What happened when my kids’ vocabulary started improving!

By Maasi Saba

I’m a proud momma when I hear my kids using the proper name for things and not, “that thing over there!” Or “that thingy…”. I’m a proud momma when I hear my kids explaining things more clearly. It makes me feel like I’m actually a good parent when others can understand them.

It’s amazing how smart kids can be if they just open their ears and brains a bit. I’m not saying my kids are stupid. Noooo!!!!! I love my kids. And when their vocabulary increases, it puts a smile on my face.

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When they can articulate why they liked something or not; when they can tell an interesting story using adjectives galore. (Still don’t understand how their English teacher says they need to improve more.) Vocabulary is great when we are playing Scattergories (name, place, animal, thing, game we all used to play).

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I am a proud momma when my kids talk about their day at school and all the interesting things they learned. I’m all open ears for this. It just puts a smile on my face. It’s a lot better than hearing them say that they are through with school and studying and how they just want to stay home like me! (Hello!! I graduated college with Honours!! …. before I stayed at home all the time) Hmmm….

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BUT an increase in vocabulary can be annoying too. Especially when one says how her pancreas and kidneys were hurting her all day at school, and how her femur bone might be broken. And how the food I prepared for them wasn’t settling well or how the gasteric juices weren’t digesting the food therefore the food wasn’t all that great. (Smack!)

Vocabulary is great. Just not when I’m tired and need peace and quiet.

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My little guy and me

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It was a hectic day today. I did feel a little too off all through the day due to my health which is downright adamant on not coming back to its usual chirpy state.
By the by, for all those who might not be familiar with this rather significant piece of news, yours truly just gave birth to a baby boy this April, who has been keeping her quite busy of late 🙂

[Now being busy or not- for that matter- does have a most complicated relationship with the heart. For if your heart desires to accomplish something; it will find a way and no amount of lack of time will matter. For there is no such thing as a lack of time as far as my (amateur) study of the matter is concerned. There is however a severe lack of discipline in my life though, the presence of which might very well be the eventual demise of all my dreams. If the demise hasn’t already happened that is. Which could be the case since I am usually not aware of most of the happenings related to my being. And most of the things come to my attention after the damage has already been done; by me or by someone else. Sigh.
BUT BUT BUT I wont go into the details of why this happens here because this has been happening for quite some time now and well; reasons are for the foolish (or the lazy in may case)]

Crux of the story is, the little guy just doesn’t let me brood over the vanity of my life anymore (that I was bent upon doing for the last couple of years or so), which was something I gravely needed but didn’t quite realize before.

He keeps me busy yes, but in a way, this little person has (sort of) renewed my sense of existence in life. My discipline situation has vastly improved (it hasn’t completely gone away I assure you, but yes, it has become better). I care about the sanctity of time now. Or perhaps I’ve started caring about it much more than I ever cared about it before. The joy and love this little being brings to my life is something I can’t even begin to describe here since there are no appropriate words to portray the many emotions he has brought out in me.

Perhaps it is true what they say about babies that are born later in life; that you do appreciate them more. I’ll also add another thing here however. I think when you have these kids, you actually are in need of them— in order to take you back to the self that you’ve somehow lost somewhere. You need them to regain some confidence in the prospect of hope, of that much-touted ray of light at the end of the tunnel, again.

By Maasi Wajo

Spending time with kids

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Family Having Picnic In Countryside

I spend a lot of time with my daughters, which is an added perk of working from home. That said, most of these days what I don’t realize is that time is just passing by, I am there with them, but I am really not there. I am either watching TV (I’m a sucker for good TV shows.. sigh), or reading a book or (the worst) on my phone. Since they both are now more or less independent (one is 12 and the other one is 8) and don’t really need my company as such, I have also stepped aside and have started doing my thing. In a nutshell, I am usually only acting as their supervisor (telling them when to eat, do their homework, brush their teeth, etc.) and not really “in” the moment with them. Though when I really start thinking about it, what’s absolutely baffling is how fast time is passing me by!!

