 rolls the dice where now she can take his piece out.  DJ does not accept it, claiming she can make one of her other pieces go and leave his alone; MJ2 insists she has to take his piece out to enable her to go “home”. (Rule: if you cannot take out an opponent’s piece before reaching your corresponding “Home” section and you have no other moves available, you will have to go through the entire board again).  We are all at the height of frustrations, trying to explain the rules to a 5 year old and 13 year old (over their yelling and screaming, between fits of laughter). MJ and MJ2 still argue about the rules and little DJ pitching in where he could.  Emotions running high and voices even higher to the point where nani has to interrupt her prayers and come back to intervene.

 In the end, DJ having his patience maxed out, simply messes up all the pieces on the board, claiming the win as he was the only one who had all his pieces out (while all others had only one or two or no pieces out); a full ten minutes of entertainment!

I couldn’t help but reminisce this is exactly how the games used to turn out when we used to play during our summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move.  What mattered most in the end was the laughter over ice cream with chocolate sauce after refusing to speak to each other for two hours.

About the Author

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

39 Things I Learned in My 30′s

By Rahila Ovais

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2015 marked the year when I celebrated the last of my birthdays in my 30’s.  Besides the fact that I still cringe and cry every time I discover a new grey hair; my 30’s were the years when I really embraced aging.  Being a young mom, I spent my 20’s in child rearing and career building. Now that I approach the big 4-0, I can honestly say that my 30’s were the learning years. Here is a list of things I have learned……

  1. Allah has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith. But it’s worth the wait.

  1. Believe in the power of prayer with conviction.

  1. Before you judge other people’s actions, ask yourself “Have I been in this situation before?” If not, don’t judge!

  1. Learn to always mind your own business.

  1. Hurt me and I may forgive and forget, I may even turn another cheek, but if anyone hurts my family I will turn around and bite.

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”.

  1. I am not a morning person but oh the wonders you get to see when you wake up early.

  1. “Kill them with kindness; bury them with smile”.  Smile when taking a compliment; also when being criticised. Smile when you don’t have an answer.

  1. Worrying doesn’t improve anything.  Most problems get worse if we take them too seriously.

  1. Don’t undermine yourself by comparing with others. You are in no competition with anyone.

  1. Envy is a waste of time; you already have all you need.

  1. Do not change your own hopes and wishes to make others happy.

  1. A handwritten greeting card, a handpicked wildflower bouquet or a home-made cake; these are the things that matter.

  1. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young, they grow up too fast but do not forget to make memories in the process.

  1. It’s never too late to do anything you want.

  1. Life would be boring if everything was perfect.

  1. Patience is needed with everyone but most importantly with ourselves.

  1. Men are from earth, women are from earth; just deal with it!

  1. Before making a choice, always ask yourself the most basic question. “Can you sleep at night with the choice you made?”

  1. Spend as much time as you can with your grandparents. You will miss them a lot when they are gone.

  1. The best person who can help you out of your problems is the one you see in the mirror.

  1. There is nothing wrong in being the first to apologize. It is equally important to accept an apology wholeheartedly.

  1. Nothing should stop you from standing up for what is right; sometimes  being kind is more important than being right.

  1. “Honesty is the best policy”. Never cheat or lie.  My mom did a fine job of teaching me that, now I can not lie to even save my life.

  1. Express gratitude. Be the first one to say “thank you”; people will always remember that about you.

  1. Keep your sense of humour.

  1. Age is just a number and grey hair happens; this is your time to be creative with it.

  1. If time permits, volunteer you time for others.

  1. Holding on to grudges takes a lot of energy.  Forgive often and wholeheartedly.

  1. The key to being happy is to expect nothing from others. You are in-charge of your own happiness. Go buy those goddamn 4 inch heels if that’s what will make you happy!

  1. Teach your kids to enjoy the wonders of life. Spend time outdoors in nature and marvel at the sunsets and full moons together.

