How I (plan to say I) took back control – Guilt Free Ambition for Women

“Why do you want to work for our company” – asks me the fictious CEO of a FTSE 500 Company.

I anawer:

One of the causes most important to me is that of equal opportunity for all – whether it is based on genders, nationalities or socio-economic status, I believe we should not be held back by circumstances beyond our control or circumstances decided before we are even born. As a woman, there is no denying that there is a certain scale we are judged against, where 0 is the perfect domestic housewife and 10 is the CEO of a company. Every woman is made to feel as if she has to choose a position on that scale – she can’t have one without foregoing the other and with that choice comes a certain amount of judgement from the outside and guilt from the inside. Well, I don’t believe in that.

No man has to make that choice, and there is no reason any woman should. I understand we all have different roles and responsibilities in life but those responsibilities should not become our disabilities. Because I believe in equal opportunity, I want to work for a company that believes the same. Your company values a woman’s contribution to your company based on her merit and ambition. It appreciates a woman’s responsibilities outside the workplace, responsibilities essential to man and society’s betterment, and chooses not to tax them for it but rather to aid them with it. Because this is a philosophy I agree with and wholeheartedly support and appreciate, I feel this company is the type of place I would want to invest my time, energy and intellectual efforts.

So yeah – these companies exist, and they want to help us. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life – not even your own maternal instincts.

Let’s see how far I manage to get with my speech. Here are the companies I have shortlisted and plan on applying to first:

https://www.workingmums.co.uk/top-employers/

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Great/NotSoGreat Things I Did This Week

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  1. I hosted a 10 people brunch. 
    And this is Legit one of the best things I did because let me tell you – it is not easy. Eggs and toast are one thing but achari qeema and nihari are a whole other! Of course I didn’t actually make the Nihari, but I did make everything else, including Kulfi for dessert and I was quite proud of how it turned out. No fancy photos here, but here’s a picture of my spread before everyone destroyed it. Bear in mind that cooking is literally the smallest battle in the war that is a party. Cleaning up – Good Lord, cleaning up. A whole other story.
  2. I subscribed to the New York Times. 
    This was another brilliant thing I did. First of all, it’s $18 for 12 weeks. That’s way, way, WAY cheaper than I expect an issue to be, considering I live in the UK. Secondly, we need to support print media! The reason I subscribed was a combination of two things – a random ad on The Guardian saying that while newspaper readership was at a record high, profits were equally as low, and secondly, a really great article on a Child refugee making it to Calais. It was so engrossing, and I’m not sure nothing spectacular in the grand scheme of things but it had been so long since I had read a proper article that wasn’t a blog or newspaper mini that it felt really refreshing. If you want to start, here are two great links to read:
    Europe’s Child Refugee Crisis – about a child escaping from Afghanistan
    The Cost of Caring  – about a Filipino nanny who hasn’t seen her kids for 16 years
    but the best thing is that there is so much content, whatever you are interested in, you are bound to find it. In my case, that’s lifestyle testimonials from different walks of life. And of course, the short stories.
  3. I watched The Night Manager and (started watching) Big Little Lies
    I mean these aren’t the greatest of the greatest things I’ve done, but I mean I’m staying relevant, that’s got to count for something.
  4. Not so Great Number ONE-through-ONEHUNDRED – Deeply, Deeply, Deeply Struggle with School
    What will become of this situation? Does anyone have any good answers for me?
  5. Realise that I’ve started talking about Money A Lot
    Small, very, very embarrassing things, like saying ‘not bad’ as I pick up the cheque for lunch, saying ‘I’m trying to stop shopping at Primark’ to someone wearing Ted Baker and Russell & Bromley and judging the value of a holiday on the fact that ‘It’s just £300 a head!’ have made me realise it’s time to stitch a stitch in time before it’s time for nine. Now wrap your head around that until next week.

Just Having One of Those Days.. Weeks?

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The one thing I miss the most about the Western World (which I take to mean America and England, cause they’re the only two places I’ve ever lived) when I go back to Pakistan is getting to be alone. Whether that means at home, going out shopping alone, or getting to sit in a cafe alone – I hate the fact that you can never be alone. Yes, I know, things are changing, there are wonderful cafes where people can sit and work, women can be alone in many places now.. but it’s not the same because it’s still somewhat of an anomaly. If not to the people in the establishments, to the people you live with.

I remember in my last year of school, when everyone had paired up with their future significant others – everyone but me – I began to seek solace in my own company because it was the only place I didn’t feel unwanted. So on one such day, sitting outside the building on a bench, I was working on my homework when some guy who liked me – hence the comfortable authority of telling me what to do – asked me why I was alone outside. I said I was doing my homework, so he replied, acha nahin lagta.. andar chalein? (it doesn’t look so great, do you want to go inside?) I said what, acha kyun nahi lag raha? (what doesn’t look so great?) and he said I don’t know, just looks a little odd doesn’t it? I ended up not going inside, but he – in all good intentions of course – ended up sending someone to sit with me.

