by Wardah Hannan
The arrival of a new baby is exciting, challenging and exhausting at the same time. As soon as the baby arrives, new moms get busy with all the demands of motherhood. I know handling kids can be over whelming, tiring and feels like a whole tornado inside your body…but a baby small enough to fill your arms, fix in your lap – one who only babbles, squeals n squeaks keep you sane too…They have a big grin forever waiting for you, no matter in what shade of expression you look at them…even your blink of an eye is a world to them. They have an assuring and loving smile with a severe urge to drench you in their drools of excitement…So when you question love some day, you can just look at them and feel it gushing out in abundance.
Every mother receives a lot of advice from well-wishers, ‘Make sure you freeze multiple meals beforehand, you won’t have time to cook!’. We all try our best to stay on top of things and do everything possible to ensure our baby feels safe and welcomed. However, one thing most mothers don’t worry too much about is how to take care of THEMSELVES after becoming a new mother and keep their iman (spiritual level) as high as it was before motherhood.
We hear a lot of times when it comes to making the most out of our time. I have heard this myself many times but after a couple of minutes or maybe hours (if I am lucky) of adrenaline rush to get my act together, I fall right back into the same routine of being distracted and having no structure. So what ARE my priorities? I asked and the answer came from a lecture I recently heard. This lecture really put things in perspective for me and implementing these few things in my life have made a difference. I am sharing them here so that we can all benefit in shaa Allah.
As a Muslim, our first and foremost priority is towards our deen and getting all our obligatory worships checked. This means making our salah our priority and organizing our day around salah. However, it doesn’t stop here and is a work in progress. Islam covers all aspect of our lives so our deen is not only restricted to our obligatory prayers and zakah. Deen is about being patient in times of trials and tribulations, deen is forgiving the one who wronged you and deen is being good to your parents and making dua’ for them. May Allah enable me and all us to be true to Islam (Ameen).
2. Huqooq ul ibaad (fulfilling the rights of those around us – including ourselves):
This means taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of others, including our kids, fulfilling the rights of our parents by giving them company and checking in with our siblings to see what they are up to and do all this with ihsaan and in the most beautiful manner. I personally thought this is where a lot of imbalance was. As a mother, I get busy with kids and I lose perspective of things. I have to constantly remind myself that I can turn everything into ibadah by taking care of my kids for the sake of Allah. This helps me stay calm instead of constantly getting overwhelmed. On the flip side, there is literally no limit to voluntary deeds, but I have to strike a balance. Motherhood is a role Allah has entrusted upon me so it is integral that I fulfill the rights of my children and all other roles I have within my family
3. Extras in deen:
Spending time doing extras in deen whether it is extra dhikr, community involvement or extra fasts are also important, however, being neglectful of obligatory worships and doing extra voluntary worships in hopes of gaining the reward is futile. We have to be clear that deen has laid out what is the bare minimum and what is extra. We have to worship Allah the way He has asked us to worship to gain the most benefit. If someone has not been praying 5 times, it is more important for her to work on 5 daily prayers than praying extra voluntary prayers. Now the question arises, how in the world would I implement this in my life? Below are some recommendations:
An Early Bird:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:”O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e., what they do early in the morning).” [Ibn Majah]
Waking up before dawn, when everyone is sleeping and spending some time in peace and prayer headstarts our day in the right direction! Taking some time to journal, reflect or just showing deep gratitude to Allah for all our blessings will give us the boost we need for the rest of the day! Doing stretching exercises at home or going for a quick morning walk works great! So spend the early hours of the day in peace and prayer, make a yummy smoothie and get ready for the day ahead!
Planning our days around Salah:
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud that he observed. I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) which deed was the best. He (the Holy Prophet) replied:Prayer at its appointed hour. I (again) said: Then what? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Kindness to the parents…” [Muslim 85 a]
Taking care of our obligatory prayer and all other obligations, such that we plan our day around salah helps us be mindful of our duty to Allah. If we are not praying 5 times, we need to train ourselves to become such that no matter where we are and what we are doing, when it is time for prayer, it means it IS time for prayer. We drop the controller or the book in our hands and pray! No matter how hard we find fulfilling our obligations, we make a commitment to fulfill these obligations as soon as possible in the best possible manner in shaa Allah.
Abundance in dhikr:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The example of the one who celebrates the Praises of his Lord (Allah) in comparison to the one who does not celebrate the Praises of his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead one.” [Bukhari 6407]
The more we do dhikr, the more we will get closer to Allah. Below are a couple of ahadith with recommended adhkar:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to his Companions: “Say ‘Glory is to Allah and with His Praise (Subḥān Allāh, wa biḥamdih)’ a hundred times. Whoever says one time, it is written for him ten, and whoever says it ten (times), it is written for him a hundred, and whoever says it a hundred (times), it is written for him a thousand, and whoever increases, Allah will increase for him, and whoever seeks Allah’s forgiveness, will forgive him.” [Tirmidhi 3470]
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are some words, the reciters of which will never be disappointed. These are: Tasbih , thirty-three times, Tahmid thirty-three times and Takbir thirty-four times; and these should be recited after the conclusion of every prescribed prayer.” [Riyad as-Salihin 1420]
The idea is to learn as many adhkar and make them part of our daily routine such that we are busy remembering Allah in hopes of getting closer to Him while we are busy doing chores.
I personally think this is the key. We HAVE to surround ourselves with people who are spiritually nourishing and have excellent character. When we surround ourselves with people who are spiritually depleting, their bad characters rub off on us and we slowly start slipping away. Distractions slowly start creeping in and we lose sight of what is important. We all should make dua for the company of righteous and make an effort to stay close to people who are a source of reminder.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” [Bukhari 2101]
Bond with your children to really experience the joy of motherhood. Moms get so worried about weight gains, mealtimes and daily chores that they forget to take the time out and really enjoy and be childish. Children are little humans with their own minds and as a mom, it is important that you try to understand them. Put that phone down and get out there in the park, bond with the kids, chase after squirrels and play hide-and-seek!
Work on building a routine early on so that your life is somewhat predictable. Put kids to bed around 7 pm so you have some time to yourself for chatting with your husband, reading a book or just doing your own thing!
What are some of the habits you have developed to keep your sanity and nourish your eman?
Author’s Bio: Wardah is a homeschooling mom of 4 kids and currently completing the Taleem Ul Quran course. She is a Parent Educator and her homeschooling is inspired by Montessori philosophy. As a mother and educator, she is passionate about bringing evidence-based practices in Mindfulness, Positive Discipline & Emotional Learning to Muslim families so they feel empowered to deal with daily stresses with more confidence. Her dream is to build a strong & positive parent-child relationship which will enable our children to reach their full social & emotional potential. You can follow her on instagram @mindfulmuslimmom and her facebook page @mindfulmuslimmontessori and facebook group @mindfulmuslimmoms for more inspirations, parenting tips and more!