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Thoughts & Reflections

Thoughts & Reflections

Reflections: On being a working Muslim mum

August 17, 2017

being a working Muslim mum

We are often reminded, as young Muslim couples considering whether to start a family, that children come with their rizq. Family elders smile at us through their wrinkled eyes, knowingly and offer reassurance that Ar-Razzaq has already made provisions for us. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking.” [Qur’an, 51:22-23]

And it was. Our family has been blessed with rizq even more so after the birth of our children. I learned, only recently, that rizq doesn’t just refer to money. It refers to that which is better for you. This can be in the form of money, material items, emotional well-being, and even spiritual betterment. For both my husband and I, this came in different forms.

A little over four weeks after my second child was born, there was a knock on the door and my husband and I answered it to speak to a gentleman from the community trust located on the first floor of our apartment building. He wanted to address concerns that residents had around noise and anti-social behaviour and wanted to reassure us that he was doing his best to seek a resolution. He explained there was a vacancy at the centre that they were looking to fill and once this was filled it would be easier to put more stringent procedures in place. When he mentioned that there was a vacancy, I said ‘Oh really?’ He replied with ‘Yes! Would you like to apply?’ He described the role to me and it sounded like something I’d be good at. I started to get quite excited by the prospect of it until my husband and I finished speaking with him, shut the door and immediately one of the children needed to be tended to. I thought to myself that applying for a job outside of the home was a ridiculous idea with two children under two.

My husband and mum disagreed and encouraged me to apply. They came up with all sorts of ways that it could work and I figured that I’d apply and then if in the lead up to it, it didn’t seem like it was going to work for whatever reason, I’d just retract my application. So I applied and waited. I was invited to a first stage interview, and then a second interview, following which I was offered the job. I was required to work 16 hours a week and it was flexible so they were happy to accommodate my schedule.

As I was exclusively breastfeeding, I pumped for the baby or if I didn’t have a stash of breastmilk, I’d feed her just before I left and then run up the two flights of stairs to my apartment when my husband told me she needed to feed. I would then run back down and continue working. This really was a breastfeeding working mum’s dream. At the time, I was working remotely from home for another company and was a little worried about how I would balance two jobs, two children, a husband and a home, but I did it for exactly 14 months before resigning from the one that required me to work outside of the home. Here’s what I learned:

  • Allah gives you rizq from where you least expect it, at a time that you need it most

There are not many working mothers that can say their commute to work consists of walking down two flights of stairs and being able to run back up to the baby whenever he/ she needs a feed or being able to work after 7 pm when the children are asleep. The rizq, quite literally, came to my front door and at a time (four weeks postpartum!) when I was least expecting it.

  • You can channel your guilt into positive change

You will feel guilt for being away from your children, even if only for a little while. Channel that into being present with your children when you are with them. I recall a time that my son asked to please put my phone down and although I was working and not browsing through my Facebook feed, I remember being horrified that a toddler needed to tell me that to get my attention. Do more with them and for them whilst you are present, and you will find it a lot easier to work the next day having felt like you’ve had quality mummy-and-child time.

  • Check yourself

When a source of rizq begins to interfere with your spiritual connection with your Creator, and makes you neglect (not out of choice) your primary duties and responsibilities as a mother and wife, it is time to say no. This takes a lot of self-reflection and whole lot of being honest with yourself about how much you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of employment. Giving the job up when I realised I was at this point, was very difficult, but when I closed one door, another opened for my husband. I was tempted to stay on, but I declined because I knew I needed to scrape less important things off my plate and pile on the things that I had been giving less than my 100% to – salah, ‘ilm, self-care, my children, my husband and my home.

  • Perfection should not be your goal

As someone that struggles with anxiety, things that are less than perfect often make me very anxious and result in a tired and worn-out mum. Whilst I do and should strive to do the best I possibly can in whatever I’m doing, whether that’s putting together an important proposal for work, organising a cutlery drawer, writing a blog post or planning activities for the kids, everything does not have to be perfect. Social media and Pinterest may tell you otherwise, but the less time you spend on those things, the happier you will be.

  • Give yourself a pat on the back

So much of the time we are so many things to so many people and we rush around fulfilling our duties, helping others where we can, and at the end of the day we’re cross with ourselves for not finishing x or cleaning y or that we didn’t cook z. We rarely look at what we have accomplished and pat ourselves on the back for it. We look for validation and appreciation from others but we forget to give it to ourselves.

Whether you’re a mum who works outside the home, a stay at home mum, or a mum who works from home, know that if you commit to doing everything that you do for the sake of Allah, fulfilling your duties and obligations; whether they are contractual, spousal, or parental, you are doing enough.

