Tag Archives: motherhood

Staying focused

Well I’m back, not that I really went anywhere, but I had a bit of a break.  It wasn’t planned or anything, it wasn’t one of those things where people say “i have to stay away to take care of other things”, it was just that I got so caught up with other things that I either forgot, didn’t have time, and yes even couldn’t be bothered.

Its not that I don’t enjoy blogging, I do, thats what has kept me going this long.  Not that I’m a veteran blogger or anything, but I wouldnt have lasted as long as I have had I not gotten anything out of it.  Theres something about it that makes me reflect on my life in ways that I normally wouldn’t, and through doing so I learn things about myself that I wouldn’t normally, or at become more aware of them.

Over the past few days, prompted by a lovely sister who made me realise that somebody out there actually noticed my silence, I have been thinking about coming back.  I have to admit that part of me thought it might be best to stay away for good, it does take a fair bit of my time, time that could be spent better.  But in all honesty, if I ask myself what have I be doing with that time saved, late at night, when the kids are in bed ….Have I been organising things?  Have I been engaging in worship?  Have I been sleeping earlier to ensure my body is well rested?  Unfortunately it is none of the above, at least not on a regular basis.  I have been doing stuff. A little bit here, a little bit there, nothing to show for it.  At least with my blog I have something, a record of my thoughts and views, insight to how I will grow and change.  And insha’allah an avenue through which people can come to understand more about the life of an everyday muslimah.

The past few days have reminded me of something that I am reminded of time and again, my inability to stay focused on things.  When I was young I’d often hear about these teens who’s interests changed like the wind.  They were never focused, kept changing their minds, and wasted a whole heap of time and money through their ever changing pursuits.  Strangely enough I was not one of these teens.  I was quite well grounded as a teen.  I knew what I wanted, and I worked hard to achieve it.  Not that everything went according to plan, it never does, but I was very determined and very focused.

As far as I understand for most people this is a phase that ends around early adulthood.  However, for me, it seems quite the opposite.  I was fine as an adolescent, but over the past few years I have noticed that I lack focus.  Ok maybe I’m a little bit past the category of early adulthood, but you get the idea. My interest drifts from one thing to the other, every time I insist that this will be different and I’ll see it through…but everytime without fail I let myself down.  I’m not entirely sure why.  Have I changed?  Or is it circumstances that make it so difficult for me to see things through?  When I was younger it was easy.  My job was to wake up, eat, drink, and do whatever I wanted to do.  So it was easy to achiive what I wanted to, I mean what else was there for me to do?

But now its different.  I wake up…actually no I don’t even have that luxury anymore.  I am woken up by a baby who is either jumping on me or pulling my hair for about 15 minutes before I finally resign myself to the fact that I am not likely to get anymore sleep.  I then proceed to make the kids breakfast, get us all dressed and ready for wherever we have to go, usually school.  I come home and clean the kitchen, fold the washing, do more washing, clean and tidy, hang the washing out, prepare lunch, get my son from school, do homework, prepare dinner, showers, read to the kids, get them all off to bed.  It is seldom that I have some time to do something for myself.  Even picking up a book to read is a rare luxury when the kids are awake.  And by the time they head off to bed I am so exhausted that I just want to relax and do nothing.

So part of me can understand how I got here, but it doesn’t make it less frustrating.  There is so much I want to do, so much I am interested in, but so little time. But I often wonder, am I the only mother like this.  Often other mothers seem so together and so organised, but I have learnt that looks can be deceiving.  I know I should just cherish this time, my children will only be young once, and they grow up so fast, I should just saviour their childhoods.  And don’t get me wrong, I love it.  Seeing them grow and develop, I can’t begin to explain how beautiful this is, how it fills my heart with more love and joy than I thought possible.  But at the same time I wonder if I was just a little more organised, a little more focused, would I be able to see things through?

I think there are some small steps that I can easily take that I will look to do.  Firstly, I will note a couple of things I will like to acheive before the end of the year.  I will also look into GTD again, I have everything I need now so no excuses, I just have to find the book lol  And last but of course not least I will make dua for allah to bless my time and to help me with my organisation.

Hopefully this blog entry is not a one off, and I’ll be posting regularly again.

A source of strength

Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful

Something happened the other day.  Something that changed my whole frame of mind.  It wasn’t anything exceptional, in fact some may think it rather insignificant.  Nonetheless, it was something that had a profound affect on me.  Maybe it is because he is my firstborn, or maybe it is because of my own feelings of inadequacy,  either way this was a timely reminder and a blessing from Allah swt.