It’s not so much that it’s unsafe for a woman to be alone, so much as it’s that a woman alone seems to be inviting a companion. I don’t know if it’s like this in the bigger cities of Pakistan but I have felt that in Rawalpindi for sure. Even when I was in school, if I was ever sitting alone, the guy that liked me sought it as an opportunity to come sit next to me (but o course in those cases, that might somewhat have been my subconscious intention too.)

Regardless, the point is, I have been feeling very blue lately. A combination of being stressed with work, being annoyed with the cyclicly repeating nature of life and a fight with my husband was making me feel trapped in my own house. So I came here today and I feel much better, but what will I do next year? Where will I go when there’s nowhere to go, and everywhere I go, someone is waiting to see me?

The iPhone vs the allPhones

Things the iPhone can’t do that my android could do:

You can’t hard press the wifi symbol to get a list of available networks.

You can’t double tap notifications on the lock screen to open them in the app!

It keeps asking for two step authentication from another mac device -what if I don’t have one??

It has no stylus. And while I can’t fault this to the iPhone I can give it to my note 4.

It won’t let me send messages on WhatsApp unless I’m connected to the internet! Android would let me send them and then deliver once I got connectivity.

It doesn’t have a removable battery. What do I do when in 6 months it’s giving me 6 hours of battery life?

God it doesn’t have black and white ultra power saving mode! What do I do when I need 2% battery to last me three hours??

And all this after 2 days of having it. No I can’t honestly say it’s much better than an android at all. I think the problem is that back in the day the flagship (and only model) phone of apple was being pegged against the dozens of budget and mass options from Samsung etc. Of course the iPhone doesn’t match to the entry level lumias and Samsungs because this was their one and everything and I think that added to a lot of its hype. Everyone who owned an iPhone owned the best form of it and there was no opinion to counter it. Now, however, a combination of android upping their game massively (primarily boosted by the major game upping from google) and a fair user comparison to phones like the one plus 3 and the note 4, I think it’s safe to say the iPhone is just like any other phones with faults and credits. What I wonder though is why the iPhones faults are so readily forgiven in favour of its credits but the same cannot be said for any other phone.

Why are Pakistani Lifestyle Bloggers So Rare?

I’ve been searching YouTube for high-quality Pakistani lifestyle bloggers with pinterest-worthy channels but I have to say I’ve been very disappointed. I’m not sure what it is, by theoretically I can attribute this to one of three things

  1. We’ve got better things to do? I don’t mean this in a condescending way, I just mean that maybe we’ve got so many other things to sort out that even though it’s on the list it just comes way way way later. There’s this saying in Pashto that a full stomach speaks Persian (translated literally hence the lack of poetry) .. which.. basically means that once you’ve got all the basics covered, you can start going into the fancies.
  2. It just hasn’t caught on?
  3. We’re too afraid of putting it all out there, whether due to privacy or conservativeness.

I think it’s probably the third reason more than the others but I think we need more Content Creators like Bodmon Zaid (the only one I could sadly find, but who is legit killing it). I need to know how to make my life Pinterest worthy and I’m sorry but yoga mats and lattes just don’t work here!

 

 

 

 

A Very Special Monday!

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So today has been a very special day – or maybe I should say it’s been a very special week. My husband’s been looking around to change his job and the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion and stress. From the interviews to the job offers, it’s been so difficult knowing what’s best for us and the direction we want our life to follow. Many difficult back and forths later, we have finally decided (and yes, I know I’m blessed to be able to really and truly mean the ‘we’) to go with a smaller company that fits our current needs better than a very very large company that was falling short of our expectations. Whether we made the right decision or wrong remains to be seen but we really were choosing between a rock and a hard place in the best way possible so I’m very grateful and content either way. Now onto the good stuff.

The point was that as a conclusion to that very long week, we decided to take a trip to Manchester with my sister and her husband. On the way back, I stopped at Bicester Village and what did I find but the bag of my dream – a Prada Saffiano Lux Tote in Emerald Green! Super lucky, picked it up without a second thought but I must mention that if you see a shape or color that you like always ask the SAs if they have other variations in the back. More often than not they do and they are normally very willing to offer help and advice, both in the Prada store and others (D&G in particular is also a great example of this). I love this bag, and I got it for a great (but still steep) price so I would definitely recommend getting into Bicester if you can cause they had quite a stock in other colors too.

