A Pakistani-American Mother’s POV on “Gentle Parenting”

We are knee-deep in the trenches of potty training.

Lily is a sweet but stubborn three-year-old girl that has no problem using the potty at school, but when she’s home, she wants a pull-up.

And she wants mom to change it…

I thought maybe I wasn’t being firm enough, so yesterday, I wrestled her for half an hour to get her to sit on the potty.

Spoiler Alert: Nothing Happened

I stepped away for a minute to grab my phone, and by the time I’d returned, my child had hopped off the potty and peed all over the kitchen floor.

I was livid.

I began to yell and called my husband to help clean her up.

While he bathed her, I stepped aside to collect myself and clean the kitchen floor. I felt like a failure as a mother. How could her teacher get her to use the potty but not me? What was I doing wrong?

Once I’d cleaned the mess, I returned to the bathroom where my daughter was shaking and crying hysterically.

I didn’t raise my voice often, so she didn’t know how to react when I did.

That’s when I realized that my child was scared… of me…

My husband looked at her and looked at me, and said, “Do better, because this is not okay.”

And I agreed with him. It took me seeing my daughter shaking and crying in the bathroom to finally understand that I am my child’s safe space.

She feels safe making mistakes with me, and if I’m not gentle, that will change. She will start to lie and hide as I did, and I won’t be able to be there to be her rock. Instead, I’ll be a barrier to her, and that’s the last thing that I want.

More importantly, that’s the last thing that she needs.

I apologized to her multiple times at bedtime. I even held her against my chest and played with her hair until she fell asleep, but I still felt like shit.

I’d messed up.

I am, however, giving myself grace as I hope you all will, and I’m committing to doing better.

I’m committing to gentle parenting.

The Cutest Thing my Husband Did on Our Honeymoon…

My husband and I had a lavish month-long affair for our wedding as is the norm for many Pakistani/Indian weddings.

I was so occupied with planning the events, especially the mendhi and shaadi, that I didn’t have much time or energy to plan the honeymoon, so I asked my husband if he could takeover planning the trip.

I didn’t care where we went or what we did as long as we were together. He ended up choosing Grand Cayman Island.

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Truthfully, I hadn’t even heard of the island until he booked, but I was extremely excited. The beaches were gorgeous, there were plenty of island activities we could indulge in, and the restaurants were highly-rated.

We took off for Grand Cayman the day after our valima, and even though we thought we’d “chill” on vacation after several back-to-back wedding events, we were eager to explore the island as soon as we landed.

We booked a boat trip, which would take us to swim with stingrays and to a beach that housed hundreds of starfish.

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When we got to Starfish Point at Grand Cayman, our guide mentioned that if the starfish were out of the water for more than a couple of seconds, they could die.

After hearing that, my husband was mortified.

Everyone began taking the starfish out of the water for “quick selfies” before sticking them back in, but my husband had ZERO interest in photos after that.

He stood like a lifeguard, and if anyone took “too long” to get their photos, my husband walked up to them and reminded them to put the starfish back in the water before they were hurt — or worse.

So no, I didn’t get a cute starfish photo from my honeymoon, but I gained something greater:

Massive respect for my husband.

If he was this protective over a starfish, then I knew I’d made the right choice in marrying him. He’d protect me for life, and he truly has since the day we met.

I Have a Hidden Room in My House…

If you came over, chances are you’d never see it, and even if you did, you’d probably never guess what was inside. 

Ever since I was a child, I found comfort in small spaces. 

My mom would often find me fast asleep in my closet, and as an adult, this hasn’t changed. 

In a way, small spaces are reminiscent of the womb, especially when you’re wrapped tight in a blanket. 

Well, in my bathroom, there are two closets. One belongs to my husband, and the other belongs to me. 

Behind both closets is a third door, and when you open it, long dresses are hanging inside. 

It turns into a small tunnel-like space once you crawl passed the clothes. 

Inside, I’ve created my very own panic room. 

I talk often about mental health and how I’m prone to episodes of anxiety and panic. 

When that happens, my panic room is the place I retreat to. 

It’s dark, cozy, and small, and I’ve filled it with a few items that help me immensely during moments of emotional distress, including a weighted blanket, pillow, lavender essential oil, eye covers with built-in headphones, and snacks. 

Check out the video below where I take you on a tour of my panic room: 


It’s been life changing to create a safe space for myself #mentalhealth #bpd #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #anxiety #panicattack

♬ original sound – Sania & Family

How do You Know When Someone Truly Loves You?

Most people laugh when I tell them how I know my husband loves me…

Naush & I have been married for 6.5 years now, and we often get asked, “Was it arranged?”

It was not.

I had a huge (unrequited) crush on him in high school, but it wasn’t until graduating college that I bumped into him again at a party for a mutual friend.

We began seeing each other more—first, with our friends—and then, alone.

We were both single, and our relationship escalated quickly. We were engaged within 6 months on our first Valentine’s Day together.

Of course, there were all the “Hollywood” signs that he loved me, including dinner dates, gifts, and flowers.

The ring was also a sign that he loved me, but more important to me than the diamond ring was an old pair of white socks.

Let me explain.

After we got married, our honeymoon period came to an abrupt end.

I’d never lived with anyone other than my family before, and the adjustment was difficult for both of us.

The fights were seemingly minuscule at first, such as an argument over who left the lid off the mason jar, but like our love story, the fights escalated quickly.

Yelling, name-calling, late-night calls to family and friends in tears, and more became the norm until I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that can cause extreme mood swings and difficulty in relationships.

I began to see a therapist individually as well as with my husband, and it helped.

I always compare therapy to cleaning up a mess. As you’re cleaning, you first make a bigger mess before things come back together.

Well, after one particularly difficult therapy session with Naush, I went to bed crying. My husband was also upset, and he withdrew upstairs.

Later that night, however, I felt him put a pair of socks on me.

Even though we were angry with one another, he still made sure my feet were warm, so I would sleep comfortably through the night.

That’s when I knew without a doubt how much my husband loves me.

More stories on my social media: @saniakhiljee | Linktree

My Favorite Family & Lifestyle Products on Amazon

I have a problem…

An Amazon problem.

Ever since I upgraded to Prime, the convenience of the one-click-buy has changed my life, and while my spending may have skyrocketed, I must admit that I’ve found some truly incredible products in the family & lifestyle space that I wanted to share with you.

You can find all my top picks on Amazon on my storefront here 

As for categories:

Baby Registry

Home Gym


Date Night


And more…

Comment below if you’d like any product recommendations in categories not listed above!

Mother’s Day Gifts with 1 Day Delivery for Those that Procrastinate (Like Me…)

I’ve been so busy getting gifts for Eid and Teacher Appreciation Week as well as Lily’s birthday which is coming up quickly that I completely forgot about Mother’s Day.

I have just a few days left to get gifts, so I’m putting together a guide of products that offer one day delivery on Amazon. Act fast as most of these items are currently ON SALE. 

I ordered No.7 on this list for my mom

1.3D Crystal Photo

Get it Here:


2. Wearable Throw Blanket

Get it Here:


3. Bath Robe

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4. Rose Gold Cookware Set

Get it Here:


5. Perfume

Get it Here:


6. Home Decor

Get it Here:


7. Roses that Last 2-3 Years+

Get it Here:


8. Leather Bag

Get it Here:


9. Anti-Aging Skin Care Set

Get it Here:


10. Aromatherapy Diffuser & Essential Oil Set