Work-At-Home Mom Tips For Some Sanity This Summer

“Hello there!” my neighbour chirped, breaking my trance. I looked toward her voice which came from the road at the back of my cottage.

“Hi,” I responded dully from the love seat on the side deck.

“Everything ok?” Concern laced her question. If she was someone I knew better, if I wasn’t exhausted, if I could find the words, I might have told her how utterly sad I felt. But nothing came out except a mumbled excuse about being tired.

It wasn’t a lie. I was tired – tired of feeling the way I had been feeling for most of the summer. Even at the lake, my happy place, I couldn’t drum up an ounce of cheer; faking it was out of the question. I was way past that.

I felt this struggle every summer. I’d start off optimistic, even determined, that the approaching season would be different. That I’d not only survive the long days but also thrive. I was the mom, right? I’d be in charge of how the day went and what I was able to accomplish, and my kids would line up in a row like little goslings. My children would be fed and entertained, I would tend to my writing business, and there would still be plenty of time for family adventures. So many people envy the work-at-home mom because of exactly this scenario. I have to say that in 10 summers of trying, I have not quite come close to that pretty picture.

And last summer was the worst.

It took me nearly the entire month of September to pull myself out of my funk. I think I spent the first two weeks of school, sprawled in bed or on the couch, willing the fatigue out of my body and mind. This was in direct conflict with that part of me that was excited to have some kind of freedom again to create and work and grow my business; at the end of the day I was always disappointed by what I hadn’t done with those precious hours when they were finally in school. Looking ahead, I want something entirely different for these next few months.

I hesitate to say this…but I have a plan. My hesitation comes from the fact that I spent much of yesterday afternoon refereeing fights, witnessing tantrums and wishing I could sail to an island far, far away. Nevertheless, the show must go on and this introverted writer and mom of 3 is pulling out some tricks to give me some sanity this summer (for you, too, if you need it).

Three Things I Will Do For Some Sanity This Summer

1. Call in reinforcements. I have a teenage babysitter available much of the summer and boy, do I plan to use her. Whether it’s for my anniversary dinner or just some coffeeshop writing time, I will not hesitate to dial her number! (Or text…whatever). I also hope to get together with my friends and their kids; this allows my friends and I to see each other and for our kids to have some playmates while we catch up. The more kids are around, the more entertained mine are. The more moms are around, the more relaxed I am. Win-win! I also have the two oldest ones in a couple camps each. I basically took my credit card to the local community centre and said, “Charge it.” It felt So. Good.

2. Have quality time with my girlfriends. This, of course, means time without our kids. This was hugely lacking for me last year. I saw two friends the entire summer! One in July and one in August. It was not enough. My girlfriends are the ones who get me, the ones I can be messy with, and the ones I can belly laugh with. I don’t know what could be better for my mental health than time with other women who understand what it’s like to be a mom who’s also trying to maintain her individuality and womanhood. I am booking in dates with girlfriends weeks in advance so I ensure I am not going too long without that precious time. This Thursday, I’m taking my friend to a media night of Avocado Toast at Vancouver Theatre Sports League. I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple weeks and honestly, just knowing I have it planned lifts my spirits in those trying moments.

3. Take a few minutes to myself each day. Yesterday, it was a drive to the gas station. And then a 15 minute phone call with my cousin from the car…parked in my garage. But you know what? It helped. By the time I got in the house, the kitchen was cleaned up from dinner (strategic timing on my part, I know) and the two younger kids were in bed. This allowed me to spend a quality half hour with my oldest before tucking her in and then relax for an hour before calling it a day. The drive gave me a little sense of freedom and a chance to play my music loud. The phone call allowed me to connect with someone I care about, talk to her about something positive in her life (which made me feel inspired and proud) and then vent a little about my own day. By the time I got to my oldest daughter’s bedroom, I almost felt like a new person and I could give her the best part of me. Some days, a few minutes to myself might look like a walk (alone or with a neighbour), reading in our home library, journalling in my studio or sitting outside in my backyard. I used to feel guilty ‘stealing’ these moments because I felt like once the family was all together after my husband got back from work, I shouldn’t split. But for a little more sanity this summer, I am splitting.

I’m an introverted mom of 3, and any introvert or mom of 3 will tell you that that is some messed up kind of paradox I am living. All year-round it’s a bit of an extra challenge for someone like me to pull myself out of my head and remember who is supposed to be where, anticipate their needs, find opportunities for their growth, support them each emotionally at various stages of development, forge into unknown territory (hello, preteenhood!), ensure their wellness (and so many more things that I don’t have time to list because skating camp is almost ending and my window for writing is closiiiiiiiiiing). But the number of summers I have left with all my babies under one roof goes down by 1 each year. I want to make them as fun for all of us as possible and I now see that my mental health is a prime factor in all of this.

