Between cries for attention, or pleas for assistance with schoolwork, how can mothers navigate their way through the spiritually enlightening month of Ramadan with their well-being in tact, and still effectively manage the needs of their children?
Whilst being a mother is a rewarding experience at the best of times, for many of us it is also exhausting and taxing on both our health and well-being. Although Ramadan often increases our workload, both physically and spiritually, the key to managing these demands is to prepare well in advance.
Here are a four ways to better manage our needs alongside those of our children during Ramadan:
1. All Aboard!
Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “A man’s spending on his family is charity.” [Jami’ at-Tirmithi]
Spending isn’t just limited to providing for your family’s needs. It also involves spending much of your time, and energy, to encourage your children to develop excellence in their character and behaviour. You can begin by encouraging your children to get excited at the prospect of fasting Ramadan this year, and reminding them of the immense significance of completing this pillar of faith.
Getting your family on board during this Ramadan will help reinforce the importance of achieving a positive experience for all. It also increases the love and respect between you and your children, and models the benefits of effective communication and forward planning.
Make some time to discuss your daily Ramadan goals. Being open and honest about each other’s expectations and personal needs will help us devise productive family goals that can be realistically achieved.
It helps to be specific when writing goals, as this increases the likelihood of achieving them. Use a large piece of paper/cardboard that can be placed in a common area of the house that outlines these goals, and the time frame in which they will be achieved, allows the planning experience to become a reality. Setting smaller, more specific tasks that lead towards the actualization of these goals helps keep everyone on track.
Some of these goals may be related to praying in congregation as a family, cooking iftar, or general maintenance of the house. This will help ensure that the load is shared with family members rather than it resting on your shoulders alone.
2. Forward Thinking
More often than not, there are many things that we can do that will allow us to maximize our time effectively when it really matters.
For instance, you could plan your Ramadan meals during weekends by cooking a few simple, hearty meals in bulk and freezing them, or brainstorm meal ideas as a family and shop according to these to prevent pre-iftar panic. This will save you time on those working days that prove to be frantic, and give you an opportunity to complete other tasks.
Developing a plan to delegate every day tasks, such as the cooking, cleaning and care of children with your spouse/older children/family members will also lessen your personal load, and provide you with greater opportunities to meet your own spiritual needs.
Expect that iftar and suhoor will inevitably affect the regular daily routine of your household. Consider ways that you can accommodate your children’s regular routines around the changes that Ramadan will inevitably bring. Instead of resisting these changes, ask yourself how you can embrace them and make them work for you and your family.
For instance, you may need to adjust the regular time for dinner to suit iftar times throughout the month, or adjust feeding your younger children prior to iftar time in order to have time to eat with minimal interruption.
Flexibility is also important with regard to the goals you have set as a family and individually. Regularly revisit your goals and monitor your progress, and adjust them or change them altogether if necessary.
4. Alone Time
As a mother, I know that we are accustomed to putting the needs of our children above all else.
Although that is necessary at times, it eventually creates a precedent that results in exhaustion, and does not allow us to adequately care for ourselves. This Ramadan, commit to making a concerted, conscious effort to allocate time to focus on the important things that fulfill your spiritual and physical needs. Discuss your needs with your spouse and/or family members, and ask for their support.
Our beloved Prophet said “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
Begin with small, regular acts of worship, especially if your time is limited during the daylight hours. These can include:
- Making zikr whilst going about your day
- Praying your sunnah prayers
- Allocating time during the day or night for your additional prayers or Qur’an reading
- Compiling your own dua list that you can recite during this time
- Reciting Qur’an with your children at bed time
- Allowing time to reflect upon the importance of Ramadan with your children, and remind them of Allah’s blessings
When you are spiritually and physically recharged, both you and your household will feel the difference and reap the benefits.
Developing productive habits during Ramadan can encourage continued personal growth throughout the remainder of the year. In sha Allah this Ramadan will be the month where we can all benefit most from its abundant blessings, and be generous to our families as well as ourselves.
About the Author:
Bushra Ardati is a mother and an educator, having taught both secondary students and adults in a wide range of key learning areas. Her interests include architecture and interior design, photography and personal development. Having run her own educational seminar business, she now focuses her efforts on writing, community work, and raising her young family.