As I write this first post for the Detroit Moms Blog, I am hunched over nursing my 8 month old daughter who is wedged comfortably in her regular spot between my stomach and the laptop. In between typing, I use my left hand to feed my two-year-old daughter — who sits to my right begrudgingly eating scrambled eggs on the Blue Paw Patrol plate that she begged for five minutes ago but now hates with a passion because they really don’t taste as good as they would have on the red Paw Patrol plate.
My-four-year old son sits on my right loudly trying to sound out each word I type — as I type it — because he thinks he knows how to read. I’m wearing my maternity leggings from three pregnancies ago (I’m not pregnant), my favorite yellow nursing shirt (it was white when I bought it in 2014), and my hair boasts a nice not-washed-in-five days sheen (why did I go to the kitchen to make those scrambled eggs? Coulda done that right on my head).
I want to focus on writing this first post, but my mind is on the 2,000 documents I didn’t finish reviewing last night. And, that’s because in addition to having created three humans in as many years, I’m also currently juggling life as partner at a large law firm where I do commercial litigation for large corporations. The work is high-stakes, high-stress, all-consuming, and never-ending. I hate it and I love it.
This is me, guys. In this season of life, this is me. I am bone-tired, but also happier and more fulfilled than ever.
Let me back up a little, though. I’m Farayha (kind of pronounced like ‘Faria’). I was born in Pakistan – which is a small country next to India, and moved to the US (ChicagoLand to be exact) in 1991 when I was six. Even as a six-year-old, America was a complete language and culture shock to me. My sisters and I had to take ESL classes in school to learn English, and I spent much of first grade in a cloud of confusion as I took in the new language and culture — (I literally thought the pledge of allegiance ended with “and justice for Farayha” and found it was so sweet that everyone prayed for me – the new kid – every morning at school).
We moved to Michigan shortly thereafter — first Farmington Hills and then Plymouth-Canton where I went to high school with my now-husband (I had a huge crush on him in AP English and he didn’t know I existed). High school was followed by four amazing years in Ann Arbor for undergrad where I was Managing News Editor of the Michigan Daily and even did a short stint working for World New Tonight with Peter Jennings. Then came three years of law school at Wayne State with my husband (we got married after our first year). We graduated together in 2009 and both started working at large law firms. The next five years were a whirlwind of working hard and playing harder (traveling the world, working out, eating fancy, etc.).
But some time around 2013, we must have gotten bored of our jet-setting ways, because we decided to settle down in Bloomfield Township, and (by the grace of God) have three kids in three years. Our life has done a complete 180 as we juggle work, our three kids, managing a household of five (#AllTheLaundry), me-time, and us-time. There is no sleep; no travel; hardly any going out; rare restaurant outings; and even rarer work-out sessions. We cook at home, play in the backyard in the evenings, and a trip to the zoo with all three kids is the most adventurous thing we’ve done lately. Our “us-time” is Office reruns and dozing on the couch, and “me-time” is that coveted trip to the bathroom, phone in hand.
To add to the insanity, we live next door to my mom and 16-year-old brother and, because my mom houses refugees, study abroad kids, foster kids, and pretty much anyone else looking for a home, all those people are also in and out of our house. My dad lives in the same subdivision too, and is also within walking distance. My in-laws, cousin in-laws, siblings, sibling’s kids, husband’s siblings, husband’s siblings kids, friends, and mosque community are all within 25 minutes. We also have nannies, helpers, and cleaning ladies who make our life possible. Needless to say, our home is a revolving door of all these people on a daily basis. We call it warm chaos, and are thrilled with the positive effect this “village” has had on our children. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s also unbearable at times, but the good far outweighs the bad).
I’m passionate about so many things but three come to mind: (1) I’m Muslim and love dispelling people’s stereotypes about my religion (yes there are 1.8 billion of us in the world; no I don’t know any terrorists; and, yes, being Muslim means I don’t drink and have to get through this parenting thing without the wine y’all are always talking about). My religion provides me clarity and purpose and is a driving force for me to do good, be better, and try my best; (2) I’m a hippie, crunchy, granola, bed-sharing, co-sleeping, organic/grassfed—eating, parenting-book-reading, attachment parenting mom, and love meeting and supporting other with similar interests; and (3) I’m a big proponent of creating a village to help raise your kids; my village saved me and I hope I can help other women find theirs.