Mariam Maz Hakim

The sound of thunderous rockets wake her in the early hours of the morning. Her three children, aged six months, six and eight are all crying – they too were woken by the same deafening noise. Her husband walks to the window, now cracked from the impact of the blasts. The mother hugs her children close, and looks anxiously at her husband. “We can’t live like this anymore,” she says, “something has to change.”

This is not a fictional story, this was my mum’s reality when she was my age, a reality very different to mine.

In her 20s, with the strength that only a mother can muster, she carried an enormous weight of responsibility. She was raising three children in war-torn Afghanistan and working as a midwife and nurse, spending her days helping struggling women in refugee camps. She was also sharing and supporting my father’s dream. He was an architect whose vision was bigger than the reality his family was living in. He and mum dreamed of safety and opportunity for their children – what ever parent dreams of. It was a dream that 20 years later allowed me to pursue my own dream of a career in radio.

My mother made huge sacrifices back then so I could lead the life I have now. When I look back on the paths my mother and I have walked when the same age (me now and her then when those blasts shook our home), they are so different. She would wake up in the morning reading over her English language books. I now wake up and make myself a blueberry smoothie. She prepared lunch for her children. I listen to the radio while getting ready for work. She walked a kilometres to get the metro to take to work. I hop into my car and drive myself to the radio station. She stood on her feet all day at work thinking about sending money back home. I go to the gym after work. She walked to her children’s school to pick them up. I catch up with friends after work. She cooked for her children, called her family back home and prepared for the next day. I jump into a comfortable bed and drift off to sleep full of excitement for tomorrow.

Mariam Maz Hakim mum

Mariam’s mother

From such uncertain and trying circumstances, she helped my father to deliver their children to safety, to offer a strong education and opportunities that she never had. Life could very easily have been very different for me, but my mother dreamed big and her inspiration has taught me to dream without limits too.

My mother never complained about being tired, or having to working too much. Today she never mentions the sacrifices she made for us. That unconditional love is the most pure thing in the Universe. She has taught me to always be positive and grateful. And for that, I always will be grateful to her.

My mother is a super woman to me. She is my inspiration. She is my moral compass. She is my mentor. She is my friend. My rock.

She is my mum.