  1. When life gets crazy, do something normal. And if life gets too normal, do something crazy.

  1. You children will become who you are; so be what you want them to be.

  1. Write down all the funny things your kids say when they are young. They will be all grown up in the blink of an eye.

  1. Save that last piece of chocolate for yourself.  Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being selfish.

  1. You will eventually become your mother, be proud of it.

  1. Take all the learning opportunities that arise when you are trying to teach your kids.

  1. Keep your promises.

  1. Life is a circus; It’s a balancing act and a juggling routine. Have fun!

 

Share the lessons you have learned as part of growth?

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

Winter; Lost and Found

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

Lost-and-found

We waited and waited for Winter to announce it arrival till the end of December last year. However much we like to complain about the weather, snow, wind chill and snow storms, truth is we do miss our Canadian winters. The first snow of the season made a late entry this season, at least in the GTA, well after Boxing Day. Basically we are saying that winter went AWOL in Ontario, till El Nino sent the first storm our way. It’s predicted to be a mild winter this year. However you can catch up on your weather report on other places, today we bring you a list of things lost and found in winter.

Lost:

Winter wear

Snow gear, mitts, hats, scarves and snow pants. Are you one of those moms who has to inventory their child as soon as he returns from school? It doesn’t matter how many snow mitts I stock up on, my son will lose his things at school. Before the winter break he had managed to lose two toques, two pairs of mitts and a couple of sweaters. Trips to the school Lost and Found were not fruitful. It wasn’t winter proper till early December here, so I sent him to school with a mismatched pair, both for the right hand. I am hoping the awkwardness of it all instills in him a modicum of responsibility towards his things. When he was younger I would crochet a three way string; one attached to his winter hat, the other two to his mitts. The base of this trifecta was then sewn onto his snow jacket. I thought it was quite a fool-proof arrangement till he came home one day with a huge gaping rip in his jacket were the strings were sewn, mitts and hat missing. School yard play’s gotten rough lately!

Topping our list of things lost in the winter is accessories you buy for your child to keep him warm. Always have spares handy, even for snow pants and boots. Last year my son got off his school bus sans his snow pants, it was the dead of winter and I near but fainted at the sight of him alighting dishabille.

Daylight and cheer

Grey overcast skies, we all miss the sun come winter. And when it does come out, it is such a half-hearted attempt at being sunny you want to tell him to go back right away! A lack of sunshine means a definite loss of sunny demeanours. People who are usually chirpy tend to get easily irritable.

Sleep

Come winter all I want to do is sleep. If it were up to me I’d burrow myself deep into the blanket and not wake up till the groundhog comes out and announces an early spring. Becoming a mother has changed that. I get no off days, a full night’s sleep is a distant memory as are the thoughts of running a warm bath. So, sleep, already a distant memory goes completely AWOL, at least in the mom world.

Monies

Winter is also the time for crazy sales. We may not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and the likes but we certainly get into the Holiday spirit and spend away more merrily than the health of our bank accounts allow. Yes, I understand there are major deals to be scored and discounts that are too good to be missed, but stocking up at the same time instead of spacing them out through the year can make a significant dent on one’s budget. True story.

Found

Not all is lost during cold weather. One of my annual favourites is excess pounds on my person, my true friends that come a-visiting every year. When you find your inner sloth and are less likely to move and more often than not found lounging in front of the TV in your most comfortable PJ’s digging into a bowl of your favourite snack, don’t blame the scales when they creep up. There’s a reason weight loss is high on everyone’s New Year Resolutions list; new year, turning a new leaf and getting more active, we set goals for ourselves. Some we meet, some we fail at. Another thing we find in abundance at the end of the year is resolve, again the end of another year in our lives makes us take stock of what we’ve  been up to and promise to be a better (and leaner) versions of ourselves in the coming year.

 

How has your winter been so far? What have you lost and found through this season?

About the Author:

Aaisha Zafar Islam is the Executive Editor of MuslimMoms.ca, every winter she visits her childhood fantasy of being a frog and the ability to hibernate the chilly weather away. No luck thus far.

