Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
Stay Connected

Share This

Education
What Raising Kids In SoCal Really Looks Like

Mehboob “Ali” Abdullah & Diljot Kaur Ghuman

Mehboob plays with his two young children.
(Mehboob “Ali” Abdullah & Diljot Kaur Ghuman/ LAist)
Local community reporting is vital, so is your support.
Your donation, which powers our reporters and keep us independent, will be matched dollar for dollar today during our June Member drive.

Mehboob “Ali” Abdullah & Diljot Kaur Ghuman

Park Mesa Heights • Ages 33 (Ali) & 23 (Kaur) • Elder caregiver (Ali) & FedEx delivery driver (Kaur)

Live with Raheem (4) and Kalima (3)

I'm one of those person[s] and my family is one of those people, it’s full entertainment. When you're going to get what, I don't know. I cannot guarantee you that, but whenever I'm outside I try to be (the) most humblest thing out there.
— Ali
Support for LAist comes from
About Parenting, Unfiltered
  • We gave point-and-shoot film cameras to 12 Southern California parents of young children and invited them to document their lives in the Fall of 2019.

  • Join this group of families, from South Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and San Bernardino, as they show us what parenting really looks like, through their eyes.

Palm frond against a gray sky.
(Mehboob “Ali” Abdullah & Diljot Kaur Ghuman
/
LAist)

“People just look at it as a tree, but it's just not a tree. You can turn palm tree into actually a broom. So when I was in India, I took a palm tree, I cut it off, about maybe five to six pieces of it, and I took a needle and I did each leaf, you know, making, spreading evenly, which made me turn (it) into a broom. I used that broom to sweep in the train to make some money while I was in India.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: ALI AND KUAR MEHBOOB

“The most important thing in my entire life is my religion.
— Ali
Support for LAist comes from
"More than a religion to me is God because religion is just a religion to me. But God is something you can see it, you can picture somebody like watching over. So in my house always have this kind of stuff hanging is just not a stuff we call it Āyāt) or Surah.


Kaur: "My religion is different....He's Muslim. I'm Punjabi...They're very different from each other, but I feel like, if you, if you read a Quran, or you read a Bible and you read what we have in Punjabi...I feel like it's [the] same. God hasn't changed the words...they're all the same, it’s just written different ways.” — Kaur
Participatory Parent Photo Project: ALI AND KUAR MEHBOOB

He's just like me, you know, his eyes, his face. Everything is just like me...I
— Kaur
"I still remember when I had him, first time, he was so little in my hands and I was like, ‘What did I do to myself?’ You know, I was scared. I didn't know anything about kids. I didn't know, like, what I'm going to do in life or anything, but he gives me hope. He changed my life over the years because before him, I was in the foster care. You know, I had a really hard life growing up, no parents around, not that many supportive people. So when I had him It gives me another chance of living a life.”
Support for LAist comes from

“She acts exactly like him when he was little, stubborn, not listening, always doing her own things. You know what she say(s) it's either that way or either no way. You know, it's her way or the highway.” — Kaur

"Honey, take a picture." — Ali
Participatory Parent Photo Project: ALI AND KUAR MEHBOOB
(MEHBOOB "ALI" ABDULLAH & DILJOT KAUR GHUMAN/LAIST)

A kid loves one thing, food and restroom.
— Ali
"So my daughter, every like two hours, she's like ‘Daddy, Daddy, restroom!’ I'm like, ‘What?’ ‘Boo Boo.’ ‘Wow, OK, let's go.’”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: ALI AND KUAR MEHBOOB
Support for LAist comes from

I would like a home where you don't have to worry about paying rent and losing your money, where you have a home, which you can go to and turn the light on. That would make me really happy.
— Ali
Participatory Parent Photo Project: ALI AND KUAR MEHBOOB

“I take care of elderly people, taking [them to] the appointments, just sit and talk to them. It's a wonderful job."

Since the beginning of the coronavirus, Ali says masks have become the norm.

“Second thing I notice in that building is the cleanup, like everything clean up… So I kind of get up and pray and I go to work, everybody, even my family back home, they’re like ‘I always hear about this virus going around. How do you stay safe?’ Well, I just pray to God. I thank Him for every moment I have in life.”

From left: An picture of a road in Utah, an image of a suitcase packed with clothes on a couch, and an image of a snowy brown building behind a fence.
(MEHBOOB "ALI" ABDULLAH & DILJOT KAUR GHUMAN/LAIST)

The reason I'm moving down here is my kids I feel it's easier for me to raise them here than raising them in a California
— Kaur

"It's very peace[ful], very peace[fu]l. There's literally no traffic. I'm so overwhelmed with, like, California traffic...I have seen so, so much crime, so much crime.The kids are adopting that bad, negatives."

Participatory Parent Photo Project: ALI AND KUAR MEHBOOB

In March, Kaur moved to North Dakota and is currently waiting for her family to join her. Ali is packing their apartment and looking for a new job.

Ali: "She wants to make a better life for her family so I'm like, 'Go for it'. I don't think I have a right to take my kids’ family away from them. If his mommy's is there, well, let's go over there then. She always says, ‘We’ll try. Let's go try a different place.’ It’s just me [that] never took initiative to go do it.”

Kaur: “The pink blanket was my blanket. So it... makes them feel like I'm still there with them."

"I got a little emotional. I cried. And then obviously he's very supportive and he said, you know, ‘Don't cry. It's OK. Everything's gonna be OK. And they're going to be here soon too.’”

From left: a photo of planes on a tarmac, and a selfie of Kaur with a mask on in Denver.
(MEHBOOB "ALI" ABDULLAH & DILJOT KAUR GHUMAN/LAIST)

I've been traveling back and forth, back and forth, every two weeks. I think it's gonna be worth it.
— Kaur
"If you, I'm doing (it) for my kids and family. And I really hope they would like it when they come here. And that will pay off my hard work. If they don't like it. I guess I have to leave a good job here and go work over there. Work twice as hard.”