A mommy blogger and Youtuber, Sarah has created a creative wonderland for anyone with toddlers
Televised media documents the lives of ordinary people to portray their daily life struggles and happiness. Many do it as a means of addressing an important message, or in an attempt to show the world that they are not alone in whatever they're going through. With the help of such kinds of documentation a community is formed, and together, they can find solutions to improve their lives.
In the current times, when information and communication are easily accessible, documentation has shifted as a personal choice. Now, not only does the media cover it, but a new spectrum has been created where people make their own video content and blog posts for the masses by reflecting their own experiences.
One of the many people who enjoy sharing everything from their daily life struggles to all the little joys of life through blog posts, is Sarah. Sarah is a mommy blogger or Youtuber who, through her content, shares important messages in the simplest way possible. The idea is to bridge the gap between her and the viewers. Through her channel, she shares parenthood tips and tricks, and fun, educational activities that can be carried out with kids. The blog posts are primarily made for parents, grandparents, or other guardians with toddlers who are struggling to find a balance in their hectic life schedules and are looking to improve the lives of their children, or even expecting parents.
In order to pursue her Masters in communication and public relations, Sarah travelled to Malaysia from Bangladesh nine years ago. The Malay ambience, food, and the people seemed to have secured a special place in Sarah’s heart. Hence, she decided to stay back, and has been living as an immigrant since then. Fast forward to 2020, she is now married with a three year old boy, Mikhal. Sharing the joys of being a mother, she says: “I recall the moment I held him for the first time -- I felt as if no achievement in this world mattered as much as this.”
Sarah is also an international market development manager in one of the renowned universities of KL. Although she has a full-time job and a family to look after, she took up the work as a freelance blogger and Youtuber to help people with her knowledge and experience.
Back when her son was 7 months old, Sarah had to travel alone with her little one back and forth between Bangladesh from Malaysia. The idea of sharing her travel stories with a toddler started there. She had to wait at the airport for 42 hours with her child as the flight got delayed and, eventually, cancelled. Expressing her frustration, she mentions: “I had no extra food for my baby and had no clue when I'd get the next flight. But I did manage it patiently and nicely, which gave me confidence that other mothers, too, can travel with kids and not have to hold back on anything they enjoy.” Thus began her storytelling journey with the name ‘Sarah in Wonderland’.
Getting to know Sarah’s Wonderland:
“When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the story of Alice in Wonderland; creativity unfolds throughout the story and the storytelling technique is mesmerizing. As I grew up and faced reality, I was struck by the fact that real life is the complete opposite to the fictional world. In the world of reality, there is hardly any space for creativity as we are constantly pushed to follow the norms of the world,” she says. Briefly explaining about her shocking reality check, Sarah mentions that after that incident at the airport she convinced herself that there is still scope to be creative in this world, if we try hard enough. Hence, in the hopes to inspire and help parents create a creative norm in this world for our future generations, Sarah started her storytelling channel by the name ‘Sarah in Wonderland’.
She further assures: “To be honest, it's not always rainbows and butterflies in our household, and motherhood is no piece of cake! There are times when I desperately want the day to be over; but at the end of the day, when I see my kid’s face, I’m reminded that there is still hope for humanity, and I am one of the many other mothers in charge of molding the greater future generation.” Sarah believes that if she can try and help her child be more creative, so can other like-minded parents -- by coming together and building a better community.
Life with a toddler:
What is it like raising a kid in this day and age?
It is amazing to see how childhood norms changed so much! Kids nowadays are always curious, and in search of the next new thing. Sometimes it fascinates me how creative they can be in ways of learning new technology and understanding situations that can't even be read by us adults. As times are changing, I think it is always important to facilitate a creative environment for the kids of this generation to learn. Through this, parents also get to explore a creative side which they were never knew they had.
What are the activities that you mostly take part in with your child?
Well, I mostly try to play things I used to play when I was a child. I make a house out of sofa cushions; I put a big bed sheet on the table and play inside. I believe with all the latest toys and gadgets, we often forget how exciting it was for us back in the day, when we used to make toys and were entertained even with a shoebox. Once I am back in Bangladesh, I would love to get him toys that we used to play with when we were kids, like those toy coin boxes with a dog pulling in the coins.