So what is it, you may be wondering that had such a profound affect on me?  My son got selected to represent his class for the prep islamic week quiz!  Ok I know, it sounds like I’m giving this one event more weight than its worth.  Afterall, it is just a prep class activity.  However, for me it meant so much more than that.  His teacher had made it clear that the selection was based on his knowledge, and for me this meant so much.  Not that it means he is the best in his class, or that I have succeeded as a parent.  I know it is a long road and we have a lot of work ahead of us.  However, what it did indicate is that we are, insha’allah, on the right track, and that means the world to me.

Motherhood in many ways is the most difficult job in the world.  Not only are there many physical demands, the 24 hour availability, the ability to jump out of bed at a cry whilst in the midst of your deepest sleep – thats the easy part.  The hard part is the mental demands.  Having your patience constantly tested to the point that by the end of some days you want nothing more than to roll up and cry, but more often than not opt for a nice chocolate fix instead.  Suddenly being a target of criticism from well-meaning and malicious people alike, all giving contradictory advice, but all agreeing on the one thing – you’re doing it all wrong.  Too loving, not loving enough, you hold him too much, you don’t hold him enough, you feed him too much, you don’t feed him enough, you teach him too much, you don’t teach him enough, you’re too soft, too harsh, he’s not toilet trained, he’s not disciplined, he’s skinny, he’s not confident, he’s too rough, he’s rude, he’s shy……AAARRRGHHHH!!

So that is why this seemingly small and insignificant event meant so much to me.  Not because he was selected for a small prep activity, but because it is a sign of more than that, and has provided me with a source of strength.  So when my baby woke up crying 4 times while writing the above, I could take comfort in the fact that Insha’allah she will grow to be like her older brother.  And when my three year old daughter started wetting herself again after being toilet trained for a month, I was able to tap into my reserves of patience by thinking that before I know it she too will be making her way in the world, and making me proud in her own ways.

Somewhere between my self-doubts, disorganisation, lack of time, lack of planning, and my failure to do so many things that I would love to do for my son, he is still thriving.  He’s not a picture of perfection, but he is growing up to be a sensitive, loving, caring and intelligent boy, and I couldn’t be more proud. He’ll probably never know the strength that he gives to me, but I thank Allah for the reminder and strength that I have found through him and hope that one day I can repay the favour.

Wise words…

Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful

My son is only five, but every now and then he’ll come up with something that will truly amaze me.

Yesterday I overheard him speaking to my husband in the other room when he said to him “be what you want to be in your life”. I wondered where he found such wise words. I was proud that he had once again demonstrated that he had an understanding of things which are way beyond his years. And I was proud because I knew he realised that to be truly happy you needed to be true to yourself. I hoped that understanding this concept from such a young age would make it easier for him to resist the pressures that cause one to stray away from who you are – to move away from being what you want to be in your life. Most of all I hoped that it would enable him to stand firm in his faith, and never waver or flinch in his devotion to Allah.

I then asked myself if I had succeeded in this task, am I what I want to be in my life? I don’t think there is an easy answer to this question. Its not black and white, and I felt like I was a shade of grey. I am generally happy with where I am at, I am happy with my place in life, as a Muslimah and servant to her lord, a mother raising her children, a wife, a child, a sister, a friend. They are all roles I enjoy and I thank Allah for the blessings and the opportunity to play each and every one of them. The grey comes in with how I fulfil my roles, unfortunately I dont even come close to meeting my expections.

As a Muslimah there is so much that I should be doing that I dont. I was reflecting the other day on how I do things for my children that I didnt do for myself, because I want them to be better than me. When I had children I suddenly had this immense pressure to learn things that I never got around to learning so I could teach it to them. That is all good and well, but for the first time in my life I asked myself why didn’t I do them for the sake of Allah?? It had never occured to me before. I thought that I was being a good mother by putting my children’s needs ahead of my own needs. But where did that leave me as an muslimah? I felt so ashamed. Its amazing what looking at things from a different perspective can do. Its taken me all this time but I finally realised that it wasn’t me that I was neglecting…it was Allah. This realisation made me determined to do more things for myself, for the sake of Allah.

And its not only my role as a Muslimah that I feel I am not adequately fulfilling. As a mother I know I could give my children more. A more organised house, a more solid routine, more time to relax and play with. As a wife, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend…I have so much more to give but always have excuses. Not enough time, I’m too busy, I’m too tired, not enough energy, I have my hands full with the kids….these are all true, but deep down I know I can do better.

So I sat there content with the thoughts of my son and with a new found determination to get my act together, improve myself, give what I can give, be the best I can be and be what I want to be in my life. I decided to get up and investigate to find out how it came to be and why my five year old son was telling my husband these wise words….

