Friday, 13 June 2014

Concerns of a Mom as Ramadan Nears | Samra Hussain

                                                 
Samra Hussain


Ramadan is coming! The thought brings both joy and nervous anxiety for me. I’m happy that I will spend a month of special blessings, when all my good intentions and good actions will be magnified in the spiritual realm. I’m looking forward to the challenge of abstaining from food, and controlling my thoughts and words. There is something special about Ramadan, because for a practicing Muslim, good thoughts and good deeds definitely come more naturally during this month. The same goes for going hungry and thirsty for sixteen hours a day. Although it is challenging, I feel there are some special heavenly powers around for those fasting with the intention of pleasing God.

But besides the excitement and joy, I also have my fears about the upcoming fasts. I am a mother of four young children. I have a set of five year old triplets and a three year old singleton, so my life even without fasting is strained. I did not fast for the first three years after my kids were born, and all those times I felt like I was missing out. Everyone around me was fasting and had that glow on their face from fasting during Ramadan, while I ran after my kids all day and ate and drank like normal.

The fourth year I had a talk with God and told Him that I really wanted in on Ramadan, because the worship and devotional prayers I did at night did not have the same intensity for me when I wasn't fasting. I needed to fast, break the fast with everyone else, and THEN sit in prayer at night to feel that full satisfaction of experiencing Ramadan. So I started to fast as many days as I could, although I left a few fasts here and there when I felt too drained. I was grateful that I could keep the fasts although the first few days I felt light headed at times.

Credit: Samra Hussein

Let me give you some perspective on my current situation. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, both physical and emotional for me to get through every day caring for my children. I’m up every morning usually around seven, getting the triplets ready for school, preparing their lunches, driving them to school, then coming home to cook meals and/or go to the grocery store with my three year old who is still home with me, doing chores, then picking them up from school, listening to them arguing with each other and shoving school letters and field trip forms in my face from the backseat while I drive.

Then, when they get home, it is a time filled with multiple personalities making multiple demands for attention and fulfillment of various random wishes. They also have intense physical fights over the most mundane and trivial matters, for which I must play referee, lawyer, and/or judge. I try and steer them to the basement, where they run, jump, and play.

Those days when I am not feeling great or simply fed up with their behaviour, I put them in front of the television with their favorite shows on. When they get home from school, I have to have a couple of snacks ready followed by dinner within two hours of the snack. Sometimes if it’s nice out I take them to the park or if it’s cold then an indoor playground. But it is chaos getting them all weather appropriate ready and in the car. Then getting them back in the car to go home is another major challenge, since they usually refuse to go home.

Bed time is a war every single night no matter what. It’s a war to get them to brush their teeth and use the toilet. Then it’s a war to get them to lay down in bed. Sometimes they run off and hide in closets and hold the door handle while I push against the door so I cannot come in to get them.

So considering I have to go through so much madness every day, and it will be summer vacations during all of Ramadan for the kids, I decided to put all four of my children in a summer day camp from 9am till 4pm and level the playing field for myself. The thought of all four of them being home all day while I fast and my husband gone to work was too horrifying.


Credit: Samra Hussein


But still, I wonder. What if summer camp is not enough? The fast does not break until after 9pm for the beginning fasts, and I will have a few hours to kill while the kids are home. Will it be okay if I take them to the park after camp, or will that make me too thirsty in the hot summer weather?  Will I feel energized enough to keep them entertained and happy while fasting? How will I handle things when I am hungry, thirsty and tired, and they are cranky or have fights with each other? How will I feel when they decide to plug in the treadmill in the basement and play dangerous games on it? Will I be able to control my temper when I see the face towel and hand towel soaking wet and placed at the edge of the bathroom counter, dripping water on the tiles?

I think the issue of my temper is one of my biggest concerns. Now, if you ask anyone who knows me, you will find out that I am actually a very laid back person and difficult to get angry....but this rule only applies to adults and children who are accustomed to being civilized human beings. The fact that I have toddlers who are all pretty much the same age and there are four of them and I care for them by myself, makes consistent control of my temper difficult to say the least. In some ways, controlling my words when the children become naughty or misbehave will be more difficult than controlling my feelings of thirst and hunger.

What if my kids get sick during Ramadan? Will I still fast or will I find it too difficult to fast and care for them at the same time? What about the weekend and public holiday fasts when they will be home all day? Will God even accept any of my fasts? So many questions. Only time will tell how Ramadan actually turns out for me.

Regardless of my fears, as I wait for Ramadan, I look towards God with hope. I say to myself, “Every fast you ever kept and completed was by His decree. So turn to Him and know in your heart that He will test you through strength and He will test you through weakness. In the end, it is not really about counting the number of fasts or hours of fasts, but rather if you became a little more humble, and a little less selfish."


Samra Hussain is a stay at home mom. Her passions include reading and writing. In her free time she likes to write for her interfaith blog while also working on her teen fiction novel for girls. She can be found at her blog For the Love of God and you can follow her on TwitterMake sure you keep an eye out for Samra's debrief once Ramadan is over to see how she got on
Update: Samra contributed Eating Consciously in Ramadan for the Interfaith Ramadan 2016 series. 


And now over to you! 
What do you worry about before Ramadan comes? 
How do you deal with those concerns? 

3 comments:

  1. Samra, I am not a Muslim so I do not feel committed to fasting during Ramadan, but I do love the Lord and can fully understand your desire to want to please him. I tend to think that the Lord wants you to be able to be the best mother you can be more than he wants you to feel guilty because you cannot share in the fast. You will have many years to express your love for Allah when you children are older. Best wishes. Joseph.

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  2. Thank you for your kind words Joseph! I love how you were able to relate to my desire to participate in this personal and communal form of loving Allah. :)

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  3. this was interesting reading. it certainly sounds like you have your hands full but can you imagine how hard other people have it too? there are people who are working all day or who are in places where the heat is stifling with water let alone without. there are people who would love to feed their children but cant afford to. i'm not trying to be rude, just trying to give a little perspective. i know my mil had 8 children and used to be out in the field 18 hours a day in the 40 degree heat in the past, i just cant imagine it. maybe you could sit and talk to your children all about ramadan and how mummy will need extra help and good behaviour while she is fasting (and afterwards!) i wish you all the best and thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly.

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