I was shown a quote recently by a friend. I can’t recall the book or the exact words, but it was by Mel Brooks and it said: “When I hear my wife turn the key in the door, I think great, the party’s come home”. What a lovely think to say about his wife and what a great thought regarding how you would want your family to perceive you.
It sounds a bit like having delusions of grandeur, but I have always envisaged myself as the lady of the house and to me that means being responsible for the welfare of the people of the house including guests and trying to behave in a manner that befits a Muslim woman and mother. When you put this thought and the quote above together it puts the role under a new light.
A long time ago I read a book called Women by Naim Atallah which contained interviews with women about all aspects of their lives. In it was a section where women recalled their relationships with their mothers. Some complained about coldness or how their mothers had no positive impact on their lives at all. The interviews that stood out though were from those women who remembered their mothers being glamorous, fun or kind. The mother who knew when you needed a hug, the one whose style just entranced her child and the one whose child just loved being around her because there was always joy in her wake.
When you put this and the quote above together it throws the role under a new light. Yeah we have to scrub, nurse, clean, listen, kiss hurts better, cook, work, commute and who knows what else, but we have to have fun too. When my kids look back I don’t want them to see their young mum washing dishes and scrubbing floors and shouting at them not to bring the dirt in, nor do I want them to remember me as too tired to take notice of their little achievements (“look mum I’m standing on the computer”, “listen to my abcglm song mum”). I want them to recall a mum who knew how to have fun, loved the outdoors, loved playing with them, loved taking them to the park, loved hugging, kissing and rough-housing with them and just generally was grateful for what Allah gave her. I want that gratefulness to show in everything we do together.
You don’t have to be a mother or wife to be the heart of your home, in traditional Pakistani culture, people say that daughters bring “raunaq” (joy and laughter) into the house with the noise of their chatter and the sounds of their bangles, the colour of their clothes and henna and their small celebrations (my mother-in-law always complained that she had six boys, but no “raunaq” in her house, just plenty of broken furniture, and she credits her daughter’s-in-law with bringing this blessing to her). Any woman has the power to bring joy and pleasure to those around her.
When I go home in a mo, I’ll announce my arrival with a big assalam-alaikam, hugs and kisses for all and maybe suggest to better half we all go to the park as the suns showing its face again today. I hope they all think the parties started.
"Why worry about the future, when you can enjoy today" - Emma Parkes, mother of Freddie aged 13 suffering from muscular dystrophy (expected to die before 20).