Love begins and ends with Motherhood


At 35, Khurshid Guffar is the picture of radiance. Poised and well-groomed, it is hard to believe that she spends the better part of her day running after toddlers Nurah (3) and Zaina (21 months).

“I think most mothers would attest to this; from the moment you have a child, your priorities shift and your child’s wellbeing and happiness becomes the most important thing to you. Since they were born, my girls have always been the centre of my world. They are the centre of everything I do and every decision I make. This will never really change until I am confident that they have become their own independent women, and even then, it will be hard to let go.”

Like most women, Khurshid (an online Business English coach and freelance writer) says her journey from single life to married life was followed by a natural desire to start a family. She enjoyed a few adventures and when it was time to settle down, she was quite happy and ready to do so. What she didn’t anticipate though, was two rounds of nearly nine months each that were far from the enjoyable experiences she’d heard other moms talk about.

“Both pregnancies were gruelling; I had the most awful all-day morning sickness which lasted for the first four months in both cases!”

“Zaina was the happiest surprise I’ve ever had. Nurah was just 10 months old when I discovered I was with child again. Despite the excitement of having another bundle of joy and giving Nurah a sister, having two sisters of my own, I believe the most precious gift I can give my girls is each other, I was very anxious about giving birth again. With two difficult pregnancies and deliveries behind her, Khurshid’s joy lies in the fact that each day she is able to be a mother to her girls.

“They are mine. They give love so easily and forget so quickly when I lose my patience with them – and I often do. I love the witty, clever, hilarious things they say. I love that they are so attentive and notice everything! If I have the smallest scratch on my hand they will kiss it better and want to put a plaster on it, and you can have proper conversations with them – I love how they remember so much, how they are able make sense of the world, their rational. I love how they love and care about each other. If I give Nurah a biscuit, she will always ask for one for Zaina. When Nurah is sent to the Grow Good Chair for time out, Zaina will go and sit next to her. I love that Nurah is so warm, friendly, generous and caring, and that Zaina is thoughtful, sensitive and affectionate.”

For Khurshid, it is this affection and love that she thrives on most. The very things that renew her confidence in her ability as a mother, and carry her through challenges in life, the most recent of which was becoming a single mum.

“I am extremely fortunate that I come from a family of strong women (and men), starting with my mother, and including my sisters, aunts and cousins, who love fiercely and unconditionally. My mum keeps going even when she is tired; she keeps the faith even in the chaos, and she is always up for a treat or adventure. My mother taught me to always choose to do the right thing – no matter how difficult; to always be kind and to help where I can; to be scared, but to do it anyway. Most importantly, my mum taught me the value of family. My strength, resilience and gumption come from my mother, who no matter where I have gone, has always been just a phone call away. I hope I can be this to my children. Nurah and Zaina’s greatest blessing is my family; they are surrounded and cushioned by love. My family play an active role in the lives of my daughters. Flying in just to spend a birthday with us, weekly visits armed with treats and spoils, middle of the day video calls just to say hello and check in on us, my family chooses to show up time and again, despite the busy lives they lead. It is through the unwavering support of my family and close friends that being a single mother has been far less difficult for me than it could have been.”

“The only way I know how to juggle work and raising the girls is with caffeine and dry shampoo,” she laughs. “I don’t sleep much; I am tired all the time, but it’s a happy tired. Nurah goes to a play school until 12pm every day. I take Zaina to stimulation classes three times a week. My days are spent in a flurry of nappy-changing, feeding, packing, unpacking, strapping into car seats, changing clothes, making bottles, wiping up, kissing better, singing, bathing, fixing, crawling into, playing with, jumping into (muddy) puddles, dropping, fetching, arguing with, coercing, bribing, putting to bed, and in between I work. Repeat every day. I also have an amazing nanny.”

And do they test her patience? That would be a big, resounding YES! Especially during lockdown.

“Nurah and Zaina are both exceptionally strong-willed. Zaina is fast approaching the terrible twos and Nurah is a threenager. They push boundaries, they do not take no for an answer, they are messy and can be somewhat destructive. They have a million toys but will fight over a tiny sticker. Brushing their teeth is the bane of my existence. I will beg, bribe and then threaten them to go to the bathroom. While I’m getting their toothbrushes ready, one will run away. I go to retrieve the escapee and return to the bathroom, only to find the other one either gone, or has emptied a bottle of shampoo all over the bathroom floor (or unrolled toilet paper, or squirted the entire contents of the toothpaste tube all over her head). They then want to brush their teeth themselves. Fine. Give them a few minutes, in which time they request more and more of the yummy strawberry flavoured toothpaste. I then eventually convince them that I can see germs crawling around their mouths and it is imperative that I remove these ghastly specimens immediately. Repeat twice, every day.”

From the time they were infants, Khurshid says both Nurah and Zaina have been exposed to a wide range of activities and have been constantly stimulated. “Our weeks are usually quite busy with their different activities. Over the weekends, we visit parks, play at the beach, go to animal farms, and every Sunday we have brunch at a restaurant that has a play area large enough to tire them out. Lockdown has obviously had a massive impact on this. When everyone was stocking up on toilet paper, I was stocking up on slime and play dough. It has been very difficult. Nurah and Zaina are not used to being at home because we are always going somewhere or doing something. Nurah misses her friends terribly, they both constantly ask to go to Mitchell Park or the beach or to school or to Top Tots. My mum tirelessly tries to keep them busy and together, we have danced to YouTube videos, invented games, made Gloop, baked cookies, had picnics in the garden, read books, built blocks – they are very bored and restless.”

“I want my children to be happy. Wherever they are, and whatever they are doing, I want them to be content, to feel safe and at peace. Finding any reason to celebrate is also something I love doing. I am big on celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries, any reason to have a party or do something special! And speaking of which, we have Mother’s Day coming up. While it might sound harsh, I don’t buy into the school of thought that every day is Mother’s Day and mothers should be spoiled every day. It’s not practical. Life is busy, we all have things to do. While we can and should appreciate and thank our mothers for all that they are to us every day, we cannot celebrate them every day. That’s why I love Mother’s Day because it is about going above and beyond what you would ordinarily do for your mum to make her feel special and loved. My sisters and I share a very close relationship with our mum. Even though we haven’t always lived in the same city, on Mother’s Day we have always tried to be home together in Durban to spend the weekend with her. This has usually involved a day at a spa, a favourite indulgence of my mother. Now that I have two toddlers in tow, we go to places that have a more family-friendly vibe and a play area, but the purpose remains the same, to celebrate our mum. I’d like to think my girls will grow up to appreciate this and when they are old enough, to carry this tradition on. We are never too busy to celebrate anything, from the very important things in life to even those things that others might consider mundane. It’s what we make of things that matters most.”


Photos by: Penny Katz Photography,, e-mail [email protected], 083 214 0692