Do you have tips for introverted moms who work from home during the summer? How do you keep your business afloat, get space to recharge and enjoy your family over the summer months? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear!

taslim jaffer writer

Dr. Shefali Is Coming To Vancouver | Conscious Parenting

I read my first parenting book when I was pregnant with baby #1. It was supposed to prepare me for the first year of my baby’s life. Instead it made me wonder if I could actually handle the responsibility of raising a child! My friend who gave it to me asked me what I thought of the book and I had to be honest; I told her that I felt like it was just telling me all the things that could go wrong. “Oh, you shouldn’t focus on that part,” she said. How could I not? YOU CAN SCREW THIS UP seemed to jump out at me from every page. (It was definitely not a book on conscious parenting!).  I guess those heart-stopping words were my own fear talking.

When I was a little girl, I wondered how my mom knew everything – from how to help me when I had a fever to what the different pieces of chicken were called.  When I’d ask her how she knew these things, she simply replied, “Because I’m a mom.” So, now here I was, about to become one myself, and I felt none the wiser. Just a whole lot more scared. Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Now I’m almost 11 years into motherhood with 3 kids: two in elementary school and one in preschool. So, I’m parenting a pre-teen, a classic ‘middle child’ syndrome kid and a preschooler who thinks the world revolves around her. And I guess it does. At least, in our home. I love them each to bits for who they are – and they truly are amazing human beings. But my journey as a mom started off really rocky to the point where sometimes I still feel shame when I see a new mom totally doting on her baby. Maybe I was all heart-eyes over my baby but I don’t remember. I just remember the difficult parts being really, really tough.

To this day, I question why I had such a challenging time raising babies and toddlers. Why couldn’t I just suck it up and enjoy being home with them when they were little? Why was I so eager to return to work? Why did I get angry and frustrated with them when they were just being…babies? Why did I cry on the kitchen floor all the time?

But you know what? These questions are good.

Dr. Shefali’s Conscious Parenting

I know the questions are good because when I take the time to answer them, I become more conscious of how I am parenting and why I am triggered. This is key for me. What was it about being a stay-at-home mom that made me feel angry? It wasn’t a baby needing to be breastfed around the clock. It was about me. Sure, it’s super tiring to meet the physical demands of a baby, but I know there was more to it than that. Also, when I am butting heads with a 3 year old, why does it sound like there are two 3 year olds in the room? Why can’t I step into my adult self instead of climbing back into the crib and reacting like a child? It’s taken me a long time to figure out the answers and I don’t have all of them yet but I’m starting to feel more supported by Dr. Shefali’s book, The Conscious Parent.

This isn’t to say that today I am a perfect parent who is in a totally elevated state of awareness and reacts to every situation in a way that positively impacts my children’s and my growth. Nope. It just means that I am becoming more aware of why I react to situations the way I do, what triggers me, what my own needs are as a person and how important it is to fulfill those. Most importantly, conscious parenting is an aspiration, something to work toward, and I am not expected to be perfect.

Last Night’s Facebook Live With Dr. Shefali

It was really cool to spend 15 minutes on Facebook Live with Dr. Shefali and listen to all the important topics she wants to cover when she comes here next month. I jotted down some notes as she spoke and I found these to be gems:

  • ultimately our children are a mirror showing us how conditioned we are by cultural fears
  • we can use the parent-child relationship to raise OURSELVES (it’s not about raising the kids)
  • the goal of this life is to become whole again as we were when we were kids

I also noted this realization: I see a lot of my child self in my kids and that is what triggers me.

If you missed the Facebook Live, here it is below! After you watch, I’d love it if you left a comment here to tell me something that resonated with you. (Also, this is just a geeky moment for me, but she actually said my name at the very end!) Then keep reading to find out how you can win a ticket to see her in person in Vancouver!

Join Me At Dr. Shefali’s Event In Vancouver

In Dr. Shefali’s New York Times best selling books ​she brings a fresh perspective to the parenting landscape, challenging the current paradigm it is steeped in and turning it on its head. Provocative, daring and evocative, her approach teaches parents how to raise themselves – first – into the most empowered and conscious before they hope to raise their children. Dr. Shefali believes that parents need to learn to heal their own emotional baggage and raise themselves into an elevated state of awareness before they raise their children. Dr. Shefali teaches parents the value of true connection over correction – eliminating archaic ideals of control and punishment.

