In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Ramadān is always an exciting one. Alhamdulillah. There is so much palnning and excitement as the month comes and then just like that it is done and leave us yearning for the next. may Allah ﷻ allow us to witness this month and many more and to take and reap from it. Amin.
For a number of years now, I have had a similar schedule for Ramadān. I host a community reflection circle post fajr which I love and then start my day right after, when I was working a 9-5, would proceed to work and even when I was a full-time entrepreneur, I would work as such too. Then I schedule everything else as needed from Qur’an classes to tafseer classes and so on. And I have loved it. I love knowing what I need to do, I love getting to do all I get to do, and the structure keeps me focused. Alhamdulillah.
However, this Ramadān, I find myself craving a much needed retreat. I want to take time out for myself to just be by myself and work on myself from within myself. I really miss solo journaling sessions as well and looking forward to that too. I am looking to get the children involved as well and so doing a lot of activities with them In sha’a Allah So let’s say there will be lots of children books in my Ramadān as well. There is also my studies. We do not get a break for Ramadān, just an adjusted schedule because we do not get a lunch break cos it is Ramadān.
I intend to make a number of changes in the coming months and I intend to use Ramadān as a training ground for that In sha’a Allah.
One other thing I am excited about is Pockets of peace – a bunch of letters of love, hope and personal stories, I would be sending out with so much more love scattered through the month of Ramadān. Feel free to subscribe here.
May Allah ﷻ allow us to witness the blessed month, see it and benefit from it and may He accept all of our ibadah and reward us for it and may he allow us to enter into His Jannah. Amin
How about you? Do you intend to have a different Ramadān?
In the name of Allah the entirely Merciful, the especially Merciful
So we embarked on a journey to the House of Allah following our invitation. This invitation, special as it is doesn’t come because we are perfect or worthy even. It is by His power and Decree and ultimately His mercy.
“Are you crazy?!”
“Why do you want to go with your children?!”
I didn’t even try to explain it. They would not understand. I have been there before.
You see, the first time I was going for Umrah, I was discouraged.
“Why waste the money for Umrah when you have not done Hajj yet?”
“Hajj is the one that is obligatory.”
“Maybe look for fertility solutions instead while you save for Hajj.”
There has been so many conversations with Allah ﷻ in all of that time.
“Ya Rabb! Ya Wahhab, gift ne a child so that I can bring them to your house and say thank you.”
“Ya Allah, Ya Warith, grant me offspring and keep their hearts attached to your house.”
So it was out of my hand. I did not even ask for anyone’s opinion because I knew what they would say. I just sought out people who have walked the path and got tips for packing and travelling and keeping my cool. It is easier to take children on vacations where we go to safaris or parks however we struggle with the decision to take them for a journey such as this. And we had this conversation over and over with Abu Bilal. We wanted to go to a safari in kenya and I said either we do both, otherwise, if we can do safari then we can do Umrah. We couldn’t do both.
We had a lot of conversations and talked about our hopes, intentions and fears. I mean, the pandemic changed things a lot and there is always finances. We also have very opposing personalities. We revisited these conversations as many times as we needed to. We negotiated our roles as well. It was a lot of conversation between us and Allah. Alhamdulillah. We hoped it will all strengthen our connection to Allah ﷻ as a family.
Random day, we were at the bank where my sister used to work trying to sort out PTA after we got our visas and she had her trip planned for a few weeks after we would have returned and had a few questions about the rituals, then Abu Bilal said, “let’s just go together.” And we spoke to the travel agent and he was able to make it work. They were unable to go with their children and so we were not going to saddle them with the responsibility of ours but I must say it was nice to have them and I remember one day as we were walking back to the hotel, I told my sister, I prayed for this. “To come here with you” and she said, “see, and your prayer pulled my husband.” And it was so funny to think about like that, but His ways are unlike anything we know and can understand. He is Al Aziz and Al Mujeeb. We ever know whose prayer it is but His ways are so beautiful.
We plan and Allah ﷻ plans and Allah ﷻ is indeed the best of planners. May we always be content with what He decrees for us and put our trust in Him.
I hope to share about the planning, the daily happenings, and the challenges we faced as well. If you have specific questions, please drop as a comment and I will answer you as it does take me a bit of time to push out a full blog post. Alhamdulillah!
P.s: On a lighter note, I remember saying, that if the only thing that we get out of this is that my son sees that men do not need a hijab to pray, then that suffices me. Well, believe it or not last week, he was going to the masjid with his dad and sister and I offered his sister my hijab (she loves wearing my clothes, another habit we picked up cos we matched as much as possible during the trip) and he said, “let me go and get my cap” and I’m like Allahu Akbar.
May Allah ﷻ invite us all again and again to His house and May He ultimately admit us all into his Jannah.
So last week, I had just served my toddlers some pap. Where my daughter sat with hers (which is strange), her twin was uninterested. She finished her meal and came to hand me the cup but she kicked his cup which was on the floor as she brought hers. I saw when it fell and I felt sad, maybe even some anger.
It had been a long week. Abu Agents had been away for work, I was ill and there was no nanny.
Anyways, I took a deep breath as she handed me her cup and spoon and I said “thank you”. She turned round to go back and as soon as she saw the cup with the pap spilled, She exclaimed, “Oh!Oh!!” something we say when we make a mistake and she went over to try to scoop it back into the cup.