What is your son mostly fascinated by?
Fire trucks and airplanes are his favourite toys. Apart from toys, he enjoys watching food vlogs, and Mark Wiens is his favourite. He will try to make faces like him and give a thumbs up whenever he finds something tasty. I would like to give credit to my husband for igniting this interest in him, and I think this is one of the main reasons why he enjoys food and likes to explore food like we do. I think he will be a good cook too by the time he reaches the age of 6 or 7.
What difference have you noticed in the methods of raising a child in Bangladesh and Malaysia?
One thing that I love, and that is quite common between Bangladeshi and Malaysian communities, is the generosity, warmth, and sense of unity amongst families. Malaysian parents are very easy going when it comes to raising a child; they will always travel with children, give them the experience of exploring new food and places by taking them out from a very young age. Malaysian parents always keep their kids busy with extra-curricular activities, and always try to build their skill-sets based on what the kids enjoy to do (such as football, ballet, swimming, tennis, art, and singing, basketball, or even something as creative as drama -- which are frowned upon in the Bangladeshi community). All in all, there is no limit to being creative and learning new things!
What differences have you noticed in the way you raise your child compared to the way you were raised?
Every single parent in this world tries to do their best to make their kids' childhood comfortable and healthy. My parents were no different. They tried to give me the best they could afford. We all know how hard it is to give all the attention to the kids, especially when we live in a joint family. I have no complaints at all. I try to give all my attention to my son, listen to him, understand his emotions and reason with him as well. I set aside my household chores if my little one needs more time with me.
Do you blog every day or do you have a particular time dedicated for your blog? How do you manage being a mother and a blogger?
Honestly I do videos of all the titbits every day, which I combine at the end of my video as per the title. My son has started to go to school now, so I will find time in between to edit those videos and bring the final product to life. However, I have a very busy schedule and I need to find time to do this, as not every day is the same. Staying abroad, we don't have the luxury of hiring a chauffeur for dropping kids to school or picking them up. I do that myself, and also prepare food for my little one and my family, along with other household chores, which is very exhausting for me -- especially now that I am expecting my second child. At the end of the day, my husband will try to get back home by five. We spend quality time together as a family. We meet our other friends with kids at the play park. We often play basketball or go for a swim with my other friends who have kids around the same age. So it is a very busy schedule.
Do you travel with your toddler?
Yes! We love to travel and we love to go on road trips. The first time we travelled with our little one was when he was five months old, and it was to an island. The journey was via plane and speedboat. We got inspired by western travellers on how they travel so carefree with the infants, but we figured that it was the best time, because they can't walk and their diet consists of mostly breastmilk and liquid food, so you have less to worry about. Apart from that, I have travelled to Bangladesh alone with him around four times since he was seven months old, which inspired me to make my first video on "What to pack on toddlers carry on." My trip to Bangladesh is not easy; being from Chittagong, I have to wait at Dhaka airport for a long time to catch the next flight to Chittagong, which is about a 12 hour-long journey, overall. Apart from that, we had many other international trips and we travel via intercity train with our kid, so we can explore more of the city.
What lessons have you learned being a mother and a mommy blogger?
Being a parent is the single most important role any human will ever play in the life of another. Being a mother made me realize how much my mother loved and cared for me, which I never felt before my first-born. I always felt like nothing bad can happen to me and my sister, as long as my father is there (superhero dad! which he still is) and there would always be something great waiting for us for dinner or on Fridays, when my mother was there; but there is so much more depth in these feelings of a parent, which I know now. Even for my husband's parents, how they feel, the joy when they hold their son when he returns home, these are all precious emotions that I now understand.
Sarah mentions that being a mommy blogger is like being a researcher, which, on top of everything, makes her a supermom. She reads books and references on kids' lifestyle and health to create better content for her audience. For example, she’ll do her research on disciplining or dealing with toddlers' tantrums while handling her child, and make content related to that. This experience has also given her the exposure to make new mommy friends with whom she shares beautiful memories and similar incidents. Talking about this, she ends the interview saying: “This friendship and like-mindedness gives me an assurance that we are all the same, no matter which part of the world we are in.”
Follow Sarah in Wonderland on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahinwonderland2020/