Decluttering the mind!

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I have a lot of thoughts going on in my mind and I feel like I need to ‘declutter’. I find that making dua and writing helps me to do that. Plus some good advice from those who are sincere and know me very well.

Okay, so I have seriously felt like I’ve been drowning. This is not as a result of anyone or anything, but its because of me and the expectations I put on myself. For those of you who have been following this blog for a long time, you will know that I live and breathe by routine and organisation. Naturally that is going to fly out of the window when change (like a new baby) arrives.  I am not complaining about having a new baby – no no. My issue is with myself. And things have got to change otherwise I am heading for depression!

I just feel that I put too much pressure on myself and unintentionally do that to my children, particularly R. I want the best for my children like most mothers. But if I don’t change my ways, I won’t achieve anything near to what I want for them.

Yesterday, I met up with a very very close friend – she is the sister who called me to Islam almost 11 years ago. May Allah (Swt) bless her immensely and reward her abundantly. Ameen. She knows me better than anyone I know and she gave me some really good advice. As our girls who are 5 days apart in age ran around a beautiful inner city park, she spoke to me about reliance on Allah. In the days that she knew me as a non-muslim she always thought I was a bit OTT (over the top) with the whole organistion thing and in some ways it has got better and in others it has become worse. She advised me that the tarbiyah and the guidance of our children are not as a result of what we do, but only lies with Allah (Swt). All we can do is try our best. We are not in control of anything, not even our children. How true she is!

Another dear sister got in touch with me recently after a few years of no contact. Herself and her husband were very active in the UK’ years ago. They lived abroad, studied the deen, were very protective over their children, gave them a good Islamic upbringing etc. A few years ago, they divorced after many years together. Unfortunately, their eldest daughter is not wearing hijab any more. The sister told me that she would never have thought that her daughter would end up like this. And it just goes to show that the best thing we can do for our kids is to make a lot of dua that Allah continues to guide them and keep them on the siraat al mustaqeem.

I think for someone like me who likes to be ‘in control’, I have to accept that I am not in control. You see, it is easy to say that we have tawakkulAllah. But where is the proof in our lives? I am not suggesting that every sister who is ultra organised has a problem with reliance upon Allah. No, not at all. But when there is a lack of balance in anything in our life, we need to ask ourselves why.

Right now, I am seriously thinking about how I speak to my kids, how I discipline them, how I spend time with them, how I educate them, my expectations of them and whether I need to have such expectations.

Life continues to change, but what I do not want is for years and years to pass and I have not changed. I want to enjoy my children and enjoy life without the internal pressure/stress and anxiety surrounding those things just because I need to stick to a routine and check something off on a checklist. I am my worse own enemy and it is going to stop inshaAllah.

A couple of days ago, I seriously seriously seriously contemplated putting my DD in school. I was very close to calling a school I would put her in. But then, I realised by talking to another dear sis who knows me so very well that the problem is not Home Ed – it is me! If I were to change the way I do things and the expectations I put on myself and my kids, home ed would be even better than what it is, life would be better than what it is.  Sweeter. And at the moment, I feel many things that could taste very sweet are tasting sour because of this whole routine/organisational ‘thing’!

I have been absorbing the comments of a few lovely home edding sisters on the IHSAN forum in response to a post I wrote. And they are right in that home ed should not be something separate from ordinary life. If it is viewed in this way, then it is another thing that needs to be ‘checked’ off – and that is where the stress comes in. If, however, home ed is viewed as a part of life itself then a completely different experience unfolds.

Just as I need to change my way of viewing family life and all that routine palava, so too do I need to change the way I see home ed. Even though I was close to giving up, I don’t think I ever will (inshaAllah) as I feel so strongly that it is the RIGHT way for my family. Something internal has to change and subhanaAllah, I feel that it is slowly beginning to do so. Home Education is just that – it is education at home and home/family is a 24 hour thing, isn’t it? So, enough of seeing it as something separate and here is to a new perception, a new change and a new beginning…inshaAllah.

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16 responses »

  1. AA WR WB,

    What can I say, “great minds think alike?” LOL!

    Alhamdulillah I’m over my little crisis, and feel much better towards things.

    It’s so true that everything lies in the hands of Allah, so really we do our best, turn to Him and do this for His sake inshaAllah.

    JazekAllah for this post, it really feels good to know that support is there.

    xxx

  2. As salaamu alaykum,

    I hear you! I have such a hard time concentrating during the day because so many things are running through my head.

    It takes extreme effort for me to stop and focus on my kids sometimes (like stop and really hear what they are saying, stop and look at them) because I have a million and one things in my head supposedly FOR them but I am so worried about trying to make things perfect, have this perfect outline to follow, perfect lessons, perfect routine and all that effort really detracts from me raising them.

    I came to that realization about home education, that the word home is in there, it’s half of the term, but yet I tend to focus more on the academics. What a great opportunity to teach kids about daily life we have. What a great opportunity to let them see Islam in our lives; a natural opportunity that they wouldn’t get stuck up in a school all day where basically everything is contrived.

    I am trying to get out of that school at home thing. It’s been my comfort zone (well or so I thought), but it totally does not work for me. I am realizing that it’s ok not to have a pretty schedule on paper (that I can’t even stick to anyway), but as long as the kids are learning and there’s a bit of structure in there somehere s I read and see firsthand that kids thrive on routines (not necessarily schedules) …….

