Priorities

The keyword when talking about life is always balance. To feel at peace we need to find an equilibrium between the different facets of our selves and our numerous roles and aspirations. This is something that I have always struggled with, never being an all-rounder. I have excelled in some areas and neglected others. Being a perfectionist, I have often only attempted things that I know I can do well. I don’t just have a fear of failure, I have a fear of being average and yet I can only be what I am, fairly competent and (hopefully!) kind and imaginative, but certainly not a genius!

Motherhood, when approached by such a personality is particularly challenging. I want everything to be fantastic and nurturing. I know that it is primarily myself who will guide these little beings and help them blossom to their full potential and sometimes I am daunted by the responsibility.  How do I manage everything, the basic drudgery of household life (yes, I do feel that way sometimes!) but at the same time creating a vibrant and inspirational space for my children to learn and grow? How do I maintain a sense of self in the process?

In Islamic spirituality known as tasawwuf, the ego (nafs, base self) is supposed to be subdued in order to foster a closeness with God, but there is also a saying that “H/she who knows him/herself knows God“. In other words, we must understand our self before we can conquer it. Sometimes, as mothers, we completely lose our selves in the process of looking after everyone else. I have recently passed through a phase of wanting to read and write a lot about “issues”, stimulate myself intellectually because this was an aspect of my life that had been sorely neglected. I wanted to rediscover who I am in that sense. And whilst I feel a little revived, I can honestly say that I don’t necessarily feel uplifted by it…energized perhaps but not motivated spiritually.

Nurturing my family, however, does motivate me spiritually. Responding to my children, thinking about how to encourage them to love learning, imagining creating a dense jungle for them in the backyard (yes, it’s still just in the imaginary stage!), all of this stirs something deep in my being. And so this is the deciding factor for me whilst I try to re-orient and keep hold of myself in the process of motherhood. Because, I’ve found that within the process itself, there is so much room for personal growth and it feeds my soul in a way that academic pursuits don’t. And so I know for myself that at times, although I may question my choice and wonder what I might have/could have been, I am fundamentally happy with what I am and I know that staying at home is the right choice for me (and hopefully, inshaAllah, my family also!).

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4 Responses to “Priorities”

  1. shukr Says:

    Have been thinking about doing a ‘priority’ post for a week or so! *Might* get round to it one day.lol.

  2. Maliha Says:

    Salamaat,
    I think of it in terms of time-spans…there are times for academia and times for growth and times for children….ya’ani everything has its time and will come in its own time.

    I am brewing a post on knowledge versus education (or mis-) I am an academia lover, but i think there’s much to learn outside the doors of school; and motherhood is one that can’t be underestimated.

    Inshaallah you’ll never regret your decision; those precious “firsts” and moments that will soon evaporate as they grow and become independent.

    May we all learn to savor the beauty of the moments we are in (amin.)

  3. Asiya Says:

    wa alaykoum salam, yes you are right and you can only get the full benefit of something when the timing is right. I love academia too, but I worry that more conventional older style methods of teaching,actually obstruct the learning process. But I fear hippy education too, although I don’t think all alternative education is this.
    Amin, your du’as are always my favourites, Maliha..

  4. Asiya Says:

    sorry Shukr, I missed you there! lol. I’dbe interested to read your post when you do it!

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