I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of parent I want to be. Sometimes it brings excitement and other times, it fills me with so much panic and anxiety as I think about whether I will do things the ‘right’ way. Here are 3 main things that I think about the most.

1. My Childhood
I grew up in the ’90s and spent a lot of my free time playing outside with my siblings and neighbours – racing each other on bikes and scooters, then running home before the sun sets. Entertainment at home involved fighting over the computer – the only way we can access the internet. Life seemed a lot simpler back then. Technology wasn’t as advanced and as kids, we didn’t feel societal pressure that social media holds on us today. This pressure to be and look perfect, have smooth skin, constantly be “online” and being obsessed with the world of social media must be a lot for kids growing up. I think about the toddlers who are already “phone-obsessed” and know how to navigate KidzTube at such a young age. No judgement to those parents who hand over the iPad – just an observation. I also think about the teenagers who are in school, who feel the need to wear makeup, have the latest accessories, and constantly be “on trend” to fit in. Things are different now.
I have a teenage brother who was born in 2004 and the way he spends his time is very different, obviously. He’s an avid gamer and when he comes home from school, he unwinds by meeting his friends “online” as opposed to playing out. He jumps on his Xbox, puts on headphones and just chats to his friends. When it comes to watching TV – I don’t think he even cares for it. If he’s going to watch something, it’s probably Chunkz and similar Youtubers. I grew up watching stuff on Cartoon Network back to back. He has constant access to WiFi. We are not the same.
2. I have to accept that my child will grow up in a whole different era.
Just a few days ago, my sister and I were jamming to some old school songs in the car.
Kids these days will never understand good music,” she said.
To which I responded, “Best believe, they will still listen to the stuff I listened to! My kid will have great taste.
Then I followed up with another question.“What if I raised my child exactly how we grew up? Wouldn’t that be interesting?”
It’s safe to say, it quickly dawned on me how stupid that sounds. Why am I assuming that my child will also grow up jamming to S Club 7, live life with limited internet and having zero access to what celebrities are doing in their personal lives? Why am I assuming that they won’t eventually be sucked into what this next decade will bring? There’s a lot to think about.
3. My Parents
Thinking about how I will raise my own child makes me reflect on my upbringing. Growing up, I physically had both my mother and father in my life alhamdulilah. My mother is that parent who’s involved. Constantly. She has always been a friend to me and my siblings, got involved in whatever we were doing in school, built a relationship with my teachers and peers, and most importantly, I can only recall my mother being there throughout the biggest milestones of my life.
In comparison, my father was physically there in our household as we were growing up, but when it came to building a connection with him… that was non-existent. Disclaimer: This is not to say my dad is a monster. The hesitation to open up to him or to even have a “deep conversation” stemmed from the fact that his role only ever involved disciplining us. As a child, it genuinely felt like my mother’s role was to show love/provide all the fun and my dad’s role was to be emotionally absent but he’s suddenly there when we misbehave. How did this affect me as a child? Subconsciously, I would try my best not to piss him off whenever he was around. I couldn’t really be myself or be comfortable to talk about things in his presence, and just constantly feel like I have to be on my best behaviour. Do you know that feeling? It gets tiring, man. However, when I’m in a room with my mother, I feel a lot more relaxed, I can swear if I want to, I can joke about things if I want to and I wouldn’t have to constantly walk on eggshells. I am my true self around her.
So, how did this affect me at the age of 27? Well, nothing has changed. I’m still close to my mother and feel as though she is the only parent that can provide everything for me – and I mean everything. I’ve gotten used to the fact that I’ve only ever relied on my mother for my emotional needs or to even have a chat about life. Even at this age, I don’t think I could ever really talk to my father about how I feel towards him, because I truly do not know. Does he feel the same way too? Does he feel that his kids are closer to their mother and now it’s pretty much too late to do anything? Does he ever wonder why, when he finds out about our achievements, he hears it from my mother instead of this news coming directly from us?
Again, this is just me reflecting and being honest about things because I know for a fact that the way we are raised as children will have an effect on us as adults. And no one, and I mean that, can have a say in my own experiences. Now that I will be bringing a child into this world, it’s time to face reality.
I’m glad that I’m married to a man who is emotionally intelligent, talks to me about his feelings, and loves/raises his young nieces like his own. He’s kind, goofy (this is important for me) and loving towards them. He’s constantly talking to me about how we will equally spend time and bond with our unborn child and honestly, it’s music to my ears. He’s told me many times that, since we are raising a girl, we have to constantly tell her she’s beautiful, loved and that she can achieve anything she wants in this world. This is something I need for our daughter. I’m going to make sure that she doesn’t have to feel like she can only lean on me and inshaAllah me and my husband will equally give her what she needs with a memorable childhood.