Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Thoughtful Housekeeping and Simple Living.

Simple living and living more consciously have been two areas I have long been interested in, so this blog post called the The Secret Life of a Happy Homemaker I found via The Muslimah resonated with me deeply. It talks of slowing down and cherishing the things that we think of as chores by thinking of them as the things we do to make our homes wholesome, clean sanctuaries of peace.

As someone who rushes around from thing to another and leaving so many things half done, I have often thought about trying to live more in the present and savouring the things that are important to me: my prayer, my children, my time with my husband, my own pursuits of reading, crafting, blogging and daydreaming.

So I walked to the bus stop instead of rushing there, I enjoyed the two bus journeys home reading my book (Moni Mohsin's Loss of Innocence) and on the way home took my time at the grocers picking out fruit for the children.

(The funny lemon-shaped fruit at the back is guava and the little elongated green one a Pakistani fruit called ber or jujube).

I got home, and took my time arranging the fruit in the bowl and then went off to change, tidying my clothes away and taking out the clothes for the next day. I took my time making wudhu (ablutions) with the thought that wudhu well done helps concentration in prayer and is a kind of worship in itself. I instructed Little Lady to clean her room while I took my time praying Maghrib. I could hear her saying "I hate this" very crossly, usually I would be inclined to tell her off, but I have noticed a frustration and short-temperedness in her which her teacher has also pointed out. I wondered if my hurrying and distractedness was having an effect on her, so I called her to sit me with me whilst I finish my prayer and then asked her gently why she was annoyed. She said she didn't like tidying up. I explained sometimes I didn’t like my chores, but our home is our place for us to be safe and warm and happy and shut the door to the world, so our chores are really a way to make that place clean and pleasant. I explained that her room was her place to play and rest and she also had to keep it clean and pleasant, she happily agreed to that and went back to put her things away.

I left the kids with the lovely new puzzle Kooky Little Sister bought them (don't you just want to have a go?) and took my time preparing cauliflower and potato curry. I’m trying to use more vegetables in my food, because on Eid I was faced with the realisation that the kind of food we were eating didn’t feel special because we ate it all the time and because I am sure it is not the sunnah to consume the amount of meat we do so today nor can it be good for our health. Whilst I cooked I ruined my appetite by grazing on this gorgeous biryani my friend sent round.

Up until this point I was floating about serenely until I heard someone talking in the back room. The kids said they hadn’t seen anyone. I heard a knock but on investigating there was no-one at the front door. I heard another knock and crept into the front room to look out of the window, my husband jumped out and scared me so that I screamed so loud and long that I scared him back. He couldn’t believe I was such a chicken - I was shaking (I couldn’t tell him that when I heard the knock I had pictured the vampires from the original Buffy movie floating outside the window – I’d never live it down, I won’t if my sisters read this).

Anyway, I decided not to head for the computer or my book, but to sit with the kids. I cut pictures from old cards, calendars and brochures I had put aside for their craft box, whilst Little Lady worked on her scrapbook and the boys napped. There is something sooo satisfying about sitting there cutting up bits of paper with a sharp pair of scissors.

At this point I still had plenty to do, including the Esha prayer, getting the kids bathed and into bed and getting the kitchen cleared, but I found that the thing with doing everything so carefully is that it is quite exhausting. I was yawning away and getting grumpy. So hubby got the kids into bed, I prayed Esha and as soon as I finish typing this I plan to sit quietly in bed and read my book.


  1. ASA Sister,
    You have just been tagged

    Have a great day!!!!

  2. This is great. My kids love cut and paste too...and not the computer kind!

  3. Excellent post- made ME think about how I'm always speeding around doing everything and always telling the kids to "Hurry up!!!" when in all actuality, I need to "slow it down"... thanks for the reminder!

  4. Assalamu Alaikum!
    Made my blog public, you can read it now. Waiting for your comments. :)

  5. Assalam-alaikam,

    Sister Malek,
    I couldn't find the meme on your blog?

    Sister Mona,
    I hope it encourages their creativity and self-expression and it keeps them busy for a bit (until the baby starts trying to run away with thr glue).

    Sister Empress,
    So you know exactly how I feel.

    Sis Thoughts Unchecked,
    there you are. I'm very pleased. I'll be over in a mo.

  6. Lol, u chicken, PuCkaaak! your scared of scary movie for goodness sake, how did u ever become such a wimp having read so many horror stories? ;o)

  7. Buffy the vampire slayer! -its more funny than scary!!

    i bet the gremlins under your bed scare you too...!

  8. This was a timely post! Thank you. I am trying to create a moer peaceful life and slowing down for chores, wudu, prayer and the kiddos will be where I start.

    Jazak Allah kheir.

  9. Nice post, MashaAllah. I really like the way you explained to your daughter about how we must do chores even if we don't like to...I will remember that always and teach it to my children, InshaAllah.

    SubhanAllah, life is so much better when you take time to slow down and appreciate it.

    I dub this my favorite post of the week!

    Jazak Allah Khair for the wonderful reminder.

  10. Assalam-alaikam,

    Sis HA,
    I am sure you are doing just great - but it's hard to get out of the habit of rushing about isn't it?

    Sister MaryAnn,
    I wish I could be like that all the time with my girl, it takes a lot of patience, which I don't have most of the time.