Preface: This month has been an especially tough month for me. There are so many things happening around the same time in May – new business ideas to propose and execute, a talk to conduct, an 8-week course to wrap up, turning 30, and finally, welcoming Ramadhan.
It was too much on the plate for anyone, what more for a full-time mother managing a household with two kids.
So I broke down more than a couple of times in this month. I couldn’t handle the stress and the expectations that I had unnecessarily placed on myself and I felt – as I am sure many of us mothers juggling every role imagineable – incompetent. I felt like a terrible wife, mother (may Allah forgive me for the number of times I scolded my kids), daughter, daughter-in-law, and the worst was I felt like a terrible human being.
If there was a corner where one could hide and remain obscure for the rest of your life, that was where I wanted to be at.
At the gentle urge of someone dear to me, I was asked to pick up a Quran with the translation and I opened it up and the first ayat that I read was:
وَآتَاكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.
-Surah Ibrahim, Ayah 34
Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin! For Allah surely gives a soul what it needs! That ayah was a good slap on the face for me, and I quickly picked myself up, dried the tears on my face, and got ready to face the world again.
So here I am, writing a love letter to myself, and to all other worn-out mothers, who are in need of rest and self-care, and sleep that is more than 3 hours at a stretch. This is for the mother who is awake at 3am, feeding her baby who is awake for the third time that night, who is staring at the piles of laundry that have remained untouched, who has screamed at her kids too many times that day, who has cried and said a silent “I’m sorry” to the same kids as they lay asleep on their bed. This is for those of us who have wondered too many times if just being a mother is enough and fulfilling, who have felt ungrateful for even daring to imagine what life would have been like without the kids, who are so tired you just want to run away.
This is for you, this is for me, this is for us 🙂
Let me start by saying that I think you are doing a wonderful job. And even though there will be no bosses to do an appraisal for you, to let you know that you have far exceeded your expectations as a mother and a wife, this is to help remind you that Allah is the greatest Boss, the Most Gentle and Most Merciful, and that He sees you. He sees your pain and fatigue, He can measure better than anyone your worth if only measured by the number of dirty dishes you have washed, the dirty nappies that you have changed, and the number of times you have lain awake at night.
This is to assure you that your feelings are fine, and it is ok to be tired and to want to tell people that you are tired. Remember that even the best woman, Saiyidatina Fatimah, once felt so fatigued that she felt compelled to ask her father, Rasulullah saw, for a servant. So yes, your fatigue and your pain are valid, and you are no less of a human being for admitting that your body has a limit.
I wish you would stop beating yourself up about not having a career or forgoing scaling the ladders at an accelerated pace at work because you want to take care of the kids. Because in Allah’s eyes, and in the eyes of your children, your job as a mother is the most important one. And that no one can replace your role as your children’s mother no matter how hard they try, and no matter how many times you feel that you have failed.
Just know that you are enough. You are enough for your kids, your husband, your family. You are where Allah wants you to be, and where you are right now, is the best place for you at this point in time. Just let go of the worries in your heart, and the more you feel overwhelmed, know that this is but a test from Allah, and Allah does not place a burden on a soul greater than it can bear. So breathe easy, smile, and let go. 🙂
Just know that you are enough. Enough for Allah, and enough for you.
Lots of love,