As we celebrate UAE Mother’s Day on 21st March, we pay tribute to the sacrifices and selflessness of these admirable women we proudly call our mums.
There’s nothing greater than a mother’s love. For mums, this unconditional love comes with varying degrees of responsibilities, from juggling parenthood and domestic life to maintaining a busy career – and it can no doubt feel overwhelming at times.
This can be harder for expat parents who find themselves removed from their support system, magnifying the pressures of the role even further.
“While motherhood is a beautiful, fun-filled journey, it can also be a lonely time for many mums and living away from family and friends can make things harder,” confides Amina Shafi, chair of community organisation, Abu Dhabi Mums.
Educational psychologist at KidsFIRST Medical Center, Bene Katabua, agrees, underlining the daily anxieties faced by mums as they strive to live up to the ‘super mum’ expectations.
“The two main issues I hear regularly have to do with feelings of guilt and the constant pursuit of balance. It can be difficult to bear the weight of wearing so many different hats – mother, wife, friend, employee, sister – and do them all perfectly,” says Bene.
“We imagine that being a good mother means having all the answers, making sure that your child never feels pain, setting aside your individual goals – that is an exhausting and unattainable ideal. But it is one that is perpetuated over many years, creating generations of guilt-ridden mothers who don’t feel good enough.”
She continues: “In our particular context, mothering tends to feel like a solo mission. A lot of families are raising ‘third culture kids’ or children raised in a country outside of the parents’ country or passport country, without much familial support.
“Although this is a shared expat struggle, the loneliness felt can make mums believe
that they are the only ones dealing with this.”
Making ‘me’ time
While motherhood is a 24/7 endeavour, it is extremely important for mums to find ways to manage stress for their overall wellbeing and that of their family.
According to a 2014 survey by online family care website care.com, 80 percent of mums feel burned out because of their many responsibilities. Furthermore, one in four working mums find themselves breaking down in tears once a week because of tremendous stress.
“Motherhood can be emotionally and physically draining,” Amina acknowledges.
“Having much needed ‘me’ time can help you recharge and put you in a better situation to deal with the daily challenges ahead.
“It’s important for mums to look after their wellbeing for their own sake and their family’s sake. It can be easy to focus solely on your children and family’s needs but it’s important to set aside some ‘me’ time regularly to help you relax and recharge,” Amina adds.
“This could be anything from reading a book to going to the gym, having a spa treatment or meeting friends without the kids. Try and arrange for someone to look after your children while you invest in some time for yourself.”
Bene agrees, emphasising the need for mums to slow down to recharge the mind and body, or even consult a psychiatrist to get proper medical attention if the stress becomes too much to bear.
“Self-care is not selfish,” Bene points out. “When mum is okay, the family is okay. Regularly take the time that you need to recuperate and feel whole again.”
Joining a group for mums, pursuing new hobbies and engaging in activities as simple as signing up to a yoga class or getting a massage can help mothers gain a fresh perspective before plunging back into ‘super mum’ mode.
Mums in the city
The Sportsman’s Arms in Zayed Sport City is always great with its menu that appeals to both children and adults, plus large interior space and an outside playground to burn some energy.
L’arte at Manarat Al Saadiyat is also accommodating for families with its big grassy area and small playground as well as authentic Italian food.
Newly opened Sanderson’s in Al Seef Village Mall has a very relaxed vibe, great food – pizza can be whipped out on demand for kids – plenty of high chairs and a newly built playground and trampoline.
It is always relaxing to go to Saadiyat Island and at Saadiyat Beach Club the view is amazing.
At the new Central Park on Al Reem Island, entry is free and there are lots of spaces to run around. The older kids will love the skate park, while the shaded area under the overpass is perfect for picnics.
Khalifa Park is great for families; there are lots of compounds with streets filled with modern amenities. A few of them are even walking distance to Al Seef Village Mall, which almost functions like a main street.
Off-island, Al Zeina and Al Muneera are very modern and the multiple outside public spaces and shops create a nice neighbourhood feel.
