photo (2)When I was a little girl I used to write a story in my head.

It always had the same title, but characters and their experiences changed depending on my mood — and when I was older with more romantic notions of inspiration, everything depended on my Muse.

“The Night Stalker” held caverns of unexplored territory in my imagination. I built castles, long, winding corridors, and brilliantly shining universes within my mind. The story wasn’t particularly terrifying or dramatic as the name might suggest — but represented a person who literally chased the night.

And I did. The best time to write in my mind was during dark thunderstorms. I would grab my umbrella and wander the streets around my parents’ house for hours, retreating into my mind’s sanctuary. I created worlds with their own set of universal realities and rich characters that only existed in dreams and desires. Each one searching and yearning for discovery, self awareness, and adventure.

Retreating to these worlds was like coming home and having a warm cup of tea. And then, excited and inspired, I could make them live on a piece of paper.

Not writing is disquieting.

So when I became busy with the return to work and juggling life, I could no longer pour words onto paper. I couldn’t. There simply wasn’t the time. I still walked the streets at night, creating posts and plans and dreams. But the longer I wasn’t talking to you, the more awkward it was to even think about what I would say to explain my absence.

Because I know that you know, that I know I’m not currently writing. And it shocked me to see that a month (a month!!) has passed since I last updated. And I just wasn’t sure how I could start that conversation explaining my absence.

All I want to do is ignore the gap and just take you all out for a coffee and pick up where we left off. Can we do that?

Thank you for staying. I know you’re out there — I see the steady numbers. Thank you for checking back to see if I’ve updated. Thank you for your concerned emails and your comments. Thank you for being an important and wonderful part of my life.

And in so many ways! Because even though I haven’t been speaking to you through the blog, I’ve been able to connect with a few of you through the (un)official Pen Pal Project! We live in an amazing age where Eryn and Ivy can “write” a letter and send it through snail mail — and be rewarded with pictures, tweets, Instagram and Facebook tags of people holding their letters, Eryn’s finger-painting on fridges, and home-made thank you cards in return.

From Canada to South Africa via snail mail, back to Canada via Facebook.

Ladybugs from Canada to South Africa via snail mail, back to Canada via Facebook.

I’m overwhelmed. It’s been an amazing little project. Thank you for making it happen.

So all that to say, yes, I will be writing soon. It may not be with the same frequency as in previous months — we’ll have to take it week by week.

But I miss writing and there’s just so many fun things to talk about.

(new post coming soon!)

My recent post on creating a child-like Ramadan generated a lot of attention on Twitter and Facebook — with many commenting about the frustrating balance between motherhood and the sometimes unfair expectations placed upon mothers during Ramadan — usually at the expense of their spirituality. I thought it might be productive to create spaces where people could share stories, commiserate, debate or come up with plans of action to address the issue. Especially now that we’ve entered the last 10 days of Ramadan.

I’ve teamed up with the amazing Asiah Kelley, to explore some of the problems in the discourse on motherhood and Ramadan — which we’ll look at over the next two postsAsiah Kelley is a fantastic person and mother and I am honoured to share her work with all of you. Please join me in welcoming her as she shares her thoughts and reflections on the importance of recognizing motherhood spirituality.


Ramadan is supposed to be the month of mercy. But for many mothers and wives, it can feel merciless. The work is unrelenting — food preparation, child care, house work, and all the while trying to fit in any act of worship possible.

Muslims start mentally and physically preparing for Ramadan at least a month ahead of time. The excitement builds as people think of all the food they will eat, and all the events they will go to. Young girls shop and prepare their outfits for the different parties they will attend. Boys think of the fun they will have staying up late nights with their friends, while sleeping it off the next day. But mothers? They just might tell you that Ramadan is met with a sense of dread. All the expectations — their family’s and their own, are hard to live up to.

Something has to give, and that something is usually the mother.