All in all, life’s good and I must say I’m very lucky 24 year old me was clever enough to see the blessing god had sent me in the form of my-then-future-now-current husband when he asked to marry me and I (lol jk, you know it was my parents) said yes. Highlight of the Manchester trip Below:

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A Fatayer from Jaffa, need I say more? 

Two Things Thursday

  1. I am not ready to have a baby. People have started asking me, I have started feeling the pressure – I just worry whether I’ll ever be ready. I feel I am far to selfish to really be a good mother. I was babysitting my angel of a nephew and while I love him, I resented having our dinner conversation be about a baby, I resented bonding with my husband only over how adorable he was.. surely there’s more to a couple’s life even when a baby comes in the picture but how can there be when it’s the single most adorable thing in any room?
  2. My husband has to choose between a rock and a hard place but in the best way possible. He got a job offer from a great company but the pay is kind of crap vs a job offer from a smaller company with a steller pay package. I know he will choose the former, which is probably the wiser decision, but hot damn if I didn’t want that money 😦

5 Things Wednesday

  1. I have started a habit tracker in my planner and I must say it’s working. It isn’t making me change my habits, but it is working in a different way – 1. It’s keeping my accountable. Even if I feel like crap most nights (which is a definite con to this thing), it serves as a reminder of the things I want to achieve at least. 2. Because I am operating on a reward system (5 habits, 5 days in a row, not necessarily at the same time) it keeps me from impulsively buying the small things that I have now kept as rewards instead. It’s small things like a scented candle, a new set of pens or a new bathrobe, but it’s still something to discipline myself over and practice some restraint for. So if nothing else, at least it’s teaching my patience and keeping my pockets full.
  2. The Husband is working on changing his job these days. Exciting, yet nerve-wracking. I must say, being a woman sucks in many ways but one of the biggest advantages is that if we so choose to – IF WE SO CHOOSE TO – we can adopt a supporting role rather than a high-pressure, high-stakes lead role like most men have to. Yes, yes, society shouldn’t inflict gender roles, a real man would do what he wants etc etc but the fact of the matter is deciding to be a stay-at-home husband is a LOT harder than deciding to be a stay-at-home wife and for that I am truly sorry/thankful depending on whose side I’m looking at it from. It’s hard having the pressure of a family on your shoulder. He is my age and knows little more than I do but I cannot imagine having to make such big decisions. Also it’s REALLY hard getting out of bed in the morning 😦
  3. We have followed a meal plan for 4 days this week which is legitimately some sort of personal record. The hard part, however, is not coming up with a plan for the first week but the second week. So hard to think of unique meals for every night of the week.
  4. The worst thing to ever happen to universities is Group Projects. One of my modules has a group project this semester and we have to choose our own group! I hate this stress, I hate feeling like I’m in 9th grade again and I have no idea what will happen if I can’t manage to get a group together.
  5. I’m reading a book about World War II these days and I think it’s very important we take a moment now and then to thank the Lord that we are not in a time where we are hiding from bombs or being persecuted for our.. well. I shouldn’t say not in a time, I should say not in a country. Because Syria is very much in the same world as us and maybe this is what Americans during World War II felt too? Only an occasional reminder of the consistent atrocities conducted on people across the ocean.

Sigh. As you were then.

Operation: Get Yo Shill Together Pt. 1

Well I have a bullet journal now, so I guess that speaks for itself. At least it would if it weren’t for the fact that my mom and grandmother and aunt and everyone else I know has had a ‘bullet journal’ for decades – if you can call writing down a list and ticking it off or otherwise marking it at the end of the day a bullet journal. I of course have the more 20th Century version of a Bullet Journal – or a BuJo as they call it in facebook groups and communities (yes, I’ve joined the UK Chapter, sue me.) with spread and trackers and colored pens and a desire for washi tape. Is it making me more productive? Surprisingly yes. I’m just starting out and I’m trying very hard to keep it at a manageable, non-pinterest-therfore-non-lifeconsuming level, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

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The front my notebook, picked up in HomeSense
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My monthly layouts
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My Habit Tracker with Rewards at the bottom
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My Daily Pages
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My Grocery List on the left (removable and replaceable) and my Goals Path on the right

My favourite page is the one where I have a habit tracker and rewards underneath it to motivate me. For now, I’ve set a target of any 4 habits, followed for 7 days in a row. And then I can choose any reward I want. I also like my weight tracker as it sort of helps me visualise moving towards a goal and makes me feel like I am getting somewhere (even if I’m really not – I cheated and wrote my peak weight as one measured after a very heavy meal).

Whether it works or not, it is the system I’ve stuck with longest (after trying a FiloFax sort as well as printing the free Passion Planner and getting it bound for £6) so I guess it has the most potential. I think part of its charm lies in the fact that whereas those other planners are only novel for a week, a BuJo resets its novelty every time you create a new spread because it is entirely in your control to change it.