Instagram Influencer: The spice of Adulting

Scrolling my Instagram feed like usual, I came across hundreds of pictures every day. The day something felt very convincing to me that I stopped and read the caption. Here was the baby Aleyan the cutest and adorable baby.

Isn’t he cutest?

Reminding year across 2017 maybe, I found to look alike, Mahira Khan. Yes yes, I am talking about Anum. She looks sometimes Mahira, sometimes Shahnaz (straight from ABC) and sometimes another popular face you might saw recently. Let me tell you about the exact Anum I am talking about. A girl enjoying her adulthood and parenthood in the most joyful manner.

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(Continued from previous post) . The hardest part about taking this decision was the reaction from people around me. It was all very well meaning. I knew it was all an outpour of their excitement for me. BUT it made it difficult for me to think rationally. I was told left, right and centre that I should take a loan and go for it. I can understand how taking loans is a feasible option for a lot of people. But for me, taking a loan at that stage meant giving up the freedom to make many life decisions that were clouded with uncertainty at that point. With hefty loans to pay off, I could see myself opting for things because I had to, not because I wanted to. And that's not the life I wanted to sign up for at that age. I didn't want to be tied down. . There's no regret. Because every time I revisit my reasons, I'm assured that I made the right choice. Difficult, yes. Very difficult. But right. A part of me still wanders off to the 'what ifs' sometimes. Only sometimes. But we've come a long way since then and it's easier to shush that part now. . I can think of a thousand circumstances where deciding otherwise would've been the best choice for someone else, but it wasn't the best choice for US at that stage. That's really all that it was. A decision that I felt was better for us as a family. What worked for US. Something that should be the prime consideration of any family. You want to succeed as a unit, not just as an individual. And as long as your partner acknowledges it, appreciates it and demonstrates the willingness and the ability to do the same, there's SO much beauty in building life together. It wasn't a sacrifice on my part to be a 'good wife' and it wasn't something I gave up because 'marriage' didn't allow. In all honesty, I'd have made the same choice even if I wasn't married. It was something I REALLY wanted, yes. But there were lots of others things I wanted just as bad. And nobody gets to have it all in life. You take some, you let some go. You set your priorities and then you pick and choose. I chose to let go of one dream to be able to live the collective joy of many others. I let go, to free myself. Simple. Or maybe not. ✌🏻

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Anum is also the one who studies abroad. If you’re Pakistani, then you must know about how this is so much difficult to ace foreign education all alone. Then stagramstarmmlkfAnum got married to his fellow and friend Ahmed.. life became more colorful when she became a mummy.

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In my third year of college, I got the opportunity to spend one semester in Austria as part of a fully funded exchange program. I'd applied for the program awaieen, thinking mene konsa chalay jana hae. But then I got selected and had a 'Oh shit! Ye tou ho gaya!' moment. I had never travelled out of Pakistan before that. Let alone, travel and live all by myself. I remember calling my dad as soon as I got the acceptance email and this is how the conversation that followed: Abu: "Acha tou tumhara khayal hae tum jaa rahi ho?" Me: "Jana tou chahti hoon." Abu: "Chalo phir chali jana." Aur mein chali gayi. . Back then, I didn't realise how big of a deal it must have been for my parents to let me go. Aik tou larki, upar se akeli. Just like I didn't fully realise how cool it was of them to let me do all those things that no girl in my family had done before. Never caring what anyone would say. I landed my first job in a different city when they were expecting me back home after 4yrs in hostel. And they told me to go ahead and get the experience I wanted. The experience that later opened many more doors of opportunity for me. They say you've got to be prepared when opportunity knocks at your door. But  sometimes, preparation alone doesn't suffice. You also need support. I was able to grab all the opportunities that came my way in life because these two always pushed me forward instead of holding me back – that's what mentors do. To encourage the idea of mentorship, @Uberpk is soon bringing a chance for aspiring athletes to be mentored by some amazing Pakistani cricketers. Because #HarBallHaiOpportunity – not just in cricket, in life as well 😎 #sponsored . FYI, that's abu's standard expression when he's emotional and trying to hide it. And ami has her eyes closed in 99.9% of her pictures. Waiting to hear your stories about your mentors below 👇🏻

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Every month, Anum took a picture of her baby, writing about all the achievements and emotions a mommy baby done.

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I've never been a very koochi-koo type of mom. That's just not the person I am. I can't go sadkay waari and I therefore find it hard to explain my feelings for this little boy. . This boy, who wakes up in the middle of the night, randomly gives me a hug and a kiss, then turns around and goes back to sleep. This boy, who's been making me push myself since the past two years, testing my patience every single day and simultaneously changing me into a better version of myself (or so I'd like to believe). This boy, who's been making me re-evaluate my choices in life just so I can be a better parent for him to look up to. This boy, who has no idea how many times he's picked me up on a bad day and taught me a lesson with his innocence. . Just a few days ago, I was feeling weighed down because of a really petty issue and I randomly asked him: "Aleyan, aap khush ho?" (I ask him such questions every now and then because I get very amusing responses). He threw his hands in the air, screamed in excitement and started running around in circles. Looking at him made me see how silly I was being for letting a trivial thought ruin my day. I may or may not have run around in circles with him after that. . He turns 2 years old in 2 days and I'm not sure how I feel about this 🙈 #Aleyansmonthly . P.S: You can find details about the app used for these pictures in the 'notes' section of the highlights. It's been a year since I used it though so it may not have the same stickers anymore.