…I discovered it was some friendly advice on who my husband should chose to play as in the computer game they were playing. Oh well…I guess I should just take the good out of the situation, and the reminder that in future I should abstain from reading too much into the words of a five year old, even if he is my son.

MuslimMum

Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful

I have to admit I didn’t give all that much thought to choosing my username. The only real condition I had in my mind was that I wanted something Islamic or at least made me recognisable as a Muslim. I tried a few usernames which I can no longer remember and all were taken. Then I thought maybe if i threw the word mum into the equation it would be more likely to find an available username due to the different spellings, and it worked!!

I wasn’t overly happy with it at the time, but upon later reflection I thought it was perfect, in fact I cant think of a username that would describe me better. Even the ordering is perfect. I don’t know if my subconscious came into play here or what, but I later came to realise that it is the most suitable username I could have come up with.

Firstly and foremost, I am a Muslim. This is my life and is my everything. It is different to some other religions in that it is more than just a belief. I know its a cliche, but it really is a way of life. My loyalty to Allah and desire to please Him comes before anything. And although I know my actions fall short of this ideal, in my mind it is clear. And before anybody asks, yes my loyalty to Allah does come before my family. It comes before my husband, and yes it even comes before my children. Of course I have never been in a situation where this type of loyalty has been questioned – my desire to please Allah only makes me a better mother and wife as these are both actions that are pleasing to Allah. Its a beautiful concept, one which constantly helps me to draw on strength.

Everything I do, as a mother and a wife, the housework, the washing, the cooking, the disciplining, all of it….is by the will of Allah rewarded. So those times when I didnt get more than an hours solid sleep, when i was awaken 20 minutes after falling asleep only to be kept up another 4 hours, when i was so tired and desperate for sleep that I became furious at my innocent little baby, i drew on the strength through my knowledge that Allah was aware of all of my hardships and I would insha’allah (God-willing) be rewarded accordingly. All those times when pregnant and sleep deprived I half staggered onto the couch, nauseous to the point where I felt I could throw up any minute, desperate for a few more precious minutes of sleep and woken up every few minutes by young children either requesting yet another snack or another drink, or looking for a referee in their petty squables, I drew on the strength through my knowledge that Allah was aware of my hardship and I would insha’allah be rewarded. And when sitting there, looking at the chaos that our house had become due to my debilitating morning sickness, feeling worse from the stress of it and feeling myself almost fall into depression through my inability to properly care for my family and feelings of helplessness, I knew Allah was aware of what I was going through, I knew that He does not burden a person more than they could handle, and I knew that with any hardship faced for the sake of Allah was met with reward. I found strength that I didn’t know I had and made a conscious decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and not to resign to how things were. I knew that I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to, but I knew that if I let myself fall into depression I would give them less. I needed to be strong, for myself, for them, and for the unborn child growing inside of me. Once again I drew on the strength from Allah. Alhumdulilah for being Muslim. It truly is a blessing in every aspect of my life.

This brings us to the next part of my username – Mum. When I had my son it changed my world in ways that I never anticipated. Perhaps out of naivety, I was never really close to anybody who had a child, so I didn’t really know what it involved. I just didn’t really think about how my life would change. Its probably a good thing, I think sometimes its best not to over think things, I would have just stressed myself out, and to what avail? As it was I coped, I coped because I had to.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with my son I became obsessed with finding out about parenting, specifically Islamic parenting. I think I have purchased every book on the topic that I have ever seen. Admittedly I haven’t read them all, I was always better at buying books than I was at reading them, a trait that would only grow post-children.

Having children changed who I was. I was no longer just my own person, I was a mother, and had to have that awareness in everything I did….everything I thought. I could no longer just go somewhere, I had to think…what time is it? will my baby be tired? will there be enough time between feeds? will there be somewhere to feed him? I remember watching soap operas when my son was a baby, not that I was ever a huge fan, but I found the background noise relaxing and I asked myself ‘do I really want my son growing up watching that?’, so I stopped. It started to make me a better person, things I didn’t do for my own sake, I did for the sake of my children, because I wanted them to have a mother that was better than that and a mother who could teach them things I didn’t know. I spent a great deal of time learning and preparing myself to be the best mum I could be. Of course I’m not a perfect mum, and I know I never will be. But a great part of my time, thoughts, ideas and efforts are dedicated to this cause. It has changed who I am, and it has changed how I view the world. The only other thing that has had such a significant effect on me is the first part of my username, being Muslim.

So in essence these are the two words that best describe me, Muslim and Mum. Not in that I am a particularly successful example of either, in both areas there is much room for improvement and its a constant learning experience. More so in that they shape how I think and who I am. I can’t imagine my life without either of them and I am a better person because of them both.