 

10 Ways to Know You’re a Canadian in the Winter

 By Mona Ismaeil

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1. You know what a toque is: 

Ice cap, beanie or winter hat; none of that means anything! It’s all about the toque! Fur, fleece, knit, whatever it is, we all have them (multiple of them) and cannot live without them!

2. -15 degrees is a mild winter day

Winter hasn’t truly hit until it’s -30 degrees, your eyelashes freeze the moment you step foot out of your house, your car doesn’t start. Your car not starting doesn’t even matter because even if you get it started, you won’t be able to drive it out of your garage since you’re trapped by 5ft of snow!

3. You’ve tried maple syrup on snow

Anyone else may find this to be strange but really with the amount of snow we get, we would be foolish not to make the most of it!

4. Your kids have been dared to lick a metal post 

If you grew up in Canada, you know that it may be against your better judgement but you cannot turn down a dare to stick your warm wet tongue on that cold, frosty metal post. If you haven’t grown up here, then be ready for the day your son/daughter comes to tell you all about it!

5. It takes longer to get ready 

It takes longer to put on your protective gear before stepping out for your daily battle. Two pairs of socks, long john’s, boots, sweater, scarf, toque, gloves and jacket. That’s an extra 5-7 minutes you could have slept it in back in the Fall.

6. Errands and visits are decided upon by necessity

Nonessential= NO! If your family is not eating cereal for dinner, you can go another day without groceries.

7. Your home is filled with a plethora of hot beverages

Black tea? Herbal Tea? Green Tea? White Tea? Chai Tea? Hot Chocolate? You have them all! Too hot? No problem, just stick your mug in the giant freezer everyone calls “outside” for a moment.

8. Parking lots seem to shrink 

A parking lot that once held 200 cars, now accommodates no more than 50 cars. I’ve heard of Winter Magic but seriously, this is NOT a good trick! Holiday shopping lines, waist lines, snow piles, etc. can shrink, not parking lots!

9. Gestures become confusing 

A friendly wave or a not so friendly finger gesture, these two can be super confusing with mittens and gloves on. Just pretend everyone is happy, kind and being their friendly Canadian selves!

10. You’ve experience the DIY leg snow shovel 

Too cold (let’s be honest, you’re too lazy) to shovel? Need to create a pathway to your car? Need to clear the huge snow pile behind your car so you can get out the of the driveway? All you have to do is drag your boots through the snow to create an instant pathway! Easy, breezy!

How else do you know you’re a Canadian in the winter?

About the Author: 

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

Coming Up with a Great New Years Resolution

By  Elaf Salim

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As I watch the snow fall in my backyard, I can’t help but think about the past year, 2015 and all the events that happened changing my life and the lives of people I know. The year has come to an end, wrapping up all our accomplishments and our struggles. If you are a fan of personal growth and development, it is a good practise to set yourself some goals in the beginning of the new year to work on them and hopefully achieve them by the end of 2016. Having hopes and aspirations for the new year is a beautiful habit but if you would like to actually achieve them I have some tips for you.

1-      Step into Reality

It is very important to understand your current starting point, all you have achieved so far and all the strengths and weaknesses you have before you choose your goals. Grab a piece of paper or your journal and start describing your current life. Write about your family, relationships, friendships, health, career and financial situation.

2-      Decide Where You Want to Go

Where do you wish to be by the end of the year? Write down a detailed description of your life and the accomplishments you would like to achieve. If you don’t know your destination, you will end up somewhere else. Also make sure your goals stretch you beyond your comfort zone but are still achievable. For example, if you live in a one bedroom apartment and would like to up-level, you can set a goal to move into your first town house, instead of your dream 10 bedroom mansion. While Allah can absolutely make all your dreams come true and everything is actually possible, it is better to set a goal that you believe you can achieve within a year.

3-      Choose Your Set of Measurable Goals

The key here is to choose a few tangible goals so you are not overwhelmed and to make these goals measureable and specific. For example, instead of hoping to ‘lose weight’, set yourself a specific achievable goal such as, ‘lose 10 pounds’. This will help you a lot in planning and decision making and will keep your momentum going throughout the year.

