Before I was born my parents separated and I was raised by my mother. I would spend some holidays with my dad and see him on average every 2 weeks. I was raised in an extended family home with grandparents, aunts, uncles and for me, most importantly…cousins, the best compromise for siblings when you’re an only child. As I mentioned in my previous post, my grandmother was the first to wake up in the morning and the last one to go to bed at night. She did everything and in my opinion, she was superwoman. She cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed, took care of her children and grandchildren and was also responsible for the upkeep of the garden. At times she even used those plants in her garden to play the role of a doctor, making teas for the common cold, stomach cramps, headaches, you name it. It’s not that my grandfather did nothing, it’s just that I saw my grandmother play a much bigger role with respect to taking care of the home. Even when my mother began dating after my father, I also noticed her doing quite a lot to maintain the home. I believe watching my grandmother, my mother and even my aunts take care of the household, has somehow conditioned my mind to believe that women need to do it all. I hardly saw my grandmother ask my grandfather to do much even though he knew there were things he was responsible for, like maintaining the physical appearance of the house. Times have changed and many women are no longer housewives, so the role I would have seen my grandmother play in the home, is one that has changed quite a bit. Responsibilities are shared more between husband and wife and there are even more husbands who stay at home while the wife works. Years ago, I noticed that as women left the home to work longer hours, family units started to fall apart and couples divorced more regularly. I’m not casting blame on anyone here but it seems that a woman’s role in keeping the family unit together is quite invaluable. As we switch and share roles and responsibilities, I can’t help but wonder, are we doing it mainly for convenience or for the benefit of the family unit?
Earlier this year, I read an article by Ivanka Trump talking about women not being able to have it all. Ivanka Trump is the daughter of business mogul Donald Trump. She is also the executive vice president of development and acquisitions for The Trump Organization and the founder of the Ivanka Trump fashion brand. Most importantly, she is a wife and a mother of two beautiful children, daughter Arabella Rose and son Joseph Frederick. Ivanka recently launched the initiative #WomenWhoWork, which aims to “celebrate the many different ways in which women work and to redefine and break stereotypes around, what it looks like to be a working woman today.”. In an interview with Business Insider, Trump explained her perspective on work-life balance. She frankly says, “You can’t have it all.” When people ask her how she balances work and life, her response is always: “I don’t, and I don’t try to.” “People obsess too much about balance,” she said. “A scale is only in balance for a brief second. Inevitably the pendulum swings. It’s impossible to maintain.” Ivanka says, it’s less about balancing a “work life” and a “home life” and more about creating one rich, full life that’s tailored to my specific goals and priorities.
As I’ve decided to give my personal and family life a bit more focus, I too am realising the difficulties with trying to create a balanced life. I began feeling a bit overwhelmed with my additional responsibilities and sometimes I even felt as if I needed to give up something in order to feel a greater sense of accomplishment in at least one area. I grew up watching the women in my family. My grandmother was the first to rise in the morning and the last one in the family to go to bed at night. For a working women who still has the responsibility of taking care of her husband and children, I can only imagine a full night’s rest of 8-10 hours sleep can seem like such a fairy tale. Sometimes I think that it’s a bit unfair for women but then again there are times I see how privileged we are. We are expected to be as educated as men but in some organisations, industries or countries, we will never be professionally equal to men. Even after contributing our day’s work at the office, we switch our hats, become more submissive and nurturing and come home to take care of our families.
It’s inevitable that some of us will have to sacrifice some of our professional goals for a family life. Having been so focused on my career for most of my life, I’m starting to realise that I need to view family life with equal or greater importance than I do my career. The drive and passion I have towards my professional goals and accomplishments need to also be the drive and passion I have towards my personal life. When asked what’s her definition of success, Ivanka says happiness. She doesn’t think you are truly successful unless you are a happy person and are happy with your life. She recalls many people who are professionally successful but miserable. She concluded by saying that she’s happy when she’s achieving her professional goals and when she’s with her husband and children.
Today my sister is no longer a teenager as she turns 20. I look back on those 20 years and how quickly they’ve passed by. She’s grown into a beautiful young woman with so much potential. She’s currently pursuing her law degree with the University of London and she’s enjoying her life the way the average 20 year old would. Looking back on how quickly those 20 years have gone by makes me realise how quickly another 20 years will soon pass me by. I also reminisce on my life when I turned 20. I look at the changes I’ve made in my life physically and who am I as a person and I think about who I’ll become over the next 20 years. I know this year I have made and will continue to make some major life changing decisions and I’m excited to see how it will impact my life 20 years from now. I try to pass on any guidance and knowledge to my sister that I think can help her along her life’s journey and I wish her all the best in her endeavours. To my sister Anikah, I love you, I am very proud of you and I hope you continue to let your light shine through the way you choose to live your life.