How these girls who don’t need their mommy to do most of their stuff now, were completely dependent on me at one point in their life! Don’t get me wrong, I do feel happy for this, and wish them all the happiness and success in the world… but at times, I also miss all those little moments when they were small. Cute times which are now a part of the past and well, no matter how much I want everything to freeze, time will go on and it should too! 🙂

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It’s just that we being the forgetful human beings that we are usually don’t realize the speed of time when it’s silently going by us. And often suddenly get aware of the fact that we have wasted most of it caught up in a mind numbing daily routine. We get a glimpse of it each year at the New Year’s Eve when we realize how fast the year flies by us—and so we make new resolutions all over again which are then generally packed off for the next year, after a month or so. We don’t realize this most of the times, but we spend our lives exactly in the way that we spend most of our individual days. If there is something we cannot do today, chances are we won’t find the will to do it the next day as well. And sooner than we know, we are fifty and we don’t know where all our life went.

So keeping this in view, one of my New Year resolutions for this year was to spend some quality time with my girls on a daily basis— be it going on shopping with them or going to out to eat together. Things that we have just stopped doing together for reasons I don’t remember now. Perhaps we got a little too busy with life. I haven’t been doing as much as I would like to and a month has already passed, but hey, we still have the whole year ahead of us, don’t we! Keeping my fingers crossed.

I’ll definitely give you all a lowdown on how to spend some quality time with your kids once I figure out some sort of formula myself, but for the most part I’m sure it needs to come from the heart and it needs to be worked on. Keep watching this space for more!

by Maasi Wajo

What if we say ‘yes’?

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As parents and especially as the mighty mothers, each one of us must have found many a moment in our lives when it is much more inevitable to say no to our children than the often scary, yes. Though it often does come to that after a couple of heart wrenching screams and some inevitable drama.

There are times however, where parents should say yes, even if we don’t want to, or if we have no time for anything at all.

I’m pretty sure that if we did something like that the sky wouldn’t fall down. Our children wouldn’t automatically become the worst behaved children in the world and wouldn’t start taking us for granted only because we had said ‘yes’ instead of the usually expected ‘no’.

You see, as mothers we have been conditioned to say ‘no’ to our children, often unintentionally when we find ourselves in the middle of something important, when there is a looming deadline over our head or the popular ‘I’m tired’ excuse (which is not an excuse ladies, I know but let’s just pretend for a moment only for the sake of this discussion!) I, for one, often find myself saying,

I’m really busy right now” or,

“Can we do this later? Mommy is a bit busy?”

“I’m making dinner, cant you see? We can do it some time else”.

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But more often than not, that “later” doesn’t ever come. And time flies by and we keep turning down our kids demands and wishes and before we know it they’re all grown up and we don’t understand what happened to their childhood. Problem is that we don’t really enjoy their childhood when it’s actually happening. We get so busy living our everyday life that we forget that time never stands still— that our children will not remain children forever. So what if we say yes instead of no, next time our kids want us to do something for them, or take them somewhere or just be with them for a while. The little time that we give them brings so much light to their life; we can’t even begin to imagine that sort of happiness.

So I have decided that the next time my kids want me to do something for them, I will try not to listen to the ‘no’ in me and instead will just say ‘yes’. Because I know, in the heart of my hearts that I will never regret it.

The little hugs, the giggles, all those cartoon discussions, those hour late bed times, all those special moments with my kids. These are the things that life is all about. This is when life happens.

I’m sure I’ll not regret saying ‘yes’. I’m sure of that! 🙂

By Maasi Wajo

 

A Stay at Home Mom’s Dilemma

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Time is a rare commodity these days since it’s exam time and trust me, all I want right now is a few hours to myself, with myself, ALONE!! I am getting the feels a wee bit more though, since it’s my 12-year-old daughter’s first go at exams. Normally schools in Lahore begin taking exams right from grade 1, but a few (very considerate) schools including the one my daughters go to, start end of term exams from 7th grade and above. I do like their approach better since it’s given me way more time to relax and chill compared to my friends who’d just go on quarantine as soon as exams would start.