“And whoever places his trust in Allah, He is sufficient for him.” [Qur’an, 65:3]

Thoughts & Reflections

Blog Anniversary Giveaway! (Closed)

December 11, 2016

blog anniversary giveaway

 

This month, my little space on the Internet is a whole year old. I can’t believe how quickly 2016 whizzed by but I have enjoyed building a little community and interacting with you all over the past year. I haven’t blogged quite as much as I wanted to in 2016 but I have been hard at work planning content for 2017 and I’m looking forward to sharing lots more with you in the new year inshaAllah!

Whilst planning content for 2017, I would love to hear what you enjoyed most in 2016 and what you are looking forward to seeing in future posts. I write content that I think others will find useful and beneficial and only review and recommend things that I use regularly and love. That being said, I would really like to hear from those of you that read my posts regularly and those of you that are new to the blog, to tell me what you enjoy so I can continue doing more of it, what you’d like me to do better and what you’d like to see that I haven’t explored yet!

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Parenting, Thoughts & Reflections

Three ways for busy mums to feel more centered this Ramadan

June 8, 2016

helping busy mums feel more centered this ramadan

It’s the third day of Ramadan and you’re sort of getting into the swing of things and getting used to the long days of fasting, but you still feel frazzled and like you have a gazillion things to get done, with no time to do them. For mums especially, it can be really difficult to get into the spirit of Ramadan and to make the most of the holy month when you have children relying on you all day and sometimes through the night, in addition to other responsibilities. For working mums, this is even harder, as you have to ensure you are at your best during the day and make time for family and your ibadah in the evenings.

Here are three little things you can commit to doing every day to make you feel a little more centered this Ramadan:

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Thoughts & Reflections

15 things I was grateful for in 2015

December 31, 2015

15 things i was

As the last day of 2015 draws to a close, I’m reflecting on the year that was and using that to shape the year to come. It’s easy to focus on how challenging a year was and look forward to seeing the end of it, but I’m doing things a little differently this year and focusing on the things I was (and will continue to be) grateful for in 2015.

When I was making notes for this post, I thought I’d find it really difficult to list 15 things I was grateful for. The reason this post is going up so late is because I had to whittle that list down! (Well that, and the kids ran circles around me today and I needed to put them to bed and clean before finally sitting down to write)

I am grateful for:

  • My faith: There is a wonderful feeling that comes with belonging to a faith that is so beautiful and all-encompassing. Here’s to practicing it more in 2016, making more time for Allah and sharing the beauty of Islam with others through this blog.
  • My children: The two little people that rely on us, look up to us, and are as besotted with us as we are with them. Here’s to constantly evolving as a parent, learning as much as I can, and spending more time with them.
  • My husband: The guy who lets me sleep in a little, even when he’s tired, and gets up to get our oldest breakfast or occupy him with something so he doesn’t wake me because he knows I’ve had a rough night with the baby, or just because. Here’s to appreciating him more and making more memories this new year.
  • My family: My siblings and parents and their unconditional love and support that carried me through the highs and lows for the year gone past. Here’s to loving and cherishing them even more than I do now.
  • Health: Good health that enables me to do what I need for family and myself and for reminding me that it is to be maintained and not taken for granted. Here’s to making a conscious effort to take care of myself more.
  • Friends: Wonderful women that know what true friendship is – here’s to nurturing our relationships for another year.
  • Food: The diversity of food, the fact that I can afford it and how it brings people together. Here’s to trying new things and having people over for dinner more!
  • Work: A source of income and the opportunity to develop my skills. Here’s to continuing to work hard and to bigger opportunities.
  • Shelter: My home and its protection. The migrant crisis teaches us just how lucky we are to come back to a home at the end of the day whether it’s a tiny apartment or a large house and whether or not it has all the features you would like it to. Here’s to  appreciating what we have instead of wishing for what we don’t.
  • Coffee: Caffeine and it’s amazing-ness – without which I would not be able to muddle through many a day! Here is to trying new flavours and maybe being able to finish a cup before it gets cold.
  • Wealth: Wealth that offers me the opportunity to maintain a lifestyle but also to give to those less fortunate. Here’s to honouring what we have and not falling into the trap of thinking it ‘isn’t enough.’
  • The Internet: Being able to acquire knowledge from it, being able to connect with so many people through it and being able to share this with you using it! Here’s to it continuing to be beneficial.
  • Opportunities: Various doors that Allah opens for me; ones best suited for me and at the perfect time. Here’s to knowing what to pursue and recognising an opportunity when I am presented with one.
  • Mistakes: Making a terrible mistake and then being able to learn from it and develop as a person. Here’s to avoiding them when I can, but embracing them when I don’t and continuing to learn.
  • Another day: Waking up every day for the past 365 days to experience life, to accomplish the things I want to, to serve my family and to worship. May I be granted many more.

Here’s to the lessons from 2015 for a beautiful 2016.