Going from a demanding corporate job to an “office-less” entrepreneur has been a big change in my life, and one area, more than anything else, has witnessed the biggest shift: motherhood. I work out of random places in the city, and I turned one of the rooms in my house to a home office. This means that I get to spend a lot more time with my 3-year old daughter than I did when I was working for long hours away from home and traveling on monthly basis. It’s been a great learning experience, and the one thing I can now confidently say is that I am learning much more from my 3-year old than I am teaching her.

Here are 3 main lessons Layla has taught me:


I often catch my daughter staring at herself in the mirror, lovingly admiring her reflection. Last night, after her shower, she wanted to stand on top of the bathroom sink to look at herself, and I said no because I was worried she would slip, so instead I suggested she stand on the small step we have for her in the bathroom that she uses when she washes her hands or brushes her teeth. “But mama, I want to see my whole body!” she exclaimed. I told her to go to the bedroom and look at herself in the big mirror, so off she went, as I watched from afar. She stood there, butt naked, with a big smile on her face, and said (to herself) “I am so beautiful”. When was the last time any of us adults did that?


One minute she’s crying, and the next she’s laughing. For a while, I thought that I should teach her how to manage her emotions, and stick with one emotion for a while, but I know better now. What I know is that she is so mindful of her emotions that she is able to completely forget the emotion of sadness the second she sees something that makes her happy. She doesn’t hold on to the sadness just because she felt it for a minute. She is able to switch from one sentiment to the next because she realizes that these emotions come and go, so why hang on to them?


This past weekend, in the middle of the afternoon, and out of the blue, Layla turned to me and said “mama, I want pancakes”. I said, no, we can’t have pancakes now. She asked why, and I said because pancakes are for breakfast. Again, she asked why, so I turned to her father for help in answering this question, and he smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Neither of us could find a good answer to that. So, what did we end up doing? Playing music in the kitchen at 4 in the afternoon and enjoying some homemade pancakes, for no good reason. Her questioning mind doesn’t stop, and I hope it never does.

These are only some of the many lessons I am learning from my 3-year old daughter. What was the last thing you learned from a kid who needs a step to reach the kitchen sink?

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Written by Muna Shakour

Muna Shakour and her daughter Layla.

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