No, I wouldn’t like to change anything about it. I also feel that this approach gives our daughters much more time to grow up, understand, evolve as an individual rather than get into the exam rut when they can hardly tie their shoelaces properly. When you’re taking children as young as 5 into an examination hall, asking them to sit still for an hour or so and concentrate, how do you expect them to perform? They are not supposed to, its time for them to play and be merry. Let them grow up first. Exam can wait. So yes, I’ve always maintained that my preference for this school is firmly rooted in their lenient exam policy above all.

That said, the fact remains; my whole day is spent being a driver for my girls who have very different schedules these days because of the elder one’s exams. Most of the time I’m on the roads and the fact that the school is at a 30-minute ride from my place adds much to the misery. There are days when I can hardly stop and catch my breath for a little while. But I don’t mind much. Hey, I do enjoy the driving (to some extent!)

But that also gives rise to this question that has always been lurking somewhere at the back of my mind. You see, I am an Accountant, I worked for some time but then eventually decided to quit work because I wanted to stay at home to raise my girls. It does unfortunately have a very negative connotation these days but I did not regret my decision once, back then. Now however, I feel that I am constantly being judged for this decision of mine. People don’t say it to my face, but I know they feel it’s odd for me not to be pursuing a career of some sort. They’ve somehow convinced themselves that just because I’ve decided to stay at home, I am “doing nothing” or am a loser of some sort who didn’t get the chance to get up the corporate ladder. I feel that this “doing nothing” phenomenon is what’s the most devastating of all. Only because I’m not adding much to the overall financial figure of my household, does not mean that I am “doing nothing”.

I read. A lot. I’ve taken it upon myself to further educate myself (trust me, there is life beyond organised education). In my commuting hours I usually listen to philosophy podcasts and am reading Camus these days. I also write; I contribute to a couple of literary journals on a freelance basis. So just because I don’t go out, sit in a cubicle nine hours a day to achieve someone else’s goals, doesn’t mean I am “doing nothing” and “wasting myself”. What is the exact definition of wasting yourself anyway? I am sorry if this sounded too harsh but trust me; I have been subjected to harsher verdicts only because I’ve decided not to join the rat race.

It’s just that my priorities right now are just different; or maybe my personality is, I don’t know. But I’m happy doing what I am; it’s as plain and as simple as that. I don’t understand why people have to underestimate or berate people who are doing something different from them. One of the things I shall never be able to understand I guess.

Anyway, bottom line is, just live and let live. You do your own thing and I’ll do mine. Why judge people when you don’t know their story? Be happy and contented with whatever you do/ whoever you are/ wherever you are in life and that’s what should matter the most. Even if that means playing with your cats or driving your kids to and from school; it’s the little things after all!

Maasi Wajo

My Beloved

By Maasi Saba

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After six years, my dua was finally answered when I became pregnant with my fourth child.  I was so happy because I had always wanted four kids. It’s just a nice round number.  I prayed all through out my pregnancy for the baby to be a girl.  I wanted 2 and 2. And alhumdulilah again, my dua was answered.  When I actually had my baby girl, I  was sort of in a daze. I remember the ward being overly crowded because many women were there for several reasons, and there were renovations being done at the hospital.  My kids were having their midterms, and i remember dropping them off and then driving to the hospital.  It was December, and the weather was bringing me down.  It was the first time I felt any sort of depression after giving birth.  My siblings were arriving for our youngest brother’s wedding.  All of our kids were having a ball chasing each other around the house, which I think helped me to not sink further into a depressing mood. I even went out of the way and called up my brother saying, I am overwhelmed with the baby, the weather, and getting the kids ready for their exams to come to your wedding.  I wanted to relax during those days since the exams would be done. Lol!  He thought i was insane.  I did manage to get to his wedding which was here Lahore.  I got their late. Made  a sloppy entrance and was dazed meeting everyone and handing my child over to relatives who wanted to see her. Since I was the groom’s sister, I was supposed to be needed elsewhere.  I showed my face, and then I left early with my kids because I still had to pack our suitcases because I was supposed to be following the Barat out of the city.  Well, my dear Chachu (Uncle), came to my house in his empty car and had to wait a little while longer because my little one had leaked, and my other kids were running around excited to be going to Nana’s house for a few days.  I think the rest of the wedding is a blur. I was there physically.  I wish I was in better health and state of mind, but oh well. It wasn’t my wedding, so it’s okay.  Whenever my brother says anything to me I always remind him that I was there!!!!! It should be enough.  

