MEET LEILA ABDOOL GAFOOR




Tell us about the day your sons were born.

The day Zinadine (now 2 y 3 m) was born was momentous for me! I came back from work, made dinner went to sleep and at  1am my water broke.  As per my gynaes instructions my husband and I chilled at home and watched "the Karate kid 2" and "Shall we dance" whilst eating left over pizza. 


 21 hours later I still hadn't dilated so I had an emergency C-Section. Zinadine and I bonded incredibly well. His smell was the best thing that I had ever smelt.  He has a beautiful personality and he would gently smile and look deeply into my eyes.  Zinadine is an incredibly loving child and being a first mom all I felt was incredible joy! Our special thing now is art.  We do all sorts of activities such as finger painting and glitter glue cards etc which he gets so excited about. 

Zakariyya (4 months) was a planned C-section.  So, unlike Zini who was born 4 weeks early Zakariyya entered this world as per schedule.  There is something so special about watching your child come out of you and holding him close and feeling this immense rush of love that supersedes anything you have experienced before.  Zakariyya is the most happiest, smiley and pleasant child that I have ever met! In comparison to Zini he appears to be so much easier maybe this is because this was the second time around and I was less anxious and knew so much more. Zak and I have a special bond with his feeding. With both of my kids I breast fed.  Zini I fed for a year and Zak I plan on trying to breastfeed for a year as well. Breast feeding is such an incredible journey.  The bond created between mother and child, looking into each others eyes with the love overflowing to and from each other is an incredible feeling.




Work/life balance advice.

This is such a tricky thing! Both of my kids are at home with a live in nanny and I work full time as a Psychologist.  When I am not at work I make it my priority to be 100% with my kids.  At work I express milk for my babies and ensure that they are constantly in safe hands.  Once I get home I give both babies my undivided attention.  I cook the night before when they are asleep to minimise time away from them.  Both of my children have never had purity and I puree my own meals for them, many if which I make from vegetables grown in my own garden.  On weekends we take time to go to the the zoo (my sons favourite!), go for walks, swim and get ice cream etc.  This balance is incredibly difficult as it is also important for me to have my "me time" as well as time with my partner. Our bond when stronger makes us incredible parents which is why we we spend 30 minutes a night together and I try to find another 30 minutes for myself.



Adjusting to motherhood has been …


Easier than I thought.  It is exhausting but so rewarding.  Nothing in this world gives me more pleasure than hearing my children laugh or seeing their smiles.  Motherhood has matured me, made me value time and has made me a stronger and more responsible woman.  I have become more open, flexible and understanding.  I understand children in a new light (I am a child psychologist) and see theory in action daily.


How have you and your partner split the parenting responsibilities?

I do all of the feeding for both children and my husband does the bathing of both children.  He puts Zini to sleep and I do Zak.  On weekends we share responsibilities. My husband is incredibly hands on.



How would you describe your parenting style?

I am more softer and gentler with the kids.  I need to be more firm and boundaried.  My children know how to win my heart:)  I am also very routined wit the kids and we follow a schedule for consistency.


How would you describe your partners parenting style?

My partner is stricter and more boundaried which has its benefits as it balances us out.  He is incredible and handles the boys beautifully.



How would you describe your home? 

My home is warm, functional and cosy yet stylish.  The boys have an incredible playroom that houses all of their toys by theme and developmental stage.  This also helps to keep the rest of my house immaculate.  I currently have both boys in one room which I have split into a baby themed side to suit Zaks needs and a gorgeous Car theme for Zini on his side of the room.  Each boy has feature walls.  We also have a treasure shelf with hand made ships from Mauritius (that is where Zini celebrated his first birthday) to hand knitted toys from my mother and a gorgeous Royal Doulton globe from my mother-in-law.  Our bedroom is very adult themed with Mahogany furniture and spohisticed wallpaper.  My piece de resistance is an 1800 French dresser with beautiful Carera marble inlay that my hubby and I restored.  On this sits two acrylic makeup drawers which houses my every day makeup.  Taking crae of myself is very important to me and this adult space makes me feel incredible every morning.  





Your Parenting Philosophy? 

My parenting philosophy is to be the best parent that you can be, introspect on mistakes, learn and love love love your kids! They grow far too fast and before you know it they are independent and don't need you anymore.  You and your partner have to be on the same page and as hard as it is sometimes for me to set boundaries children require structure to grow effectively.



What do you want most for your sons?  

I want my children to be happy.  To experience love, happiness, some sadness, to appreciate joy and to explore this world.  I want them to know that no matter what I am here for them with open arms.  I wish for them to look back on their lives and feel satisfied and content.

Parenting advice.

The best advise I got was to stop stressing.  As a psychologist I always over analyse situations which turns something small into a big deal.  It is important for me to put my psych hat down and be a mom.

Check out the blog again for a peek into the life of yet another JOHO MOM. 
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JOHO MOMS is about bringing motherhood into a relatable, inspiring and aspiring space. I wanted to create a space where mothers felt safe enough to share their respective challenges, their highlights as well as our parenting philosophies to fellow newbies. If you'd like to share your story please email johomoms@gmail.com - Our passions, spaces and children

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