To celebrate and share her remarkable work, my friend ​Kate Muker​ is hosting Dr. Shefali for a truly powerful evening where she will share a radically different approach to parenting that has transformed the lives of so many families. Whether you have a baby or a teen she will help you discover a new path to parent without fear or anxiety, learn to end conflict and motivate your children through connection.

If you are ready to shift the way you approach parenting, attend Dr. Shefali’s event in Vancouver on Sunday May 27th.

Join me at the event if you want to discover how to:

  • stop struggling as a parent and find more joy
  • deal with your controlling child
  • stop fighting over screens and designs
  • raise motivated, empowered, resilient and aware children

GRAB YOUR TICKETS HERE and let me know if I’ll see you!

If you’d like to take a chance at winning a ticket, head over to my Facebook contest (ends Sunday April 15 at 5 pm PST).

taslim jaffer writer

 

 

 

 

I’m proud to be a sponsor of Kate Muker’s quality, conscious events. All opinions are my own.

What My Neighbours Are Watching On Netflix

At my most recent book club meeting, after thoroughly discussing the thought-provoking book we had just finished reading, the conversation flipped to Netflix. As everyone chimed in with what they were watching on Netflix, I realized that even though most of these women lived just steps from my own home, I didn’t know what they were doing in their living rooms in the evenings! I mean, it’s not that I’m a nosy neighbour or anything but it’s pretty important to know the people you share a corner with, don’t you think?

My neighbours are used to me asking them all kinds of things: can someone take my kids to school today, can someone pick up my kids from school today, does anybody have a lemon, does anybody have a juice box , did anybody save yesterday’s paper, does anyone have a bottle opener/gravy boat/wheelbarrow/ I could borrow, I have extra cake – who wants it, who wants to come over for tea, who wants to wake up early on a Sunday and go for a walk? You get the picture.

And yet, after all these years, I didn’t know what they were watching on Netflix! I had to remedy that. I rounded up 5 of my neighbours and asked them for a peek in their living rooms so I could see what they enjoyed watching together as a couple.

5 Shows My Neighbours Love Watching On Netflix

Kavita and Robby: Breaking Bad

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Breaking Bad is about a high school chemistry teaching dying of cancer who tries to secure his family’s future by making and selling crystal meth.

We loved it because the character on this show are complex and very interesting. The character development is unbelievable – watching the main character’s journey from good to diabolical was fascinating. The plot line is unpredictable and compelling, and the use of foreshadowing was very sophisticated.

We loved every minute of this series! Since the series ended, we use it as the gold standard to compare all other shows. My husband and I will often say to each other, “It was good…but NOT Breaking Bad good!”

Kim and Shane: Nashville

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Nashville is about country music legend Rayna James whose label has her touring with a rising young diva named Juliette Barnes.

We love to watch Nashville – we started it about a month ago and are currently mid-way through Season 3. We generally have very different taste in TV shows, but we both love country music (which this show oozes) so naturally we both love watching it. We visited Nashville a few years ago and fell in love with the city which probably plays into it a bit!

Cayley and Frank: Ozark

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Ozark is about a financial advisor who gets in trouble with a drug lord and has to launder $500 million in 5 years. To do this, he moves his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks.

We started watching Ozark because it came highly recommended. We like that it’s a bit dark but also humorous at the same time. It’s a great show to binge watch on a weekend (if you don’t have kids around) since there are only 10 episodes in the first season. And…we’ve been told that the last episode has a big surprise!

Erin and Chris: Breaking Bad (Just like Kavita and Robby!)

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We loved Breaking Bad because it started off strong in the first episode and didn’t let us down once through the entire series. The writers and actors are all amazing, resulting in an incredible story line told through even better characters. We’ve watched the series multiple times and see something different every time…and we’d still watch it again and love it just as much (if not more) than the first time we saw it.

Kelly and Hammond: The Crown

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The Crown is the Netflix original drama about Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times.

We love The Crown because the characters are realistic and the actors do an amazing job portraying them. The costumes, scenes and direction are superb with entertaining plot and dialogue. As well, the architecture and countryside of England and Scotland makes us nostalgic for our younger years growing up in the UK.  History buffs will love the lesson in 20th century post-war Britain!
You feel like you are taking a ‘real’ behind the scenes look at the Royal family and the struggles that they deal with each day behind closed doors and in the public eye. Before we watched it, we took at look at other reviews which included ‘instant classic” and ‘like the subject it examines, the crown feels like an antique to be admired”. We instantly fell in love with The Crown and are looking forward  to the next series.