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Fast forward and it is three years later and my little darling is learning a lot of english, (courtesy of her cousin from Pennsylvania).  She has responses for everything! And sometimes I’m just amazed because my other three kids weren’t this vocal and confident.  I guess, daayr ayee daroost ayee. Or something like that.  She is one of those kids who knows everything about our cell phones and ipads.  I seriously didn’t know about a few things but this one likes to press everything and open everything and voila, she has discovered something else.  She is also one of those selfie addicts as well.  Or, hmm, I’m not sure if it qualifies as selfies.  I have put a lock on my phone because a few times in the past, she had called some of my friends and siblings overseas at odd times and finished my balance.  Then she also likes to delete apps and pictures I don’t want her to do.  And who can forget the many times she has disabled my phone.  Sometimes she makes me frustrated. But then she tells me that she was just trying to see something or she was trying to do something to help me, and then I can’t stay mad long.  She is my baby after all.

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One of her favorite past times other than going through her siblings’ drawers for some treasure, is to take pictures.  Sometimes when I finally get my hands on my phone, I have about 40 pictures.  Some are bursts of 14, or even 30 pictures of absolutely nothing.  Sometimes its half of her head, or the fan above her head,  or its her feet, or the walls or the floor.  There are just so many pictures that she is amazed at her talent.  My little doll knows how to change the tone and the style of her pictures so usually they aren’t so boring.  These days, when she sees that the camera app is open, she asks if we need to smile quickly.  I wanted to share some pictures she took the other day.  In one, she cut my head off, which was very considerate of her since she should know I hate having my pictures taken.  She did ask me to smile, which I did, but hey, she is too smart to bother me with cropping my head off.  The next is the classic pic of her socks and shoes.  She loves taking pictures of her bed, my bed and the walls.  She’s an amateur photographer.  It made me smile at how amazing life is when you have a toddler to share it with.  

My adorable baby girl, is no longer a baby, but she is my youngest, kissable, and huggable being.  I have those off days when she tires me out, but alhumdulillah, the good outweigh the bad.  And even now, when I stop occasionally to think about what to write next, she insists I type the ABC’S quickly as possible.  For those who have kids, we have all been told to sit back and enjoy them.  To take each moment with them and cherish them because soon they will be too old to sit with us.  It’s amazing how some people do exactly that.  But I am not one of those people.  Well not yet.  I’m not sure if I ever will be. I would love to be one of those people. But I am not sure I’m built that way.  But I am trying. So I must end this because she wants to watch her mickey mouse show right now. Even though she should be asleep at this moment, she is resting her head on my arm and waiting impatiently for me to stop my work and put her show on.  

So enjoy her pictures. I hope they put a smile on your face like they did on mine.  Kids are kids!  May Allah SWT guide them to be good muslims, and protect them from all harm.  

Happy You Day, Mothers!

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By Maasi Wajo

This is an ode to all those mothers who’re reading this and also the ones who aren’t! You guys are special; celebrate yourself today. You know you’re worth it!

Northern_Pacific_Railway_Mother's_Day_postcard_1916This is a day to celebrate our mothers, and thank them for everything they’ve done for us and continue to do unreservedly. However, mothers are mostly taken for granted. We do tend to celebrate their presence in our lives while this day lasts but as soon as it gets over, all our love for our mothers gets postponed to the next May 10th.

This should not be the case.

Mothers are simply special. Whatever I say here might come off as clichéd but it is nothing but the truth and comes straight from my heart. If there is anyone who’s always looking out for us, always knows what’s going on in our mind, it’s our mother– It’s always our mother. She always knows the right words to motivate us; she always is the one that we run to when we are in trouble, no matter how old we get.

images-5No one can ever come close to cook the way our mom does and that’s a fact! She knows when we’re lying, she knows when we are troubled and even if she’s angry, we know she cannot remain angry for a long time. She is the one true happy place we all know.

