It hurt. I’m a dad. I’m not a political activist. I’m not a business man. I’m a teacher. I’m a dad. I’m a man. I’m a Baba to my beautiful girls who’s chosen this life because there is nothing more important to me in this world than them.
My wife calls the guy who messaged me ‘trolls’. I still don’t know what that actually is and tried to translate it to Arabic and it didn’t come across the way she was explaining it to me.
I don’t make any money at this. In fact, I spend money to do it – to keep my site running every month, my Facebook page and my time.
I did this because my stories meant something to someone – my wife. My stories of writing over 6 years since my daughter was born about everything that she did and my soon to be 2 year old. It was all in Arabic and my wife thought they were journals – just things I had written about Islam. When we sat for hours one night as I translated them to her, she cried and laughed and cried and said I needed to get this stuff ‘out there’.
It took me a few weeks to figure out what this was. It took me time because I didn’t understand and didn’t want to put something so taboo ‘out there’. And then, it hit me. Overnight, I started thinking about how alone I felt as a Baba and how, maybe, there were other guys out there doing the same thing as me, everyday. I felt alone because I felt embarrassed of what people thought of me – an Arab man staying at home and caring for his kids while his wife worked. You have to understand – this isn’t done here in this part of the world. This isn’t how we were raised.
After that time, ‘putting it out there’ made me realise how much fun I was really having in my life. How much joy that I had every single day doing everything for my girls. I had kept it all in. When I started talking about it and I was seeing other Babas out there talking about the same thing, I thought that this was the way to go.
Blogging and social media is time consuming. It’s exhausting sometimes as well. But, I have gotten so many ideas. I found myself reading ‘mommy’ blogs (because there really aren’t many Baba blogs out there) and looking at the ideas for making lunches. I learned about what some of these Dubai mums were doing with their kids and I was getting ideas for taking them to different places, finding new ways to entertain them, new products and stuff out there I had no idea was there. I was learning through the education groups like @KHDA and all of the resources there to support parents and kids in education as well as feeling better about the governments approach to education (which I take very personally) in Dubai and knowing this was where I loved having my girls be educated.
I’m not in it for the money. I never was. I don’t have advertising people lining up at my door. I don’t have job offers being thrown at me.
In fact, I’m quite just happy sharing my views.
My views are that I’ve been able to reach people. I’ve been able to have other dads out there from far away say thanks for an idea.
And my biggest view and focus is on the importance of fathers in their childrens’ lives. Arab fathers should be much more than donors of DNA. They need to take an active role in these little creatures that they helped create. They need to spend those extra 2 minutes making a more memorable life for their child.
We have grown, as ‘big people’ (my oldest says) far past these little things like a leaf that is dying on a plant and feeling the crackling of the dead leaf in their fingers. ‘Big People’ lost any interest on why those ants on the garden tiles march in a straight line and how they carry such big crumbs. ‘Big People’ lost any thought about how important that ‘tucking in’ at night was or those 10 minutes that you took when you went to get to tea at the shop and took them with you – just the two of you. We pass those minutes like sand of unimportance. But to them, it was the world – the whole world at that very moment.
I want my girls to have a memorable life. It is not with a nanny. It is seeing their parents struggle and love and live and do things together, make decisions together, talk and sit together – as a family.
I don’t want any of this to result in some far fetched money making scheme. I want Arab Babas, simply put, to spend time with their kids. Show them life. Show them the importance of compassion for others. Take them to the mosque. Take them with you when you visit friends. Don’t be ashamed that you have a little 5 year old hanging at your feet with your buddies acting all big and important. Don’t feel embarrassed wearing your thobe and carrying a diaper bag. And, for the good of God, don’t let someone else make a memorable life for your children.
I chose my life. I chose this platform to share my stories, the lives of my girls, the fun, the challenges and a whole lot of vomit (yes, I had to put that in there).
Be proud. I am. We aren’t in this for the money – we aren’t in parenting for the money. We shouldn’t be having kids because its the right thing to do. We are parents affecting another persons life. We are also not on social media for the money (atleast not me). But I am here, to maybe make a difference to some Baba out there, allow some Arab woman to ask her husband to read something I write and start a conversation.
I am proud to be contributing to whatever memorable life these two will have. And I pray, that when they are older and living their lives and contributing to this world to make it better, that they will look back with memories of those few minutes we always spent together – no matter what they were.
You have the opportunity. You have a chance. Take 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 3 hours. You are your childs world at that moment – don’t ruin that moment.
Ok, enough of my rant now.
I’m going to go back to watching Frozen for the 100,000th time.
14 October, 2015