What Are You Watching On Netflix As A Couple?

Your turn! Tell us in the comments below what your favourite series is as a couple. Also, did any of my neighbours convince you to try something you haven’t seen?

taslim jaffer writer

 

 

 

 

As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I receive some perks for sharing my honest opinions and ideas with you!

What’s New On Netflix? Something For Everyone!

How’s your 2018 going so far? Off to a good start? I’d love to hear in the comments if the first month was everything you hoped it would be. And if things aren’t quite going as planned, what can I do to help? If I told you what’s new on Netflix, would that work? Just kidding! Netflix isn’t the answer to all of life’s problems, but it sure provides some great entertainment to unwind at the end of a long day. Or something fun to look forward to on the weekend that doesn’t involve too much fanfare. (Or am I the only one who seems to be in hibernation mode?).

In my home, January-March are crazy months for my husband’s business which means that things feel a bit off-balance. So the weekends are absolutely precious family time and cuddle time. Netflix is definitely a part of that! To keep things fresh, it’s always good to check in on what’s new on Netflix; so far this year, there is something new for everyone in your home. Here’s what I mean:

New On Netflix In 2018 So Far…

Trolls: The Beat Goes On has been a hit with my 4-year old! It premiered on January 9 and picks up right where the movie left off, following the adventures of Poppy, Branch and all their Troll friends.

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A Series of Unfortunate Events is perfect for your tween – and mine – who wants to test the waters of scarier movies. The dark comedy series following the ill-fated Baudelaire siblings returns on March 30 for a second suspense-filled season with Neil Patrick Harris reprising his role as the cunning Count Olaf.

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One Day At A Time released its second season on January 26. If, like me, you haven’t checked it out yet, it came highly recommended by my friend Jamie and sounds perfect for teens and older. While do-it-all single mom Penelope keeps her family going, it’s the fresh perspectives of her children Elena and Alex that make the show relevant in today’s cultural landscape. I love representational television and Jamie knows this about me, so I take her recommendations to heart.

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Altered Carbon is just for you sci-fi loving adults! It’s described as a fast-paced cyberpunk series where death isn’t permanent and human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded from body to body. This dark murder mystery came out on Netflix on February 2. Have you caught an episode yet?

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Santa Clarita Diet is another one I heard a lot about and now the second season is coming out later this year!  But first, can someone explain to me why she’s eating raw meat? Is this part of the show? Tell me in the comments!

santa clarita diet, santa clarita diet on netflix, what's new on netflix, streamteam, taslim jaffer writer

But it doesn’t stop there: This February, Queer Eye returns after 15 years with a brand new Fab Five and the Regina King-starring crime drama Seven Seconds goes beyond the headlines of race relations and law enforcement. The standard coming-of-age story is turned on its head with a set of dueling A/V and drama clubs set in 1990s Oregon in Everything Sucks! to four bright and savvy friends growing up and navigating their way through life in South Central LA in On My Block .

And later this year, mark your calendars for family blockbuster nights with new takes on classic stories: First, get ready to welcome back the most lovable dog in Hollywood with Benji coming to Netflix in March (I LOVED Benji!), and then blast off into the galaxy with Lost in Space, a reboot of the 1960s classic which is set to launch in mid-2018.

Which of these excites you most? I can’t wait to introduce my kids to Benji; I know my dog-lover daughter will fall in love with him like I did such a long time ago!

P.S. Don’t forget: if you’re escaping the winter blues for some vitamin sea somewhere, Netflix now has a downloadable feature you’ll want to take advantage of for your flight!

taslim jaffer writer

 

 

 

 

As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I receive some perks for sharing my honest opinions and ideas with you!

How My Husband And I Do Movie Nights – And Stay Married

Friday nights are family movie nights. There is just nothing else the 5 of us want to do after the go-go-go of a school and work week. We wake up on Friday mornings excited to get through the day so we can turn on some Netflix and cuddle up on the couch.

Obviously with the kids in on movie nights, we have to watch something that’s appropriate for them (and they range from 3 years to 10 years). What’s worked well for us is each week the kids take turns choosing a movie. It still has to work for the other two, but our youngest is actually really good at non-animated movies, and my older two are known to sit fixated for a movie like Moana. As a family we have loved Monster Trucks, Pete’s Dragon, Are We There Yet?, Finding Dory, Into the Woods, The BFG…and many more! It’s never difficult for us to find a movie that works for all of us. This system works well for the whole family and movie nights are generally my favourite of the week.