Ramadan crept up on me this year. My husband came home from the store with $45 worth of Gatorade, and I was more than confused until he said “For Ramadan? It starts next week.” I guess I knew on some level that it was coming, but had been ignoring it. In fact, I was dreading it. Since having my daughter two years prior I had slowly sunk into an iman hole. My faith was shot.

Ramadan wasn’t a welcome friend, it was a reminder of how bad of a Muslim I considered myself to be.


Morning 6am


I lay back and catch about 20 more minutes of sleep while Eryn has a morning nurse and drifts off herself. Then I roll her over to snooze with Baba while I have about a half hour to run around and get ready for work.

Half a shower (who has time to wash hair when you wear hijab?), a 5 minute makeup-job, and a hastily prepared lunch later I’m running out the door to catch my bus. Sometimes I hear Eryn crying for Mama.

It kills me to close the front door.


Tweeting while bussing in the dark. Without caffeine. A dangerous combination.


Subwaying while trying to write a blog post on my iPhone. See above.


Walk into work, change shoes, turn on computer, and head straight for Timmies. Dream about Eryn the entire morning. Have several versions of Mother Goose songs running through my head. Check Twitter.

12Noon – Phone call home

“Hi mom”
“Hi, how are you?” “Good. How is she?”

Noooooooo! Baby! Mama!

“Do you want to talk to mama?”

Noooooooo! Auto! Nyum-na.

“She’s fine. Colouring. She only slept a half hour this morning. We’re going to have lunch now and then go to the drop-in centre or the library.”
“Cool. What’s for lunch?”
“Chicken nuggets, avocado and a cream cheese sandwich.”

Autoooooooooo! Opa! Ticka-ticka. Bye!!

“Oh, you want me to say good bye? Do you want to speak to mama?”

No. Byeeeeeeee!

“I have to go K, she wants me to hang up.”
“Snort. Ok. Talk to you later.”


Chocolate run.


Sign-off from work, run out the door, jump on the Subway and catch my 5:10 train.

5:10pm – Phone call home

“Hi mom”
“Hi, how are you?” “Good. How is she?”
“She’s fine. Here, you want to talk to mama?”

Heavy breathing

“Hi Eryn! What does a dog say?”
“What does a cat say?”
“What does a monkey say?”
“aah aah aah!”
“Ok… mama is coming home soon….”

thump, crash, rattle

“Hi. It’s me. She dropped the phone. Now she’s looking at pictures of herself with your father.”


Run through the door after speed walking home from the train station.

“Hi sweetie. It’s good to see you too.”
“Okay… just a minute, let me take off my shoes and scarf. Give mama a kiss.”
“Okay, okay…”

laughing maniacally for the grand reveal


7pm Diner

Well, we try to have dinner anyway.

This new interpretive dance thing is all Eryn. I have no idea where she got it from.

8:30pm Bedtime

A very rushed bath, massage and Qur’an by baba. Story time with Mama. A lot of watching her dance, jump, run and play on the bed while I read aloud. We’re currently reading the Velveteen Rabbit and I’m dying to find out what happens after he starts loosing his shape and pink ears.

And then:

“Say goodnight to baba.”
“Ma’asalama habibi”

Then we nurse. I fall asleep before she does, dashing my plans to do some more reading and writing for the blog. Midnight comes and goes and soon enough it’s 6am. When we do it all over again.

God bless the inventor of weekends!

Morning, 6am

Eryn is quietly looking at me, frowning at why on planet Earth I was removing her from her nice warm bed so early in the morning. She looks around at her new surroundings, making out Omi from among the shadows. Thank God she agrees to nurse and I quickly settle her back to sleep.

I laugh watching as she takes over my mom’s side of the bed in a matter of moments — her butt stuck in Omi’s face.


I’ve scarfed down some applesauce, packed my bag and am running out the door.

It’s still dark as I leave the house — the last glimpse of Eryn is of her boots. I already can’t wait to see her.


I’m competing with the commuter next to me to see who can type faster. She might be winning but I have the cooler mobile device, for the mere fact that a TARDIS soars on my home screen.

