Monday 2 May 2016

Encouraging Bad Habits in Busy Muslimah’s

Every now and again I have a day when I just don’t want to do anything. Usually because I am tired and my body is just telling my brain that enough is enough. My brain responds by getting grumpy and finding excuses to leave the dishes, or laundry or messy bathroom.

When I was a kid, we used to go out for day trips as a family. We would spend the day traipsing round, have a lunch packed by my mum early in the morning and then usually sleep through the long trip home. Then we would get home to land in front of the TV exhausted while mum started preparing dinner.

Now when we spend the day out as a family or spend a couple of hours in the park or shopping, we come home, unpack the car and put away our things. Everyone crashes and then I start sorting out lunch or dinner. But some days I feel annoyed. I am tired the same as everyone else, I want to rest, not prepare a meal in a rush so that we can make our next prayer on time or because everyone is hungry. Luckily my husband is a sweetie mash’Allah and if he can see it has been a long day and I am tired, he will suggest ordering takeaway.

It makes me think of my mum. No matter how tired she was she would get on with organising what her family needed without complaint. The thing is, I don’t think we mama’s, sisters, daughters who take on all of the care for all of our loved ones should always do it uncomplainingly. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way the Sahabah (RA), the companions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), provided us with an example of the way we should treat each other. They would put aside their needs to help others and they would forgo their rights to fulfil their responsibilities towards others. Muslimah’s do this every day throughout their everyday lives. Mothers that let their family have the best parts of the meal or make do with leftovers, sisters that give up their study time to help younger siblings with their learning and daughters that are happy with whatever is given to them and never ask for anything mash’Allah.

But every now and again it is too much. We are tired, or we want something for ourselves. We can stay silent and serve in the way we always do, but feel resentful at the same time. We are not doing it out of a sense of duty and with happiness.

Sometimes we feel as if we have no choice: someone has to do it, or what will your family think? Often we think less of ourselves if we do less than everything for everyone.

Over time as I got older, I feel more empowered to make my own decisions and care less what people think. So rather than stay silent and feel resentful, every now and again, I will decide that I have done enough and I don’t want to do any more for a while. I will welcome people to help themselves to leftovers from the fridge, I will get the older kids to help with the younger ones. I will leave the dishes in the sink, the piles of laundry and the mess in the bathroom. I will do exactly what I want and try my level best to ignore the little voice that says “everyone will just think you are lazy”.

So today, after a busy long Bank Holiday weekend and a morning out with the kids, I gave everyone left overs for lunch, prayed the midday prayer and then decided I would do nothing for a few hours. No housework, no organising, no preparation for tomorrow, not even being sensible about my diet. I still felt a little bit of guilt at the back of my mind, but managed to keep it at bay long enough to relax at my mums for a few hours, and enjoy coffee and chocolate.

So I would encourage Muslimah’s to make time to take care of themselves, be a bit irresponsible and say no to their duties for a little while when they need to. Or better still, see it as being responsible and sensible to give themselves enough of a rest and break, that they go back to caring for their loved ones without resentment.


  1. I needed this post. And i totally agree. You cant help others unless u help yourself. You need to take oxygen yourself before putting someone elses oxygen mask on for them.

  2. Blah I'm doing this right now. So right. Sometimes enough is enough.