Once the kids go to bed, the hubs and I get the couch and the remote to ourselves. Which sounds lovely. Except we have some very differing preferences when it comes to entertainment. His most recent favourite movies on Netflix have included: Mechanic: Resurrection, The Saint, London Has Fallen and Planet of the Apes.  And mine: Amar, Eat Pray Love and The Ugly Truth.

Here’s How We Do Movie Nights Post Kids-Bedtime

1. We flip to compromise mode and scroll till we pick something we both like. Hidden Figures was a recent winner! Sometimes we scroll for a long time until I threaten him to pick something quick; if we start a movie past 9:30 I am guaranteed to not finish it. Movies we’ve compromised on in the past include: The Intern, Seven Pounds, Friends with Benefits and The Notebook.

2. I bribe him with a plate of my famous nachos. No, really. It’s not that hard to get him to do anything for a plate of ooey, gooey cheesy nachos.

movue nights, netflix, nachos

 

3. If we just can’t find anything we’re both in the mood for, we skip the movie and opt for a series we’re watching together instead. Because the truth? We usually watch a movie on Saturdays, too, after the kids go to bed! So, if Friday nights ends up being a night to catch up on Aziz Ansari’s Master of None then we’re pretty happy to do that, too. Lately, our favourite series is This is Us. Oh my gosh, have you SEEN it?

4. I talk him into something, like a documentary, by telling him how much it will benefit our lives. It’s for the good of the family. That gets him every time. He’s got such a wonderful heart and I definitely take advantage of this. P.S. Watching Forks Over Knives got him to quit his weekly hamburger. I am practically saving his life with my love of Netflix documentaries.

5. I tell him that watching certain movies gives me fodder for my blog. It’s for my work. So, how can he not support my work, right? It’s true that this is a bit of a stretch. But if I’m in the mood for a foreign film to exercise my Spanish-listening-ear, and I also happen to write about travel and language learning, then it kind of all goes together. So, I’m not lying. I’m a writer so basically EVERYTHING I am curious about is important to my work. (Hopefully this is one post he doesn’t read).

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I know we’re not the only matrimonial match that has to compromise over Netflix entertainment – what do you do when you want to watch something but your partner wants to watch pretty much the opposite thing? I’d love to hear your ideas!

As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I receive some perks for sharing my honest opinions and ideas with you!

5 Reasons Why I Loved Being Part of Tea India’s Moms Run On Chai Video

When Mother’s Day comes around, I am guaranteed several things: handmade gifts from the kids, some kind of stationery, a homemade breakfast, messages from loved ones…and a little yearning in my heart for my own mom. As each year goes by, Mother’s Day feels different. It has shifted to being about me. I don’t know exactly when it happened but I am now at that point where I truly feel like the mother figure in my family, and I hope my mom continues to guide me to be everything that role entails. As I wrote about recently, my family suffered another loss last month, my mom’s eldest sister. I learned that losing a mother figure can completely rip open that wound, and I learned that ‘mother’ lives in many people. In the midst of this emotional time comes the release of a project I was lucky to be a part of – a tribute to moms called Moms Run On Chai. It’s a production by Pink Chai Media for Tea India, and it’s special to me for many reasons. Have a quick look at the video – see if you can spot me, my oldest daughter and my son!

Here are 5 reasons why I’m thrilled to be part of Moms Run On Chai:

    1. When I was getting into role for this video (I know, I’m a mom…I should already be in ‘role’) I had to conjure up a really motherly feeling. While I packed the lunch kit, checked in on my daughter sleeping, poured the tea, reflected on my day in the scenes of this video, I had to get into character of the mommiest mom I ever knew. And it was MY mom. One hundred percent. She was that mom who did everything to make our mornings easy, our days go well, and our nights comfortable. Whether it was bringing us snacks as we studied, praying for us through anything, researching extracurricular activities, and much, much more, she did it with what I obviously have subconsciously absorbed as the essence of motherhood. Caregiving. That’s what it was. So, as I was going through each scene, I truly felt like my mom was with me. And watching the video I can even see her reflected. She would have shared the heck out of this video, too. I know she would have been proud.
    2. I got to do this with two of my kids! I love that this day was a memory for the 3 of us, and this video like a keepsake of that experience. I’m usually the one taking the pictures or the videos. My selfie skills and short arms create some odd captures when I’m trying to incorporate myself in photos with them. To have a professional team shoot us was awesome. Photo Credit: AzizDhamani.commoms run on chai, pink chai media, tea india, let me out creative, taslim jaffer
    3. I had declared 2017 as Taslim’s Year of Fun and started it off with trips to the theatre to watch live productions. That got me thinking about different art forms, and what I’ve tried and what I haven’t. I kid you not when I tell you, I actually thought to myself, “I haven’t tried acting.” In fact, I thought about it several times before this opportunity came up; when it did, I tossed my name in the hat for selections to be made by Tea India. And I didn’t hesitate, either. This was something I truly wanted to try and the whole experience with how I got the gig just reaffirmed my belief in manifesting parts of our journey.
    4. Making chai is symbolic of so much for me. It is a long time tradition in my family to serve and drink tea several times a day, and while I’m not a 3-cups a day type of person, I do enjoy more than just the taste of a good cup of chai. It’s knowing that I am taking part in something that my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents also did. It’s like sharing something from their lifetime when so much else has changed, including geography. And I love that I am the chai-maker in my family at our gatherings. One of my favourite parts of having people over is asking them, “Who wants chai?” and seeing all the hands go up. Then I retreat to the kitchen and get just the right number of tea bags. When I get positive feedback on the chai, my heart literally swells. Making a good cup of chai is taking care of somebody, offering them comfort and relaxation. So, working with a brand who truly values this was perfect. Photo Credit: AzizDhamani.commoms run on chai, tea india, pink chai media, taslim jaffer, let me out creative
    5. Last but not least, this project allowed me to work with my friend Raj from Pink Chai Media who I met years ago online. She asked me on Twitter to meet her for tea and our friendship has grown since that first chai date. Neither of us dreamed that we’d get to collaborate on something like this, though! Through Raj, I got to meet Aziz who is a whiz behind that lens! Working with him and videographer Gabriel Gonzales was so much fun. They made that full day go by quickly and I even got to practice a little aperture-talk I had just learned from a recent photography class, plus try out a few Spanish phrases on Gabriel. And you might recognize my friend Salma showing her strength with the kettlebell in the video? Life brings amazing people to me year after year. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people with such creative talent and a love of art.

Are you a tea-drinker? A chai-lover? Then you should head over to Tea India’s Facebook contest and enter to win a year’s supply of tea! Contest ends 11:59 pm May 15, 2017. Good luck!

Tell me about your favourite cup of tea or tea memory in the comments! I’d truly love to hear!

taslim jaffer, let me out creative

 

 

 

Awaken Your Inner Champion With This 6-Week Webinar

Have you ever heard the term ‘inner critic’? I talk about it in my writing classes. It’s that voice of self-doubt, even ridicule, that keeps you from writing (or living) with the freedom you should. Over the years of being mindful of this voice, I’ve gotten to know all the sneaky tricks it tries to pull. But there are still times when that voice is loud and I need something else to counter it. Ranbir Puar from Spirituality for Reality Inc has the perfect antidote for me: my inner champion.

I consider my inner champion as that place from which to draw strength. It’s the truth about who I am, how deserving I am of love and respect, and how strong I can be in adversity. Last fall, I participated in a 4-week webinar put on by Ranbir all about awakening that inner champion and I loved it! It was a supportive group environment where we tried exercises and shared experiences. There was always time for asking questions and we were even given tools, including email access to Ranbir, to help us get through the week till the next session. It’s pretty exciting that she now has a 6-week webinar offering the same and more, and it’s starting on May 9!

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If you’re still not sure what the signs of a loud inner critic are, here’s what Ranbir has to say:

You know that voice inside your head…the one that nags, disrupts and holds you back? It’s the voice of your inner critic. Many people don’t realize how pervasive that inner critic is in their lives. Here are some tell-tale signs that your inner critic is holding the reins and should be given the boot!
  1. You don’t sleep well.  You either have a hard time falling asleep, or you wake up through the night and can’t go back to be. OR you wake up tired, even though you have slept!
  2. Failure cripples you.  When things go right or wrong, your inner critic shows up and takes charge of your inner dialogue. Undercutting your successes and deepening your failures by insisting you will never measure up.
  3. You don’t nourish your body, mind and spirit well. When your self-image is high, you tend to pay close attention to what you feed your body, mind and your spirit. Not because you are afraid, but because you are worth it!
  4. Your language/communication with others tends to have a negative slant/focus. Audit your conversations, including your inner voice.  How you speak to yourself when you are alone with your thoughts is a true test of the strength of your inner champion/inner critic.   
  5. Your close relationships are tense. Many people treat strangers better than they treat the people they love. How you give AND receive love is key for a strong self-image, a strong inner champion. Do an audit, objectively assess the love in your life.  Remember love is life’s true currency.  It is the size of your heart, not the size of your wallet, that matters.