4-      Write the Detailed Steps

You need to have a plan, in order to achieve these goals by the end of the year. So write down the actionable steps you need to accomplish for each of the goals to come to life. Try to be specific and detailed so you can track your progress throughout the year.

 

Here are some of my goals for inspiration. You may relate to some of them but your goals will be different since you are a beautiful unique human being and your life is different:

-          Spend 1 or 2 hours of quality time with my son everyday

-          Read at least 1 page of Quran everyday

-          Visit friends and family and enjoy their company twice

   per month

-          Take two weeks of vacation and travel back to Egypt

-          Strive to achieve a consistent level of monthly income

   from my business – add your specific number here ;)

-          Eat healthy meals at least 4 times every week

I hope you have a wonderful new year and may God give you all your heart desires.

About the Author:

Elaf Selim is a Software Engineer, a Jewelry designer, a blogger and a Mom. She is the owner of SkiesAndSparkles.com, a handmade artisan jewelry shop. She loves photography, writing, historical architectures and nature in all forms.

 

 

Minecraft –More Than Just A Game!

By Anisa Tayab

Minecraft

A typical day in my household always includes a story about a Creeper, an Ender-Dragon or Herobine.  And like most moms, I have no idea what my kids are talking about.  Chances are if you have a child who plays video games, they are playing Minecraft!

Minecraft has sold over 20 million copies for PC’s and millions more on iPads and Android Tablets. Microsoft purchased Minecraft from Mojang for $2.5 billion dollars last year and the creator of Minecraft Markus Persson out-bid Jay Z and Beyonce on a $70 million mansion in Beverly Hills.  Minecraft is everywhere.  If you have not heard of it, you really are living under a rock!

I’m not sure how the craze began in my house but I remember downloading the game for my son and then him begging us to buy the full edition.  Still not understanding the game I turned to Facebook and asked my friends for their advice.  A few friends told me to steer clear of the dark side, while others told me why it was so great.

Creative Mode

The game has two modes; Creative and Survival.  In both modes, players (a character named Steve in the game) use their creativity to build.  Players usually begin by creating a home and then expand their world by creating other buildings in a community.  In this game of virtual blocks, players use their creativity to build a world the way they want.  They first must chop down trees for wood, mine for coal, iron and other elements that are used throughout the game to make different types of blocks. You will also see animals roaming around freely, you can make them your pets, let them live or use them to make food.

My son has built amusement parks with roller coasters, bowling alleys with multiple lanes, a school and anything he wants.  Creative mode allows players to determine how to place blocks strategically resulting in a finished project.  Sounds like a lot of future engineers to me!

Survival Mode

In Survival mode, the purpose of the game is to survive.  It has all the features of creative but is more challenging and frightening.  Players use their creations to hide and escape from all the enemies in Minecraft.  They also mine to look for items that will protect them like swords and armour.  Survival mode is where you will find Creepers, zombies, spiders and skeletons.

A creeper is that ackward looking, pixilated, green figure you see roaming around on your child’s screen. If you get too close to it, it will blow up and harm you.  Skeletons also blow up while spiders and zombies hit the player.  The player must destroy these creatures to live.  If the player is destroyed, he/she quickly respawns (comes back to life).

What To Be Wary Of

If you are going to let your kids enter the world of Minecraft there are a few things you need to be weary of.  The most important one is that it is addicting.  My kids will play for hours if I don’t monitor their time.  It’s a fast moving game where a day lasts only 20 minutes.  Your child will always want more time to finish building something or looking for something.

If you let your kids play together in one world, they will fight.  It doesn’t matter how well they get along in real life, in Minecraft there will be problems.  They will bicker about what direction to go in, who found the diamond sword first and who has more experience blocks.  The constant bickering has made me go crazy that I have shut the game off a few times.  I have since learned to take a deep breath and let them figure out their own problems like they do on the playground.

Some parents don’t want their children exposed to the violence in the game.  Parents should be able to judge if their child can handle the game or not.

