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]

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16 Comments

  • Reply Sadia August 17, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Asalaam Alaikum

    Absolutely loved this post. As someone who became a mum whilst at uni, had baby number 2 as i finished my training and baby number 3 when i had my first full time job I know the struggle it is to juggle all the different roles in our life. Its also great to read about working muslimah mums in a positive way which doesnt happen often

    • Reply Iman August 27, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      Waleykum Salaam – you’re amazing masha’Allah! May Allah continue to give you the strength and patience to conquer it all!

  • Reply Aicha August 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience and thoughts on working two jobs with two young children it’s a lot easier when you have help

  • Reply saima August 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    This article made me ponder into realities of life. Your analysis of your situation was so apt and thoughtful and reminded me of my past few years. Verily opportunities knock at the door when we need them the most.

  • Reply Rashdah Hameed August 21, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Salam Iman, I came to realise that rizq truly does come in various forms. I went through a very tough time over the past few years with my mum being ill, but Alhumdolliah Allah provided for me. Just before she was due to pass away I had a business offer made to me. I saw this as another way Allah provided for me. Sometimes We fail to see the rizq that Allah provides because we are looking for “material evidence”. Rizq is not just in thousands of pounds but in everything that you do that attains the pleasure of Allah (swt)

    • Reply Iman August 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Waleykum Salaam Rashdah, that is so true subhanAllah. I loved reading your post by the way – it was such an eye-opening piece <3

  • Reply Rashdah Hameed August 21, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Imagine the full stop at the end of that paragraph.

  • Reply Fozia S August 21, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Oh masha’Allah that job came knocking on your door! I went back to work after my first was 1 year old and it worked as my parents looked after her…then with my second I became a stay at home mum as I was made redundant…it all happens for a reason.

    Agree with this: Perfection should not be your goal

  • Reply Lubna August 22, 2017 at 7:46 am

    This totally sums up to ‘what you want from life?’….living a balanced life is tough but we can always try and make changes to make our living worthwhile. Allhumdulliah you have supporting family….kudos to that….I am happy that you overcame your fear and started working and for writing this post which can be an inspiration to many….

  • Reply Clarie August 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Your experience tell that you have struggled a lot

  • Reply Nazrin August 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    KUDOS to you and every other mother who is balancing being a mum as well as working! Being a mother in itself a super human act. You are responsible entirely for another human being. To be able to earn and provide for that child too makes you out of this world. Mothers are magical. They are.

    • Reply Iman August 27, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Absolutely! We all deserve a massive pat on the back!

  • Reply sainab August 23, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    It is so true that rizq comes from Allah. It’s amazing the way you judgled being a mum, running a house and 2 jobs! Masba’Allah

  • Reply Afreen August 25, 2017 at 10:20 am

    So true.nice article.It’s nice to know that how you r doing your job and looking after your home and family.

  • Reply Aisha September 8, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Allahumma baarik! I absolutely loved reading. And Yes to placing our trust in Allah. Jazaakillah khair ❤

    • Reply Iman September 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Wa iyyaki! Thank you so much for your comment and for stopping by!

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