As a mom, I think it’s important for me to have an awakened inner champion because that’s the same pool from which my motherhood is drawn. I want to offer my kids the best of me and it’s easiest for me to do that when I feel at peace with myself. In fact, I’m considering my participation in her next webinar as my Mother’s Day gift to myself. It’s a great time of year to think about me and who I am as a woman and a mom. Maybe there’s a mom you know who’d like this gift, too?

I’m happy to offer you coupon code taslim10 for this webinar. You can share the code with anyone you think would benefit.

I hope to see you there!

taslim jaffer, let me out creative

 

 

 

My First 5 Quick Thoughts On The Women’s March On Washington – Vancouver

Right after the U.S. election this past November, the internet was ablaze with news that a march was being organized in Washington, D.C. My friends and I were like, “We should go!” And really, though we felt we should go, it wasn’t something we could do for various reasons. Other than catching some tweets and reading things here and there, the march in D.C. on January 21st, 2017 wasn’t looking like a part of my reality.

A week before the scheduled march, though, I learned that there was one being organized in Vancouver which isn’t too far from where I live. So, the idea began to brew again: I should go!

If you recall, I’ve been struggling with this mental block of feeling like I don’t have the freedom to do the things I want. Not because anyone is tying me to a chair and telling me this, but because every time I look at my calendar to check if an event is feasible, I encounter 4 other people’s schedules. The odds of a clash are great. So, for a long time I have been telling myself, ‘I can’t’ or ‘It’s too hard.’

The idea of going to the march in Vancouver planted itself in my head but every time it came to the forefront of all the other things occupying my brain, I would send it back into the depths of my mind with a reason why it wouldn’t work or why it would be too complicated. Now, I’m not entirely irrational about this. It is sometimes complicated. But sometimes it’s also a matter of getting creative, or even getting brave. Like when I decided at 7 am last Saturday that I would take my 3 year old daughter whether or not it was the best idea. I just knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would always wish I had.

When my 9 year old heard I was going she wanted in on it, too. So, I let her skip her religion class that morning and in fact, I was thankful for her company and the extra set of hands I kind of knew I would need. I made sure the stroller was in the van, snacks were packed for both girls and figured we would just get there and see how we fared.

Getting there was a breeze – I couldn’t believe I didn’t hit any traffic! I found meter parking a couple blocks from Jack Poole Plaza, and the girls and I followed the pink hats down toward the music. We got right up close to the stage. Once we found the spot we would hang out at over the next 45 minutes to listen to speeches, my youngest asked for a snack. And then she asked for another, and another, and got louder and louder. I had to cave and give her my oldest daughter’s snacks, too! As predicted, my youngest got tired of sitting in her stroller so I let her out. Unfortunately, she didn’t just want to be out of the stroller, she wanted to push it through a crowd of peaceful protesters who were standing still. She literally was the only violent protester there, ramming wheels into unsuspecting people’s ankles. Finally, I got her back in the stroller and handed her her water bottle which she was pleased to see after inhaling all those salty snacks. Less than two minutes later, when they announced we would now start marching, the woman to my right tapped me on the shoulder and said, “She’s spilled her water.” And that she did. All down the front of her shirt and pants. And it pooled in her lap, soaking her through to her skin.

I’ll fast forward to say, we left at that point! But do I regret my last-minute attempt at being part of a movement I believe in? No. Do I regret taking my oldest who was amazed at the number of people who care about important issues? No. If there’s a march again and my youngest is still in this stage of ‘eat and spill all the things’ will I leave her at home? Absolutely.

Here are my first 5 quick thoughts about the Women’s March on Washington in Vancouver:

  1. Wow, we have a lot of activists in the Lower Mainland!
  2. I’m thankful my oldest understood that all these people care about HER – as a girl, as a person of colour, as a human being.
  3. I can’t believe we are still marching about these things, but I’m damn proud that we are.
  4. I don’t understand why the local Black Lives Matter chapter was not included in the planning, organizing and presenting of this march. I’m looking into that today for another article.
  5. I’d like to see how we can go forward as an inclusive, action-centric movement.

