This is Huma
My name is Huma Qureshi. I’m a 37 year old mother of three, living in London with my children and my husband, Richard.
I'm of Pakistani heritage, having grown up and been born in Britain. My childhood consisted of dusty, hot summers spent in Lahore. The trips grew more infrequent the older we all became but it was a big part of my upbringing and my memories are full of snippets of that time.
On career juggling:
Many people see me as a blogger but my journalism career was established long before that. I was formerly a Guardian staff features writer and news reporter for quite some years but I went freelance before I had my kids in order to write my first book (a collection of short stories on south Asian family life, called In Spite of Oceans). Since having children, my writing has taken hits in terms of stops and starts; it's just the way it is. The biggest hit was on my journalist profile - I look back at that and, yes, I do wonder sometimes how things might have been for me career-wise had I not stepped back for my children. But equally, journalism wasn't where I always envisaged myself staying and I'm glad I had the opportunity to write one book because it sort of makes it easier to write the second and hopefully more after that too. We could have explored childcare, but I made a choice to be here for them - not a judgement on anyone else's choices, just the way I wanted things to be. It's always been a juggle because even though I was and am a full-time mother, I have also never stopped writing in some form or the other for work or otherwise ever since I've had my kids, so I never really had any maternity leave. There was always something to work on - my book, freelance articles, launching my own writing course.
But I'm glad that I've had the privilege of still being able to be around for them a lot while they've been so young; that was my priority and my decision. People have this misconception that being a freelance writer is somehow easy because it "fits" in with having kids, as though writing is something you can turn on and off like a tap. It's not quite like that. I snatch moments when I can and I work as hard as I can. I'm also forgiving of myself. My husband is now in a position in his career to be able to share looking after the children in a much more present way, so he will often step in and usher me out into his office so I can have some extra writing hours. He's the voice of encouragement every time self doubt rears its ugly head.
My favourite thing about motherhood is seeing my children grow; the way they make observations, the things they say that I will always remember. I find the whole process of their growing up a marvel; it's a true wonder. I feel lucky to have them in my life. They are such good company!
On diversity, representation & inclusion:
I feel every sphere of life could be and should be more inclusive, with greater representation and diversity that reflects the world around us, both in big and small ways. I know it is not always easy to change structures, but I do believe that the more platforms for change that exist, the more change will come. Within motherhood specifically, the experience of motherhood is one that is by its very nature inclusive - it brings all women together. So of course, it shouldn't be presented as just one ideal for there is no ideal of motherhood. All our experiences and stories are unique, but they can also be universal and bring us together.
I feel all our children should be able to see themselves reflected in the books they read, the songs they hear, the programs they see. I long for a time when this simply becomes their norm and I am hopeful that it will be, because of the efforts we make to bring inclusivity into our own homes and our everyday lives.
My levels of patience, both for myself and for my children, are a challenge within motherhood. I have always had high expectations of myself, impossibly high expectations, and when my kids were younger, I assumed I should have been able to both write full-time and be a mother full-time without realising that I was asking the impossible of myself. I have learnt, and am still learning, to be more patient with myself, with the passing of time, and in turn to be kinder to myself. Most importantly, I have learnt that I don't want my kids to put the same pressure on themselves that I put on myself. So I'm learning to be more patient, so that they can learn what it is to be kind to themselves too and to see their achievements and progress without putting themselves down.
On All Our Mothers:
Platforms such as this one are absolutely necessary. It's so important to celebrate motherhood as something for all women who happen to be mothers, because it is joyous and beautiful and life changing and we should all see our experiences and stories within that. I love what you are doing with this platform.
You can follow Huma’s journey right here.