Author: Asma Ali
The Mother I want to be is welcome any time in our home. And I catch glimpses of her every now and then, but most of the time, she’s just out of reach.
The Mother I want to be has all the time in the world to read, and play, and tickle, and laugh with her children. But the Mother I am seems to be caught up with ‘to-do’ lists, and folding laundry, and preparing meals, and cleaning.
The Mother I want to be has patience of Asiya and the wisdom of Khadjah. But the Mother I am is snappy, wears cranky pants, and can’t think clearly.
When I put the kids to bed in the evening and take a deep breath and upon reflecting on the day gone pass, I realize that I was not the mum I wanted to be that day.
I was impatient. I was frustrated. I was stressed. I was frazzled. I was short. I was exasperated. I was selfish. I was angry.
I wasn’t patient. I wasn’t gentle. I wasn’t calm. I wasn’t peaceful. I wasn’t kind. I wasn’t self-less. I wasn’t positive.
I wasn’t as loving as I wanted to be.
I have this image of the perfect Mother. It is the woman I strive to be. She is primarily devoted to her husband. She ensures he feels completely loved while together they care for their children and their home. She somehow finds time to make each of her children feel special while simultaneously keeping up with chores, maintaining her spiritual duties, and contributing to the household income. She even looks lovely all the time.
She is perfect. She is beautiful. She is superwoman.
She is what my family deserves.
She is completely not realistic. She is unattainable.
I looked in the mirror and sighed. The woman reflected wasn’t one I was proud to show off in public. But it would have to do. I put a scarf over my day-old-hair and turned to my two-year-old to get him out the door.
He took one look at me and exclaimed “Mummy…. pwincess!” (and hugs my knees)
His little eyes took in his mummy in a hijab and didn’t see unwanted pounds, unwashed hair, and clothes that didn’t fit. He saw his mummy with flowery hijab covering her hair. He saw royalty. He saw beauty.
I set myself such a high bar. I have such immeasurable love for these people in my life and I just want to be all that they deserve. But my unrealistic expectations for myself simply lead to failure. And guilt.
But what if I looked at myself through the eyes of my children? What if instead of a mother who can’t do everything all at once, I see the mummy who makes the baby smile as soon as she looks at him? What if I see the mummy who shares tickles with the toddler? What if I see the mummy who tells expressive stories and sings multiple lullabies before bed? What if I see the mummy who wakes up hour upon hour in the night to comfort and sustain a little growing person?
Motherhood is a journey that allows me to witness the growth of my children as well as instil growth in me by making me stronger and wiser. Allah blesses women with children and in turn mothers make a promise to Allah to nurture children into adulthood. Through my journey as a mother, I came to realize that being a mother is also about role modelling a balanced and healthy lifestyle to my children.
The responsibility of motherhood makes a woman grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually because she is tested in all areas. She learns to stretch herself to serve those around her with the ultimate purpose of pleasing Allah, while at the same time not losing herself. A mother should not simply become weaker through her giving, but stronger and more balanced.
If I look through the eyes of my children, I see a good woman who does whatever she can for her children. I see a good Mother. I see love.
I see nothing to feel guilty about. I see nothing to feel bad about.
I see a princess.
I see the mum I want to be.
And it only took a toddler to teach me this.
Thank God for the blessings of children. And forgiveness. And new mornings. I just pray that my children will see me as the Mother I want to be.
….Where Practice Makes Perfect
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