It’s very rare to find unconditional love in this life and to find someone who loves you too much to sacrifice their own life and life’s dreams for you, is almost impossible—But for your mother. Only she’s capable of this heroic feat.

So to all those real life superheroes [aka our mothers and ourselves of course: p], that we are celebrating today, a very very Happy Mother’s Day!

We love you and wouldn’t know what to do without you!

Straight From My Heart!

By Maasi Javeria

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Massi Saba’s recent article proved to be a fresh breeze after a deathly routine of preparing my kid for his test. Both of us were tired and frustrated by the last day. Well, the time came when I had to go pick him up. I greeted him where he was standing in queue, his name got called, he came, and the first sentence he uttered was, “I got -10 for misbehaving”!! My jaw dropped and eyes were about to pop out, “Why? What happened let me ask your teacher?” I shouted.

He grabbed my hand and threatened,”No way”! But some how after 10 minutes of pulling and pushing I eventually managed to free myself from his grip. I went up to the teacher and asked about the actual scenario, which turned out to be OK! or so I thought.
BOOM !!!!
My son started jumping up and down,”You tricked me, you lied to me, I will never tell you any thing anymore, I will never trust you”… And so on and so forth. He kept jumping in the car, still in a very aggressive mood. I tried to apologise but to no avail. He started tearing the tissue box, his school card, his pencil box etc. Tears were rolling down his pink cheeks like a shower, but I just sat there, still like a rock.
“You are the worst mom in this whole world, I have the worst family, I don’t want this family, I want new mom, I want to be dead, I will go home and be dead (God Forbid), I want you dead, I don’t want to see any body…”
Now the real question at that moment was whether his reaction was just because of the reason that I talked to his teacher OR because of the pressure both mother and child have to go through right before the exams!
I think my little angel just couldn’t take it any more. I sat in the car doing nothing but apologising while at the same time he kept on tearing any thing which he could see in car, including my cream, emptying it in my palm and then he said, “how does it feel? Bad na?”
And I said, “yes darling bad but if it makes you feel better, it’s worth it.” 20 minutes passed and and those eyes were red like anything. And then he sat silently exhausted and betrayed. He said, “this is the last time I am taking your sorry.” And I asked his permission, “can I hug you dear?” To which he nodded, and every thing was alright once again. Nothing was damaged, rather our relationship became stronger!!
Sometimes we need to give kids an out let as well. Let them express themselves fully when they can’t handle it any more, let them burst out, let them say any thing, let them feel free. Help them by not shouting at them and listen to them silently and with great patience. Your time will come and it would be worth ten times this universe.
Happy relationships, where only giving is allowed not expecting 😍😍😍😍

Our Mothers Taught Us Wrong! 

Bless our mothers for putting up with us and teaching us all that they know. My mother is always in my prayers for dealing with the four of us. Dealing with our tantrums, our bakwas, our moods, and listening to our stories which usually didn’t make sense.

My mom still does that for us. The work of a mother never ends and never gets boring. I’ve learned a lot after marriage as well. How to do laundry, how to fix my clothes that I was a bit careless in wearing and taking off. She has helped me with my cooking, giving me recipes and todkas. Alhumdulillah for my mother who is also living in Pakistan now. I can call her whenever I want and don’t have to worry about the time difference anymore. But we are always having to hang up on each other because someone else needs our attention at that moment, and we usually forget to say/ask what we had actually called for. But, I’m so grateful she is just a few hours away. Love you Momma Cherry!