I’m a little surprised at how quickly I’m able to check my email, Twitter and Facebook. Normally I’m checking while in the bathroom or while the baby is sleeping — hiding if from her so she doesn’t demand her “omna” (I think it means “animals.” As in BBC Earth or Elmo videos).

Today I have all the freedom in the world. I think my internet usage may skyrocket.



Work is fine. People are the same. The venue is the same. The websites are the same. It feels like I’ve been on vacation for only a month. People are glad to see me and it makes the return much sweeter.

No one is rushing me, although they already have me HTMLing documents.  I do have mommy brain but it’s all coming back. I think this blog helped a lot.

No one asked if I was pregnant.

I take a half hour and set up my desk, change my voicemail and sit with IT for 15 minutes because someone has corrupted my work e-mail. As I’m putting up pictures of cats and the Eiffel Tower, I’m sad that I forgot to bring pictures of Eryn.

Tea break and a colleague catches me up on all the office gossip. I smile and nod, not really caring, because there are now so many more important things in this world.

I decide to phone home at noon. Eryn is fine (of course she is!). She slept until 8am, had some breakfast, went tobogganing, took her nap with Omi at 11, and is on her way to the library for a reading circle (at this point I’m silently blessing my parents for buying into our attachment parenting philosophy — and for having a mother who will lie down with her granddaughter and parent her to sleep). I’m not even jealous that my parents have usurped my daily schedule.

It’s actually kind of cool. I can hear Eryn saying “mama! mama!” in the background and my heart hitches a little.

Later, a colleague has left me a chocolate. I don’t remember eating it, but it’s gone by 2pm. I hope I ate it.


Running to the train. Blogging on the train. The day has flown past.

6pm – Home

I run to my baby.

She smiles, says “hi” and then rummages through my bags — puts on my gloves and gives me an impromptu puppet show. After her curiosity is satiated she runs to the door asking for “baba.” She pulls on the handle, expecting that he’ll come through the door any second, just like “mama” did. It makes me sad that he’s so far away.

Eryn looks older after one day. Grown up. Mature. Thinner in the face. Cuter. She’s screaming noises I’ve never heard before.

We snuggle and run around for a bit, nurse for a few minutes and then have dinner.

Post bedtime lazy blogging

I was thinking last night, as I irrationally dealt with separation issues, that returning to work was like loosing a best friend. Or being told that you can only hang out with your most favorite person in the world for about 2 hours a day. That a part of me would be missing.

And while I was tearing up last night as I put her to bed, actually leaving in the morning was fine. Early. But fine. Those 2 hours we had tonight were wonderful.

What a change from our normal day:

It doesn’t take long for me to regain my commuting feet. Everyone is tired, cold and jaded. But I have a spring in my step and navigate the crowd like a pro — pushing through to get to my stop. It’s been over a year since I’ve made the trek to the downtown core for work, and I’m exhilarated. It’s time for the annual office Christmas party.

New mothers who are slated to return to work within the new year are invited and expected to attend. It’s good office politics to meet old and new colleagues, get caught up on office gossip, and schmooze. But it’s impossible not to feel like you’re just there to be judged and observed. Is your mind a mashup of children’s rhymes? Have you forgotten how to write policy or code? Have you even kept up on business developments?

Within minutes of arriving I have two people ask me if I’m pregnant, and it’s not because of my body shape. When I push through to meet the CEO, I have my witty retort ready: “Oh K, it’s wonderful to see you! What’s new? Pregnant yet?” “Yes. With twins.”

My deadpan response elicits an appropriate level of polite laughter. But there’s so much left unsaid by my colleagues. I spend the rest of the night playing the good and intelligent office worker — yet no one seems interested that I’m writing and thinking critically while I’m owning mommyhood. I’m obviously not on the same level, or even worth assessing by those in a position of authority. I’m just a mommy and no longer a sharp, career-driven, Bay Street worker.  I’m completely defined by what may or may not be in my womb.