Usually when I have a day like this when I know I will have a lot to do, I start to worry because I get too tired too quickly and then wonder how I will manage. But the last few days like this I have found that when I ask Allah (SWT) for help, I usually get to the end of the day tired but not defeated.
Yesterday, I asked Allah for his help during my Fajr salat (dawn prayer). Little Ladies high school is about a mile and a half away without a direct bus route and the Dr is about half a mile in the other direction. In the event, we ended up walking and I enjoyed the walk. I like the idea of keeping fit and strong and I was grateful that I could manage. That was until the third or fourth trip between the shops, Dr and school. My legs suddenly decided they will go at their own snail-like pace and not the pace I want. I realised that I wasn't getting stronger, just tiring myself out.
I wanted to make something nice for iftar (fast breaking meal), so spent the evening in the kitchen with Kooks and Shutterbug Sister who pop by after work to catch up and to ask if I need anything. The kids love taking food to the neighbours, so now and again we make extra, but yesterday I think we got carried away. I ended up making spicy mince pasties, mince pizza and baked chicken, plus a lovely plate of sweets and onion bhaji's that a neighbour sent back:
The kids had a blast running up and down the street with plates of food and dates. It was a bit better than last year when they got carried away and started handing out food to random people walking past on the street until their dad clocked what they were doing and directed them back to the neighbours. Also on this occasion no one dropped anything in the street, although Gorgeous managed to drop a plate before he even got out of the kitchen.
We really, really enjoyed the food (recipe’s to follow insh’Allah) and supplemented with mango milkshake, fruit, fruit salad, dates and date and nut slices.
At the moment Darling and I are having daily tussles because she wants to feed herself and I don’t fancy giving her a bath after every meal, so we have a battle of wills going on there, usually I let her have a little of something to try and feed herself with and she lets me feed her the main portion while she is distracted with her own spoon or straw . I gave her half of my mango milkshake thinking she would drink it and she decided to apply it like a face cream and shampoo.
Once all of the cooking and eating and prayers were done, I turned my attention to the house - two baskets of laundry to put away, more dirty clothes on the floor, some lovely person had muddied the bathroom floor, the loom bands my kids are into are all over the house, upstairs needed hovering and downstairs both hoovering and mopping. Darling can now get into my make-up and managed to leave kohl on her cot, my wardrobe and the carpet. I complained to my mum-in-law that I can’t keep up and that I can’t get things off the floor easily. Rather sensibly she said “just leave it then”, she had a point, but I’m used to having a fairly organised home and can’t relax when there is mess around me.
I think part of the problem is that the kids get into lazy habits now and again and have to be re-trained every now and again. When I was on maternity leave with darling, I was very strict about routine and made sure that school shoes, bags, coats, packed lunches and uniforms were put away in the right places as soon as we got home and before anyone did anything else. Now that mum-in-law does the school run she tends to pick up after the kids for some things and leave the rest and then complain that the kids are not listening and putting things away when I get home (I think being a gran make people soft, because she certainly had to be tough to raise six boys).
Usually I let the kids share iftar with us and then send them to bed. We usually have a period of time that follows with me chasing them into bed, getting Gorgeous out of bed because he hasn’t brushed his teeth, trying to find missing pyjama’s, and getting annoyed when everyone starts taking turns to ask for a drink of water or complain that they are not sleepy or smuggle a book under the bed covers.
So today after the family iftar (fast breaking) meal, I decided on a different coursed of action. Once the food had been cleared away, I gave everyone jobs to do. Little Man to hoover the downstairs and help me put away the shopping that had been delivered earlier, Little Lady to do the piles of dishes and mop up the mud from the bathroom floor, Gorgeous to put shoes away and sort the laundry and fold what he could for everyone to put in their drawers. My job was to supervise and give Darling a bath.
It was fantastic. They were exhausted within the first fifteen minutes I wondered why the hoovering was taking so long and found Little Man lying on the floor in the front room having a rest with the hoover still on.
We got loads done in less than hour, the kids were too tired to complain and just brushed their teeth and fell into bed and I still had energy to pray my night prayer without everything hurting too much. Gorgeous complained that he had the hardest job and that no one ever had to do that much. I gently reminded him that I had to do that much most days, mostly because he left such a trail of mess. He promised that he would help me a bit every day and not make any more mess (not going to hold my breath on that one).
I actually don’t mind him making a mess now because I won’t be tidying it, he will. I think with four kids, work, one under two and another newborn on the way, everyone will be pulling their weight a lot more.