Why I let my kids play

My boys are 8 and 5. I let them play Minecraft because it’s teaching them certain aspects of the real world.  It’s teaching them you need materials to build and is encouraging them to go find those materials.  It is expanding their creativity while they attempt at and then later succeed at building a more difficult creation.  It’s teaching them how to plan, organize, execute, succeed and sometimes fail all in one game.

I don’t think my kids would have any interest in building if it wasn’t for Minecraft.  They have many Lego sets that are sitting in their closet but they prefer Minecraft because there are no instructions.   They write their own instructions.

I read an article that suggested Minecraft is preparing today’s kids for jobs that don’t even exist yet.  With technology changing so quickly, there is no way for us know what skills will be sought after and maybe the millions of people playing Minecraft are on to something the rest of us don’t understand (yet).

About the author:

Anisa Tayab blogs at That Crazy Mom.

Apps For Super Moms

By Elaf Selim

Apps for supermoms

Not too long ago, I was introduced to the magical world of mobile apps. I resisted the urge to move into this new era for quite some time, since I am already on the computer most hours of the day. I work in the IT field and I thought that I really didn’t need any more technology in my life. And then my husband decided to gift me a smart phone and I was hooked. I found so many awesome apps that can help me and other busy moms in their everlasting quest to become Super Moms. So, if you are struggling to find enough hours in the day, or to organize your busy life, here are a few apps that I’ve found to be very useful. They are all free and available on both iOS and android platforms.

Mint: Personal Finance & Money

This is one of the most popular personal finance apps. It is useful for busy moms since they can manage credit cards, bank accounts, personal income, monthly budgets all in one convenient tab.

Google Calender

This is a life saver, it helps you organize your schedule, send out event reminders, invitations and keep track of all your appointments.

Dropbox

This is a great app to help you store important files that you want to access on the go. I always use it to save Quran files, e-books and audios so I can learn on the go.

Athan – Islamic Finder

Necessary if you are on the go a lot and need to know prayer times. I need this app since I can’t usually keep up with the changes in prayer times.

Quran

This app is beautiful and can help you make good use of any waiting time you may have. It allows me to read Quran in transit, which is amazing.

Podcast Addict

I love this app for learning on the go or while I do housework. We are in the age of podcasts and you can learn just about anything from the amazing wealth of knowledge available.

Food Network In The Kitchen

This recipe app is very entertaining and useful. You have thousands of recipes at your fingertips and you can see videos as well.

Calorie Counter

This is a great app if you are on a diet. You can use it to calculate the calories you consume every day and make quick decisions. It can also help you plan better meals for you and your family.

Cozi Family Organizer

This app helps you organize your family calendar, manage to-do lists (can’t have enough of those), shopping lists and reminders for the important tasks in your life.

WebMD

This is a popular medical app which allows you to check symptoms, get first aid information, and information about various medical concerns. It is always helpful if you have younger children who often get sick.

ShopSavvy UPC Barcode Scanner

This is a bargain hunting app. You can use it to scan the barcode of items using the phone camera to find the best prices on the internet and at nearby stores.

iMom – Pregnancy & Fertility

This app allows you to check the progress of your pregnancy. You can also manage your menstrual cycle/fertility calendar.

Are there any go-to apps that help your streamline your daily routines? We’d love to know how you use technology to make your lives easier.

 

About the Author:

Elaf Selim is a Software Engineer, a Jewelry designer, a blogger and a Mom. She is the owner of SkiesAndSparkles.com, a handmade artisan jewelry shop. She loves photography, writing, historical architectures and nature in all forms.

 

 

Social Media – Just Don’t Overdo It!

By Khaula Mazhar

Social Media Dos and Donts

Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Really depending on how you use it, social media can be a trustworthy tool to advance or enhance whatever it is you need to do. Or it can be an enormous time suck that results in turning you into a narcissistic monster that no one likes, but everyone likes to talk about.

Mr. Hyde is not exactly everybody’s favorite person. Don’t be a Mr. Hyde on social media. In fact don’t be a Mr. Hyde off of social media either.