Some may think I’m a bit too forgiving. If someone has wronged me I would usually forgive immediately or take some time to allow that person back into my life. This approach is truly being tested with one person in my life. We’ve had our ups and downs and ever so often we will have some disagreement and I’ll place distance between us. Recently I’ve decided to start making contact with this person, not too often but on average once a week. I understand the personality of the individual and while I can anticipate most things based on past experience, I still give the benefit of the doubt and hope the person’s actions may one day be different. Sometimes we have to acknowledge that personality differences may challenge the relationships we have with others and we may not be able to interact with someone the way we would truly like to. I acknowledge there is a connection between myself and every thing and and every person in existence and understanding the purpose of that connection is of great importance to me. Even though I may distance myself ever so often, it is a long term goal to keep trying to make the relationship work.
Yesterday my two nieces, Charlize and Faith fell ill and were taken to the hospital. Charlize was given two shots and taken home, while Faith stayed in the hospital under observation. More than a year ago, while Faith stayed with me overnight, she fell ill and I rushed her to the hospital. That experience was a bit scary for me. Throughout the whole ordeal, Faith was so brave, not once did she cry. Blood was taken from her and medication was administered intravenously. It’s the first time I’ve seen a baby not even flinch while being stuck with a needle. Yesterday was the same thing. However, her older sister Charlise did not respond the same way when she received her shots. Sometimes we look at people and assume so much about them. We think they’re weak, insecure and unaware of so much around them and other times we think so highly of others. I’ve learned that people show you the side of them they want you to see. Sometimes what you see in others is a reflection of yourself, so it’s always interesting to have someone else judge me. I’ve also realised while interacting with different people, some of my qualities are magnified and the best in me is brought out, while sometimes the opposite can happen. I’ve learned so much from watching Faith over the past two years and I’ll continue to watch her grow. Her strength in character for a two year old is quite admirable and it’s something I’ll definitely remind her of as she gets older.
I think most of us can name at least one person throughout our lifetime who we’ve struggled to maintain peaceful relations with. For some of us it may be our parents, our siblings, cousins, close friends or work colleagues. For part of my life, I’ve struggled to maintain peaceful relations with one family member. Most of the time we’ve been good but ever so often something happens that strains the relationship. I remember discussing the issue with a close friend who addressed it from an astrological perspective. He said that because of our individual signs, it was difficult to get along most of the time. We have shattered relations for reasons deeper than what we initially think. We are incarnated in this lifetime accepting that we will endure struggles in the relationship with this person. The spiritual side of us understands the deeper purpose in this while the physical side of us will only see the issues and the drama. An article on http://www.mindbodygreen.com explained why our relationships lead to spiritual growth. The author mentioned her relationship with her father and how it was pretty miserable. She thought he was opinionated, judgmental and stubborn but all of the things that infuriated her about her father were all the traits in herself that she didn’t want to own at that time. Once she recognized and healed the most judgmental parts of herself, his judgments either went away or no longer bothered her. Now her interactions with him are lighter, sweeter and much more authentic. Her father — and more specifically, her relationship with him, and its evolution — taught her that the things that bother us the most in others are actually the traits in us that we’re not ready to acknowledge and heal within ourselves.
Two of my nieces, Charlize and Faith, ages 4 and 2 respectively are sisters. Recently I’ve been hearing stories from their Mum about them and how they’ve been creating some trouble for themselves, emptying containers of food in the kitchen and around the house then covering themselves in the food they’ve thrown out. Usually their Mum will discipline Charlize, the 4 year old, as she should know better and should stop her younger sister. I know Faith is a bit naughty as she also has the habit of turning off the television, then running back to her seat as if she did nothing when her siblings call their Mum to complain. Last week however, while their Mum was giving Charlise (the 4 year old) a bath, Faith decided to empty the cereal all over the kitchen floor and have some fun with it. This time however, she had no one to blame or no one to accept the punishment on her behalf, it was quite obvious that it was all her doing. She was not pleased with the fact that she had to be disciplined, as she told her mother she would inform her Aunt (my sister) of the disciplinary action taken against her. Children…lol.
Sometimes we may experience situations where we have been wrongfully accused of something and forced to deal with the punishment and negative consequences of the actions of someone else. You should have confidence in the fact that the Universe never sleeps and the law of Karma is in full effect. Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind . . . what we sow is what we reap. Faith has only 2 years experience in this world, in this lifetime and soon she will understand the full effect of the laws of the Universe. The Great Law “As you sow, so shall you reap”, is also known as the “Law of Cause and Effect”. Whatever we put out in the Universe is what comes back to us. If what we want is Happiness, Peace, Love, Friendship…Then we should BE Happy, Peaceful, Loving and a True Friend. As is true with all things in life, Faith will continue to have the experiences necessary to teach her the lessons she needs to learn, until they are fully grasped.