Dubai: On March 21 when the UAE officially celebrates Mother’s Day, some proud Emirati women told Gulf News how their mothers made a difference in their lives.
For international award-winning Emirati film director and script writer Maitha Al Awadi, her mother Heyam Al Bastaki has been her “main inspiration in life as a woman and as a leader”.
A retired financial manager at the Safeer Department in Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (Emarat), Heyam is a mother of seven who has done an incredible job as a working mother.
“During my childhood, I watched my mother face every challenge with determination and a smile on her face. Nothing was impossible for her. To me, she is a superwoman,” said Maitha.
“Having been married at the age of 17, then having me and my siblings straight after, made building a career almost impossible, but she did it. She strived for her dream job by working hard in learning the skills needed, while she took care of us. She proved that she was capable of the work by accomplishing higher results than what was expected of her.”
Dubai-based Maitha recollected that her mother was “a true leader in her department.”
“I remember when I interned at her office one summer back in 2006, I saw her fully in action listening to her colleagues as they sought her advice, her guidance, great spirit, and wit, and she would always be ready for what they needed. She brought life and order there. And then she would come home, not to relax, but to conquer our homework and studies, and after all that, she would still have room for some bonding time with us.”
The personal bond they share is also something special. “My mother is not just a parent to me. She is my friend, and the person I look up to and want to make proud. I owe everything to her, she raised me by herself and managed to put me through school and then pushed me to do better abroad and supported me in all my endeavors, even when she thought I was wrong, she still stood by me and if I failed, she picked me up and motivated me to do better. My mother is my everything, and I want to tell her that every day, I hope showing her my success in life makes her proud.”
“She raised us all to be independent, though we still seek her guidance sometimes because she is our beacon, our confidant and our guide. Nevertheless, she raised us all to be who we want to be, to seek our own futures, and not let anything pull us down. That is why it is not surprising how diverse all of us turned out to be. From majoring in filmmaking and psychology to genetics and surgery, each one of us paving our own way in life thanks to her guidance and support. To me, one day is not enough to celebrate such an extraordinary woman, to tell her how much I love her, how much I admire her, how much I am grateful and blessed for having her in my life. I think I will spend all my life trying to show her and tell her how much she means to us. That is how much she means to me and my siblings,” Al Awadi added.
Irreplaceable love, inspiration
Noora Alzaabi, a researcher and project engineer with Hitachi Energy, is another proud Emirati who values her mother’s love immensely.
A graduate in sustainable and renewable energy engineering, Abu Dhabi-based Noora said she has had many influential people in her life who have had a big impact on her.
“But my mother has been the one who has changed my life the most,” said Noora.
Her mother Khawla Saif Alzaabi, 53, is working as a lab technician at a government school. Noora is proud of how her mother balances work and family and has learned a lot from her.
“Her love for her family inspired me to treat our family better and assisted me in improving myself for them. Mom has also encouraged me to be the best version of myself and taught me that the most impactful individuals are those who never give up on improving themselves.”
Her mother has been her best friend and guide, said Noora.
“Many of us commonly say that no one will love you as much as your mother does and it is true because my mother’s love cannot be replaced. On this Mother’s Day, I want to tell my mother how much we all love her and I want to thank her for giving me the best things in life--her love, her care, and her amazing cooking skills that we all cherish,” she added.
Role of Emirati mothers
While children are celebrating their Emirati mothers, one grandmother has shared how Emirati women have been evolving in their role as mothers and are catering to the needs of the new generation.
“Emirati mothers have the same responsibilities,” pointed out Ahlam Saeed Al Lamki, an Abu Dhabi-based Emirati grandmother who wears many hats in her life.
While their role in motherhood has remained the same for Emirati women over the years, Ahlam said their challenges have grown manifold.
“We have the same responsibilities, when our parents raised us before and now, but the challenges that come with raising kids today are much more than what our parents had before,” said Ahlam who is associated with several women empowerment initiatives.
“When we were young, the communities were more closed. Not many activities were there. The working hours were less. There were not many challenges like now.”
“The parents today, especially the working mothers, face long working hours and the challenges of having the social media, the internet opening up to different communities. All these have brought in new challenges that parents were not dealing with earlier.”
Multiple sources shaping kids
She highlighted that today’s Emirati mothers are living up to the challenges and striving to be always up to date.
“They know what’s going around the world so that they can answer the questions that their kids can come up with. They have to have a balance between parenting and being friends to their kids, because it is not only the mother who is bringing up the child. The school is getting involved, communities are getting involved, the media that the internet are also getting involved in raising the kids because they get information from different resources. So the parents will have to be up to date and know what’s going around, and how to prepare the kids to face these challenges.”
Being associated with a research institute and running her personal business, Ahlam said she has also evolved both personally and professionally.
The mother of four and grandmother of two recollected how she even became a toastmaster just a couple of years ago. “These are all needs of the hour and Emirati mothers are changing as per the requirements in their families and the society. We are extremely happy that our leadership and our families are fully supporting us in facing the modern-day challenges,” she added.