1. Ramadan will look a whole lot different from here on out - until my kids are olderPrior to being a mother, I could spend most of my nights at the mosque or in congregational prayer, have time to read the Qur'an calmly or be more mindful when it comes to doing extra ibadah. It's still tough to do all that sans children, because we're only human after all and it's just as much of a struggle to perform at our best during Ramadan, but adding a young child into the mix does throw pretty much everything off schedule 😆 Credit: Beth Rankin on FlickrI admit that it didfeel disheartening at first because I thought I couldn't do as much during Ramadan now that I'm a mother -terawih at the mosque is difficult with a child at this age, reading more than half a page of the Qur'an without interruption is close to impossible and even khusyu' in regular prayers is almost always out the window with a crying baby or a toddler hanging at my skirt. Oh how wrong I was! 😅 Alhamdulillah, I've learned that ibadah doesn't only look like someone who prays the most rakaats or recites the Qur'an cover to cover, it's also in caring for my child, in preparing meals for my family, in doing whatever little I'm able to do - as long as everything is done sincerely for the sake of Allah.
2. Preparation and having a positive mindset is key!I'm amazed at how much can actually be achieved in this month when one strives to fast not only from food, but also from other vices we normally would succumb to if it was in any other month of the year. This Ramadan, I made sure to prep myself beforehand - in terms of making my everyday chores run smoothly and in terms of ensuring that I comeout from this month benefiting myself spiritually. Before the month started, I made a rough plan of simple meals I'd like to cook for the month and did my grocery shopping accordingly. I knew that I didn't want to spend too much time preparing elaborate meals in the kitchen besides wanting to minimise waste and overeating. That has really helped as I don't need to waste too much time thinking of what to cook every day, also allowing for some days to eat with our parents and siblings. Alhamdulillah this Ramadan, knowing that I might slack off if left to my own devices, I joined in a preparation group beforehand and found classes available during the month that I was able to enroll myself into - even bringing my son along for it. Sure, I might not be able to concentrate 100% at learning, but the point is to try to learn something new and beneficial, for myself and for him in the long run. I've learned that when you put your mind to something, work towards it and make lots of doain between, Allah will help you along the way to make it possible 💖 Having a child shouldn't bean excuse not to learn, in fact, it should be an even bigger motivator to pick up a new skill or brush up on whatever knowledge you already have!
3. Everyone struggles differentlyWhen your mode of keeping up with the world is through social media (trust me when I say that almost every new mother these days scrolls through their phones like their lives depend on it 😂), it's easy to get sucked into the comparison hole, especially when it seems like every other mom seems to have it all together except for you. A point that I constantly try to remind myself is that everyone has their own battles to fight daily, and everyone's situation is different from another. Although it might seem that someone else is doing better or doing more, we don't really know the full story and how much hard work goes into it. What we should focus on instead is our own selves and trying to improve whatever we can do. The important thing is for good deeds to be accepted, not to just do things abundantly but have it all go to waste because it isn't done sincerely for the sake of Allah swt.
4. Having a support system helpsThat brings me tothe next point - support is everything! ❤️As someone whose daily interaction consists mostly of trying to reason with an almost 2 year old, it can get a little isolating sometimes with minimal adult interaction before my husband comes home from work. Alhamdulillah, I have a wonderful support system of sisters who are also in similar situations as I am and we encourage each other on a daily basis. I also joined a dailytadabbur group on WhatsApp where we take turns to share reflections from one ayah of the Qur'an daily, and that helps me to feel connected to the Qur'an, besides learning so much from my fellow sisters 💕 No matter where we are and what we do, the month of Ramadan is all about community, and having support be it to just have someone check in on your day or encourage you to remember Allah in one way or another is the best kind of companionship to have. Besides, it's also part of the sunnah!
5. Patience, patience and more patienceAs a mother, 99% of your time belongs to the wellbeing of others. It can get pretty (read: very) exhausting! Coupled with hunger pangs and lack of rest, it really is a testto stay even-tempered and sane sometimes 😂 Having a child has truly taught me the meaning of patience, and even more so during the month where we should take extra care in controlling our words and actions. A kid won't stop throwing tantrums just because it's Ramadan, but a mother on the other hand should strive even harder to remain patient 😅 Patience is like a muscle - the more it is worked on, the easier it gets to lift heavier weights. Alhamdulillah, the more patient I try to be, the easier it gets and the happier everyone is!
6. Appreciate your parents and blessings that you haveThere's nothing like having your own children to truly make you appreciate the sacrifices your own parents made to raise you. It is no wonder that there are so many ayat in the Qur'an on being dutiful and kind to your parents! Here's one of my favourite ayat and doa from the Qur'an -
"And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, hesays, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims." - Surah Al-Ahqaf, Ayah 15
Having a child also makes me empathise even more with our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering, those who try to put even a small morsel of food in the mouths of their children every day, those who do not even have parents to care for them, and the list goes on. Alhamdulillah I have a comfortable roof over my head, a fridge that is overflowing with food and so much to be grateful for. There is so much that Allah blesses us with that we don't even think of asking for - like this blessed month of forgiveness that He gifted upon us to be able to attain Paradise 😭 Truly, Allah is Most Kind and Most Generous.
7. Ramadan models us to be the best examples we can be for our children
Children are born on the fitrah, or natural inclination towards the Truth, and what better month to nurture it than during Ramadan. It's amazingto see how my not even 2 year old son can equate the words of the Qur'an, the call of theazan and the prayer to Allah! He even makes his toys 'pray' and is often times the first one to 'pray' when he hears the azan.I'm very blessed to be able to be with him day in and day out, because he really does pick up on things that I do, like picking up the Qur'an and 'reading' it in his own toddler language 😂 Children are like sponges, and the more that they see us loving the Deen and doing good deeds for the sake of Allah, the more they will also in turn cultivate their curiosity to learn and emulate their parents. Having my son truly makes me strive harder to be the best person that I can be, and what a blessing that is! Alhamdulillah, although Ramadan for the next couple of years (if I'm still around to see more insyaAllah!) will be a constant challenge as a mother, I am so incredibly grateful for it, and am looking forward to this beautiful journey, with all the ups and downs that it brings ❤️ I makedoa that every one of us is able to meet another Ramadan, and may all our good deeds this month be accepted ✨