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Working Mothers

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

ربي اشرح لي صدري و يسر لي أمري واحلل عقدة من لساني يفقه قولي

ربي زدني علما وارزقني فهما

The morning alarm signals the start of the day. Still half asleep and tired, she trudges off to freshen herself up and carry out her morning routine that almost always involves making breakfast, packing lunches, getting the baby ready to drop him off at the daycare. Once these tasks are taken care of, she heads off to work, barely making it in time to clock in due to traffic or transportation troubles or even a setback with one of her kids fussing more than usual. Completing the hours of work she logs off at the end of her shift or a little earlier to pick up the kids from school. Arriving home to prepare a snack, oversee the kids doing their homework, preparing dinner and waiting for her significant other to arrive. A family dinner and lights out.

This is the usual hassle for mothers who are working.

Muslim mothers have more on their plate as they put Allah first and are duty bound to Him first and foremost.  This including five daily prayers and recitation of the Quran along with family duties. Not to mention the prejudice they deal with at work every day because of Hijab or them wearing a headscarf.

With crammed schedules it isn’t surprising that most women prefer to quit work to focus on their families. Motherhood in itself is quite a challenge. Pregnancy is only the start of the herculean task that befalls a mother. Once postpartum, she has to breast feed the infant for around 2 years. “The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling” (Quran 2:233) Focus on developing the child’s speaking and motor skills, i.e. teaching them how to talk and walk. However, given the fast pace of the world now and the seeming lack of time due to various other commitments by parents, children are often left with electronic gadgets to keep them preoccupied and/or left with a babysitter or at daycare facilities. This is stunting the parent-child bond and will have obvious effects in the future.

Early neglect is shown to have brain altering changes. A study conducted in orphanages in Romania revealed changes in brain compositions of kids who spent their first years in institutions to those who were randomly assigned to foster care. The study showed that the “sensitive period” for social development are based on the fact that the infant/child receive not just environmental nurture and physical nurture, but also psychological nurture from their caregivers. The finding also adds to the fact that early childhood experiences can have lasting impacts on the brain, with one study showing that may shrink regions of the brain’s hippocampus (a small organ within the brain that regulates emotions and is associated mainly with memory, particularly long-term memory). (1)

In another study involving children of nurturing mothers, brain images revealed hippocampus volumes 10% larger than children whose mothers were not as nurturing. Research has suggested a link between a larger hippocampus and better memory. (2)

Nurturing the child is the right of both parents, but more of the responsibility is inclined towards the mother. “Indeed each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned regarding his flock. The commander who is in authority over people is responsible and he will be questioned regarding his responsibility. The man is responsible over the inhabitants of his house and he is the one who will be questioned about them. The wife is responsible in her husband’s house and she will be questioned about it. The servant is responsible regarding his master’s property, and he will be questioned about it. Indeed each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned about his flock.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim, narrated by ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar)

Working mothers are often at a loss trying to maintain a work-life balance. Post-pregnancy changes are a feat to deal with while juggling with responsibilities; often losing sleep or disrupting their sleep cycle  due to their newborns needing their attention, stress piling up at work as they have deadlines nearing, remembering to give their time and attention to their significant other… and yet, despite it all, mother’s give their best for their child.

Children are a trust from Allah and those parents who have been blessed with children will be held accountable for their nurturing. Parents, guardians, and caregivers are responsible for teaching their children the duties of Islam.  Children must be taught the correct way of worshiping Allah and the best way to do this is by example.  From the moment that they can interact with their surroundings, children are learning.  Even as a child hearing the Adhan, he or she will know that it is time for all worldly endeavors to stop while believers focus their attention on Allah.  Children learn by observing the behavior of those around them and replicate that behavior. Parents/guardians are the first source of learning for the child.

And (remember) when Luqmaan said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son!  Join not in worship others with God.  Verily, joining others in worship with God is a great wrong indeed. (Quran 31:13)

The same is true vice versa. Parents deserve gratitude and obedience.  A Muslim is obligated to show goodness and mercy to his or her parents. Mothers are to be treated with utmost respect and love because paradise lies at her feet. She dedicates her life to nurturing and caring for her children. She is also responsible for their emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. In return, children owe their mothers care, love, affection, respect, and dutifulness. The task assigned to mothers is huge and overwhelming, and so the reward for a righteous mother is nothing less than paradise and the esteem and honor she receives in this life.

For more insight on practical Islamic parenting click on the links below:

  1. 5 Basic Principles of Islamic parenting
  2. 10 Practical tips on Islamic Parenting

Working Mothers in need of answers to maintaining their work-life balance click here for some quick tips.

REFERENCES

بارك الله فيكم

وجزاكم الله خيرا

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت استغفرك و أتوب إليك

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Written by: Shafia Jameel

TEAM IR

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