I have been dying to get writing again for days. This post was going to be called “Getting Back into the Swing of Things – or Trying” but as I opened up a fresh word document I wrote the above realising that getting back into the groove of everyday life for me is not just about creating routine, being organised, gaining some control and being productive, although those things are important. It is also about finding the right state of mind to face the world, my workload and the people around me.
My newest little one is 17 days old and the days seem to have flown by at a crazy pace and in a whirl. In that time my youngest sister got married, we carried out the aqeeqah for our baby, the boys went back to school and Little Lady started high school.
In between all of this the baby went for a check up and seemed to have lost weight which along with the jaundice she developed (which all of my children had) meant we had to spend two days in the hospital with her while she underwent light therapy for the jaundice and I expressed bottles of milk to see if perhaps I just wasn't producing enough for her. In the end I agreed to supplement with formula in the short term and the hospital wondered if the original weight recorded for her had been wrong.
The aqeeqah was a simple affair which brought together family which had been estranged for a long time. I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to with the baby and me just out of hospital, so in the end decided family, good friends and good food was enough.
My youngest sister’s wedding was stressful, bitter-sweet, beautiful and in the end everything went well. I have lots of pics to share of all of the days, but I think I’ll let her blog it first before I accidentally post any “big reveals” of outfits.
After all the busyness, we spent the last weekend finding our feet, trying to get some rest and with mum-in-law and the kids recovering from coughs and colds. Today has been the first day I could cook, plan ahead for packed lunches, start putting the house back in order slowly and start thinking about how I can order my days so that everything gets done and everyone is taken care of (including me).
I have found the last few days frustrating, with a constant cycle of feeds, nappies, guests, functions and various aches and pains interspersed with housework, children’s homework, re-establishing bedtimes and morning routines now that school has started and a grumpy toddler who needs lots of attention and reassurance. Over the days it got to me and I started to wonder if I could ever stop feeling tired, sleep deprived, put upon and as if I was not getting anywhere or achieving very much.
I realised that it was not so much the sheer volume of things to do, but my mental state that needed attention. Alhamdulillah I have a capacity for hard work and enduring long days. If Allah (SWT) has blessed me with many responsibilities it is not without the strength to fulfil them. But to find that strength I have to be positive, upbeat and at peace with myself and those around me. The last few days that felt easier said than done with my temper and sadness getting the better of me. This led me to think about why I was feeling this way and what I could do about it.
These are the things that are helping me to lift my mood and feel stronger and happier:
1. Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) – The postnatal period means that I won’t be praying my daily salah for the first 40 days or so. I think this has a massive impact on the way you feel. Losing the five daily conversations with Allah (SWT), using the time to ask for his help and for your needs to be fulfilled and the general peace of prayer which is an oasis of peace in the craziness of everyday life:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “the coolness of my eyes is in prayer.” (Ahmad, An-Nasa'i)
Although I can’t pray, something that can be done in almost every situation and at all times is dhikr: “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest (Quran 13:28)”
2. Writing – I find writing and blogging therapeutic, an outlet for my thoughts and an opportunity to be creative. I always feel happier and more willing to do things for everyone else when I have had the chance to do something for myself. I’m hoping eight months of maternity leave will give me lots of opportunities to write and blog, but with five children of different ages, we’ll have to see.
3. Exercise – I have been craving the chance to walk or do some kind of exercise that helps get my energy levels up and helps me to lose the weight I gained following the last two pregnancies. I have found a walking partner in my neighbour and hope to do a couple of miles each day insh’Allah. Should be do-able because I love walking in any weather, but
4. Get out – With two babies and a pram for one, I have been housebound unless I leave the new baby with my mum–in-law and grab what I need and rush home again. This week I am researching prams for two children and also looking at booking driving lessons.
5. Treats – I don’t believe in retail therapy and trying to buy happiness and with five children I am rethinking my finances and will have to learn to budget a lot better than I currently do. Instead I will look at treats that involve relaxation, trips out, time spent with friends and my sisters, special things I can do with my children and time to read. Although I suspect buying chocolate and gorgeous stationary might also sneak in under treats.
6. Life is Short – The local sisters circle is hosted at our house at the moment and was well-attended today. These weekly sessions always leave me refreshed and with food for thought. Today it was mentioned that one day in the next life is like a thousand years in this world. The point was that this world is transitory and when we look back over our lives this time will feel so short. It reminded me not to fill this short life with complaints, dissatisfaction, arguments and ungratefulness. Also when you look at things from this perspective it helps you to be patient as its only regarding pain or sadness for such a short time.
Alhamdulillah, I have had so many kind comments and e-mails and insh’Allah I will answer them over the next few days as I find my feet in between feeds, nappies and still feeling quite sleepy.