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Anum is not only a mother!

Anum is not only a mother. A very intellectual one who is looking at life in a completely different way.A Quirky, smart ad active being just like her baby Aleyan.Or you can say the baby is just like her mama. 

Obviously I came to know about all the details of anums life from Instagram. She lived in Saudi Arabia lately, then took a break in Pakistan for a while and currently living in Toronto.

When I started following, aleyan was about a couple of months I guess, now he’s a handsome toddler, surely sometimes sooner he will be going to start school. 

Anum’s account is not only a mom son affair, but you’ll get to know about the books (Both mama baby duo are book worms)  daily rituals of good habits, Everyday to-do ideas, and recipes for food and lives.

Anum recently took my heart when she posted a picture saying about how she entered in hijabi world as she started this a quiet time before.

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I never wrote about how and why I started covering my head because: 1) I didn't feel the need to do it. 2) I didn't think I have the clarity of thought to put this journey into words and do justice to what has been a long long process.  I've received countless messages asking me to share my 'story' – coming from a place of curiosity but understandable and well-meaning curiosity. I've also heard several stories from girls struggling with it or looking for motivation to take the first step. I've tried to help, to the best of my ability and I've also felt clueless about what to say. . The most common concern that seems to hold many back from doing what they say they really want to do is: 'What if I find it too difficult and can't continue after a while? What will people say?' I’d be lying if I said that thought never crossed my mind. But then I always wondered, is my hesitance in taking the first step rooted in the fear of eventually displeasing Him by giving up? The answer was no. I expected Him to understand. Understand my intent. Understand my struggle. And cut me slack. I also expected Him to forgive. But because people aren't as forgiving as Him, it was more tempting to ensure I fit into their criterion of right and wrong instead. . Do we have the same thought process towards other religious obligations? If we miss a fast in Ramzan, do we stop fasting altogether or try not to miss another one? Do we skip other prayers on purpose because we know we won't wake up for fajr or try our best to offer as many as we can? Ever heard 'Isha nahe parhni tou Maghrib bhe na parho?' But because hijab can't be kept as private as other more personal acts of worship and is therefore more open to comments from people that make us feel judged, it often becomes a no-go zone until you attain a certain level of piety and are absolutely sure you won't falter. Ever. . I still say I'm trying. Because I am. I still pray for steadfastness. Everyday. I still have days when it feels too difficult. But isn't it all supposed to be a struggle? Isn’t 'trying' really the first step? And I didn't want to forgo the rewards of making an effort, out of fear that I may want to give up one day.

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Heres my love for her appreciation. I am not able to write my fullest about how I feel about her since forever. I hope to see her adding more sweetness in her spicy adulthood and aleyan a well-groomed graduate. To everyone reading this, just head over to Anums Instagram to get the updates. 

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The past week was what I like to call a ‘parenting retreat’. I know that sounds like the mother of all oxymorons out there but that’s what it ended up feeling like. . It was Ahmad’s first week at university. The pre-MBA/orientation schedule made sure that Aleyan and I were on our own all day long – weekend was no exception either. Ahmad left right after breakfast and mostly returned long after Aleyan had gone to bed. Considering the ‘family-friendly’ work hours that we were used to in Saudi, this was a major change for us. This kid has never quite known what it's like to have baba leave in the morning and be gone all day. I knew it could be overwhelming if I went about our day the same way as I did with two parents in the house. I didn’t want him to feel life isn’t fun with baba not around. I wanted him to ease into this change feeling it’s just as much fun (if not more 😉) with just mimi. So I decided to put everything else aside for a while, do just one thing and do it without any distractions – have fun with my child! . So we played. Oh, we played a lot! Racing cars and building blocks. We read. Mostly just two books but we read them over and over and over until I could read them with my eyes closed. We built tunnels on train tracks, solved puzzles together and made houses with pillows and cushions. There were pretend ice-cream trucks and pretend fire engines. Cooking sessions and tea parties. We sang silly poems with no words and ran around in circles till one of us was out of breath (mostly me). Made playdough cookies and baked actual pizza. Everything took longer and got messier with a toddler involved but that's the part he enjoyed the most. There were bubble baths and hide and seek. Contagious laughter and excited shrieks. We went out every day. Just the two of us. Explored our neighborhood, discovered parks and trails, tried new routes to old places, got lost without google maps and walked back home in the rain. Yes, I forgot the umbrella again 🙄 . Interestingly, this little decision that I made on a whim turned out to be a lot more effective than I imagined. More on that later because this week is going to be even longer 👋🏻👋🏻

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A writer, and discovering my world through my pen.

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