With her husband, Fatin, one half of the musical duo Kindred The Family Soul, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut “Surrender to Love.” Their concert CD, “Live in London,” is available now.
Mother to Aquil, 13, Diya 10, Nina 8, twins Lanaa and Ain, 5, and Deen, 3.
My biggest revelation about motherhood is that certainly I am a much more extraordinary person than I ever imagined I would be, because motherhood has pulled all the best qualities out of me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve moved past whatever potential I thought I had, into a person I just really didn’t see coming. Not to toot my own horn, but every level of strength that I thought I had, I’ve been twice as strong as that, every bit of patience I thought I had I’ve had, I’ve been three times as much patient as that, however creative I thought I could be, I’ve been two or three times more creative than that. The condition of motherhood has brought those things forth.
A hundred years ago if your kid made a mistake you could accept it. If the weren’t quite all that you had anticipated they would be, it wasn’t shameful. People expected their kids to be human beings, to make mistakes and to go astray because I think people took Biblical stories and Koranic stories to heart when people talked about the prodigal son or Cain and Abel.
They didn’t look at people to have to iive up to this crazy standard. When their kid failed or didn’t live up to expectation, it didn’t crush them or the kid. They didn’t give up on them. Nowadays expectations of our kids are so high because they have so many opportunities to do different things. We look at our children and expect them to not be human beings.
Then the pressure is put back on the mother that if you don’t raise this perfect human being, you’ve somehow failed as a mother. With me as a young mother, I just kind of figured out how to go with the flow. What I’ve learned about mothering in this competitive environment is probably not really giving a hot crap damn about what somebody else says about your mothering style. It’s about tailor making the environment to what works for you and your family and kinda screw everybody else.
I know things about my children I’m never going to tell you because I want to protect them and their image to the world. The mother knows all the ugly. The thing is what you do with it. Someone paid me a compliment one time and said that your children are some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met. You can have a smart kid, you can have a fast kid, but to have a child that understands emotion and is compassionate to others is a huge compliment.
You can love and communicate through a lot of serious issues. You will have issues with your children. It will be something. It will be a hurdle to which they will have to cross. You can’t make everything a competition as to how good a mother you are. Because you will fail as a mother on some level. There will be something that will slip through the cracks and it will be something that you will not know how to fix. And you will have to experiment and take time and read and take advice and pray and be still and watch it and learn it in order to correct it, fix it and nurture it. It is just the way that it is. In order for you to have enough quiet to figure it out, you have to tune out the pressure.
A boy does listen quite intently to what his mother says, especially when he is young before he’s able to find and have his own woman. And also before he begins to identity with manhood and wants to hear from his father first, because that will happen. With girls, it’s a lot trickier because with girls, very early on, they will be begin to shape her own opinion about things and will question you at every turn. You have to remember that she thinks as you think and give her a little bit of leeway. It requires a whole lot of patience in dealing with girls. It’s about putting yourself in your child’s shoes but giving her parameters as to how to communicate with you.
I really honestly don’t find a lot of time for myself. For me, time for myself is having lunch. For me, time for myself is making sure that I’m drinking enough water. Things that are basic things for other people are ways that I pay close attention to myself. Because I have so many children and a demanding job, I don’t get a lot of spa time and stuff like that, but I do try to attend to and meet my needs.
Lately it’s been important for me to be healthy. I would like to be here for my children for a long time. So I’ve taken more time to run and be more active and cook healthier meals and shop better to cook healthier meals for the family. I go to sleep. I plan my evening out with the children now so that I can get a certain amount of sleep.
I’m aksing myself the right kinds of questions even when it comes to mental health. I’m resting my brain and making sure that I’m not always on. I don’t really logistically have the time to take retreats and all of that but I know there’s only 24 hours in a day so I’m very careful not to overextend myself. I push myself in certain situations because I know I’m capable of it, but I don’t overextend myself. I know it’s important for me to stay healthy.