I felt ashamed. Ashamed that my first feeling was sad+/-anger over an honest mistake.
I went and we cleaned it up together. And I gave her a big hug.
I was not in a good place and I wasn’t thinking the best of my toddler. Toddlers make it hard tbh…
It helps to create a pause between the trigger and the reaction.
A reminder for me to press pause between the trigger and the reaction.
You know your life will change when you become a parent for the first time. Along with the love and joy comes a lot of new responsibilities and demands. To take care of your growing family, it is important to manage your time effectively.
It’s easy to wind up
feeling overwhelmed unless you can design a system that works for you.
Start by taking a look at these suggestions that have
helped other parents who were once in your shoes.
Maximizing Your Time:
Assess your routine. Figure out how you’re currently spending your time. How many hours do you spend watching TV or browsing online? Are there some tasks you can remove from your to-do list?
Set priorities. Focus on your most important responsibilities. Your family’s health and happiness matter more than keeping up with the laundry.
Plan ahead. If possible, start strategizing even before your baby is born. Research your options for things like diaper service and daycare.
Budget extra time. Expect that many activities will take longer than they used to. If you’re running errands with your baby, you’ll need to bring along extra supplies, and you may need to stop for bathroom and feeding breaks.
Coordinate your tasks. Being organized will help you stay on track. Deal with your essential errands first just in case you run out of time. Consider using delivery services for a while.
Ask for help. Let others know how they can support you. Your family and friends may be happy to babysit or take over some chores. Contact local companies to hire a baby nurse or a house cleaner.
Use technology. Online shopping and time-saving apps can help you cut down on your workload. Ask other new and experienced parents about their favourite discoveries.
Dealing with Common Obstacles:
Catch up on sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the toughest challenges when you have a new baby, but you need your rest to function well. Most babies can sleep through the night starting at about 3 months, especially if you develop soothing bedtime rituals. Until then, you and your partner might be able to alternate taking charge some nights so you each get some rest. Naps help too.
Eat a balanced diet. Sound nutrition will also make you more productive. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Cook food in batches for quick meals, and keep your pantry stocked with your favourite staples.
Exercise regularly. How can you squeeze in a workout? Maybe you can do yoga for a few minutes at a time instead of your usual full session. Maybe you can find a quiet half hour at the start or end of your day.
Evaluate the source. Being picky about who you go to for advice can save you time and frustration. Focus on those you can trust like your paediatrician or government and university websites.
Clear away clutter. Onesies, stuffed animals, and other baby gear are so cute that you may be tempted to go overboard. However, too many items create more work, so stick to having just what you really need.
Reduce stress. It’s difficult to use your time well when you’re tired or tense. Find relaxation practices that work for you, such as meditation or deep breathing. You can also call a friend or join a parent support group.
Having your first child is a major milestone in your life. Knowing how to maximize your time will help you to remain balanced and navigate the transition. That way, you can take care of your own needs and ensure that your baby feels safe and loved.
And you can download the maximizing time checklist for free just click on the photo below
I have not put up a post here in a very long time and a lot has happened. Hopefully, I will help you catch up with the recent happenings. One of which is that I am now a mama. Alhamdulillah! Allah blessed me with two beautiful babies in September 2019. I do have a lot to share as regards pregnancy and anxiety and mommyhood.
I struggle with talking about myself. You have no idea. A few days ago, I was sitting in class while we were on break when my friend Jam Jam came over to chat and asked about the twins. I was telling her a very funny story and this woman turns in shock. “You have twins? Do you have other children? Do you have a job? And you can show up every day of class?” And she told the person next to her who told the next person and…
Then she turned to me and says, “Wow you are a superwoman.” At this point, I am feeling “Kuku keeee me” and my darling Jam Jam has turned full-blown cheerleader talking about all my extra-curricular activities. And these women cheering me on where old women, who probably had grandchildren of their own. The class was over and the woman said again, “You are a superwoman.” I am obviously not, but it felt good to hear. May Allah make me better. Amin.
As I drove home from class, I was thinking of the importance of the stories we tell ourselves. I would sometimes sit down and start imagining stories of people I come across in my daily life. That man jogging is getting back in shape because he found love again. That woman who just faked a smile at her kid is so afraid the judge would rule in favour of her abusive husband and her kid would be taken away from her. I mean, depends on the day and my mood, to be honest, but I try to imagine the best for people…🙂 We put so much pressure on ourselves. I mean! Being a mom isn’t easy. No one tells you how much you would want to be better. You even drive more carefully because your first thought is, “if something happens to me who would breastfeed my baby🙃” and that has you behaving yourself and that should have you believing in yourself. You want to do better and you pray that your child(ren) is(are) even better. “𝐘𝐚 𝐑𝐚𝐛𝐛! 𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐟𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐫. 𝐀𝐦𝐢𝐧.” It begs the questions… 𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮? 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦? 🙂
And now, let me share the funny story that started all of this... So, we all have been dealing with separation anxiety in our own way since mama resumed work. And no matter how we fall asleep – who starts off in the crib or bed, we all wake up on the bed. And well as soon as I am up, they both wake up. That beautiful morning, I woke up and creeped out of bed without making a sound. And then I turned to see that they didn’t budge and with a smile on my face I was about to creep into the bathroom and…🤫 I fell. Very.Loudly. 😂😂😂 And guess who woke up? Yup! Both of them. Babies 2 – Mama 0
And now, I am going to leave you to ponder these two questions…