On Gratitude, Change and Honouring Our True Selves

Aiysha Malik holding a copy of the book Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Sometime between the crisp promise of September and the bare leaves of November, just as the seasons changed in the way they always do, I changed too.

I can’t say for certain what caused this shift –  perhaps it was the afterglow of a long and purposeful summer, or maybe the crossing of a significant birthday, or it could simply have been a steady filling up of life, but things were looking different. Life was feeling different. And for the first time ever, I wasn’t certain if I could share it here.

I would open up my notebook and gaze upon the fresh page, intending to write for Mamanushka and ending up with zen doodles. During nap times, I would sit at my computer and will the words out of my fingers but there was nothing. Posts went unwritten and drafts languished unedited. And what’s more, when I did come here to look through our little corner of internet, it seemed so far removed from my current reality. I wanted to write about how the political is personal, how equity is everyday, and how we understand matters of representation, belonging and community building. Sometimes those things come with a great recipe and perfectly framed photo — and sometimes they don’t.

When we started Mamanushka, Sumaya and I would joke that this blog was our third baby. After all, hadn’t we birthed it, nurtured it, fretted over it and sacrificed precious sleep for it? The analogy worked for awhile, that is, until we both had our actual third babies and time swiftly disappeared into them and the realities of being immigrant moms of small children living far from familial support settled in.

Between the two of us, we had gone from sharing on Mamanushka several times a week to several times a month and slowly, slowly dwindling down to where we are now, with our last post published well over four months ago and all pretty quiet on socials as well.

As a blog devoted to the pursuit of everyday happiness and the sharing of honest experience, we were now doing neither. We had built Mamanushka for the past three years on a solid foundation of being slightly organised mothers of younger children. A window onto days of nature walks, baking, storytelling, faith and family reflections. But as our children are growing we are growing too. And as we are changing, so is Mamanushka. In truth, if it doesn’t change with us, it will get left behind and we love it and you, our readers, too much to let that happen.

In its short life, Mamanushka has been embraced by you and your friends and your mothers and your teachers. Born out of a desire to have the kind of conversations we couldn’t readily find and to create an online space that was beautiful, thought provoking and helpful, every single reader, whether supportive or critical, has felt like a light shining within a community of kindred spirits.

We are honoured to have been able to discuss things as simple as what to gift new parents and as complicated as explaining female prophecy and as heart wrenching as how to talk about racial bias with the very young. We’ve been delighted to host guest writers and giveaways, share outtakes on instagram, put on puppet shows, record stories, celebrate Eids and birthdays, the beginnings of life and the ends of them. We’ve gone through so much together and now we want to do more and we want to do it with you.

So what does this all really mean? First of all, it means thank you for still being here. For reading and sharing and commenting and messaging and supporting us. Your time is precious and we promise to always do our best to keep Mamanushka meaningful and relevant.

It also means that while we will continue to write here about our experiences and joys as women of faith, as parents and friends, our focus will also widen out. As I embrace the challenges and opportunities in this phase of my own life, I want to share them in the hopes of finding out whether or not you’ve had similar experiences. In the hopes of finding solidarity through them. In the hopes of continuing to build strength and resilience together.

Finally, it means that we are also excited to be pursuing other projects individually and would love nothing more than for you to join us on our journeys of growth. If you’d like to see what else we’re up to when we’re not at Mamanushka, then click over to instagram to follow Sumaya and myself on our personal accounts. You are also most welcome to sign up for my very new email newsletter, where I will be sharing even more of my quest on matters of living intentionally.

And so I leave you now, with immense gratitude for being who you are and prayers from deep within my heart for a year of blessings infused with grace. May you shine like the whole universe is yours.

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  • Reply Sadia Kalam January 2, 2019 at 1:17 am

    ASA I found your blog I think like all good things now, by googling. I found this blog at a time after I had my first baby and just couldn’t figure out what to do with my daughter or myself, and thank God I had full time work to keep me fully distracted. In the moments when I would procrastinate on work, when I wanted to be inspired, when I wanted to feel like I was doing some self care, I would read your blog. I have a 1 year old now and I’ve transitioned to a new stage of my life — home with my children— and I have been checking your site regularly to see if there is any news. I will be rereading your old posts because what you have created here is truly beautiful uplifting and heartfelt. It has filled a void for me and I am truly grateful. Best wishes for the next chapter of your story!!

    • Reply Aiysha January 29, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      Dearest Sadia,

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment. It means so much that the things we’ve shared here have had an impact, especially on mothers like ourselves <3

      Even as we continue to grow and move forward we also both still have very young children (my youngest is just a year old as well:D) and this phase of life will continue, inshAllah, for some time yet and we will continue to write about it because... really, how could we not? Having small children is a world unto itself and in this phase, their needs, and our ability to meet them in the best way possible, underpins everything. Our little corner of the internet feels more cosy and warm knowing that things we feel we are experiencing on our own are actually things we share in together with our readers.

      Looking forward to learning more about your new phase and making dua that is is filled with adventure, beauty and joy. x aiysha.

  • Reply Fizza Mir January 1, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Such a beautiful post! Thank you Aiysha & Sumaya for sharing so much of yourselves with us. I’m excited to see how Mamanushka evolves and what exciting new projects you’ll be embarking on. Love & duas <3

  • Reply Mary K. Lahaj January 1, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Nice way to start the new year. Thanks. I’ll keep reading about you and sumaya. Love Mary.

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