June 24, 2013
If you’re a stay-at-home mom or working but are the primary caretaker to your children, and you’re holding yourself to an impossible standard of perfection and feelings of inadequacy never escape you, please read on…
Remember, these are unprecedented times where our populations are vast but we are completely isolated from each other. We delude ourselves to thinking we know the meaning of community because we live in “neighborhoods” or “gated communities” but how much interaction do people actually have with their neighbors aside from the occasional wave coming out of the driveway? Do you really think it’s natural and/or healthy that we spend so much time alone, hours upon hours cooped up in our homes or cars? And by alone I don’t mean singing lullabies and nursery rhymes, playing 50 rounds of peek-a-boo, or feeding multiple mouths, some of which happen to be talking, shouting, and/or dancing at the same time! Rather, I mean alone as in without much adult interaction–and no the 2-minute chit-chat with the clerk at the bank or market doesn’t really count. Neither does the representative you spoke to on the phone!
SubhanAllah, we are SOCIAL creatures. We were created with the ability to communicate our thoughts and feelings so that we could interact with one another. Our religion is the religion of the jama`a. We pray together, fast together, perform pilgrimage together, are encouraged to eat together, visit one another (the living and those who have passed), and to be physically and spiritually connected as an UMMAH. We are NOT meant to be as isolated as we are.
When we read any part of the Seerah or the hadiths of how the earlier generations lived we hear often about wet-nurses handling babies, sometimes even raising them for years, in cities/villages far AWAY from their parents, as was the case of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), and servants living as family members, as well as extended families living alongside one another.
So what does all of this mean? It means that according to our own tradition, it was the NORM for children to have a LOT of adult interaction. In addition to their parents, they had several role models, several teachers, several people who were there to answer their questions, pick up their belongings when they dropped them, clean up their messes, tend to their cuts/bruises, tell them stories, etc. The responsibility was NOT entirely on the mother, as it is in millions of households throughout the world today!
So, please my fellow mothers, stop beating yourselves up. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, that isn’t just a hyperbole. It’s a fact. And guess what, YOU’RE singlehandedly doing the job of that village–EVERY SINGLE DAY. And even if you have your moments where you get frazzled, inshAllah on MOST days you have an endless supply of love, support, generosity, and compassion for your children. And you’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re not perfect. No one is. And don’t let anyone ever make you think that there is a single or perfect formula to motherhood. There isn’t. Motherhood is the greatest classroom for both mother and child and the lessons never end for either!
May Allah (swt) reward all the sincere, devoted and loving mommies out there, especially my fellow stay at home ones! Don’t let shaitan ever get you down about yourself and when/if he ever does, just look at the bottom of your foot and remember what it represents….and then STOMP on his cursed face!!
Mu’awiyah ibn Jahima reported: Jahima came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I intend to join the expedition and I seek your advice.” The Prophet said, “Do you have a mother?” He said, “Yes.” The Prophet said, “Stay with her, for verily, Paradise is beneath her feet.”
Source: Sunan An-Nasa’i 3104