From scuba diving, to running marathons, a yoga addict, crochet lover, a passionate reader and most importantly a Quran reciter; add to the mix working a full time job to develop Arabic applications for the disabled. One would think that the Kuwaiti Abeer Al Qattan is a single woman, but on the contrary she is an amazing mother of three wonderful boys and a dedicated wife as well. So how does she do it all?
Arab Woman Mag had the pleasure to get a closer look into the life of this very energetic woman, Kindly introduce yourself to our readers,
“I’m a 44 year old mother of 3 boys, 19, 13 and 10. I was born and brought up in Kuwait, where I also finished school and BSc in Computer Programming with English Literature minor. I’ve been married for 23 years of which I spent the first third with my husband in the United States where he finished his PhD.”
As a teenager did you imagine that your life would turn out the way it did? What did you wish to be when you grew up?
As a teenager, the only thing I knew I wanted to be was a MOTHER! I didn’t have a certain profession image in my mind. I grew up preparing myself mentally to be a mother. I also knew that I would be working in a job that involved giving energy and emotions to others, maybe a KG teacher or a career in a disability Center. Growing up, I enjoyed English lessons more than any other subject in school, but unfortunately I didn’t finish my studies of English Language. When the time came for me to decide what to study in the university, I chose Computer Science because I was good at Science and Math and because that was what the Market back in the Eighties needed (Computer programmers!) I didn’t do what I really wanted to do, but somehow my ultimate wish became real, because my job allows me to assist in creating computer solutions for the disabled, which gives me great opportunities to be with this special group of people.
You have diverse hobbies, how did you start on each and what attracted you to do so?
Sports love started since I was a child, I’ve always been light and active , but as I grew older I discovered new channels that lifted my mood and enhanced my performance as a working mom. Some of my hobbies took shape because of my active relationship with my boys and the fact that I really wanted to do fun activities with them, such as diving and running.
As for Crochet and Knitting, I started those in a critical time in my life when I went through some personal troubles and wanted to test my patience and find an activity that would let me sit still and think positive without having to leave my place. This was one of the best decisions I made in my life.
Some of Abeer’s hand made crochet collection
How do you find the time to indulge in your hobbies and take care of your family and have a full time job?
When I have a passion, I make time for it. There is a special time for everything. The trick is going to bed early. If I sleep early, I wake up with full energy that lasts almost all day. In the afternoons I’m sitting with my boys in the same room, knitting or memorizing Quran while they are finishing their HWs. When they finish we think of doing something together such as preparing their dinner together in the kitchen, going out for a run or swim in the pool. This involves practicing my hobbies, staying fit and most important of all is being with my boys. 75% of my weekend is also spent this way and the rest is quality time with family and friends.
Do you find that sometimes you spread yourself thin and this can affect your family life or job?
Yes, sometimes I’m overwhelmed with everything that I have to do in a short time therefore I always remind myself to maintain balance. It is always good to know my true priorities and perform accordingly.
One of Abeer’s Passions Scuba Diving
How do you prioritize?
Sometimes, everything that I have to do seems like a priority, which makes it tough to figure out where to begin. So in order to move the ball forward I need to set planning methods that help me set my mind on immediate day-to-day achievement. I make a list first thing in the morning of everything that needs to get done that day separate the items to rank their importance and determine the top priorities for that day. I try to be as honest and realistic as possible when writing my list, I don’t want to be frustrated with unattainable tasks! I also always assess the value of my tasks since some tasks, when unfinished, have bigger ramifications. I also learned with age to be flexible: cancel unnecessary tasks and change priorities, I take things as they come and then decide.
What do you hope to achieve in life?
My ultimate goal to achieve in life is to be a good daughter to my mother, a good wife to my husband and a good mother to my children. Everything else comes after that.
What are some of the most important lessons you teach your boys?
Oh the lessons I teach my boys are endless, hoping that they will remember some in the future. Here are a few from that list:
* Express your love to your family and loved ones. Your brothers come first. Love is the most important thing in life but RESPECT comes before love.
* Always give people the benefit of the doubt. Find excuses for others.
* NEVER judge anybody according to race, gender or color..(Rule 1 in my house).
* I give them lessons by example on how married life should be: love, commitment, laughter and devotion even in bad times.
* Nothing is guaranteed in life so always use your brain before you say and do anything. Don’t get too attached and obsessed with material things. Always be content with little and concern your life with greater pursuits than money.
* Never use jokes to hurt other people. if you have to joke, then laugh at yourself not others.
* Appreciate the time, energy and commitment your teachers spend every day.
* I admit to mistakes to teach my kids that admitting mistakes and working on solving crises is better.
* Express gratitude.
* Another rule I set in my house, when we sit and eat our meals together at the dining table, we only can say positive things about the food or anything else, anyone with negative thoughts should keep their thoughts to themselves until a suitable time. Family meal times are supposed to be enjoyed and remembered forever.
What are some of your future dreams/goals and how are you planning to achieve them?
My first future dream is to memorize the holy Quran. To achieve that, I have joined an on-line Quran memorizing project established by Ministry of Awqaf Kuwait. The idea of this amazing project is to join a one-to-one Quran recital and tajweed 30-40 minutes twice a week. I think this is one of the most precious gifts from God in my life
Another future dream is to establish my own mixed-media art work. I can’t work on that yet because I don’t have time now, once I retire from my job, which is soon, I will start putting my written plans into action.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself happily busy in my crafts and mixed-media art studio. With a half-marathon finisher medal hanging on my wall of finisher medals.
Abeer and her Twin sister Ghadeer after completing a 10K run
What advice you give other women who complain they simply don’t have the time to have hobbies?
You won’t have a hobby unless you try something new. Try anything, you will either love or find no interest in it. It is a great way to know yourself and your limits better. If you have a childhood passion, pick off where you left off. And take a class in your new passion. Evaluate your time and find a hobby that suits your time well. If you know that you are not a patient person, needle work might not be your hobby. But again you never know. You have to try to decide, you won’t lose anything if you try.
What would you like our readers to know about Abeer the woman, the mother the wife and friend?
I would love to write here about the main elements that shape my life:
1) I have an identical twin, Ghadeer, who is literally my other half that completes who I really am.
2) I come from a big family of 4 boys and 4 girls and love every single aspect of it. Oh the life lessons I’ve learnt from growing up in a big family are learning to share and compromise, team work, getting along easier with others, growing to be givers and supportive, and best of all having a heart swelled with unconditional love all my life.
3) My relationship with my late father had a huge influence in my life and it shaped my self-esteem, self-image, confidence and opinions of men.
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