How do otherwise normal people get duped into downing that obnoxious concoction that turns them into annoying health hazards? The same way charming Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader, Tom Riddle turned into Lord Voldemorte, adorable lion cub grows into hateful Uncle Scar etc.- they had too much “me” juice. As in it’s all about me, listen to me, look at me, it’s not fair to me, me is all me is concerned about.

Some do’s and don’ts to think about while cruising the social media road:

Do post pics of last night’s dinner that you made yourself! (or that mom made for you):
Yes we all make fun of each other for posting dinner pics, but we all really want to know what you had for dinner. It gives us ideas for what to cook tonight. And the next night.  And the next. Keep those dinner pics coming ladies!

Don’t post pics of a ridiculously expensive restaurant dinner that you spent half your life savings on.
That is too much “me” in a selfish way. There are actually people who even after working two jobs are still struggling to pay bills. Don’t be an inconsiderate show off.

Do post the recipe to that dinner you made from scratch.
We all really want that recipe.

Don’t post pics of yourself waiting in line to by the latest iPhone.
Especially when the last present you gave cost only $10. Seriously.

Do post the latest DIY project that you successfully completed.
We all need some inspiration. And we have so much stuff to recycle we could build a castle out of it.

Don’t post statuses complaining about how much housework you have.
Newsflash: we all do. No one wants to know how tired you are because you had soooo much laundry.

Do post pics of the mess your two-year-old made with the spaghetti dinner you cooked.
That is an all time classic.

Don’t post your very negative comment on someone else’s status!
I really feel this should be number one on everyone’s don’ts list. A status is something personal, it’s the right to freedom of speech. If you call someone a bigot just because they expressed their opinion or belief, what does that make you? Exactly!

Do scroll down and ignore if there is a status you don’t agree with and can’t make your point politely.
In fact of those 500 “friends” there will only be handful that you can be frank enough to talk openly with, only a handful who respect your opinion and only a handful that would actually care about your opinion.

Don’t ignore cute animal videos.
Spend a couple of minutes watching, liking and then sharing. Anything that makes you smile is not time wasted, it is time well invested. Share the investment of happiness brought on by furry, purry, fluffy innocent creatures.

Do turn off that infuriating auto update thingy on your phone.
No, we don’t want to know where you are and what you are doing every second of the day. Not the coffee you drank, the shirt you bought, the feeling annoyed at your boss/husband/brother/kid/mother-in-law emoticon etc. If you are really aggravated please phone up your bestie and have a good rant. If you had a nice cup of coffee thank your boss for the coffee break.

Don’t post graphic videos without a warning.
Not everyone has the ability to watch some random guy eating a squirming live squid dipped in soya sauce. Warning the viewer is the proper thing to do.

Do post petitions of issues that concern all of us, but don’t badger everyone to sign.
The post will let us know, that this is an issue we can do something about. Whoever feels they need to get involved will.

Do NOT post pics of your kids without making sure your privacy setting are on friends or family only.
Don’t post pics of them on public platforms that don’t allow you to change the settings.
Not everyone out there is your friend! You don’t know all of those people personally, you don’t know who they are “friends’ with. Your kids, your family, they are your treasures. You don’t put them on display for the world to ogle at. You keep your treasures safe.

Do categorize people into lists on places like Facebook.
Make sure the random friends of friends or people you don’t know that well are on the acquaintance list. You don’t need to put your personal stuff on display for everyone. Take care of your privacy! Can’t stress that enough!

Don’t accept every friend request on Facebook!   
Facebook is not a competition to see who can get the most friends.  Places that share an interesting hobby like instagram and flickr where you don’t post personal stuff are fine to have lots of friends. But not Facebook.

Don’t post pics of those duckfaces.
No. Just no.

Do post pics of beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Yes, just do it.

Don’t be mean and rude when commenting or posting an opinion.
Your words are a reflection of you, your upbringing. Don’t let people think you are a Mr. Hyde if you are not.

Do get involved with worthy discussion.
Don’t argue if you don’t know about something.
Unless you have a solid argument and knowledge  on the issue don’t get involved in arguments, you will end up looking silly. Don’t let the argument or discussion become an ugly brawl with insult hurling. Don’t be the one hurling insults, be the one to say “name calling just means you have no valid points and I am right. I put my case to rest.” Then stop. Walk away, never argue with idiots, they just drag you down and waste your time. Be above that.

Lastly always remember …

social media

About the Author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Tips For The Online Momprenuer

By Mona Ismaeil

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I started my online business with my husband in 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long!  Elhamdulillah it has been a success and although it took a long time to get off the ground, it was worth the effort. When I chose to stay home with Manessa in 2013, knowing I had Modern Hejab to occupy my time as well as provide financial support for my family made that decision easier.

It was not easy at first and I would be lying if I said that an online business is easy – it is not! Although you aren’t opening up a store with long working hours, it is equally difficult but in a totally different way.  Online selling gives flexibility and you can reach customers from all over the world, but there is far more competition for you which means you really have to know what you’re doing.  Here are some tips to help make your endeavour a bit easier.

Know Your Product

When you decide what you want to sell, it must be something you really understand. You must be a product expert in order to be able to successfully sell it to others. Potential customers feel more comfortable buying when they feel like the seller knows everything about that item. For example, I sell hijabs. That means I must know everything and anything about hijab. That means fabrics, what’s good for each face shape, styling, washing, drying, EVERYTHING!

Know Your Selling Platform

There are so many places you can sell your product, you need to choose which one is best for your type of business, your commitment and your budget.

Amazon: www.amazon.com

Great platform which can help you to move a great deal of product. Requires a big commitment as they have strict rules for images, postings, communication with customers. Also it is a great deal of effort to set up. You have to know how to play by the rules! Also, they have Amazon fees which takes a chunk out of your profit.

Etsy: www.etsy.com

Fantastic site especially for handmade items . There is a certain culture that goes along with Etsy which lends well to more expensive handmade items. The only thing to consider is you have to pay $0.20 per listing per month. You’ll be investing into keeping the listing up whether or not you’re selling.

Ebay: www.ebay.com / www.ebay.ca

This site is easy to set up and can be great for selling but there is very high competition as you can have sellers from all over the world. Your prices needed to be very low in order to compete.

Your own website

It is always great to have your own site as long as you know how to drive traffic to it. Your website will not just show up on google on its own. You will need to put some effort into marketing and SEO. Also, the design and set up will take time.

Facebook

This is probably your easiest option for setting up a selling space. It has the least amount of effort when it comes to set up. Be sure to make a PAGE, not a GROUP. You will have to set up some sort of payment system which you can do through PayPal.  You will have to do some work in getting followers and engaging them to keep them not only interested but so that you continue to show up on their feed.

Know Your Competition

If you sell jewellery, you must be knowledgeable of all the other jewellery sellers as well in your style, price range and location (city and country). In the online world, you are not only competing with the store across the street, you are competing with every online store across the WWW. This means you need to step up your game when it comes to products, promotions and marketing.

Know your Customer

This takes time but you must understand your customer base. The way you market to moms is different than you would teenage girls. If your product is good for different ages, genders, etc. you must really work hard to cater to all of those and market to their liking.

Remember You Are Still a Mom

I’m not a stranger to getting frustrated with Manessa because I’m trying to work and she’s nagging at me. We must remember that you and your business but work around your child’s needs not the other way around. We are first and foremost moms and developing a balanced schedule and life is tricky but you can do it! Your passion for your business and your family will be your greatest asset.

 

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

Are you an entrepreneur, or thinking of going that route? How do you manage your time to make sure that your business is as successful as your family life?

Back To School Back In The Day

By Muneezah Jawad

Back to school back in the day

It’s September! Parents everywhere are secretly rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of shipping their overactive kids back to school and reclaiming their mornings and late nights. Once the school year starts they barely have time to breathe.

I remember my school days were very different from what kids experience today. I grew up in Dubai. The cultural nuances as well as the arrival of a different era has made this next generation of kids look upon schooling with a very different attitude.

Back to school

In the 80’s there were two main staples that every household would buy. First we would buy our books and then was the book wrapping ceremony. I still remember sitting down with  my father and rolls of brown paper. Every text book and note book we got would be wrapped with crispy clean paper and tape. It was most therapeutic for some inexplicable reason. My job was to place a label ever so carefully in the right place. In my best writing I would write my full name.

Since we had uniforms there were few new clothes, but we did get shiny new shoes that we kept polished and made them last.

A rectangle pencil case with cartooned vinyl plastic lids and many compartments was filled very carefully with sharpened pencils and fountain pens. An oxford compass box, a metal lunch box, and a drinking thermos was place carefully into a back pack that was from the year before since we took great pains to keep it presentable. Then off we were for the first day of school. Our clothes neatly pressed, our hair tied back. We were terribly excited and filled with pride at our new treasures and revered them.

Today the routine in most households is to shop till you drop. Tops, bottoms, shoes, sweaters, stationary, files, folders you name it we have to have it. Stores like Wal-Mart and Staples are filled with confused parents holding an endless list in one hand and an excited child who is jumping like a jack rabbit ready to dart off in opposite direction. Trolleys are over flowing and so are the tears as children battle with parents for the newest fad item.

The first day of school is the same for everyone though, that excitement, seeing who’s in your class, the new teacher, where to sit etc. What is different is the respect and realization that one must take care of those new things. I myself have had to go out and buy new shoes and stationary within one month of school and see countless parents doing the same. Children don’t even receive their own textbooks. They share used books that are kept in class. I sometimes shudder at the condition of the books the odd time they are brought home.

Which brings me to a pet peeve? Where is the HOMEWORK? I mean I agree that we got too much of it, but here I see none. Until high school kids rarely bring home anything daily and whatever they do is at best 15 minutes long. I don’t know about you but I am a firm believer in homework. It disciplines you and involves the parent. The jump from primary school to high school is often as a result much harder as children simply have not been trained to handle a larger work load. However the pros and cons of homework is another article for another day.

Technology

My first computer was the Commodore 64 and it came with those giant floppy disks. The internet was that strange noisy dialup thing and face book was the actually title of a fiction novel. At present the trend is to do as much as possible online. From the use of smart boards to submitting assignments, it’s all on the net. In fact children are encouraged to bring their devices into class. The use of calculators in my case started in high school. We used to layout our work showing all methods and calculations. Each piece of work had to have our name, the date and an underlined title. We would be marked on these things. My daughter was taught to use the calculator for the simplest of things and I am continuously telling her to use her head to work things out. Handwriting, grammar, organization and neatness all have suffered simply because kids are being taught to rely of their devices. Cursive writing is a dying art, as is going to the library to do research. Information is available immediately thanks to the internet but this instant gratification leads to a lack of patience and the loss of  satisfaction of actually solving something for themselves.

After school

Life after school has also changed. I used to come home, do my homework, watch a few cartoons and then hang out playing whatever with my neighborhood friends outside. Here the majority are shipped from one afterschool activity to another, and then it’s off to get hooked onto the TV or the latest play station game. Even when friends meet, it’s usually over the latest TV show. Gone are the days of a good board game or hide and seek. The word ‘Bored’ is a frequently used one in their vocabulary and parents are being forced to play referee between the children and their devices.

While the new generation of children is no doubt smarter and brighter and faster, I do think they are missing out on the most important part of education which is being a child. Life is far too commercial and not personal enough. The ‘wonder years’ should be exactly that. A time to literally stop and smell the roses. To slow down and relish every moment that is their childhood. It’s a time for families to bond over dinner not squabble over the latest smart phone a teenager suddenly needs.

About the author:

Muneezah Jawad is the social media manager at MuslimMoms.ca.

How does your childhood compare with that of your offspring? Let us know how you feel. What you like and what you dislike about the system your child is in and why.