Now back to our mothers teaching us something wrong! It’s truly not their fault because the product is marketed in that fashion. With the wavy side up! So naturally, our mothers wore them that way, and taught us to wear them that way. I’m talking about bobby pins ladies!!!! Such a simple product that is always missing when you need them, but help us whip us some major hair styles! IMG_8046

I came across an article that my sister sent stating that bobby pins aren’t supposed to be worn with the waves on top. They won’t stay put that way. Which I already knew since they are always slipping away (and making my hair look untidy by the time I get to my destination). In that article, it also gave some tips on how to wear them properly to get the style you want. I thought it was quite helpful and informative. It was like reading about the hack on how to use a soda can top the right way so that your straw doesn’t fall out. Duh!!! So simple! Yet it never occurred to me that there was another reason for the can tops to look that way!

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I also learned  a few other tips on using bobby pins.

Tip #1 was to spray them with hair spray before using them in your hair. This also causes friction and the pins won’t slip down.

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Tip #2 was another simple idea, and that was to use nail polish to color them. So I did! I bought some cheap Medora nail polish in a nice magneta shade and painted a few bobby pins. They looked nice. I just hope they will help them stay in my hair. (I not only painted the outside but the inside. I thought that it would help them stay on, but since I don’t wear nail polish, I didn’t realize that it’s quite smooth and it might have the wrong affect. So, maybe only the outside needs to be painted. Any feedback is welcomed plz! IMG_0921

I tried a few styles on my daughter’s hair and this is how they came out. You might have noticed that I didn’t use the painted bobby pins.

The reason is that they didn’t dry in time. I might have put a bit more nail polish than needed in my excitement. You can paint them in different designs and colors and fashion them in amazing ways. Have fun!

The Benefits of Owning Clear Nail Polish!

IMG_0785By Maasi Saba & Maasi Sabrina

Maasi Saba here with Maasi Sabrina, sharing a simple hack with you all. We at times cry over our favorite hijaabs (scarves) being ripped or their threads coming out because of our safety pins. We both have little girls who are in our laps or constantly want to be held, and this can be a problem with our hijaabs (scarves). They get tugged at, and at times move around our head, because of all “our” movements. To find that perfect shade, or print to brighten up your outfit, and sometimes your mood is not easy. Finding scarves that stay put is also not an easy task. So we take great pride in taking care of our scarves, many we have had even before we got married. Maasi Sabrina has found a wonderful and cheap solution to our woes. Thanks my dear. She has also found other uses for this little hack. I guess at the age of 36, its about time i finally bought my first bottle of nail polish.  (What would Abu say Sabrina!) So enjoy ladies, and I hope this helps some of you. 

I’ll let Maasi Sabrina explain it to you now!

Salaam ladies!

I’ve been  going a bit crazy over all my pretty hijaabs getting ruined lately due to one reason or another. The main culprit?…are my ghetto safety pins. I know, I know, most people use the large pins that are actually meant for hijaabs, but they feel too big for me. I finally found a solution for my problem. IMG_0786

It’s such a simple hack that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner! I blame it on my mommy brain! Lol. So back to my hack! I seal the end of the safety pin towards the back where the circle is formed with clear nail polish! How easy is that. One coat for both sides should do the trick. Yes you can use any color you have but there are so many other great hacks for the clear kind. 

Here are some other tips for your clear nail polish:

  • Smudge proof labels – These days everyone is trying to make their own labels; if they are for our spice jars, or our home gardens. Just use one coat and it’ll seal in ur label. No smudges!
  • Threading a needle – It’s so annoying to get thread through a needle, and if you’re a mother, you don’t want to waste time on threading a needle.
  • Keeping a button from falling off – You know how you put on a shirt or jacket and realize your sweet baby has turned your button around and around and now it’s unraveling? If you put a clear coat of the nail polish on the thread it will stop that process. So pretty much you won’t need hack number 2! GENIUS!
  • Seals envelope – I know most people don’t send mail anymore but for those of you in Pakistan who use envelopes for every occasion (our momma!), use nail polish instead of putting glue. Seals it right up!
  • Prevent costume jewelry from tarnishing – We wear a lot of costume jewelry these days but never realize how quickly they blacken. The clear coat helps it from blackening. And keeps them shining.
  • Stops laces and ropes from unraveling. That one doesn’t need any explanation. 

There are actually more things you can use the clear nail polish for, but I notice my post is crazy long already. Hope this helps!