    One of my kids can zip through her work by morning’s end, and I am learning to be ok with not having her whole day filled with academics. The same for the other kids, even if some of them are “behind.” Every minute doesn’t have to be doing school type learning. As I think we all began to realize, so much learning comes through natural encounters with our kids. I have become so much better alhamdulillah about tryiing to take advantage of those natural teaching moments (just have to make sure I don’t go overboard and try to pull out worksheets when just a simple talk will do).

    So I am so with you, and make duaa that Allah will aid us in decluttering all our minds so that we can truly focus raising our children to live and love Islam and enjoy the time we have together.

    I get so sad when I think that my kids could end up straying off or apostating, authu billah. When they are at home and living Islam, it doesn’t seem possible, but subhanAllah, I hear about that from time to time as you mentioned.

    May Allah guide those who have strayed or rejected their deen back and may He keep our children (and ourselves) always on the straight path, loving and living Islam and our Lord. Ameen.

    • Ws wr wb

      Wow! What a comment sis! MashaAllah, made me feel good to know that I am not the only one that thinks like this. Although I would think that some sort of planning is in need with 9 kids mashaAllah tabarakAllah! Sometimes when Shaytaan cannot get us in the ‘obvious’ ways, he attacks us with things that we think are beneficial (in my case planning planning planning!)

      Ameen to your duas and may Allah keep us on track so that we may attain His pleasure. Ameen.

  3. ASAK,
    Your post was an eye opener for me especially the part about guidance being from Allah and not as a direct result of what I teach to to my children. My children are not homeschooled..only being 4 and 3 year old.They go a couple of days a week right now.But i do intend to send them to an Islamic school here in the bay area inshAllah. I highly respect you and all other moms out there who homeschool their kids. My problem is the exact opposite. If only I was half as organised as you oh the things I could have achieved.Anyhow I`ve always somehow thought the better and the more I teach them the better muslims they are going to be.And then to beat myself up because I thought i wasn`t doing a good enough job. But reading your post I realize I can only do what I can and give it my best shot and make dua . And Allah will take care of the rest inshAllah.
    JAK sister.

    • Thats just it sis. We can only do our best. I think what I have realised today is that balance is the key. Not to stop planning but definitely not to go to extremes with it either. Keeping to the middle way in everything that we do inshaAllah.

  4. assalamu alaikum sister,
    what a good reminder! I also recently had a new baby and I feel the same way. Thank you for your message. Are you a virgo? I am a virgo and obsessed with planning and checklists which put great pressure on me sometimes.

    aa

    • Ws wr wb

      Jzk for your comment sister. I’m afraid I stopped following astrological signs when I became a Muslim as this is shirk (associating partners with Allah) which is a sin that Allah will not forgive if one dies upon it. It can actually take one out of the fold of Islam.

  5. Assalamu alaykum wr wb
    My dear sister
    I know exactly where you’re coming from.
    I love to plan and write lists and tick things off and I have high expectations of everyone around me.
    It doesn’t really work. I was getting MYSELF so stressed that my blood pressure has become a problem.
    If I think about all the things that my kids don’t know I could have 10 heart attacks!
    What’s the use of that? I don’t see my kids sressed about it!
    So I have to change.

    I think as they are getteing older issues and targets and responsibility change: have they prayed on time, are they able to give sadaqa from their own money,do they visit the family, are they able to do good deeds for the sake of Allah S, do they see me happy with Allah S and His decree, do they see that I have a good attitude towards things that are important in Islam and the sociey?
    You know the sorts of things I mean.

    I don’t know if this helps at all, but I think that whatever our children do with their education, whether they become ministers or scholars or street-cleaners the important thing is that they love and fear Allah S and that we are there for them.

    Oh Allah please giude us and our off-spring to the best way, and grant us peace in this life and the next, ameen.

    Have you read a book called ‘Free Range Education’ it really does help to stop worrying so much.

    Love you for the sake of Allah S
    Your sister Yasmin

    • Ws wr wb

      How are you my dear sis? Yes you are so right. At the end of the day, what is important is that we build that love-fear-hope relationship with Allah within them – or try to anyway. Because really its all about the next life isn’t it?

  6. salam alaykum dear sister i am a french sister and i know your blog from my sister oum Abduljabbar (an african sister leaving in london) i just wanted to say that your post makes me think a lot i am exactly like you and i am crazy about organisation but like you said our children’s guidance depend only on Allah swt and may He guide them and all of us too ameen

  7. Assalaamu’alaykum dear sister,
    I’m from Malaysia 🙂
    Just stumbled upon your blog!
    Mashaa Allaah 🙂
    I’m the total opposite, oh dear.. I’m such a disorganised person! :/
    However, I am quite a perfectionist (or try to be :P) and put a lot of pressure on myself too, and the word ‘drowning’ is really apt!
    I think the best way to take is the mid-path.. may Allaah give us ease in all we do, ameen.

    • Ws wr wb

      I guess the organisation part isn’t too bad if it is done in balance. But what I need to get rid of (like you sis) is this perfectionist mentality. No one is perfect except Allah.

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