Did you attend the march in your area? What were your thoughts? Favourite signs? ‘Like’ our Facebook page, Her Story Media, for some more thoughts on feminism and women’s experiences.

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taslim jaffer, let me out creative

10 Martin Luther King Jr Quotes To Share With Your Kids

This morning, while the kids ate their waffles and strawberries, I played for them a YouTube video on my phone which I placed at the centre of the dining table. The kids were quiet (rare) as they listened to Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Prior to playing the video for them, I gave them a brief intro to who he was, what he stood for and the non-violent ways in which he stood up for what was right. I told them about the trip we made to Atlanta, GA with some friends when my oldest daughter was 4 and my son was 15 months old – a trip that included a visit to MLK Jr’s birth home, church and the National Historic Site dedicated in his honour.

After dropping them off to school, I sifted through my photos of that trip which truly held some of the most moving moments of my life (including a visit to a former plantation and slaves quarters). I have a rekindled spark in me to share this world with my kids – not just to enjoy its pretty destinations, but to experience other cultures, visit historical sites and learn the stories that haunt our human history. The world has it all and I want my children to feel they belong to it.

martin luther king jr, atlanta georgia, mlk jr, birth home
The house in which MLK Jr was born and raised.

If you’d like to share some inspiring quotes by MLK Jr with your school-aged children, here are my favourites. What would you add to this list? Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

  1. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  2. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.
  3. Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
  4. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
  5. The time is always right to do what is right.
  6. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
  7. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
  8. I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
  9. We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
  10. We may all have come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

taslim jaffer, let me out creative

5 Reasons Why I’m Going To The Little Black Dress Gala In Support Of Help Change My City Alliance (P.S. Wanna Be My Date?)

The Little Black Dress Gala is an evening of glamour, fashion and philanthropy taking place on Friday November 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. And I’m going! I’m looking for a date (or several dates – the more the merrier!) so if any of these reasons grab you, then let me know to expect you there! And if you’re thinking, ‘charity gala’ = a huge ticket price…not this one! Tickets are just $30. And that’s not even one of my reasons!

  1. This event combines pretty much everything I love and that is at the heart and soul of my work as a writer/social change ambassador/mom and basically, a human being. It’s where philanthropy, education, fashion, the arts and support of the underprivileged meet. Among the crowd, and entertaining us with live performances, there will be local designers, musicians, dancers and other classical artists. These are creative people who bring a community together simply by doing what they love; it’s always a thrill to be in a room with visionaries.
  2. The guests will be comprised of socially-minded individuals who work as community influencers, government officials, and educators, all with a focus on making a difference in the lives of marginalized youth. They are expecting around 1000 people (!) and one of my personal goals is to meet at least 5 really awesome folks throughout the course of the evening.
  3. Proceeds of the event are going to fund new programmes within Help Change My City to best empower marginalized youth in the Lower Mainland through mentoring, emotional support and assistance in developing their potential.
  4. Help Change My City has set aside tickets to this event for women in need in our community so that they can attend. And to add to their experience of the evening, we are given the opportunity to provide a donated dress and shoes for these women for $20. So, not only do I get to go and have a good time, I get to be a part of creating a fun experience for someone else. In recent times, as the struggles of women in my own backyard have been coming to light, something has come alive within me. I want to be part of that conversation that supports women, and I also want to be in action. This evening will give me an opportunity to learn more about what is needed, and what my part could be.
  5. While a Friday night going for prayers with my family or hanging out at home, relaxed in our pj’s, is never something I would complain about, once in awhile it’s fun to dress up and get outside of my comfort zone. I’ve pushed myself enough over the last few years to have learned that getting out there, meeting like-minded people, and being me the woman, is never something I regret. Being a mom and a wife is part of who I am, and these are parts I cherish immensely. But once in awhile, getting out without the kids feels like those university days when I’d drive from Richmond to the Burnaby SFU campus, attend classes, meet people, and dream about the incredible things I’d do with my life while waiting for the next lecture to begin. There’s that part of me that still exists, and I love her. I’m still that girl, scribbling in her journal about the things she wants to change in the world. Now I have the motivation through my kids to make those changes. But I also need the space to focus, to grow, to learn and to set things in motion. My family is my ‘why’, but that ever-evolving woman in me is someone I still need to spend good, quality time with.

If I’ve convinced you to be my date, please let me know. If you’re looking for tickets or if you want to sponsor a woman who could use something special to wear, the link to both is here.

taslim jaffer, let me out creative