Corniche Beach is incredible value for money. There are lots of chairs available, a few playgrounds for kids who are tired of swimming and the new Al Bahar area is perfect for early evening hangouts.
From restaurant promotions to pampering services, mums will be spoilt for choice this Mother’s Day. Go out of your way to make mum feel loved and mark the occasion with these great deals…
Sofitel Abu Dhabi
French pastry chef Guillaume recreates his favourite childhood cakes and tarts inspired by his mum’s baking. Take a bite of these sweet treats at the French Bakery Corner from 17th to 21st March, or order a Mother’s Day cake to surprise mum on the big day itself. On Mother’s Day itself, you can also take her to Corniche All Day Dining to enjoy a complimentary lunch or dinner buffet. Corniche East. Prices and times vary. Contact:
02 813 7777, sofitelabudhabicorniche.com
Bab Al Qasr Hotel and Residences
Treat mum to Friday brunch at Artisan Kitchen on 22nd March where ladies who are celebrating with their mums can enjoy 25 percent discount on the total bill. The offer is valid for up to four guests. Corniche West. 1pm-4pm. Contact: 02 205 3000, email@example.com
Mums can enjoy a quick bite and enjoy 25 percent discount on tasty sandwiches and coffee from one of Urban RetrEAT food hub’s vendors, Krust between 21st and 31st March. Yas Mall, Yas Island. Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Visit: urbanretreat.me
Al Raha Beach Hotel
Set a date with mum and enjoy 21 percent off your total bill at the hotel’s restaurants and spa until 23rd March. Participating restaurants include Sevilla, Azur, La Piscine and Black Pearl, plus Body and Soul Spa for pampering services. Channel Street, Al Raha. Restaurants 12.30pm-midnight, spa 2pm-7pm. Contact: 02 508 0555,
Is mum a breakfast lover? Then treat her to the most important meal of the day at L’ETO where she can select a breakfast of her choice and a drink for AED 99. 21st March. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island and Yas Mall. 8am-1pm. Contact: letocaffe.ae
Catch up with mum while enjoying afternoon tea at The Lounge at Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa. Dine on savoury and sweet treats, scones, unlimited hot beverages and bubbly while enjoying splendid views of the lush golf course. Until 31st March. AED 160 for two. Next to Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl. 7am-11pm. Contact: 02 616 9999, firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate Mother’s Day belatedly on 31st March by treating mum to freshly baked croissants and unlimited coffee for just AED 20 at this popular food stall. Relax and soak in the sights of Reem Central Park while sharing quality moments with mum. Al Reem Island. Daily 8am-10pm. Visit: parkhouse.ae
Enjoy some mother-daughter bonding time with a rejuvenating spa package at Anantara Spa until 31st March. You can enjoy pool access, a sumptuous lunch and 60-minute relaxing massage coupled with a steam bath. AED 1,150 for two. Eastern Mangroves Hotel
& Spa by Anantara, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street. 10am-5pm. Contact: 02 656 1146, email@example.com
If you book a spa treatment for yourself at Zayna Spa, then mum can enjoy a relaxing spa experience of equal value for free. Offer valid until 31st March. Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street. Daily 10am-11pm. Contact: 02 495 3822, bit.ly/2fejVge
The Mum and I Spa Moments at Namm Spa is a great way to fit in some quality mother-daughter time. The 75-minute spa package includes a whitening seaweed body mask and refreshing facial. Until 31st March. AED 999 for two. Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street.
11am-11pm. Contact: 02 698 8888, bit.ly/2n38Ejz
Mums will be serenaded by Arab Idol star Abdul Karim Hamdan along with fellow singers Sultan and Clara on 21st March at Lebanese restaurant Dahab. Complementing the music is a sumptuous four-course dinner served with soft drinks. AED 300. Behind Hilton Capital Grand, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street. From 9pm. Contact: 02 667 4446,
Mum knows best
“Our mum is strong, loving, independent and kind. She is an inspiration to us. She takes care of us every day while she works full time, which we think is very hard,” Zara (12), Sammar (10) and Zaid (7).
“I love my mum’s cooking and I like it when she’s happy,” Muhammad (5).
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez